Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Bethanne’s birthday – update

Well I think Bethanne’s birthday was a success!  Check out the pictures!


First thing she did on waking was receive her presents.


Excited over her two, 3-in-1 story books on Fairy Tales.



She didn’t realize she’d be getting a Barbie.


The delicious pumpkin spice bundt cake with pumpkin spice glaze that she requested.


Sadie on guard duty, watching for any sign of S’more to come out so she can chase her.



Welcome S’more. A little 4 month old guinea pig – Bethanne is in love with the black, white and brown fur ball. She is VERY cute.


S’more is very scared so this is the best I can do for now.


She received gift certificates to help buy supplies for her pet/4-H project, two more Barbies and Grandpa Bill is stopping over later today.  She is one very happy little girl and I get to spend two more years doing guinea pig projects! 😀

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Bona Hardwood Floor Mop – Motion review



I’m a busy mom who doesn’t have time to fill a bucket with water, ring out a mop time and again to clean our floors so when I was given the opportunity to receive a Bona Hardwood Floor Mop – Motion imagine my delight when I realized I didn’t have to go through the above steps to have clean floors!  We have hardwood in our living room and partially in our hallway – so finding something that works and doesn’t destroy the floor even more (there is a lot of traffic on our floors) plus makes the chore of mopping easy and quick is right up my alley!


I really wish I had take some before and after pictures of the floor.  With three children, two dogs and two guinea pigs there is a lot of stuff being tracked, dragged and dropped on our floors.  We had had a spot of something that wasn’t coming up with a regular mop so I gave the Bona Mop a test run and within minutes between the motion and the solution the spot came up and you couldn’t tell it had even been there!  According to the website the Bona Motion does the following:


  • safe for wood, no residue
  • sonic motion deep cleaning
  • 4 X more cleaning power for stuck on messes
  • Bona hardwood floor cleaner in a 33 oz. refillable mop cartridge


The cartridge that came with my mop lasted us about two weeks and that was with daily and sometimes twice daily use depending on what the children or pets or my husband and I did on any certain day!  There was some minor parts that had to be slid into one another but once that was ready, it was pretty much ready to use right out of the box.  The motion mop does require batteries, but this seems to last awhile, and since you don’t have to use motion each time that also is a big help.  The cleaning pad is removable and washable – I was mine on the hand wash/delicate cycle just to make sure I don’t wear it down any faster than I have to.



It is also very light weight, at only 6.1 pounds, it’s easy to carry from room to room and I even had my children use it.  Of course, they liked to use the motion even when it wasn’t needed – but at least they were pitching in with chores and could feel they really mopped – all with the mess of a bucket!  The solution also dries fast, which is a bonus for us since when the floor is mopped, it’s hard to stay out of the living room, since it’s fast drying I rarely have to remind people to stay out of the area that has just been mopped.


The other thing I really liked is that it’s easy to store, and in our small house, that is a bonus!  Since it’s lightweight, portable and slender in design it’s easy to tuck into a corner when not in use and easy to pull out when it’s needed to clean up a mess.  Normally I don’t feel as if regular mopping does the job needed to make floors clean but with the Bona motion mop I didn’t have any worries about that and at $49.99 the initial investment will save you time and money over the long haul.  The refills cost $8.99 and when I did a search of local places that carry, there were several options for local stores – which makes it easy to get and economical.


**Disclaimer: I was provided the Bona Hardwood Floor Mop – Motion and cleaning solution from Bona in exchange for posting my honest opinion, all opinions are my own and honest, no other compensation was given.

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TOS Crew: Music Together

In our house we enjoy music – my husband can play drums and the guitar and a little piano, I prefer to sing and listen.  My 8 year old has a penchant for getting a tune and recognizing a song upon hearing it only once – she can also tell Vivaldi from Mozart.  I was excited to get the Music Together which is geared for all ages up to age 7 and is an internationally recognized music and movement  program.  Started in 1987, “it pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement.”  So I had great ideas on how to use this with my children!

I was given the Music Together Family Favorites CD that has songs like: Hello Song, Biddy Biddy, John the Rabbit, One Little Owl and 15 more songs – you can listen to samples here or you can purchase it for $14.95.  It comes with an included 32 page booklet that gives simple ideas for movements and activities relating to the songs and can be used in the car or home-school.  Even though this is geared towards ages up to 7 all of my children quickly became bored with the music and my oldest found it to be annoying, as did my husband who asked me politely not to listen to it while he was with us.

The other component I was given is the Family Favorites Songbook for Teachers which sells for $29.95 and this was by far my favorite of the set – I loved all the information given in this book, including the printed music for the accompanying CD.  I’m a firm believer in music really does help a child excel in academics and even in life and this book really drove that idea home for me.  Divided into three sections: the opening that goes over the Music Together approach, how to use instruments and props and more, the middle section which gives teaching ideas for all ages and settings, infants, preschoolers and older children and special needs children, the final section includes more information about the Music Together program and how to become involved.

For my purposes I used the book to glean ideas on how to use this with my children, focusing mainly on my 6 year old and he loved the instruments including when I’d let him bang on some pots and pans to make his ‘music’ for the song Playin’ in the Kitchen.  As I said above, my children (including 6 year old son) quickly found the CD to be annoying – and I don’t know if that is because they’ve been exposed to Classical, Hymns and other high quality music from uteri until now – or not but they didn’t agree with me that the music was fun to dance along with of course I have what Music Together labels the “silly quotient” when it comes to music.

Keep in mind that I don’t have preschoolers or infants and I honestly think that parents who do have children in these ages, or children who are special needs, would find this to be well worth their time and investment.  The CD is wonderfully produced and is clear and crisp, the book gives so many ideas and the posters that are included are beautiful renderings that I enjoyed looking at as I went through the book.  I think if parents who aren’t sure how to introduce music to their young children will find this book and CD very user friendly and easy to implement, but I would start young.  Overall, I really liked the program and if my children were younger they would have enjoyed it more as well.  You can read what other homeschool parents are saying at the Schoolhouse Review Crew and if you have any questions about their program or becoming involved you can contact Music Together.

****Disclaimer:  As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


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Happy 8th Birthday!

Happy 8th Birthday






Eight years ago today, I gave birth to a wonderful little girl, my second daughter and my 1st VBAC.  She is my little dancer, a girly tomboy, always ready with a loud laugh and loves the Lord!  So here is a quick look back at Bethanne.  I love you Sweetheart!


Bethanne and I, sorry it’s so tiny.




Thumb, sippy cup and kitty – what more could a little girl ask for?


Yes, she’s asleep in a basket.


Crazy hair night for Awana.


Dressed up as a dragon.


Making butter at a Settler’s Festival.


With her brother doing a wind science experiment – drag and flight.


Present day!







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Adam’s Chart of History timeline and Teacher’s Guide

If you appreciate history and want a history timeline that is based on and includes detailed Bible history then look no further than Adams Map of History!  This is a beautiful time line that spans over 20 feet and starts at Creation (4004 B.C. to 1870 and our 19th President) – all accordion folded so that it’s 21 panels neatly fit into a beautiful cover.  This timeline is beautifully illustrated to show many time periods such as the Babylonians, Greeks and modern times.  This time line is a wonderful asset to adults and children alike and will be a treasured item in your home if you want your history learning to show HIStory.


The time line is based on Usher’s work, The Annals of the World, which is still considered a classic among Christians both theologians and lay people alike.  If you want to know what was going on when Solomon was reigning or how the Bible was worth in such and such a year then this time line will give you the answer as well as much more information that you never learned in school and all from a Christian world view.  There is no other time line that I know of that has this much extensive information or this size on the market today.  This version is cased and includes a free, duplicate of the original key  from 1871, which adds to the nostalgic feel of the time line.  This is a wonderful value at $39.99 and will be a great classic for your family to own, there is also an unbound version if you’d prefer to hand it on the wall.





If you are wondering how to incorporate the Adam’s Chart of History into your school day then this is the way – the teacher’s guide.  With activities, ideas and skills tests this teacher’s guide will be a one-stop source for knowing how to use the chart in your classroom whether it’s at home, in church or in a brick and mortar school setting.  It gives a specific how to start using the teacher guide and chart with step by step ideas and how to put each one into practice and then moves on to a panel by panel overview.  For example, the third panel covers 3500 BC to 3200BC some of the activities is finding when the “Stone Age” occurred and drawing a map from your house to the library.


This is a 32 page booklet that is full of comprehensive information, including the Higher Order Thinking Skills of Bloom’s Taxonomy and how to integrate these ways of thinking through knowledge, analysis, evaluation and others to make use of the chart/timeline depending upon your child’s age and developmental level.  The tests are meant to be open book to aid in remembering the facts, not just rote memorization and if you want you can have your child record their answers on a separate sheet of paper.  The teacher’s guide is $6.99 and is an invaluable tool if you want to use the timeline in your lessons.


**Disclaimer:  I was provided a copy of the timeline and teacher’s guide from New Leaf Press in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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My son has been in karate now for over a year.  My husband wants him to take a break in October – I want to see him continue.  The reason?  He doesn’t seem to pay attention however I know if he takes a month off anything that he has gained will be lost when he goes back in November.  He has two Kata’s and knows one but acts like he doesn’t so it’s frustrating to my husband who takes him every week, twice a week while I take our daughters to dance.  I’m thinking of asking hubby if I take him and he picks up daughters from dance class, if he can continue.  We’ll see.


Doing his Kata at a tournament on September 22, 2012. He didn’t place as he was too close to the judges and wouldn’t stand “on deck”.


Christian sparring at the tournament. He didn’t place, but I guess when you hear another mom telling her child to “get him!” at the top of her lungs it would be somewhat intimidating.



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Vineyard Worship: ‘This is Your Kingdom Come Now’ review AND contest!

About the Album:

This dynamic new album features veteran worship leader and songwriter Casey Corum and a cast of friends recorded before a full house over two nights at Corum’s home church. Listeners will also be introduced to the powerful voices of Torri Baker (Vineyard Church – Columbus, Ohio) and Crispin Schroeder (Northshore Vineyard – Covington, Louisiana), as well as a 17-voice gospel choir. Threads of R&B, gospel, and modern rock are woven together to create a fresh sound while, at the same time, being deeply rooted in the hallmark Vineyard worship value of intimacy with God.

My Opinion:

This is just another big hit for Vineyard Worship music – somewhat upbeat but also quiet and can be used for just focusing on the Lord and what He is doing and has done.  There are 12 tracks on the album and all are wonderful but I think the one that really spoke to me was “Heaven Come Down” – I tried to find a YouTube video to share with you but there isn’t one of this version.  You can listen to Love Has Rescued Me though if you’d like to hear a sample of what this great worship album sounds like.  All three of my children enjoy it and are actually listening to it as they clean rooms – what a great way to instill a love of the Lord while doing the every day things of life!


I’m doing the contest a bit different this time – as I know leaving a comment for each entry is a bit tedious – I’m going to post the contest for a physical copy of the CD over at my other blog, An Ohio Reviewing Mom.  If you head over there, you’ll find the Rafflecopter form to enter the contest to make it easier on you and me.

**Disclaimer:  Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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My new journey on feeling better! #shapelygirl

If you all have been reading my blog at all – you’ll know that my weight has been a struggle.  We’re supposed to be honest and I’ll share that at my last doctor’s appointment I weighed in at 256 – according to charts I’m supposed to weigh around 145.  I remember when I had to lose 10 pounds to get in the Navy – it’s always been a struggle for me.  I’ll share a couple of my measurements – my upper arm measures at 17 1/2 inches, my hips at 54 inches (Yikes, no Scarlett O’Hara, am I?) and my waist is 45 1/2 inches.  So, okay that’s my honesty for today 😀 and I probably won’t share my measurements each week but more of how I’m feeling physically or how my clothes are feeling.

Here I am with my children, I’d like to look a little bit more fit.

I don’t weigh myself at home though because I hate our scale – so I’ll be using my measuring tape and the feel of how my clothing fits to really get a feel of how I’m doing.  I’ve agreed to use my new DVD called Shapely Girl Walking Fit and Fabulous  three days a week for each week of October and each week I’ll post on how I’m doing.  So the schedule will be something like this:

  • Week 1: October 1st – 7th (initial post)
  • Week 2: October 8th – 14th
  • Week 3: October 15th – 21st
  • Week 4: October 22nd – 28th
  • Week 5: October 29th – 31st (wrap up)

I have also been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.  I spent two years on a cholesterol med which did nothing, and actually my cholesterol climbed higher so this year I told my doctor no more – it’s costing money and it’s not doing anything.  She agreed with me.  My goal with being a part of this Crew of ladies is not to lose weight, but to get me to a point where my cholesterol is naturally lowered and get off my oral diabetic medication – and if I lose weight that’s all the better.  I often lose weight then gain it back, and with the holiday’s fast approaching I need to get to work and I also want to set a good example for my children who are fast following my path of a sedentary lifestyle.  Debra Mazda also has some delicious looking recipes that I hope to try during the course of this journey.

So as I embark on this journey, I’d love to have your prayers, to keep strong – even on the days I wake up sore.  I am hoping that this DVD will inspire as it’s full of shapely ladies, like me, who want to be healthy even if they don’t meet the world’s definition of beauty and skinny.  I am who God made, and that will always be a plus sized woman, but I can be a fit plus sized woman ready to be a better wife, mom and ready to serve Him!


Marine Corp Nomads is hosting a Fitness Friday link up so you can find all of us ladies who are participating and see how we are ‘shaping’ up.

**Disclaimer:  As part of the CWA Blog Review Crew I received a copy of the DVD for the purposes of this review, no other compensation was given.


To Keep or Not to Keep??



How do I decide what to get rid of – asked by a friend, who asked and initiated the How I Travel….part 1 and part 2 posts.  Her actual question was this:

“I have another question for you for another possible blog post…how do you decide what to keep and what to throw away or donate in your home? As you know, we have a big house and while I don’t think of myself as a hoarder, I have trouble getting rid of something the kids might need down the road. How do you make those decisions especially when you don’t have extra $ to replace items easily? That’s a big issue for me…I don’t want to get rid of things and then have to run out and buy it again!”

First off – it’s hard.  I think women, some, not all, in general get attached to things.  It’s why we don’t let go of baby clothes because we might have another.  It’s why we don’t get rid of that doll even though it’s losing an eye and both legs.  It’s why we can’t seem to let go of the book that is yellow with age and stinks so bad you can’t read it.  We get attached to our stuff – for us – emotions are our own worst enemy at times.

I was bad, well I still am but I am getting better.  I’d hold on to anything if there was an “if” that it might get used “someday”.  My friend above has a HUGE house,  too big for me even (yes, I’ve told her, I think 😀 ) if we had 10 more children – but I have a small house (624 sq. ft) so getting rid of things is somewhat of a necessity.  As a reviewer I get lots of products coming in to my house, with children there are lots of gifts and clothes, etc and as homeschoolers where school is home and home is school – well it can get cluttered and fast.

I think first about this verse:

“But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through or steal.”  Matthew 6:20

It’s not a bad thing to have some treasured heirlooms, I have my Great-Grandpa’s harmonica – and I plan to hand it to one of my children one day.  I have four bullet casing from my Grandpa’s funeral, one for me and each of my children.  I have the family Bible that was given to my mom and dad when they were married – now that they are divorced it’s a treasured item.  The problem is where there is no space or they become an idol.

After that above verse I then think when I will use it again?  If it’s a fiction book I likely won’t read it again and it’ll be awhile before my daughters can read it – it goes.  If Bethanne outgrows clothing it goes since there is no one to pass it on to – unless it’s something that has a special significance but that is very limited.  Most of Christian’s outgrown clothing gets passed on as well.

I recently got rid of a lot of school and curriculum – when I thought about it I knew I wouldn’t use that specific program again.  When Christian finishes 1st grade math, I’ll sell it, unless I’m pregnant before then – which at this rate I doubt it but I’ll hold on to Bethanne’s 3rd grade since Christian will be using it shortly.  I have some high school curriculum that I’ll use for Hannah and will still be viable so I hang on to that but stuff from the dollar store I haven’t used or that reading curriculum that just didn’t work for us – it is gone.

I refuse to get rid of our bassinet, all three children have slept in it, it was a gift from my dad and step-mom and I hope one day that my grand children will sleep in it.  I am considering letting go of the exersaucer, even though all three have used it, simply because it’s taking up room and becoming ‘dated’.  I do hold on to some baby clothes, some are special like coming home outfits and some are “just in case” clothing.

I’m sure something else will come to me, and if it does I’ll do another post – right now it amounts to what I really need?  will I really use it?  has it reached it’s use by me?  is it really trash?  is it able to be donated? and overall where am I storing up my treasures?


TOS Crew: Homeschool Legacy – Knights and Nobles

Vendor Name:   Homeschool Legacy

Vendor ContactContact Us

Name of Product:   Knights and Nobles

Price:  $15.95

Age/Grade Range: grades 2-12

What if I told you that doing a unit study with your children could be something you could do without prep work?  You’d probably laugh in my face, but, before you do, let me introduce you to Homeschool Legacy.

Homeschool Legacy provides a once a week unit study that takes all the prep work out of unit studies, making it feasible for families large or small and with varying ages and abilities since they are geared toward 2nd through 12th grades.  I even had my 1st grader participating in our Knights and Nobles study.  You can view a sample of a scheduled at the website, but the study is easily customizable to your family’s needs and schedules.  We did ours within a Monday through Thursday since we don’t do school on Fridays.

Knights and Nobles is a 4 week unit study on knights and nobles and if you have a Boy Scout he can earn a merit badge in art for completing this study, some of the other studies are set up for American Heritage Girls as well.  Your book will cover merit badge information, a suggested schedule, four weeks worth of unit study ideas, suggested reading for non-readers, and getting the most out of the Once-A-Week Unit Study.  In knights and nobles the following are covered:

  1. Week 1: Castles
  2. Week 2: Kings and Queens
  3. Week3: Knights
  4. Week 4: Life on a Manor

The most prep work needed is a quick library search, or if you want to gather all the books at one time, a lengthy search – I suggest using your library’s online capabilities.  Then pick up the books, unless your going to do the suggested field trip, that is the extent of the prep work.  Supplies for each week’s work is also given at the beginning so you can have it all gathered before hand.  There is both independent reading and the family read aloud – I made all our choice family read aloud since even my middle reader doesn’t like to read on her own – it was easier and everyone was included.  We have read some fantastic books that I never would have sought out otherwise!


There is the family devotional, which aims to keep the child focused on the Lord and includes the story of Esther, Solomon and the armor of God – all keeping with the royalty theme.  Arts and crafts are included, such as making your own bookmark using the illumination technique.  History, literature and research skills are included as are suggested field trips.  In week one you can visit Biltmore Estate if you live near it, look through the book on the Estate or visit a stained glass artist.  Since I can’t visit Biltmore and the book was no where to be found in any of the three libraries I use, I’m lining up a field trip to a stained glass artist.  Unfortunately, they have been on vacation so the field trip will take place after this review publishes.


A family movie/game night is also encouraged which can draw dads into what the children are learning and makes a tidy and fun wrap up to the week.  I also used this study in conjunction with our current history curriculum and it tied in so well with all that the children have learned thus far.  At the end you can chose to put on a Medieval Feast – we haven’t reached that part yet – but in case you’re worried that there are foods that wouldn’t be liked, they are all tame.  Some of the foods are sweet capon, may sallat, handmade butter, custard tarts and all – to make it more authentic, dress up!


My children have enjoyed doing this study and have especially enjoyed the read aloud books that we’ve done thus far – they ask if they think I’ve skipped it – since it works into our regular schedule and what we’re currently studying I’m sure it feels like we have skipped something when instead it just fits fluidly in with what we are doing.  If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents thought about Homeschool Legacy’s unit studies check out the Schoolhouse Crew Review blog.

**Disclaimer:  As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


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