Saturday, November 30, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, one and all!  I thought I would share our Christmas card here, made using the "Countdown to Christmas" Kit by Connie Prince.  It is actually modified from one of the quickpages in the kit.

We Are Going to the North Pole (& Freebie)!

As of this weekend, I am truly ready for the Christmas season!  Dandelion Dust Designs is kicking it off with this fun new release, "North Pole."  I love the traditional Christmas colors with some yellow thrown in.  This is a kit I will use over and over again!  :-)

"North Pole" is available exclusively at ScrapTakeout.

Get your free quickpages!  Click images to download from Mediafire.

Merry Christmas!

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this kit in exchange for layouts.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

3 Giveaways Ending Tomorrow!

Don't forget!  Three giveaways on this blog end tomorrow, November 27!  Enter now to win!

Happy Thanksgiving!  :-)

Share the Memories Freebie!

Check out this great fall freebie! 

Created by Snackpackgu's Designs.

Available free until December 1st.

Click image to go to download page.

Happy Scrapping!  :-)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Share the Memories Freebie!

Check out this great freebie! 

Created by Polka Dot Chicks.

Click image to go to download page.
Available free until December 1st.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Share the Memories FREEBIE!

I have been starting to get into the Christmas spirit and have posted several Christmas product reviews lately, but I truly love Thanksgiving and do not like to see the fall season get away too quickly!  So here is a fall freebie from Share the Memories.  Click image to go to download page.

Created by Touched By A Butterfly
Available free until December 1st.

Happy Scrapping!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Flyby Review: Coming Home for Christmas

One thing I love about reviewing products is that I get to start all the Christmas stuff early, so I can actually review it and let you know about it before the Christmas season starts.  I was thrilled to receive a Christmas movie to review at the beginning of November!

Have you ever been frustrated by all the Christmas letters you get from friends whose families seem perfect?  Little Johnny is a straight-A student with phenomenal talent in music and sports and several college scholarships already at the age of 8, and the family Christmas picture has not one hair out of place!  Well, we all like to show our best side in our Christmas correspondence rather than our dirty laundry, but if these letters make you feel inadequate, let me give you some advice this Christmas season:  remember that if the family picture is Photoshop perfect, it's Photoshopped!  No family is perfect, and even the best families sometimes show their worst sides around holidays and big family occasions - as you can see in Coming Home for Christmas.

Coming Home for Christmas is a delightful, Hallmark-style family Christmas movie that will warm your heart this season.  Real-life sisters Britt McKillip and Carly McKillip play estranged sisters in the movie, showing the jealousy and rivalry that only siblings can understand.  How can you dislike the people you love so much?  I think what I liked about the movie was that it was about a normal family with good memories of happy childhoods, but they still had problems, like everyone does.  When the sisters' parents split up, the girls decide they must reunite and get their family back together by Christmas.  This involves shenanigans such as trespassing, spying, and trickery, but all in good family fun!  Much of the movie is what you would expect from a predictable family holiday movie (although there are a few surprises), so there is nothing earth-shaking, but I love that in Christmas movies.  Just good family fun where everyone works out their differences in time for Christmas and lives happily ever after!
About COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMASAfter their parents separate, two estranged sisters who haven't been on speaking terms reunite in hopes that having a family Christmas all together for the first time in years will bring their Mom and Dad close again. They plan to do this in their old family home... the only problem is someone else lives there now. 
The DVD includes a limited edition Norman Rockwell print!  
Who is Norman Rockwell?  Rockwell was famous for his famous American culture illustrations and artwork. He was born in the late 1800’s and died in the mid 1900’s.  
Director: Vanessa PariseCast: George Canyon (Christmas Miracle, Dawn Rider, Man of Steel), Aaron Pritchett, Britt McKillip (Dead Like Me), Carly McKillip (Hot Rod)$14.99Available at Walmart Soundtrack also available featuring holiday songs performed by George Canyon

Of course, we have a free DVD for one lucky reader!  Leave a comment here or on my Facebook page with your favorite Christmas movie by November 27 to be entered in the drawing!

Where Can I purchase This DVD?

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this DVD in exchange for a fair review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

Zoom Zoom Freebie

I haven't posted too many freebies this month, so let's try to remedy that!  Dandelion Dust Designs has "Zoom Zoom" free on Facebook for a limited time!

Download a free accompanying Quickpage from Mediafire!  PU only.

Link should be fixed now.  Sorry!

Happy Scrapping!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review: Christmas Comes to America Unit Study

Should our family participate in the tradition of Santa Claus?  Are Christmas trees and candy canes pagan symbols?  Is there anything more to the modern Christmas season than commercialism?

Make Christmas more meaningful for your family by studying the roots of the Christmas symbols and traditions this year.  Celebrate Christmas every day during December as a part of your educational experience and bring your family closer in the process.

We have had the wonderful opportunity to start Christmas early (if you've been reading my blog you already know that) and review the unit study Christmas Comes to America from Homeschool Legacy.  I usually save my opinion for the conclusion, but since the Christmas season is almost upon us, let me just say that we love this unit study, and you must go order it right now so you will have it in time to start by December 1!!!

Christmas Comes to America discusses Christmas traditions over a four-week unit study.  Like other Once-A-Week Unit Studies from Homeschool Legacy, there is reading to do each day, with the bulk of the family lesson to do on just one day during the week, while lightening your other workload for that day.  Christmas is a lighter unit study than the other Once-A-Week studies, with fewer writing assignments, for the purpose of letting your children really just enjoy Christmas while they learn next month.

There are several things I love about Homeschool Legacy's unit studies.  One is the way they are laid out.  If you like structure in your curriculum, you may follow the schedule exactly as listed.  The library list is ready for you to print and take to the library.  Check out your books, do the suggested reading for each day, and do your family unit study work on one day each week with limited preparation.  If, like me, you like to tweak and change everything you do to fit your family, these unit studies are flexible enough for that as well.  The readings, activities, and devotions work together perfectly, whether or not you do them exactly in order or all in one day, and whether you choose to do every activity or just pick and choose.  If your library does not carry all the books, you can easily substitute others.

Another thing I love that is specific to Homeschool Legacy is that these unit studies contain a page with requirements for Boy Scout and American Heritage Girls badges, so you can complete these badges while doing the unit study if you wish.  Our lives revolve around Boy Scouts, so this is great for us.  You can still read the review I did on the Forest For The Trees Unit Study I did last year.

In Christmas Comes to America, you will spend one week each learning about the Dutch, the English, the Germans, and An American Christmas.  As in other Homeschool Legacy studies, you will learn history, geography, and vocabulary in the process of the study, but this one has fewer writing assignments and more activities like listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, and Christmas caroling in addition to the reading assignments.  Of course, there have to be a few writing assignments, but who objects to writing a letter to Santa in early December?!

We thoroughly loved doing this study.  I did it with all four of my kids together, Grades 3-10.  With different-leveled reading assignments, they can participate in the rest all together.  There were some activities, since we did the unit early, that we decided to save for closer to Christmas.  For instance, we did drink hot chocolate when we learned about the Dutchman responsible for the patent on extracting cocoa from cocoa beans, but we plan to use the provided recipe to make our own hot chocolate for Christmas gifts in a few weeks.  We are also going Christmas caroling (part of Week 2 of the study, on England) with our homeschool group in mid-December.  (We've been practicing as part of the unit study!)  I will be posting our various Christmas activities on the blog during the month of December (I hope!), so come back and check them all out.

This unit study also works very well for working almost any Christmas tradition you and your family celebrate into the lessons.  In fact, I began the first week, which was about gift-giving (and the Dutch Sinterklaas) with the book The Sparkle Box which I reviewed last week.  (Hint:  You still have a few days to enter the giveaway for a free copy!)  I also included two of my favorite resources for learning about the origin of Saint Nicholas, The Legend of the Christmas Stocking by Rick Osborne, and Veggie Tales' Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving.

If you haven't yet, you need to go quickly to Homeschool Legacy and order Christmas Comes to America in time to use it for the month of December!

Happy Christmas-planning!  :-)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this unit study in exchange for a fair review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

Flyby Review: One Girl Nation

We have been given the opportunity to review the new CD, One Girl Nation!  Since it is geared toward teen or pre-teen girls, my 12-year-old daughter snatched it as soon as it came in the mail, and I only recently got a chance to listen to it!  :-)  

I am impressed with this new group.  For one thing, they have vocal talent, which I find so lacking in some pop music these days (oh, no, am I sounding like my parents did when I was a teenager?!!)  Their lyrics, while not profound, are encouraging to young girls and recognize the emotional highs and lows that they experience.  Most of the songs on the album are upbeat dance tunes that would be great for aerobics, jogging, or just spinning around your room, especially if you are 10!  There are a few slower songs that are very pretty and still very positive.  As far as pop music goes, I really liked the album.

I want to give you a balanced review, and I have to tell you that my 12-year-old did not like the album as much as I did.  She said it was "very girly," which is not really her style.  I think that is just her musical taste.  The summary of the album says it lands "in the space where One Direction meets TobyMac."  While my daughter loves TobyMac, she is not crazy about One Direction, Taylor Swift, or a lot of the pop music her friends listen to.  She leans one way toward either classical or Broadway music, or the other way toward alternative or more abrasive pop like Skillet or Newsboys.  I think if you have a teen or preteen girl who likes pop music like One Direction or Taylor Swift, that she would like this album.

In summary, if you are looking for a stocking stuffer for a teen or preteen girl who likes pop music and would like to give her something that is Christian, positive, and upbeat, I recommend this CD.
About 1 Girl Nation:    Landing in the space where One Direction meets TobyMac, 1 Girl Nation is an exciting blend of upbeat pop music, with lyrics that are totally focused on living life for God, even while you’re young. 1GN, as they’ve already been dubbed, stars Carmen, Kayli, Kelsey, Lauryn Taylor and Lindsey, five girls with a passion for telling their fans about Christ through their music. Their first single, “While We’re Young,” can be heard on radio stations across the country and their self-titled debut album is available now!

Primary Audience: preteens, teens, and young adults (as well as parents, too!)
Stay Connected: 
Of course, we have a free album for one of our lucky readers!  Leave me a comment here or on Facebook with the name of one of your favorite songs by November 27, and you'll be entered in the drawing!

Happy listening!

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this CD in exchange for a fair review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

Happy Turkey Day and FREEBIE!

Can you believe it is only ONE week until Thanksgiving?  I am amazed and excited all at once.  Get ready for the holiday with "Happy Turkey Day" from Dandelion Dust Designs, available exclusively at ScrapTakeout.

Running out of time to scrap while you are getting ready for the holidays?  Use these Quickpages!  PU only.  Click images to download from Mediafire.

Link should be fixed now.

Happy Thanksgiving!  :-)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this kit in exchange for layouts.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Time 4 Learning Upcoming Review

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid curriculum review. Time4Learning offers an online curriculum for prek-12th, information about homeschool portfolio reviews and tools like the How to Homeschool Guide. Be sure to come back and read about my experience.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

We Have A Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered the drawing for a free copy of Can't-Wait Willow!  I know sometimes it is difficult to comment on Blogger, so just remember that each giveaway also has a Facebook link where you may comment on Facebook.  We had seven people enter the drawing on Facebook this time, and the winner is Betsy!  Congratulations, Betsy!

The next drawing ends today!  Take a look at the DVD King's Faith review and leave me a comment!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Flyby Review: The Sparkle Box

I love, love, LOVE Christmas.  My family and friends give me a hard time about wanting to get ready for Christmas so early.  My husband usually holds me off from putting up decorations until the day after Thanksgiving.  A friend of mine said you'd better not stand still very long in my place, or I might hang an ornament on you.  So you can imagine my excitement when I received The Sparkle Box, a lovely Christmas book to review with my children a full two months before Christmas!!

The Sparkle Box is a simple story about taking some of the commercialism out of Christmas for our children, about learning how we can give something to Jesus for His birthday right here on earth.  I love doing service projects with my children and helping them learn to enjoy Christmas without all the materialism, and to remember the true meaning of Christmas, so I really loved this book.   And if you want to start your own "Sparkle Box" tradition in your own home, the Sparkle Box is included with the book!

I highly recommend this book for anyone with children ages 10 and under.  I read the book with all of my children so that they would know what the "Sparkle Box" under the tree was for, but I have to say that while my teenagers love Christmas traditions with which they've grown up, they are a bit cynical about starting new ones, especially those that involve a storybook.  My youngest, however, (age 8) was enthralled.  His eyes lit up when he saw the Sparkle Box inside.  "You mean they gave us our OWN Sparkle Box?  Do we get to KEEP it?!!"  This will be a fun project for him this Christmas, which hopefully will drive home an important lesson in a very tangible way.

If you would like an extra tool in your belt to teach your children about the meaning of Christmas without the materialism, may I suggest that you add The Sparkle Box into your holiday tradition.  Read the story right after Thanksgiving or around the beginning of December to start the season out on the right foot and to have plenty of time to fill your "Sparkle Box" before Christmas morning!

Of course, you can register here on the blog to win your free copy of The Sparkle Box in plenty of time for Christmas.  Leave a comment on this post or on my Facebook about a service project in which you are participating for the holidays (Thanksgiving or Christmas), or about something nice that has been done for you, by November 27.  Include an email address.  I will select a random winner and email you Thanksgiving Weekend!

About The Sparkle Box - A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas 
Sam is so excited about Christmas! He's thinking about his Christmas list, looking forward to holiday parties, and puzzling over one very mysterious gift: a sparkly box sitting on the mantel. In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family's good deeds. Sam's mom explains that the things that they've been doing are, in fact, a gift for Jesus, for Jesus said that whatever we do for those in need, we do for Him. 

Written by Jill Hardie
Illustrated by Christine Kornacki
Available now!
Hardcover with jacket, 10 x 10, 32 pages, with a fold-out sparkle box included!
ages 4 to 8 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Share the Memories Free Christmas Clusters

Are you ready to start collecting some Christmas scrapping goodies?  
I know I am!  Check out these great free Christmas Clusters! 

Click image above to download from Share the Memories. 
Available free until November 17.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Share the Memories Quickpage Freebie

Check out this great free quickpage for your 
Thanksgiving Dinner memories!

Click image to download from Share the Memories. 
Available free until November 17.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Share The Memories Miscellany Freebie

Check out these great freebies! 

Click image above to download from Share the Memories. 
Available free until November 17.

November/December Issue TOS Magazine

Flyby Review: King's Faith

Eighteen foster homes. Nine arrests. One life-changing moment.

After Brendan King’s life spiraled to rock bottom, the teen found hope in a new relationship with Christ while serving time in a juvenile penitentiary. Recently released from prison, Brendan finds solace in the foster home of a couple struggling with suppressed grief.
As the city-bred teen enrolls at a suburban high school, he finds support from a group of believers. Yet the bonds of his old way of life—and the gang that wants to know where he hid their stash on a long-ago night—are strong. In his darkest moment, Brendan found faith. Now he must decide if it’s worth the price to hold on to it.

I recently received the DVD King's Faith to review for Flyby Promotions.  The story of a teen with a difficult past who found new life stirs emotion and raises good questions to discuss with teens and young adults.  The issues covered do face our teens today, and the movie provides a jumping board to launch into those discussions.  That said, while I did like the movie, I didn't love it.  My mother and I have both worked in Social Services, and having worked with teens like this, the story didn't ring true for me.  I don't know that the non-Christian teen who is living the described former life could relate to the path taken in the movie at all.  I discussed all this with my teen, wanting him to know realistic ways to reach out to people who are in trouble.
Please note: Film IS rated PG-13 for violence, drug content, and thematic events.  It definitely was not suitable for my preteens to watch.

If you are looking for entertaining movies with a Christian theme for teens, or if you would like to use this movie to engage your teenagers in discussion about drugs, abortion, etc., this may be a good movie for you.

To try out the movie for free, leave a comment on this blogpost or on my Facebook page.  I will choose a random winner for one copy of the King's Faith DVD next Thursday, November 14.
Watch the trailer/Visit the official website www.kingsfaith.comFacebook:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Flyby Review: Can't-Wait Willow!

When my oldest son turned six, he realized that the onslaught of Lego kits he'd received (and built in a day) for Christmas and then for his February birthday had ended, and he had little hope of getting another Lego kit before the next December, which of course was an eternity to a six-year-old.  So he began asking for jobs to do to earn money.  We paid him for some jobs that amounted to approximately $3 per week, and we taught him to give 10% to the church and to save 10% in a bank account, leaving the remaining 80% for spending money.  In this way, he could save up spending money for a $20 Lego kit pretty close to every other month.  The problem was, money burned a hole in his pocket.  Every time he got a dollar, he wanted to buy candy or go to the dollar store.  It was very difficult for him to learn to save money for any length of time.

Has anyone else had this problem with their kids?  I'm pretty sure I'm not alone!

This past month we were given the wonderful opportunity to review the book Can't-Wait Willow by Christy Ziglar.  I haven't been signing up for many story-books lately, as my youngest has started reading chapter books, but the message of this book was very relevant for him, and it probably wouldn't hurt my teenagers to read it through a few times!  Recognize the author's last name?  Yes, she is the niece of motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, and she has also helped to develop a financial literacy program for 1st- and 2nd-graders.  Can't-Wait Willow does a wonderful job of showing kids that sometimes it is worth saying "no" to some small things that are good, so that they can later say "yes" to something great!

In this age of instant gratification and a "me" generation that wants everything handed to them on a silver platter, I highly recommend this delightful book for anyone with kids ages 2-8.  It would make a fantastic Christmas gift.

Want more good news?  I have a free copy of Can't-Wait Willow to give away on my blog!  Just leave a comment here or on my Facebook page, and I'll draw a random winner on Wednesday, November 13!

By the way, my teens are much better at saving their money these days.  If you are teaching a little one who can't seem to save, keep at it.  Financial training does pay off over time, and it is one of the best gifts you can give your children! 

About Shine Bright Kids:

The Shine Bright Kids series provides children and their families with a relevant framework to help instill solid values and teach the importance of making good choices. The series teaches principles including: using good judgment, taking responsibility, self-control, having a positive attitude, and demonstrating perseverance.  Check out their website at for free reward charts, activities and other parenting resources.

About the Author:  
Christy Ziglar, financial planner, mother of twins and niece of legendary motivator and the world’s original optimist, Zig Ziglar, is bringing the same timeless wisdom and ageless advice to an entirely new, younger audience through her new Shine Bright Kids picture book series. 
Christy is available for Q&A, author interviews, Skype calls, etc.!

The first book in the series:  Can't-Wait Willow!
Willow is so excited that the Over-the-Top Circus has finally come to town! The only problem is, that when left to her own devices, she can’t say “no” to some good things. On the way to the show, she is distracted by enticing treats and fun that she just can’t turn down. Willow arrives late and is sad to find that, not only has she has run out of time, but money, and she won’t be able to enjoy the pink cotton candy she’s been dreaming of. Willow is given valuable advice and a second chance and is ultimately taught the lesson that sometimes in life you have to say “no” to good things to end up with something great!

Find Can't-Wait Willow! at Barnes & Noble and other fine retailers, as well as
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