Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Adoption Day!!!

If you've been wondering, we've been a little busy lately! I wanted to let you in on our happy news... We finally adopted our 2 little ones last week on National adoption day! Due to a few miracles and great adoption caseworkers, they are really ours now! This brings our official total family count to 6! So much to be thankful for...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Zylie the Bear Review and Giveaway!

Summary:  Zylie is a quality bear with an adorable face that any child would love!  She is a classic looking 18 inch bear that can be dressed up in doll clothes and played with like a doll.  

As you can see, Zylie is not just a typical stuffed animal toy... She is an American Girl-sized bear that can wear 18-inch doll clothes and is dressed to go on an adventure!

Inside the little tote is a world map, a tiny journal, and a passport. This Zylie the Bear Kit also comes with a small chapter book about the places she visited in New York...

She comes wearing a flowery dress top, jeans,  button jacket and is accessorized with a little orange tote.  I love that her "designer clothes" are so soft and feel perfect for cuddling! 
Enter to Win Zylie!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: We received Zylie the Bear for review. We always express our honest opinions and have not been influenced by the companies providing the product. No other compensation was received.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sadie the Paper Crown Princess: Review and Coupon Code

Summary:  If you have a little "princess wanna-be" in your house that is concerned primarily with her princess attire... Sadie, The Paper Crown Princess is a great book to show what it really means to have the heart of a princess (or Prince)....hint: it's not about the clothes or the shoes! :) A lovely little story to help instill generosity and compassion in little people.

Use coupon code "overflow" on the Sadie Website to get 20% off your book purchase!

Review: Recently at our house there have been a few episodes with a certain little 4-year-old "princess" over her clothes...If she doesn't get the dress she wants to wear, we hear loud dramatic outbursts of  "Then I'm NOT going to be a PRINCESS!!!" Good heavens, what will we do with her when she is a teenager?! After getting tired of hearing this over and over, I sat her down and talked with her about how some children in the world don't even have any clothes to wear, and about being thankful.  She stopped suddenly and was shocked and horrified..."Some children don't have ANY clothes?" 

"That's right," I told her. 
She thought for a minute and then looked at me in disbelief..."Then show me, where are the children with no clothes?!" :-o

After our little chat about being thankful and about children who don't have clothes, we have had far less trouble getting dressed in the morning! 

This sweet little book is a wonderful addition to our library and is a great way to talk to kids about what's really important.  In this colorful story with adorable illustrations, Sadie travels the world and learns about giving to others.  She learns how compassion and generosity bring far more happiness than having "princessy" stuff on the outside.  She even encounters a lovely surprise...she gets to see what a real prince looks like! :)

Learn how to join the Paper Crown Society on Sadie's website!  

Also visit the blog to learn more about Sadie's Summer of Giving and how YOU can get involved!

Disclosure: We received a digital sample of Sadie: The Paper Crown Princess for review. We always express our honest opinions and have not been influenced by the companies providing the product. No other compensation was received.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Robby Wash Laundry Washing Ball

Pros: No carrying heavy bottles of detergent, no detergent spills or mess, no measuring, no large containers to store, reduced cost, hypo-allergenic, environmentally friendly, refillable, use with all washing machine types, wash 120 loads of laundry before refilling!

Cons: It doesn't fold the laundry..  ;o)

Summary: If you hate dragging heavy detergent jugs home from the store and would prefer to use something more earth-friendly and hypoallergenic, Robby Wash Ball is a great option!

Purchase it for $32.95 here
Okay, there are quite a few good things to say about this product.  I will admit that it's hard to believe that this little laundry ball replaces detergent for One HUNDRED and twenty loads of laundry!  The ball is filled with tiny balls contains activated macromolecules that claim to slowly dissolve dried-in stains by generating ions into the water. 
With six people in our family, we go through a LOT of laundry! After using this little wash ball for a few weeks it has been working surprisingly well! The clothes have been coming out clean and pleasantly fresh smelling, which is always impressive when you have small children! :)

 A few other things to consider:

  • This is a time saver (no more shopping for and lugging heavy detergent jugs from the store).
  • a huge space saver (In our small house, those big detergent jugs take up a lot of space)!
  • a big money saver (I'm sure we've been spending more than $32 on 120 loads of laundry).
  • There is a cap in the ball that allows you to refill it and continue using for years to come. *Make sure the little cap is placed on the ball tightly to prevent beads from falling out.
The wash ball also includes a stain stick to pre-treat stains before washing.  The jury is still out on this as we haven't tried it on everything yet, but I am pleased to report that after trying it on a white shirt with red frosting, the frosting is completely gone!
Giveaway! Enter to win a Robby Wash Ball below...
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: We received the Robby Wash Ball by Oransi for review. The opinions we have expressed are honest opinions and have not been influenced by the companies providing the product. No other compensation was received.

Saving Money

There's no doubt that having a family costs a LOT of money...but there are so many great ways to save  and live well even in this economy!

Here is a list of ways that we have found to save money:
  • Buy quality! There have been times in the past when we have learned that buying the cheaper appliance, fixture, whatever is not such a bargain.  Buying quality lasts longer, and saves you time and money in the long run!

  • Keep it simple!  How many times have you gotten home after a shopping trip with items you never planned on buying or that you didn't really need?  Stick with your list and always ask yourself if you can live without it before you get to the check out line.
  •  Food thrift!  Do you have a discount or bulk food store near you?  You can save a lot of money by shopping at discount food stores.

  • Coupons are like printing money! After making your list, search online for coupons and discount codes before shopping.
  • Re-use!  Consider quality used items rather than new items such as clothing or toys.  Lots of cities have mom's clubs and children's clothing exchanges.
Have you found any great ways to save money recently?  

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. We have not used any of the above sponsored services and cannot personally verify their integrity. As always please research before trusting creditors with your finances.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Pirate Costume Review

Pros: Fast service, lots of options and choices, quality costumes, competitive prices 

Cons: This awesome costume does not include a parrot ;o) 

Summary: If you are looking for a fun pirate costume in any size with lots of accessories to choose from, look no further than AnytimeCostumes.com!

Review: Looking for great pirate costumes for your next big adventure? The Child Captain Jack Sparrow Deluxe Costume comes with everything pictured except for the sword!  This costume includes a shirt with attached vest, sash,  belts, pants, boot covers, a hat and bandana with beaded pirate braids attached. 

My kids love dressing up! Costumes make great accessories for themed birthday parties, special events, school presentations, or the dress-up box! They also make great gifts! Any Time Costumes has a large selection of styles in almost any size.  Search their site to find every accessory you will need...eye patches, parrots, swords...you name it, they probably have it!

Anytime Costumes offers a free shipping on costume exchanges  allowing you to try their costumes risk free!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

SodaStream Review

Fun to make at home, no carrying or storing heavy bottles from the store, less plastic waste and recyclables, lower in sugar, lots of flavors available, no high-fructose corn syrup, no aspartame, no electricity required.

Majority of flavors (diet and regular) contain sucralose, similar or higher cost than purchasing bottled soda, more time-intensive than just pouring.

If you would like to easily make soda in your home in a variety of flavors for a cost comparable to purchasing popular name brand sodas, this is a great little machine!

Full Review:
Honestly, we are not super big soda drinkers...but Friday night is our party/game night and we go through several bottles of soda per week!  After realizing how much time, energy and money we spend purchasing, carrying home and storing soda, and then returning the bottles...SodaStream started sounding like a great idea! 

The SodaStream machine allows you to make soda in your home or anywhere in any way you want to! Assembling the machine was fairly simple ... just insert the CO2 tank, fill the reusable bottle with COLD water (we noticed room temperature doesn't work as well), and then press and hold the carbonation button about 3 times.  After (and only after carbonation), you can either add one of the many SodaStream flavor syrups, or add juices, flavorings, and/or sweeteners of your choice.
Since we had a large variety of flavors to try and a large group of people, we found it simpler to just fizz the water and then let each person measure out a flavor shot into their own glass. It was also nice as sometimes our friends leave the top to the bottle unscrewed. With SodaStream, no problem - just re-fizz the water!

It was great to have so many flavors to offer guests without taking up huge amounts of counter or storage space with bottled soda!  Everyone was able to find flavors that they liked.  We did notice that the regular (non-diet) soda has a much lower sugar content than regular bottled soda because it contains a mixture of cane sugar and sucralose.  There are some naturally sweetened flavors that are sweetened only with cane sugar and taste great! We loved the natural variety ginger-ale and cola flavors.  We wish there were some options that contain Stevia, but we are going to experiment and try making some of our own flavors.
Since the SodaStream is powered only by the CO2 tank, it could easily be brought to a party, the park, or to camp and stored without worrying about cords or temperature changes. We look forward to trying some of the other available flavors.

Visit SodaStream on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: We received the SodaStream and accessories listed above for review. The opinions we have expressed are honest opinions and have not been influenced by the companies providing the product. No other compensation was received.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Signing Time On Demand and iPad 3 Sweepstakes!

Pros: No commercials, watch any time or place, watch on a variety of media options, entertainment on the go, always there for you to load onto future computers, phones, or tablets!

Cons: Cost may be a factor..especially if you want them all!

Summary: This is a great stuff-free gift you can give your children or others that they can continue to use for years to come!
Review :
My 4 Year old was thrilled when she saw the pictures on this post and said, "Oh I LOVE 'silent' time with Alex and Leah!"  :) We've loved these videos since our children were babies, but since we bought our first dvd's, a few of them have gotten scratched and no longer work.  We love the idea of Signing Time on demand! No more storing dvd's or worrying about them getting scratched. And if you happen to get a new computer, phone or tablet,  you can just log in and reload the videos you've already purchased!

We received the digital video from Series 1, Vol. 5 video, ABC Signs..  This video teaches the sign language alphabet and also includes signs for numbers 1-10.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Signing Time, they are wonderful instructional videos geared towards children from infants to around 8 years old.  We love it!  These are great videos to have your children watch over and over again when you are waiting for doctor appointments or traveling, etc... These videos are also great tools to use in the classroom to promote better communication or to teach a second language. 

Click below to download a free Signing Time on demand video and enter to win an iPad3 until May 18, 2012!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Make Your Own Spring Fairy Garden...

 My kids have been wanting plants and garden things in their room.  We decided to make little fairy garden terrariums in plastic containers... These Parmesan cheese containers make a great little no-spill garden and are super easy for little hands to fill!  They are also great for teaching about the water cycle as you only have to water once as long as the lid stays on.

 1. Clean out container and remove label.

2. Place small gravel, or aquarium rocks in the bottom for drainage. *If you have some activated charcoal (available in most garden centers or aquarium stores) add a couple tablespoons to keep the little garden fresh.

3. Spoon 3 inches of potting soil into container.

4. Add a small plant and/or moss of your choice and just enough water (We used a pretty ivy sprig).

5. Decorate with tiny plastic fairies, animals, dinosaurs, marbles or pretty rocks.  Close lid tightly.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mother's Day Printable Games Review and Coupon Code

Pros: Lots of games to choose from, Save to your computer to use for years to come, Game categories include: kids, couples, or large groups.

Cons: Cost may be a factor if you are only interested in one or two games.

Summary: Python Printable Games is a great site if you need fun holiday games and activities for your family, classroom, or Mother's Day gathering. 

Coupon Code(25% off good till 5/5/12): BLESSINGS25

Review:  Looking for fun activities to keep kids busy while Mom relaxes? Or holiday conversation starters for a family dinner this Mother's Day?  Python Printable Games has  Mother's Day Printables you can order and download to print at home. This Package includes 20 games!

A few of the game titles included are:
  • Mother's Day Trivia
  • Mother May I?
  • Mother's Day Keepsake Kids' Craft
  • Around the House Tidy Up Hunt
  • I Love You In Any Language
  • Crazy Cookie Recipes
  • Famous Moms and Daughters Celebrity Trivia
  • Romantic Coupons for Mom and Dad
  • Flowers Trivia
  • Homemade Matinee Kids' Acting Game
  • (View the complete list here).    
Some games are appropriate only for couples while others are designed for kids or large group settings. There are lots to choose from!  Some are even useful as general party games to use on other holidays or special occasions. You can save the entire package to your computer and print as many as you wish for years to come! You can also order individual games if you are only interested in one or two.

Our favorites so far include: 
 "Around the House Tidy Up Hunt" which is a printable card game with tasks for kids to race to complete in order to pamper mom on Mother's day or any day.  I don't know about you, but we can never seem to get enough clean-up games over here...  With four kids in the house, the more cleaning up, the better! :)
"A Mother's Day Keepsake" which is a fill-in-the-blank questionnaire for kids to write about their mom.  My kids love fill-in pages and when completed, they are so much fun save or scrapbook and look at in years to come!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We have a TTC Kit Winner!

We have a winner of the Trying to Conceive Starter Kit Giveaway!  Thanks everyone for entering!

Congratulations to Brooke, entry #124!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Free Family Fun Subscription...


Sign up here for a free subscription to Family Fun Magazine!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Grace Garden

This year we made a "Grace Garden" for Easter.
 We filled a basket with an empty cave (made from air-dry clay), a wooden cross made from sticks, lots of green plants and a butterfly.
The grace garden helps us remember our garden fall and His garden grace. 
You can read a beautiful post explaining how to make one here at A Holy Experience.