Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy 10th Birthday, Holden!!!

December 28th represented a major change in the Burgess household.  It was my youngest child’s 10th birthday!  That means there are no longer any small children in my family…they’ve all moved on to double digits!  I officially have one adult teen, one early teen, and one tween!  Where did the years go?

I know God gives us many seasons in our lives, and this is a new one for us.  I miss my precious babies of long ago, but at the same time, I’ll embrace this new season of my life with gusto!  Each season brings changes, and some of them are good.  All of them are in His timing.

And as they each get older, they are still my babies in my heart. ❤️

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017!!!

We celebrated our very first Christmas here in TX.  It was actually pretty good!  Two years ago in VA, it was so warm on Christmas day that we were all in short sleeves, and the kids were wearing shorts!  Oddly enough, it was actually quite cold here in TX. 

It was nice that our whole family was home together.  Steve and Hayden usually don’t have the same days off, so it was lovely to be able to have them both here to celebrate the holidays!

I hope you all had a wonderful time with your families, too! 

Merry Christmas to all!

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Our Christmas Surprise!!!

This year, we got the greatest Christmas present we could have imagined, and that was the unexpected news that we now have a tenant in our house in VA!  We’ve been pouring money into repairing and renovating the home we left when 1455 Pecan Ct, Virginia Beach, VA 23453we moved here to TX this summer, and we’ve been carrying that mortgage alongside this one for the last six months.  It was a bit of a painful journey, but now we’re officially on the other side of things…all of our VA business is now squared away, and we can finally consider ourselves settled in here in TX!  Hooray!

I can’t tell you what a relief it was to hear that news yesterday.  I really had no idea what our financial picture was going to look like day to day until this business was all settled.  Now I can begin to budget and anticipate with more accuracy what our monthly bills will be like.

Not only have we been carrying the extra mortgage, but all of the utilities there, as well.  We had to keep them all on while all the work was being done, and also while it was being marketed to potential tenants. 

We were so excited that my while family went out to dinner last night to celebrate.  That’s not something we do very often, but it was definitely cause for celebration!  Steve and I are giggling and high fiving like two people who just won the lottery!  It’s really all coming together now…that vision we had of what it could be like if we took that leap of faith in moving down here for a new job and a fresh new start for all of us.

I feel so truly blessed.  The Lord’s provision never ceases to amaze me, and He has been so very good to us.  I feel so unworthy of His love, and yet He loves me still.  *AMAZING.* 

I’m truly thankful in so many ways.

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!  May your time with your family and friends be something very special to remember in the years to come.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

My Newest Kitchen Gadget–Power Air Fryer XL!!!

The infomercial for the Power Pressure Cooker XL playing over and over in the middle of the night to me and my young son had us both convinced many years ago that we had to have one!  And we weren’t wrong about that…we did end up buying one, and it got a lot of use.  In the end, it had some issues, and we ended up getting the Go Wise 8-qt. Pressure Cooker to take its place.  It comes out at least once or twice a week and has become instrumental in saving us time and turning out great meals, particularly in the winter months when soups and stews make a regular appearance on our menu.

So I guess it’s no surprise that the infomercial for the Power Air Fryer XL convinced me that I had to have one of those, too!  LOL.

My sister has been telling me for years how much she loves her air fryer and how it makes perfect fries…and she is a connoisseur of fries!  I’ve had it somewhere on my radar for about a year, but I just couldn’t justify the cost, nor did I know enough about them to gamble on any one brand or model.  But Steve started looking at getting me one for Christmas since I wouldn’t spend the money on one for myself, and when he found the Power Air Fryer XL on sale at Kohl’s, he came home and told me I should probably just go ahead and work out my best deal on it while it was on sale if I wanted it for Christmas, so that’s what I did!  Between the sale price, some stacking Kohl’s coupons, some Kohl’s rewards, and a $25 Kohl’s gift card I’ve had since last Christmas, I was able to get the price down to about $70!  And on top of that, I earned another $10 in Kohl’s cash and got 3% cash back through e-bates!  Then because I ordered online but picked it up in-store instead of getting free shipping, I earned another $5 in Kohl’s cash on top of that!  Not a bad deal at all.

I got the bigger 5.3 qt. model.  What I love most about this brand over the others is that it’s the only one with a copper basket.  That means it’s really non-stick, and I don’t have to worry as much about the surface peeling after repeated uses.  That’s one of the complaints I’ve seen made regularly against other brands of air fryers.  Because I love my Go Wise pressure cooker so much, I started out looking at their air fryer, but it had tons of complaints about the non-stick surface peeling off after a short time of use.  That made it a no-go for me!

I really didn’t know too much about air fryers, and I wasn’t even sure how I was going to use it.  But so far this week, I’ve tried out a number of different things in it, and it’s all turned out really well!  I put plain old frozen fish sticks and fries in it using the included divider for the basket.  I had to do a lot of shaking doing both at once because the food wasn’t in a single layer, and that definitely makes a difference. Once the fish was done, I removed the divider and laid the fries out flat.  They crisped up quickly then!  They were so good.  No burned edges or unevenly cooked fries. 

Next, I made some frozen country fried steaks.  Those turned out really, really well.  They were evenly crispy all over, and they were not greasy like they usually are when they end up cooking in their own grease in the oven.  Any oil dripped into the outer basket, and the steaks were perfect!

Then the other night, I tried out a recipe for homemade egg rolls.  I made the filling in my pressure cooker and then rolled up the egg rolls and baked them in the air fryer.  They were really crispy, and no deep fat frying!  That was pretty cool.  The key is cooking everything in a single layer.  I made a lot of egg rolls…enough for two dinners for 5 people…so I cooked them in 3 batches.  It didn’t take long, though, so doing separate batches was not a big deal.  Very cool!  And when the leftovers got soft in the fridge overnight, I just tossed them back into the air fryer for 3 minutes to crisp them up again.  Easy peasy!

Then this morning, we were pressed for time, and I wanted to bake some frozen Pillsbury Grands biscuits.  I didn’t have the kind in a can.  I couldn’t find online where anyone had made the frozen ones successfully in the air fryer, so I set the temperature at 380 degrees for 15 minutes.  They were browner than I wanted them to be, but they were fully cooked and soft inside, and they weren’t burned.  I would probably do 13 minutes next time.  Very good!  And no preheating is required with the air fryer, so it saved me a lot of time overall.

I really love how it only takes a minute to clean up the fryer basket when I’m done cooking.  I literally swish it with soapy water…the inner and outer baskets…and wipe them dry with a paper towel.  Done!  Can’t beat the easy cleanup.  So I think I’m hooked on this thing.  The texture is great, and it cooks so evenly.  Cleanup is a breeze, and it saves on time.  I’m all in!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Great Stocking Stuffer!!!

If you have kids like me, and you’re on a last minute hunt for a unique gift or a great stocking stuffer, you should check out the brand new product line from The Pencil Grip, Inc.  It’s called Magic Stix Washable Markers

You might already be familiar with their Kwik Stix and Thin Stix tempera paint sticks, but Magic Stix are an awesome new line of markers!

Here’s what makes them different:

  • You can leave the caps off for up to 7 days, and they are GUARANTEED to NOT dry out!!!
  • They are odorless.
  • They are washable.
  • They are non-toxic

They come in either a 12-pack or a 24-pack in bright, bold colors, and you can get them now from Amazon.com!  They even come in a hard plastic storage case with a carrying handle!  Each marker snaps into place inside the storage case for your convenience.

I tried them out myself in an adult coloring book yesterday, and they were amazing!  The colors were so vibrant, and they had strong tips, so I know my kids won’t push too hard and smash them.  I also really liked how I could fill in small spaces with just the tip, yet I could angle it and color with the side for a broader stroke.  And I especially liked that handy storage case!  I like to keep my markers in order by their shades of color, which is exactly how they’re packaged.  Perfect!

These would really make a great gift for children and adults alike who like to color.  Pair a set of these with a nice coloring book, and you’re all set

Happy coloring!

Disclaimer:  I received a FREE copy of this product in exchange for my honest testimonial about this product.  I was not compensated in any other way.  All opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Scholastic Warehouse Sale

Attention educators!

Don’t forget to check the listings for your local Scholastic Warehouse Sale!  For the first time ever, they are offering Buy 1 Get 1 Free on thousands of books, including the Build-a-Box!  Just put in your zip code at the link above to find the closest book sale to you, and be sure to note whether or not it indicates your sale will be offering a Build-a-Box section. 

The coupons are a bit lower than usual.  When you register, you’ll be given a $10 off $100 coupon (usually, you’d get a $10 off $50 and a $20 off $100).  But the BOGO offer, especially on Build-a-Box, will be such a great deal all by itself that you probably won’t even miss the coupon!

I’m extra lucky this year.  Ever since they closed the Scholastic Warehouse that used to be in Chesapeake, the book sales in Hampton Roads were hit or miss, and they seemed to get smaller and smaller due to the cost of rental space in the convention centers.  But now that I’ve moved to TX, I get to once again enjoy an actual warehouse sale out in Arlington.  I can’t wait to check it out!  The selections just can’t be beat at an actual warehouse, because you have a full array of choices instead of the limited selection they haul to the smaller book sales.

Even if you don’t think you need any books, remember that the December sale, especially, usually has a lot of gift items like Klutz craft kits, science kits, Nintendo DS games, and cookbooks.  So if you have kids or grandkids, be sure to check it out!  Remember, too, that this sale is not open to the general public…it’s for educators.  Thankfully, that includes homeschoolers!  And remember to register online and print out your shopping pass to save time at the check-in registration table at the event.

Happy shopping!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Christmas Preparations

I actually got my Christmas tree put up two weeks ago.  I did something 20171128_103354completely different…I’ve had the same Victorian-themed tree for 25 years, so I figured new home, new tree.  I went and got a trio of bright, glittery colors and totally re-made my tree!  The kids love it.  Hubby likes the old one better, but he can live with it.  Personally, I think it has a modern touch, and it’s certainly festive and bright!

My oldest son planned to put Christmas lights on his day off, but my husband beat him to it.  He actually put them up last weekend!  Now that we live in a one-story house, it’s a much easier task to complete.  Last weekend, I put out my wreaths on the front and side windows since I have a corner lot, and I bought new bows to decorate them.  I also put one on my front storm door.  They look so pretty!  My husband even neatly trimmed the bushes all around so you could really see the wreaths.  I got my Christmas garden flag put out there, and I put a new holiday sign on my inner front door.  I might even get some poinsettias to place on the front porch or a couFB_IMG_1510964522734ple of small lighted trees.  I’m feeling very festive this year! 

My neighbor came over to say that she was excited to have a neighbor who also decorates their house.  She was out putting her wreaths up, as well!  I even sprang for an outdoor timer for the lights that turns on and off automatically and also has several light show effects to choose from…they can twinkle, fade, or cascade...but since we already have outdoor lighting wired on the house, my husband just tapped into that since it has a photo cell on it already.  Now there aren’t any wires or power cords hanging down.  Very cool! 

I’m really looking forward to Christmas this year, and I had a great time doing my annual Black Friday shopping spree, even though I did most of it online this year!  It was far less stressful that way.  My husband doesn’t normally shop for me until Christmas Eve, but even he shopped online for the first time this year, so he’ll be done in record time!

We took a lovely stroll through the neighborhood this evening.  We went down to French Lake, which is located in Candleridge Park within our community.  It was an absolutely beautiful night to sit on a bench by the lake and enjoy the lighted fountain in the middle of it!  We were surprised by the massive number of ducks and geese still in the lake, but then we realized that “flying south” for the winter means staying put when you’re already in Texas!  LOL

The previous homeowners really let the bushes grow up around the pool in our backyard.  My husband pretty much cut them down almost to the ground over the long Thanksgiving weekend.  We spent some time working outside today, sweeping and vacuuming up leaves from around the pool decking and in the yard and curb around the house.  It looks so lovely out there!  He even put multi-colored icicle lights around the back of the house that nicely light up the patio around the pool.  It’s very festive!  We’re really enjoying our new home and enjoy taking care of it.  We feel very blessed indeed!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

I got to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family…our first one here in Texas!  It was a little strange for me to not be having guests.  We’ve always had friends from church, friends with missing spouses, and stray relatives who happened to be in town without other family come and join us in years past.  We never like to see anyone spend the holiday alone.  But we really don’t know anyone here yet, so it was just my husband and children sitting down with me this year. 

It was actually kind of nice, but I made the same amount of food as usual, if not more, minus an extra dessert.  Needless to say, we have tons of leftovers, but I”m creatively putting them to good use! 

I made more mashed potatoes than I’ve ever made before…more than would fit at once in my 8-qt. pressure cooker…just so I could make lots of my mom’s famous fry-up for breakfast/brunch through the weekend.  Yum!  It’s such comfort food.  You basically warm up the leftover mashed potatoes with some butter in an electric skillet and throw in whatever you have left over…in this case, turkey, ham, corn, green beans, stuffing…and lots of cheese with some spices like salt, pepper, and Nature’s Seasonings and/or garlic powder.  You brown the potatoes on the bottom a bit and keep turning it over until it’s ooey gooey with melted cheese.  Then you serve it in bowls with some ketchup for dipping.  YUM, YUM, YUMMY FOR MY TUMMY!!!  We always looked forward to it on the weekends growing up, because my mom made mashed potatoes most nights of the week, so there were always leftovers.  It was her favorite way of using up the odds and ends in the fridge.  I’ve gotten my own family totally hooked on it so that they, too, look forward to it’s yummy goodness!

Tonight, I cut up about a pound of the turkey breast meat to put in some Turkey Fettuccini Skillet.  That’s always really good, too.  And tomorrow, I’ll likely add a thick layer of cut-up turkey to some Banquet Homestyle Chicken and Biscuit kits.  My kids really like that when I add a bunch of meat to it.  It’s another great way to use up all that leftover turkey!  Also, in the morning, I plan to bake up a batch of Ham Potato Puffs for breakfast.  That will use up a little of the mashed potatoes and some ham, and it makes a lot that are great to keep in the fridge for the fellas in my house to grab before work on weekday mornings.

I hope that gives you some ideas of what to do with your leftovers!  And I hope you and your family had a wonderful, joyful Thanksgiving together!  We truly have so much for which to be thankful.  Remember to count your blessings!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Halloween 2017

We started the day by going out to IHOP for breakfast so the kids could enjoy their free Scary Face Pancakes!  Hayden wasn’t going in to work until the afternoon, so he got to go with us, just like the old days. 

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Haylee turned 13 at the end of the summer, but with our recent move to TX from VA, I figured Holden would have more fun trick-or-treating alongside his sister, so I let her go again this year.  Of course, she was quite happy about that!  I had to run out the day before to find her a costume at the thrift store.  I lucked out and found the cutest Mad Hatter costume for $4.  I made a couple of quick alterations, and it was so adorable on her!  Holden decided to go as a King again, and his costume kept him nice and warm.

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I have been sick for the last 3 weeks, and I was feverish when Halloween rolled around, so I decided to drive the van and follow alongside them so I wouldn’t get a chill in the cold.  That was a good call.  I had my mug of hot tea, a pile of cough drops, and the heater running.  It allowed me to run home when somebody had to go to the bathroom, too.  It actually worked out well, because there were some big gaps between houses at times, and it kept the kids from having to walk too much extra.  For once, Holden didn’t complain about wanting to go home because he was tired of walking, and the kids stayed toasty between stretches.  They were also able to dump the buckets of candy into larger bags in the van so it didn’t get too heavy for them.

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They decided they had the best Halloween ever!  They laughed together and were so excited, and they had a such a great time!  They didn’t fight at all, and they really enjoyed themselves.  Holden kept telling me how much fun he was having, so mission accomplished.  They got great candy, too!  Our neighbors were so nice.  Steve stayed home and passed out goodie bags of candy on the porch since Hayden had to work that night.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

B1G1F Starbucks Holiday Drinks Starting Today!

Beginning today, November 9th, through Monday, November 13th, you caHero Front Cupn stop in at Starbucks and score B1G1F holiday drinks between 2-5 PM each day at participating locations.

Included drinks include the Chestnut Praline Latte, Caramel BrulĂ©e Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread Latte, Eggnog Latte, Holiday Spice Flat White, and the Teavana Joy Brewed Tea.  The promotion is meant for you to share a beverage with a friend or family member!

So check with your local Starbucks to see if they are participating.  Enjoy!

Holiday Drinks

Monday, November 6, 2017

REVIEW: Thin Stix Creativity Pack by The Pencil Grip, Inc.

My 13-year old daughter was super excited to get to review the Thin Stix Creativity Pack by The Pencil Grip, Inc.


WHAT IS IT?:

The new Thin Stix Creativity Pack includes 24 colors of the unique solid tempera paint sticks that my daughter loves.  Thin Stix are the more slender version of Kwik Stix that allow kids to paint in more detail.  This complete set includes all 12 classic colors, all 6 neon colors, and all 6 metalix paint sticks!

This pack is now available in your local BJ’s Wholesale Club and on their website at BJs.com, as I mentioned a couple of months ago, for just $19.99.

These can be used on a variety of surfaces, such as poster board, paper, wood, cardboard, and more!


OUR EXPERIENCE:

My daughter loves these paint sticks so much!  She is 13, and she just loves to sit and paint with these, one picture right after another.  They’re a great boredom buster, for sure!  She now owns every color of both the original Kwik Stix and these Thin Stix in every finish.  You might recall that she reviewed the 6-pack of neon colors and the 12-pack of classic colors earlier this year.  She just can’t get enough of them!

What she loves the most is how bright and vibrant the colors are and how smoothly they can be applied to just about any kind of surface.  They dry in just 90 seconds, DSCF4919so she doesn’t have to worry about her little brother coming along and messing them up.  She enjoys framing some of her creations or pinning them to her cork display board and displaying them on her bedroom wall.  I think my favorite part about them is that there’s no mess!  Not only do they dry quickly so there’s no smearing, but there’s also no need for messy brushes or water cups…no chance for spills, and no messy cleanup. Even the box they come in has a nice storage tray to make putting them away orderly, and it’s also easy to find the color you want.

With this particular pack, she mentioned to me that the metalix seems even more metallic than sets she’s had in the past.  I don’t know if there was a reformulation, but when she showed her drawings to me, I noticed the shimmery finish right away.  I really wish I could do the colors and finishes justice in my photographs! They are just so vivid!  She loves bright colors in all things (even her choice of clothing), so these suit her so well.DSCF4914

She has used the Thin Stix sets so many times before, but she usually just draws and colors with them on paper or cardstock.  This time around, she wanted to try out some new surfaces, so we went shopping and picked out her initial carved from wood so she could decorate it for her bedroom door.  It turned out so cute!  She used the gold metalix paint stick to draw the “ice cream cone” texture across the pink “ice cream” drawing.  It looks really neat in person the way it shimmers in the light!  She really enjoyed using them on the wood surface and wants to do the rest of the letters in her name (I see a Christmas present coming!).

She also tried them out on caDSCF4915rdboard this time.  She used the metalix to make a neat, shimmery “Fall” decorate plaque for the front door.  She said that no matter what kind of surface she used them on, they were just as smooth and easy to apply.  But I think she liked using the wood surface the best of all!  The outcome had a very finished look to it.

She was able to quickly create vibrant greeting cards for various occasions, a cute owl drawing, and she even demonstrated the vast variety of colors available in this pack by creating a rainbow display of all of the hues in succession.  You can see how many beautiful colors there are!

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I really think this Thin Stix Creativity Pack would make the ultimate holiday gift for the creative child in your life.  Haylee had this pack on her Christmas wish list until she got lucky by getting it for review!  Now she doesn’t have to wait for it.  Smile

Grab one of these wonderful complete color collections, and let the creativity begin!

Check out what other Crew members have to say about this awesome pack by clicking the banner below.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sunday, October 29, 2017

October News

October has been a pretty great month for us here in TX.  The kids and I headed out on one of the final days of the Texas State Fair to see what all the fuss was about. 

We saw a great acrobatic show, a kind of silly one with Extreme Pogo stick athletes (didn’t even know there was such a sport), and another one featuring cowboys and a demonstration of how they round up steer.  That one had an award-winning lasso expert…he put on a pretty amazing show.

We tried some different foods, but nothing extreme.  Of course, we got to see the statue of Big Tex overlooking the fair.  Overall, we were pretty disapFB_IMG_1508433949544pointed, though.  It definitely wasn’t anything impressive.  I thought everything was bigger in Texas!  Actually, the size of the fair was pretty large…but it seems the main focus is the food.  They had some pretty bizarre offerings, I must say.  It seems like there were miles of food stands all lined up.  The trouble is that there was far more food than there was exhibits or shows.  To me, that’s just not the main focus of a state fair.  I wanted to see giant, award-winning pumpkins and adorable animals.  I saw some horses and some hogs and lots of cattle, but that was about it.  Now I can’t attest to the rides, as we did not visit the Midway.  But that’s not what draws me to the fair anyway.

Perhaps we’re just spoiled by the Virginia State Fair.  It’s a lot to live up to.  I loved the fancy chickens, the adorable bunnies, the baby chicks hatching under brooders, and the adorable ducklings with their cute antics of sliding down the little slides into the water.  I miss the giant pumpkins, the tractors on display, and the tons of amazing shows and exhibits.  It was easy to make a mini-vacation out of the Virginia State Fair.  But honestly, I’m not sure I’d ever go back to the Texas State Fair, and that’s saying a lot considering that I had 3 free tickets!  It really wasn’t even worth the $15 parking I had to pay.

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The next piece of news for October is that my oldest son, my firstborn, finally landed his first gainful employment!  He’s been putting in applications in recent weeks, but since he’s never worked before, he wasn’t getting any calls for interviews.  Then out-of-the-blue, his phone rang with a request for an interview for Sonic.  He went the same day, and the hired him on the spot as a carhop!  He started the very next day by attending orientation, and then he started training on the job on Monday.  It really only took a day for him to learn the ropes, and then he pretty much completed his first week on his own.  Hooray for Hayden!

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Heading out for his first day                    Returning home in uniform

He mostly enjoyed it until today when he got *that* customer who ate half her food and then sent it back three times because it wasn’t quite right or wasn’t hot enough, or whatever.  Basically, it sounded like a professional “I’m gonna complain until I get my food for free” type of customer.  You know the one.  It kind of bummed Hayden out a bit, because she ended up complaining about him to the manager, saying that he argued with her about whether or not the food was hot (he actually just informed her that he watched them re-make the food in front of him, fresh out of the fryer!).  I told him not to take it personally…there’s a bad apple in every bunch.  His till ended up short, too…lesson learned about forgetting to sign out after each order.  I suspect there’s an overage on someone else’s till as a result.  Anyway, he’ll get the hang of it!  He likes having a routine and the ability to earn some money for himself. 

Go, Hayden!

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Halloween is just two days away.  The kids just had a two-week break from homeschooling…our old fall vacation time, only we didn’t go on vacation this time!  Instead, we just enjoyed the time off and took care of errands and such while we had the extra time. 

Haylee just turned 13, so she is technically too old to trick-or-treat, but since this is our first Halloween in Texas, we figured Holden would be more comfortable if she was going door-to-door with him, so we told her she could do it this one time.  She was very excited!  LOL.  I picked up a Mad Hatter costume for her today at the thrift store.  It’s so cute, and it has an adorable little mini-hat with it.  Holden hasn’t decided if he’s going to wear his king costume, his minions blanket sleeper that has a decorative hood, or his Darth Vader blanket sleeper with the cape and face mask again.

Haylee and I opened up the Halloween decorations and did a little decorating out front this evening.  We put a cling door cover on that looks really cool, some hanging ghosts, a pumpkin garland, a trick or treat welcome mat, some clings in the window, some signs, and I’ll put my trick-or-treat flag out tomorrow in place of my fall one.  I’ll try to add a photo tomorrow in the daylight.  I made up candy treat bags on Friday.  The neighbors say there aren’t many trick-or-treaters or even homes giving out candy around here, so I just made 25 goody bags for the kids who do come by.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Schlotzsky’s Treat on Halloween

If you have kids and you live near a Schlotzsky’s restaurant, you might want toSchlotzskys Bakery Header Logo stop by on Halloween to enjoy a meal.

On October 31st, all you need to do is purchase one adult entree and bring your kids in their costumes, and you’ll get up to TWO FREE KIDS’ MEALS along with your purchase.  What a treat for all!  (One coupon per person per visit…code 605.)

I received this information in an email because I’m a Lotz 4 Me member (the store app), so check your local Schlotzsky’s to verify participation.  This is a great deal!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Monday, October 23, 2017

REVIEW: Weave Your Word in Me – Part 1 by Kid Niche Christian Books

We enjoyed reviewing the unique bible and prayer study called Weave Your Word in Me – Part 1 by Kid Niche Christian Books.

WHAT IS IT?:

Weave Your Word in Me – Part 1 is a bible and prayer study curriculum for tweens that contains 36 lessons based on the Lord’s Prayer.  It requires only a bible, a pencil, and a dictionary. 

This program is fully compatible with six major translations, including King James Version (KJV), English Standard Version (ESV), New King James Version (NKJV), New International Version (NIV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), and  New American Bible Revised Edition (NASBRE).

Through these lessons, your child will learn how to dig deeper and focus more fully on the meaning of the words in the Lord’s Prayer.

This program is available for just $20 and comes shrink-wrapped, 3-hole punched, and ready for your binder.  There is also a Part 2 available for $20 with an additional 44 lessons, as well as a combo set of both parts that includes all 80 lessons for $30 (the best value).


OUR EXPERIENCE:

When I received this program, it was hole-punched and ready to drop easily into a binder.  It evDSCF4909en had a full-color insertable cover already made to slide into the front of my binder for easy identification.  It also included information about the extra resources available on the website to enhance our lessons.  The links found there included activities such as videos, art projects, and puzzles related to the lesson content.  We especially enjoyed the news video about the Aurora Borealis that was seen in Scotland, which complemented lesson 2!DSCF4910

The curriculum begins by laying out a 9-verse poem called My Whole Self Before YOU, which conveys a rhythmical prayer modeled after the message of the Lord’s Prayer.  Then it gives a line-by line comparison of portions of it, showing how it is an everyday translation of the prayer.  I particularly liked this comparison, because it helped me to feel confident that the program was centered on conveying the meaning of the actual words of the bible in terms that a child could understand without straying off on someone’s own personal philosophy about the bible.  Then simple instructions are provided on how to proceed, though the program is highly intuitive.

Each lesson is 1-3 pages in length.  You begin by reading designated bible passages, and the student answers simple questions about those passages in a variety of formats such as fill-in-the-blank, underlining the correct answer, or true and false responses.  Along the left margin of the page, there’s a box which highlights the key DSCF4911verse of the prayer poem that is being studied in that lesson.  I really liked that the questions go beyond obvious answers by ending with more probing questions that require the student to think and reflect more deeply.  For instance, in lesson 4, Holden learned about how sometimes, God answers our prayer by expecting us to wait a while.  Then it asked Holden to think about two reasons why God might want us to wait.  This was a good opportunity for us to discuss the topic further.  We talked about how waiting allows us to rely more fully on God, to be patient and wait for His timing, and how God knows if it’s not the right time for us to receive what we’re asking for in prayer.

At the end of each lesson, a short prayer is shown in a box, and the student is expected to fill in the blanks in the prayer with information they learned in that particular lesson.  The student is instructed to then say the prayer aloud to God.  Here is Holden reading the prayer at the end of lesson 5.  So cute!

I really liked that the lessons were concise enough to keep the attention of my 9-year old with ADHD.  It can be challenging to keep him focused long enough to finish his work, so it’s important not to stay on one subject too long.  One of these lessons could easily be broken up over the course of the week by answering just a couple of questions a day, or we can sit and complete a lesson in one sitting if we prefer.  Either way, the 36 weekly lessons are enough to keep this study going for the school year.  And the full-color pages and large font size are easy for Holden to follow.

I really enjoyed the discussions that we had.  I felt like it gave me an opportunity to have some insightful conversations with Holden.  I even showed the program to my husband and talked to him about how much we were enjoying it and how much I appreciated how well the program communicates the importance of prayer as a means of drawing oneself closer to God, and in turn, drawing God closer to you.  I told him that I wish someone had taught me as a child how important prayer is in your relationship with God.  Unfortunately, that was something I didn’t fully comprehend until I was an adult and already a Christian.

If you have a tween in your house and you desire to bring them closer to God by understanding the power of prayer, I would definitely recommend that you give this program a try!  If you have an independent learner who is capable of looking up bible verses on their own, then these lessons could easily be completed independently, as the answer key for each lesson is provided at the back of the materials.  But for us, I wouldn’t want to miss out on the opportunities it provides for meaningful discussion, so I enjoy doing the lessons alongside Holden.

Check out what other Crew members have to say about this awesome prayer study by clicking the banner below.