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Monday, November 19, 2012

The 13th Day of Christmas {Giveaway}


It is unreal that Christmas is so close already.  Just today I was out shopping and the elevator-y Christmas music is playing, holiday decorations are in force, and Christmas shopping is in full swing.  This Friday and Saturday will see a huge boom in sales due to Black Friday and Cyber Saturday.  I used to go shopping on these days every year but as I've gotten older I find that it really detracts from the spirit of the season and it ends up, largely, being a big hassle.  I have been contemplating a lot lately about Christmas and wanting my children to grow up to see it as non-commercially as possible and finding family traditions that involve more giving and less getting.  It is a wonderful opportunity this time of year to serve others and give, give away...

This last month I had a fabulous opportunity to read a book that will become an annual Christmas Tradition at our house!  The 13th Day of Christmas by Jason F. Wright.


I know, I bet you are wondering if you are remembering the song correctly?  You are!  In this new book from the author of The Christmas Jar and The Wednesday Letters comes a story about hope, friendship and the true meaning of Christmas.   This book tells the story of a young girl named Charlee and the unlikely friendship she develops with an elderly lady named Marva.  Charlee and Marva become kindred spirits as together they conquer loneliness, find beauty in their surroundings and joy in serving one anotherMarva teaches Charlee about the 13th Day of Christmas!

This was a wonderful read but -- be warned -- I needed a tissue!  This hardback book is the perfect size for a stocking stuffer, hint-hint.  It would make a great gift for someone this Christmas!

Now, I have 2 really cool things for you!  First of all, I had an opportunity to interview Jason Wright...  I asked him a couple of questions.  I wanted to know what inspired him to write and if his books were based on true stories.  Enjoy the video to discover the answers these questions and more!  Thanks SO much to Jason Wright for stopping by my blog! 


Now, secondly, I have an opportunity to giveaway a copy of The 13th Day of Christmas to a lucky reader!  Enter via the Rafflecopter form below!  Giveaway ends Wednesday, November 28th at midnight CST.  Good luck!


The 13th Day of Christmas currently retails for $16.19 on DeseretBook.com.

 Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.  Thank you Deseret Book and author Jason F. Wright!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Farm Rich Products {Giveaway!}

 
MMMMM!  I'm always excited for an opportunity to try a new product.  I was especially excited for an opportunity to try a product that involved FOOD!  Thanks so much to Farm Rich I received coupons to try out 2 products free!  I'm super excited to share my thoughts and, even better, I get to share and giveaway 2 coupons to a lucky reader so YOU can try a couple of Farm Rich products too!


First, we tried out Mozzerella Bites...  Let me tell you, these were a BIG hit.  We ate these over the course of several lunches.  They are really easy to fix and make a great snack!  Just pop them in the oven and 10-15 minutes later they are done!  YUMMO!

You can serve them with marina sauce although we thought they were great without any dip at all.  My girls loved them and are still asking for them even though we ran out...  You can bet I will be adding these to my grocery list!

We also tried out the Turkey meatballs!  Another easy fix...I popped these in the crockpot and dumped some BBQ sauce and slow cooked them for about 4 hours...they were super good and girls gobbled them right up!  I am glad I have some left in the freezer because they will be awesome with spaghetti!

We found our Farm Rich products at our local Hyvee.  Don't have a Hyvee?  No problem, you can check out the product finder to see where to find Farm Rich products in your area.

Would you like to try some Farm Rich products yourself?  You can enter my giveaway!  I'm offering a reader 2 Farm Rich coupons each up to a $6.99 value!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer:  I received Farm Rich coupons free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Growing Up Wild - Schoolhouse Crew Review

Have you ever considered serving as a missionary in a foreign land?   There are many people in the world who live their entire lives never hearing God's word.  These people cannot hear about Jesus Christ without a teacher and they can't read the Scriptures until they have it translated into their own language.  It is this need that became the driving force behind the Wild Family's desire to serve a mission to the Wano people of Papua, New Guinea in Indonesia.   Thanks to an opportunity through the Schoolhouse Review Crew and Growing Up Wild we were able to witness this missionary work first hand!


Deep in the jungles of New Guinea, The Wild Family has been living and serving the Wano people for several years.  Their main goals to, first - create an alphabet, teach the Wano to read and write, share God's word and translate the Bible.  These ambitious goals are quickly coming to fruition and thanks to the creative talent of the Wild family Mom and Dad, what started as a hobby, quickly became remarkable videos that give you an awe-inspiring inside look into missionary work, Bibleless peoples, and living in a remote jungle!

There are 6 members of the Wild Family, Mom & Dad and 4 brothers, Morgan, Hudson, Kian, and Asher.  We can't forget Phineas the cat or Kopi the dog!  Together the family live in a traditional style Wano house with a few neat exceptions.  They have cleverly installed their own "running water" which allows them to wash clothes, do dishes and even have flushing toilets!  They also have solar panels which provides them with electricity so they have lights, refrigerators and a telephone. 
The Wilds spend their days with the native people, working alongside them, teaching them, and learning from them.  Recommended for children age 5-12, the videos give you a close-up view of what life is like serving a remote mission and hopefully encouraging children to become future missionaries one day.

We received Growing Up Wild Volume 1 and Volume 4.  Each DVD has 3 episodes.


Growing Up Wild Volume 1 includes:
Home Sweet Hut - an inside tour of the Wild home.
Supply Trip - how they shop, transport and store their food and other essentials.
Sun & Water - solar panels and using gravity to provide running water in their home.
Each individual episode is about 15 minutes in length for a total running time:  43:31

Volume 1 retails for $18.99 plus tax & shipping.




Growing Up Wild Volume 4 includes:
Amazing World Around Us - learn about the animals, bugs and other creepy crawlies in Papua
Adventures in Culture - discuss similarities and differences between us and Wano people.
Tribal Calling - discover how the Wild family knew that their calling was a tribal calling.
Total Running Time:  46:00

Growing Up Wild Volume 4 retails for 18.99 plus shipping and tax.

A wonderful activity guide is included for EACH episode so each Volume includes 2 discs.  One for the DVD player and one for your computer to download learning guides.  You can view a sample of the activity guide here.


The entire 5 DVD Series can be purchased at a 15% discount for $80.99 + Shipping & Handling.  You can find this special deal in the Growing Up Wild store.


How we used Growing Up Wild and What Did We Think:
I had great plans for using this DVD series.  I was excited for a "missionary curriculum" and had great plans to watch an episode and then work through the activities in the guide...   Yeah right!  Ok, so once we turned on the videos we were completely hooked.  We sat down and watched ALL 6 episodes in a single sitting!  They were amazing, inspiring, and amazing...and did I already say inspiring?  The first thing that popped out of Kayley's (age 6) mouth was "MOM!  Can we have a house like that?"  And honestly, the first thought that popped into my mind was "Sure!"  I have never given much thought to serving a mission but, wow...I really want to now!

After watching all 6 episodes we turned around and began watching them again, one at a time...working through the activities in the guide.  Love it! 
My favorite part?
In the last couple minutes of each episode the narrator, (usually Mom), says, "At the end of the day..."  At the end of the day she ties the episode together by speaking to the heart.  She shares Gods love, wonder and provision and the blessings that stem from selfless service to Bibleless peoples.  It is eye-opening and motivating. 

Growing Up Wild offers an amazing video series that you will love!  I know many of my crewmates really enjoyed the videos too!  To find out what they thought and read their reviews, follow the link below.
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Disclaimer:  We received Growing Up Wild free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

With the Children on Sundays - Schoolhouse Crew Review


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In 1994 Dennis and Naomi Gunderson, along with their four boys started a small company distributing character building Christian books from the 1800s.  Little did they know that their small company would become one of the largest publishers and distributors of these types of materials!  Thanks to the Schoolhouse Review Crew and Grace & Truth Books I had an opportunity to use a rare book called With the Children on Sundays by Sylvanus Stall.


With the Children on Sundays: Through the Eye-Gate and Ear-Gate and Into the City of Child-Soul  was originally published in 1893 and considered one of the greatest family worship books ever written.  This book has been out of print for decades and is currently only being published by Grace & Truth Books! 

What's Inside?
The book itself is an over-sized paperback measuring approximately 7" by 10."  The cover is a facsimile of its original cover.  The book contains 330 pages, 52 chapters, each including cute illustrations and pictures.   Although written as a Sunday devotional, the readings in this book could be used any day of the week.  Stall has taken critical Bible principles and created wonderful stories that touch your heart and encourage your imagination.

How to use this book:
The book is designed to be read to the children on Sundays.  Stall understood that, for many little children, Sunday was the worst day of the week.  A quiet, somber day to be dreaded versus a wonderful day to celebrate the Lord.  He wanted to change this attitude among families so he created the book With the Children on Sundays to offer parents a valuable tool to make Sunday one of the best days of the week.

First, to do this, he recommends that the children "play church."  A wonderful idea!  Using role-play have your children re-create church at home.  (Of course this is not a substitute for actually going to church, this role-playing game is in addition to your regular church attendance).    Quite literally create your "car."  Let your kids "drive" you to church.  Upon arrival set up chairs just like your church.  Have your kids bring all their "friends", stuffed animals, dolls, etc.  Give your children an opportunity to preach the sermon or teach Sunday school, pass the offering tray, sing hymns, greet you at the door, lead everyone in prayer and so forth.

Next, Stall offers the suggestion that each little story in the 52 chapters (notice that it corresponds with every week of the year) could be used by one of the children or parents to teach the "sermon" or lesson.  The stories are adorable allegories of Biblical principles!  For example, chapter 1 tells the story of the Oyster & the Crab and the principle of "how to keep a good conscience."  At the beginning of each chapter Stall offers suggestions to the parent to increase tactile learning, like in this instance, acquiring a few oyster shells would enhance the lesson by giving the children an object to observe. 

The end of each chapter offers several questions to generate a discussion.  This correlates the story with the topic and brings understanding to what was just read.  This section also gives you a peek into the next week and reminds you of what to find for your object lesson for the next sermon.

Stall also shares other ideas for making the most of your Sabbath.  After "church" offer a light snack, cut pictures out of magazines to create scrap books or posters to use in your next lesson, role play Bible stories, color pictures, word games and Bible drills.  In fact the book includes 2 pages of Bible Questions and Answers! 

Another nice feature about the book is the pictures.  The illustrations are the pen & ink type typical of vintage books.  They make great coloring pages!

While we did not actually "play church" every Sunday, the readings have served as fabulous lessons for our once-a-week family night!  It is a great book full of wonderful stories with character-filled object lessons.

Purchase Info:
With the Children on Sundays retails for $17.50 and would make a wonderful addition to any family library!

I also want to mention, Grace & Truth Books has a pretty amazing website.  They have so many amazing books that are rare and hard-to-find.  Each time I got on their webpage to begin writing my review I became distracted - shopping!  Their website is definitely worth browsing!  They offer free shipping on U.S. orders over $49.00.  Find them at http://www.graceandtruthbooks.com/

Many of my fellow crew mates reviewed different books from Grace & Truth Books, to read their reviews follow the linky below...
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Disclaimer:  I received With the Children on Sundays from Grace and Truth Books free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Halloween

We had a great time at Halloween this year!  We did a little bit of trick-or-treating and went to the Spooktacular at the Zoo which was FABULOUS this year!  Enjoy the pics.

 

Maggie was REALLY excited to be at the zoo.  
It was a bonus that she LOVES an opportunity to ride in the wagon.









Another butterfly!
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