Monday, January 17, 2011

Menu Planning Monday January 17, 2011 (meatballs, chicken cacciatore, pizza)

Whoa... it's been a long time since I've done this! I can tell, too, by how long it was taking me to decide what to cook tonight ;)

So, here we go~ This is my "Workweek" menu~ Not sure what the weekend will bring~ :)
Oh, and I think I"m going to try to figure out how to create a page with recipes, but in the meantime, if there are any that you'd like to see, comment, and I'll type it up here... :)

Monday~ Turkey Meatballs, Buttered Pasta, and Steamed Broccoli with sauteed onions
Turkey MeatballsTurkey Meatballs
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 egg beaten with a fork
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper

OXO Small Cookie Scoop1. Preheat Oven to 375 degrees F
2. Mix all ingredients together
3. Form meatballs by hand, OR use a handy/dandy cookie scoop! This time I used the little one I received for review from CSN Stores before Christmas. I like the smaller size(looks like more on the plate, you know... ;) ), and I LOVE keeping my hands relatively clean! :D (Works great for cookies, muffins and little ice cream portions, too!)
4. Cook for about 20 minutes, till browned.

Tuesday~ Grilled Pork Chops, Wild Rice/Lentil mixes from Trader Joes, Carrot Pennies, and Apple Sauce on the side

Wednesday~ Rolled Chicken Cacciatore (I haven't made this since we've had kids, I think... YUM!)  and Salad

Thursday~ Potentially a "Leftover Soup" with Beer Bread Toast. :)

Friday~ Pizza(Also likely a "Left-over" variety.... love those!)

Have a Fabulous week!

Friday, January 7, 2011

12 Days of Christmas~ all unwrapped......

In honor or Epiphany I thought I would share a little bit about how the 12 Days of Christmas look at our house. Initially the thought of 12 days of presents may seem like a lot to some, but since we don't purchase books on a whim, and save some clothing and personal care purchases for Christmas presents, it really isn't as crazy as it might seem. 

My favorite thing is that the kids actually enjoy and appreciate each thing they open, as they focus on that one gift per day. No crazy wrapping paper flurry (I know... some people love it, but I hate it), and no let-down the day after Christmas... plus, they exhibit gratefulness for each present, whether large or small.

Tonight, (Epihany is also our wedding anniversary, another reason we like the 12 Days of Christmas...) we opened our last gifts under the tree. We will enjoy the lights for a another couple of weeks, and then we'll finally take the Christmas Decorations down. 

I thought it might be fun to share what everyone opened this year. I will mention that I don't think that I paid list price for hardly anything (In case there are frugal shoppers out there... is a great place to look for coupon codes when shopping online, and Amazon had some great deals!). In addition to the retailmenot coupons, I also used gift cards that were "Free with purchase" earlier in the year, and membership discounts from bookstores and book clubs. I may post again, with some of our "hits" and more details, but for now... without further ado, here is what our 12 Days of Christmas looked like from a concrete perspective:
Christmas Day~ Stocking and Quilling Books, supplies, carrying bag and cutting mat
1st Day~ 1 small mermaid set Playmobil from Middlest
2nd Day~ Heart Charm~ traditional gift from Daddy~
3rd Day~ Littlest Pet Shop from Youngest
4th Day~ Penguin Pin
5th Day~ Lemon Vanilla B&BW shower gel and body cream
6th Day~ Glow in the Dark "Aura" Thinking Putty
7th Day~ Mattimeo book by Brian Jacques from Middlest
8th Day~ Black long sleeve T-shirt and knee socks
9th Day~ Pajamas
10th Day~ Hallmark Ornament (13th in the series "A Pony for Christmas")
11th Day~ Thomas Kinkaid puzzle
12th Day~ Susan Cooper's "The Dark Is Rising Series" in one volume

Christmas Day~ Stocking and Skateboard Ramp and Element Hat
1st Day~ 2 small Playmobil "Wolf Knight" sets from Eldest
2nd Day~ Tech-Deck set with 2 boards & DVD
3rd Day~ Medium Playmobil set~Skateboarder/Biker/Rollerblader from Littlest
4th Day~ Detective's Handbook
5th Day~ Ryan Sheckler Warehouse Tech-deck Set
6th Day~ Hypercolors "Chameleon" Thinking Putty
7th Day~ Collapsible Axe (For camping) :)
8th Day~ "The Art of the Catapult"
9th Day~ Camping tool(Compass/shovel/pick/axe/saw) and Camping book
10th Day~ Hallmark Ornament (10th in the series "Snowball and Tuxedo")
11th Day~ Guitar Praise
12th Day~ Lego Contraptions Book

Christmas Day~ Stocking and Viewfinder/Binoculars
1st Day~ Thomas the Tank Engine Turntable/Percy and Gordon
2nd Day~ Melissa and Doug Wooden Cookie Playset from Eldest
3rd Day~ Littlest Pet shop set (8 animals)
4th Day~ Little wooden "Quack-Quack" Call of the Farm Game
5th Day~ Ryan Sheckler Warehouse Tech-deck Set from Middlest
6th Day~ Color-shifting "Scarab" Thinking Putty
7th Day~ Brown Bear-Panda Bear What do you See Board Game
8th Day~ Build-a-Bear Fishing Rod from Middlest
9th Day~ Dinosaur ABC Book
10th Day~ Hallmark Ornament (3rd in the Noel Nutcracker Series)
11th Day~ Carson "Eric Carle Art set" (That I won for free! Love the help with presents!)
12th Day~ Blues Clues Big Musical VHS tape(From his sibs) and a Discovery Store Play tent and Tunnel

Christmas Day~ Stocking and Pretty White shirt
1st Day~ Velvety Black Pants
2nd Day~Calphalon roasting pan
3rd Day~ Teapot from Middlest
4th Day~ $10 GC to Local knitting store from Eldest
5th Day~ Teal Shirt
6th Day~ Opened presents from SIL families
7th Day~ Josh Groban "Illuminations" CD
8th Day~ Turtleneck
9th Day~ Pin (From yard sale.. savvy shopper!) and handmade bracelet from Middlest
10th Day~ Brown Rose Long Sleeve Shirt
11th Day~ Padded Travel Case for my laptop
12th Day~ Pretty Freshwater Pearl/sterling silver necklace

Christmas Day~ Stocking and Digital Video Camera
1st Day~ Adagio Teas
2nd Day~2 Pocket knives... one for work and one for home from Middlest
3rd Day~ Screw-driver set from Middlest
4th Day~Max Lucado Study Bible
5th Day~Turtleneck
6th Day~Opened gifts from his sisters
7th Day~Memory Card for Video Camera
8th Day~ Flannel shirt and T-Shirt
9th Day~ More Adagio Teas
10th Day~ Snare Drum Ornament
11th Day~ Steven Curtis Chapman "Cinderella" CD
12th Day~ Waffle Cone Ice Cream Cups from Eldest

My only pet peeve was the kids' shopping at our local toy store (Learning Express in Salem, NH). Eldest did  a fair amount of online research, and figured out prices, and decided to purchase there. However, AT the store, they had added on what looked like $2 to every Playmobil item. Not a big deal percentage-wise if you're purchasing a larger item, but when it's added to what should be $6, and you have a $10-$12 budget, well.. that stinks! (WOM marketing works both ways.. this time in the negative... :\  Eldest chose to use $ from her savings, but Middlest opted to only purchase one item there, and used the little he had left buy her a book. All in all not a bad plan, but not his original desire.)

So there you have it.... the 12 Days of Christmas, all unwrapped! 

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!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jesus Calling Winner~

Hello, there!

I did my drawing from the 28 qualified entries today. Congratulations to the winner, Our Homeschool Reviews,  with comment # 9, telling me her favorite Bible verse, John 3:16 . Our Homeschool Reviews, I'm sending an email to you~ please reply within 2 days with your mailing address.

Keep your eyes out here for a few more reviews, "Gift List Ideas" for 3, 10, and 13 year olds (As well as a few others thrown in for fun~ and even a few more drawings~


Friday, November 26, 2010

A CSN Stores Review/Giveaway coming up!

Now that Thanksgiving Day is behind us, it is time to focus on Advent and the Joy of Celebrating the Light of the world! I have some plans to share a fun review and giveaway from CSN Stores with you SOON, that may help with the "Joy of Giving" aspect of this season. Keep watching here, to see if I'll be reviewing something from  Sling BackpacksBaking Mats, Building sets, or something else from any one of the 200+  CSN stores.

Hope you all are having a fun Black Friday, or Decorating for Christmas, or just hanging out on your birthday day, like me!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Black Friday Homeschool/Family-Friendly Style (Shop from your seat!)

I thought I would post a bunch of the homeschool related Black Friday sales that are actually current NOW! Hope that they are helpful!  

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine~
By now you probably know that I like this magazine, the support and encouragement received quarterly from the likes of Ruth Beechick. I also appreciate "Chapel" time, as well as the variety of articles included in each magazine. Although I don't spend quite as much time scrutinizing the new product reviews, now that I get some of them to review myself, that was one of my favorite features when I first subscribed to TOS. I like to see what new things the homeschool community is producing (since many of these products are the brainchild of current and/or former homeschoolers).
So... on with the deal~
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is extending an extraordinary subscription offer to homeschool families. U.S. and Canadian residents can receive
  • a one-year print subscription and a
  • FREE Homeschooling with Heat tote bag,
  • FREE Schoolhouse Planner of your choice, and
  • FREE E-Book: Cranberry Christmas for just $19.95.
One-year subscriptions start with the winter issue. It makes a perfect gift for yourself and a friend. There are a limited number of tote bags available from November 24 through midnight on November 29-once they're gone, they're gone! Hurry and grab this tremendous value today! It's over $80 in free gifts--one of them the gorgeous Cranberries & Cream tote bag.
While you are at the store, make sure to check out their Black Friday "Sales" and doorbusters (They will be changing regularly, with savings from 10%-70%). 
  • Lapbooks from "In the Hands of  Child"
  • Language software  from Auralog
  • Books from Creation Ministries International 
  • Draw and Write through History(These look neat!)  
  • and heaps and scads of e-books. 
BTW, if you are wondering about the ebook phenomenon, here is... well.... a free  ebook that will "educate you on the many advantages of E-Books". I'll mention one last great Freebie offered by TOS (There are more...)~ The 176-page 2010 Digital Holiday Supplement It is packed with all new content for 2010 and takes you around the world to explore Christmas in other lands. Inside you'll discover festive ideas, fun crafts, special recipes, and activity pages for your children. Plus, as a special bonus, they've included articles full of homeschooling advice and encouragement from their 2010 Fall Schoolhouse Expo speakers(Linking to the "Expo To Go" page in case you want to check it out)
Plus, one family is going to win a getaway package to Great Wolf Lodge! Join in the savings and fun-- Check it out! 

Currclick Is not offering their amazing Black Friday Freebies as in years past, but they ARE having a "Season of Giving Sale" with items discounted up to 70% off, and 5% of proceeds being donated to World Vision. 

Homeschool Library Builder has all items on their entire site on sale for 25% off through November 30. This is a great place to pick up used books for a variety of curriculum, and you can even search by curriculum.These ladies give great service, and I've been happy with all the books I've purchased from them (And they've saved me a bundle!).

Vision Forum has a sale going on from now through midnight, Saturday, November 27~ mix and match any two items*  and receive a third item of your choice absolutely free!* Your free product can be any item* that is equal to, or less than, the lowest price of your two purchased products. There is no limit to the number of free items you can receive during this mix-and-match sale — every third item is free!*

Salem Ridge Press is offering  a sale through Tuesday, November 30~ Buy 5 books, get the 6th book free as well as free shipping. on orders over $30. They mostly reprint books from the late 1800's to early 1900's, with Philippians 4:8 being the standard they use to choose (And lightly edit) their books. 

Franklin Springs' Black Friday sales start now! For your holiday shopping needs, they are making available a special 35% off coupon code  ALLFILMS35  good toward any purchase at Franklin Springs*. In addition to that they are also offering FREE SHIPPING on orders of $50 or more.* (Note: Our HAH Library owns George Washington Carver and the Stonewall Jackson story)
Timberdoodle has a 5 day sale going on (Ends November 27) with some great deals to be had, and some FUN stocking stuffers! 

Amanda Bennett is offering a  $5 Unit Study Sale (3 different unit studies on sale each day through Friday). I have enjoyed using the units that we have purchased from her, (Today...Thursday, she has the Digital Photography unit that I purchased, and plan to have Oldest use as we go through "School Light" in December)


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Giveaway~ Jesus Calling 365 Devotions for Kids

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have an extra copy of "Jesus Calling 365 Devotions for Kids" that I am going to send, at my expense, to one reader of my blog. (I'm keeping my own copy, though... we are enjoying using it with some modifications)

Entries~ Leave a comment for each one.(US only~ Sorry that I can't send internationally)
(Note~ Comments are being moderated currently due to spam and obnoxious comments~ Thank you for keeping your comments family friendly and "clean")

Mandatory~ Publicly follow my blog, and leave a comment telling me what YOUR favorite "kid-devotional" is that you've used so far, or what you think you will enjoy most about "Jesus Calling". (If you already follow, please note that in your comment)

Extra entries:
  1. Leave a comment telling me where you heard about the giveaway (1 entry)
  2. Follow my homeschool reviews blog,: (1 entry)
  3. Post an extra comment with one of your favorite Bible Verses (Limit one per person)
  4. Post an extra comment completing the phrase "I am thankful for ______"  (limit 2 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.
Entries must be in by10pm EST on Monday, November 29th.
(For more interesting Contests, check out Contesting Monday )


GratiTuesday~ Kids, Savings, and a Book

Oh dear, I am a day late AGAIN!!! But here is my list  for this week! 

  1.  Little boys who say "Thank You!" with great feeling, for even the smallest actions(like covering their chilly toes with a blanket while mostly asleep)
  2. Young ladies who ENJOY peeling potatoes! 
  3. CVS' "Extra Care", and Rite Aid's "Wellness" programs, which help save $ on regular purchases, especially when combined with coupons. 
  4. Tying in with the previous item... sites like which let me sort the sales at drugstores and even some grocery stores by percent saved.... makes it easier to make a "smart" purchase. :) 
  5. Challenging and eye-opening books like Safely Home
Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids By Sarah Young (Review)

    Our school day "Starts" with "Bible Time". I find it rather humorous that my kids get their spelling and sometimes their math done before breakfast, but they consider our devotional time to truly be the start of our day. They have even been known to ask if we were ready to "Start our day yet?" when other things get in the way, like doctor or orthodontist appointments. This is a good thing, I think.

    This year we have been using, among a couple of other items, the book "Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids." It is adapted from the adult version of the book by the same title, written by missionary Sarah Young, based on her written prayer journals through the years.

    Each page is dated, given a topic, with scripture at the beginning and the end of the devotional.(See widget below for a look inside!)

    Powered by Ingram Digital
    • The devotions are written in the "voice" or from the perspective of Jesus, speaking directly to the reader. This is an interesting concept, but one that I found disturbing on a daily basis. I understand the intent, but  I felt that what God may have been saying to someone else isn't necessarily what He would be saying to me or my kids (Certain devotions were too "Specific", and didn't apply to my children or our circumstances....).  I have changed the "voice" to  third person upon some occasions.
    • We also found instances where the scriptures used to back up the devotion were taken out of context, which is not a practice I am fond of. 
    • That being said, we were amazed the number of times that the devotion correlated to the sermon on Sunday, something else that we were reading during our devotion time, or some other thing we had read about or heard that week or even day. 
    • The scriptures are one of our very favorite parts of the day, as I have turned them into "Sword Drills" for my kids... they race to see who can find the reference the fastest. They like the competition, and I like that they are learning to find their way around the Bible quickly and easily.
    • Although not fond of the consistent use of the first person, I have appreciated the commitment to showing my children that God does use His Word to speak to us on a daily basis if we will only hear Him.
    This might be an excellent choice for a family Christmas Gift. I personally would recommend using it as a read-aloud, vs individual devotions, due to some themes that may not apply to every family. (not bad... just not applicable).

    "Jesus Calling" can be purchased from a variety of booksellers, including, Barnes & Nobles, Borders, Family Christian, and others.

    List price is $14.99, but I found most of these booksellers are offering it for an average of 20% off.

    I hope that you enjoyed this review.

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

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    2+2=$10???? (TOS Subscription Special)

    Um.... 2+2=10???? Well, it does if you are interested in a subscription to the  Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and are quick about it! ;) Click on the banner above to go right to the TOS site right away, or continue reading to get the details. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is one of my favorite sources of encouragement~ Articles include the practical ( Ruth Beechick),  the Spiritual (The "Chapel" column), and a variety of different topics in each quarterly magazine. I kind of consider this magazine my answer to the public schools' "Teacher Training" days, and a "Teachers' Lounge".

    Here are the details~

    On Monday, November 15, the price for a one-year U.S. or Canadian print subscription to
    The Old Schoolhouse Magazine® Magazine is $10.

    On Tuesday, November 16, the price goes to $12.

    On Wednesday, November 17, the price is $14.

    Each day we add $2 until Saturday and Sunday, when the price is $20. At midnight PST on Sunday, November 21, the price goes back to its regular level.

    Plus, every 12th customer to purchase a subscription gets a tote bag. (These are really nice! I like the ones I own!)
    Every 14th customer to purchase a subscription gets a copy of the E-Book: The 2010-2011 Schoolhouse Planner.

    Every 16th customer to purchase a subscription gets a $25 gift card to the Totally TOS category in the Schoolhouse Store. This excludes Molly Green and Download N Go™.

    As an added bonus, the highest ticket of the day on Monday, November 15 through Wednesday, November 17, will win a $200 gift card to the Schoolhouse Store. This can be used for any company in the Store,except Download N Go™.

    So, put 2 and 2 together and shop early! The earlier you grab your one-year new or renewing
    subscription, the better the price you'll pay. Plus, you could receive one of the bonus gifts. Or, you might be the highest ticket of the day! Click on the banner below to get started!
    Put 2 and 2 together and save up to 60% on a one-year sub

    If you are eligible for a bonus gift, you will receive an email from a member of the Schoolhouse Store team.


    *Note~ My "Extra-curricular Activities  budget" that pays for Irish Step Dance and Sports Activities appreciates your purchase through my affiliate links.

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Some Potentially Overlooked Good Children's/Young Adult Fiction Reads

    OK, So I haven't made good on my promise to create our own "Top 100 Children's Books" list yet , but We'll be working on it. In the meantime, in honor of "Works For Me Wednesday", here are some books that I pulled out from the library bookshelves for RJP to read in the past few months , that subsequently received good reviews from her...(Although they aren't written for the most part... sorry)
    Project Mulberry  Time Cat: The Remarkable Journeys of Jason and Gareth  Kildee House (The Newbery Honor Roll) Love from Your Friend, Hannah  Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars  Swallows and Amazons (Godine Storyteller)Christopher Mouse: The Tale of a Small Traveler [CHRISTOPHER MOUSE -OS]Christopher Mouse, the Tale of a Small Traveler by William Wise  ~  The story of a mouse who begins his life in the home of a woman who breeds mice for scientific research and pet stores. His adventures range from a pet store to being a pet to running loose at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is probably a great read-aloud for boys or girls aged 7 and on up to "Filler" for your pre-teen/voracious reading teen.

    Hope these work  for you this Wednesday, to give you some new ideas for good wholesome  tween/teen reading... I'll add more as I get to it~


    Note: I used affiliate Amazon images because it was super easy to add the books this way. I appreciate any purchases made through the links, but please note that at least one of the books is not available for purchase... Check out your public LIBRARY! :)

    GratiTuesday, on Wednesday~ Take 10(or more)! Kids/Veterans/Bargains

    I am a grateful person, however, I don't always find time to write a post about it!

    Because  I missed last week, I'll add 10 things I'm grateful for~In no particular order....
    1. Little 3 year-old boys who randomly start singing portions of  "He is Mighty to Save", and "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?" as well as "Jesus Loves Me", and "Jesus Loves the Little Children" 
    2. A sister who "likes" rainy days so she can spend time with her brother (Who would otherwise be outside skateboarding with his friends)
    3. Children who are maturing and "Serving" when asked, even if they don't care for the task, without grumbling! WOW! I've been waiting for this! :) 
    4. Friends who bless us with music that is (mostly) just our cup of tea Wow Hymns
    5. A Cortisone shot that hurt like crazy on Friday, but improved hand mobility by Sunday! (Now praying that it continues to be efficacious for awhile) 
    6. Some "Freebies" offered by giant corporations(Amazon in this case)~ For my kids~ (Veggie Tales Singing Christmas Tree Download) and for me ( Randy Alcorn's "Safely Home" Kindle version downloaded to my itouch) (You might want to pick these up for yourself!)
    7. Experimenting with recipes that turn out yummy! (Apple Pie/Crisp with a Cheesy Brown Rice Crust)
    8. In honor of our Veteran's, I am so thankful for all those who are serving or have served, so that we can be free 
    9. I am thankful for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice
    10. I am thankful for the families of those in the military who sacrifice "life with mommy or daddy" on a daily basis
    11. And an extra... Thankful for those who support and show "kindness" and "respect" to those who protect our nation, and ultimately, our freedom.
    So, there you have it... my  list for this week and last.... :)

    What are YOU Grateful for this week?  If you want a little more inspiration, check out the other posts linked up at Heavenly Homemaker's GratiTuesday .


    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    CSN Stores~ Review~ Finally!

    Remember back in August I mentioned that I was going to get something from CSN Stores to review?? Due to my  computer/camera combo not playing nicely together it has taken me far too long to get this review written. However.... Here is what we chose:

    See these nifty chains! The lovely yellow swing ($27.99)with the coated chains:

    This is GREAT! Not only are the chains "no pinch", due to the rubbery coating, they are long enough that littlest can just about get on by himself. He likes "his" swing, and I'm happy that he isn't sitting on slippery hard plastic any more!(Now I'm not afraid that he'll fall off every time I give him a push, because the swing hugs his bum.) BONUS~ The seat fits mom, dad, our neighbor 'C' (who is much taller than I).. one at a time of course... :)

    Jumping good fun~The other item that we picked up to review was the Crescendo Fitness 36" Mini Jump Trampoline.  (The version we got had a blue cover which is no longer available. However, I expect the black cover to perform the same as the blue... ;) )  The trampoline is a HUGE hit here! This is going to be a super item to have in the house this winter when I need kiddos to burn a little extra energy. $39.95 is a small price to pay for the convenience of expending that energy inside! I also understand that "Rebounding" can greatly benefit your immune system. I plan to look into that more!

    I'm very happy with how sturdy this unit seems to be, and I really like the fact that the legs screw off, so that the whole unit can be stored easily. Littlest has decided that this is his "stage", and he'll happily bounce "around" in circles, changing his expression each time he comes around. VERY fun! Eldest and Middlest enjoy it as well, and if we leave it out,  I frequently find someone SITTING on it, reading a book! (Yes... we are seriously lacking seating in our home!)

    I will say that I was careful to choose items that were listed as in stock and shipping within 3-5 days, and CSN delivered as promised. All in all, I was very happy with the entire process.

    Convenience!Oh, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I was able to add another item to my order that I paid for myself~ A folding chair with attached cooler underneath ($16.99). We haven't had opportunity to use this yet, but expect that it will come in handy as extra seating when Eldest goes Feis'n (Irish Step Dance Competition).

    So there you have it! Stay tuned~  I may have something else interesting coming up from the wealth of products that CSN provides soon! :) 

    Disclosure of Material Connection: CSN Stores provided the Swing and Trampoline free of Charge. I was not required to post or 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."

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    GratiTuesday~ Children , Shoes, and Real Friends

    Continuing to count my blessings(5 at a time)  on GratiTuesday~ because, as I said last week~ His mercies are new every morning~ it is good to acknowledge it... ;)  This week I am thankful for:
    1. Last Gasp of "Summery/Fall" days, filled with sunshine and warmth, and "School" on the front porch, since it's so pleasant outside. 
    2. Brand New hard shoes for our Irish dancer-girl. This is one of those things where I am ever so grateful because this is the first time in 5 years of dance that we've had to pay that Brand New price tag! This ties into my next item~
    3. Children who are growing steadily(hence the need for those clothes and shoes, etc...), and are healthy. 
    4. Children who are learning how to quickly find their way around the Bible. We've incorporated "Sword Drills" into our daily devotions, and it has been so fun to watch them improve in their speed and knowledge.
    5. The Blessings of cyber-friends who join together to make a positive impact on the lives of people that they may have never met "in real life" Read here to get a glimpse into the world of my "Five In a Row" (FIAR) sisters~ I am so grateful to have been a part of this group of ladies, reaching out to touch a hurting family~
    What are YOU grateful for this Tuesday?
    You can reply here, or link up your own post at GratiTuesday~ hosted by Heavenly Homemakers.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Gratituesday~ Because they are new every morning....

    Hey~ This is a new (To me) meme that I thought I might try to take part in on a regular basis... after all, nothing grows a spirit of contentment and peace more than an attitude of gratitude, right?

    So~ Today, I am grateful for many things~ I'll limit myself to 5 per post, some mundane, and some less, so that I actually get the post published! :D
    1. My children~ who while they occasionally drive me nuts, more regularly amaze me with their words and behavior~ I DO love my kids, but I also LIKE my kids! 
    2. My husband~ who is so thoughtful and caring~ who willingly does the dishes every night, and spends time with his kids~ (He likes them too! :) )
    3. For the amazing palette of color that God uses on His creation every Autumn.... from the leaves to the surprise late flowers to the apples of many hues~ often with a brilliant background of bright blue sky~ He is definitely an Artist, who caters to our souls just because He loves us. (No other reason for all that color, right? )
    4. I am grateful for a house with a heating system that works when the chilly breezes blow.
    5. I am grateful for the ability to put tasty, nutritious food on the table to keep my family fed and healthy. 
    So, there you go~ 5 reasons to be grateful this Tuesday~ If you'd like to be inspired by other's please visit Gratituesday.


    Monday, October 18, 2010

    Pork Stoganoff(?) Cranberry Chicken, and Curried Carrot Soup to name a few....

    Monday, Monday! What meals to cook??? Monday, Monday~ Menu Plan Monday, Let's take a look~

    Monday~ a Pork Stroganoff sort of dish that I'm planning to make up to use left-over roast pork, served over egg noodles, with possibly green beans or broccoli on the side(All depends on what comes home from the grocery store!)
    Tuesday~ Stealing the idea from my friend Lori(Thanks for posting  on Menu Plan Monday, early! I needed some "inspiration"!), I'm also going with  No-Bean Chili. I will use basically the same recipe, except that I will add green chiles, 2 cans of hominy, and Worcestershire sauce to the mix. Hmmm.... is this becoming my own recipe? Not sure about that at this point, but should be good. :) (Also thinking of doing it in the crockpot, but we shall see)
    Wednesday~ Chicken Crockpot dish~ probably cranberry-ish (my recipe is fromFix-It and Forget-It Recipes for Entertaining Cookbook   , but it's basically the same as the recipe I linked if you use the "Suggestion" ) and salad.
    Thursday~Curried Carrot Soup (This is similar to the recipe I'll use)with crusty bread~ YUM!
    Friday~ Left-overs or "Left-over Pizza".... something QUICK! I will definitely be using my favorite pizza crust recipe, tho'.

    Whew! Now that I have that written down hopefully my week will go smoothly! :)

    Edit: This just in~ The Chicken will move to Thursday and Wednesday will be Soup Day, with a Broccoli soup utilizing left-over Broccoli from tonight~ LOTS of broccoli! YUM!