Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Activities for Adventures in Odyssey Fans

It's summer, it's summer and I am so excited!  Although, sometimes I wish it wasn't so hot here in Texas :).  Need some ideas of things for your kids to do while you are indoors?  Check out the great ideas below from Adventures in Odyssey.


Summer is officially here!  Don't let your kids' boredom run rampant.  Adventures in Odyssey is here to save the day.  Below are some must-try ideas for summer fun! Want even more summer fun?  For the month of June, you can join the Odyssey Adventure Club for only $5!  More details can be found here.

Summer Activities

As a parent you are probably a big proponent of reading.  Encourage your kids to dig into a book or two this summer with Adventures in Odyssey's On Your Marks Summer Reading Challenge.   Bonus points if YOU create a reading challenge for yourself as you read along with your kids!

Looking for something hands-on? Create Matthew in 3-D!   Invite a few of your kids' friends over for a play date, print off the activity sheet, and let them have at it for the afternoon (with the promise of cookies and lemonade once they've finished constructing Matthew).

Maybe your kids aren't into reading, but they love math.  If that's the case, have them solve Eugene's Sudoku!  This was a fun opportunity to show the kids how to play Sudoku.  I really enjoy working these puzzles.  I did a ton of them at the end of my pregnancies and sometimes during labor.  It was nice to introduce the kids to them.

 A and B working on the Sudoku puzzle

Working together

The laundry needs to be done; the dishes need to be put away.  But your kids are begging you to take them out to the zoo.  Let them take a whack at Matthew's Decoder in the morning, then make an agreement that if they figure out how to use the decoder, you'll take them on an afternoon adventure.  That'll give you the morning to finish up your to-do list!


Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Litfuse and Adventures in Odyssey for choosing me to be an Odyssey Club Blogger allowing me unlimited access to Adventures in Odyssey.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fun in the Sun with Capri Sun

I was selected to participate in a fun in the sun party with Capri Sun through Crowdtap.  We had a so much fun in the sun yesterday!  We invited some friends over, filled up a few pools, set up the slip-n-slide and got the water balloons ready.  We had a fabulous time playing outside, getting wet and just enjoying being together - I love summer!  We had goldfish, grapes, ice cream cones and of course - Capri Sun.  Enjoy the photos.

Baby F ready to swim, isn't this towel awesome?

 In the pool

Lots of Capri Suns to stay hydrated, it's hot in Texas!

A and B were really good at the balancing game.

Bring on the water balloons

D squirting E


Watch out

Really Watch Out

The awesome towel again

E enjoying her Capri Sun

Hanging Out

 Ice Cream

Go Enjoy the Sun!

Disclosure:  Thanks to Crowdtap and Capri Sun for choosing me to host this party and providing me with Capri Suns, a cooler and 4 awesome towels to share.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Happy National Sunglasses Day

Hope you had a chance to wear your finest shades today!  My friend put together this awesome collage of some of the attendees of this years AdventureCon14 blogging conference.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Nuby Oral Care Set Review

 My Big Time Cutie, aka Baby F

I was hoping to use this whole system before reviewing it for you but as it is a 4 stage oral care system, we are going to be using it awhile!  

 Our Nuby Oral Care Set in Blue/Green

In fact, I love that about the Nuby Oral Care Set.  It has 4 stages that grow with your baby and provides a great start to good oral hygiene.

Here is the silicone massager up close

Stage 1:  Extra soft silicone massager and gum cleaner for delicate newborn gums.  We have used this one the most since baby F is only 5 months old.  This is great for babies 3 months and under.  I love that it is easy for parents to use and baby F seems to really enjoy his gum massaging.  This is a great way to begin oral care with babies.

And here Baby F is demonstrating how easy it is to use.

Stage 2:  Soft gum massager for older gums and newly erupted teeth.  We have just started using this one.  Baby F is still toothless but he drools all the time.  His older siblings didn't get their first chopper until between 9 and 10 months old.  We will see what he decides to do.  This brush is great for babies over 3 months old.  I love that it is easy to grip.  In fact, baby F loves to hold it but I have to be careful because he still doesn't always have control of it and he can unintentionally poke himself. 

Stage 3:  Massages and helps clean gums and teeth during the teething process.  We will start using this one when Baby F is over 11 months old.  It is a great time to help teach children proper brushing habits.  He should be better at holding it by himself by then as well.

Stage 4:  Soft nylon bristles gently clean baby's new teeth.  This is great for babies with teeth.  This will essentially be baby F's first "real" toothbrush.  I like that the bristles are super soft and gentler on newly erupted teeth.

 No teeth but full of giggles!

It won't be long before my toothless wonder has a full set of choppers and I am thankful to have this set for Baby F as his mouth grows and matures. 

Read more about the Nuby Oral Care Set 4 stage system below.

According to Nuby
 - 0 months +
 - 4 Stage System
 - Promotes the early development of good dental hygiene
 - Perfect size for baby
 - Protects primary teeth

The Nuby Oral Care Set 4 stage system is available in various color combinations and can be purchased at Baby Depot at Burlington.

Thanks Nuby for another awesome product!  Remember you can connect with Nuby on facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest as well. 

Disclosure:  I did not receive any compensation for this post, although as part of this program I may receive items to sample or review.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Join the Odyssey Adventure Club for $5!


I am so excited to be a part of the Odyssey Adventure Club!  The kids and I have already started to listen to Adventures in Odyssey stories.  We read a lot and I love having an audio library of wholesome stories to go to.  And I really look forward to listening to some of these cruising around town or on our upcoming road trips!  We have one planned in just a few weeks.

Are your kids in need of a safe and fun environment where they can explore, create and imagine, all while developing their faith and learning biblical truth?  Enter the Odyssey Adventure Club (AOC)!
For a limited time, you can join HERE for only $5 (regular monthly membership costs $15 for up to six users)!

Families will be able to stream the Adventures in Odyssey library, plus listen to exclusive new monthly episodes.  Busy families will find 24/7 access to the content through the Odyssey Adventure Club mobile iPhone app.

Children can also read daily devotions, interact with hands-on activities and view video documentaries featuring a behind-the-scenes look into the production of the Adventures in Odyssey stories. Parents can feel confident their children are safe on the Odyssey Adventure Club website — Focus on the Family staff will be monitoring all comments before they’re publicly posted. (Created for children ages 8-12.)

A portion of each Odyssey Adventure Club membership will benefit Focus on the Family partner relief organizations, including Christian Veterinary Mission, Operation Christmas Child and Compassion International. This provides parents with an opportunity to teach children about the value of giving and serving others.

Coming in July, Odyssey Adventure Club members get to listen to the brand new album, "The Ties That Bind," FIRST before it's available ANYWHERE ELSE!

Click here to join for only $5!

Want more summer activities for your kids inspired by the Odyssey Adventure Club? Check out this post.

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Litfuse and Adventures in Odyssey for choosing me to be an Odyssey Club Blogger allowing me unlimited access to Adventures in Odyssey.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Forever Amish Book Review, Blog Tour and Giveaway

I wanted to tell you about the latest book in the Legacy of Lancaster trilogy, Forever Amish by Kate Lloyd.

You all know that I am a sucker for Amish books.  I read them quickly, enjoy them thoroughly and find them overall delightful.  There is something intriguing about the life of the Amish - the simplicity, the importance of faith, family and community. 

This book is about discovery, family, love and forgiveness.  And while I found some plot points predictable, there were several puzzle pieces I did not have placed correctly.  Lloyd did a great job weaving this story and bringing the characters to life.

Another thing to note is that this book could be read as a stand alone.  In general I always recommend reading complete series but if you weren't able to, this book is enjoyable by itself.

Read more about this book and author below.  Check out the full blog tour here.  And don't forget about the giveaway.  Purchase your own copy of this book here.

About the book
Forever Amish introduces us to a young woman about to uncover a shocking secret and find an invitation to a new way of living.  This is a story of forgiveness, legacies, and the ties that bind through generations.  It's the Last Thing She Expects to Find.  Sally Bingham needs some time away to sort through the changes in her life and to rethink her upcoming marriage.  Despite her ailing father's hesitations, she takes off for a bed and breakfast in Lancaster County for a weekend away.  But her best-laid plans leave her in a near collision with a bishop's buggy and in the home of a mysterious Amish woman named Lizzie.  Lizzie introduces her to a different perspective on life, a charming farmhand named Armin - and opens a Pandora's box that will forever change Sally's life.

About the author
Kate Lloyd is a passionate observer of human relationships.  A native of Baltimore, Kate spends time with family and friends in Lancaster County, PA, the inspiration for her novels.  She is a member of the Lancaster County Mennonite Historical Society.  Kate and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest.  Kate studied panting and sculpture in college.  She's worked a variety of jobs, including car salesman and restaurateur. 

Kate can be found at: website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

Now onto the giveaway!

The latest book in Kate Lloyd's Legacy of Lancaster trilogy, Forever Amish, introduces us to a young woman about to uncover a shocking secret and find an invitation to a new way of living. This is a story of forgiveness, legacies, and the ties that bind through generations.

Kate is celebrating by giving away an Amish-made prize pack!

  One winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • A Qillow (A pillow with a lovely surprise inside! It opens to a 40” X 60” quilt ideal for traveling, sports events, and home.)
  •  A Center Diamond wall hanging (Hand-stitched by Old Order Amish quilter Emma Stoltzfus of E.S. Quilts in Lancaster, PA. It measures 42” x 42” and is a traditional Old Order Amish design.)
  • Darling Amish-made faceless dolls (Hand-crafted in Lancaster County, PA. Each measures 12 inches and is individually named. Meet Martha and Henry!)
  • Forever Amish and the rest of the Legacy of Lancaster trilogy by Kate Lloyd
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 29th. Winner will be announced at Kate's blog on July 1st.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning and be sure to stop by Kate's blog on July 1st to see if you won!

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Litfuse Publicity Group for allowing me to be a part of this tour and providing me with this book to facilitate my review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Happy Father's Day

 Our Pancake Breakfast

I hope all the Dad's out there had a wonderful Father's Day (a few days ago)!  The kids and I made pancakes for David.  I had a lot of fun making them.  Then we went to church and had a party after lunch!  I am so blessed to not only have an amazing husband but I am married to a man who is an amazing Father as well.

David's plate

David and the Kiddos

 Yes, there was a cake!

It was blue and orange inside.

 A made a portrait balloon of David :).

Friday, June 13, 2014

When Calls The Heart Movie Review

I had the pleasure of watching When Calls The Heart A Telling Silence recently.  I have said it numerous times before but I am a huge fan of Janette Oke and this movie is inspired by her best-selling books.  I am also a huge fan of Hallmark and Michael Landon Jr. so this was perfect for me.  Let me give you the synopsis first.

Elizabeth Thatcher begins to feel sorry for one of her students, an 8 year old mute who lost her father in a mining accident.  When Rosaleen goes missing, Elizabeth and the town begin searching for her.  Meanwhile, constable Jack Thornton uncovers evidence that Cat Montgomery (a single mother who also lost her husband in the mining accident) may have been involved in a suspicious church fire.

I enjoyed the characters, the storyline and the acting in this film.   I previously reviewed When Calls The Heart and I love getting more insight and additional information and story about the characters that I have already grown to love, especially Elizabeth.  There is encouragement, mystery, adventure and a touch of romance.  If you are looking for a clean and wholesome series I definitely recommend the When Calls The Heart series!

Check out the trailer here and let me know what you think!

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Edify Media for providing me with a copy of When Calls The Heart A Telling Silence on DVD to facilitate my review.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Party Monster Stevie and his Pet Costume

Party Pooch Monster Hoodie for dogs

I was recently given the opportunity to review a pet costume for Stevie!  The kids were thrilled to have a costume for our canine friend.  We chose the Party Pooch Monster Hoodie from Wholesale Halloween Costumes.

 This hoodie attaches at the bottom of the head with velcro.

This hoodie is only available in one size so I wasn't sure it would fit Stevie, our 40 pound Shepherd Mix.  It fits him perfectly.  It attaches at the bottom of the neck under his jaw with velcro strips.  I like that the strips are larger and more durable.

 Here is Stevie with his new party hat on!

Another view

This isn't something that Stevie is going to wear everyday but it is a fun item to have for parties and fun occasions.  I like that it is simple yet fun.  It is easy to put on and remove, which is especially important when dealing with animals.  If you are looking for a costume for your furry friend look here for more pet costumes.  Would you like to see more dogs in costumes?  Then check out the Howl-O-Ween Fest in Bridgeland! 

Disclosure:  I was blessed to receive the Party Pooch Monster Hoodie costume for review.  All opinions expressed are 100% mine.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

All My Belongings Book Review

Remember my post on the All My Belongings Giveaway/Webcast?  Now I wanted to tell you about the book!  Let me say that Cynthia Ruchti is a talented writer and a great story teller.  I am so impressed with the range of topics that were tackled in this atypical romance - faith, healing, acceptance, forgiveness, adoption and one that I don't often see - mercy killings.  We see a life end and a life reborn amongst other things.  I found this to be a quick read that had a few surprise turns, which I love.  If you are looking for a great story with mystery, intrigue and romance packed with depth - look no further. 

Read more about this book and author below.  Go here to purchase your own copy.

About the Book
A new life and a new identity can't protect Becca from a past that refuses to go away.  After spending years running from the shame her father put on her family, Jayne is determined not to let him steal her future in the same way he stole her childhood.  Changing her name to Becca Morrow, she moves to California and settles into a new life and new job caring for ailing mother of handsome young businessman, Isaac Hughes.  But just a she's wondering if she and Isaac are headed for a relationship, Becca's patient passes away under unusual circumstances.  Suddenly, her past catches up with her and the unnerving details of her heritage threaten to destroy all sense of home and all hope for love.  Even is she could clear her name, a phone call wraps a suffocating shroud around her heart.  Her estranged father needs her help.  But can Becca open her new life to the man who ruined her past?

 About the Author
 Cynthia Ruchti has more than three decades of radio broadcast experience with "Heartbeat of the Home" radio and currently serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers. 
Cynthia can be found at: website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads.

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Litfuse Publicity Group for allowing me to be a part of this tour and providing me with this book to facilitate my review.  All opinions expressed are my own. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Moms' Night Out Book Review

By now you have probably heard of Moms' Night Out the movie, but did you know there is a book?  Yep, Tricia Goyer made a novelization of the family comedy celebrating real family life!  Allyson and her friends are in need of a peaceful night out but what ensues is a hilarious series of events that Moms can identify with and appreciate.  I found myself laughing out loud at several points in the book because I could indeed see this situation unfolding before my eyes.  I like that this book touches on the fact that parents don't always have the answers or have it all together, and yet that is not the most important thing - love and family far outweighs that and is what is truly important.

Continue reading to find out more about this book!  And purchase your own copy here.

About the Book
All Allyson and her friends want is a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and conversation...a long-needed moms' night out.  But in order to enjoy high heels, adult conversation and food not served in a bag, they need their husbands to watch the kids for a few hours - what could go wrong?  Chronicling one night out gone awry, three harried moms, their husbands, a sister-in-law with a misplaced baby, a tattoo parlor owner, a motorcycle gang, and a bewildered cabbie all learn to embrace the beautiful mess called parenting.  This book spotlights the unfulfilled expectations and serial self-doubts many moms feel...then reassures us that the key is raising kids in a loving home.  Moms' Night Out is an endearing, true-to-life comedy.

About the Author
USA Today best-selling author Tricia Goyer is the author of over 35 books, including the three-book Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series and Lead Your Family Like Jesus (co-written with Ken Blanchard).  She has written over 500 articles for national publications and blogs for high traffic sites like and  She is the host of Living Inspired, a weekly radio show.  Tricia and her family live in Little Rock, Arkansas.  They have six children. 
Connect with Tricia: website, Twitter, Facebook

Take a Look at the Trailer for the movie below!

Moms' Night Out: Official Trailer
Moms' Night Out: Official Trailer

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Litfuse Publicity Group for allowing me to be a part of this tour and providing me with this book to facilitate my review.  All opinions expressed are my own. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Last day of school - Hello Summer!

Today is our last official day of homeschool for the school year!  We have been pushing hard the last few weeks to finish strong and I think we did just that.  We are now looking forward to a fun, exciting-filled summer!

 A will be going into 5th grade.

 B is not far behind her going into 3rd grade.

 C, he looks thrilled right?

 D, she is always ready for a photo shoot!

I had to let E in on the photos.