Free Stuff!

It’s been a little while since I’ve given away anything from my blog! So, before I tell you what I did…er, melted yesterday, I have to tell you about my dirty bathroom mirror. I don’t have pictures of the “before” because I really didn’t expect anything to produce an “after;” so, I’m going to paint a gross little word picture for you.

When I bought this trailer, it came with everything it had in it. And by “everything,” I mean “dirt”. Actually, my sweet servant example parents bagged up six large trash bags before they even let me in to see the place. So, I can only imagine how gross it was before. But I guess I probably wouldn’t be living here now if they hadn’t done that. The fixer-up phase is on “pause” at the moment. It’s hard to know how much you want to do to a home that cost less than your last car (and I don’t spend much on my cars). Besides, Jesus is still working on my addition to His Father’s House, and I’m no longer very interested in those remodels that won’t survive fire. Cleaning, though, I am very interested in, which is why I almost tossed all of the existing mirrors. There was one, though, that was especially bad.

You’ve probably seen one…maybe in a truck stop bathroom. It looks like it used to be a mirror–or maybe something like a mirror. Now, though, it belongs in a fun house, possibly–the trash, probably. What you see when you look in it is more like a shadowy, distorted version of your mirrored self. I don’t know what the film was. I don’t know if someone had tried to clean it with garbage?!? Anyhoo, though…it was grimy.

I tried Windex, of course. Straight vinegar. Rubbing alcohol. Nothing worked. But then, my good friend Connie sent me some Shaklee products, and I thought it was worth one last try.

(Drum roll please….)

It (specifically the candy-smelling Scour Off Paste) worked!!

I told Connie about my love of Shaklee, and she said I could give away some Basic H2 samples from my blog! Don’t let “sample” fool you–this is Shaklee we’re talking about! Each sample contains enough solution for 2 bottles of cleaner, all purpose and window! I’ve been using Basic H2, with a few drops of lavender oil, on everything in my house! It works as well as any chemical cleaner I’ve ever tried (and better than my homemade ones, have). I don’t have to worry about the kids using it, and I don’t have to worry about them overusing it because this stuff is seriously going to last forever.

For a chance at scoring your own Basic H2 sample–to have the privilege of cleaning well without nasty chemicals and fakey smells–just click on over to Connie’s blog (she’s only giving away 10, so hurry!!). Comment on any post and tell her I sent you!

Also, if you purchase a Get Clean Starter Kit ($99), Connie will send you a FREE Scour Off Heavy Duty Paste (the miracle paste that cleaned my filthy mirror).

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Golden Keyes Parsons: Giving Voice to the Silent

I have quite a few posts piling up in my drafts folder. Alright, so my second book is interfering with my blogging about as much as the first one did. Drat. I have a fun (more than fun, but I don’t want to oversell it) story to tell you–hopefully on Tuesday. And I definitely want to answer all those questions about the Sabbath that have literally poured through my inbox lately. Or not literally. That’s gonna drive my dad crazy.

Tonight, I’m departing from my drafts to tell you about a wonderful lady and a talented writer. She was my pastor’s wife until her husband had a heart attack, died, came back to life and was ordered out of the mountains by his doctors. We miss them tremendously around here, but we are so glad they are safe and flourishing back in their original home state of Texas.

Golden Keyes Parsons has written several books over the past few years. I have yet to read them all, but I have thoroughly enjoyed what I have read. I read her brand new novella in an afternoon while the kids played around me. It’s a fascinating interpretation of the woman trapped (the adulteress brought before the Pharisees for stoning). It held my interest from word one, but I don’t want to give too much away.

I curiously quizzed Golden about her the heart wants what the heart wants plot-line, and she answered that that was, truly, a bondage she was tearing down in this writing. I cannot share the whole conversation without ruining the book for it’s first time readers, but I will share her answers to my other questions.

1. How did you come to the conclusion that this moving but brief story (in the Bible) should be tied in to the Pharisee’s plotting against Jesus?

I actually wrote this story years ago after I had taught on the passage and was intrigued by the fact that this beloved story that teaches us so much about the love, mercy and forgiveness of God concerns a woman who is not even named. I read volumes of commentaries on the passage which I’m sure you know some say was not in the original manuscripts. However, they feel it was so characteristic of the compassion of Jesus that it finally was included in the canon.

This is not really “my interpretation.” It is a fleshing out of one of the theories that the adulterous woman was not a prostitute, as commonly thought, but was a betrothed virgin and was trapped in order to frame Jesus. That made the accusation of adultery so much more serious under the law. And the fact that her partner was not accused with her further supports the framed theory. Also, there were supposed to be two or more witnesses. How in the world would that happen unless it was a set-up?

2. Do you feel that modern American women will relate to Anna? If so, how?

It’s interesting that I keep getting asked this question. My answer is that God’s Word is eternal and the standards that he has set for us to follow are for our good. He is for us. So when we break those standards, it is to our detriment. Even in today’s tolerant society, adultery is still wrong. And I think the consequences to the individual and the betrayed partner are still as devastating as they were years ago. In addition God’s forgiveness is still as freeing.

3. How do you relate to Anna?

I wrote this at a point in my life when I desperately needed God’s forgiveness. I don’t think I even realized that at the time I was writing it, but although the circumstances were not the same, I still had sinned and needed to be forgiven. To work through Anna’s emotions and the forgiveness that she found served to help me understand that Jesus would do the same for me.

4. What would you like to say to my readers, and why do you hope they will read this series of books?

I would like to say that God is always faithful. We can trust Him even when circumstances look bad. Even when we’ve sinned and think we’ve messed our lives up beyond hope. This series is about women who felt they were beyond the reach of the forgiveness, the grace, the mercy and the healing of God. No one is. I hope that the women who read these books will look to Jesus in the midst of their own issues and find that he offers the same hope and compassion to them as he did to these nameless women in Scripture.

 

Thank you, Golden, for this wonderful new series and for putting names and faces to these woman who have taught us and blessed us for so long.

The e-book version of Trapped is now available on Amazon! Paperback coming soon.

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Secret of the Wings–We’ve Seen It!

I grew up without a sister. At least, I felt that way while I was younger…

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As I grew, I learned that sisterhood was something special enough to seek out and demand out of life–and I now have many.

If I’d had my way, though, I’d have grabbed a sister of the biological nature, perhaps on my way out of the womb. There are real sisters among my group of sisters, and I’ll always be just a little bit jealous.

About ten weeks into my first viable pregnancy, I knew I was having twin girls. Of course, no one believed me until the sonogram ten weeks later, but I knew. Twins. Girls. Sisters! My first child would be born alongside the greatest gift I could ever give her.

I spent quite a bit of time lying around (because they almost killed me) just dreaming about their lives. Now there are three sisters in our kingdom. Life is a pink, twirling, musical. That is, when it’s not a scratching, yelling, “That’s my shirt!! You can’t wear it without asking!” cage match. Ah, yes, I wish I’d had a sister.

When I was asked to review Disney’s newest fairy flick, “Secret of the Wings”, I said “yes” without hesitation. First of all, I could just picture my daughters’ faces at the thought of seeing Tinker Bell flit and fly more than a month before any of their friends. That would make it all worth it, right there, no matter how I ended up feeling about the movie.

In this made for DVD and Blu-ray movie, Tinker Bell, the tiny rebel that she is, seeks out expected mischief by sneaking across the border that separates summer from winter. Why would someone do that, I wonder? But while she is there, she discovers something unexpected and wonderful. When Tinker Bell’s wings begin to shimmer and glow as she steps into the magic of winter, she commits to do anything in her power to venture back into the deadly [to summer fairies] cold and find out why.

While incognito, in addition to snow and ice and sights Tink has never seen in summer, Tinker Bell stumbles upon her twin sister–who had also noticed her own glowing wings and felt deeply that something new and wonderful had entered her frigid world.

Peggy Holmes, who also directed my all time favorite, Newsies, enlisted the help of a noted twin-study expert for the making of this film. And I think I can say with full certainty that it shows. In fact, there was quite a bit of realism contrasting the glittering backdrop of Fairy Hollow.

Watching Tink and Periwinkle slip and glide through the wonders that are winter made me glance out the window at the snow clouds circling the tip tops of surrounding mountains. And for a moment, I didn’t wish them away. Jodi Benson, Timothy Dalton, Anjelica Houston and others will warm your heart as they test and prove the unbreakable strength of the bond of sisterhood in this surprisingly heartwarming, funny, and romantic look into the life of my girls’ favorite fairies.

Watch it with your daughters–and your sisters, whether they were given or earned. To date, I’ve seen it six times. Preorder your copy of Disney’s “Secret of the Wings” today! And let me know what sisterhood means to you. Comment for your chance to win a “Flitterific Fairies Blue-ray™ Double Pack”, which is a Blu-Ray/DVD combo containing Secret of the Wings and another fabulous fairy adventure!

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Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the
following unique term in your tweet message: #SweepstakesEntry; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post”

c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 10/8 to 10/31.

Be sure to visit the Secret of the Wings Reel Sisterhood brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

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I Might as Well Try to Get Paid!

I like Facebook. My favorites hangouts are the private groups (if you don’t have one of those, get-ya-one). They’re the perfect way to use Facebook, in my opinion. You can have a thousand friends and only share your really personal life (or, you know, those embarrassing stories that would make your mama blush) with a few. This post, though, came about because of what I insist on posting for all to read.

Cause, apparently, I have only three things on my mind, lately: food, Pandora, and Roku.

And this post isn’t about food.

No, last night my status read, “In case y’all didn’t know, cause you NEED to know…Pandora through Roku is sans commercials.” And after I answered everyone’s questions about what the heck a Roku is, I thought, “Hmmm…I wonder if Roku would pay me for this?!”

And I guess they will!

Here’s the deal, y’all. My brother gave me a Roku box (probably one of the first ever made) three years ago for Christmas. We were sans t.v. at the time, and apparently he thought that we needed more entertainment in our lives. Today, we’re still using the same Roku box, and we’ve never even thought about upgrading to cable or dish or whatever.

Right now, we’re watching The Electric Company (which we like to do before phonics) on Netflix. For the rest of the day, our Roku will stream Pandora (DC Talk radio, thankyouverymuch). We’ll probably rent a movie though Amazon, tonight (because I’ve been promising the kids that we’d rent The Muppets). And after the kids go to bed, I’m going to watch the House season finale on HuluPlus. – And those or only some of the channels that are available by plugging that little black box into your t.v.!

The most commonly asked question about Roku is, “What am I going to pay monthly for Roku?”

The answer to that is, “As much or as little as you want!” There are quite a few free Roku channels (though none quite as appealing as Netflix or HuluPlus), so you could just buy the box and be done! There is no monthly charge for Roku itself, you’re only buying the box (one-time purchase). Netflix charges monthly, as does HuluPlus. Also, Roku offers additional paid channels (though, I’ve never even felt the need to try them).

I’ve overheard quite a few of you questioning your t.v. bill, or wondering if you simply have too many channels. If you’re thinking about making the break from t.v. without completely making the break…

Well, obviously, I think you should get a Roku!

205627_Stream on your TV. Not your PC.

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Whine, Cheese, and Pancakes

A few weeks ago, first time author and veteran blogger Jackie Hennessy sent me a copy of her book. I failed to review it right away because I was busy finishing my own book.

I think that makes me a jerk. 

But I’m ready to review it, now. And to make up for my lack of blogging, I have a free, signed, copy to give away to one of you!

Jackie’s book is a niche book, for sure. It is only for moms who get frustrated with their lives and children and are not lactose intolerant. Fortunately, that’s a pretty enormous niche! And it’s one that I believe 98% of my readers fall into.

 

 

Let’s get the bad news out of the way, first. This book could make you me very, very fat. But if you’ll look through my Foody Friday posts, I think you’ll come to the conclusion that I’m not that worried.

“How to Spread Sanity on a Cracker: Mom-to-Mom Whines, Cheese, Rants and Recipes,” is a book for moms who love cheese and love to wash down whines with laughter. It’s that simple. This book is for pretty much all people female. And your husbands will devour the absolutely never calorie counting recipes.

I don’t want to give too much away, but if you want to learn how to make an amazing (and fast) baked brie while reading about Jackie’s difficult introduction to stay-at-home motherhood…or how to make spinach dip while giggling over the true story behind what she lovingly calls “pay-to-stay” mom parties…this is the book for you. It’s funny, it’s fattening, it’s pretty fabulous!

If you want a free copy (I only have one, so the rest of you are going to have to buy your own!), tell me how much you love cheese (or hate whine – or both) in the comments.

And in honor of Friday, I thought I’d let you in on one of our little household comforts. It’s caused my children to exclaim, “You’re the best mom in the world!” on several occasions, so I think it’s worth sharing with you.

A few years ago, someone (one of you, I believe) told me that you could microwave cake in a coffee mug. I was given a recipe with this amazing bit of knowledge, but y’all know how well I stick to those. To this day, filling a greased mug half way with cake batter and microwaving it for somewhere under a minute is still our favorite way to achieve dessert bliss is less than five minutes.

But now, we’ve brought the revolution to breakfast!

Because you can, I’m happy to announce, do the same thing with pancake batter!

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Happy Holidays, from Kingdom Twindom and Shutterfly!

Shutterfly and I go way back. Waay back. Like, when-I-was-fifteen-and-wanted-a-group-picture-of-me-and-my-gang-blown-up-into-a-wall-poster–I-turned-to-Shutterfly way back. Even in the [gasp] ’90s, they did a great job. Don’t quote me, but I think it was Shutterfly who first adopted that little warning feature that tells you if your photo quality is appropriate for your photo size. I really, really depend on that feature!

I can’t believe I can’t find that poster, btw.

Then, in ’04, when it was time to order prints of my wedding renewal photos, Shutterfly made the photo book and all of the prints. Shutterfly made Papa Bear’s Father’s Day present this year, too. I’ve never been anything but thrilled with their results and their prices.

So, when the folks at Shutterfly asked if I’d like some freebie Christmas cards, and some to give away to you, I didn’t really have to think about it. YEESSS!

Well, I did have to think about the pictures for the card. Shutterfly offers an almost insane variety of pre-designed holiday cards…and all you have to do is drop in your photos and edit your text (it’ll tell you if your text is the right size for your card)! If you didn’t find anything you liked last year, look again. They have hundreds of new cards for 2011!

The cards vary to allow for anywhere from one to nine photos. I ran the kids outside and lucked out with a super cute shot, so I opted for a one-photo card.

I plan on sending this one out in time for Thanksgiving…as a Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year card.

Me, I just say “Happy Holidays”. Ha.

If you wanted to get more specific, you could search through their entire line of Thanksgiving cards.

Or, even if you’re feeling a little scroogish, you might want to go all out with birthday cards or thank-you-notes!

That’s why I’m thrilled to offer three (3!!) of my readers a promo code that’s instantly redeemable for 25 free cards (somewhere around a $50 value for each!).

Wanna win? I’m going to pick one reader (at random.org) from the blog comments, one reader from the Facebook comments and one from the tweets. For three chances, feel free to comment in all three places! What you comment is entirely up to you, just make sure to mention this contest in your tweets!

Go. And Happy Pre-Holidays, everybody!

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My Father’s World – Day 17 – a Review

First things first, Courtney Clifford, contact me with your mailing address so I can forward it to the folks at Easy Canvas Prints! I hope you enjoy your canvas!

Next on the list, I’ve been meaning to tell you all what I think (so far) of My Father’s World. We’re on day 17, so we’re far from experts. But can I just tell you that I’m loving it…loooving it so far!? I will write a formal review at the end of the school year.


It’s not a skip-a-grade and home-school your child to Mensa, program. Actually, I’d taken kindergarten past the point that was necessary to prepare Cuddle Bug and Tiny Dancer for MFW 1st grade. But I love the slow, repetitive, solidifying pace. It’s never boring, though. From cutting and pasting to writing, coloring, copying, or manipulating everyday household items, each lesson is taught using a variety of methods. We laugh all morning. That’s how I know it’s working. And did I mention that each lesson is already written (proof that there is a God!)?!


Lil Prince and Bay Bit sit through most of our lessons. I also provide them with their own (K-5) worksheets, and manipulatives (below is an aspect of MFW K-5, which we are only using pieces of).

If we start around nine, we can be done with our academics by lunchtime. I don’t make the younger three sit though everything; but if they’re interested, they’re certainly allowed to. Baby Bear usually cuts out first. He sat and played with play dough last year…this year he’s a little more boy active. He’ll still sit, but for not as long. When he’s had enough, he heads to his room to play with toys, and sometimes he heads to mine to watch Superman and play with a set of blocks that I leave out on my bed during school time. I plan to involve him more and more every year; but for now, that’s what works for us.

Everyday starts with Bible. This works well because we’ve schooled that way since preschool. The kids (I include them all) are given one new Proverb every week. This same Proverb is used for discussion (don’t teach children what to think…teach them to think), for memorization and for handwriting. I think know that’s my favorite part.

 

After Bible (in the 1st Grade set up) are Reading, Handwriting, Math and Art. Science fills every fifth day, and History begins in a week or two.

 

 

 

I love being prepared. I love being surprised (in a good way), too. And I really love working alongside my kiddos as they learn new things. In fact, we’ve been inspired to explore further…our itty bitty baby worm (that we’re measuring weekly) and our captive caterpillar are [hopefully still living] proof.
We’ve dissected seeds and flowers. We’ve drawn. We’ve journaled. We’ve colored. We’ve painted. And we still go off script whenever we come up with a good idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can tell you, as a former piecemeal homeschooler, that I couldn’t have imagined loving one program as much as I love MFW. I’m not saying I’ll never part ways for math or science…but for now, we’ve found the perfect fit!

Of course, as always, we’re taking it year by precious year.

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