Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Toy sale on Amazon (and a quick update)

I am still running on limited computer time, but that will definitely be resolved over the weekend, so be sure to look for regular posts to return in the next week.

However, I wanted to be sure to share this sale with all of you. The following links are affiliate links, meaning if you click on them and make a purchase, Amazon may pay me a very small percentage of your total.  This is at no additional cost to you and is the main way I get any sort of payment through my blog, so it is greatly appreciated when you do it :)

Amazon is currently holding a toy sale, with up to 50% off Fisher Price toys.  Here are some of my favorites:

Fisher-Price Imaginext Mega T-Rex (list price $44.99, sale price $22.49, free shipping with Prime or $35 purchase)

Fisher-Price Little People Wheelies Garage (list price $27.99, sale price $13.99, free shipping with Prime or $35 purchase)

Fisher-Price Octonauts Gup-E Vehicle (list price $15.99, sale price $7.99, free shipping with Prime or $35 purchase)

Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Magic Scan Market (list price $31.99, sale price $16.79, free shipping with Prime or $35 purchase)

Mike the Knight: Glendragon Castle Playset (list price $34.99, sale price $16.98, free shipping with Prime or $35 purchase)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Another short break

I need to apologize again for my disappearance and also wanted to let you know it will be a few more days before I can posts up again.  Due to our computer situation, I still have limited access to the computer, so I can only get on for short periods of time.  I will be back to regular postings as soon as possible.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

5000 Seed Giveaway

Seed Giveaway

On Thursday, I told you about a giveaway from My Seed Cellar for The Emergency Survival Seed Bank.  This kit contains about 5000 non-GMO heirloom seeds from 30 different varieties of fruits and vegetables and instructions for planting, harvesting, and reusing the seed stock.  This would be a great addition to any emergency kit, but don't wait for an emergency, start growing your own fruits and veggies now (well when seasonally appropriate) and save their seeds to use the following year.
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Things I Love Thursday: Emergency Preparedness

(Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.  None-the-less, these items were chosen because I truly love them and not every link is an affiliate link.)

September was  Emergency Preparedness month, and although I am late by a few days, here are the Emergency Preparedness items I love.
LuminAID solar light

This first item is straight off my wish list.  The LuminAID Solar Inflatable Light folds up and attaches easily to a backpack for easy charging during the day.  It is lightweight, too which is always a plus when you need to carry things in an emergency.

4 in 1 utility shutoff

In addition to being lightweight, it is helpful if emergency items are multifunctional.  This On Duty 4-n-1 Tool is a utility shut-off tool (gas and water), and can also be used to dig through debris and pry open doors during an emergency.

Life strawI am not the only one that loves the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, it is a Time Magazine Invention of the Year winner.  It can be used directly from puddles and streams to make the water immediately safe for consumption without the use of chemicals.  It is also available in a family size model, LifeStraw Family 1.0 Water Purifier.

Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness

It is important to know what to do during an emergency, so a good book is necessary to help you prepare.  The Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family covers a variety of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, financial collapse, pandemics, and more, allowing you to be prepared for a variety of emergencies should they occur.

Portable fishing kit

In an emergency, it is important to have a way to eat, but storing and carrying a lot of food can get cumbersome and eventually it will run out.  It is important to have a way to access food during those times and this fishing kit by Josh at First Line Survival (1stLineSurvival)is perfect, as it is small, lightweight and can easily go with you.
temporary phone number tattoos

Sometimes, the emergency we face can be on a more personal level, like a lost child.  I love the idea of using these temporary tattoos when going to fairs and other places where a child can easily wander out-of-sight.  They would also work as a learning tool to teach a child your phone number.  These are made by Ashley at TealAsh.

Paracord first aid kit
Everyone should have at least a few first aid items on hand for emergencies and paracord is another multiuse item that is good to have in in emergencies.  At TeamOTGSurvival, they have tied up over 4 feet of paracord, stuffed it with first aid supplies, and attached it to a keychain, giving you a bunch of emergency supplies in one small package.  This is something I would carry on my daily keychain.

Heritage SeedsFood is so important to have on hand, but food will eventually run out and fresh produce just does not store for long.  Having a good variety of seeds on hand can truly mean the difference between life and death in a long-term situation.  At Myseedcellar, you can get this set of non-GMO heirloom vegetable seeds.  It contains 30 varieties of vegetables including peppers, corn, tomato, beans, peas, okra, lettuce, zucchini, eggplant, beefsteak, broccoli.  Each set has about 5,000 seeds that are easy to grow and can be planted time after time (well, you can plant the seeds from the next plant.)  They have also graciously offered  a giveaway for a similar set, but I will share that tomorrow ;)


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Time for Others Tuesday: Jennifer Frost

Last week, I introduced you to one of my oldest friends.  This week, I introduce you to one of my newest friends: Jennifer Frost.

Jennifer Frost
Name:Jennifer Frost

Hometown: Constable, NY
Current city: Greece, NY

Family: Family of 3 kids under 5.5 years old

Current occupation: Stay at Home Mom and Team Leader/Independent Sales Consultant Norwex

Favorite Color: Purple

An inspirational quote that you love:
"Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like the wise man who built his house upon the rock" Mat 7:24

How can others connect with you on social media:




Monday, September 29, 2014

Making It Better Monday: Finding Time for You

How To Find Time For You
Last week I talked about the importance of taking care of our personal needs.  Several of the suggestions require you to do something on your own, without your children.  That is something that can be difficult for someone who has an active partner and/or friends and family nearby, but for some that might be impossible.  Here are 10 ways that should help you "find" some time for yourself.

1) Ask others for help
If you are married or have an active partner, explain your need for a few minutes to yourself.  Most likely, they want you to be happy and will be willing to give you that.  After they see how much it improves your mood, because it will improve your mood, they will likely be even more willing in the future.  If you are unable to convince them to give you that time, or there is no one around to ask, try to find a friend you can barter childcare with.  On one day you will watch her kids and on another she will watch yours, giving both of you time to yourselves.

2) Find something that will safely occupy the kids
This might mean taking your time for you during their nap time or  during their favorite tv show.  Obviously, this would only work for those things that do not require you to leave the house and won't take tremendous amounts of uninterrupted time, but it works well for you to get 5 or 10 minutes to do something for you.

3) Involve the kids
If you are making yourself feel pretty or working on a hobby, involve the kids in the process.  Many little girls have fond memories of watching mommy making herself up.  Also, when allowing yourself to eat first, let the kids help set the table, serve the meal, or get drinks, whatever is appropriate for their ages.  Again, this won't work for everything, but it will work for some.

4) Make it part of the family's routine
Again, this will not work with everything, but you could institute daily reading time or quiet time, where everyone has to read or look at books for 15 minutes.  Even the youngest of kids can amuse themselves with a book, even if they cannot read.

5) Let some of the chores slide, at least occasionally
I am not talking about letting your house slip into utter chaos, but there are likely days that you can skip vacuuming for a day, or instead of unloading the dishwasher, you grab the dishes from it as you need them (that works best with smaller families).

6) Prioritize
Look at all the things you do each day and determine if there is something you could give up, at least occasionally, in order to do something for yourself.  Maybe it is spending less time online one day a week, or making convenient meals (freezer meals, crock-pot meals, or whatever your go-to quick meal is) one night a week.

7) Multi-task   
This can mean doing more than 1 chore at a time in order to free up some time later, or it can mean using some alone time to do the things you need to do, such as grocery shopping by yourself or chatting with other adults while waiting for your children at gymnastics.

8) Get up a little earlier 
I have not been able to do this for a while, but when I am sleeping through the night again I plan to do this again.  I like to take my alone time at the start of my day.  I wake up about an hour before everyone else.  I read my scriptures, shower uninterrupted, and sometimes work on something I enjoy, whether it be reading a book or knitting or baking a treat.  It is a nice way to start my day.

9) If feasible, hire help
If it is in your family's budget, hire a mother's helper, babysitter, or house cleaner to come over once a week.  If money is tight, see about trading services with someone.  Maybe you could trade a cooked dinner (double your family's meal) for a couple of hours of service.

10) Cut back on unnecessary distractions and chores
Do you do things that do not bring you joy and are not necessary?  Cut back on those things and replace them with more time for you.  Do you have your kids involved on numerous activities that THEY do not enjoy?  Ask yourself which activities are most important and cut out the others.  Are you cooking every meal, every day from scratch?  Try making freezer meals once a month to free up some time each week or double up your recipes and have planned leftovers the next day.  Do you do ALL the housework yourself?  Involve the kids in everyday chores as appropriate.  They will enjoy helping you, learn life-long skills, and benefit from having a more relaxed mom.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

School Saturday: Africa

Last week I discovered a box of schoolbooks I had received some time ago and packed away because my kids were not ready for them.  In there, I discovered a social studies book that I am going through with my older girls.  The first unit is on Africa, so I built a unit for all the kids to go around it.  Here is what we did this week:

Writing- I had each child write about an imaginary trip to Africa.  The younger kids drew a picture to go with their paragraphs.  The older kids wrote theirs as narrative essays.

History-Each child was to choose (with help) an age appropriate biography about one of the following Africans (links are affiliate links, you can buy them or check your library for them)and share with us what they learned.  Each person needed to be chosen, with a younger and older child both working on Nelson Mandela.

- Nelson Mandela: Elementary kids: Nelson Mandela: A Biography for Kids (currently free for Kindle) and for Middle schoolers: Nelson Mandela: "No Easy Walk to Freedom")
- Phillis Wheatley: Middle schoolers and older elementary: Phillis Wheatley: Young Revolutionary Poet

- Wangari Maathai: Elementary kids: Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai (Frances Foster Books)

Health- With the ebola virus in the news recently, I had the older kids learn more about it and teach the younger ones the basics of what they learned: what it is (symptoms, treatments), where it is most prevalent, why it is so bad, and how it is spread.

Physical Education and Music- All of the kids listened to some traditional African drumming and learned a traditional African dance.

Visual Arts- We looked at some traditional African masks and designed our own.

Practical Arts- The older girls were each assigned a traditional African dish to make.  My 8th grader made African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup, and my 7th grader made a Melktert (Milk Tart).  I had my elementary students team up and make Moroccan Krsa (flatbread).  All together it made for a yummy African themed lunch.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Found on the web Friday

Around the Web

These are things I have come across this week.  It does not mean they were originally published this week, just that I found them this week.

- Ruth at Viva Veltoro shared information about what you should about car seats that are involved in car accidents.  Please note, that the information applies whether or not a child was actually in the car seat at the time of the accident.  

- With fall here, it is time to preserve those last tomatoes from the vine.  There is a recipe for Fiesta Salsa over at Halfway Oak Farms.  There are also instructions for how to make the salsa if you do not want to preserve it, at the bottom of the recipe.

- Whitney at Rookie Moms, shared how to make your own portrait studio at home.  This would be great for taking your own photos or as a small business.

- Did you know that Rosh Hashana started on Wednesday?  Aimee over at Multicultural Kid Blogs shares how her family celebrates it and a bit about the history of the holiday.

- Danielle over at Blissful and Domestic shares a video on how to make Basic Dinner Rolls, which will come in quite handy at Thanksgiving in a couple of months.  In the meantime, I can practice with my family at home.


These are giveaways I have found and entered.  In some of the cases, I will receive an extra entry into the giveaway for sharing it with you. 

- Over at Sonya's Happenings, you can enter to win a $25 of YumEarth organic and natural candies.  If you have never had these, they are soooo yummy.  Also, this giveaway is part of The Pumpkin Party Giveaway Hop, so she has links to 24 additional giveaways, as well. Ends 10/8.

- You can win the Blu-Ray of "The Fault in Our Stars" over at Irish Film Critic. Ends 10/30.

- Have a little one in your life, or one on the way?  You can enter to win an organic XOve baby one-piece and matching swaddling blanket at Family Focus Blog. Ends 10/13.

- Krusteaz is running an instant win facebook giveaway where you can win instantly a Weber Spirit SP-320 Gas Grill and year supply of Krusteaz Flatbread Mix, a 3-piece Weber Original Grilling Tool Set, or a coupon for a free box of  Krusteaz Flatbread Mix.  Ends 11/6.

- Over at Steamy Kitchen, you can enter to win a gift bundle that includes 2 Cases of Ball Green Heritage Jars, a Fresh Herb Keeper, Dry Herb Jars, Frozen Herb Starters, 5-Blade Herb Scissors, and Ball Blue Book. Ends 12/22.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Things I Love Thursday: Acorns

(Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.  None-the-less, these items were chosen because I truly love them and not every link is an affiliate link.)

With fall starting this week, I chose another fall theme for this week's Things I Love feature: Acorns!

One More Acorn

First up, is a book that was pieced together by the son of the famous Don Freeman (author of the Corduroy books), Roy Freeman.  Roy had found the handwritten text and sketches among his father's belongings after his death.  He then pieced them together and brought this fun book, One More Acorn, geared for pre-school and elementary children.
Charming Tails Acorns

How cute is this little guy?  I have always liked the Charming Tails line, but never saw this one.  

acorn pregnancy announcement

Having had 6 babies, I began to run out of ways to announce our pregnancies.  I wish I had discovered Jeannie at Petite25 before we announced our last baby.  In addition to these adorable acorn announcements, she has a bunch of other ones that are just as creative.

acorn stamp

I love when I have the chance to create things and have recently been getting back into making homemade cards and stamping.  When I saw this stamp by Marlene at pictureshow, I knew I needed to include it here.  It is perfect for decorating fall themed cards or menu cards on Thanksgiving.

acorn napking ring

To go with your stamped acorn menu cards, you can use these acorn napkin ring by Tikkido.  If you want to make them yourself, I was given permission to share the link to Tikiddo's tutorial for my crafty readers.

acorn necklace

After you finish dressing up your table, you can dress up yourself with this beautiful acorn necklace from EnchantedLeaves.  I love this snow pearl and silver one, but they offer a variety of colors and metal combinations in their shop, so you can always choose the one you like best.

acorn peg dolls

I think these peg dolls with acorn caps by Lisa at Simple Gifts (SimpleGiftsToys) are simply adorable. She has tons of items I love in her shop, so be sure to check her out.

acorn mobile

This acorn mobile by Asta at astashtoys would look lovely in a woodland themed nursery.  It is also available in pastel colors.  Her shop also has a bunch more acorn items that would complement a woodland themed room.

acorn sorting toy
I love this Montessori/Waldorf friendly sorting toy by Heather at Homegrown Toys.  My 2, 6, and 7 year olds would all enjoy using the tongs to sort the acorns. Heather has also graciously offered my readers a 10% discount with the code JOY10.  She also has lots of beautiful wooden items in her shop, that would be great in a Montessori or Waldorf based setting, or any home.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

We Did It Wednesday: Dollar Tree Cake Plate

I have seen several people talking about making their own cake plates using items from Dollar Tree and a tube of E6000®(which is currently an add-on item on Amazon for only $2.97).  I have no idea who first came up with this, so I am sharing my experience with you.

I made this plate with a green bowl and fun multicolor plate that I found at Dollar Tree.  Due to the fluidity of their products, I cannot promise you will find the same colors at your local store, but chances are you will be able to find something.  When choosing the bowl, be sure to choose a bowl with taller sides and not the shallower cereal bowl.  After you have your products, you simply run a line of the glue around the bottom of the bowl and then center it on the underside of the plate and let it dry.  Mine was dry within 10 minutes, making the entire project super quick.  In fact, I think I spent more time choosing the dishes than I did putting it together.  The fact it cost less than $2.50 to make and can be done quickly makes this a great gift idea for a wedding, Christmas, or just because.  I plan to make a few, pile them with cookies, muffins, or a cake and deliver them to some friends who could use a pick-me-up.

homemade cake plate