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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Do the math with me...

3 years at our new home
2 cars parked together inside
1 garage after
2 weekends of cleaning and arranging (and pitching) with the help (?) of
3 children
One happy Mom

Thank you, Sean. I knew we could get two cars in the garage if we really tried...and if we filled enough trash and recycle barrels and took several loads to the donation center.

I love you.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: Celebrating our Freedom

With the Fourth of July coming up this weekend, I want to encourage not only parents, but all adults and children to take time to learn about the past and how our country became free. We seem to be so focused on other things that we, as a country, have forgotten how we acquired our freedom. I also think we've forgotten, overall, to remember and thank our veterans.

When I received the following video from a friend, I knew I had to share it with you. This man, a veteran, gives us the words to the fourth verse of the Star Spangled Banner. He states that there is a second verse, but it is actually the fourth that he sings.

I find it to be a sad state of affairs that our children (and most adults) don't realize there are multiple verses to our National Anthem. There are four verses and I've put the text below. I hope everyone will read and remember that freedom isn't free. Brave men and women fought to earn our freedom and continue to fight to preserve it today.

To all of our veterans, I salute you!

The Star Spangled Banner, by Francis Scott Key
O! say can you see by the dawn's early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave
**Lyrics found at Wikipedia.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kellogg's Cereal Recall

Kellogg’s has issued a recall of lots of kinds of cereal.

Go HERE to read all the details!! (I tried to highlight the main details below.)

Kellogg Company Voluntarily Recalls Select Packages of Kellogg’s® Corn Pops®, Kellogg’s® Honey Smacks®, Kellogg’s® Froot Loops® and Kellogg’s® Apple Jacks®

Only products with the letters "KN" following the Better If Used Before Date are included in the recall. Products with a "KM" designation are NOT included in the recall. In addition, no products in Canada are affected.

Kellogg’s® Apple Jacks®
UPC 3800039136 – 17 ounce package with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 10 2011 and JUN 22 2011
UPC 3800039132 3 – 8.7 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between JUN 03 2011 and JUN 22 2011

Kellogg’s® Corn Pops®
UPC 3800039109 – 12.5 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
UPC 3800039111 – 17.2 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
UPC 3800039116 – 9.2 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 05 2011 and JUN 22 2011

Kellogg’s® Froot Loops®
UPC 3800039118 – 12.2 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
UPC 3800039120 -17 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
UPC 3800039125 -8.7 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011

Kellogg’s®Honey Smacks®
UPC 3800039103 – 15.3 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011

If you have questions or you would like a replacement coupon, you may contact the Kellogg Consumer Response Center at 888-801-4163.

You should not eat the recalled products because they do not meet our quality standards.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gone Fishin'

(Nathan wanted everyone to know he was happy to be fishing.)

We had the opportunity to go fishing at a private stocked lake with a local bass club. It's through a local program for people with any disabilities so the Autism Society was invited to come. The bass club paired up each family with a 'seasoned' fisherman to help bait, cast and hopefully catch some fish.
The morning was a little drizzly and the wind was blowing at us so it was hard to keep your line out. It kept floating back to you. Rebekah got the only morning catch in our group---a moss fish.

Although, she thought she was catching up a storm. Every time someone would ask her if she had caught any fish, she's say, "Yes--come see them." (Which is an odd statement since it was strictly catch and release.)

She was "catching" all the minnows she could get from our bait cup. But, they are fish and she technically caught them.

After lunch, we moved to another lake on the property where we were not facing the wind. We started catching all kinds of fish. Andrew even hooked a bass. He forgot to set the hook so as he was reeling, we got to watch that bass jump off the hook and fly through the air back into the lake. He did catch a bluegill and a croppie.

Nathan didn't really fish in the afternoon. He just had fun outside playing. Rebekah caught some fish on the 2nd lake as well.

Even Sean got in on the act and caught a few fish. I meant to borrow a pole for a while, but I had a great time watching everyone else. Just relaxing by the lake. Nice!

There were even peacocks on the property. One sauntered by us in the afternoon.

Nathan & I caught a self portrait before the afternoon was out.
We had a great time and so much fun. The kids all got trophies for catching fish. We had a wonderful lunch and it is really a lot more fun to catch fish in a stocked lake. :-)

Thanks to the bass club and the OWCenter for putting this event on!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Rebekah as a "Fie-der Fie-ter" (her pronunciation)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: Summer Fun Checkpoint

Here we are, officially into summer as of yesterday. (And yet, it seems like summer's been here since Memorial it's very anticlimactic when we hit the 'official' first day of summer.)

The first day of summer reminds me to check in on our "Summer To Do" list. I like to do this because--to me--July 4th marks the halfway point of summer. After the 4th of July, we're on a downhill slide right back into school, forced routines and less time to squeeze in fun stuff.

I'm looking at the list and realizing we haven't really done anything that involves leaving our own yard. Not even going to the park. Oops. And yet, we've spent more nights outside watching the kids play and ride bikes and scooters than we have in the three years we've lived here. So there's a little give and take.

Now that band camp is going to be over, we'll gain Andrew back into our mornings. I'm hoping now will be the time to go to the museums we want to see. Maybe a sprayground or a park day. And if it ever stops raining, maybe the kids could run through the sprinklers. Right now it would only create a mud bath.

On the flip side, they've done less reading than prior years, but the number of hours spent riding a bike has gone through the roof. I'm willing to give up pages for some good old-fashioned exercise. Nathan has his summer super tan (that kid turns golden brown like a gingerbread boy each year) and Rebekah loves her sandbox and swing set. She tells everyone we have a park in our backyard. (Maybe that's why I don't bother taking them down the road to the park---silly me, we already own one.) We've enjoyed bubbles, chalk, playdoh and playing games together.

I can't be sad that the zoo, the museum or the park hasn't hit the list. We've spent time together. We've taken time to talk to each other about important stuff, about life, about hopes and dreams and the future, and about silly things like Curious George and his lack of  a tail (which means he's not a monkey, he's a chimpanzee).

Take a little time and look at your summer goals. Are you heading to where you wanted to be? Let me know if you have some great ideas for us to add to our list.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Balance Benders from The Critical Thinking Co. Review

Balance Benders: Logic & Algebraic Reasoning, Beginning (Grades 2-6)
Nathan & I had the opportunity to review a Balance Benders book from The Critical Thinking Co. When I first opened the book, I wasn't sure if I would ever be able to catch his attention long enough to work in it. Boy, was I surprised.

There's a page in the back with some algebraic facts and some basic instruction on how to figure out the problems. I did a couple with him and he got the idea of how to do the problems and wandered off. I didn't think he really liked it. Several days later, he asked where that book was and if he could work on it in the car. The next thing I know is that Andrew is sitting next to him in the car and explaining some of the more complicated ideas. The two of them were working out the problems and double checking each other.

There is an answer key in the back of the book that is very helpful if you as the parent aren't quite sure of the answers. I was impressed at the manner used to teach some complex algebraic equations. I found myself working out the problems (and not writing my answers into the book) when the kids weren't around. They are a little addicting, but in a good way. The approach to teaching is so natural it didn't feel like learning. I was very impressed and look forward to trying other products in the line.

Some additional information about The Critical Thinking Co.

Mission Statement
The Critical Thinking Co.™ is committed to developing children's critical thinking skills for better grades, higher test scores, and success in life. We do not teach through drill and memorization or teach to the tests—we empower the mind!

Would you like the chance to earn a year's worth of free products ($500 value)? If so, head over to the
Critical Thinking Moments Video Contest. You have to enter by June 25 so get busy and enter quickly.  Also, if you know a hero who promotes critical thinking skills, nominate them for a Critical Thinking Heroes Award.

The cost of the Balance Benders books are $9.99 per level. You can find The Critical Thinking Co. online at
Twitter and Facebook.

If you would like to try some free downloads, check out this widget for some freebies to print.

This is a Mama Buzz review. The product was provided by The Critical Thinking Co. for this review.

Friday, June 18, 2010

One Hundred Follower Frenzy (and $10 GC Giveaway)

I'm so excited to see so many people becoming 'friends' with our blog using Google Friend Connect. Now that we've reached 50 followers, I'm looking to push on to 100. When we reach 100 followers, I'll be sending out a $10 gift card to a lucky follower.

How do you enter this giveaway?
Simple---follow publicly using Google Friend Connect. (Use the button on the left sidebar of the blog.)

When we reach 100 followers, I'll draw a name out of the list of all followers and that person will win a $10 Gift Card. Depending on whether the winner is in the US or is located internationally will affect what gift card I will send. I'll work with the winner to get something that can be used in their corner of the world.

Send your friends and let's have a Follower Frenzy!!!

If you follow me and I'm not following you, please leave a comment and I'll follow your blog, too.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

We have a flurry of activity in June around here. My birthday is one of those events. I had a lovely birthday. We went out to eat at Cracker Barrel (yum!) and my folks had us over for cake and ice cream.

We had a great time.

Here I am opening gifts...with all my helpers. Andrew is now old enough to just watch without helping. I got such wonderful and thoughtful gifts from all of my family. It was lovely.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Crib: $200
Mattress: $100
Stuffed Animals: $75

Hearing giggling and finding brother and sister playing together in the morning...


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: Kids Bowl Free

I wanted to make sure all my readers had the information about this fabulous promotion. It's called Kids Bowl Free. You can check for a bowling center near you and register your child(ren) to receive two free games of bowling everyday all summer long. (Shoe rental is a separate charge, but well worth it for two free games.)

Depending on where you live--offer is valid in both US and Canada--there can be more than one bowling alley participating. Please note that you can only register for one alley and that is the only alley you can bowl free at. Make sure you coordinate with friends when signing up for this offer.

Additionally, most alleys offer a "Family Pass" for adults or older children to bowl free as well. For a $24.95 fee, up to four older children/adults can bowl with the kids. Again, most places shoe rental is a separate charge, but it is included in rare places. I wasn't sure this would be worth it, but we discovered for our family, only two trips to the alley pays for the Family Pass. Figure out how often you'll go and get prices and make an informed decision.

Enjoy your free bowling! It's a great activity that promotes arm strength, core body strength, hand/eye coordination and good sportsmanship. Have fun!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

WINNER: ChocBite Giveaway

Congratulations to our ChocBite winner.

Comment #23, Jolynn_Reads said, "I follow your blog"

Jolynn_Reads has won a custom ChocBite chocolate bar. I'm so happy fo her. Everyone should be sure to keep your eyes peeled because there are more giveaways coming. I'm hoping to have another giveaway up by the weekend. Keep looking!

Review: Wiglington & Wenks Online World

Our family was given the opportunity to be members for a month at Wiglington & Wenks. It's a fairly new virtual world that began in Dec. 2009. Since that time, they have had over 110,000 registrants from all over the world. It's targeted at children aged 7-14 but 'kids' as old as 20 are playing and other adults find the site irresistible.

From the website:
The virtual world features famous historical characters like Beethoven, Einstein, Edison, Wright Brothers, Abraham Lincoln, Emperor Qin, Gandhi, Darwin just to name a few. The players are given the task of looking for items related to these famous historical characters so that they can recover their memories.Players will be going about the world searching for items, in the process learning about the world and different items found in the world. This also trains their ability to be observant - much like iSpy games. As a reviewer on Common Sense Media said - "Kids cannot help but absorb historical, geographic, environmental, or cultural facts as they travel the world to help these misplaced historical figures."

The thoughts of this family:
We have played around with the site, but haven't fully explored the entire site. I enjoyed looking around and learning little facts about things and places (and you might get some winks for that, too). You can make friends and "chat" online using prewritten words/phrases. I like the safety of prewritten phrases so my little ones can't give away personal information.

The eight year old loved being able to go exploring without a parent to help. The four year old would like to play, but it's a bit above her head. She did sit in the chair and 'play' online with the eight year old. The oldest wasn't really interested. At almost 13, he's about aged out--in his mind. He had fun helping his little sister (the 4 year old) play. I had fun looking at the different worlds and learning about them, but wouldn't play this as an adult on my own. I do feel comfortable letting the kids play this unsupervised because they are learning a lot of information and it's been secured and made safe for online play.

You can have a free membership or pay a modest $5.99 per month for the full membership. They have a page that explains the differences between the types of memberships here.

Overall, we really enjoyed the site and found it to be fun and educational for kids of all ages.


Disclosure: This is a MamaBzz Review. I received a one month member subscription to Wiglington & Wenks and was not compensated in any other way for this review. All personal thoughts and comments are my own.

Happy Flag Day

Please remember to fly your American flags proudly today and this week. And thank our military--past and present. Without them, we couldn't enjoy the freedom we have today.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Look what I won

It's been a while since I posted my winnings and I realize how far behind I am in that regard. My family now makes fun of me all the time since I'm keeping our postman, UPS Driver and FedEx guy in business. While they make fun of me for winning and getting things delivered, I notice they still race to the mailbox to see if there's a package and lunge for the door when the bell rings. They also don't seem to complain if I win something that is for them. Fickle---aren't they.

It's ok, part of the thrill is still in the hunt and I love entering contests just for the chance to win.

The first thing I won was an Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer. It's the forehead kind. You just swipe it across the forehead and in the blink of an eye, it's got your temperature. I discovered these at the Urgent Care when Rebekah had a double ear infection. I swore we'd never stick another ear thermometer in her infected ears again. I can't take the crying and I know from my own past ear infections how much that can really hurt. When the doctor told me they are just as effective as an ear thermometer or an auxiliary thermometer, I knew I had to own one. I entered something like 40 giveaways and won over at St. Albert the Great Blog. I also had my mom entering some of them and she won over at Woven by Words.  She doesn't blog, but I wanted to make sure Mimi at Woven by Words got a thank you from our family.

I've won TWICE in the weekly drawing over at Scripture They have a weekly drawing for a small set of their note cards. I read the email each week telling who the winner is and re-enter for the upcoming week. Love their note cards and have ordered some to use for various occasions.

Almost every day, Lena Nelson Dooley (Christian Author) has another interview and giveaway on her blog. I won Lisa Wingate's newest book, "Never Say Never."

There are more things that I've won, but they will have to wait for another post. If you hear of any good giveaways on the web, let me know. I love to enter...and I love to win. And I've been going after some great items that I know my family would love as gifts. I'm working on my Christmas gifts one win at a time.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Splish Splash

Nathan is our key to swimming. He takes lessons at a local indoor pool and because we signed him up for a year, we can go to as many family swim times as we would like. We'd like to go more often, but aim for once a month.

Last time we went, the 'noodle boys' tried to see how many noodles they could sit on at once.

Then they used the noodles as water cannons to shoot water at each other...and their sister and mother and father. You'll never guess who learned from their example???

Rebekah was nervous about the slide, but we finally got her going down several times.

After swimming, we decided to go get a treat at DQ. Yummy!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Catching Pins with Grands

While Grands was visiting, we decided to use some of our "Kids Bowl Free" passes. We went to the alley and the kids had a blast. Great warm up for Andrew & Nathan who bowl on a summer league. Rebekah bowled for the first time and the rest of us did our best to keep up with the kids.

We started Rebekah with the rack and that was working pretty well.

Then she decided she needed to try on her own. What a hoot!

Nathan got a strike and I caught the happy jumping dance...

Here the boys are bowling.

Rebekah & Grands pose for a picture.

We had a great time!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ball Game Fun with Grands

When our Granddaddy visited us, we had the chance to go to a local ball game. It threatened to storm, but the weatherman kept changing the time of the rain starting to fall. We decided to give it a shot and we had a gorgeous night at the ball park. Our team won (woo hoo), Rebekah ended up being given a foul ball and we all had a great time.

Here are some first Rebekah wouldn't uncover her ears in case there were fireworks. She also demonstrated her new favorite smile--the sticking out your tongue smile.
Aren't they handsome boys??

Sean & I needed a self-portrait. Rebekah got into our photo, too. (She really did unplug her ears for most of the game.)

Fun with the mascot.
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