About Me

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Mysteries, polka dots, California Rolls, TJ Maxx, cozy blankets, rainy days and getting the first spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar make me smile. Spiders, rude people, cold fingers and toes, baby leashes, people that don't wrap their packages before going to the Post Office, poison ivy and Math (pretty much all of it) make me want to scream. My perfect day would be spent with my wonderful husband and sweet girls- watching movies in our jammies! Of course, having the movie theater to ourselves would be great, too. Please pass the popcorn and M&M's.:) I am saved by the grace of God. He is my constant companion and hears my every prayer. What a blessing! I'd love to hear from you! Lori at toosillysisters@cox.net

Friday, December 30, 2011

R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish

   R.E.A.L. stands for Relax, Enjoy, Aspire, and Learn Spanish.  I was skeptical.  Relaxing while teaching and learning a new language?  I was determined to find out.  My family was generously given the download of the program to review.  Right off the bat, the number of pages were overwhelming.  I was intimidated and did not get a good feeling.  No relaxing yet.  I would recommend spending the extra money for the bound book.

  Then, I sat down to see what the program offered.  Wow.  Everything is included.  There is a weekly curriculum guide (see sample here), activity sheets (sample here), answer book, audio clips, and more.  R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish is written by a homeschooling Mom, Dr. Karyn Williamson-Coria, and she truly knows what is needed to teach your family.  Instead of constant drilling of Spanish, you incorporate the language into your every day life at home.  Playing games, making puppet shows and collages are ways that you can relax and enjoy learning Spanish!  While reviewing how to ask "Como Estas?" (How are you?) my girls enjoyed looking for pictures in magazines illustrating how people felt- happy, sad, bored, angry, etc.  The activity sheets reinforced what they learned.  While teaching, I learned quite a lot, too, and that is the beauty of this program.  It's for the whole family!

The audio clips are very helpful, especially if you're not certain of how to pronounce the words and phrases.  It's like having your own personal tutor.  I also enjoyed the links to Spanish culture, history, recipes, videos and more.  It makes for a very well rounded experience!  Not only that, R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish sends emails to you with even more information.  During the holidays, their email covered Mexican Christmas traditions including craft ideas!  It's as close to an immersion program as you can get while in the comfort of your own home.:)

R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish (Book, Activity Book, Answer Book and Audio files) is $49.95 for the download, and $59.95 (Book, Answer Book, Activity Book, Audio Files AND Curriculum Guide) and $89.95 for the hardcopy (Book, Activity Book, Answer Book and Audio Files) and $99.95 (Book, Answer Book, Activity Book, Audio Files AND Curriculum Guide).  You can purchase here.

   My family and I are going to continue using R.E.A.L Homeschool Spanish because it works for us.  You can work as slowly or as quickly as you like.  The lessons are short and by using what you learned throughout the day the words and phrases are reinforced.  I was impressed!

Go here to see what other TOS members thought about R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish.

I was given R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Night to Remember...

Just like out of a dream...

                                                         The costumes...

The lights...

                                                         the audience...

                             made it feel like it was almost just a fantasy.

                        The children waited in the wings, mesmerized.

My cutie pie had the privilege of being a Party Girl and a Mouse!

The children cast were precious.

                               There was a lot of hurrying up and waiting.:)

Such an opportunity!

       The Russian/English language barrier was there but we were 
     somehow still able to communicate with each other.

                                                       The excitement is over...

                                                     but we certainly hope...

                                               we can share the stage again...


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Philip Peng: 100 Years, Part 2

In high school there was one substitute teacher that everyone looked forward to seeing.
He was a quiet, gentle man named Mr. Peng.
I had forgotten about him over the years, but yesterday his name appeared on facebook.
The memories came rushing back.
Mr. Peng was one in a million.

Yes, we loved it when he sang "The Soybean Song".  It made us laugh, but I think he really had a message if we had chosen to listen.  We were just goofy kids.  We had no clue as to the life he had lived.  My goodness, did he live!  This video shows a portion of his life.  I plan on posting the other video of the first portion of his life later.

He lived to be 100 years old! 
I was overjoyed to find out he was a Christian!  I know where he is today.:)
Please watch and enjoy.  Mr. Peng had stories to share.  

The one thing (among many) that comes to mind when I think of Mr. Peng is that you may not remember what someone has said or done but you DO remember how they treated you.  He was a wonderful man and I'm so proud to have known him.  He was kind, gentle and funny.  He made us all feel special.  Thank you, Mr. Peng.  I will see you again someday...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks (Confessions of April Grace) review

   Run and get this book for someone's stocking- even if it's yours!  The story takes place in a small town in Arkansas in 1986.  Junior high drama, bossy older sisters, a family mystery, and a Christmas pageant that no one wants to organize add up to one hilarious story with a lot of heart!  I read this book with my daughters and we all laughed together at the antics and adventures of April Grace.  She is an outspoken 11 year old who tells it likes she sees it and loves with all her might. She reminds me of a preteen Junie B. Jones with better grammar and a big heart. I absolutely loved this book.  The references to the 80's were such fun and I adored how April Grace, in her own special way, was able to save the day- more than once.  The characters were well developed and endearing, but not perfect.  Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks is the second book in a series and I have the first book on (as April Grace would say) my very own personal Wish List!  Faith, family and fun are key players in this book and my daughters (ages 9 and 14) and I loved every word!  

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The World's Greatest Stories- TOS review

   Homeschooling happens wherever you go and any time of day (or night).  I love it when I find a product that makes the most of my time.  The World's Greatest Stories are CDs that bring the Bible to life!  Exciting music and the engaging voice of George W. Sarris adds drama to the audio and almost makes you feel like you are there, all those years ago.  The stories are read from the Bible- word for word- but with the flair of an excellent storyteller.  There is a King James version and a New international version.  

   The girls and I listened to the stories of The Prophets, which included The Blazing Furnace, The Handwriting on the Wall, Daniel in the Lions' Den, Elijah and the Prophets of Baal, and the Prophecy of Jonah.  I loved that we could listen while doing chores, creating art and even driving in the car.  The CD was an hour long and truly kept our attention.  We were on the edge of our seats during some parts!  My younger daughter, who just turned 9, was a bit scared at times.  I was really impressed at the quality of the CDs and would like to purchase more of them.  There are currently 6 volumes in The World's Greatest Stories Collection:

-The Prophets
-The Life of Christ
-Joshua and Esther
-Joseph and His Brothers
-Defeating Giants 

   The CDs are $7.95 each and if you purchase 6 the shipping is free.  They would make great stocking stuffers and are something the whole family would enjoy.  I would caution that younger children may become frightened at times, like my daughter was.

   Go here to listen to an audio clip of the stories.

   Click here to see what other TOS members thought of The World's Greatest Stories.

*I was given a CD of The Prophets by The World's Greatest Stories in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

To Do Lists, Random Explosions and a Phone Interview

Christmas has finally arrived at my house.

           If it weren't for my little sweeties I don't think
       it would have happened.

                              I am exhausted.
               But, on the bright side, my tooth is 
               HAPPY!  Which makes me VERY 
               I wish I could hug all you precious
               friends that prayed for me.
               God heard every prayer.  Thank you 
               for caring.

           We are taking a break from school to really 
     enjoy the holidays.
     My To Do list has prevented us from having 
     much fun.
     Today things will be different.
     We are working on a NEW (and improved!)
     To Do list!

                    Today we are going to visit the animal 
          shelter (a tradition) to give the animals 
          some treats.
          Then, we will drive through Einstein 
          Bagels for Happy Hour!

                           Then, we are putting on our jammies 
              and BAKING!
                           I can't wait.

                        This weekend will be fabulously intense.
            My little dancer will be performing in the
            Nutcracker with the Moscow Ballet.
            The audition took 1 1/2 hours.
            Some children showed up with head shots 
            attached to their applications??
            Two days later they called to say she was 
                        Is it possible that I am more excited than 
            she is?:)

                The Moscow Ballet is a HUGE deal for our 
        little town.
        Katie was interviewed for an article in the 
        paper yesterday.
        They even asked for a head shot. (there is a 
        theme here)
                              Oh my stars!

                My mother in law is coming this weekend.
        There is stuff EVERYWHERE. (These pics 
        are strategically placed.)
                       Maybe she won't notice?

                    If you need a little help in the gift 
         department, take a peek...

                             Seven Swans a Swimming bracelet...

                                  Sugarplum Dreams bracelet...

                               Let it Snow bracelet...

      How are you holding up with your holiday

Friday, December 9, 2011

I See Cards Fractazmic game- TOS review

   I am not a fan of Math.  It often intimidates me and makes me feel dumb.  When I first received the Fractazmic card game (by I See CardsTM) in the mail I was scared.  I skimmed the instructions and then put the game away.  We'll play that tomorrow, I thought to myself.  You know how that goes!  I procrastinated until one night I took it out and told my girls and their friends (we were hosting a sleepover) that we were playing a game.  We decided to play on teams (The game is made for 2-4 players but teams worked just fine.) because it turns out that I am not the only one intimidated by Math! 

   The Fractazmic cards are really cute (above) and the visual cues are very helpful!  Perhaps this would not be so hard after all?  We shuffled the deck and hoped for the best.  The object of the game is to create as many "hands" as possible before running out of cards.  A "hand" is made by combining fraction cards within a suit to equal "1".  There are many different ways of doing this. Example: 1/4 + 1/6 + 1/2 + 1/12 = 1.

The cards in the deck are:

Sixteenth suit (red): 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, and 1/2
Twelfths suit: (blue): 1/12, 1/6, 1/4, 1/3, 5/12, and 1/2
Tenths suit (green): 1/10, 1/5, 3/10, 2/5, and 1/2

   At the beginning of the game, the kids were less than thrilled.  Within minutes, they were all completely engaged and LOVING Fractazmic!  I was amazed!  The game was ON and we played with intensity until the very end.  Fractazmic was a BLAST!  As a side note, I would like to mention that the game states it is for 1st- 8th grades.  My 3rd grader is not familiar with fractions yet and it was a bit overwhelming for her.  I think it is best suited for 3rd grade- 8th grade, although I am 42 and had a great time.:)  Fractazmic showed me that Math can be FUN!  Better late than never.;)

Fractazmic sells for $6.95 and is available here.  (Perfect stocking stuffer!) Multiple packs of cards are available for purchase at a discounted rate- 5 packs for $30 and 10 packs for $55.

Be sure to stop by here to play the online speed game where you can win a free set of cards if your time is the fastest!  I love a challenge, don't you?

Click here to see what other TOS crew members thought of Fractazmic.

I received a free set of Fractazmic cards in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Memories Suite review and GIVEAWAY!

   I love photography.  I am the Mom that always has my camera with me.  Any moment can become a memory!:)  I gave up on scrapbooking years ago, though.  Who has the time?  But last month I was given the opportunity to review the digital scrapbooking software by My Memories Suite.  Forget about the old days of scrapbooking.  

   My pictures live on my computer.  Seriously, my grandmother begs for pictures of my girls.  She doesn't read my blog so she never gets to see them!  Now, I can easily choose backgrounds, templates and more to create calendars, photo books and even videos!  Yes, videos!  All in my home!

    I am thrilled with all the things I can make for Christmas gifts this year!  I can stay cozy at home in my jammies drinking hot chocolate (with marshmallows!) and create!  While the world is snoozing, I will be making magic.:)  This digital scrapbooking software is FUN!  They have embellishments including ribbon, buttons,  monograms and more!  Get those pictures out and into the big world!

   The templates are really great!  You can make a page like this (above) in 2 minutes, if that.  You could make a whole book in 10 minutes!  Take a peek at the video below.  It tells so much more about My Memories Suite...

    I know you are excited now, too!  And it's only going to get better!;)  Here are some of the layouts I created below.  Quick and easy.  You can have the software automatically place the pictures for you or you can place them yourself.  

    Free your pictures!  They want to be shared!:)
     Remember how much fun you had in preschool Art class?  This is Mommy Art time.:)
      Forget about fighting for a parking space or paying for a babysitter.  Everyone loves photo books.  Or how about family videos?  Priceless...
I guess you can tell how excited I am!  Don't leave yet.  There is MORE!
My Memories Suite has generously offered a $10 discount to my readers!  Just enter the code STMMMS18806 when you checkout!  This code also includes $10 you can spend in the My Memories store- a $20 value!  Within seconds you will be able to create photo books, calendars and even videos!  Think of all the Christmas gifts you can make!  Personalized gifts are loved by everyone...

My Memories Suite is also offering a GIVEAWAY of their digital scrapbooking software to one of my readers!  How wonderful is that??!!  Here is what you need to do to enter....

1) Be a follower of my blog for 1 entry.
                   2) Go to My Memories and choose your favorite layout for 1 entry.
3) Follow the My Memories blog for 1 entry.
4) "Like" My Memories on facebook for 1 entry.

(Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry.)

*The giveaway will end next Tuesday, the 13th, at midnight.*

Sunday, December 4, 2011


  Sorry I have been absent here.  Not wanting to share too much of "me" these days.  I am dealing with root canal recovery... and it is not going well.  5 days after the procedure and I still cannot bite on the tooth.  Big OWIE.  Everything else feels fine, though.  Of course, I have taken a tour of the web and found all sorts of horrible scenarios.  I am not liking any of the reasons I am in pain.  But you know what?  I am leaving it up to the Lord.  He is the ultimate Father, Protector, Advisor, and yes, even DENTIST.:)  If you could remember me in your prayers to Him I would so appreciate it!  Praying that the pain goes away so I can enjoy this most wonderful time of year.:)  Love you all....

**On a happier note (though I am still in pain!) stop by here and check out this fabulous giveaway!  Thanks, Nancy!*  

Friday, December 2, 2011

8 Maids a Milking bracelet + Arkansas Razorback Necklaces!

   8 Maids a Milking bracelet now in my shop...

Arkansas Razorback Necklaces going in my shop tonight!  One has already sold but there are 2 left...

*My friend, Victoria, is giving away the most gorgeous magazine- that she was featured in!  Hurry here!*

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Artistic Pursuits- TOS review

  Artistic Pursuits offers a wonderful Art program for many different grade levels.  It was a joy to review!  I loved it and both of my girls (ages 8 and 13) loved it.  That in itself is wonderful!  My 8 year old liked that the lessons allowed her to draw what she wanted and my 13 year old liked that the lessons were short and not intimidating.  With this program they asked to do Art almost every day!

   We reviewed Artistic Pursuits 4-6 grade, Book 1 the Elements of Art and Composition.  It  teaches The Elements of Art:

-Line and Shape
-form Using Value
-Local Value
-The Shapes of Natural Forms

It also teaches Composition:

-Proportion, the Face

     Each lesson is broken into 4 parts covering Vocabulary and Creative Exercise, Art Appreciation, Art History, Techniques and Application.  The book is designed to cover a school year, with 2 lessons a week.   The pages are non-consumable so you can use the books again and again.

   The drawing above was done by my 8 year old.  Her assignment was to draw a picture using a photograph as a reference.  She chose an advertisement in a magazine and had to keep in mind the use of space and whether to draw horizontally or vertically.  The picture below was done by my 13 year old.  It was the same assignment and she used a photograph as her reference.

  The books are written so students can work independently but I chose to learn with my children.  The illustrations are wonderful (and plentiful!) and many pictures are drawn by students.  The courses are not intimidating but they do challenge you.  The art instruction is well written and interesting and the hands-on projects are engaging and fun.  I like the fact that they allow students to create Art in a way that is important to them.  Rather than just copying something, you are encouraged to use items or recall experiences that are special to the individual.  This was my first experience with Artistic Pursuits but we will definitely be purchasing more of their books in the future.

     My Dad has a passion for Art and has taken many classes over the years. While on vacation (yes, we brought  Artistic Pursuits along!) he asked to take a look at the book we reviewed.  He was very impressed and told me that he thought he could learn a lot from Artistic Pursuits, too!  
     Artistic Pursuits has books for many different levels including...

-K-3 Book One
-K-3 Book Two
-4-6 grade, Book One
-4-6 grade, Book Two
-Jr. High, Book One
-Jr. High, Book Two      
-Sr. High, Book One
-Sr. High, Book Two

   Artistic Pursuits has won many awards in the homeschooling community, including Practical Homeschooling Reader Awards, Favorite Fine Arts Product from the 2010 Homeschool Crew, and first place in the art category in the Excellence in Education awards.

The books sell for $42.95 each and can be purchased here.  Artistic Pursuits also sells the art supplies that go along with the books.  The prices vary.

Go here to see what other TOS Crew members thought about Artistic Pursuits.

*I received a copy of Artistic Pursuits, grade 4-6, Book One in exchange for an honest review.*