And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summertime!!!

Things have been so crazy around here that I haven't posted many personal updates. I have a few minutes in my schedule right now so here goes a long, rambling misc. update. :)

Speedy is officially a Kindergartner! Woohoo! He did so great this past school year. I was impressed that he was able to focus and set still when it was necessary. The last 2 months I did allow him to keep a ball at his desk to squeeze if he was feeling the need to wiggle. He didn't use it much and it wasn't a big distraction so he will keep it next year. He completed Math U See Primer and about 2/3 of Hooked on Phonics K (he already completed HOP PreK). We will try to finish up the HOP K this summer because I want it to stay fresh in his mind. He was just beginning to get the feel of it and I don't want him to lose that. He also did work in handwriting, history, and Bible. Speedy's big plans for the summer include basketball camp, making a rocket with our homeschool group, VBS, swimming, and we are looking into a martial arts type class for him.

Apple is officially a 3rd grader!! So proud of her! She struggled woefully through subtraction and Math U See Beta but this girl can multiply like crazy! She has decided math is her favorite subject since beginning Math U See Gamma. She is a little more than halfway through Gamma and will be working to finish it up over the summer as well as a little extra work on the writing basics. She completed the Little House on the Prairie series and a reading, english, history, and health curriculum along with finishing 2 Bible devotionals and 3 manners books. She is already flying though her summer reading list (Thanks again Tammy!) beginning with The Invention of Hugo Cabret and the first 2 books of the 39 Clues series. Apple is looking forward to basketball camp, VBS, the summer reading program at the local library, music camp, and spending time with her bestie this summer.

It is looking like fall will be a bit different for us this year. As we look forward to beginning a new homeschool year, we will participate in soccer again and Apple will be doing her choir class and possibly an additional choir opportunity. Hubby is looking at some intensive training related to his job this fall and we are all hoping to simply enjoy ourselves.

What are your big summer plans? Are there any great books we should add to Apple's summer reading list? She goes through about a book a day so we always need to have plenty lined up!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Finally an Instruction Manual....

Actually Dave Stone is very clear at the beginning of Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord that it is not an instruction manual. Your only instruction manual for raising your kids is the B-I-B-L-E. However Mr. Stone does a fabulous job of reaffirming us Christian parents and giving us practical guidance as we steer our little ones to following the Lord. His advice goes all the way up to grown up children so no matter what the age of your offspring, this book is for you!

I love the advice in this small book. He speaks directly to moms and directly to dads and to both together. His essential advice is the essential key: LIVE IT OUT. Your children aren't going to "do as I say, not as I do." Truly they are not. Follow the Lord and the Bible to your best ability and so will they. For help along the way turn to this books and books like this. I love keeping this on my nightstand because at the end of the day, when nothing has gone right, and I couldn't wait until bedtime arrived, I can pick it up and read a few pages for affirmation and for a little fuel to face the day tomorrow.

Your kids are precious, your time with them is limited, remember how to make it count.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sweet Freedom Just in time for Summer

I was so happy to be picked to host a Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom House Party!!! We had a double birthday party coming up and I knew that would be the very best time to try out this new line of ice cream with no sugar added! The party was wonderful with kids and adults running in and out, eating, playing, and of course tearing up all the desserts! We had strawberry bread, cheesecake, and birthday cupcakes to go with the 6 flavors of Sweet Freedom that we sampled. The ones I choose were : Mint Chocolate Chip, Banana Split, Bunny Tracks, Butter Pecan, Fudge Lite Bars, and Krunch Lite Bars. All the adults could say was "WOW." It was hard to believe that there was less sugar. Most of the flavors we tried tasted just like the full sugar versions!



Homemade strawberry bread with the FANTASTIC Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom Banana Split Ice Cream. My favorite by far!

Beth liked hers!

So did Amanda!

The kids devoured the whole container of Mint Chocolate Chip!

Cambri picked a Fudge Lite bar.

The big 1 yr old was ready for a nap!!!

Thank you House Party and Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom for a great party!

I received a party pack from houseparty.com for the purpose of this sampling party. I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Little Performance Artist



Sweet Apple getting ready to go into her choir performance. She was so excited! I will say she was disappointed that she could not wear a dress but since they were going to be sitting criss cross on the floor I had to veto that idea.....


She did such a great job and she's so excited about doing more of this for camp and next semester.


She is certainly talented in the artistic/ musical/ dramatic areas. Great job Apple!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Honey Bunches of Yum!

Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted is fantastic! I've told you before the kids and I are all about some cereal in the mornings. The 3 of us eat cereal at least 5 days a week and we are always looking for tasty flavors, crunchy texture, and nutrition without it tasting like cardboard. Honey Bunches of Oats with more granola bunches is meeting all our requirements!


Now I will say this HUGE piece of granola cluster had to be broken up before I could eat it but this just shows you how much crunch is in each bowl! The honey roasted flavor is really appealing and so it the appearance and smell (that's important).


In addition to taste Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted contains about 10g of whole grain per serving. Compared to other cereals that contain 9 grams of sugar and more, HB of Oats has only 6. I feel good about eating it myself and feeding it to 2 growing kiddos.

If you love crunch, flavor, and nutrition check out Honey Bunches of Oats. It now comes in Fruit Blends as well! For more information check out Honey Bunches of Oats on Facebook.


I received this product as a Purex Insider for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. Google

Explore Yellowstone with Noah Justice

Noah Justice is back with Epside 2 of Awesome Science. Take a journey with Noah on this DVD special to learn all about Yellowstone Park from a Biblical perspective. This DVD teaches your children so many things about America's first national park with a special emphasis on the petrified forests. Noah teaches your children that the flood had an effect on volcanos. The effects on these volcanos caused many of the wonders that some consider evolutionary in nature. In fact most of Yellowstone's signs point to evolution but Awesome Science points to God and His historic account.

I love watching my children learn more and more about the mighty God we serve. Series and curriculums like these lead Apple to say things on a recent camping trip like "I'm just enjoying God's beautiful creation." It's so important that we don't let these opportunities slip through the cracks. If you are afraid you don't know enough answers to teach your children the difference in evolution and creationism then I encourage you to pick up the whole Awesome Science series. Make sure you get the study guides as well. They help you break down the DVD into smaller sections and the fill in the blanks and other activities help ensure your child has grasped the information.

Find out more here about the series: http://www.newleafpublishinggroup.com/product_info.php?products_id=940

I received this product from New Leaf Publishing for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Operation Smile

Operation SmileClick here and ‘Like’ Operation Smile on Facebook Operation Smile is an international children's medical charity that heals children's smiles, forever changing their lives. Every three minutes a child is born with a cleft — often unable to eat, speak, socialize or smile. In some places these children are shunned and rejected. And in too many cases, their parents can't afford to give them the surgeries they need to live a normal life. Since 1982, Operation Smile — through the help of dedicated medical volunteers — has provided more than 2 million patient evaluations and over 200,000 free surgeries for children and young adults born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities. With your help, how many lives can we change tomorrow? Important Links ◦Click here to watch the video showing the impact of Operations Smile’s work around the globe ◦Visit Operation Smile to learn more about the organization and how your support helps ◦Click here and ‘Like’ Operation Smile on Facebook Posted as a member of Simley360.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Old Navy Shorts are in Season!

Guess who got new shorts? This girl!! A special thanks to Old Navy and Crowdtap for another FABULOUS sample and share! I just love being a member of the Old Navy Style Council! So for this fantastic opportunity I was again able to go into my local Old Navy store (that has the BEST customer service) and try on all their shorts until I found the pair that was perfect for me! I was also able to give my good friend Betty a coupon so she could have the same experience. Unfortunately we were unable to go together but separately we got some really cute duds! I picked the denim bermuda shorts. I'm so happy with them! They are modest, go great with a variety of tops and accessories, and fit great! I've worn them several times already and love em! Betty went with a shorter denim short and they are so flattering on her! We were both thrilled with the experience. There were so many shorts that I liked that I had a really hard time choosing. In fact I ended up buying a whole outfit on top of my free shorts!
Even better now through 6/6 Old Navy shorts are on sale! Check them all out at oldnavy.gap.com! I received a free product for the purpose of review from Crowdtap and Old Navy. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Feeding Toddlers

Here's a letter I sent to a relative earlier that is having trouble deciding what to feed her 13 month old. I know for lots of family this is the hardest time feeding their little ones. As babies transition and grow, it's hard to keep up! It's also one of those areas that isn't an exact science because each child is so very different. "Hey I know you said Monkey has lost some weight. That's really unusual for a baby or toddler. I wanted to send you a list of suggestions for food for him. It's hard to always know how much they need to eat and when. It isn't like they come with instructions! At a year old he should be having 3-4 sippy cups of WHOLE milk a day. It's important he have that and that it's whole because his brain is still developing and he needs that much and that kind. Toddlers can drink water from a sippy cup in addition to milk. Juice is not recommended because it's bad for their teeth and fills them up without providing any real nutrition. He should be eating 3 meals a day and 2-3 snacks a day. If you want to give him juice maybe replace one snack with a cup of juice but make sure he still gets all his milk. No soda or tea would be recommended at this age. Caffeine is not good for their developing bodies. A sample breakfast would be 1/2 cup of oatmeal and half a banana or 1/2 cup of dry cheerios with 1/2 cup of applesauce. A sample lunch would be 1/4 cup of cooked peas, chopped up lunch meat, chopped up pieces of cheese, and 1/4 cup of grapes cut in small pieces. A sample dinner would be small chunks of chicken, 1/4 cup of cooked carrots, and 1/4 cup of small pieces of melon. Sample snacks would be things like cheerios, yogurt, cheese, cereal bars, etc. He can eat: noodle soup (drain the juice) small pieces of cut up meat (lunch meat, hot dogs, pork chops, anything without a bone and cut into small pieces) cooked veggies that are mushy (green beans, carrots, peas, etc) small mushier fruits applesauce oatmeal dry cereal without any big chunks mashed potatos spaghetti There are some foods that aren't recommended for kids under 2: eggs fish peanut butter nuts honey Those can cause allergies. Lots of things you wouldn't think about are choking hazards. We were diligent about our kids not eating chips until after 2 and only with us sitting and watching them. Sweets aren't necessary and aren't recommended in high doses. They should really only be given as treats maybe once a week or so. Certainly not everyday. This would be great to pass along to sitters too. Sometimes it's frustrating knowing what to feed them when they stop eating baby food. Ours were off of bottles and baby food by 9 months but only because I was diligent about feeding them from the table while I ate. It's good to start a habit now of only eating while sitting down in a designated place. That helps with choking prevention too." Would you have any other suggestions for this first time mom? What was your toddler's favorite food at this stage?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012




I can honestly say that Garnier Fructis Sleek N Shine shampoo and conditioner is the closest you are going to get to a Keratin treatment at home!!! I had the Keratin treatment last summer and truly loved but unfortunately haven't had the $$$ to get it again. I never expected to get similar (**not the same, not as good, but relatively close**) results from a shampoo and conditioner. PS Garnier Fructis has a Sleek N Shine "system" that includes a couple of other products I have not tried.

My first impression of the shampoo is that is smells SO awesome. I was really surprised that it was thick and clear coming out of the bottle. I was disappointed that it didn't foam up well, and I have to use more than normal (right now I have very long hair and my hair is extremely thick so it may just be me). The conditioner smells great as well! Now I wash my hair EVERYDAY because it is thick and long and the ends can be frizzy and unmanagable but the roots get oily very quick. The Sleek N Shine bottles say it will give you great hair for 3 days. I just laughed. I will say I have been able to go 2 days a couple of times since I started using it. I do Zumba twice a week and tend to get very sweaty in the already hot Tennessee weather so I can't always try to go 2 days. I would gross myself out! However I think someone with a more "normal" hair would easily go 2 days, maybe even 3.

Okay so I told you it works great! If I shampoo, condition, and blow dry my hair looks fabulous! No flat iron needed. Even on the days when it air dries it looks very healthy (although a little wavy). I would fully recommend Garnier Sleek N Shine Shampoo and Conditioner to anyone who would like healthier, straighter hair.

Visit garnierusa.com/newfructis to learn more about the latest evolution in Garnier Fructis products.

I received this product free for the purpose of this review because I am a BzzAgent. Learn more at BzzAgent.com. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Entitled....

Apple and Speedy both play fall soccer at the local park. This is one sport that they both love. I have often lamented the lack of points though. Number 1 I am super competitive so a game with no winner is painful for me. Number 2 I honestly think all the kids would work SO much harder if there were scores and a clear winner and loser. Why work hard if they are all gonna get a trophy at the end and get no special accolades for performance?? Apple's coach last year was THE BEST. She gave them each a "special" certificate at the end of the season for performance in a particular area. What a boost to them to be recognized for an actual achievement!!!

I think the patting kids on the back even when they don't do anything great, giving a trophy to every kid even if they disrupted the game more than participating, clapping and cheering for everyday tasks that we (parents, coaches, teachers, etc) do is RUINING our children. My mantra has always been "Kids will only do as well as you expect them to." SET THE BAR HIGH PEOPLE!!! If you only expect your kids to roll out of bed and accomplish the minimum everyday, then that is absolutely all they are going to do. Seriously. So when your 35 yr old "kid" is still living in your basement, searching for a job that embraces them and their desires, let me know how that works out for you!

I am not alone!! WOOHOO!!! Kay Wills Wyma totally agrees with me! She has a brood of 4 and she embarked upon a yearlong journey to remove their sense of entitlement. In other words she was tired of them expecting her to do everything for the (enabling) and she wanted them to know that sheets don't wash themselves and ketchup doesn't magically reappear in the fridge when you run out. She realized she had not been equipping her kids with the skills they would need to function in real life. Most parents don't these days. I'm guilty of some of this myself.

I have been on a journey to teach my kids the value of trying hard and working their whole lives.......but I am guilty of "doing it myself because it's easier." If you remember last summer, Apple spent some of her summer vacation learning about cooking and some cleaning tasks. Speedy did a little too because I don't think just girls need to know these things. I will admit Apple loves to help in the kitchen but I often shoo her away because it's a bigger mess if she "helps." However many friends look at me in amazement when I admit that at least 4 times a week Apple is in charge of breakfast for she and Speedy. Granted it's usually cereal or breakfast pastries but she can do it and pour oj.

Wyma makes so many good points in Cleaning House. I won't cover them all here because you NEED to read this book! Seriously. Whether you have 1 child or 10 and they are 0 or 15, you need this book! You need the reminder that hard work gives more self esteem than any positive reinforcement pat on the back and sticker! Seriously. Available May 8!



I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Let's Be Honest.......

Let's be honest......wouldn't you love to win a year's supply of Purex?? I sure would!! Check out the new Purex giveaway! Not only will you have a chance to enter the giveaway (make sure to enter everyday!), you also will get to see some great videos about everyday life and what goes on. This is a great new line of funny videos that are sure to keep you laughing! Remember you can enter the giveaway once daily through July 24!!!