Friday, December 31, 2010

Totally Cool!

Yes, can you believe it—I’m posting a picture of me! :) I needed a headshot for my bio. post showcasing  the Totally Tots writing team! I’m honored and excited to be joining the group of ladies writing over there.   Totally Tots is a Christian-based toddler idea site that has multiple resources that parents of toddlers will appreciate.  I’ll be rounding up ABC theme ideas and sharing them bi-weekly. I’ve been busy planning ideas, creating, and photographing them for this column. My first post will be live on Wednesday, which will also reveal something else I’ve been working on! 
totally tots
I've also started a fan page on Facebook for Spell Outloud. I might leak some intel on my other project over there ;) 
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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wrapping Up Christmas with Little Star


This Christmas season we've been reading books from our Christmas book box and doing activities relating to the books. One book I had been eyeing was Little Star by Anthony DeStefano. I received this book to review and it was a perfect way to end out holiday celebration. 

Summary: Little Star, often over-looked and ignored, was the littlest star in the sky. While all the other stars were trying to shine their brightest for the new-coming king in order to earn a reward, Little Star was left out. Finally the day came when the king was born, but the stars were disappointed to see a baby born in a dirty stable---surely they had been fooled. Little Star however, had compassion and did his best to shine for the baby king.

This was a touching story and a fun way to explain to children why there is a star on the top of a Christmas tree.  My preschooler loved looking at the pictures in the book. Mark Elliott did a wonderful job portraying the characters in the story.  I liked that the book allowed me to have another opportunity to talk with my little girls about the true meaning of Christmas. It is a perfect addition to our Christmas book box.

Now usually I would have done an activity to go along with this book, but since we received it after Christmas, I was just plum worn out from being creative—lol. I do like the handprint Christmas tree idea from Adventures in Mommy-Land, and am going to try to remember to do it with the girls next year.

You can get a head start on next year’s Christmas book box and pick this up at Amazon:

 Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free to review through Blogging for Books from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, but was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wordless Wed: Snow Much Fun




Enjoying the snow!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wed: Cry


A picture for my friend Pam :)

Joining in on Wordless Wednesday at:
Go Graham Go

5 Minutes for Mom

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Christmas Tag

I was tagged by JDaniel4's Mom, and since I'm kind of stuck on a project, I thought answering these questions would be a nice distraction. :)

  1. When do you usually know and feel that it's finally the holidays? Honestly? Now that I’m an adult it never seems like the holidays are finally here. I have all these great holiday plans that never seem to get finished, and before I know it Christmas Day is over.

  2. What do you want for Christmas this year? Hmm, this is hard for me to answer.

  3. Do you go all out with decorations? No. I would love to if I didn't have to put it up or take it down. :) The older kids do most of the Christmas decorating. We have a Christmas tree covered in eclectic ornaments, several mini-trees, and a Fisher Price Nativity set. Pretty simple!

  4. What are you doing Christmas Eve? We play games, watch a movie and usually have pizza on Christmas Eve. Then each child gets to open one gift.

  5. What are you doing Christmas Day? We eat our Birthday Cake for Jesus, open our stocking gifts, and celebrate with family.

  6. It's Christmas time. What are you reading? The little girls and I have been reading various Christmas books. Other than that, I haven't had much time for recreational reading.

  7. Favorite movie to watch during the holidays? Nestor the Long-eared Donkey. Brings back wonderful childhood memories.

  8. Favorite Christmas song? I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by Casting Crowns
  9. Favorite holiday drink? A good hot chocolate with marshmallows.

  10. How is your Christmas shopping going? Christmas shopping? Was I suppose to do that?

  11. If you could spend Christmas Day anywhere else, where would you spend it? Home surrounded by family.

  12. Any holiday traditions? Each child gets a new ornament to put on the Christmas tree.

  13. Favorite thing about the holidays? Seeing the decorations and lights around town, and spending time with my family.

    I'm not going to officially tag anyone, but copy and paste if you are game and then leave a comment below so I can go check it out! :)

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas


It is the week of Christmas and I have my Christmas cards ready! Well, ok they aren’t all the way ready, but I do have them in my possession ready to address….

I am so pleased with my cards and I have Tiny Prints to thank for them. Doesn’t it look like I spent a lot of time designing them? In the past that’s what I did---spent lots of time creating my own Christmas cards. Well this year I spent less than 5 minutes once I decided on which template to use. I had a hard time choosing because there were so many cool choices! All I had to do was upload my photos and drop them in the right spaces on the card. Easy peasy!  Tiny Prints actually has someone check each card submission to make sure everything is ok. That was good news for this sleep-deprived momma who wasn’t sure if she spelled everyone’s names right on the card before submitting. The next day I received a card-review email and was able to double-check before finalizing my order.


I was able to turn a bunch not-so-perfect photos (but they still make me smile) into a wonderfully looking card.  Great quality, color, and service. Thanks Tiny Prints!
(Prices on holiday cards and party invitations have been reduced by up to 10%, and when you enter the code 15HOL at checkout, you'll save an additional 15% off your entire holiday order. until 12/22)

And thank you—all of you who stop by my blog. It’s just more fun knowing I’m not writing to myself :)  I’m so thankful for the new friendships that have occurred because of this blog, and just feel blessed to be a part of the homeschool blogging community.

May the Peace of God surround you like swaddling cloths did baby Jesus. May the Joy of the Lord be your strength, and may 2011 be a year of drawing nearer to the God who calls the stars by name and knows yours too...

Merry Christmas!


Disclosure: I received a set of 25 cards from Tiny Prints for review purposes only. I was not required to write a positive review. Opinions are mine.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Give the Word

I've entered, how about you?

Your vote will help three ministries Give the Word of God to those who desperately need it by generating a donation to Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Dream Center or Oasis International. Click on the NTL Facebook Page for more information.

With the Give the Word Bible Contest and Giveaway:

    • Ministries win: Each time the NLT Facebook Page reaches a fan count milestone, votes will be tallied and the three ministries will receive cash donations from the New Living Translation and Tyndale House Publishers.

    • Everyone wins: Everyone who enters on the Bible Contest website wins a free download of Matthew West reading the Christmas story.

    • Daily NLT Study Bible winners: Vote on the NLT Facebook page and you will be entered to win two NLT Study Bibles—one to keep and one to give away. A new winner will be chosen every day.
    • Weekly Give the Word Locally winners: Tell us about a deserving local ministry on the NLT Bible Contest website and they could win five NLT Study Bibles and $250 worth of NLT products.

    • One Grand Prize winner will enjoy a unique trip customized just for them and their family (or three guests of their choice), to Wycliffe Bible Translators world headquarters and the WordSpring Discovery Center where they will experience firsthand the exciting world of Bible translation. The Grand Prize winner could also choose to donate the value of the trip--$2000--to Wycliffe instead.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Preschool Corner: Dec. 13-17

I haven’t gotten around to posting what my 4yr. old has been doing lately. She’s been helping me with some behind-the scenes posts which will be posted in January :) 

She’s had one big change this month and I’ve been so proud of how she’s handled it. She started speech class at a local school. She goes one day a week for several hours. I will admit that this was probably harder for me than her! :)

We kept things simple this week. She practiced her writing (I laminated printables from Confessions of a Homeschooler.)

Played with the nativity figures from our Nativity box.

Practiced matching letters and worked on beginning sounds with some Christmas verse printables.

Ate our sugar cookies that we were trying to save for Christmas Eve (we just couldn’t help ourselves—lol!)

I wasn’t going to start this until January, but she asked for her own workbook after seeing her older siblings working in theirs. So this week she started Get Ready for the Code phonics program.

We also pulled out our Wedgits set again. She loves to build with them.

For More Preschool Ideas Check Out:

preschool corner

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Tot School: Dec. 13-17


We’ve kept things simple this week for Tot school. We pulled out several of our Christmas school fun items. She loved to play with the magnet nativity from Musings of Me.


We’ve had snow this week! She loved being out in the snow. The advantage of having older kids is that I can stay warm inside while they pull her in the sled and make snow angels together. :)


Both girls asked to play with the ABC sensory box this week. They would scoop and transfer the filler. After the second day I got smart and placed the box on a big tray so that I could easily pour the filler back into the shoe box.


And she did a little toddler body art with a Sharpie marker. She’s been into everything lately.

We also read lots of Christmas books, sang songs, and made some ornaments.

For more Tot School Ideas check out:
Tot School

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Tiny Planets

ScreenShot070 Tiny Planets is an online website for kids ages 4 to 12. The site is based on a t.v. series by the same name, which features the cosmic adventures of  aliens named Bing and Bong.  Tiny Planets features games, videos, online books and a virtual world to take care of. 


Tiny Planets has 6 planet areas plus the homepage:

Tiny Planets: the homepage for the site; you can navigate to all the other sites from here. (Best to log in on this page before going to another section of the site).

My Tiny Planets: Basically a virtual world that you help create; you can earn/buy items to take care of your own planet.

Tiny Planets TV: Videos of Tiny Planet episodes. Many have to be purchased with keys in order to watch (10 keys.)

Tiny Planets Learning: Printable worksheets and lesson plan ideas.

Tiny Planets Labs: Place where kids test new games and ideas for the site.

Tiny Planets Fun: There are games, downloads and TV episodes on this site.

Tiny Planets Books: online books based on the TV episodes.

 What I Thought:

Safety:  I thought Tiny Planets did a good job at creating a safe gaming place for children. They provide screen-name options for all cadets (though this can also be a minus as it is hard to remember the names).  Since you can interact with other gamers, Tiny Planets only allows prewritten phrases for children to choose from. Another plus is that this is an ad-free site, so no worries that your child might accidently stumble on to a  not-so-good site.

Great graphics:  They graphics are really well-done.  I can see why they won two BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards. You will need to make sure your computer can handle it though.

Though most of the site is free, you can purchase keys to access certain components:

10 keys    $1.95  
25 keys    $3.95 
85 keys    $9.95  
250 keys  $25.95 
600 keys  $49.95 

Any item you purchase---books, videos, things for your planet---are yours forever. 

The site however, is confusing to sign up and navigate at first. The parent needs to set up cadet accounts and then add those accounts to the parent account. They could make this process easier.  Though the site does have some educational content, I’d say it is more geared toward entertainment (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

Though this site did not fit the needs of my family, it could be  a nice option for families who enjoy the Tiny Planets t.v. series, have kids who like space-themed games, or for parents who just need to know of a safe gaming option for their kids.

TOS: For More Tiny Planets Reviews See: Disclosure: I am a member of TOS and I was given this product free for review purposes only. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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