Saturday, September 16, 2017

FREE Queso Day @ Moe’s Southwest Grill

Moe's Southwest Grill Celebrates Free Queso Day (PRNewsfoto/Moe's Southwest Grill)

If you’re a big fan of Moe’s delicious queso, then you will be very excited to know that Moe’s famous annual FREE Queso Day is coming up this next week on Thursday, September 21st, from 11 AM to 9 PM at participating locations.

Enjoy this yummy 6oz. cup of creamy goodness with Moe’s wonderful handmade tortilla chips and free salsa bar.  No purchase required!

It’s a treat worth waiting for, so get in line as soon as you can!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

REVIEW: If You Were Me and Lived in…Mexico and If You Were Me and Lived in…Colonial America by Carole P. Roman

We really enjoyed our selections last year, so we looked forward to reviewing If You Were Me and Lived in…Mexico and If You Were Me and Lived in…Colonial America by Carole P. Roman.


If You Were Me and Lived in…Mexico is part of the Introduction to Cultures Around the World series, which is written with children ages 4-8 and even slightly older in mind.  It’s available for just $11.99.  This is a very light introduction to places, things, and terminology related to living in Mexico.

If You Were Me and Lived in…Colonial America is part of the Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time series, which is written with children ages 8-15 in mind.  It’s available for just $10.10.  It makes excellent supplemental reading for your history studies, as it gives a lot of detail about what it was actually like for a child growing up in that time period in history.

In addition, I received two other books for much younger children.  Although they were too young for my kids, I enjoyed looking through them. 

I Want to Do Yoga Too is $8.99 and is a delightful story about a little girl wants so badly to go to yoga classes with her mom instead of playing inDSCF4893 the children’s room at the studio.  She soon learns that she didn’t need to be in the class to learn some yoga, too, and it doesn’t even feel like learning! 

Pepper Parrot’s Problem with Patience is $9.99 and is a funny little story of a boy’s imagination that takes him on a pirate adventure.  In the story, he gets to help a friend learn the difference between right and left with a clever little trick, and the friend learns patience in the process.  This story is a great way to help your little pirate learn the same valuable lessons.


Although my son will be 10 later this year, we were interested in reading If You Were Me and Lived in…Mexico because we just recently made a big cross-country move from Virginia to northern Texas.  There is a high concentration of Mexican residents in this area, and everywhere we go, we hear people speaking Spanish!  So I thought Holden would really enjoy learning a little bit about life in Mexico and the culture of its people.

This book gives a very light introduction to some of places in Mexico such as its capital city, its attractions, its food, and special holidays.  It also uses some Spanish DSCF4894words that children there might use, such as how they would address their parents, what their money is called, and what some typical Mexican names for boys and girls might be.

It has beautiful, full-color illustrations that fill an entire page opposite some simple sentences printed in a large font to create an attractive 2-page spread every time you turn the page.  The illustrations are cute and keep a child’s interest.  Even the unfamiliar foreign words have a simple pronunciation guide in parentheses next to each term so that a child can even read the story for themselves.  It also makes a great read-aloud, which is how we used it. 

Holden got to see that although their culture may be different from ours, life there is also similar in that they have special celebrations, eat their fDSCF4895avorite foods, and go to school just like us.  He is currently studying the Spanish language for school, and when the little map of Mexico showed up indicating the Mexican capital of Mexico City, he blurted out that he recognized it from his current Spanish lesson, where he is learning to map some key locations!  So this book really was a great tie-in for his studies.  I think it would be particularly well-suited to a child in the recommended age range, but we also enjoyed it very much.

I also received If You Were Me and Lived in…Colonial America, which we got to review last year.  We’ve finished our colonial studies and are now studying the expansion into the great American west, so we enjoyed revisiting this book again.  Take a look at my previous review to see just how much we loved this story!  This book lets your child have a glimpse into colonial life.  This historical series is chock full of information and details of what it was actually like for a child to live and grow up in the given time period.  These are truly great resources for your history studies! 

And if you have much younger children, do check out the other two stories I mentioned…they are just so cute!

Take a look at what other Crew members had to say about these and other book selections from Carole P. Roman by clicking the banner below.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Sonic Drink Deal Tomorrow!!!

All day tomorrow, September 6th, you can get any LARGE DRINK for just 99 CENTS at Sonic!!!

Come by SONIC and enjoy a large drink for only 99¢

99¢ Large Drink ALL DAY 9/6

Come by SONIC and enjoy a large drink for only 99¢

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Kwik Stix Thin Stix Now at BJ’s Wholesale Club!!!

I’m sure you’ve seen a number of reviews I’ve posed for Kwik Stix and their new Thin Stix products by The Pencil Grip, because my daughter absolutely loves them! 

REVIEW: Kwik Stix 12 pk by The Pencil Grip, Inc.
REVIEW: Thin Stix 6pk of Neon Colors by The Pencil Grip, Inc.
REVIEW: Kwik Stix Thin Stix 12-Pk by The Pencil Grip
Kwik Stix Review and Holiday Gift Recommendation

If you’re not familiar, they are silky, solid tempera paint sticks that glide onto surfaces like a soft crayon, only with the most brilliant colors you’ve ever seen! 

The original Kwik Stix are great for younger children with their wide tips that work well for filling in large spaces.  The Thin Stix are my 13-year old daughter’s favorite, because their thinner tips allow for more precise control and coloring/drawing in finer detail.

Up until now, you had to order them from online retailers like Amazon or the vendor’s website.  But now, the 24-pack of Thin Stix is available for the value price of just $19.99 at your local BJ’s Wholesale Club or the website!

The package includes 12 Classic colors, 6 Neon colors, and 6 Metalix colors.  That’s an awesome variety for the artist in your family, so check it out!  The holidays will be here before you know it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Another Animal Added to the Clan?!?

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about all the wonderful pets we have…we have quite a jungle going around here!

Well, as if that weren’t quite enough, we found out the city of Fort Worth animal shelters were participating in the national Clear the Shelters adoption campaign!  So for one day (Saturday, August 19th), all animal adoptions were FREE OF CHARGE! 

The kids really wanted to go and look at the animals, and they were convinced they wanted to bring home a 3rd dog.  I really just wanted to go see the animals but not necessarily adopt another one, mainly because I was concerned about an additional dog in our “pack” not being accepted by our alpha female, Lilly.  But my husband was sure to tell me the night before that he was not against another dog and that if I brought one home, he would not be opposed. 

So off we went to see the animals!  They brought them from all the area shelters to several adoption sites…the main animal care and shelter facility as well as two area Pet Smart stores.  We decided to go directly to the shelter, which has been overcrowded all summer.

I was totally overwhelmed by the sheer number of dogs without forever homes.  Stray animals are a serious problem in this city.  The lady at the shelter told me that they get more puppies than anything, because people make feeble attempts at breeding and then turn the animals loose when the puppies don’t come out like they wanted.  Very sad!

There was an enormous amount of large dogs, mostly pit bulls mixes, and so many of them had red marks on their charts indicating that they were highly aggressive, had bitten, or had even killed the owner’s other dog!  Crazy stuff.  I steered clear of the big dogs, though I did find one that was really sweet.

And of course, there were plenty of senior dogs that no one wanted.  That was heartbreaking, too.  At one point, I just sat on the floor and cried into a pile of tissues!  It made me truly sad.  My soft heart just couldn’t leave without rescuing one of these sweet, precious pets!

So in the end, we narrowed it down to two whose cages were side by side.  One was a shepherd mix (supposedly, but we think sh20170819_130141e is a border collie), and the other was a blue heeler mix.  Both were really friendly and pitiful and were starving for attention.  They had such sweet personalities.  But the black and white one really caught the eye of the kids, so we settled on her and named her Pepper.  The kids were so excited after we stood in line for ages and filled out all of the paperwork and then went back to tell her goodbye, only to find an “I’m Adopted…I’m Going Home” sign on her cage!  Yes!  She really was going home with us!  We had to wait a day, though.  They scheduled her for spay surgery first thing Sunday morning.  We couldn’t pick her up until late Sunday afternoon.

She was barely awake when we took her home.  She was still very groggy and sedated, and she was on a heavy dose of pain medication that would last about 12 hours.  We introduced 20170820_171921the dogs together outside.  We were hoping to take them for a walk, but poor Pepper was literally falling sleep standing up!  So we let her sleep away the anesthesia on her new bed.  The poor thing is rail thing!  When we brought her home, you could see every rib, and even her hip bones were sticking out!  She must have been loose for a while before they picked her up.  I’ve made it my mission to fatten her up.  She’s eating a mixture of Purina Puppy Chow and some canned Purina Alpo high protein wet dog food.

Pepper is super sweet.  It’s a good thing we were off school last week, because it took all my time and attention to babysit the dogs’ interactions those first few days.  Lilly did a lot of growling and following her around barking at her.  It was really disruptive, because loud sounds echo through my house with all the hard floors!  By the weekend, though, they were even laying on the same couch together!

Lilly is still pretty guarded when I’m cooking in the kitchen.  She had a spat with Pepper just a couple of nights ago, so we find it’s best to keep Pepper out of the kitchen when I’m cooking.  There was another spat today when Pepper put her paws up on Lilly’s back when we were outside and they were looking out the door.  Lilly wasn’t standing for that!

The bad thing is that it seems Pepper must have gotten exposed to canine flu at the shelter!  She was a stray until 5 days before we brought her home.  We brought her home on Sunday night, and by Friday, Teenie was suddenly not interested in eating.  She had a runny nose and was sneezing.  Teenie was super sick on Saturday, and she had a fever all day.  She’s been very lethargic and sleeping most of the time.  I’ve been hand feeding her whatever kind of dog food or treats I can get her to eat, but it’s getting tougher each day.  Today, she’s only had a few bites.  I read that the canine flu is contagious for 4 days before any symptoms show and for up to 10 days after.  So it’s possible that Pepper was exposed at the kennel and then spread it to the other dogs.  It just affected Teenie more because she is small.

By the time Sunday rolled around, it was clear that ALL of the dogs were sick, though not nearly as bad as poor Teenie.  They are coughing, sneezing, dripping from the nose, and any time Pepper has an empty stomach, she is yacking up mucous.  I went online over the weekend and ordered some homeopathic drops for nasal symptoms from Amazon.  They arrived this morning.  I dosed all of them in their mouths, and it wasn’t long before the sneezing and blowing out of the nose had mostly subsided!  I was so glad to be able to bring them all some much needed relief.  Poor Teenie, though…if only I could get her to eat today.  She has to keep her strength up.  She’s the smallest of the dogs and is 5.5 years old.  She is the one I’m most worried about.  She seems so congested, and I know canine flu can cause secondary infections like pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.  If she isn’t better tomorrow, I’ll have to find a vet here and take her in.  In the meantime, I’m going to follow the protocol for a severe case and dose her with the drops 4 times today and see if that helps her.

Pepper already has her first vet exam next week, so hopefully, the vet can help if she is still coughing by then.  The shelter’s free adoption included free spaying, free microchip, and a free first vet visit.  I can tell that she has already put on some weight, so that’s good.  She was only 30 pounds when we got her.  I’ll be she should be closer to 40.

I will you posted on how they’re all doing!  We’re now at the local limit of 3 dogs per household, so there’s no chance of adding any more.  Three is plenty!

Monday, August 28, 2017

REVIEW: An Overview of the 20th Century by A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks

We very much enjoyed our opportunity to review An Overview of the 20th Century by A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks.


An Overview of the 20th Century is a very easy-to-use printable (or pre-printed) lapbook pack from A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks that is intended for grades 2-7.  I used it with my 4th and 8th graders.

The topics covered include the Wright brothers, Henry Ford, the Panama Canal, World Wars I & II, women’s suffrage, the roaring twenties, Charles Lindbergh, the Great Depression, the Hoover Dam, propaganda posters, the Cold War, the 1950’s, the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, John F. Kennedy, the lunar landing, the boom of technology, the Persian Gulf War, and the Y2K scare.  That’s 20 different topics that give an excellent synopsis of the 20th century!

It’s available for download for just $8, or if you prefer a printed version, it’s $18.00.


Right away, I was impressed with how easy this project was to set up.  My kids don’t particularly enjoy the assembly part of lapbooks…the cutting out and gluing are not their favorite things to do.  So I decided to try a different approach and pre-assemble the entire lapbook before we began.  It actually worked for us quite well and probably led to a greater level of enjoyment for them!  It certainly made using it easier for me, as well, since it was always ready-to-go whenever we wanted to work on it.  And it really didn’t take me that long to print it out and get the whole thing assembled.  I sat down one evening and got the whole thing ready by myself.  The whole project gets printed on regular paper, so that makes it easy to print up and prepare, too.  No colored paper or cardstock is required.


The kit contains full instructions for the layout and assembly of your lapbook, so even if you have never made a lapbook before, you could easily follow the instructions and be successful if this were your first attempt.  Personally, I have never liked traditional lapbooks made from file folders, so I made mine from sheets of colored cardstock taped together into a book.  It makes it less awkward and unwieldy for me, and it’s easier to store.  So after I made my lapbook, I stored it in the clear cover of a binder so that it acted as a label for the binder.  Then I put all of the study guide pages and instructions for completing each lapbook piece inside the binder all whole-punched and in order.  So whenever we wanted to work on it, all I had to do was grab the binder, and everything we needed was right there.  Doing it this way made this the easiest lapbook we’ve ever completed, so I would definitely take this approach again!


One of the things I like most about these lapbooks from A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks is that all the materials are very straight-forward and easy to follow.  Each topic had a one-page summary that I read aloud to the kids.  The summaries were very concise yet informative.  Even I learned a few things!  There were lots of interesting and fascinating facts included to peak everyone’s interest.  I found myself sharing tidbits with even my husband and adult son!  Needless to say, we enjoyed this very much.  And once we read the study guide topic, I just turned the page to the instructions for completing that particular lapbook element, and one of the kids would complete it.  It included activities like labeling the parts of a plane, completing a crossword puzzle or a word search, defining related terms, coloring flags or pictures, recording an interesting fact, or noting why someone was a significant historic figure.  Maps were also used to show routes or boundaries, we listed countries on each side of a war.  For the Great Depression, there were even a few recipes that we could try! 


And even though my daughter just started 8th grade, this was still a great review activity for her, and I’m pretty sure she learned a thing or two, as well!  She did most of the writing, and I plan to go through these with my 4th grader once the lapbook is finished so I can use the completed project as a teaching tool for him as we study the various topics going forward.  It makes a lovely keepsake, and the interactive elements will make it a fun way for my younger son to learn!  I plan to keep the binder in tact with the study guides and the completed lapbook inside the clear cover where it will be protected. 


We were able to complete 16 of the 20 topics during the review period.  I really liked the way we went about it, because it made it easy to do as much or as little at a sitting as we wanted.  The study guides also included a few extra activities, like finding a picture of the first Ford Delivery Truck or pictures of toys from the 50’s and pasting them onto the study guide pages.  That was fun!  The only critique I came up with was a couple of editing errors that were missed, but that was only in the study guides and not in the lapbook itself, so the teacher would be the only one to notice them.


I thought this was a great little study, and I would definitely feel comfortable using other lapbooks from this company.  Some lapbooks we’ve used are far more involved and require a greater investment of time, and I’ve found we tend not to finish them once we’ve started.  But this was a great supplement to our studies, very easy to use and implement into our school days, and I would recommend that you give this a try!

Take a look at what other Crew members have to say about this and other lapbooks from A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks by clicking the banner below.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

My Firstborn is 18!!!

In my mind, I tried to put off this moment for the last several years.  Su2rely my baby boy, the treasure of my heart, my firstborn, was NOT becoming an ADULT!  How could this possibly be happening?!?  Where did the years go?!?  Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were on the floor playing with dinosaurs and Rescue Heroes?  Weren’t we snuggling in the overstuffed chair every night reading piles and piles of his favorite bedtime stories?!?

I just can’t fathom that 18 years have flown by in what seems like an instant.  How I treasure this child!  He’s my son, yes…but he’s also my friend, my companion, and my partner in crime.  We’re alike in so many ways, yet so different in many others.  He has the best parts of me and Steve.  He has Steve’s sense of humor and desire to make others laugh, and he has my sense of adventure and spontaneity.  I love him for his heart of compassion for others, his willingness to try new things, and his fun but caring personality. 

I love that we can talk about anything.  And even when we fight or disagree, we eventually make up and end it with a hug and an “I love you.”  He is near and dear to my heart, and it has been both a challenge and an immeasurable joy to be his mother…a privilege given to20170812_225321 me by God and immensely appreciated.  I am so unworthy in so many ways, yet he shows me the unconditional love that children inevitably have for their parents. 

I’m so thankful that we have a special bond that can never be broken.  We’ll always look out for each other.  Watching the years go by and knowing he needed me less and less was a painful process, but we have such a good relationship that I was able to accept it as part of God’s plan to watch him evolve into this gradually more independent young man.  I got to watch him blossom and grow into a good person who has had a positive impression on those around him in the world.  He has let his light shine so that others might see.  What more could I ask for?

We celebrated his 18th birthday with his requested birthday lunch of shrimp cocktail and dinner of ribs and mashed potatoes, and we ended the day with his favorite pineapple upside down cupcakes, which are a real labor of love.  He got an Xbox One game he was really looking forward to getting for his birthday, and he received a couple of cards in the mail.  And on the next business day, we headed to the public safety office to get him a real, full-fledged TX driver’s license!  He was so happy when it finally came in the mail this week.  And he also received his selective service notice, so even the government knows he’s Growing Heart on Messenger 1.0now an adult!  He also headed out to turn in his very first job application this week. 

Times are changing in the Burgess household! 

I hope you had the happiest of birthdays, my dear boy!  I love you dearly.