Monday, April 23, 2018

Fundraising for Burn Camp 2018

This Saturday will be the 2 year anniversary of Audrey and Beverly's burn accident.  As hard as this journey has been, I am so thankful and grateful for so much, especially our family and friends!  A is officially on her last pair of medical compression garments, they have been a second skin for her for so long.

Camp David 2017

A, B and C were able to attend the Texas Burn Survivor Summer Camp last year (it's an amazing camp for burn survivors and their siblings - a safe place for kids to just be kids). Due to funding issues this year they are asking campers to raise funds.  A, B, C and D are hoping to go this summer.  I am putting the link here to share with everyone.  Please do not feel any pressure from me.  This is just an opportunity.  If you do donate, I can promise you that this is an amazing organization and my family has benefited greatly from them and I am so thankful they exist.

To find out more or donate - check out our fundraising page here.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Like Arrows in Theaters May 1st and May 3rd & Giveaway

Those that know me, know that I have a thing for arrows.  I love them!  David and I actually refer to our children as arrows occasionally.  So I especially love the concept of the upcoming movie Like Arrows.  It's a film about a pair of parents trying to figure life out.  When conflict, rebellion, and resentment overwhelm their family, Charlie and Alice are forced to rethink their parenting strategy.  They realize how critical intentionality and focus are when shaping and molding young lives.  FamilyLife's first feature film explores the joys and challenges that come with raising children.  Charlie and Alice learn that knowing and living by God's Word is what brings transformation and hope to any family.  Like Arrows is executive produced by Alex and Stephen Kendrick, and FamilyLife's Dennis and Barbara Rainey and Bob Lepine.  This parenting movie will release in theaters for two nights only - May 1st and May 3rd.  This film will release as part of a significant new parenting initiative called FamilyLife's Art of Parenting, which will also include a free online video series and an eight-session small group series.  Check out more about the Like Arrows Art of Parenting resources here.

This is not a nationwide movie.  To find out if Like Arrows is playing near you click here.  I'm excited as it is playing in multiple locations near me.

I had the privilege of seeing an advanced prescreener for Like Arrows and I really enjoyed it.  Like Arrows is named for Psalm 127:4 (Like Arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children of one's youth).  I found many of the scenes and characters to be very relatable, especially as I am in the midst of this journey through parenthood.  I felt that overall this film was pretty easy to watch and enjoy and was a realistic representation of parenting in the trenches.  There were a couple of times that it became obvious that the movie is promoting a specific program, which caused me to momentarily pull away from caring about the characters but they jump right back into the storyline and allow you to get back into the movie.  A huge plus for this is that the parenting initiative plugged has a free online video series and small group series with the FamilyLife's Art of Parenting.  So it's a movie with follow-up resources, that is unique and rare and I'm on board with that! 

Ready for a giveaway?  I'm giving away 2 Fandango codes so you can see the movie yourself.  The codes will be emailed to the winner.  Winners are only allowed from the continental U.S.  Enter below and good luck!  This is a super fast giveaway so enter now.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Dissection Night for Ch A

A has been participating in the Classical Conversations Challenge program this year.  Last week she participated in dissection night and I was able to stay and observe.  I have always enjoyed dissections and it was so fun to watch the students, especially as the night progressed.  At first, A was a bit timid with her specimens but it was awesome to see her and her partner really press in and by the end of the night their faces were so animated with excitement - I love this kind of hands on learning.  They dissected a sheep pluck and a cow eye.  Warning - dissection photos ahead so if you are squeamish prepare yourself.

A sheep pluck (contains trachea, lungs and heart)

I love that they spent some time sketching and taking notes.

Removing the heart from the pluck

A holding a sheep heart

Cutting the heart in half

Inside view

Examining the inside of the sheep heart

Comparing a sheep heart to a human heart

A piece of sheep heart (for comparison later)

Dissecting into the trachea

 Trachea dissection

They used a hand pump inserted into the trachea to manually inflate the lungs.

Cutting a lung in half

Inside view of a lung

Comparison of a piece of heart tissue vs a piece of lung tissue (the heart piece sinks and the lung piece floats)

 Dissecting a cow eye

 Cow eye with lens detached (looks like a white marble)

 Inside the cow eye

 Another view

Note - I forgot to mention that A broke her dominant arm a few weeks ago so you see her in a lovely purple cast above.  Thankfully, she can still write and play her flute!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Timberdoodle's Pathway Readers 1st Grade Set Review

Pathway Readers

I want to share with you a fun reading program that E just finished as part of her homeschool curriculum this year, Timberdoodle's Pathway Readers 1st Grade Set.  This set is one of the many treasures you will find within Timberdoodle's 1st grade curriculum kit.  This set contains three readers: First Steps, Days Go By, and More Days Go By.  Each book has a distinct outside color making them easy to differentiate when on a shelf (red, blue and green).  However, within each reader it contains black-and-white sketches.  This set is geared towards 6-7 year olds in 1st and 2nd grade.

E reading First Steps

Here you get a peek inside the book.

E's reading and writing has really exploded recently and it has been so fun to watch.  Reading was very challenging for her at first and she struggled with "not knowing everything".  Sometimes she was scared to try.  As E began this series, I really enjoyed the confidence it gave her as she mastered each story to press onward and even read other books and stories for fun.  She laughed and smiled as she worked her way through these lovely stories about farm life, harvests and family.

E and G in the allergist waiting room.

She was eager to take these books along for allergy appointments and general outings so that she could read to me and her younger siblings!

A peek into Days Go By.

Finishing this set!

Another thing about this set that I loved was the reading comprehension that it fosters.  I love how the stories are continuations of the first ones and I really enjoyed hearing E tie things together from each of the stories and even the separate books themselves.  And when I say continuations I don't mean that they pick up exactly where the previous story left off but that you have to remember the characters and past adventures.  When I asked E what she liked about these books she said, "EVERYTHING!"  So there you have it.

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  Timberdoodle sent my family the Pathway Readers 1st Grade Set for a discounted price in exchange for our honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Patience Is A Virtue And The Miracle Season Trailer

I wanted to share The Miracle Season trailer with you today.  The Miracle Season releases in theaters April 6th and I'm excited to see it, just a few more days!

The movie is about tragic loss but also how we can find hope and light is some of the darkest seasons we face in life.  When C first started baseball, he was taught the basics.  On his first few teams they didn't count runs, they didn't count outs, everyone got to hit and run the bases.  This was great for learning the game but then C wanted to play "real" baseball.  So we switched leagues.  He was on a team that didn't win a single game.  And C learned how to lose gracefully and cheerfully.  It was character building in a great way.  Although that was a tough season C was patient and stuck with the game he loves.  He has been on several teams now, always diligent to show up for practices and games and hoping to play well.  And he has had some amazing coaches along the way.  C is now on the best team he has ever been on.  The other night he hit a double at his at bat and I couldn't be more proud of him.  It's not the winning or losing that matters the most.  It's how you play the game and more importantly how you treat others while doing so.  I'm grateful for all that baseball is teaching my son.

As promised, check out the trailer for The Miracle Season below.

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Grace Hill Media for selecting me to participate in this campaign.  By sharing this information with you I will receive a $30 gift card.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy Pi Day 2018

Happy Pi Day

The kids and I went to the Texas Museum of Science & Technology this morning to celebrate Pi Day.  It was fun to walk through the butterfly maze, make Pi bracelets and see a few planetarium shows.  And of course we had pie - strawberry and chocolate were the choices this year.  

 Chocolate Pie

Strawberry Pie

Hope you and yours were able to celebrate.

Monday, March 12, 2018

And Now There Are Two

C is on the Angels and F is on the Tiger Sharks

F has been waiting a long time to play baseball.  He has grown up watching C play and has been asking to play since he was about 2.  Now that he is 4 he can play T-ball.  So right now, C is playing 10U (kid pitch) and F has just started with 4U T-ball.  Baseball season can be crazy with practices any given night of the week and games every weekend and sometimes weeknights but my boys sure do love to play.  Enjoy a few photos of this season so far.

G wanted to get in on it so I'm thinking he might be a ball player too.

F running the bases

Enjoy the video below of F's 1st ever at bat.  He happened to be the first batter of the game.  I thought he did great!

Friday, March 9, 2018

A Wrinkle In Time Releases in Theaters Today, March 9th

If you haven't heard, A Wrinkle In Time arrives in theaters today, March 9th!  This was one of my absolute favorite books growing up so I am excited to see how the movie compares.  I'm a little nervous to see what adaptations are made but hopefully the heart of this book (and series) is conveyed.  I remember being blown away by the concept of a tesseract so it will be fun to see how it is portrayed on the big screen.

Synopsis of Wrinkle In Time:  From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney's "A Wrinkle In Time," an epic adventure based on Madeleine L'Engle's timeless classic that takes and audience across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light, good versus evil, and ultimately, the triumph of love.  The film stars Reese Witherspoon, Oprah, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, and Storm Reid as "Meg Murry."

Check out the trailer below.


Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Grace Hill Media for selecting me to participate in this campaign.  By sharing this information with you I will receive a $25 Fandango gift card to see this film.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

CNN's POPE: The Most Powerful Man in History Premieres Sunday, March 11

I want to share with you about the upcoming television docu-series POPE: The Most Powerful Man in History which takes a closer look at early Christianity and what it means to be Pope.  This series explores some of the most impactful moments in history including schisms within the Catholic Church, the creation, commission, and cost of some of the world's most iconic and beloved religious works of art during the Renaissance, and the Reformation that paved the way for reflection and reform.  POPE:  The Most Powerful Man in History premieres Sunday, March 11 at 10 pm ET/PT on CNN.

Check out the trailer of CNN's latest docu-series, POPE.

I also want to share with you the Roman Holiday contest (in support of this series) in which a winner will be chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Rome.  The winner will experience a Roman Holiday and a rare private tour of the Vatican.  This contest begins March 8 and will end on April 15th.  Winner receives: airfare and five nights of hotel accomodations for two in Rome, a $500 gift card, a private tour of the Vatican (which is home to some of the greatest works of art).  You can check out more about this contest and enter here.  Good luck!

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Grace Hill Media for selecting me to participate in this campaign.  By sharing this information with you I will receive two $25 Life Way gift cards, one to keep and one to gift someone for Easter.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Sony Pictures The STAR Movie Out on DVD

Remember my post on The Star?  It released in theaters in November 2017 and it is now available on DVD and BLU-RAY format.
In Sony Pictures Animation's The Star, a small and brave donkey named Bo longs for a life beyond his village mill.  After finding the courage to break free Bo teams up with Ruth, a loveable lost sheep, and Dave, a dove with big aspirations, in a journey of a lifetime.  The friends follow the Star and become heroes in one of the greatest stories ever told.
The Star is filled with more than an hour of engaging bonus materials including the "Star-aoke: Sing Along with Bo & Friends," a dance along to "Life is Good" by A Great Big World, plus a collection of fun lyric videos that will have you singing along to the inspiring music from The Star.  Families can enjoy crafting and baking with "how-to" videos "Star Mason Jar Votives" and "Sweet and Sparkly Stars." and they can go behind-the-scenes to explore the amazing talent who bring these characters to life.  In "Faith All Year Round," renowned pastor and motivational speaker, DeVon Franklin delivers a fun and engaging children's sermon discussing the themes of the film and keeping the spirit of this inspiring story alive in us every day.
The Star has a run time of approximately 86 minutes and is rated PG for some thematic elements.
Would you like to buy your own copy of The Star?  You can purchase it here.
Check out more about Sony Pictures Animation on their social channels:
Disclosure:  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for choosing me to be a part of this campaign.  As part of this campaign I will receive either the soundtrack or DVD of The Star.  Opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Golden Dragon Acrobats

Last Sunday A, B, D and I were able to watch the Golden Dragon Acrobats perform at the Long Center.  They were amazing!

Heading into the Long Center

Waiting for the doors to open, we loved the view outside

The Golden Dragons are a premiere Chinese acrobatic touring group throughout the United States and abroad.  Their show includes award-winning acrobatics, traditional dance, spectacular costumes, ancient and contemporary music and theatrical techniques that present a show of skill and beauty.  The was an hour of performances, a 15 minute intermission and another 45-50 minutes of performances.  At intermission B was reflecting on how quickly the show went by because it was so fascinating to watch.

"It felt like only a few minutes, not an hour."  she said.  I kept finding myself muttering "Amazing and they're crazy!"  I loved watching the tumblers.  The Long Center has snacks and drinks available for purchase prior to the performance and during intermission.  Snacks need to be consumed before entering the seating area but it is fine to bring your drinks in with you.

I wasn't able to get good photos during the performance due to the lighting and the fact that I was so enthralled watching the performance but I took a few photos from their website to share with you.  The pure strength that these performers have is truly a wonder.  They made skills look easy and effortless.

These 2 guys were amazing to watch.  Their strength and flexibility was jaw dropping.

 I loved watching all the juggling incorporated throughout the show.  These fans were some of the items that were juggled using the performers' feet.

See what I mean about flexibility.

If the Golden Dragon Acrobats are performing near you I would highly recommend seeing their show.  You won't be disappointed.

Disclosure: Thanks so much to USFamilyGuide and The Long Center for allowing me to participate in this campaign. I was provided 4 tickets to enjoy the Golden Dragon Acrobats for review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Timberdoodle's Draw The USA Review

Draw The USA

I love being a Timberdoodle Blogger!  I have a fun homeschool resource from Timberdoodle that I want to share with you, Draw The USA by Kristin J. Draeger.  This book is an easy step-by-step approach to drawing the USA.  I love that it is both geography and art.  Most of my children have a good idea of the shape of the United States and some states but I love that this gives them an easy way to break down the entire United States or more accurately build and draw the entire United States.  A, B, C and D all worked through this book (8th grade, 6th grade, 5th grade and 3rd grade).

Getting started

C beginning his map

A looks so serious

Smile photo break

The kids liked starting with a few states and then building on their neighbors until they worked through the entire United States.

D's map

We worked through this book in one day and I thought my kids did a great job.  I love how easy the steps were so that you can work through this book at your own pace and on your own timeline - a day, a week, a month, 5 minutes here or there.  This is also a great book to rework through and continue practicing as it's a nonconsumable resource.  You can continue to work through Draw The USA until you can draw it from memory!  It's a great way to learn all the states and abbreviations as well.

D's finished USA map

C's finished USA map

B's finished USA map

 And A's finished USA map

Draw The USA is part of Timberdoodle's 5th grade curriculum kit.  You can check it out and read more about Draw The USA on Timberdoodle's website.

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  Timberdoodle sent my family the Draw The USA for a discounted price in exchange for our honest review.  All opinions are my own.