Monday, March 30, 2015

Jesus Sees Us Doll and Picture Book *Review

How do you introduce your child to Jesus?

Imagine your children took the same interest and wonder in Jesus and the Christian message as they did in princesses, fairies, and elves… Jesus Sees Us is a packaged Jesus Christ doll that has the same comforting power as a child’s favorite toy or blanket, but is rooted in lessons that last a lifetime. Children respond to the comfort of tangible items when they are young, so why not make that item Jesus and the comfort He gives to ignite their faith? The accompanying book is a tool to assist you in engaging your child and starting the conversation about Jesus’ teachings.

By the time a child turns three years old, he or she already has the capability to relate to Jesus. Children can understand that, like them, Jesus was a baby with parents who loved Him. They can understand that Jesus grew up to be a man who loved everyone and taught people to do the same. Children become excited and inquisitive when they can master these facts, ultimately making them more open to deeper conversations and ideas about faith.

The Jesus Sees Us doll is an integral part of fostering your child’s initial introduction to Jesus. 
Even though we talk to our children about Jesus or take them to Sunday services, they are not always able to understand the importance of the Christian message. Jesus Sees Us is a tool that makes Jesus, His teachings, and the concept of faith both relatable and positive to young children by introducing Him as the loving and forgiving presence in our lives. The doll becomes the tangible connection to the stories and lessons in the book. He is the touchable source of comfort that a child can relate to. The Jesus Sees Us doll has a soft body and a warm, welcoming face. His arms and hands are open, inviting your child to hold him, engage with him, and pray with him. The Jesus Sees Us doll allows your child to “play out” the valuable and timeless lessons of the Bible.

Though it is geared for ages 2 and up, I found that my infant daughter loved Jesus just as much! We were able to read the stories to her and share Jesus love. We believe in starting out teaching about Jesus long before the child reaches the age of understanding. If she always remembers hearing about Jesus, she will recognize  Him much earlier.

 She's so cute holding Jesus hand!
 This makes a fantastic Easter gift! Be sure to order yours soon!


Jesus Sees Us on Facebook

$24.95 on Amazon


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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

on Thursday...

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Lord Heritage HomeSchool Office *Review #TOS #hsreview

HomeSchool Office Review

I an not an A personality, my letter falls much further into the alphabet. I was thrilled to try out  Lord Heritage and their program HomeSchool Office  in the hopes of bringing up my organization letter a little closer to an A! This program is perfect for homeschool families and for $79 a year. Complete support and updates for an entire year.

This program is completely online so there is no need to download anything. This is a plus in that you can access it from any computer, whether at home or away. That is great if your own personal internet is down and you need to run to the library to use it.

A very in depth and organized program, I was a bit overwhelmed as to where to start. I had hoped to use it for transcript recording but with a senior it meant going in and adding all of the classes thus far. I opted to utilize the program with the younger kids first, to get their information in and add kids as time allows.

Here is a screen shot of the homepage. You have tabs for:

Team is where I input my students. It also is where we add in any educators from outside classes, as well as keep track of our homeschool address and personal information. It is like your address book.

Plan is where the data is entered for each student and the subjects that they are learning. Below is a screen shot of my daughters basic school list this year. I do not work with hours, but you can see there is a place in input the requirement for that as well.

 Under the plan heading is the School Year Plan, Master Schedule, Projects and Budget. The Master Schedule is a great snapshot of your daily schedule. You can input the hours for each subject and student.

Order is where you can organize your calendar. You can look at specific days, and print out your monthly agenda. You can break the calendar down into day, week or month. The to do list is a great place to write the things you need to remember for the day. Very similar to a paper planner where you jot down notes, but now you won't lose track of your planner! The order screen is the hub of the teacher activity for planning.

The Evaluate section is where you input grades and attendance. I needed a place to keep track of attendance, one of the requirements in our state so this was helpful to have handy to print out when I need it. I don't do a lot with grades at the younger levels but I can see how this would be very beneficial when I can use it for my high school students.

Report is where you can sum up how the student is doing with quarterly report cards. This is also where you utilize the transcript information. I need to do some more data entry for this, but hope to start my 13 year old out early enough to be able to have in depth records going into his high school years.

The support center gives excellent walk thrus of where to get started and how to proceed through each section. This was very important to me as more of an 'un-planner'. There is an opportunity to ask questions directly as well.

My favorite part was the master schedule. I can see where each kid should be at a certain time, or at least in the order they should do things. I did manage to put some lesson numbers in, but with such a large family it was difficult for me to keep up with it. We typically just 'do the next page' in our books and that saves me having to write everything out. For those who love to schedule and plan, this program is awesome!

I liked how you can print the calendars and information out as well, so that you can work on planning your week, print it out and not have to do a lot of planning or checking the site much during your school days.

Want to check out HomeSchool Office for yourself? Try this 30 day free trial

See what other Crew member thought of the program.

HomeSchool Office Review

Crew Disclaimer

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Friday, March 20, 2015

#FebrezeCar Vent Clip *Review & Giveaway

 Imagine a road trip with 7 children! Eating fast food and snacks along the way. Guess how that car would smell!! No need with Febreze Vent Car Clips from Walmart. I actually picked one of these up when we purchased our new to us car. It smelled of smoke from the previous owner and though they had tried to get it out, it hadn't done as great of a job as I would have liked. I looked in the car freshener section at Walmart and picked out a Febreze Vent Clip, knowing the reputation of Febreze.
I use it my home, why not in the car?

The Febreze Vent Car Clip lasts for 30 days and brings the freshness you love at home, to the motion of your car. With a larger car, we want the kids to have the freshness in the back as well. It is easy to just put a Vent Clip in their vent as well.

I have three basketball players and let me tell you, when I pick them up from practice, whew!! I am so glad to have my FebrezeVent Car Clip, blowing in my face instead of the stench from unshowered basketball players!

Our Febreze kit for review had a fun Road Trip game in it. The kids played and had fun learning about things that can stink up our car.

 My Febreze car is decked out with freshness stickers! My daughter snagged the car for her Barbie doll and is cruising with her Febreze family.

 Enter to win a $25 Gift Card from Walmart in a Flash Giveaway! I have to report my winner by Sunday so we are doing a 24 hour giveaway. Be sure to pick up some Febeze Car Vent Clips the next time you are at Walmart! Ends March 21 at 6 pm


This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Febreze.

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Random 5 on Friday

1. Today is the first day of spring. We do Spring Baskets instead of Easter Baskets so the kids woke up an had to find their basket full of goodies and candy
2.  I got my spring hair cut yesterday
3. I watched Pete's Dragon last weekend and my kids could not believe it was my favorite movie as a kid. They suspect I must not have had very many movies!
4. One of my boys turned 18 on St. Patrick's Day
5. We still have a Christmas Nativity in the front yard

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Diono Safety in Style *Review

Diono is a world leader providing families safe, innovative and high quality juvenile products that exceed expectations at home or on the go in over 39 countries worldwide.
I have been out of the infant car seat market for 7 years. There have been many changes since them, one main one being kids having to be in car seats much longer than they used to. Also the suggestion to keep them rear facing longer. The infant carriers only go up to 20 pounds so what are you to do when your little one should still be in a rear facing car seat, but are too big? 

Enter Diono! This Rainier Convertible + BoosterCar Seat, is designed with your child's security and safety as top priorities. Premium materials and thoughtful safety features like a steel alloy frame, aluminum reinforced side walls, energy absorbing EPS foam, and a five-point harness put your mind at ease as your little one stays safe and sound. The reinforced adjustable head support provides additional side impact protection. This car seat ranges from 5 to 90 pounds. The ONLY car seat I will need for my little one until she is big enough to sit in the normal seat belt.

Key Features:
  • Full steel frame and aluminum reinforced sides for unmatched safety
  • Reinforced extra deep sidewalls lined with energy-absorbing foam give Rainier superior head and body protection
  • Comfortably seats rear-facing children from 5 to 50 lbs
  • Highest forward-facing capacity of any car seat in a 5-point harness: from 20-90 lbs (up to 57" in height)
  • Converts to booster mode for children between 50 and 120 lbs. (up to 57" in height)
  • Unique SuperLATCH system that makes installation easy
  • Space saving design allows extra room for passengers while providing spacious interior for child
  • Folds flat for travel and is FAA certified
  • NCAP crash tested, the industry benchmark for verifying child seat performance in severe accident conditions
  • Industry-leading 12 year product life (from date of purchase)

So comfortable and long lasting! Safety first of course, with comfort a close 2nd. The Rainier came with everything we needed to get started with our 3 month old. There is an attachment you put on the front so that they are able to be reclined while rear facing. The instructions were clear and useful. My 13 year old was able to help me get it all set up and used for his sister. This car seat does fold up for transporting which I thought was wonderful! Ever have to take a car seat as luggage on the airplane? Big pain. This seat, though heavy, is very compactly folded down for transporting. A solid, durable car seat for the utmost in safety and ease!

Diono US on Facebook
Twitter @Dionousa
Pinterest Dionousa

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Veggie Tales Noah's Ark DVD *Review & Giveaway

Carrots meet cubits as VeggieTales builds an ark filled with fun, adventure and important lessons about trusting God in NOAH’S ARK, its first Bible-themed production in more than four years. Starring Wayne Brady and Jaci Velasquez, along with Larry the Cucumber, Bob the Tomato and a whole crew of Veggies, NOAH’S ARK is available now!

In NOAH'S ARK, Brady, the multi-Emmy® award-winning host of one of TV’s most famous game shows, Let’s Make a Deal, and star of Whose Line Is It Anyway, brings to life Noah’s son Shem, who first questions, then learns to embrace, his father’s direction from God. Christian singer, actress and radio host Jaci Velasquez co-stars as Shem’s wife, Sadie.

“Saying ‘yes’ to VeggieTales was a no-brainer – my daughter’s a fan and I love the music and messages,” says Brady, who performs seven original songs in NOAH’S ARK. “The best part is, Bob and Larry are down to earth and they never let the ‘I’m a global Veggie superstar’ thing go to their heads.”

Adds Velasquez: “Every parent searches for entertainment that’s both wholesome and imparts valuable life lessons, and with Noah’s Ark, VeggieTales serves up a delicious dish on both counts. The story, the music and the visuals are perfect for the entire family.”

In NOAH’S ARK, Shem and Sadie return home from their honeymoon to find that Noah (played by Pa Grape) has begun, at God’s direction, to work on a massive ark, which his wife Naamah (played by Madame Blueberry) and sons Ham (played by Larry) and Japheth (played by Bob) are helping construct before the start of 40 days and 40 nights of rain.

But Shem doesn’t understand Noah’s unshakable faith in God, particularly when animals start arriving two-by-two – while the rain is nowhere to be seen. When the deluge does come, Shem begins to understand Noah’s determination to preserve humanity’s future … and the importance of trusting in God.

NOAH’S ARK also features a brand-new “Silly Songs With Larry” segment, in which Larry dons a safari outfit as he goes on a quest for a gigantic, golden egg.

Less than three weeks after the DVD and digital download release of NOAH’S ARK, the VeggieTales excitement continues when five all-new episodes of VeggieTales In The House, the hit animated series, debut exclusively on Netflix – bringing the total of VeggieTales In the House episodes to 15 as the series continues its first season.

We've been in love with Veggie Tales from the first video that came out! Yes videos! That is a lot of years of Veggie Greats. I love the way Veggie Tales helps my young ones learn the great stories from the Bible. Noah's Ark is a classic Bible story and I was so excited to see Veggie Tales tackle it. Noah is so laid back and waiting for the Lord. Shem with his type A personality is trying to take things into his own hands after a long wait. Of course Shem's attempts at doing things on his own aren't successful.
There were a lot of new songs in this show, lots of singing! My little ones liked that, the older ones not as much. No one ever outgrows Veggie Tales. Veggie Tales are a perfect gift for the upcoming Easter baskets!

Enter to win a copy of Noah's Ark
US only
Ends March 17

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Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Footwear for Active Kids *Ad

 Footwear For Active Kids

Many parents eagerly anticipate the day when their child will take its first step. They are all smiles as their youngster ambles across the floor, delighted with itself and with its new accomplishment. Sometimes, just as soon as a child discovers the joy of walking, they decide to skip that method of moving from place to place and choose running from here to there as their favorite way to travel. Once your child becomes independently mobile, you'll quickly realize that you're going to need some durable footwear for your new adventurer.

Growth and development

The steps you take to encourage proper growth and development in your child can have a large impact on their health in the future. Wearing the proper footwear is just as important for young children as it is for adults. New Balance is brand that many people trust to provide quality made, durable and appropriately designed footwear. Their construction and attention to detail make them an excellent choice of footwear for toddlers who spend a lot of their time running and playing. Kids new balance sneakers can accommodate the passion that many children have for wearing brightly colored shoes.

Staying with what you trust

Many parents will tell you that children grow up quickly. As they grow, their activities and interests change. You may need to find shoes that coincide with their new interests and with their participation in sports or you may simply need to find shoes for school and weekend events that you know provide the proper support for your child's growing and changing feet. As a busy parent, you can appreciate the convenience of having a specific brand of footwear that you can rely on as your child's needs change. It's also nice to find a brand that satisfies your concerns regarding proper cushioning and support while fulfilling your young child or teen's desire for stylish footwear.

A part of the parenting process involves teaching by example. Young kids like to wear things that are like the things their older siblings or parents wear. New Balance has footwear for the entire family. Whatever activities you do together as a family, everyone can leave home wearing trendy shoes that are designed for comfort, support and protection. Teaching a child the importance of wearing properly designed shoes is a life lesson they can benefit from for years to come.

 This has been a paid advertising.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Bunny's First Spring by Sally Lloyd-Jones *Review

 Bunny's First Spring by Sally Lloyd-Jones

" When a bunny is born in spring, he sees the world as green and new and full of hope.  But as the seasons change, the bunny worries that the earth may be dying.  In bestselling author’s Sally Lloyd-Jones’ latest picture book celebrating the Easter season and rebirth, nature speaks to the bunny, assuring him of something more. Award-winning artist David McPhail’s whimsical illustrations reflect the beauty of the world around us as Lloyd-Jones’ inspirational text prompts readers to celebrate the changing seasons and the miracle of nature’s rebirth."

Beautiful hardback book that shows the beauty of spring. Very detailed illustrations show the seasons that Bunny goes through. Being born in the spring, Bunny sees the newness of the world as it wakes up from winter. The trees are alive with robins as their young ones hatch. The ducklings swim about in the pond. Mother and Dad bunny are so encouraging as Bunny says "The world is growing strong", Dad says, "Like you". Each page the bunny grows and the seasons start to change.
Bunny thinks the tree is sick when it starts to lose its leaves, and Bunny is told to wait and see what happens next. Bunny is a bit distraught and fearful as he thinks "the beautiful earth must be dying".
Bunny gets sleepy in his hollow and awakens with the scent of spring! It is a birthday celebration for Bunny and a new spring.

This is a fun spring book that comes full circle. There is no mention of Easter, but it does symbolize the new birth through the seasons changing.  

Bunny's First Spring would make a wonderful addition to your Easter basket and celebration this spring! Be sure to check it out online at Zondervan.

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Paleo Takes 5 or Fewer Cookbook *Review

Healthy Eating was Never Easier with These Delicious 3, 4 and 5 Ingredient Recipes
By: Cindy Sexton, Robb Wolf (Foreword by), Mat Lalonde (Contributions by)
October 2014 / Page Street Publishing
$21.99 US; Paperback
ISBN: 9-781-62414-075-4
Ebook also available.

Sticking with a Paleo diet may seem daunting to many people, especially making the time to cook. Cindy Sexton, the creator of, believes cooking Paleo meals and snacks can not only be a breeze to do, but can often be done with 5 ingredients or less, thereby saving lots of time and energy in the kitchen. To that end, Cindy has created PALEO TAKES 5 – OR FEWER [Page Street Publishing, October 2014, $21.99 US], the perfect cookbook for anyone who follows a Paleo Diet, or is simply looking for healthy recipes that are delicious and hassle-free.
“With a less is more mentality, these recipes will allow the true flavors of the ingredients to shine through," says Cindy. “Each dish will leave you feeling accomplished knowing how little it took to create something purely delicious.”
Cindy’s recipes are designed to complement each other, so home cooks can put together an entire meal from mains to accompanying sides. The book is packed with mouthwatering three – to – five ingredient Paleo recipes such as:
  • Ginger Balsamic Date Glazed Chicken Legs
  • Chorizo and Kale with Sautéed Onions
  • Lobster with Tarragon Parsnip Fries
  • Venison with Juniper Berry and Pomegranate Sauce
  • Herb Buttered Whole Chicken Stuffed With Sauerkraut
  • Bacon-Crusted Chicken Strips
  • Beet and Brussels Sprout Salad
  • Zucchini Noodles With Sautéed Shrimp
  • Lemon and Tomato Baked Halibut in Parchment Pouches
 * Note - Cooking fats, vinegars and select dried herbs and spices are not included in the ingredient count.
Maintaining the Paleo Diet has never been so easy. PALEO TAKES 5 – OR FEWER makes grocery shopping, meal prep, and cooking quick, simple, healthy, and most importantly: delicious!
My must try recipe is the Pan Fried Basil Pesto Cod. I just saw Cod on sale this week and I am going to pick some and Basil Pesto up to try for sure. We are working on eating a more Paleo diet as we lose weight. This cookbook is very helpful at giving easy recipes that don't take a lot of time. Some of the ingredients won't be something you have on hand, that is why you follow the From the Grocer section to pick them up ahead of time. The book is divided into 3 Ingredients, 4 Ingredients, 5 Ingredients, Dips Dressings and Drizzles. 
There is a really informative section in the front of the book that talks about 'real food', nutrient density and the ins and outs of paleo eating. It is very informative and the foods taste great!
Recipe from PALEO TAKES 5 - OR FEWER by Cindy Sexton
Page Street Publishing/October 2014
Beet and Brussels Sprout Salad
Makes 4 servings
I need to preface by saying that this is one spectacular little number. It could easily pose as a main for lunch or act as a superior side dish for a larger spread. The birth of this recipe began one day while strolling the farmers market. After spotting a bushel of Brussels sprouts at a vendor’s booth, and some beautiful heirloom beets at another, I decided to come up with a dish that would combine the two. Ironically, I thought of uniting one of my all-time faves, beets, with something I had (at that point) never EVER tried before, Brussels sprouts. To put this dish over the edge, I knew it would be ideal to cook up some bacon in the oven first and then roast the beets, garlic and Brussels sprouts in the fat afterward. Two words: dynamite decision. After slow roasting, everything caramelizes together to make one huge mound of goodness. It creates an earthy and nutty sauce within itself. Every bite gives you a savory crunch that will appeal to your taste buds and leave you wanting more.
1 lb (454 g) bacon
6 beets, cubed into small pieces
About 24 (individual) Brussels sprouts, cleaned thoroughly (these guys can be dirty!)
4 cloves fresh garlic, quartered
1 tbsp (4 g) dried thyme
1⁄2 tsp sea salt
1⁄4 tsp ground pepper
1⁄2 cup (62 g) pistachios, once cooked, and toasted
Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
Arrange slices of bacon on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes in the oven until crispy. When done, remove with tongs and set aside on a plate to cool. Reserve the bacon fat for cooking the vegetables.
In a large roasting pan, add in the beets, Brussels sprouts and garlic. Drizzle with leftover bacon fat. Sprinkle with dried thyme, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly using the tongs. Roast in the oven on the middle rack for about 45 minutes until everything has caramelized slightly.
In the meantime, toast pistachios in a small pan over medium heat on the stovetop. Transfer contents of the roasting pan to a large bowl and top with pistachios. Use tongs to toss it all together.
If you tolerate dairy, add in some goat cheese.
Nutrient Density Facts:
+ Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin K and C.
+ Pistachios are an excellent source of copper and vitamin B6. They are also a very good source of iron, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin B1 and B5 as well as a good source of magnesium.

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