Love To Craft? Visit Spotted Canary!

I happened to come across a craft show today on Think TV and noticed that they had a website as well. I tend to craft more during fall and winter, especially with the holidays coming up so I am very excited about this find!


If you get a chance, you should check out Spotted Canary. They have online classes, as well as projects posted by other members, and an abundance of craft ideas & tips. 


I love that they have a Kids Crafts section that is categorized by age and craft type. They have some What I'm Thankful For crafts that I plan on using with my pre-schooler for Thanksgiving. For those of you who celebrate halloween, be sure to check out Who’s Afraid of the Dark? Creating a Children’s Halloween Party.


Between discovering this Spotted Canary, blogging, and my other new find of Pinterest....I'm not going to get anything done!

Pumpkin Fudge!

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                                                                             Source: recipegirl.com via Jamie on Pinterest


I just discovered Pinterest (yeah...I'm a bit slow), and this is one of the first things I saw. I know what I'll be making this weekend! Yummmmmmmy!




Carlito C. Caterpillar's Math House Games Review & Giveaway 10/6


Carlito C. Caterpillar's Math House Games are based on Domenico Marcario's sensory math teaching system and feature 40 games designed to teach each of the 20 steps. 


Each set contains 30 double-sided, full color, illustrated game cards printed on heavy card stock, and are laminated & ring bound. They currently sell for $23.95 and include FREE shipping. They can be purchased by clicking here.


Domenico Marcario is a retired high school mathematics teacher and full-time passionate grandparent.

"The Carlito C. Caterpillar’s Sensory Math Teaching System is the outgrowth of years of research and development. It utilizes the natural way children learn. 
Games and play are the learning media for young children. Early childhood development professionals note that young children are most open to learning when they play. Thus, we have created activities and games for parents to play with their children. The material is presented in 3stages, with a total of 20steps and 2 games in each step covering quantity, numeration, and operations.
The games are designed to build upon the knowledge young children already possess. Only when a child fully understands a concept will you increase the complexity such as reversing the roles of the players and designating the child as the leader.
If you focus on maintaining an environment of play, the child will experience the learning as an active participant rather than a passive spectator.
From birth, children discover facts through sensory experiences. Fueled by curiosity and imagination, children use their eyes, hands, ears, noses, and mouths to learn about their world. They gain understanding by doing rather than by sitting passively and watching someone else do the thinking for them."



I've read several other reviews on the Math House Games and they have all been positive, but I will be honest with you and tell you that there are quite a few things that I did not like about this set.

The first thing is that the supplemental manipulative links listed in the cards do not work. One example is that the Post Game Wrap-up activities are supposed to be found by visiting www.c3pla.com/parents but a "page cannot be found" error comes up instead. If you visit the website and click on "Parents" directly, there are also no activities listed although there is a message to "return frequently.....as we post extra game opportunities". 

There are supposed to be free music downloads in the "KIDS" section, of which there are neither on the site. The cards mention a "media player" and that was no where to be found either. 

The cards are ring-bound on the bottom left which makes it a bit awkward when flipping through the cards. 

Manipulatives can be downloaded for free in the "DOWNLOADS" section but they are best printed on a color printer, which I do not have. I also don't like the fact that they have to be cut and taped together. 

I, personally, felt that some of the concepts were too advanced for pre-schoolers.

What I DID Like:

  • The colorful, fun graphics are sure to appeal to kids.


  • How each stage is broken down, and thoroughly explained, making it simple even for a first-time homeschooler to understand and feel comfortable teaching.

  • Games that only require items found around the house like Step 1 "Alike It or Not" which teaches the concept of how many and Step 10 "Measure Up" which teaches them to see how a number is used to measure everyday things.
  • Games that will appeal to children older than pre-K and K.
  • Games that children will enjoy playing over and over again, which is important since repetition is key to learning and retaining.

You can also find them on FACEBOOK.


Thanks to Propeller, one reader will receive their own set of cards, valued at $23.95. U.S. residents only, 18 and over. Winner will be chosen by Random.org. 

Please use Rafflecopter form to enter. Comments on blog will not count as entries. 

*You may have to click on "read more" for the form to show up and sometimes it takes a few seconds to load!

*Disclosure: I received free product in exchange for an honest review to be posted on my blog. All opinions are my own. No other compensations was received. 







#BenandJerry 's Newest Late Night Snack

I went grocery shopping tonight, and decided to look for my favorite Ben & Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk ice cream, and as usual Kroger didn't have it in stock. This is the 3rd Kroger I've tried, with no luck. I guess they don't carry that flavor anymore. I just checked on the Ben & Jerry's site to make sure it wasn't retired and to my relief, it is not! Don't know what I'd do if it wound up in the Graveyard.


So, while looking for a flavor to temporarily take it's place, I noticed the "Late Night Snack" which is a vanilla ice cream loaded with caramel swirls and fudge covered chunks of potato chips inspired by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. I tasted a bit as soon as I got home, and found it to be a delicious blend of sweet and salty. It's not my beloved Oatmeal Cookie Chunk, but it will do!




Tuesday Tag Blog & Facebook Hop



Join in the blog hop, hosted by Debbie Does Coupons

#BettyCrocker Fan Fare Recipes



Fall is officially here, and that means the return of all of our favorite tv shows! Betty Crocker and Trista Sutter, reality tv star, are teaming up to bring you some great made for tv snack recipes inspired by our favorite shows,  perfect for sharing with family and friends. 




I tend to stay up much later than I should, watching Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon. I love Late Night with Jimmy Fallon! I usually pay for it the next morning when my littlest one wakes up raring and ready to go at 7 a.m. but Jimmy is just so funny. When I saw this recipe from Betty Crocker for Late Night Snack Cookies, I thought it would be the perfect match for my "why am I still up?" nights. 



Late Night Snack Cookies
These yummy chocolate cookies are crammed with all your late night hosts´ favorite snack foods - chewy, chocolatey caramels, salty potato chips, and cruncy waffle cones. With these cookies on hand, we don´t blame you if you raid the pantry late at night. Get the recipe at bettycrocker.com/fanfare.





Another one of my guilty pleasures are the talent competitions, and what better to pair them with than the You Be the Judge Popcorn Mix. With choice like Sugary Sweet, Angry Jerk, Worldly Spice or Flaky Nut, there's sure to be at least one winner! Get the recipe




 


To find more great recipes like Boxed Wine Cupcakes, Solving for Pi Cheesecake,  Cheesy Po-Tot-Chos, and more, visit Betty Crocker Fan Fare:  http://bit.ly/bettyfanfare.


Watching tv has never been so sweet!






Disclosure: I  received these recipes from Betty Crocker through MyBlogSpark. No compensation was received.

#Klout Perks: Handbags.com & More!

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This past summer, I discovered Klout.com, a site that gives you incentives (aka Klout) for being influential in the social media scene. I must say, I'm loving it! Who doesn't love getting perks every now and then, especially when you get them for doing what you would normally do anyway! 


My latest perk was a $25 coupon code to Handbags.com. While I have heard of them before, I had never actually visited their website until I received this Klout perk. I ended up buying a cute little bag for a Christmas gift and with FREE shipping I only paid a $1.40! That's some perk.


Handbags.com carries popular designers such as Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, and Cole Haan and offers a wide variety and price range so there is something for every budget. 


One of my favorite items is the Ju-Ju Be Be Quick wristlet that can hold snacks, makeup, or diapers & wipes and can be used either as a wristlet or attached to a stroller. Perfect for the times when a huge diaper bag isn't needed. I have seen similiar bags from other designers, but this bag is much more affordable while just as stylish.








I have also received a $25 GC to Onehopewine.com and a years' supply of Secret deodorant, but my favorite so far is definitely the Handbags.com perk. 


I am trying to decide between the two bags above which one to purchase. I'll be sure to post a review once I do! 
*Disclosure:  I was given a free product or sample because I'm a Klout influencer. I was under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.

Making Marshmallows


 A good family friend started homeschooling her daughter this year, so we have been lucky enough to have Shelby come over once a week for Home Ec classes with us!
This week, the girls made homemade marshmallows & cocoa mix. Grade? A+!


The mixture of unflavored gelatin, light Karo syrup, sugar and water
after simmering on the stove.

After whipping for 10 minutes 

After whipping for 15 minutes
Preparing to spread out the mixture
One sticky mess!
Shelby spreading the marshmallow


Waiting for it to set

Marshmallows!

Homemade hot cocoa with homemade marshmallows.
Yummy!

Shelby & Nana with their yummy marshmallows.

The recipe we used:


3 tbsp confectioners' sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tbsp unflavored gelatin (we used 2 envelopes)
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup


1. Line a 13x9x2" baking pan with wax paper (I actually used freezer paper). Combine 1 tbsp of the confectioners' sugar and 1 tbsp of the cornstarch in a sieve and sift over the prepared baking pan.


2. In a heat-proof bowl, combine the gelatin and water and let stand until the gelatin has softened.


3. Place the bowl into a large saucepan of simmering water and stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Add the granulated sugar and continue to stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the bowl from the water and add the corn syrup. Using an electric mixer, beat until creamy and thick, about 15 minutes. Let stand until it cools off.


4. With a wet spatula to avoid sticking, spread the mixture into the pan, and smooth the top evenly. Let sit until cool and set. This took about 45 minutes. 


5. Lift the marshmallows (by lifting the paper) onto a cutting board. Lightly dust the marshmallows with a mixture of 1 tbsp of confectioners' sugar and cornstarch. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the marshmallows into small squares and dip the marshmallows until completely coated into a mixture of the remaining confectioners' sugar and cornstarch.


6. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks. 


*We found that the thicker the marshmallow, the better it set so try to spread them evenly and avoid thin spots!

Aletheia Writing Magazine


Aletheia Writing Magazine, a literary & artistic magazine published quarterly for christian teens, was founded in 2010. Intended for ages 13-19, their mission is to provide quality, faith-based fiction stories and poems as well as artistic work, for today's christian youth, regardless of denomination.

As part of the TOS Crew, I received for review the Fall 2011 issue for review as well as having access online to the Summer 2011 issue.

Would you like to see a sample for yourself? Click HERE to see their premier Spring 2011 issue in flip-book format.

If you are a teen, between the ages of 13-19, and would like to submit your work to Aletheia, click HERE for more information.

While I think that the concept is an excellent one, it wasn't exactly a perfect fit for my family. My 14 year old felt that it contained too many alternative and Sci-Fi type stories and not enough photography. Having read it myself, I have to say that I agree with her. The photographs that were submitted and published were beautiful and rivaled many professional photos that I've seen.

It is wonderful for our christian youth to have a creative outlet like this and for people such as Aletheia publishers Nick & Stephanie Muzekari to recognize such need and to provide direction for teens serious about their craft. Any writer knows the fear of rejection, but Aletheia Writing Magazine is giving our teens a firm foundation to stand on and building their confidence right from the start of their career. A little encouragement can go a long way, and having their work published can start them on their journey with bold confidence.

Click to subscribe
If you have a teen who likes to write, this is certainly a magazine worth checking out. You can also find them on FACEBOOK!

Click HERE to read what other TOS reviewers had to say about Aletheia.

Disclosure: I received 1 copy of this magazine for free for review purposes, as well has having online access to 1 issue. I received no other compensation. All opinions expressed are my own.

Clorox2 Play 2Day Pledge

Turn off the TV and play outside:  Saturday, September 24, 2011 is Worldwide Day of Play. Join other kids and families who have taken the  Clorox2® Play 2Day pledge  and play outside!  The less time in front of the tv and the more time spent doing physical activities can improve your family's health and entire well being.  Clorox 2® is a proud sponsor of Nickelodeon's 8th Annual Worldwide Day of Play. So take the Clorox2® Play 2Day pledge to play outside by visiting http://clorox2play2day.com.

Here in Southern Ohio, we had a very hot unpleasant summer. Having asthma & allergies, my time outside during the summer months was limited and my younger children also ended up paying the price by being stuck indoors with me most of the time. They were able to go out some with their older brother and sisters, but I really missed being out there with them. There is just something special about seeing the joy in my 3 year old son's face as he is chasing bubbles or hearing my baby squeal with delight at being pushed in the tree swing. I treasure those moments, which is why I am ecstatic that Fall is just about here (September 23).  The change of the season brings cooler, more asthma-friendly weather to me which equals more time outside for me to PLAY with my kids rather than watching them through the window! It also means more time to homeschool outside. I LOVE Fall!!! 

Dad & Mr. B on the way to check the honey bees.

Sissy & Mr. B getting messy in the sandbox.
 Camping in the backyard.
Baby C just back from a walk.

Now that cooler weather is here, I've been able to take the kids to a cute little park that is right down the street from our house. We had a blast! 







There is so much fun to be had when the kids aren't plopped down in front of the tv. It won't be much longer until we are raking up the leaves that are already falling and jumping into the huge piles,  watching my husband get the honey from our bees, and visiting the local pumpkin patch. Nature walk scavenger hunts are also one of our favorite fall activities. Have I mentioned that I LOVE Fall !?!


So, turn off that tv, and pledge to PLAY today! 

Some quotes for thought:

"American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV."
-- The Kaiser Family Foundation

"They put an off button on the TV for a reason. Turn it off . . . I really don't watch much TV."
-- President George W. Bush, C-SPAN interview, January 2005


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Clorox2® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Guidecraft Hideaway Country Kitchen



$200.00
As part of the TOS Crew, I received this item to review last month. After reading about it on Guidecraft, I was looking forward to reviewing it.  It arrived in a timely manner, via UPS, and was very well packaged.

My son, who is almost 4, is very much into dramatic play right now, and I knew he would be thrilled with this addition to his play area. He couldn't wait to get it out of the box for me to assemble. Turns out, getting it out of the box was the simple part. Assembling it, however, was a whole other story. The directions are only pictures and were difficult to understand at times and some of the pieces were a bit too heavy and awkward for just one person. I would highly suggest making sure you have a cordless drill (or in my case, knowing where it is) prior to assembly as well as having somebody other than a 4 year old to assist you. I was VERY frustrated and ready to throw in the towel, but with the help of my little cheerleader with the smile of anticipation glued on his face, I persevered, and almost 6 hours later, we had our Hideaway Country Kitchen!

Packed well. It was a box, within a box, within a box!

Another example of how well it was packed.


I thought they forgot to include the directions, until I found them
inside of this box. 


Getting this back piece to stay together while attaching the side pieces
was VERY difficult! 

After 5 1/2+  hours straight of putting this together, here is the
finished product and one very happy Chef!

I love the height of the kitchen. As you can see in the picture, it is perfect for my son (who happens to be a bit tall for the age of 3 1/2) and my 17 month old loves it too. She obviously can't reach the top shelf, but is tickled pink to play in the sink and to have access to the cabinet doors below.

The feature that I asbolutely love about this kitchen, is that it folds up for storage. It's simple to do. Here's how:

  1. Unscrew the range/counter piece (with included allen wrench), and bolt it into the hole on the bottom of the top shelf.
  2. Lift up the floor of the cabinet.
  3. Fold in the side hinges. 
This is what you get:


Now, it can easily be stored under a bed !

I would also like to point out that Guidecraft has excellent customer service. Our first kitchen that we received was damaged in several places. I notified the company via email and promptly received a very courteous, helpful response. A replacement kitchen arrived within a few days and was in perfect condition. 

Bottom line is that this would be great for home or school! My younger kids have enjoyed hours of cooking fun with ours already. We love it!

Read reviews from other TOS Crew members HERE

Winner of the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner

Congratulations Cherie on winning the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner! 


Winner has been notified and has 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen by random.org.


Thank you to everyone who entered!

Hellman's Launching First-Ever Chicken Challenge!


THE CHALLENGE:

Hellman's is on a mission to spice-up your dinner with their first-ever Chicken Challenge, a series of head-to-head chicken dish challenges to help mom's add a little diversity to their every day dinner routine. 


Each week, two other Hellman's recipes will challenge the ever popular Parmesan Crusted Chicken recipe. Give them a try and vote for your favorite! 


The Sweepstakes:


Each week, 4 winners will receive a $250 gift card. Vote and enter every day for a chance to win.


The Hosts:


Mark Consuelos, actor & producer; Sissy Biggers, tv host & lifestyle expert; and renowned chef Tim Love.


What are you waiting for? Get cooking! 





Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a Hellmann's® prize package in exchange for this post.  No monetary exchange took place. All opinions are my own.

Opinions Please!

9 comments    
Trying to determine which font size would be the best for posting on my blog. As a reader which would you prefer?

a) This size?

or

b) This size?


I realize it isn't a big deal, but I'd like for the print to be easy to read, yet not make my posts appear never ending. If you would be so kind as to comment and state "a" or "b", I would really appreciate it!



Beverly Lewis' The Shunning Review & Giveaway - 9/30


Beverly Lewis' The Shunning

Although I have heard of Beverly Lewis, I honestly can't tell you if I've ever read any of her books. After watching The Shunning, I can tell you that I will be. Such a wonderful story. This film is based on the first book in her series, "The Heritage of Lancaster County" and directed by Michael Landon, Jr.

What it's about: 

Before she succumbs to cancer, the dying wish of Laura Mayfield-Bennett is to be reunited with the daughter she never knew. Unfortunately, that daughter, Katie Lapp, is a member of the Amish order. Katie is about to be married, but uneasy about the path ahead.  Now she discovers the secret her parents have kept from her: she's adopted.

Watch the trailer:

Beverly Lewis' The Shunning - Video Hallmark Channel

We watched this movie as a family and everybody, including my husband, enjoyed it (even though he said it was a girly movie). My girls love Danielle Panabaker and she plays a very moving Katie. I was disappointed in the ending until my daughter discovered from The Shunning's FACEBOOK page that a sequel is in the works. Knowing that, I understand why it ended like it did and am anxiously anticipating it's future release. I could read the books to find out, but it seems like once I read a book and then watch the movie, I find too much fault with all the liberties that were taken. Not having read the book, I have no first hand knowledge if such is the case with The Shunning but I have read in other reviews that not too many were taken and that care was taken to portray the Amish in true light and fashion.

The Shunning is due to be released on DVD September 19 and can be purchased through Amazon on The Hallmark Channel.

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To enter to win your own copy of Beverly Lewis' The Shunning, enter my Fall Giveaway Festival for your chance of winning the DVD and several other prizes.

Open to U.S. residents only, ages 18 and older. Winner will be chosen randomly on or after midnight, EST, 9/30/2011 and will have 48 hours to respond. Sponsors are responsible for shipping prizes.

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a free copy of this DVD for review purposes in exchange for my honest opinion on my blog. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:


Winner of Theo Presents - God's Love DVD



The winner of the Theo Presents - God's Love DVD is:

Rochelle


#2 Rochelle said...




I'd like to enter please. Thanks.