I've got the kettle on, ya got a minute to visit?

I'm so happy you dropped by! Stay and visit awhile and please leave me a comment- it's so encouraging to hear from you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

7 years of waiting........

and the time has finally come.
I will be distributing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child in Nairobi April 27-May 4.

Friday, October 26, 2012

TOS Review: Beloved Books "The Sugar Creek Gang"

Never have I been more thrilled to participate in a review than I have been with this selection from Beloved Books! Born from a heart to serve up delicious, wholesome, biblical-based entertainment to wanting families, Beloved Books' website is full of tasty audio treats from bible memory to missionary lives to G.A. Henty to anything in between!

For our complete listening pleasure, we received The Sugar Creek Gang, Volume I CDs.  Written by Paul Hutchens in 1939, The Sugar Creek Gang is the tale of a group of boys, all choosing to live their life to glorify God while exploring the world around them.  These stories have it all- action, adventure, science, struggles, nature- and their told with the heart of a ten year old boy, desperate to please the Lord.  There are so many glimpses of grace, forgiveness, conviction, teamwork, trust, faith, and so many more biblical virtues that we, as parents, want to see presented before our children.   Produced by Moody Press, Volume 1 of the Sugar Creek Gang CDs includes 12 CDs with the following stories:
  • The Swamp Robber
  • The Killer Bear
  • The Winter Rescue
  • The Lost Campers
  • Chicago Adventure
  • The Secret Hideout
I have to add a personal testimony here....I recently allowed my children to listen to a questionable story that took us two months to complete.  In retrospect, it was a tough two months for the Cains.  Things were being said that typically would not be said and hearts were hard and ugly to one another.  We received The Sugar Creek Gang just as that story was ending, and as we began to listen, I saw quite the change in our family!  I saw children begin to compromise and be kind to each other again.  I saw consideration and kindness come back to their hearts.  Truly, if you put trash in, you get trash out......For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks!

There are 36 stories in the Sugar Creek Gang series, which is 100 hours of great fun over 72 CDs!  The stories are compiled into 6 volumes, each available for $54.95 from Beloved Books.  If you would like to try a sample first, you can order the first story in the series entitled Swap Robber for $4.95 which includes shipping! WHAT A GREAT STOCKING STUFFER!!

I can nearly PROMISE that you will fall in love with these characters and stories!  My kids beg me to turn them on the second we get in the car and my son has declared this to be the BEST ABSOLUTE BEST thing we have gotten to review yet!  Still yet, if you'd like to see what others on the Crew had to say about it.....

 Click to read Crew Reviews

Disclaimer: As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was given this product in exchange for an objective and honest review.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Hand-made Christmas?

Every year I say that I want to make all of our Christmas presents.  I came pretty close a couple of years ago.  It took a lot of planning and I began way back in September to get everything finished on time- and even then I ended up buying a few gifts.

This year, I am determined that after collection week for Operation Christmas Child- you will most likely find me attached to thread, a needle, or a sewing machine.  Honestly, I'm truly looking forward to it!  I hope that my lack of planning won't hinder any efforts!

Do you like to make Christmas gifts?  What's on your project list this year?  While I can't share specific items (because there are those whom I craft for that read my blog), I can share some great projects I saw on Pinterest!  And also a lovely crafting book!

Fa la la la Felt: 45 Handmade Holiday Decorations

I have maxed my renewals out for this book at the library!  It has the simplest, most awesomely adorable projects for the holidays! You can find it over at Amazon.

Wow! Turn handwritten recipes (your mom's handwriting? your grandma's?) into tea towels for your kitchen! WHAT A GREAT GIFT IDEA!

Actually found this on Pinterest, but it lives over at a blog called Spoonflower.  The guest author, Emma, leads you through how to make a kitchen towel out of a hand-written recipe! LOVE this!  Who doesn't have an old recipe in their grandmother's handwriting that they wouldn't love to see more often?

Pinned Image

Um, y'all know I love tea, right?! Is this not the cutest thing ever?  Also found it on Pinterest, but I can't find where it lives or any instructions- so would seriously need to wing it.....but it's totally do-able!

And I'll leave you with this super sweet wrapping idea......

I am love LOVE LOVING this blog, Vintage with Laces.  To any of you who may know me, go check it out and you'll see why.  Stunning, positively stunning!

Ok, now you have to share your inspiration with me, Dears! Come, motivate me!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

TOS Review: Dayspring's The Pilgrim Story

Recently we were offered a six month subscription to an online curriculum from Dayspring Christian Academy.  Ususally, honestly, I tend to cringe a smidge when it comes to online curriculum; however, after investigating (and the time of year it happens to be) I decided it might be good for us to give it a shot.

After all, I like a well rounded portfolio of reviews for you folks.  ;o)

I am so glad I did!  The Pilgrim Story, based on the Principle Approach which holds to a biblically providential view of history, is very well done and is visually striking!  Information is disseminated by way of a slide show.  There are many resources available for downloading and printing to go along with each lesson. My 5th grader thoroughly enjoyed the presentations and also enjoyed the activities that accompanied them.  I enjoyed the introduction which provided me with more than enough to feel like I had my legs under me and could jump on in. Here is the course content:

Pilgrims Story - Introduction

Unit One
*King Henry
*Geneva Bible
*Life in Scrooby
*Liberty of Conscience
-- Unit One Test

Unit Two
*Leaving England
*The Second Escape Attempt
*Preparing to Go
--Unit Two Test

Unit Three
*Leaving Leiden
*Conditions on the Mayflower
*Building Christian Character
--Unit Three Test

Unit Four
*The Mayflower Compact
*The First Winter
--Unit Four Test

Unit Five
*Spring, 1621
*The Wampanoag People
*The Rest of the Story (the next three years) --Unit Five Test

Virtual Field Trip
The cost for this program is $99 - less than $17 per month- which will open the website to you for six months. A beauty of this program is that you can move at your own pace- but more so is the fact that our heritage is represented as God centered.  We are truly enjoying this great opportunity.  My kids like to sit at the table with my laptop and the binders I made them and I think they would listen for hours if I let them!

I will say that there is one negative that I have found with the program.  Downloading.  It literally took me three hours to down load each lessons individual activity sheets and get them in binders.  You must open each lesson, then choose the file to download, and save it.  TAKES.  FOREVER.  I would think a more efficient way would be to have a single file that parents could download where they could print everything they wanted at one time.  I have  issue with online programs that are pricey and you still must pay to print- I'm cheap that way- and I suppose you could call that a second negative.

Having said that, I still think the information and design is fabulous!  And if you'd like to check out what others had to say....

Click to read Crew Reviews

Disclaimer:  I was given a six month subscription to this curriculum as part of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for an honest and objective review.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

TOS Review:Zoowhiz

Is it bad if you, the parent, have just as much fun playing your 8 year old's educational games as he does?

We recently had the opportunity to review an online learning game called Zoowhiz.  Zoowhiz challenges kids in the areas of math, reading, word skills, punctuation and grammar.  It is intended for children ages 5-15.  The premise is that your little zoologist accomplish some learning, thereby earning, and is able to purchase animals in a shop in the Biodome.  This is an awesome incentive, in my opinion, because as your child earns the coins to purchase the animal he desires, he also has the opportunity to learn about that animal's habitat, diet, whether or not it is threatened, and lots of general information about the creature.

Parents and students are able to keep track of how they're doing via  a progress chart.....

and kids can even pick a zoologist to play as!

 A great feature to note is that you can edit your child's profile from the parent page.  This is AWESOME because I needed to change Ben's age floor.  That little guy is a smarty and aged activities are generally a little behind for him.  This thrilled him, and me, because he didn't have to trudge along through what he calls "a baby game"- he was challenged and engaged!  Here are a few examples of the activities.

I haven't even shared the best part with you yet!  Would you believe me if I told you it is only $14.95?  No, silly- not per month!  PER YEAR!!!  You just can't beat that!  Oh, and they have Australian accents- that was pretty cool, too! ;o)

So hop on over and give Zoowhiz a shot! There's a free version just waiting for you!  Your little ones will be thrilled!  If you'd like to check out more reviews.......

 Click to read Crew Reviews
Disclaimer:  As part of The OldSchoolhouse Review Crew, my family was given an account to Zoowhiz in exchange for an honest and objective review.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Score One For the Parents

I love my children with a fierce, true, passionate love.

I needed to start by saying that.

Yesterday morning when I woke up, my day began unraveling the moment my feet hit the floor.  Abby woke up in INTENSE pain from a malfunction with the braces, Tolley the cat needed to be dropped off to be declawed (another story in itself!) by a certain time, I had to post a review and be at tennis.....and all of this had to happen in an hour and a half.

Did I mention tennis is 30 minutes away?

I kissed Andy and sent him on his way to work in a haste because he was late for a meeting.  I called the orthodontist and wrestled kitty-soon-to-be-soft-paws into her carrier and headed to the bedroom to get dressed. (Thank goodness I had already made myself a cup of coffee!)

In came Andy!

"My truck is broke!  The key won't go in or turn anything!"

SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECH!  I could smell the burnt tires of my daycome to a grinding halt.  Where DID that cup of coffee go?????????

Long story short......Ben had played in the driver seat, locked up the steering wheel, and snapped a switch rod in the steering column.  Don't worry, he's still alive.

Andy had to take the day off, find a lock and key guy, and pay $450 to have it fixed.

Still alive- stop sweating.

We decided NOT to punish Ben in the heat of the moment because this was too big. This was a "Pray and get our wits about us" offense.  Andy truly won my heart (for the 4,357,291st time).  He had us all meet at the table.  He drew a picture of the parts in the steering wheel and explained to Ben what his careless playing had done. He told him how much it cost to fix it and, to make sure he understood the amount, compared it to the recent trip he had taken the kids on to Wendy's. "25 trips to Wendy's, Ben." Ben's eyes, already quite large, looked like the Harvest Moon!

Now please understand, this was not a planned expense for us and we are actually covering it with money set aside to pay towards Abby's braces.  This, infact, is a hardship for us.

SO I look at it like this......we could have spanked Ben, thrown him in his room, grounded him for life and sold all of his toys to help cover the cost.........or........we could teach him about consequences, hardship, grace, and ultimately forgiveness. Not to mention a lesson on how much his Momma and Daddy love him, no matter what he may do.

But don't get me wrong.........he's gonna be cleaning kitty boxes from now til he's 30!

Monday, October 8, 2012

TOS Review: Beeyoutiful Skin Make-up

Beeyoutiful is a company that I have had the pleasure of reviewing for in the past, but today I'd like to introduce you to their Mineral Makeup line that is made of 100% pure minerals, is all natural and gluten free. As part of this review, I received 1 Mineral Foundation, 1 Foundation brush, 1 Eye and/or Lip Color, 1 Combo brush and 1 DVD.

Beeyoutiful Skin make-up is pure, natural, and gluten free. It's free of fillers, preservatives, fragrance, and chemicals as binders. Their mineral powders are made from crushed minerals extracted from the earth's surface which are safe to use on skin, even the most sensitive skin. The entire makeup line is all-powder to keep it in its pure and natural state.

Speaking of sensitive skin- boy does this girl have it!  I've always taken advantage of the great skin God has blessed me with......and now I'm paying for it!  The older I get the more persnickety my largest organ gets!  I was thrilled the first time I applied the foundation!  Why, you ask?

Weightless.  Flawless.  It was fabulous!  Only possibly to be topped by the ultra luxurious application brush!  Oh, and another thing!  I am fair skinned- I'm talkin' Snow White after a summer spent indoors!  And would you believe they actually had a foundation color to match my skin perfectly?!  All foundations are $25.00 each for 3.65 grams.  The Foundation Brush is $11.

The eye-shadow color I chose was Moss and let me tell you, it is shimmery and sassy!  It covers so nicely and the small container goes a long way!  The application brush was also nice in that it is flat and not bushy and one end is short and angled so that you use it for lips or to line your eyes.  All eye colors are $10.00 each and the Multi-Purpose Brush is $6.50.

The second color I chose was Cinnamon Rose and- believe it or not- I used it on my lips!  I wasn't too sure about trying this but I applied some lip balm, brushed it on, and loved it!  It was very subtle and not flashy.  It wins major points for the men in your life who do not like to be left with "kissy lips" after a smooch! (Like my hubs!)

Itell you, the more I see of this company, the more I am impressed by them!  But if you'd like to see what otherreviewers thought...
Click to read Crew Reviews

Disclaimer:  As a part of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was given the above products in exchange for an honest and objective review.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Asking for help is hard.

I just sent out an email to most of the ladies I do life with- asking for help.  Why is asking for help so hard?  It's nearly painful.  I feel like I'm imposing, bothering, nagging- just asking for help.

I need to help my momma move from Gulfport,MS to Burlington,VT.  I'm the only person in our family with a flexible schedule.  With no family in town- I am hard-pressed to find help with the kiddos.  Andy has some time he can take off- but not 7 days!

I think about my friends and how I love being asked for help.  And I wonder why it is so doggone hard to ask for help.

If you need help with your lovelies.....please call me!  Just not the first week of November.