Friday, December 17, 2010

New way to donate to the charity of YOUR choice

Hey, friends~

I recently joined a website that allows me to in essence create my own "Foundation" and give to the charity(ies) of my choice. helps individuals to choose their favorite charities, and donate to them online. What's different from writing out a check directly, you might ask?

Well, one thing is is that not only can you donate directly, but you can harness your online purchases to "Give Back" to the organizations of your choice. In addition, everyone who signs up (At the time of this writing), has some "Seed money" in the amount of $5 to give right away... at no cost to yourself.

Oh, and 100% of the money goes directly to your organization(s), not to, which is fully supported by sponsors. And those same sponsors choose organizations to give even more money to, so if you get involved, and become a vocal advocate, you could be responsible for even more money to advance the cause you are interested in.

Here's a good page to tell you how it works, in their words, which are more succinct than mine.

What I can tell you is who I have chosen to support in my foundation.
My first $5 dollars, that were waiting in my account went to Reece's Rainbow, an organization that promotes the international adoption and rescue of children with Down syndrome exclusively.

I have also added Shilys Promise Youth Ranch that helps troubled youth through work and therapy with horses. (Started and owned by a Five In A Row Homeschooling Alumni Family)

And at the moment the third organization that I would like to direct funds to is the Adoption Charity set up by Steven Curtis Chapman and his family, Shaohanna's Hope, Inc. Their mission is to come alongside families who are adopting and help reduce the financial barriers to adoption through adoption assistance grants.

There are so many deserving charities, and in my case, only a limited amount of funds, but this is one small way that my family and I can help to make a difference in someone else's life.

Here's a little more about

Please, in this season of Giving, and remembering the birth of a homeless child, think about checking out and setting up your own, personalized foundation to assist you in donating to the charity (large OR small) of your choice.


Addendum~ I was introduced to by being a member of . One2OneNetwork is running a promotion to bloggers to get the word out about Since I think it is a great idea myself, I am happy to participate.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Skateboarding anyone? (Gift Book Review)

Well, here's not a typical book review for me! My son is very interested in skateboarding, so when American Modern Books asked if I would like to preview/review a copy of photographer Hugh Holland's "locals only" I was very curious.

First a bit about the book~ "locals only"is a 76 page pictorial snapshot of the mid-1970's skateboard "Culture" of southern California. The photos focus on the years 1975-1978. When I read the interview with the author in the front-pages of the book, I learned some things I didn't know... a bit of the "history" of the start of modern skateboarding, before it became "Commercial." Drought, empty drainage bowls and swimming pools were responsible in part for the rise of skateboarding as a sport. My son was familiar with the names Dogtown and Z-Boys, but they were all new to me.

Here's a little more information from the publisher:
by Hugh Holland
edited by Steve Crist

One afternoon in 1975, a young photographer named Hugh Holland drove up Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Los Angeles and encountered skateboarders carving up the drainage ditches along the side of the canyon. Immediately transfixed by their grace and athleticism, he knew he had found an amazing subject. Although not a skateboarder himself, for the next three years Holland never tired of documenting skateboarders surfing the streets of Los Angeles, parts of the San Fernando Valley, Venice Beach, and as far away as San Francisco and Baja California, Mexico.

During the mid-1970s, Southern California was experiencing a serious drought, leaving an abundance of empty swimming pools available for trespassing skateboarders to practice their tricks. From these suburban backyard haunts to the asphalt streets that connected them, this was the place that created the legendary Dogtown and Z-Boys skateboarders. With their requisite bleached blonde hair, tanned bodies, tube socks and Vans, these young outsiders are masterfully captured against a sometimes harsh but always sunny Southern California landscape.

I was surprised when it arrived, in a rather large box. This book is "Coffee-table" style, at 16x12 inches, and 76 pages. Kind of hides my son when he's looking at it! ;)

Now... on to the photos~ My one concern before agreeing to review this book was the appropriateness of the photos for a young skateboarder. The cover is one of my least favorite, as we aren't keen on bikini-clad bodies at our home (My son is inclined to use a sharpie to make it more "suitable" to his frame of mind, but we haven't gone there yet. I'm more inclined to use post-it note style "cover-ups").
 Although there are a few photos that show kids making bad choices (like smoking and trespassing), by and large, I felt it was appropriate to use those photos as a "Conversation" starter, to talk about things like how a few bad choices can color a whole group's image ~ Explanations for why "No Skateboarding" signs are so prevalent.
(click picture to enlarge)Copyright: © 2010 Hugh Holland/Courtesy of 

It's very interesting to see how the photos progress from very informal skating without helmets, pads, or even shoes (!) to wearing more safety gear... another good learning point.

To sum up, if you or someone you love is interested in skateboarding and/or the history of skateboarding, "locals only" would make a pretty cool Christmas gift.  
Skateboards, sweatbands, streetwear and other relics of the '70s are perfectly preserved in Holland's action shots of rail-riding teens." —Time Out New York (review of Hugh Holland's 2006 gallery show)
If you don't care for "Skin" and boys without shirts, then this wouldn't be a good choice... it is VERY Southern CA....

"locals only" lists at $39.95, and can be purchased on, as well as, Barnes & Noble, and many other locations.

I hope you enjoyed this review of a not-so-typical book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. 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 Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Puzzling Good Time~ Review/Gift idea

My family and I were gifted with this Puzzle Book "Bible Jumble for kids" by Tyndale Publishing for the purpose of reviewing it. I have to say that it served up some fun alongside!

Both of my older kids enjoy puzzles, although I'd have to say that RJP (13) enjoys them the most, so we looked forward to the opportunity to check some jumbles out that have a Biblical perspective, instead of just your regular, everyday puzzles. This book is for ages 8 and up,

I have to say that some of the typical jumble puzzles have content that is beyond my children's scope  of interest (large amounts of Pop culture, etc...), so I figured this could be a good alternative. What I didn't reckon on was the amount of material that is beyond my children's current scope of familiarity with the Bible! BTW, I'm taking this as a GOOD thing! Each puzzle includes the Scripture reference for the specific topic or story, which is a great help if it isn't familiar.

There are 6 different Jumble Puzzle variations included~
  • Traditional Jumbles (Find the Mystery Answer)
  • Mystery Person Jumbles (Find the Mystery Person)
  • Jumble Detective (Find the answer to a Mystery Question)
  • Jumble Criss-Cross (Use the answers to fill out a Crossword-style Puzzle)
  • Find the Jumbles (Use the answers to complete a Word-Search Puzzle)
  • Bible Passage Jumbles (Similar in style to a Traditional Jumble, but with the Bible Passage printed on the page, rather than only the reference)

My children have enjoyed using this as a "Keep-busy-but-engaged" item for a few church services when  I felt it was appropriate. It has also been a "Travel" item. When there were some tricky questions, we enjoyed the opportunity to use the puzzles for "Family time" with Mom or Dad helping to look up the answers. I appreciate the ability to have a fun item to pull out for the kids that reinforces and/or teaches Biblical principles and stories. A+ in MY Book!

I have decided that there are three levels of "play" that can occur with these puzzles, making them appropriate for a variety of skill levels.
  • Challenge (Just go to it, without looking at the hints)
  • Clueless (Needs those clues/hints to complete the puzzle)
  • Scrutinize (Making use of the Bible verses for additional research to help answer the questions)

This could be a great gift for the older "puzzling" child or adult. Bible Jumble for Kids can be purchased at the normal online outlets.  List price is $9.99, but you may find it for less at  places like and


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale  Blog Network. 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 Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

CSN GC Winner~

Hello, friends~

Sorry that it took me so long to get this post done.. we've had one small series of crisis after another at our house (Starting with the skunks next to our foundation... stinking up our house like you wouldn't believe!), a boy with a fever, and my only pair of glasses broke last night! But... before we  head off to the optometrist, I figured I should post~ chose number 16  by follower bridgestranslation.
(I've sent you an email~ Please let me know that you received it!)

Congratulations, and thank you all for entering! :)

Review of the cookware coming up, AFTER I get new eyewear and can see to type! :)


Thursday, December 2, 2010

CSN Store Preview~ and Giveaway

I promised to let you know what I was going to review from CSN Stores, and since I put my order in yesterday,  I thought I'd let you know what should be shipping to my house shortly! I'm excited to be trying out some silicon bakeware. I chose this set, Trademark Global Smartware 19 Piece Bakeware Set in Gray, in part because it is made in the USA, which I prefer to trust over "made in China" products. The only silicon products I currently own are some stand-alone muffin cups that I've been using, and have been impressed with. Now I  am looking forward to seeing how the pans and the mat perform. 

I'm also getting a new SMALL cookie scoop! I love my middle and larger-sized scoops, and am interested to see how this OXO grip scoop compares to them. 

Let the Christmas Cookie and Baking season commence!  :)

And now
~~~ The Giveaway~~~
CSN Stores has provided me with a $30 Certificate to give away to one of my readers, just in time to do some Christmas Shopping! (Sorry that this is running too late for Hannukah~ But I hope that my Jewish friends and readers have a wonderful Celebration of Light!)

Mandatory~ (two parts) 
  1. Publicly follow my blog, and leave a comment telling me how you are following, (If you already follow, please note that in your comment)
  2. AND visit CSN Stores , then tell me what you think you might use your $30 for if you win the give-away.  (Leave both comments at the same time, in one comment box)
Extra entries:
  1. Leave a comment telling me where you heard about the giveaway (1 entry)
  2. Follow my homeschool reviews blog, Acorns, or Homeschooling Nuggets of Gold  (1 entry) (if you already follow, please note that in your comment)
  3. Post an extra comment with your favorite Christmas Cookie Recipe (Limit 1 per person)
  4. Post an extra comment telling me who you plan to bake for this December(limit 1 per person)
  5. Post on any non-giveaway post with a "thoughtful" comment  (come back and tell me which post you commented on, so that I can include it in my "random" number draw) (now, wasn't that clear as mud??? ;) (1 entry per comment per post)
  6. Blog about this giveaway  (1 entry) and leave me a comment with the link to your post.
That gives you 7 opportunities to be entered in the draw for this giveaway! Comments will be open for a week + a day.  Entries must be in by10pm EST on Friday, December 10th.
(Here are some of my favorite giveaway site, if you'd like to check out what else is being given away in the Blog-O-Sphere  Contesting Monday, Frugal Living and Having Fun, and Money Saving Mom )

Looking forward to Blessings!

Disclosure: CSN Stores provided me with the opportunity to write this post, and offer a $30 certificate to my readers. I was not required to write any of the above!