Tuesday, April 25, 2017

STEAM Science and Robotics Summer Camps 50% Off - Use Code: USFG1750

I wanted to share with you an awesome discount for STEAM Science and Robotics Summer Camps!  My Readers SAVE 50% Off with the code:  USFG1750

Campers will have a BLAST, while learning and playing in a dynamic environment, learning about Robotics and Science.  Visit their web site www.steamandrobotics.com to see dates and locations for this day camp.


- Camps are for Girls and Boys - Aged 7 to 17

- Robot Camps offered during June, July and August

- Hands on Learning, First Time Beginners to Intermediate

- 1 week (5 days) long

- Days: Monday to Friday Time: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

- LUNCH: Campers bring own lunches and drinks

- CAMPERS RATIO: 1 Instructor to 11 participants

- Each Camper Individually uses a ROBOTICS Kit, and Shares computers
For The Current STEAM Science and Robotics Camp Special Offer Click Here
Check it out and let me know what you think.

Friday, April 21, 2017

THE PROMISE Releases in Theaters Today

I want to tell you about THE PROMISE, an epic and poignant film starring Academy-Award winner Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Nativity Story), Marwan Kenzari and Charlotte Le Bon.  This movie looks so good and it releases in theaters today - Friday, April 21st.

It is 1914. As the Great War looms, the mighty Ottoman Empire is crumbling. Constantinople, the once vibrant, multicultural capital on the shores of the Bosporus, is about to be consumed by chaos.

Michael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac), arrives in the cosmopolitan hub as a medical student determined to bring modern medicine back to Siroun, his ancestral village in Southern Turkey where Turkish Muslims and Armenian Christians have lived side by side for centuries.   Photo-journalist Chris Myers (Christian Bale), has come here only partly to cover geo-politics.  He is mesmerized by his love for Ana (Charlotte le Bon), an Armenian artist he has accompanied from Paris after the sudden death of her father.

When Michael meets Ana, their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between the two men.  As the Turks form an alliance with Germany and the Empire turns violently against its own religious and ethnic minorities, their conflicting passions must be deferred while they join forces to survive even as events threaten to overwhelm them.

Promises are made and promises are broken.  The one promise that must be kept is to live on and tell the story.

THE PROMISE is directed by Academy-Award winner Terry George (Hotel Rwanda, Hart’s War).

This makes me think of my amazing husband, David.  He truly is my best friend and my everyday hero.  His presence is a blessing in so many ways.  I appreciate everything he does from the small things to the giant ones.  My life is brighter and so much better with him in it.  I love that David sees most things in black and white, where I tend to have a gray zone.  He helps keep me grounded and I know I can count on him to stand-up for the truth and speak out against injustice.  I cannot imagine loving anyone more than I love him and I would lay down my life for him if need be.

I was blown away when I watched the trailer for THE PROMISE - it's powerful.  Check it out below.  I can't wait to see this movie!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter 2017

Our Family at Church Easter 2017

Happy Easter everyone!  I hope you had a great day celebrating - He Is Risen!  Our family had a fun-filled weekend.  We took the kids to a local egg hunt on Saturday and then dyed 6 dozen boiled eggs!  We  made our traditional Resurrection Rolls this morning for breakfast - they are so fun.  And we flowered the cross at church, one of my favorite Easter traditions!  I hope you were able to celebrate with loved ones and know the love of Christ in a deeper way today.

The girls this morning

And the boys!

Mommy and Baby G

Love his smile

Our uncooked Resurrection Rolls

After baking - we always roll the outside in cinnamon and sugar because they taste better

And the empty tomb inside...

Baby G at the egg hunt

Thursday, April 13, 2017

National Geographic Kids Leveled Readers Review

I wanted to share with you a set of National Geographic Kids Leveled Readers that we received for review.  Our set includes:

- Pre-reader: Hop, Bunny!
- Level 1 Readers:  Follow Me!, Red Pandas and Los Dinosaurios
- Level 3 Readers:  Mars and Sacagawea
- And National Geographic Kids Animal Ark (photos by National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore accompanied by poetry by Newbery award-winning poet Kwame Alexander)

I want to start out by saying that we love these books!  My kids are curious, fun-loving kids and they love reading and being read to.

 F loves learning

Studies have shown that early reading is key for healthy kids' mental development.  I am a firm believer that you can never start reading to kids too early and that you can never read too much.  I love that National Geographic has different leveled readers including pre-readers.


These readers deliver amazing color photos, facts and fun on each page.  The books are sprinkled with subject-related jokes because studies show that laughing helps kids learn.  Active engagement with books also helps kids retain what they read so the books include challenges for the kids to interact with it.

F and D looking through Animal Ark

National Geographic Kids Leveled Readers are full of fun facts as well as cool and interesting nonfiction content on subjects kids love.  My kids love learning about animals and so do I (remember I have that Zoology degree!).

  G petting the bunny

I love that this set has something for everyone.  F and G really enjoyed the Pre-reader Hop, Bunny!  I was amazed at how G kept trying to pet the bunny in the photos (yes, the photos are amazing).

E's favorite is Red Pandas, she loved the rhyming guess who page - she even memorized it!

C likes Mars the best.  I enjoyed when he shared with me all the cool facts that he learned (like if you weighed 100 lbs on Earth, you would only weigh 38 lbs on Mars) and the jokes sprinkled within.  I am not surprised that this book was his favorite as his room has a space theme to it.

 C reading Mars

 D with Sacagawea

Praying Mantis

D really enjoyed Sacagawea and learning about her.  D also enjoyed finding the praying mantis photo in Hop, Bunny! - we looked at the photo along with our praying mantis case, we are still waiting for our babies to hatch.

I cannot say enough good things about these books.  We will definitely be adding to our collection.  The color photos are astounding.  I remember wanting to be a National Geographic photographer as a kid, did everyone want to do that?  What a cool job!  I am also really excited that these books are helping peek E's interest to start reading more - yes!

Disclosure:  We received a sampling set of National Geographic Kids Leveled Readers and an Amazon gc in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Goodbye Grandma/Great Grandma

Mary Lou Cummins

David's beloved grandma and great grandma to our kids passed away a few days ago at the age of 93.  We loved her a lot, and she loved us.  She was one of those people that just radiated joy and her smile lit up the room.  You just couldn't help but be happy when you were around her.  She suffered a stroke a few years before David and I were married at the age of 74.  I actually had only met grandma once pre-stroke.  She wasn't expected to make it and she did.  Her life changed a lot.  She wasn't able to walk or talk much and had to find creative ways to communicate.  I am so glad our kids had a chance to meet her and get to know her and vice versa.  I wouldn't trade that.  As I hug my kids a little tighter and think back on many, many wonderful memories with grandma I ask you to do something in her honor - Be Happy, Choose Joy - that was something that grandma was a master at. 

Great Grandma with Baby A October 2004

 Great Grandma at A's 1st birthday

 Great Grandma Celebrating Cousin Jack's wedding October 2005

Great Grandma holding B after she was born!

 Mumma's Birthday 2005

Visiting with Great Grandma August 2006

Same visit with David and A

Great Grandma at B's Dedication October 2006

Great Grandma at B's 1st birthday

Great Grandma and Baby C December 2007

 Visiting with Great Grandma October 2008

 Same visit with B and C

Great Grandma's Birthday 2009

 Valentine's Visit 2010

Fun socks!

Great Grandma's Birthday 2011

 Baby E and Great Grandma March 2012

 Great Grandma signing B's cast

Great Grandma and Family October 2013

 Great Grandma and Baby F May 2014

 December 2016 with Great Grandma

Friday, April 7, 2017

Once Upon A Time Holy Bible and Storybook Review

I have two new books to tell you about:  Once Upon A Time Holy Bible and Once Upon A Time Storybook Bible.  With the popularity of fairy tales like Disney's new release Beauty and the Beast, Zonderkidz wanted to publish both a storybook Bible and full text Bible that would resonate with fairy tale loving families.  Now, don't worry - the Bible is not a fairy tale - these stories are real and true!

Once Upon A Time Holy Bible

The Once Upon a Time Holy Bible is a full text Bible in NIrV translation.  Within the Bible, there are 6 highlighted stories:  Adam and Eve, Isaac and Rebekah, Ruth, Esther, Mary, and Jesus' Resurrection.  These 6 stories are evenly spaced throughout the Bible.  My daughter E found the beautiful artwork by Omar Aranda reminiscent of her favorite Disney princesses.  She asked who the people were and she was excited to hear their stories, stories that she is already somewhat familiar with.  Now, here is my one complaint.  I wish these stories were not evenly spaced throughout the book.  The biggest problem with this is that the stories are not near where they actually happened in the Bible.  The story of Adam and Eve is placed before Genesis begins which doesn't bother me too much; however, the story of Isaac and Rebekah which takes place in Genesis is in the middle of 1 Samuel.  The story of Ruth is placed in the middle of Psalm instead of near the book of Ruth.  I wish these highlighted illustrated stories were placed near the Bible text of that story.  I understand that they wouldn't be even within the Bible but I would prefer it because as my kids are becoming more familiar with the Bible and its text I want to direct them to the correct content within the books.  My daughters loves the glitter on the cover!  I enjoy that E now has her own full text Bible to call her own, and it's fancy as she would say.

Once Upon A Time Storybook Bible

The Once Upon a Time Storybook Bible is not a full text Bible but instead a storybook of some Bible stories.  Some of these stories include creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, Moses, Ruth and Naomi, Daniel and the lions, Jonah, Mary, Jesus' birth, and Zacchaeus just to name a few.  Again, the colorful artwork by Omar Aranda is delightful.  The stories are all short and scripture is referenced with each one as they begin with Once Upon a Time.  They all end with a Happily Ever After and another scripture reference.  I really enjoy that this Storybook points you right to the Bible and how they wrap up each story with the happily ever after section.

The Once Upon a Time Holy Bible is available where books are sold and the Storybook Bible is available at Sam's Club or wherever books are sold.  You can also check out the The Once Upon a Time series here!

Disclosure:  I received my own copy of the Once Upon a Time Holy Bible and Storybook in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Zookeeper's Wife & $25 Fandango Giveaway

This seems like an extremely timely post as our family just visited the zoo!  I wanted to share with you a preview of The Zookeeper's Wife starring Jessica Chastain and Daniel Bruhl, it looks so good!  It will be released 3/31.  It is based on a true story of Antonina and Jan Zabinski, a Christian couple and zookeepers in Warsaw, Poland.  When the Germans invaded and World War II began, Antonia and Jan refuse to stand-by in the face of so much suffering and persecution.  They join the resistance, and use the zoo as a hiding place and refuge to save hundreds of Jews from the Nazis - risking their own lives in the process.

I'm so inspired by Antonina and the courage she had during a very difficult time in history.  It got me thinking about women in my life that inspire me when challenged with tough life issues.

 My Mom with newborn Baby G

I am so thankful for my Mom.  I must admit that I took her for granted during most of my childhood but I am extremely thankful for all the sacrifices that she and my father made for us growing up.  She worked hard, long hours at an exhausting job (as did my father) to help provide and care for me and my siblings.  I know that we were challenging and tough at times but hopefully my parents think their sacrifice was worth it.  This inspires me with my own kids.  Sure there are challenging days, but I am inspired to be the best for them that I can - be all that I can be!

Check out the trailer below for The Zookeeper's Wife and don't forget to enter the $25 Fandango e-gift card giveaway as well.

And now for the giveaway!  One of you will win a $25 Fandango Gift Card.  Just enter below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I received my own $25 Fandango gift card in exchange for this post.  All opinions are 100% my own. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fun Family Day at Cameron Zoo

I have had the privilege of teaching a preschool class in our weekly homeschool co-op this past year.  We have been working through the Before Five In A Row (BFIAR) curriculum and it has been so much fun!  I was struck last month in class when we were talking about animals and E said that she had never been to a zoo.  I thought about it and realized that she probably doesn't have any zoo memories and that would apply to F as well.  It's been a long time since we had the opportunity to have a family day together so I was so delighted that over the weekend we were able to go to Cameron Zoo in Waco.  We had such a great time and E and F were thrilled to see all the animals up close.

B with G (ready for his first zoo trip)

The orangutans were eating when we arrived to visit them.  You can see the male above eating a strawberry.

Here E is near the female who is munching on her veggies.

This baby orangutan is only a few months old!

 F posing with the Komodo dragon.

A showing F the elephants.  

D looking at the elephants

Looking at the rhinos


Photo Opp of the Kids

The tiger

B took this photo of the tiger, I love it!

Giraffe fun

There were three giraffes in this enclosure.

F as a butterfly

David snapped this fun photo of the kids.

D sliding down a slide near the otters.

F after a full day of fun.