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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thirty-One Gifts Review and GIVEAWAY!

**The winner is #7- Naomi!**

I was over the moon excited when my friend, Emilie, asked me to review one of her fabulous Organizing Utility Totes from Thirty-One!  I had seen them and thought how perfect for homeschooling!  Of course, they are perfect for any on the go Mom! We all want to look good, right?:)

   Not only are the gorgeous, they are also durable, spacious and all around amazing!  I love that the strap is long enough for wearing over your shoulder or toting- LOVE! 

   It is approx. 10"H x 15.5"W x 6.5"D!  Now, instead of having all my things in a jumble, I am organized!  I used an Open Top File Box (Office Depot) and it holds my girls school work assignments, cards and stamps for writing letters (while waiting at ballet), magazines, books and more!  

   Did I mention the pockets- on the outside?  No more scrambling for my phone at the bottom of my purse!  It has it's own pocket where I can find it each and every time.:)  I also have my business cards and a return address stamp in one pocket...

   and colorful pencils on another pocket!  Pretty pencils make all the difference, ladies!

   A pocket full of Sharpies for anything and everything!  

   I still cannot get over the gorgeous monogram!  With Thirty-One you can customize your bag to the style and color of your dreams!  Christmas is coming and I can think of a lot of ladies that would love to find one of these under the tree!

   I almost forgot!  Look where I can put my camera!  It is perfect, as my camera bag can be quite cumbersome.  The Organizing Utility Tote really does it all!:)

     Emilie has her own personal Thirty-One website, that you can check out any time and click here to view their online catalog and to place an order for any of their amazing products.  And if you order with Emilie this week, you will receive 10% off your entire order, just go HERE to browse the products and place your order! {The 10% will not show in your cart, it will be applied manually at the time your card is charged for the order}  ****

  Time to give you one!  One winner will be selected to win one Thirty-One Organizing Utility Tote, in their choice of pattern!  The tote can also be embroidered with up to 2 lines with 7 characters each.  It is one of Thirty-One's best selling products!!

Sound fabulous?  Here is how to enter: 

- Leave a comment for 1 entry.

- Be a follower of my blog for 1 entry.
- "Like" Emilie's Thirty-One page on facebook for 1 entry.

*Please leave a separate comment for each entry.
  •  Giveaway is open from Monday, 10/31 through 12 p.m. central time Monday, 11/7.  One winner will be selected using random.org and will be announced here on this post on Tuesday, 11/8.
  • Leave your email or blog address so I have a way to contact you when you win.
  • Anyone in the US is eligible to enter. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

First Form Latin- TOS Review

   I was given the wonderful opportunity to review First Form Latin by Memoria Press.  I was very impressed when I opened the box because, as you can see from the picture above, there are many parts to the program.  Not only are they beautifully designed, they are also created to make your teaching job easier!  This is what is included in First Form Latin:

- Pronunciation CD
- Student text
- Workbook
- Teacher Manual
- Teacher Manual (Workbook and Test Key)
- Book of quizzes and Tests

   First Form Latin requires no previous Latin knowledge from you!  Wow!  With all the prep work that goes along with being a home school teacher, this is a nice break.   I took Latin in high school so I found myself relearning the language along with my daughter.  I do feel that if we had started with Latina Christina (the program preceding First Form Latin - grades 3-6)) we would have been better prepared for First Form Latin.  It can be a bit overwhelming as there is a lot of information in a short amount of time.  It's a wonderful and very thorough program, though.  
   One year of First Form Latin is equivalent to a year of high school Latin.  It states that is for 5th grade+ but I feel that 9th-12th grade would be perfect.  This package (all the items mentioned above) sells for $55.  You can also purchase First Form Latin Plus, which includes everything in this package along with DVDs and flashcards.  I was given the First Form Latin Plus package and loved having the friendly and knowledgeable DVD teacher, Glen Moore, there to take the pressure off of me!:)  First Form Latin Plus sells for $115.  Believe me, the DVDs and flashcards are worth the extra money!  All purchases come with a 60 day guarantee.

   You can take a peek at the Table of Contents,  Student TextbookStudent WorkbookTeacher's Manual, and a Sample Recitation on these links.  Click here for a sample of a DVD lesson.

If you would like to see what other TOS members thought about First Form Latin go here.

*I was given First Form Latin in exchange for an honest review.  No other compensation was received.*

Raspberry Water

Salon Day.
Oh, how I love you.
Not only do I get to play with my phone, but I get to read to my heart's content!

While I am there, my stylist treats me to the most refreshing drink.
It's pink and bubbly.:)
So, I asked her- What IS this?

Frozen raspberries with Sam's raspberry water.
That's it.
Put some frozen raspberries in the glass.
Pour the raspberry water on top.

             Let me know what you think.:)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Free Scary Face pancake at IHOP- Today!

   FREE today only at IHOP for your little trick or treater (12 and under)!  The Scary Face pancake!  Now, that's my kind of scary!:)  From 7AM- 10 PM....

Excellence in Literature- TOS review

  Excellence in Literature is quite an impressive program.  It is a college preparatory course of study for students in grades 8-12.  It's focus is reading and writing through the classics.  Here are some of the books (the first unit is short stories) that are studied:

- Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
- Animal Farm by George Orwell

and more!

   Excellence in Literature immerses students in the classics.  It teaches them how to think analytically about what is being read.  In other words, it teaches the "how" and the "why" of literature.  Not only do they read the book, they are also encouraged to listen to music the author may have listened to, read poems from the time period, look at art history books that show art from that time, and even watch movies made about the book.  Janice Campbell has designed a thorough and enjoyable curriculum!

   Excellence in Literature is written for independent use.  It has specific instruction, an assignment schedule, references needed, and necessary resources and links.  It also includes an outline of the course, models of the papers and evaluation information.  Each level of EIL has nine units that are to be completed in four brief, but intense weeks, but it can be adapted to your needs.  There is also an optional honors track.

The Writing Objectives for Excellence in Literature are as follows:

- Introduce students to great literature from the western literary tradition.
- Teach students to read with discernment.
- Train independent, self-motivated learners.
- Provide tools that students can use to strengthen their writing skills.
- Introduce students to sources from high-quality online and offline research.
- Prepare students for college classes by expecting carefully researched, well thought-out material to be presented in standard format, with preliminary proofreading completed.

   Upon completion of a book, the student is assigned an Approach Paper.  I had never heard of these but they are a wonderful idea to get thoughts down while they are fresh in your mind!  An Approach Paper includes:

- Brief summary of the book
- Character Analysis
- Discussion Questions
- A key passage
- An explanation of the key passage

   Then, they go on to write their assigned essay, edit their draft and then complete their final copy.

   I have a daughter in 8th grade and I was very excited to try Excellence in Literature with her.  The assignments, while extremely well thought out and explained, were a bit too demanding when combined with her school course load.  I can definitely see continuing it again this summer and certainly next year. It is definitely a college preparatory course of study, and a wonderful one at that!  I highly recommend it for high school 

Click here for a free printable information sheet with a 5 year book list.

The print book (132 pages) is $29 + $4.95 priority shipping. The Ebook version is $27.

Click here to see what other TOS members thought about Excellence in Literature.

*I was given a copy of Excellence in Literature so I could review it and give my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.*

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

a bit of this and that

I am SO doing this in our master bedroom.  The wall above the bed has been lonely too long.  Can anyone tell me how to hang plates on the wall??  

Fall is here!  You must make this.  The pumpkin and chipotle peppers are magical together.

   Jeff flew through Chicago last week and brought some of this home.  Oh my.  It is unbelievably delicious.  The caramel and cheese popcorn combo is dangerous.  Oprah chose it as one of her "favorite things" years ago and it soon became one of mine.:)

   Any other Survivor lovers out there?  I cannot get over the move that Ozzy made tonight.  Next week will be very interesting.

   Am I the only one who has not decorated the house for Fall yet?  We may just have to skip it and get ready for Christmas...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Christmas Lodge review and giveaway!

Ericka is the winner of the Christmas Lodge movie!:)

   My 8 year old daughter and I just finished watching the sweetest movie, Christmas Lodge.  This type of movie is, sadly, hard to find.  The story line was heartwarming, the location of the movie was beautiful, there was no foul language, no inappropriate behavior or clothing, and the characters had a close relationship with God.  I loved seeing that the grandfather read from the Bible, that people respected each other, apple cider was enjoyed at the holidays (instead of alcohol) and that kissing was minimal.  One part of the movie involves a dating couple staying at a hotel.  I was pleasantly surprised that they had separate rooms!  I wish there were more movies like Christmas Lodge!  Here is a synopsis of the movie:

   Thomas Kinkade presents Christmas Lodge: a place where a heart-warming past and loving future meet for one remarkable group of people. During a weekend trip to the mountains, Mary (Erin Karpluk) finds herself at the now- dilapidated lodge where she spent the holidays with her family growing up. She becomes determined to restore the building to its former glory. Inspired by her grandfather and guided by her grandmother in heaven, Mary throws herself into the project, and during the process finds herself drawn to Jack (Michael Shanks), a handsome man who loves the lodge as much as she does. Historically unlucky in love, this chance encounter allows Mary to renew her faith in life and discover her one true love. For an uplifting story about the importance of faith, family and the true holiday spirit, go to the Christmas Lodge.

  Christmas Lodge is a precious movie to share with your family.  It will definitely put you in the mood for Christmas- and I am not referring to stress the holiday often brings.  It will leave you feeling warm and wonderful- and wanting more.:)   You can watch the trailer for the movie here.

Christmas Lodge would be a wonderful holiday gift and you can purchase it here.

 We plan on watching this on Thanksgiving with the whole family.  

Would you like to do the same?  I have a copy of Christmas Lodge to give to one of my readers in a giveaway sponsored by Propeller!

Here is what you need to do:

#1- Leave a comment for 1 entry.
#2- Be a follower of my blog for 1 entry.
#3- Tell me your favorite Christmas book or song for 1 entry.

(Please leave a separate comment for each entry.)

*Winner will be chosen November 5th.*

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Say Anything Family Edition- TOS Crew review

       Looking for a great family game that everyone can play?  North Star Games has it!  Say Anything Family Edition had my family laughing until we cried!  The concept is simple:

#1- Ask a question from the card you draw.
#2- Everyone else write an answer and turns it face up.
#3- Secretly choose your favorite answer.  Then everyone tries to guess which one you picked.

   Simple enough that everyone can participate, and the answers people write down are hilarious!  We brought Say Anything Family Edition with us on our last trip to visit family and it was a hit!  We also enjoy it at home- just the four of us.

     Which celebrity would make the worst 
   What does an ostrich think about when its head is in the sand?
   What would be the strangest toy to find inside a Happy Meal?

   You will be surprised at the answers people 
   come up with!:)

   One of the most entertaining parts of the game is listening to people trying to convince the judge to choose their answer.  It is allowed and very fun!

   The game comes with all this:

   - 360 topics on 60 question cards
   - 6 dry erase boards
   - 6 dry erase pens
   - 1 SELECT-O-MATIC 6000 (for secretly 
     choosing your answer)
   - 12 player tokens
   - 1 dry erase score board
   - 1 full color rules

   You can go to the North Star Games website to find a store near you. You can also buy Say Anything Family Edition here on Amazon for the sale price of $13.85! Such a great price for a family Christmas gift!  Just add some popcorn and candy for a family game night.:)

   Click here to see what other TOS Crew members thought of Say Anything Family Edition.

*I was given the Say Anything Family Edition game in exchange for my honest opinion.*

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Heaven is for Real for kids- Book Sneeze review

   Heaven is for Real for kids is a children's book telling the story of Colton Burpo.  When Colton was 3 years old he had to have emergency surgery and during the surgery he took a trip to heaven.  I know it's hard to believe as this is certainly not an every day occurrence!  God wants us to have the faith of a child, does he not?  In his story, Colton tells of meeting Jesus, playing with the animals (yes, he says there are animals in heaven!  And they all get along!), how beautiful heaven is, and all about the multitudes of angels.  He also tells about meeting his big sister and his great grandfather that he never even knew he had.  (They do not mention this part in the book, but his big sister and great grandfather had passed away before he was born.)
   The book is lovely and conforting for children.  It shows how heaven is a wonderful place where no one ever gets sick or old.  Everyone is happy and glad to be there.  I think this is perfect for any age as we all want to be reassured that heaven is real and not frightening.  There are also questions at the end of the book for further discussion with your child.  

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 

Skylander's Spyro Adventure House Party

Have you heard of House Party?
We hosted our first House Party party last night and it was simply FUN!

You sign up to host a party for a particular product and if you are lucky they choose you!
Our party was for Skylander's Spyro Adventure which is an awesome new Wii game.

   The idea is simple.  Invite friends over for a party.  House Party sends you everything you need.  You play, sample, enjoy whatever the product is.  Everyone has a good time!

   The kids LOVED this game!  We were at Target today and people were scrambling to buy the different playing pieces.  It's a hot new toy and we enjoyed it for free!:)

   The kids had a lot of fun trying out the different characters on their adventure.  When they placed the game pieces on the "portal" (shown above) it lit up!  Cool...

   It was fun to play and watch.  While the kids waited to have a turn we decorated cupcakes downstairs.  Sugar is always a good distraction.:)

   I cannot wait to host my next party!  House Party has food, stationery, video game, book parties and more!  I'm not sure if I want you to spread the word as that limits my chances of being chosen again- lol!

   My favorite part of the evening was awarding the prizes.  Yes, House Party even sent prizes!  The kids were able to choose a playing character to take home with them.  What's a party without prizes?:)

   There is a current party that they are taking applications for right now.  It's for a Zumba video game for the XBox.  I don't have an XBox.  So...  I think you should apply and invite me to your party!  I have always wanted to try Zumba.:)

   The kids had a blast as you can tell from the pictures.

   They were so cute...

   They all asked if they could get the game when their parents picked them up.:)

   It was a fun night.

***Be sure to enter my giveaways below!  Winners chosen on October 31st...***

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Shutterfly Christmas Card review and giveaway!

   *April, Val and Modest Mama are the winners of this giveaway!*

 I love Christmas cards.  I love receiving them and I really love designing ones for my family.  Shutterfly makes it so easy and their designs are fabulous!  I was so pleased with my Shutterfly Christmas cards last year that I am here to sing their praises again.:)  The designs vary from classic with monograms and personalization, unique with lots of fun, happy colors, and even funky with plaid, snowflakes and more!  I just finished looking at the Shutterfly Christmas cards and here are some of my favorites...

    I love that you can choose more than one picture in this design and the monogram is classic-

If I had one family picture that was my favorite, I would have chosen this one.  Perfect.

This Christmas card is so fun!  Darling pictures combined with highlighted year long memories beats a long winded family letter any day!

   Another item that I love to create is Shutterfly photo books.  They make perfect Christmas gifts!  Memories in a bound book to be enjoyed forever are treasured.  Take a peek here to see more about Shutterfly photo books.  Oh, and don't forget to check out their greeting cards!

   Shutterfly has generously offered to give away 25 FREE Christmas cards to 3 of my readers!  If you would like a chance to win this is what you need to do:

#1- Leave a comment here for 1 entry.
#2- Be a follower of my blog for 1 entry.
#3- Go to Shutterfly and tell me what your favorite Christmas card design is for 1 entry.

*I will announce my 3 winners of October 31st!  Good Luck!*

Friday, October 21, 2011

Brittany Hargest Love All the Way review and giveaway!

   *Tristan is the winner of this giveaway!*

   I just finished listening to Brittany Hargest's (formerly of Jump 5) new album and I am pumped!  If you have not heard of her before, it is just a matter of time. Brittany Hargest has released her new album Love All the Way and it has me singing and dancing around the house and in my car!  Praising the Lord through song is one amazing way to enjoy the day and Brittany Hargest does it well.  Christian rock combined with a few mellower tunes make this one of my new favorite CDs.  It's already on my iPhone.:)  Have a listen here!  (My favorites are Critical, Slow Motion, Put it All Together Now and Miracle!)  

Here is a video of the making of her new album. 

Would you like to win a copy of Love All the Way?  Here is what you need to do...

#1- Leave a comment for 1 entry.
#2- Be a follower of my blog for 1 entry.
#3- Like Brittany Hargest on facebook for 1 entry.

*Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  Giveaway ends October 31st at midnight!*

Wits and Wagers Family-TOS review

    I love a game that everyone in the family can play and no one feels left out.  It must be fun and engaging for each person- not too challenging for the young ones and definitely not boring for the older ones.  This is not an easy task but Wits and Wagers Family was loved by everyone in my family- and friends, too!

Wits and Wagers Family, by North Star Games, is a blast to play!  A question is asked.  For example- What is the number of Disney princesses?  Each person writes their number guess (all answers are numbers) on their dry erase card and it is placed down so everyone can see.  Once all the guesses have been made, you place your colored Meeples (2 little characters that represent you) on the guess you believe to be correct.  Once everyone has placed their Meeples, the correct answer is revealed and the points are tallied.  The first person to accumulate 15 points is the winner!

     Take a peek below at the Meeples and the way the guesses are placed on the table.  If you have two of the same guess, as we did on this question, you place them next to each other.  Our youngest players were 8 and they did a great job!  I believe you could play this game with children even younger, although you may have to assist with reading the questions. You can play individually or on teams- perfect for holiday gatherings!

    Wits and Wagers Family comes with all this:

    5 dry erase answer boards
    150 question cards
    5 dry erase pens
    5 large Meeples
    5 small Meeples
    1 dry erase score board
    1 full color set of rules

    Wits and Wagers Family game is $19.99 can be purchased on-line or at a store near you.  Prices may vary by location.  It's a really fun family game that would be great to give as a family Christmas gift!

   Click here to see what other members of TOS Crew had to say about Wits and Wagers Family game.

*I was given Wits and Wagers Family game in exchange for an honest review.*