Monday, December 11, 2017

Great Stocking Stuffer!!!

If you have kids like me, and you’re on a last minute hunt for a unique gift or a great stocking stuffer, you should check out the brand new product line from The Pencil Grip, Inc.  It’s called Magic Stix Washable Markers

You might already be familiar with their Kwik Stix and Thin Stix tempera paint sticks, but Magic Stix are an awesome new line of markers!

Here’s what makes them different:

  • You can leave the caps off for up to 7 days, and they are GUARANTEED to NOT dry out!!!
  • They are odorless.
  • They are washable.
  • They are non-toxic

They come in either a 12-pack or a 24-pack in bright, bold colors, and you can get them now from!  They even come in a hard plastic storage case with a carrying handle!  Each marker snaps into place inside the storage case for your convenience.

I tried them out myself in an adult coloring book yesterday, and they were amazing!  The colors were so vibrant, and they had strong tips, so I know my kids won’t push too hard and smash them.  I also really liked how I could fill in small spaces with just the tip, yet I could angle it and color with the side for a broader stroke.  And I especially liked that handy storage case!  I like to keep my markers in order by their shades of color, which is exactly how they’re packaged.  Perfect!

These would really make a great gift for children and adults alike who like to color.  Pair a set of these with a nice coloring book, and you’re all set

Happy coloring!

Disclaimer:  I received a FREE copy of this product in exchange for my honest testimonial about this product.  I was not compensated in any other way.  All opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Scholastic Warehouse Sale

Attention educators!

Don’t forget to check the listings for your local Scholastic Warehouse Sale!  For the first time ever, they are offering Buy 1 Get 1 Free on thousands of books, including the Build-a-Box!  Just put in your zip code at the link above to find the closest book sale to you, and be sure to note whether or not it indicates your sale will be offering a Build-a-Box section. 

The coupons are a bit lower than usual.  When you register, you’ll be given a $10 off $100 coupon (usually, you’d get a $10 off $50 and a $20 off $100).  But the BOGO offer, especially on Build-a-Box, will be such a great deal all by itself that you probably won’t even miss the coupon!

I’m extra lucky this year.  Ever since they closed the Scholastic Warehouse that used to be in Chesapeake, the book sales in Hampton Roads were hit or miss, and they seemed to get smaller and smaller due to the cost of rental space in the convention centers.  But now that I’ve moved to TX, I get to once again enjoy an actual warehouse sale out in Arlington.  I can’t wait to check it out!  The selections just can’t be beat at an actual warehouse, because you have a full array of choices instead of the limited selection they haul to the smaller book sales.

Even if you don’t think you need any books, remember that the December sale, especially, usually has a lot of gift items like Klutz craft kits, science kits, Nintendo DS games, and cookbooks.  So if you have kids or grandkids, be sure to check it out!  Remember, too, that this sale is not open to the general public…it’s for educators.  Thankfully, that includes homeschoolers!  And remember to register online and print out your shopping pass to save time at the check-in registration table at the event.

Happy shopping!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Christmas Preparations

I actually got my Christmas tree put up two weeks ago.  I did something 20171128_103354completely different…I’ve had the same Victorian-themed tree for 25 years, so I figured new home, new tree.  I went and got a trio of bright, glittery colors and totally re-made my tree!  The kids love it.  Hubby likes the old one better, but he can live with it.  Personally, I think it has a modern touch, and it’s certainly festive and bright!

My oldest son planned to put Christmas lights on his day off, but my husband beat him to it.  He actually put them up last weekend!  Now that we live in a one-story house, it’s a much easier task to complete.  Last weekend, I put out my wreaths on the front and side windows since I have a corner lot, and I bought new bows to decorate them.  I also put one on my front storm door.  They look so pretty!  My husband even neatly trimmed the bushes all around so you could really see the wreaths.  I got my Christmas garden flag put out there, and I put a new holiday sign on my inner front door.  I might even get some poinsettias to place on the front porch or a couFB_IMG_1510964522734ple of small lighted trees.  I’m feeling very festive this year! 

My neighbor came over to say that she was excited to have a neighbor who also decorates their house.  She was out putting her wreaths up, as well!  I even sprang for an outdoor timer for the lights that turns on and off automatically and also has several light show effects to choose from…they can twinkle, fade, or cascade...but since we already have outdoor lighting wired on the house, my husband just tapped into that since it has a photo cell on it already.  Now there aren’t any wires or power cords hanging down.  Very cool! 

I’m really looking forward to Christmas this year, and I had a great time doing my annual Black Friday shopping spree, even though I did most of it online this year!  It was far less stressful that way.  My husband doesn’t normally shop for me until Christmas Eve, but even he shopped online for the first time this year, so he’ll be done in record time!

We took a lovely stroll through the neighborhood this evening.  We went down to French Lake, which is located in Candleridge Park within our community.  It was an absolutely beautiful night to sit on a bench by the lake and enjoy the lighted fountain in the middle of it!  We were surprised by the massive number of ducks and geese still in the lake, but then we realized that “flying south” for the winter means staying put when you’re already in Texas!  LOL

The previous homeowners really let the bushes grow up around the pool in our backyard.  My husband pretty much cut them down almost to the ground over the long Thanksgiving weekend.  We spent some time working outside today, sweeping and vacuuming up leaves from around the pool decking and in the yard and curb around the house.  It looks so lovely out there!  He even put multi-colored icicle lights around the back of the house that nicely light up the patio around the pool.  It’s very festive!  We’re really enjoying our new home and enjoy taking care of it.  We feel very blessed indeed!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

I got to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family…our first one here in Texas!  It was a little strange for me to not be having guests.  We’ve always had friends from church, friends with missing spouses, and stray relatives who happened to be in town without other family come and join us in years past.  We never like to see anyone spend the holiday alone.  But we really don’t know anyone here yet, so it was just my husband and children sitting down with me this year. 

It was actually kind of nice, but I made the same amount of food as usual, if not more, minus an extra dessert.  Needless to say, we have tons of leftovers, but I”m creatively putting them to good use! 

I made more mashed potatoes than I’ve ever made before…more than would fit at once in my 8-qt. pressure cooker…just so I could make lots of my mom’s famous fry-up for breakfast/brunch through the weekend.  Yum!  It’s such comfort food.  You basically warm up the leftover mashed potatoes with some butter in an electric skillet and throw in whatever you have left over…in this case, turkey, ham, corn, green beans, stuffing…and lots of cheese with some spices like salt, pepper, and Nature’s Seasonings and/or garlic powder.  You brown the potatoes on the bottom a bit and keep turning it over until it’s ooey gooey with melted cheese.  Then you serve it in bowls with some ketchup for dipping.  YUM, YUM, YUMMY FOR MY TUMMY!!!  We always looked forward to it on the weekends growing up, because my mom made mashed potatoes most nights of the week, so there were always leftovers.  It was her favorite way of using up the odds and ends in the fridge.  I’ve gotten my own family totally hooked on it so that they, too, look forward to it’s yummy goodness!

Tonight, I cut up about a pound of the turkey breast meat to put in some Turkey Fettuccini Skillet.  That’s always really good, too.  And tomorrow, I’ll likely add a thick layer of cut-up turkey to some Banquet Homestyle Chicken and Biscuit kits.  My kids really like that when I add a bunch of meat to it.  It’s another great way to use up all that leftover turkey!  Also, in the morning, I plan to bake up a batch of Ham Potato Puffs for breakfast.  That will use up a little of the mashed potatoes and some ham, and it makes a lot that are great to keep in the fridge for the fellas in my house to grab before work on weekday mornings.

I hope that gives you some ideas of what to do with your leftovers!  And I hope you and your family had a wonderful, joyful Thanksgiving together!  We truly have so much for which to be thankful.  Remember to count your blessings!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Halloween 2017

We started the day by going out to IHOP for breakfast so the kids could enjoy their free Scary Face Pancakes!  Hayden wasn’t going in to work until the afternoon, so he got to go with us, just like the old days. 

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Haylee turned 13 at the end of the summer, but with our recent move to TX from VA, I figured Holden would have more fun trick-or-treating alongside his sister, so I let her go again this year.  Of course, she was quite happy about that!  I had to run out the day before to find her a costume at the thrift store.  I lucked out and found the cutest Mad Hatter costume for $4.  I made a couple of quick alterations, and it was so adorable on her!  Holden decided to go as a King again, and his costume kept him nice and warm.


I have been sick for the last 3 weeks, and I was feverish when Halloween rolled around, so I decided to drive the van and follow alongside them so I wouldn’t get a chill in the cold.  That was a good call.  I had my mug of hot tea, a pile of cough drops, and the heater running.  It allowed me to run home when somebody had to go to the bathroom, too.  It actually worked out well, because there were some big gaps between houses at times, and it kept the kids from having to walk too much extra.  For once, Holden didn’t complain about wanting to go home because he was tired of walking, and the kids stayed toasty between stretches.  They were also able to dump the buckets of candy into larger bags in the van so it didn’t get too heavy for them.


They decided they had the best Halloween ever!  They laughed together and were so excited, and they had a such a great time!  They didn’t fight at all, and they really enjoyed themselves.  Holden kept telling me how much fun he was having, so mission accomplished.  They got great candy, too!  Our neighbors were so nice.  Steve stayed home and passed out goodie bags of candy on the porch since Hayden had to work that night.

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!

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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

Friday, October 13, 2017

FREE Scary Face Pancake @ IHOP on Halloween!

If you have kids ages 12 and under, you’ll want to stop in at IHOP on October 31st to get them a FREE Scary Face Pancake between 7 AM and 10 PM! 

They will receive a buttermilk pancake with whipped cream, strawberries, mini Oreos, and candy corns on the side so kids can make a cool face on their pancake. 

Stop by so your little ones can enjoy their “scary” treat!  No purchase required.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

National Taco Day Freebies & Deals!!!

Image result for national taco day

Tomorrow, October 4th, is National Taco Day!  Take a look at some of these freebies and deals lined up just for you on this special day!

  • Taco Cabana:
    Get a  FREE Fajita Taco with e-club sign-up

  • El Pollo Loco: 
    Get a FREE entree when you join the Loco Rewards Program and download the app

  • On The Border:
    Get 50-cent mini tacos!

  • Del Taco:
    Get 2 FREE chicken tacos when you sign up to receive emails

  • Chuy’s: 
    Dress in a taco costume and get a FREE taco

  • Taco Bell: 
    Get 1 crunchy taco, 1 nacho cheese Doritos Locos taco, a cool ranch Doritos Locos taco, and 1 fiery Doritos Locos taco for just $5

  • TacoTime:
    Get a coupon for $1 off tacos on their website

  • Beef ‘O’ Brady’s:
    Get 2 tacos & chips and salsa for $5.99

  • Taco Bueno
    Get 8 beef or chicken taquitos, 8 crispy beef party tacos, 4 large chips, and 5 large dips for $15

Happy National Taco Day!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

National Coffee Day Deals & Freebies for Tomorrow!!!

Tomorrow, September 29th, is National Coffee Day.  That means lots of free and cheap deals on coffee treats for you!  Take a look at some of the offers made just for you:

Cinnabon: free 12 oz. coffee all day, no coupon required.

Krispy Kreme:  free any size hot coffee or small ice coffee for 3 straight days from 09-29 through 10-01.  Limit one per day per person, but you can get the freebie once each day of the promotion!National Coffee Day

Dunkin’ Donuts:  B1G1F medium coffee.

Wawa:  free coffee of any size!

McDonald’s:  $2 small McCafe coffees all day.

If you know of other coffee freebies and deals local to you, please feel free to share them in the comments!


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Enjoy 50-cent Corn Dogs @ Sonic Tomorrow!!!

Enjoy 50-cent corn dogs all day tomorrow, September 27th, at Sonic! 

Sonic Drive-InAmerica's Happy Hour

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Kwik Stix–The Cool Tool for School!

It’s September, and that means it’s time for heading back to school!  Whether your kids are in public or home school, you know your kids will be doing a variety Kwik Stix 12pk pictureof projects throughout the year.  This is the time when most parents stock up on supplies that will be needed for the school year ahead, and kids love new and unique supplies that set their work apart from the rest!  Enter Kwik Stix

For kids of all ages, Kwik Stix are a great way to spruce up any design.  They are solid tempera paint sticks, which means you get all the bright colors and smooth textures without all the drippy wet mess and dirty brushes you know you’ll have to clean up when using traditional paints.  Just remove the cap, twist up, and paint!

They come in regular size as well as thinner Thin Stix for more detailed work.  Because they can be used on a variety of surfaces and not just paper, your kids can think out of the box and use them on wood, canvas, poster board, and cardboard, too!

Just think of all the colorful applications for these beautiful vibrant colors…my daughter used them to make a variety of helpful tools for school.  Here are just a few:


A colorful frame to pin on the cork board to highlight student work for the week


A monthly school calendar


A guide to 3-D shapes for younger students


A diagram for liquid measurement conversions

The possibilities are endless!  And or course they are amazing for regular art projects and just plain old creative fun, too! 

Whether you’re looking for basic colors, neons, or metallic colors, Kwik Stix has it all!  Pick some up today and add them to your child’s treasury of exceptional school supplies!

Image result for kwik stix logo

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

REVIEW: Homeschool Geography Curriculum by Let’s Go Geography

My 4th grader and I had a wonderful time reviewing this wonderful homeschool geography curriculum by Let’s Go Geography.


Let’s Go Geography is an engaging new geography program that allows your children in grades K-4 to explore the globe one country and one continent at a time!

This program provides a gentle introduction to places and cultures using a combination of map work, fascinating video links, full-color photos, simple summary writing, coloring pages, and hands-on crafts.  It also provides book lists for optional reading and additional links for more in-depth facts and information for older students who want to learn more.

Year 1 is currently available, and Years 2 and 3 are still under development.  Take a look at the 3-Year Schedule to see what countries are studied and when.  And also watch this video to understand what’s included and what a typical lesson looks like.

This first year is available for just $21.99.  You also have the option to purchase just one semester or to purchase both semesters in 2 payments, receiving access to only one semester at a time.  They are also in the process of offering single lessons for sale.  Take a look at all the options and see what’s right for your family!


Let me just say that I was really excited to see this unique product offered for elementary students!  I’ve never really taken my kids through specific geography studies where we got out maps and looked at countries as we studied them.  I’m teaching my third and final homeschool student now, and he’s in 4th grade, so this product came along just in time for us!

I really love this program with its gentle introduction to geography lessons.  It’s just right for elementary students, and perfect for Holden, who is 9, almost 10, and has ADHD.  His attention span for anything school-related is pretty short, and he loses focus after more than a few minutes.  But the setup of this program was perfect for him.  It is pretty flexible.  It’s designed to take about an hour of study per lesson, with one lesson per week.  The assignments are broken up into smaller chunks, as well, so you can either plow right through a lesson in one sitting if your student is up for it (we did that sometimes on Fridays, which are days off from school for us), or you can do it in smaller, more manageable chunks each day that are easy to work into your school schedule.  We do a 4-day homeschool week, and it fit very well with that schedule, as well.

When I first gained online access to the program, I realized I could either access the lessons right from my subscription page, or I had the option to download them onto my computer.  The lesson page times out after a while of inactivity, like when we were busy watching the video links in another window, so we found it flowed better for us if we downloaded the lessons onto our computer and clicked the links from there.  That kept us from having to log back in repeatedly during one lesson if we were planning to do the whole thing at once.

So after downloading the lessons, I also printed the student Passport, which was free for doing one social media share.  It turned out really cute.  I printed the cover on colored cardstock, inserted the pages, and stapled it in the binding so it would work just like a real passport.  There was a place to put his picture and personal data on the first page, too.  The subsequent pages named each continent we’d be studying and gave us space to glue in each country’s flag as we studied each new location. 


The next step was to print “My Travel Journal.”  This was basically a binder with an insertable cover and printable tabs to create dividers inside by continent.  Then there were picture collages of the countries we’d study on each continent that we pasted on the front of each divider.  Now we were ready to begin!

Before each week began, I’d receive an email reminding me which country to study that week.  Then I’d go ahead and print all the materials from the lesson that we’d be using and insert them in the binder.  $RX59RM5

Each lesson began with a map of the continent where we’d color in the country of the week.  Then there would be an additional map we’d label and color that showed the specific country or region in more detail.  With both maps, we were provided with some questions and answers we’d go over together that got Holden looking more closely at the maps to observe bordering countries and oceans and other bodies of water.

On the next day, we’d color 2 copies of the flag for that country…we’d cut them out and paste one into the passport and one onto a map of the continent, where we’d draw a line from the flag to the location of the country on the map.  Then we’d listen to the country’s national anthem using an online link in the lesson. 

On the t$RAQ3PG3hird day, we’d start off with exploring the country.  We’d learn some quick and interesting facts about the region, and then we’d go sightseeing by clicking the online links to a series of fascinating videos.  Usually, it would show us an aerial view of the country’s terrain and land features, and we might see an example of how people live from day to day in the marketplaces and such.  Then there were additional videos that might tell more about their history or unique features of the area.  We’d often learn about animals in the region, as well.  The videos were very entertaining, and we both enjoyed them very much!  This was my personal favorite day of the week, and I think it was Holden’s favorite, too!  He loves to watch videos, and none of them were too long…just a few minutes each.

On the fourth day, we’d look at photos of major landmarks and unique features of the country, and then we’d use the included journal page t$RB2QCCHo write down things we both remembered learning about the region…the things that stood out in our minds.  Then I gave Holden the printable coloring page for that country, and we’d end the day with that.  There was an additional craft activity for each country, as well, which would be great for day 5.  But Holden’s not big on doing crafts, so we just looked at them and left the option open if there was something he decided he wanted to do.  They were simple projects like constructing a lighthouse out of plastic cups, painting with watercolors over a maple leaf impression, or making a sea turtle paper bag puppet.  They were all things you could make with simple printables and household materials, and all of the instructions and color photos of finished projects were included.

During the review period, we were able to complete 5 lessons over the course of 5 weeks, covering the U.S. Northeast region, Hawaii, Canada, Haiti, and Nicaragua.  As we completed each lesson, we checked the little box on our subscription page to show we’d completed it, and the next time we logged in, there were check marks next to our completed lessons to make it easy to know where to pick up with the next lesson.

The program is designed to have 32 weekly lessons with 4 weeks of breaks built into the suggested schedule, but of course, it’s easy to follow the pace that best suits your own$RUWNVDG interest and availability.  Every 12th week is a review week. 

The review week begins with a map review.  Here, your student finds and colors/labels the countries that were studied so far.  Then they learn some additional map skills like latitude and longitude, compass rose, etc.  Then there’s an activity page where the student can answer questions about the new map skills they learned.

The next portion is a flag review.  Here, the student is given printable pages of the continents with full-color flags printed on them, and the student has to match the flags with the countries on the maps from memory.$RXF9E1S

The third portion is a review of what they explored.  Major facts are summarized for each continent learned so far.  Then the student is given a printable activity where they match photos of key places, attractions, or animals in each country with the name of the country where it can be found.  This is challenging!

Lastly, there are links for additional online exploration, a printable journal page to summarize what they’ve learned, and printable collage coloring pages for each continent they’ve studied during the period.

As you can see, there’s a lot to see and do here!  I love that the review is built-in, making it easy to assess what your child has retained from his or her weekly lessons as they progress through the year.

The bottom line for us is that the lessons are fun, there’s a lot of variety in the daily activities,$RF14RMK it’s entertaining, and we’re both learning interesting things!  I think Holden’s favorite part so far was the videos of the erupting volcanoes in Hawaii!  And he was also fascinated with the videos of Niagara Falls when we were studying the Northeast region of the U.S.  I’ve actually been there, but he hasn’t, so it sparked a fun conversation of sharing what it’s like to actually be there and feel the water spray on your skin and see the frozen wonderland that surrounds it in the dead of January!

The photographs are so vivid, and the videos keep it interesting and entertaining, while the map work, questions, and journal pages ensure he’s learning tangible skills in geography.  In summary, I feel like this is the most interesting elementary geography program I’ve ever seen!  It fits with our schedule, and it keeps his attention well enough that we can actually keep up with it and get it done!  That makes it a keeper in my book.

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