Thursday, December 1, 2011

Free Christmas Advent Calendars and Printables

I've been homeschooling for a long, long time. Did I say long? And I've created a few worksheets and printables over the years to accommodate whatever need we had at the time. You can check out some of my printables over on

But this post is about the Advent Calendars and Printables for Christmas that I am offering. They are embedded here for your enjoyment! The links on the bottom of the printables are all wrong so disregard. But the copyright still stands. It's free to use just don't sell it please. And if you decide to pin it on pinterest I wouldn't be opposed :)

I hope your family enjoys them as much as we do.

This one is the activity calendar. We placed each in an envelope and we open them each day and do the activity.
Activities Advent Calendar                                                                                            

This is the Santa's beard calendar. Each day we glue a cotton ball on the picture till the final day when Santa's beard and hat will be fluffy and white. Our kids don't really "do" Santa but we've had fun with it.
santa countdown to christmas                                                                                            

And finally our family favorite which we've done for years now is the Countdown to Baby Jesus! It's pretty self explanatory. You glue/tape a star on each day until it's Jesus' birthday!
Christmas Advent Calendar                                                                                            

Gratitude Giveaway - And the winner is...

Jennifer M. was lucky number 16 and is the winner of a $5 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of Empyre Robotika by Brandon Lee Little! Thanks so much for entering the giveaway! And if you didn't win but would like to read Empyre Robotika (which I highly suggest) it is available for Kindle for only 99¢ and also available as a print on demand.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review: This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano

I actually received the book entitled This Little Prayer of Mine :)

It is a beautifully illustrated book that reads like poetry. The brilliantly colored pictures are what makes the whole book come together. The colors are vivid and the images endearing. It's like getting to watch a child's dream unfold.

This would be an awesome gift for any child from 5-8 years old. Although I think the younger kids would appreciate it as well.

Very cute. I highly recommend it!

I got this book for free in exchange for my review. You can get free books too if you sign up for Blogging for Books!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's Turkey Time!

It's time to bring out the Thanksgiving decor. I was at Walmart a couple days ago and they are already clearancing out their Thanksgiving stuff. Seriously? And some crazy person in our neighborhood has their Christmas tree up this week. Hello? It's only the second week of November. Around here we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Anyways, off the soapbox...Here is Tom Turkey once again making his annual appearance. I'm gonna be hosting a giveaway during the week leading up to Thanksgiving so I thought I'd let Tom have his minute of fame first. If you've been on here ever you may have seen Tom before. This is a repost of sorts. I hope you enjoy!

I love Thanksgiving! It's right in the middle of the holidays and also in fall which is my favorite season. So I thought I'd share a printable I created for my kids a few years ago.

This is Tom Turkey. He's not very happy. Do you know why? He knows that Thanksgiving is coming soon. lol. So feel free to print Tom and share him. Just link back if you post him on your blog. I'd love to see your pics! We've been doing this since I created it in 2005 and my kids look forward to it every year.

Countdown to Thanksgiving

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review: A Whisper of Peace by Kim Vogel Sawyer

A Whisper of Peace is the story of a brother and step-sister who travel to Alaska to share the gospel with the native people. As they begin their ministry there they find an outcast, Lizzie, a native woman with bright blue eyes who has been sent to live outside of the village. Can Clay and Vivian bring peace to the native people?

A Whisper of Peace by Kim Vogel Sawyer was a quick enjoyable read. I've read books by Sawyer before and they never disappoint. If you are looking for a love story with a spiritual theme her books are what you want. However, I will say Sawyers books always leave me wanting a little more on the romantic side of the story.

As a fan of Christian fiction, especially edgier Christian historic fiction, I've become accustomed to the writing styles of Deeanne Gist, Julie Lessman and Tamara Alexander. While Kim Vogel Sawyer's writing style is not similar to the edgier Christian fiction I tend toward they are definitely among the books I'd pass on to a friend without a second thought as the the content. It's definitely clean and enjoyable. Check it out!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Recipe: Pumpkin Apple Butter

I got this recipe years ago from a friend and I honestly can't find the recipe. And I've googled it too. But I tried it again today from memory and it was totally yummy just the same :) I don't think it's very easy to mess up so spice it up however you like.

So here's my "off the cuff" recipe for Pumpkin Apple Butter

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 can unsweetened apple sauce (I used the pumpkin puree can to measure)
1/4 cup brown sugar
cinnamon and nutmeg to taste (I did about 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon)

Mix all ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Heat at medium to medium high (4-6 on my range) for about 5 minutes. Stir almost constantly. When it's thoroughly heated let it cool down a bit and serve. That's it!

How easy is that? It is so yummy on biscuits. And I'm tempted to try making fried pies with this as the filling. You might want to add more like 1/2 cup of brown sugar if you like it sweeter. I used unsweetened apple sauce so it didn't come out as sweet as the time I made it before. One time I tried apple sauce with cinnamon already in it. It's a very flexible recipe. The basic thing is equal parts pumpkin puree and apple sauce.

Makes a great little gift!

I linked this on:

Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Review: The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y'Barbo

I'll just start out by telling you that I'm a huge fan of Lori Wick. I know what you're thinking...This book is by Kathleen Y'Barbo. But honestly, this book takes the torch from Lori Wick who is sadly no longer writing.

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck is by far one of the best books I've read lately. Does it matter that it is the last of a 3 book series? Absolutely not! In fact I had no clue the previous 2 books existed :)

The characters are really well developed and the plot was so familiar that it felt like coming home. A familiar plot does not however mean that it's overly predictable. The romance which develops whether the main characters want it or not is heartwarming.

And it's got just the right amount of edgy that I love from authors such as Deeanne Gist and Julie Lessman. All in all I couldn't put this book down. I got it on my Kindle and read it in less than 3 days!

If you are looking for a nice romance to read while sipping a chai latte :) this is the book for you.

I got this book free for my review! And you can get free books too just for signing up at Blogging for Books! Just click the link in the sidebar.

Also, if you're interested the previous 2 books in this series are Anna Finch and the Hired Gun and The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A quick little "in the mood for Fall" craft

So, the summer is winding down and the kids are back to school. Our oldest started "real" school at a charter school this year. And the other 2 are still homeschooled and taking support classes 2 days per week for 3 hours each day. 

Which means I get free time! 

Which means I get to go to the dollar tree and put together new crafts for the fall! I love the fall. In Colorado, it's not quite the same thing as back in Georgia but it still gives me a chance to get crafty.

This craft idea came to me as I sat at the computer checking out the new fall crafts over on One Pretty Thing. I absolutely love love love this site! I have this cute little Ikea tray that has been with us for a few years. And when the seasons change so does the decor of the tray. It's my little piece of decoration in our rented place. It's easy to change and it's a great focal point.

So here's the deal, the dollar tree has these awesome little vinyl wall stickers and everytime I walk past them my crafty brain goes ga-ga. I have wanted to do something with them. I've thought of maybe Christmas gifts of signs with these. I'm gonna experiment and maybe that'll come in a later post. So anyways, I saw these 2 and had to buy them. One says "Everyday is a Gift" and the other says "Bless this home with Love and Laughter". Are you not loving the scrolling text?


So here's what you do...and it's super complicated. You peel it off and stick it on the tray. Taa Daa! I mean really how pretty is that? And the cool part is that it's suppose to resist moisture and it's re-stickable. So save the little paper it comes on and swap it out from time to time. By the way, the stuff on the tray (I just noticed) was all purchased at the dollar tree. Get out the glue guns and glitter and decorations. It's FALL!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Book Review: The Dragons of Chiril

I usually enjoy Donita K. Paul's books but this one took me a while. It's kind of a slow starter. The cover is what drew me to pick this book. It's beautiful.

I enjoyed the story and the characters but I wouldn't say it's a book I'd read again. (Sorry for such a short review.) I may at some point try the rest of the series but I'm actually not a huge fan of "dragon books". As far as the writing style, it's well written as you'd expect from such a seasoned writer.

If you've read any of Paul's other works you'll really enjoy it!

Disclaimer: I got this book for free to review for Blogging for Books. You can get some great books too! Check out blogging for books (Sidebar ad)--->

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book Review: When Sparrows Fall

What can I say about When Sparrows Fall? I enjoyed every minute of it. I spent two nights reading till 2am because I didn't want to stop reading and break the spell. 

Miranda is a widow with 6 children.. When she finds herself in the hospital after a fall, her long lost brother-in-law becomes the caretaker for his nieces and nephews. Jack is a university professor who gets a taste of culture shock when he shows up to take over Miranda's household. The whole fiasco makes for an engaging story.

When Sparrows Fall takes place in the North Georgia Blue Ridge mountains. Our family lived near there for 9 years and the author has presented the area to a "T". Everything from the accents to the "down home" hospitality and "backwoods" superstition are easily reminiscent of where my husband grew up.

The characters, Miranda and Jack are some of my recent favorite. The author took great pains to make the characters 3-dimensional and the labor paid off. The interactions are believable and the dialogue was very realistic.

This book comes highly recommended. Put this book on the top of your summer reads list!

Just so you know, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. And you get get free books too through Blogging for Books.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Granny's Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies

(source) - this is not a photo of my cookies. I only make them at Christmas, as they are too deadly to have around.
This is an all time family favorite. I make these cookies every year for Christmas and cookie exchanges. I've heard them called everything from "Cow patties" to "PooPoo Cookies" but we always called them Chocolate Oatmeal cookies.

This is the recipe that my Granny always used. I have never had these not turn out right. So here ya go.

Granny's Chocolate Oatmeal "No-Bake" Cookies

2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of cocoa
1/4 stick of butter (2Tbsp)
1/2 cup of milk
2 cups of oatmeal
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring (I have on occasion used hazelnut flavoring)

Mix sugar, cocoa, butter and milk in a pot. Cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter, then the vanilla and oatmeal. Make sure to to mix it well. Then drop spoonfuls of the mixture on to wax paper/parchment and let them harden. Done!

A couple notes:
  1. If when you finish mixing it seems really, really runny (like syrup) add some more oatmeal. 
  2. These take very little time to make. However, if you need the setting time to go faster, like maybe you are suppose to be at a cookie exchange in a few hours :) , pop them in the freezer for a few minutes.
  3. These things are seriously deadly. Don't keep them around the house because you will seriously eat too many. 
So there ya go. Enjoy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Free Printable: Tic Tac Toe Board

Well for us the summer has started. And even though we probably aren't gonna be taking any major trips, I know sometimes it helps to have something to keep the kiddos busy when we do. I made this printable for that reason. My middle kid likes to play tic tac toe. So this is for my monkey.  Printable Tic Tac Toe Board

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book Review: Too Rich for a Bride by Mona Hodgson

In this continuation of The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek, we follow the story of Ida Sinclair. Ida is the oldest of the Sinclair sisters. She comes to Cripple Creek to find work the the legendary businesswoman Mollie O'Bryan. And while Ida is not looking for a husband, love seems to find her none the less.

I very much enjoyed this story. Even though I haven't read the first book, I believe this story can stand on it's own. That said it did take me some time to get in to this story. It was enjoyable but took a while to get going. And having not known the characters from the previous book, I felt like I was trying to play catch-up.

I love the character of Tucker Raines. I also have found a love of fiction set in Colorado. When I learned that Cripple Creek is a real life town in Colorado (Just 2 hours from me) I told my husband we just have to visit.

I recommend it! It was a fun read. And I can not wait for the next book. Now off to get the first book.

Check out this video by the author, it made me really wanna go visit Cripple Creek:

Just so you know, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. And you get get free books too through Blogging for Books. There's a link on the sidebar. -->

Monday, May 2, 2011

Teachers Appreciation: Sticky Note stands

So it's that time of year again. The time when we thank the ladies and gentlemen who work so hard to teach our kids. And even though we homeschool, my kids attend science classes through the local school district. So I thought I'd share what we've made for the teachers this year to show our appreciation.

I've seen these on blog linkies and I'd love to post the link to where I've seen them but I've forgotten. (sorry) If it was you let me know. I'd love to give you credit.

Here's what you need: plastic photo frame, some paper (I used scrapbook paper), sticky note pad, double stick tape, ribbon and I also used a label maker but you can use whatever you want or have on hand.

I got all of this at the dollar tree. Except the label maker obviously. The frames I used were the 3.5 by 5 inch ones. I didn't do anything fancy. Attach the sticky pad to the frame with a couple pieces of double stick tape. Cut a piece of scrapbook paper 3.5 x 5 inches and place it in the frame. I tied a ribbon around the top and I printed little labels with their names. I'm going to place them in see-through goody bags with a colorful pencil and tie them off with a ribbon. These take almost no time and they are so easy.

If you wanted to shake things up a bit you could let the kids draw a picture and use that in place of the scrapbook paper. And here's the finished product in both the vertical and horizontal frames.  What are you making for your kids teachers this year? Leave me a link!

I linked this at Made By You Monday and Craft Catwalk !

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Keeping Busy


What's been keeping me busy lately: Crochet

I've started crocheting. I have this habit of picking up a new hobby, making a few things, losing interest and then a few years later picking it up again. I've had crochet hooks for a long time. I somehow made a little hat for my daughters baby doll and a small shopping bag for her barbie doll and then never picked up a hook again.

Until somewhere between Valentines day and St. Patricks day this year. I found these 2 patterns and I've been making a ridiculous number of crocheted goodies. The first I found at Skip to My Lou it's a really cute shamrock garland. I didn't actually create the garland, just a million shamrocks. Seriously, they take no time and they are so easy! And the other pattern I found at Sarahndipities it's a super cute heart garland. Again, I didn't make the garland just a million little hearts. Same problem: Easy and Fast. Today, I saw that Sarah posted another garland, a crocheted flower garland this time. My house will be blooming by tomorrow.

Also on the list of things I've crochet in the last month are:
  • A baby hat for my friends little newborn
  • A very bright green beret for myself (I haven't had the gall to wear it yet, lol) Started out as a newboys hat, lol.
  • A little headband for my daughter with a shamrock on it (snickering)
  • A half finished prayer shawl
  • A really cute off-white hat for me that was suppose to be for my 7 year old daughter but something happened with the sizing (more snickering)
  • A couple of unsuccessful attempts at granny squares which aren't that hard but I somehow managed to messed them up.
My most recent project is Crochet ponytail holders/Scrunchies. I watched this video and it is so easy it's ridiculous. I think I've made six now. My daughter is gonna have one to match every outfit. It's a really easy project if you happen to have had all 4 wisdom teeth removed and you are all but sedated. Just sayin'.

So check out this video and enjoy the sweet accent. By the way,  has got some really cute patterns. This hobby is getting out of hand. I'm printing off so many patterns that I'm gonna need to put them in a notebook now. They also have a few ebooks that are free for download.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Book Review: Mine is the Night

Once again Liz Curtis Higgs has created a masterpiece. In her beloved land of Scotland, Higgs retells the Biblical story of Ruth. This book is the sequel to Here Burns My Candle.

In Mine is the Night we catch up with Elizabeth Kerr and her mother in law. Marjory is returning to her hometown with Elizabeth after the sad loss of her husband as well as both of Marjorys sons.

Upon returning they don't find the welcome they expect. They are for the first time in their lives living without means and status. Can they let go of the past and embrace what the future holds?

I very much enjoyed this book. Liz Curtis Higgs makes you feel as though you've been to Scotland. Even a person like me who has yet to get out of the US. I feel I know and have walked the places she writes so well. Having read pretty much every work of fiction by Higgs, I can say without a doubt this ranks in my top favorites. This story feels like it takes place just over in the next kirk from the Thorn in My Heart series.

This book comes highly recommended. With all the action, adventure, and romance we've come to expect of a Liz Curtis Higgs novel, Mine is the Night does not disappoint.

Just so you know, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. And you get get free books too through Blogging for Books. There's a link on the sidebar. -->

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs and a Contest

Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs
I've got a review coming soon for Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs, the much awaited sequel to Here Burns My Candle.

I'm really enjoying this book and can't wait to tell you about it. But in the meantime, Waterbrook/Multnomah is hosting a contest.

You can check it out here Mine is the Night Contest

Also, Liz Curtis Higgs is hosting a live video event on April 5th at 2pm (eastern) Liz Curtis Higgs live event

Also, below is a book trailer for the latest book. Enjoy!

I've been a fan of Liz Curtis Higgs for quite some time. I love reading about Scotland and she is able to bring it to life for poor people like me who must read about it until the day they can afford to travel there.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Book Review: The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari by Donita K. Paul and Evangeline Denmark

The Dragon and The Turtle Go on Safari
I decided to go with a childrens book this time around. The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari was a cute little story. My children each took a turn reading. The oldest 12 said,"It was pretty good." The next who is 10 said, "It was funny." And then my husband read it to the 7 year old just before bedtime. On her way to bed she said, "Oh and the book was good."

My husband on the other hand did not enjoy it. He said he felt that there were long stretches of dialogue and the story didn't seem to go anywhere. But he liked that it ended with scripture.

I read it by myself and I thought it was cute. I stopped reading little kids books a long time ago. But decided to give this one a try because I've seen it everywhere. The illustrations are very pretty. The turtle reminds me a lot of Franklin the Turtle. I love that Donita K. Paul fit a dragon in to the story.

I'd say this book would be great for people with really little kids. Probably 2-6 years old. It's not exciting enough to hold the attention for a long spell. It includes a second short story at the end. And also discussion starters.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Monday, February 14, 2011

Easy Cookies and Cream Bar

My hubby is a sucker for those brand name Cookies and Cream candy bars. So for Valentine's Day I made him a whole batch of homemade Cookies and Cream Bar candy. It's super simple but it's really yummy. I think I actually like it better than the brand name. The whole batch cost me around $3. The almond bark is on clearance at our Target right now. It's not in high demand after the holidays. So I got it for like $1.75. And then the cookies were like $2 for the pack but we are using only half.

So here's what you need:
1/2 package of oreos or store brand sandwich cookies
1 pack of white almond bark

Get out your jelly roll pan/cookie sheet or whatever flat pan you want to use. Spray it with non-stick cooking spray. This may not be necessary but I did it just to be safe. Now put your 1/2 package of cookies in to a ziploc bag, seal it and let out your aggression. Break the cookies into small pieces. How small is up to you. Set that aside.

You'll need to melt the almost bark according to the package. I did it in the microwave but you can do it in a double boiler or over really low heat. You microwave it for 1 minute and then continue until it's melted. Check it every 15 seconds to stir it. Once it's melted you can pour it on to your cookie sheet. Spread it out with a rubber spatula if you need to. Get your bag of crushed up cookies and sprinkle them over the melted almond bark. At this point, I put the cookie sheet in to the freezer and left it there for about 10 minutes. After you pull it out of the freezer, break it into pieces and voila! Cookies and cream candy. This makes a lot of candy. It easily filled 1/2 a gallon size zipper bag. So it would be really good for a class treat or even for teachers gifts.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Book Review: Lady in Waiting

My first impressions of this book when I picked it up were:

  1. The cover art is beautiful.
  2. I want that ring!
  3. I've never read anything by Susan Meissner. I'm excited to get to know a new author.
  4. It's got that new book smell!!!
  5. There's a family tree chart in the front. I love books with charts!
My impressions after reading are that you still can't judge a book by it's cover. That said I must confess, I'm an avid reader. I eat books. But this book turned out to be a really slow read for me. It took probably 3-4 days to complete.

Lady in Waiting is the story of 2 women, living hundreds of years apart. Their destinies become connected by a ring found by Jane, an antique shop owner and our main character. Jane is in a bad place, emotionally. When her husband walks out, she is blindsided. She begins to see her life clearly for the first time. That she has the life that she decided for herself. She's allowed others to shift her focus and make her life decisions. Jane doesn't know herself. She begins to question the life that she's been living for the past 20 plus years.

The other character, Lucy Day is a dressmaker for Lady Jane Grey in 1500s England. Lucy's story begins when she is brought in to attend to Lady Jane Grey, a young royal who is the chief mourner at a funeral for the Queen Dowager, Katherine. Jane and Lucy form a friendship that impacts them both for life.

This story is about decisions. We make them daily and they impact our lives. We decide who to love. We decide where our focus lies and in the end we have to live with those decisions. I didn't really enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. It felt very disjoint. The two stories didn't seem to have an obvious common thread. The theme was decisions. The ring didn't really play that big a part in the story, in my opinion.

I would have like to read just Jane's story. Her story would have been enough. I think the historical secondary story actually took away from the story of Jane and her husband. So in the end there were 2 semi-complete stories that felt forced in to the same book. Jane's story doesn't have the ending you want to read. It's more of a beginning. Overall, the characters could have used a little more development. I didn't feel like they had a lot of depth.

I will rate this book at 3 stars. 

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lady in Waiting

I just received a review copy of Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner!

My first 5 impressions of the book are:

  1. The cover art is beautiful.
  2. I want that ring!
  3. I've never read anything by Susan Meissner. I'm excited to get to know a new author.
  4. It's got that new book smell!!!
  5. There's a family tree chart in the front. I love books with charts!
If you wanna get a preview of this book to see if it's for you, here are the first four chapters!

So go check it out and let me know what you think. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Review: Tandem by Tracey Bateman

I haven't read anything by Tracey Bateman before so I have no idea what her style is usually. This book was a slow starter. It took about 1/3 of the book to get going. It's also a sequel. The cover says "A Novel" but it's the sequel to Thirsty, which I haven't read.

All that aside, it was an interesting read. I didn't know it was going to be about vampires. But the cover art and title font is reminiscent of a certain series.

The writing style took a while to get use to. The story was engaging. It did keep me wanting to know how it would all end. I don't know if there's to be a third book in the series but I'm probably gonna check out the first one.

If you are on a vampire binge, I would recommend it. It's a pretty good mystery.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.