Friday, December 30, 2011

Maggie's ABC's

12 Days of Christmas Deals at USAB

Amanda Bennett is running some great deals over at Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett.  I wish I could share with you how AWESOME these are...but I've been so busy during the holidays I haven't blogged much.  We just completed the Christmas Unit and they are so easy - so simple and SO FUN!  You do NOT have to be a homeschooler to love these unit studies!  This one was a perfect devotional to enhance the holiday season in our home... 

Now - if you are torn between doing any unit studies...this is a great time to try one out!  Click here to visit Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett.

Right now you can buy the Passport Geography units at discounted prices!  I will be doing a LOT of these units this year and I am excited to be able to share them with you as we work through them, but, it is a great time for you to add to your own unit library. 

Check it out!!!  Click here to visit Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett.

ps.  I am an affiliate and when you buy through my link you help support our homeschool budget... Every little bit helps.  :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry - Merry - Christmas!

Well.  Needless to say the girls (me included) got WAY too much for Christmas this year.  We are spoiled!  Here they are first thing Christmas morning...  We did not open gifts until after we got home from church though...I know...I'm cruel!  :)
 Maggie got a new stocking this year...  A pretty dark-hair princess.
 Kayley also received a new stocking this year.  A pretty blonde-haired princess.  I love, love these stockings.  So cute!
 This year the only thing Kayley asked Santa to bring her, was an umbrella.  An interesting request...but he delivered and she was thrilled!
 The rest of the afternoon was spent opening gifts...
 Fighting over a few things...
 Squealing over a few things...  Kayley adores Diego.  She does, after all, want to be an animal rescuer when she grows up...
 Maggie is way-into Dora, so it was talking Backpack for her!

 The girls got these gorgeous aprons from Granny! 

And Gram made these adorable capes for the girls!!!  
Little red riding hood!

Gramma made this awesome Abby Cadabby fleece blanket for Maggie.  Here Mag is screaching "Abby Abby Abby!"

We got Kayley this birthstone necklace...

The best gift was the Toydle Fort.  There will be lots more pictures (and a TOS review) on this later!

Daddy was excited to get goodies for cleaning the kitchen in his stocking.  hehehe
 Mommy was excited to get this tennis racket.  Ok, just was a skillet.
 Kayley got this barking dog-toy that the cat just loves... 
Look at them giving each other dirty looks.

Among other goodies we received awesome things like:  books, remote control cars, fairy wings, puzzles, games, and clothes.  The highlight for Daddy was a small heater for his office followed by th book Brisinger (I know!  Not the cleaning stuff - go figure?).  Highlights for Mommy would hands-down be the elliptical that is partially assembled upstairs (thank you honey!!!) and the surprise Scentsy warmer.  Kayley's favorite is the fort...followed closely by the dog, Cookie.  Maggie's favorite is probably the Dora Chair although she is torn between the Dora puzzles and socks!  

We are spoiled and so grateful to Gramma & Papa, Gram & GramDaddy, Granny & Grandpa, Susan, and Mary & Jarom for sending us such great goodies!

Smells like Christmas dinner is on the table.  Gotta run! 

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Pictures...

I wanted to take the girls out and try my new camera.  
I am excited that it works fabulous!  
Here are a few shots from a trip to the nature center.

Christmas Advent Crafts...

 We have had fun doing our Christmas Advent Crafts...  We have done a LOT and hung up a complete art gallery in our entryway.  Here are a few of the other crafts we have completed over the last few days...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


We have just been so busy that it has been difficult for me to keep up with all the reviews and regular blog fun too.  Just to give an update, and to throw a lot of random pictures at you...I thought I would try to catch up on what we've been doing!

We had to sit and wait at Don Wessel Honda for a couple of hours the other day while our car was getting its power steering pump replaced!  They had a huge toybox and the girls were very well entertained while we waited.

 We have had fun Skyping with Gramma since she left.   The girls love to drag toys and pictures up to the computer and hold them up for Gramma to see and oooohhh and aaaahhh over.

 We made sugar cookies!  I won't even tell you how challenging it was to make "brown" frosting.  Let's just say we went through all kinds of ugly colors before it turned out right!

 I enter a lot of drawings.  I think one of my latest obsessions is how to get as many things as I can for free or cheap.  I don't usually enter drawings that have more than 100 or so people entered, but this Cheerios Cheer-pack was so cute.  I won out of 300+ people!  We got a cereal dispenser, a box of cheerios, a ceramic bowl and a spoon!  Did I mention it was FREE?  Looooove free!

 I found this cute little desk on Craigslist a month or so ago for 10$.  Kayley and Maggie both love sitting in it.  Kayley will do schoolwork in it...Maggie just loves that it is Maggie sized!

Now that we have new carpet...  we have a new "no ba-ba on the carpet" rule.  Isn't Maggie funny?  She will set her sippy right at the doorway and run back and forth.  

Maggie feeding Elmo some lunch...

The highlight of our day...when Daddy comes home.

My cute girls.

James and I made about 60 candy cane necklaces for the primary kids...  
why?  because we are crazy.
 they turned out cute though...and the kids really loved them.

Kayley has been doing some online programs with her schoolwork.  She was learning about Presidents the other day and this question popped up.  I'm not sure why it cracked me up.  Mainly because Bon Jovi just doesn't fit well with the theme.   Of course Kayley asks me, "Who is Bon Jovi??" 

The girls had fun playing in this bumper car parked at the Branson airport.  Ok...actually they pushed and shoved at each other as soon as I put the camera away.  Kayley told Maggie was was too little to drive...  haha

Well. I think that catches up some of our general goings-on.  I have several other things to update...even several pictures from before my parents went home!  I enjoy being busy, but it sure makes the days fly by so fast.  I blink and a day is over.  It will be nice to enjoy some down-time during the next week.  We are so excited that Daddy gets a little bit of time off to spend with us!

Happily Ever After by Gary Chapman - Book Review

All great fairytales start with the line, "Once upon a time..."  In fact, most great fairytales end with the handsome prince falling in love with the beautiful princess...  I mean, who doesn't want their marriage to start out like a fairytale?  We all do!  But just like fairytale storybooks, marriages too, often come to an end and unfortunately for many isn't happily ever after.  In his book, Happily Ever After, Gary Chapman shows us how we can keep our marriages strong and thriving - when it is no longer the fairytale you dreamed.  He demonstrates how to stop following the same old patterns that lead couples down a path of discontent.

Chapters dedicated to solving conflict and constructive negotiation show us how to fight 'the good fight', a chapter dedicated to marriage after children show us how to love one another fully when the dynamics of our marriage changes.  Each chapter includes a section that encourage the reader how to put the principles into practice.

From the author of such great bestellers as the Five Love Languages series and The Seasons of Marriage, Gary Chapman will teach you how to stop arguing and start finding resolution & harmony in marriage so that, like the fairytale --you can find your happily ever after!

Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.

Miracles Are For Real by James Garlow & Keith Wall - Book Review

Do you still believe miracles happen?
Many people believe that God is a distant observer in our lives, hat He doesn't care and no longer intervenes.  In this book, Miracles Are For Real: What Happens When Heaven Touches Earth by James L. Garlow and Keith Wall, the authors set out to prove to you that not only do miracles still happen but miracles still happen today.  Using personal stories to tell their side of miraculous events I experienced goose bumps!  Reading the amazing outcomes of people who have been witness to these experiences let me looking in depth at my own life - to see the many miracles I too have witnessed.  If you are looking for inspiration and answers to some of life's most amazing situations, then you have found the right book.  Instead of writing incidents off as luck and fortune, we can see God's hand in all things wonderful and astonishing.  Dr. Jim Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego and chairman of Renewing American Leadership in conjunction with Keith Wall, magazine editor, script writer and columnist, bring you a book of profound insight that may just inspire you to believe.

Disclaimer:  I was provided this book free of charge by Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Are you interested in reviewing for Bethany House?
Click HERE to learn more about how you can receive free books too!

The Essential Guide to Healing by Bill Johnson & Randy Clark- Bethany Book Review

Randy Clark was in a traumatic accident at the age of 18.  Suffering near-fatal injuries he lay in a hospital bed for several days before experiencing a miraculous recovery.  After being told that he would spend up to 3 months in the hospital - he shocked doctors and nurses by walking out of the hospital after a mere 20 days - completely healed.  Attributing his amazing recovery to God - he immediately went to nearby churches to share his testimony of healing.  Many have written off Clark's recovery as a psychological marvel...but he insists that it is divine.  It is through this miracle that he felt called into starting his own ministry.  As founder of Global Awakening he travels extensively to share his experiences with others who are seeking their own healing.  Together with co-author Bill Johnson, senior Paster of Bethel Church in Redding, CA they are trying to share a step-by-step method on healing for yourself and encouraging others.  The Essential Guide to Healing does as the title says, "Equips all Christians to Pray for the Sick" and would be a great help for those in the ministry (or even those who are not) who are intent on serving others who need to find healing, both spiritual & physical.

Disclaimer:  This book was provided by Chosen Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Worlds Greatest Stories - TOS Review

PhotobucketWe live in a pretty rural area and because of this we often find ourselves spending a lot of time in the car traveling to the grocery store or church.  It takes us about 30 minutes to get to our destination in any direction we travel.  It wasn't until recently, when I was listening to a Christian audio book that I discovered just how much of what I was listening to my kids were understanding!   My kids are 5 and 1.   I honestly thought they were pretty oblivious to what goes on in the front seat.  As we pulled into the drive one day the narrator trailed, "She looked out the window and then..."  beep!  I turned off the car.  From the backseat, Kayley shouted, "and then what!?  and then what happened??"  Since that moment I realized that, not only should I listen to only wholesome music (little ears were listening) - but I could listen to educational audios and my kids would listen to that too!  It is always exciting to get a new audio book to try - but it was really exciting to get a copy of The Worlds Greatest Stories!

What is the Worlds Greatest Stories??
Well!  I am truly enthused about this audio series and I'm glad that I can share it with you!

The World's Greatest Stories are narrated by actor George Sarris.  Putting his heart and soul into this effort, George Sarris puts you in Bible times through his incredible voice work!  His voice acting was incredible and kept us on the edge of our seat!  Sound effects add to the excitement!  We were thrilled to listen to The Prophets Volume 1 - New International Version.  Prophets Volume 1 includes the stories of:

The Blazing Furnace

The Handwriting on the Wall

Daniel in the Lion's Den

Elijah & the Prophets of Baal

The Prophecy of Jonah

All CDs are offered in both the King James Version (KJV) and the New International Version (NIV).  We listened to the NIV but we were also sent a snippets of KJV samples and all I can say is "WOW."  Sarris really brings complex Bible language to life with his voice.   Each CD is about an hour long.  Perfect for us with our 30 minute each way drive!

What we liked about The Worlds Greatest Stories:
-They were very entertaining!
-We learned the Bible stories in a completely "non-boring" way.
-I liked it and will continue listening to it!

What we didn't like about The Worlds Greatest Stories:
-We really enjoyed them, but parts of it can be intense.  Maybe too intense for some of your younger listeners... 

The Worlds Greatest Stories is geared for ages 4-12 - but honestly, it is great for ANY age!  (I love it, and I am WAY above 12).  All CDs retail for only $7.95 each!  There are many different CDs (see below) to choose from (they are also available on cassette tape).  I really enjoyed these and plan to order more! 

To make a purchase, click HERE 
Receive free shipping if you order 6 or more items!!!

To see what my crew mates thought of The Worlds Greatest Stories, click HERE.


I received The World's Greatest Stories free of charge in exchange for an honest review.   
All the opinions expressed herein are my own.

Vintage Remedies - TOS Review

Being married to a doctor has its benefits.  When we get sick or need medical care, we can just drive about a mile to my husbands clinic and be seen right away.  We are on a first name basis with his co-workers and we can even get free "samples" of cold medicine, children's acetaminophen, or some other new drug.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I hate it when I get sick or especially when my kids get sick.  Wouldn't it be great if we could avoid some of the more common ailments?  I guess I always knew that you could...I just didn't want to try to figure it all out.  Thanks to the TOS Crew and a great website called Vintage Remedies, you can take charge of your health and prevent many simple illnesses through natural, whole & healing foods!

PhotobucketWe were so blessed to receive a product to review called Vintage Remedies for Kids!   Recommended for children ages 2-6, this little book by Jessie Hawkins is an entire lifestyle change rolled into one unassuming little package.   Divided into three sections this book focuses on Food & Drink, Health & Wellness and Healthy Lifestyles.  Full of yummy whole food recipes, each chapter offers an opportunity to taste what you've learned.  We had a great time making pizza, smoothies and yogurt pafaits!  We are excited in the near future to make our own butter and cheese!!

A Parents Section in each chapter offers pre-reading for the teacher then a Read To Me section to read with your child.  An Additional Projects section at the end is for further study - including simple activities to enhance learning.  A section called Thinking It Over offers several questions to discuss with your children as you review the reading.  There is also a section called Leading By Example that offers tips to Moms & Dads on how to make the suggestions included into a full life-style change. 

I admit, I was not really prepared for the fact that this book started us on a journey requiring a full lifestyle change.  There are many areas in this book where I was weak and I struggled with teaching some of these concepts to Kayley when I wasn't leading by example.  Change is hard and this book made us take a hard look at some of our not-so-great habits.  It is after much reading and thought that I have decided that we will start over with this book in January and use it to try to make a whole-foods lifestyle change a goal for 2012.

Kayley - reading labels and finding out just how BAD our panty foods were!

What we liked about Vintage Remedies:
-Learning about whole foods is desperately needed in our house!
-This is a great starter book for a family who is very unfamiliar with living a natural lifestyle.
-As we learned about appropriate eating habits, I had automatic "buy-in" from Kayley (especially when it came to eating veggies!)
-The recipes were Awesome!  We can't wait to experiment with making our own butter & cheese!
-The book is really easy to follow and I felt very guided through teaching my daughter about whole foods, even though I am relatively clueless.

What we didn't like about Vintage Remedies:
-Buying many of the suggested items, especially in the recommed organic variety, is just too expensive for us at this time.  I had to make substitutions.
-I live rural.  Many of these products are hard-to-find in my area and honestly, some of them I have never even heard of and I was unclear of what I was looking for.
-I was ill-prepared for the magnitude and commitment that this book required of me (the mom!) so we ended up skipping around a little bit until I feel ready to make a leap of faith in some areas of improvement.

If you are looking to instill a love of whole/raw foods in your young children, complete with the how-what-why...this is the book for you! 

The Vintage Remedies for Kids book is soft-cover, spiral bound, 202 pages.  It retails for $25.00 and can be purchased HERE.

Jessie also makes a series for older kids called Vintage Remedies for Guys and Vintage Remedies for Girls and a ton of other support materials!  Included in our package was a great bonus book for grownups called The Kitchen Herbal!  To learn more about these products, click HERE.

To see what my fellow crewmates thought of Vintage Remedies, click HERE.

I received Vintage Remedies free of charge in exchange for an honest review.   
All the opinions expressed herein are my own.

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