Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Liquid Purex Crystals #Giveaway #PurexCrystals

As a Purex Insider, I received a free bottle of this product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Purex Crystals are awesome. They smell amazing. I have no complaints about Purex Crystals at all, but I was super excited to see new Purex Crystals ScentSplash. This is Purex Crystals in liquid form. It smells just as great! 

You put your laundry in the washer and add this fragrance booster right in with your detergent. It couldn't be any easier to use.

Purex Crystals ScentSplash eliminates laundry odors and leaves your clothes, towels, and linens with a fresh scent. Your clothes will smell great for days. Nothing better than pulling out workout clothes and they have a freshly washed scent. So much better than the "just left the gym" smell!

Purex Crystals ScentSplash can be used with any detergent. This in-wash fragrance booster is now available in stores. It comes in Fresh Spring Waters, Fresh Lavender, and Fresh Mountain Breeze scents. I want you to try it too so I've got 3 coupons to giveaway! 3 winners will be selected to receive one coupon each good for a free bottle of Purex Crystals ScentSplash. Enter for your chance to win via the easy Giveaway Tools widget. 

Planning for the Planner Who Loves to Plan

{Contains aff links.}

I love to plan. It makes my little planner's heart so happy to write things down and check them off. I write down and have a plan for bills, meals, grocery lists, homeschool goals, my husband's work schedule, my own work schedule, church activities, etc. etc. etc. I really could go on and on. I use 2 things to keep our lives "in order". My first and favoritest thing is My Well Planned Day planner. The second is a GIANT whiteboard in our kitchen. I also have some calendars around the house but the 2 biggies are the planner and the whiteboard.

I add colorful tabs to mine!

My Well Planned Day holds most of the things I listed above. I plan out our school year way in advance. In fact I've already got my 2015-2016 planner, and I've started the basic outline of our school year in it. I use pencil because things change, and I like the ability to erase. Today is the very last day for you to get 20% off your own Well Planned Day planner. If you are a homeschool parent, I encourage you to take a look at the Well Planned Day and the other products offered by HEDUA.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Genesis 2: 2-3  By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

When our kids were little, Sundays always included a nap. We'd go to church, have a nice lunch, and then tuck them in for their afternoon nap. During the time they were both asleep, Hubby & I would nap or watch football or some other relaxing activity. Then we'd go to a night service or just enjoy an evening at home with the kids. Even when Apple grew out of the nap stage, we'd have her lay down for quiet time while Speedy took his nap. Somehow we've moved away from that. Speedy outgrew naps and we started going to a different church so our Sunday routine changed. Now Hubby works some Sundays, and Sunday has become a day to go to church and then come home and catch up on everything that needs to be done. 

A couple of things have happened recently to make me ponder our Sundays. First, a very wise friend told me she's using Sundays to rest. I'm positive this friend has plenty of housework and kid stuff she coul be doing on Sundays but instead she's following the Biblical principle of rest. Second, I realized just how tired I've been, and I told you all about it. 

When you work at home, home is not a particularly restful place. It's hard to sit and relax when there is a pile of laundry to be done, a sink of dishes, a pile of work, a list of reviews to do, and a pile of homeschool things that need attention. There's always a list of errands to run, a grocery list, a meal to be made, and on and on. I've felt a lot of stress lately over my never ending to do list. Even when we were out of town I felt the stress of the things I was NOT doing while I was gone. 

When I started praying about it, I remembered my friend's statement about rest on Sundays. I remembered that God gave us the example for a day of rest. I remembered all the Sundays we spent resting. I decided to give my Sundays back to the Lord. We will worship on Sunday morning and rest on Sunday afternoon and evening. My husband is very supportive of this plan. Even though he works some Sundays, he knows I need rest and he is much better at resting on his days off than I am. 

Today we picked up some foods that didn't require much prep for lunch and dinner. We had a nice lunch, and I sent the kids to rest while I laid on the couch. Now you know when we strive to follow a Biblical principle, we are met with resistance. My resistance today included the phone ringing many, many, many times and neighborhood children knocking on our door many, many, many times. I will not give up! I intend to continue to rest on Sundays. Hopefully we will work out the kinks and get better at it. I'm praying that it will translate into more peace during the week for us. Being busy all day every day certainly hasn't been working. 

Do you take a day of rest on Sunday? I'd love any tips you have to share!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

What I've Learned About Homeschool Conventions

{Contains affiliate links.}

Or I could have titled this post: When the Internet Makes You Forget Common Sense.

I was all hyped up for TTD Nashville. I wanted to be ready. I had no idea what to expect at a homeschool convention. I've drooled over the idea of TTD for 2 years, but I was at a loss as to what to pack, plan, wear, bring, etc. So I took to the internet in search of information. The TTD website provided a tentative schedule well ahead of time. A TTD Facebook group talked hotels, Opryland features and costs, special meal prices, and more. A few blog searches provided posts of what to bring to convention. This is about the time I lost my mind.

*Idea: You must bring a bag or rolling suitcase or shopping cart to convention. My own personal truth: I brought my largest 31 tote. It holds a lot. It is hard to carry through a crowd and up an escalator, and into tiny exhibit hall vendor booths. What I should have brought: The free tote bag they gave me at check in.

*Idea: You must bring lots of snacks and water bottles. My own personal truth: We aren't snacking people. We didn't have the kids with us (even if we had them they would have been in the children's program and wouldn't have needed our snacks). I lost my mind and brought crackers, peanuts (and then I panicked over possible peanut allergies and put them back in the car the first chance I had), mints, gum, Jolly Ranchers, 2 HUGE reusable water bottles, and who knows what else. I kept all that in my giant 31 bag. Since I didn't have anything else in there. What I should have brought: A giant thermos of coffee. Coffee was available in Opryland but one had to pay a kidney and walk very far to find it. Plastic cups were provided at the water coolers in each room, but I never even got a drink from them so I was just carrying around empty bottles. Lunch. I should have brought lunch. I will bring that up again in another post. We did eat a few Jolly Ranchers and mints. Those would have fit in our pockets.

*Idea: You must bring a sweater because all the rooms are freezing. My own personal truth: I rarely ever freeze. I am generally burning up. Why? Why did I think this would be an exception? I had on long sleeves with a hoodie at the first session. The lady next to me (and the room was packed so I mean RIGHT next to me) and I took turns fanning one another. It was hot in there. Very hot. In every room. I was hot. I never needed a sweater. I needed a tank top. What I should have brought: Cuter, less casual clothes. I was dressed fairly casual both days because we were doing a lot of traveling. The jeans and capris were fine (I thought) but I wish I had taken nicer tops to wear. Cool, short sleeve tops.

*Idea: The exhibit hall is full of vendors and deals and you will buy all your curriculum there. My own personal truth: I had a long list of items I intended to buy at convention. I made a scan of the vendor list but didn't spend any real time looking at the list and making myself a detailed list. As a result the vendor hall was a scary, packed, confusing place for me. I've been in the homeschool and curriculum review game for awhile so I'm fairly familiar with most vendors. I went expecting huge deals and discounts and I only found 1. I could have found 2 but I got sidetracked and overwhelmed and spent more on one item than I should have. It was $5 cheaper one aisle over. I also didn't purchase one item because it wasn't discounted and I knew it was online. When I got home I realized that the s/h charges equaled the discount so I didn't save anything by buying from home. I had a HUGE bag and barely bought anything there. What I should have brought: A clear detailed list with the booth I needed to visit, items to look at or purchase, and prime prices. Also I went with cash because of our budget and several booths would only accept cards. Lesson learned.

*Idea: ?????? My own personal truth: I don't remember seeing anyone talk about shoes. I had this idea of sitting in sessions. Not an idea of walking miles and miles back and forth and here and there and yonder (remember I was searching for coffee). What I should have brought: I changed into sneakers fairly early, but I should have worn them all along or other very comfy shoes. I could have carried many pairs and choices in my giant bag if I'd only thought of it. You're gonna want to wear comfy shoes.

*Idea: Make a list of choices for the speakers you want to see. Pick 2nd and 3rd choices in case your first choice is full. My own personal truth: I printed the first and second schedules that were released on the TTD page and made some notes on a few of the times slots. I had no idea how many sessions would fill up and so I was scared to get stuck on a session plan. Plus I wasn't sure if my husband would want to stay with me or go his own way (things we should have talked about but....ya know). So I had cryptic markings and I never printed the final schedule. We ran sort of willy nilly. I don't really do willy nilly. What I should have done: Made a definite schedule for myself. There were no sessions that were so full that we couldn't get in at all. We almost missed one session that was really important to us because we lost track of what we were doing. In the future I will have a very set schedule and then we can veer from it if necessary.

Doing something for the first time is always a learning experience. I'm sure my second and subsequent times will be learning experiences as well but now I have a better idea of what I want to do for future conventions. I do recommend you search the website, look for Facebook groups or pages, and read blogs (like this one!) about convention suggestions. However, don't go all crazy and forget your personal preferences and be rational about your wants and needs.

Review: Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub Hand Soap #Giveaway

I received this product free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

I love a good hand soap. I'm home most of the time, and I'm constantly washing my hands. It is especially important to me to have a good hand soap in the kitchen. I really want my hands to be clean while I'm cooking and cleaning. Dial has a new Boutique Collection and Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub Hand Soap is the first one I've tried. 

The soap cleans really well with its scrubbing properties but has been super gentle on my hands. The scent is favorable and not overwhelming. My kids and husband have also been using this new soap and are enjoying it as well. It is a thick soap so it isn't disappearing too quickly.

It is available in a couple of other scents. I have a coupon for one free bottle of Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub Hand Soap to give away to one of you! Use the Giveaway Tools widget to enter. This will end very quickly so enter now!

What No One Tells You

I remember all the advice. ALLLLL the unsolicited advice I received while I was pregnant with our oldest. It seemed that everyone I encountered had some opinion on childrearing that they felt compelled to tell me.

*Always keep socks on them even when it's 105 outside

*Never feed them any solids before 6 months old

*Feed them cereal the minute they pop out

*Paci vs. no paci

*Keep it loud when they sleep

*Make it as silent as a tomb when they sleep

*Have another right away

*Never have another, 1 is plenty

You know. You've heard it all too. Now that I have a kid that's a whole decade old (how did that happen??), I reflect on what people never told me. Like that tired would be the norm. Evidently forever. I really thought I'd only be exhausted until I got them to sleep through the night. For a time that was almost true.

It isn't true anymore. I'm exhausted. Everyone I know my age is exhausted. Why didn't anyone tell us we'd be so tired???

Some are tired because they still have babies waking up during the night. Some are tired because someone in their house is always sick. Some are tired from working swing shifts. Some are tired from working more than 1 job. Some are tired because these short people ask 9 million questions a day and want to be fed continually all day long. All day. Every day.

Do you remember your parents being this tired? I don't but I'm sure they were. I do remember one friend's mom who continually looked a little glassed over. Now I know it's because she was so TIRED.

So if you don't have kids yet or are new to the parent game, let me warn you. You will be exhausted for a loooooooong time. It doesn't matter if you....

*Stay at home or work from home or work outside the home

*Breast feed or bottle feed

*Co-sleep or crib sleep

*Public school or private school or home school

*City or county

*Organic or non-organic

You're going to be tired. There's nothing you can do. It just will be. 1 kid or 19. T-I-R-E-D.

Just thought I'd give you a heads up because no one told me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Brave Girls are Back

I received a copy of each of these books for the purpose of review as a Tommy Mommy. All opinions are my own. 

When I told you all about the book Brave Girls Bible Stories back in October, I told you 2 new Brave Girls devotionals would be available in the spring. Brave Girls Faithful Friends and Brave Girls Better Than Perfect are now available. Each of these devotionals is set up for a 90 day study which is just the right length of time to hold the attention of a young lady. The target age is 7-11.

Apple can always use some faith filled advice on friends. Navigating the waters of girl friendships can be difficult. Faithful Friends has 8 sections of various friendship topics like "God Is My Best Friend" and "Friendship Fixers" Each section is then broken down into days. The days have a Bible verse, a short devotional, and a prayer suggestion. Some also have fun activities like fill in the blank or crossword puzzles.

Better Than Perfect focuses on some important values like truth and faith. It is broken into 6 sections such as "Body Builders" and "Character Quest". The days are broken down similar to the other devotional with a scripture, devotional, and prayer suggestion. Some pages also include places to do fun things like journal or take a quiz.

We use devotionals daily during our school time. I've let Apple scan through these, but I'm going to put them away for her until she's ready for a new devo for schooltime. She's excited to have a new book with the Brave Girls, and I think she will really enjoy both of these. These would make EXCELLENT Easter basket additions and I wish I'd thought to keep them from her for a few more weeks! If you have a girl that would love these, enter my giveaway. One reader will receive a copy of each of these 2 devotionals. Enter via the Giveaway Tools widget. The Brave Girls devotionals are also available in stores.