Tuesday, October 24, 2017

I'm Finally 40

With my cake and 40 candles!

I turned 40 on Saturday!  It was a busy day as D had a gymnastics performance and C had his last baseball game of the season at the same time.  David and the kids had a dinner party for me in the evening and it was a lot of fun.  They made a lot of delicious food - fajitas and all the fixings, tamales, salsa, guacamole, queso, chips, etc. along with an amazing chocolate cake and 3 kinds of Blue Bell ice cream.  It was so great to spend time with family and friends and I'm so thankful for those that were able to come over and celebrate with me.  Enjoy the photos.

D after her performance

 My cake was chocolate, with a little bit of chocolate, covered in chocolate with a side of chocolate...you get the idea

Blowing out my candles...

 Still blowing...


 And my favorite picture from the party!

People keep asking me if 40 feels any different and the truth is it really doesn't.  I definitely feel older than I did years ago but I've felt that way for awhile, nothing magical changed on Saturday.  I feel blessed to have been married 16 years and have had 7 children by my 40th birthday - that is my best accomplishment for sure and my greatest joy.  I look forward to enjoying this next decade.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Label Daddy Allergy Labels Review

With seven kids I feel as though it was bound to happen but a few of my kiddos suffer from allergies.  C has extreme seasonal allergies.  He actually has been getting allergy shots for the last few years and it has made such a huge difference.  A few years ago we found out that E is highly allergic to fire ants.  And then earlier this year, E had a case of serum sickness in which we found out that she is allergic to Amoxicillin - yuck.  You would think it doesn't come up much with her being homeschooled but with her activities, our homeschool co-op and even church it is great to have a way for people to know that E has allergies, even if they are not food related.  I recently ordered E allergy labels from Label Daddy and I'm so glad I did.  Our label pack came with 27 round allergy labels measuring 2.06".  The peel and stick labels make it so easy to alert kids, teachers, friends, other parents, you name it to any allergies your child might have.  They work on bags, lunch boxes, food containers, and more!  E carries and Epi-pen so it was great to apply one of these labels to her bag, easy peasy indeed.  I also rest easier knowing that my cell phone number is right there in case someone should need it.

Here is an example label from the Label Daddy website.

Our Labels (I scratched out my phone number for obvious reasons)

You can see that the outside circle alerts everyone to the fact that there is an allergy.  You can customize the name, allergies and phone number.  E's favorite color is red so of course she loved them right away.  I also love that the peel-and-stick labels are scratch-resistant and waterproof - so you don't have to label things over and over and over again - woohoo!  These labels are durable and exactly what I was looking for.  Label Daddy sells allergy labels, clothing labels, shoe labels, school labels and even Holiday labels and tags.  

Check them out and let me know what you think.  Use code USFAMILY25 at checkout to save 25% on your entire order!

Disclosure: Thanks so much to USFamilyGuide and Label Daddy for allowing me to participate in this campaign.  I received my own Label Daddy customized labels for review.  All opinions are my own.

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

I want to tell you about a new movie that releases in theaters on October 13th, Goodbye Christopher Robin.  If you are familiar with Winnie-the-Pooh (and who isn't?) you will recognize the name immediately.  This film will take you to post-war England and into the lives of the Milne family.  A.A. Milne, an author and war veteran of The Great War suffering from PTSD becomes inspired by his son to create the characters that we all know and adore today.

Goodbye Christopher Robin gives and interesting account of the genesis of Winnie-the-Pooh along with the rise in popularity of A.A. Milne's classic children's books featuring the beloved bear.  The script brings some insight into the lives of the author, called Blue, and his own son, named Christopher Robin but called Billy, as well as the author's wife, Daphne, and the boy's live-in nanny, Nou.  Costumes, setting, acting, and camera art are all very good.  In particular, the performance by the young Christopher Robin is outstanding.  It appears the script is within reasonable accuracy to actual history (I looked it up in Wikipedia as soon as the film ended because I was so surprised with the content.)

I wish the film had better audience engagement.  Of the four main characters: Billy, Blue, Nou and Daphne, each has serious struggles as well as opportunities over the course of the movie.  We see moments to celebrate in their relationships, and tragic relational blunders.  Unfortunately, the audience always seems to be held at arm's length from the characters, their failures and victories, and their coping and their compromises.  In rare scenes we get a glimpse of the depth of a character but mostly viewers are uninvolved observers throughout the film.  Some credit should be given to the concept of illustrating a distant family dynamic always held at arm's length by treating the audience to the same fate, but ultimately the balance tips heavily against this positive possibility.  So many deep issues are presented here with shallow acknowledgement, allowing the audience to react with simply a casual feeling of, "oh, what a shame..." rather than carrying the viewer into the depth of this experience.  Even though this film falls short in some regards, the movie is beautifully made, well polished, and tells an interesting story.  It is also refreshingly free of filth, obscenity, and foul language so common in Hollywood today.  I am glad I saw the film but it is not a film I would watch again.  I will certainly continue to read Winnie-the-Pooh to my children and I expect they will read the stories to their children as well.

Check out the official movie trailer for Goodbye Christopher Robin below and let me know what you think.

Disclosure:  I received an advanced screening of this film in exchange for my review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

E's 6th Birthday Tea Party

E and I at her party.

Miss E turned 6 last week and we had her birthday par"tea" yesterday - yes, it was a tea party theme!  It was so much fun.  We set up tables outside and had all the kids sit down for snacks and drinks - a true tea party.  Then we served cupcakes and ice cream.  We had crafts and color sheets but the kids had so much fun sitting down together and hanging out that I ended up sending the crafts home as party favors.  I hope you enjoy the photos!

 The Grands with Baby G, Grandpa wore his Mad Hatter hat!

And Grandma wore one of the party hats.

A and B helped me make tea party hats using plastic plates, bowls, ribbons, fake flowers and hot glue.  Honestly, A made most of them.  She did a great job.  We had pastel blue and purple hats for guests to choose from.

Here's the birthday girl in her party hat!

One of the party tables

With friends

And another table

David made cupcakes

Birthday girls plate - 6 cupcakes with a large cupcake in the center with 6 roses

 E with her cupcakes

We had a bean bag party game set up next to the tables.

I printed out some pictures of teapots and cups and used those as part of our decorations.

 We purchases bubble wands and added tea charms to fit the theme.

We also had themed lollipops, they were very cute.

 D at the party with a friend.

 The two E's, they have the same name!

 Mister F excited to see E open her presents.

 D with Aunt Jane and Uncle Bob.  Notice Aunt Jane's party hat!

 Thanks so much to all our friends and family who were able to make it to the party and celebrate with us.  E is such a joy.  She is such a sweet and sensitive soul and we love her dearly.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Jeremy Camp The Answer Review & Giveaway

I have a great CD to tell you about by Jeremy Camp, The Answer which releases tomorrow on October 6th.  This CD is such a great reminder that despite the constant chaos in our own lives and around the world Jesus is always with us and He holds the answer!  This album includes 11 songs:  "The Answer", "My Defender", "Word of Life", "Storm", "My Father's Arms", "Never Stopped Loving", "Tell the Whole World", "Heaven's Shore", "Carriers", "Love So Great" and "Awake O Sleeper".  I love Jeremy's voice, his heart and his passion for the Lord.  His music is uplifting, inspirational and will lead you to Christ.  If you are a fan of Christian music I highly recommend Jeremy Camp, you will not be disappointed.

Check out the lyrics to the title song "The Answer"

So many questions, the world is reaching
So many hurting, so many lost
With all this thriving, who can we lean on?
Creations crying, out from the dark
I know the answer, to every question
The one solution, to every fear
I know my helper, where it comes from
Jesus, He is the answer
He sees our sadness, He feels our sorrow
And in our weakness, He is strong
He holds the weight of, all of our failings
Greedy is our sin but greater the cross
I know the answer, to every question
The one solution, to every fear
I know my helper, where it comes from
Jesus, He is the answer
For every heart that's breaking
For every soul that's shaking
For every sickness, there's healing in Your hands
Let every

Pretty awesome, right?

Check out "The Answer" music video below which highlights real stories.

You might also enjoy this video of the official song story for "Word of Life".

Want to buy this CD?  Just head here.  Ready for a giveaway?  One of you will win your own copy of Jeremy Camp's The Answer!  Just enter below and good luck.  Giveaway open to Continental U.S. residents only, read giveaway rules below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this CD 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.