Thursday, November 9, 2017

B1G1F Starbucks Holiday Drinks Starting Today!

Beginning today, November 9th, through Monday, November 13th, you caHero Front Cupn stop in at Starbucks and score B1G1F holiday drinks between 2-5 PM each day at participating locations.

Included drinks include the Chestnut Praline Latte, Caramel BrulĂ©e Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread Latte, Eggnog Latte, Holiday Spice Flat White, and the Teavana Joy Brewed Tea.  The promotion is meant for you to share a beverage with a friend or family member!

So check with your local Starbucks to see if they are participating.  Enjoy!

Holiday Drinks

Monday, November 6, 2017

REVIEW: Thin Stix Creativity Pack by The Pencil Grip, Inc.

My 13-year old daughter was super excited to get to review the Thin Stix Creativity Pack by The Pencil Grip, Inc.


The new Thin Stix Creativity Pack includes 24 colors of the unique solid tempera paint sticks that my daughter loves.  Thin Stix are the more slender version of Kwik Stix that allow kids to paint in more detail.  This complete set includes all 12 classic colors, all 6 neon colors, and all 6 metalix paint sticks!

This pack is now available in your local BJ’s Wholesale Club and on their website at, as I mentioned a couple of months ago, for just $19.99.

These can be used on a variety of surfaces, such as poster board, paper, wood, cardboard, and more!


My daughter loves these paint sticks so much!  She is 13, and she just loves to sit and paint with these, one picture right after another.  They’re a great boredom buster, for sure!  She now owns every color of both the original Kwik Stix and these Thin Stix in every finish.  You might recall that she reviewed the 6-pack of neon colors and the 12-pack of classic colors earlier this year.  She just can’t get enough of them!

What she loves the most is how bright and vibrant the colors are and how smoothly they can be applied to just about any kind of surface.  They dry in just 90 seconds, DSCF4919so she doesn’t have to worry about her little brother coming along and messing them up.  She enjoys framing some of her creations or pinning them to her cork display board and displaying them on her bedroom wall.  I think my favorite part about them is that there’s no mess!  Not only do they dry quickly so there’s no smearing, but there’s also no need for messy brushes or water cups…no chance for spills, and no messy cleanup. Even the box they come in has a nice storage tray to make putting them away orderly, and it’s also easy to find the color you want.

With this particular pack, she mentioned to me that the metalix seems even more metallic than sets she’s had in the past.  I don’t know if there was a reformulation, but when she showed her drawings to me, I noticed the shimmery finish right away.  I really wish I could do the colors and finishes justice in my photographs! They are just so vivid!  She loves bright colors in all things (even her choice of clothing), so these suit her so well.DSCF4914

She has used the Thin Stix sets so many times before, but she usually just draws and colors with them on paper or cardstock.  This time around, she wanted to try out some new surfaces, so we went shopping and picked out her initial carved from wood so she could decorate it for her bedroom door.  It turned out so cute!  She used the gold metalix paint stick to draw the “ice cream cone” texture across the pink “ice cream” drawing.  It looks really neat in person the way it shimmers in the light!  She really enjoyed using them on the wood surface and wants to do the rest of the letters in her name (I see a Christmas present coming!).

She also tried them out on caDSCF4915rdboard this time.  She used the metalix to make a neat, shimmery “Fall” decorate plaque for the front door.  She said that no matter what kind of surface she used them on, they were just as smooth and easy to apply.  But I think she liked using the wood surface the best of all!  The outcome had a very finished look to it.

She was able to quickly create vibrant greeting cards for various occasions, a cute owl drawing, and she even demonstrated the vast variety of colors available in this pack by creating a rainbow display of all of the hues in succession.  You can see how many beautiful colors there are!

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I really think this Thin Stix Creativity Pack would make the ultimate holiday gift for the creative child in your life.  Haylee had this pack on her Christmas wish list until she got lucky by getting it for review!  Now she doesn’t have to wait for it.  Smile

Grab one of these wonderful complete color collections, and let the creativity begin!

Check out what other Crew members have to say about this awesome pack by clicking the banner below.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sunday, October 29, 2017

October News

October has been a pretty great month for us here in TX.  The kids and I headed out on one of the final days of the Texas State Fair to see what all the fuss was about. 

We saw a great acrobatic show, a kind of silly one with Extreme Pogo stick athletes (didn’t even know there was such a sport), and another one featuring cowboys and a demonstration of how they round up steer.  That one had an award-winning lasso expert…he put on a pretty amazing show.

We tried some different foods, but nothing extreme.  Of course, we got to see the statue of Big Tex overlooking the fair.  Overall, we were pretty disapFB_IMG_1508433949544pointed, though.  It definitely wasn’t anything impressive.  I thought everything was bigger in Texas!  Actually, the size of the fair was pretty large…but it seems the main focus is the food.  They had some pretty bizarre offerings, I must say.  It seems like there were miles of food stands all lined up.  The trouble is that there was far more food than there was exhibits or shows.  To me, that’s just not the main focus of a state fair.  I wanted to see giant, award-winning pumpkins and adorable animals.  I saw some horses and some hogs and lots of cattle, but that was about it.  Now I can’t attest to the rides, as we did not visit the Midway.  But that’s not what draws me to the fair anyway.

Perhaps we’re just spoiled by the Virginia State Fair.  It’s a lot to live up to.  I loved the fancy chickens, the adorable bunnies, the baby chicks hatching under brooders, and the adorable ducklings with their cute antics of sliding down the little slides into the water.  I miss the giant pumpkins, the tractors on display, and the tons of amazing shows and exhibits.  It was easy to make a mini-vacation out of the Virginia State Fair.  But honestly, I’m not sure I’d ever go back to the Texas State Fair, and that’s saying a lot considering that I had 3 free tickets!  It really wasn’t even worth the $15 parking I had to pay.


The next piece of news for October is that my oldest son, my firstborn, finally landed his first gainful employment!  He’s been putting in applications in recent weeks, but since he’s never worked before, he wasn’t getting any calls for interviews.  Then out-of-the-blue, his phone rang with a request for an interview for Sonic.  He went the same day, and the hired him on the spot as a carhop!  He started the very next day by attending orientation, and then he started training on the job on Monday.  It really only took a day for him to learn the ropes, and then he pretty much completed his first week on his own.  Hooray for Hayden!

20171023_103903                             20171023_170218

Heading out for his first day                    Returning home in uniform

He mostly enjoyed it until today when he got *that* customer who ate half her food and then sent it back three times because it wasn’t quite right or wasn’t hot enough, or whatever.  Basically, it sounded like a professional “I’m gonna complain until I get my food for free” type of customer.  You know the one.  It kind of bummed Hayden out a bit, because she ended up complaining about him to the manager, saying that he argued with her about whether or not the food was hot (he actually just informed her that he watched them re-make the food in front of him, fresh out of the fryer!).  I told him not to take it personally…there’s a bad apple in every bunch.  His till ended up short, too…lesson learned about forgetting to sign out after each order.  I suspect there’s an overage on someone else’s till as a result.  Anyway, he’ll get the hang of it!  He likes having a routine and the ability to earn some money for himself. 

Go, Hayden!


Halloween is just two days away.  The kids just had a two-week break from homeschooling…our old fall vacation time, only we didn’t go on vacation this time!  Instead, we just enjoyed the time off and took care of errands and such while we had the extra time. 

Haylee just turned 13, so she is technically too old to trick-or-treat, but since this is our first Halloween in Texas, we figured Holden would be more comfortable if she was going door-to-door with him, so we told her she could do it this one time.  She was very excited!  LOL.  I picked up a Mad Hatter costume for her today at the thrift store.  It’s so cute, and it has an adorable little mini-hat with it.  Holden hasn’t decided if he’s going to wear his king costume, his minions blanket sleeper that has a decorative hood, or his Darth Vader blanket sleeper with the cape and face mask again.

Haylee and I opened up the Halloween decorations and did a little decorating out front this evening.  We put a cling door cover on that looks really cool, some hanging ghosts, a pumpkin garland, a trick or treat welcome mat, some clings in the window, some signs, and I’ll put my trick-or-treat flag out tomorrow in place of my fall one.  I’ll try to add a photo tomorrow in the daylight.  I made up candy treat bags on Friday.  The neighbors say there aren’t many trick-or-treaters or even homes giving out candy around here, so I just made 25 goody bags for the kids who do come by.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Schlotzsky’s Treat on Halloween

If you have kids and you live near a Schlotzsky’s restaurant, you might want toSchlotzskys Bakery Header Logo stop by on Halloween to enjoy a meal.

On October 31st, all you need to do is purchase one adult entree and bring your kids in their costumes, and you’ll get up to TWO FREE KIDS’ MEALS along with your purchase.  What a treat for all!  (One coupon per person per visit…code 605.)

I received this information in an email because I’m a Lotz 4 Me member (the store app), so check your local Schlotzsky’s to verify participation.  This is a great deal!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Monday, October 23, 2017

REVIEW: Weave Your Word in Me – Part 1 by Kid Niche Christian Books

We enjoyed reviewing the unique bible and prayer study called Weave Your Word in Me – Part 1 by Kid Niche Christian Books.


Weave Your Word in Me – Part 1 is a bible and prayer study curriculum for tweens that contains 36 lessons based on the Lord’s Prayer.  It requires only a bible, a pencil, and a dictionary. 

This program is fully compatible with six major translations, including King James Version (KJV), English Standard Version (ESV), New King James Version (NKJV), New International Version (NIV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), and  New American Bible Revised Edition (NASBRE).

Through these lessons, your child will learn how to dig deeper and focus more fully on the meaning of the words in the Lord’s Prayer.

This program is available for just $20 and comes shrink-wrapped, 3-hole punched, and ready for your binder.  There is also a Part 2 available for $20 with an additional 44 lessons, as well as a combo set of both parts that includes all 80 lessons for $30 (the best value).


When I received this program, it was hole-punched and ready to drop easily into a binder.  It evDSCF4909en had a full-color insertable cover already made to slide into the front of my binder for easy identification.  It also included information about the extra resources available on the website to enhance our lessons.  The links found there included activities such as videos, art projects, and puzzles related to the lesson content.  We especially enjoyed the news video about the Aurora Borealis that was seen in Scotland, which complemented lesson 2!DSCF4910

The curriculum begins by laying out a 9-verse poem called My Whole Self Before YOU, which conveys a rhythmical prayer modeled after the message of the Lord’s Prayer.  Then it gives a line-by line comparison of portions of it, showing how it is an everyday translation of the prayer.  I particularly liked this comparison, because it helped me to feel confident that the program was centered on conveying the meaning of the actual words of the bible in terms that a child could understand without straying off on someone’s own personal philosophy about the bible.  Then simple instructions are provided on how to proceed, though the program is highly intuitive.

Each lesson is 1-3 pages in length.  You begin by reading designated bible passages, and the student answers simple questions about those passages in a variety of formats such as fill-in-the-blank, underlining the correct answer, or true and false responses.  Along the left margin of the page, there’s a box which highlights the key DSCF4911verse of the prayer poem that is being studied in that lesson.  I really liked that the questions go beyond obvious answers by ending with more probing questions that require the student to think and reflect more deeply.  For instance, in lesson 4, Holden learned about how sometimes, God answers our prayer by expecting us to wait a while.  Then it asked Holden to think about two reasons why God might want us to wait.  This was a good opportunity for us to discuss the topic further.  We talked about how waiting allows us to rely more fully on God, to be patient and wait for His timing, and how God knows if it’s not the right time for us to receive what we’re asking for in prayer.

At the end of each lesson, a short prayer is shown in a box, and the student is expected to fill in the blanks in the prayer with information they learned in that particular lesson.  The student is instructed to then say the prayer aloud to God.  Here is Holden reading the prayer at the end of lesson 5.  So cute!

I really liked that the lessons were concise enough to keep the attention of my 9-year old with ADHD.  It can be challenging to keep him focused long enough to finish his work, so it’s important not to stay on one subject too long.  One of these lessons could easily be broken up over the course of the week by answering just a couple of questions a day, or we can sit and complete a lesson in one sitting if we prefer.  Either way, the 36 weekly lessons are enough to keep this study going for the school year.  And the full-color pages and large font size are easy for Holden to follow.

I really enjoyed the discussions that we had.  I felt like it gave me an opportunity to have some insightful conversations with Holden.  I even showed the program to my husband and talked to him about how much we were enjoying it and how much I appreciated how well the program communicates the importance of prayer as a means of drawing oneself closer to God, and in turn, drawing God closer to you.  I told him that I wish someone had taught me as a child how important prayer is in your relationship with God.  Unfortunately, that was something I didn’t fully comprehend until I was an adult and already a Christian.

If you have a tween in your house and you desire to bring them closer to God by understanding the power of prayer, I would definitely recommend that you give this program a try!  If you have an independent learner who is capable of looking up bible verses on their own, then these lessons could easily be completed independently, as the answer key for each lesson is provided at the back of the materials.  But for us, I wouldn’t want to miss out on the opportunities it provides for meaningful discussion, so I enjoy doing the lessons alongside Holden.

Check out what other Crew members have to say about this awesome prayer study by clicking the banner below.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

$1 Hot Dogs @ Sonic Tomorrow!!!

All day tomorrow, October 18th, you can stop by Sonic and get an All-American Hot Dog or a Chili Cheese Coney for  just $1! 

Sonic Drive-In LogoIncludes 6-inch All-American or Chili Cheese Coney


Includes 6-inch All-American or Chili Cheese Coney