Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Book Meme: and a gift

I have been tagged by my dear friend, Lisa, to do this fun book meme! Here's the rules: Grab the nearest book. Open the book to page 56. Find the fifth sentence. Post the text of the next two to five sentences in your journal/blog along with these instructions. Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST. Tag five other people to do the same.
I reached up into my filing shelf, and I grabbed a book called 'A Jewel in His Crown.' This is the winner's book to the contest I had for my 500th post. Wouldn't you know it, Lisa is the lucky winner! She followed the rules of that contest and did what was needed to win! So, Congratulations, Lisa! I will get this book to you soon!
ANYWAY~ I opened to page 56, and went to the fifth sentence...
Some women struggle with disabilities and others with disfiguring diseases. Some, like the young woman who went to Australia, are attractive in one culture and not in another. But we all need to do the best we can with what we have. God wants you to take good care of the beauty that He has given to you. And you can be sure of on thing-you are beautiful in His sight.
Thank you Lisa! That was fun, and it really says a great thing! It somewhat fits into our Bible Study lessons we are doing right now. I am in a Beth Moore Bible Study called Stepping Up: A Journey through the Psalms of the Ascent. It is a great study, and I think all of you should really consider being in a Beth Moore Bible Study!
I am a bit tangent-happy tonight...sorry about that...anyway, I tag these lovely ladies:
Ha ha...just trying to call a few Jen's to the task! Have fun Jen's! If anyone else wants to do it, let me know and I will check it out on your site!

My Little Princess~

Madelyn is growing up so much! She is talking into 3 word sentences, and repeats anything you tell her. She amazes us with things she says. This morning, I was sitting on Caleb's bed fixing her hair. Caleb's window has a Spiderman covering over it, and Madelyn was looking at it. She piped up the theme song for Spiderman..."LOOK OUT, HERE COMES THE SPIDERMAN!" The only thing you can totally understand is the "Look Out!" Then, she mumbles through the rest of the song line. It was so cute. She kept singing it over and over...even all the way to church for my morning Bible study.
Tonight, Madelyn was holding on to her dolly. (one of them) She loves kissing and hugging her dollies. I was going to take her dolly and put it down when I was taking her to bed. She told me no, then said, "AHH Dolly!" I asked her if she wanted to take her dolly to bed, and she said, "YES!" ~By the way, she says "yes" clear as a bell...it is super cute! So, she got to sleep with her precious dolly tonight.

Learning Tower as a play house

We really like having our Learning Tower for imagination play. We have the Playhouse Kit, and it is a super accessory to have with our Learning Tower. The Playhouse Kit has theme signs to put up. We like how the theme signs say different things, such as : Doll House, Lemonade Stand, Drive Thru, and Puppet Theater. There are two signs, and each side has a different heading.
To attach the Playhouse kit, you place the 4 wooden blocks on the top boards, then you insert the roof pieces. On either side of the Learning Tower, you place 2 more blocks to slide the themed signs into place. When we got our Learning Tower with the Playhouse Kit, we had difficulties with the themed signs sliding into the blocks, and a few issues with the roof pieces. So, we contacted Little Partners (creators of the Learning Tower) and they sent a replacement kit. They apologized for the difficulties I had, and really wanted to make things right for us. They were very helpful and were attentive to the issues I had. I got a replacement kit (older version) which works super now. The Playhouse Kits come in newer styles, like the roof is blue, so if you get the Playhouse kit, that is the one that will come with it. The Playhouse Kit is one of the accessories that you can purchase to go with your Learning Tower. They retail for $34.99.
The Playhouse kit includes a roof, blocks, 4 themed signs, 2 curtains, and a curtain rod. We also got a blue (light cotton fabric) cloth for covering the Learning Tower.
Our kids love playing inside, and outside the Learning Tower. I am glad that the Learning Tower has the Playhouse Kit to accompany it to help spark imagination play! The kids have had many playtime hours on their Learning Tower so far! It is one of the only toys in our main floor living room. Now we just need to get some puppets....

Monday, September 29, 2008

Awards and thanks

I am a Schmuck!pregnant lady needing some grace because of losing my mind and not keeping things in order forgetfulness, but I got this award a few weeks back from my dear friend, Lisa. She is such a sweetheart and my real life friend! I am so thankful for her, and she is a great friend! Thank you for the award Lisa! Now I would love to pass it on to a few friends of mine:
Jennifer, Alicia, and Sarah.

I feel extra loved tonight, because I got this next award from two special ladies~
Thank you tollesons4him and Alicia! I really enjoy reading your blogs, too! I would love to pass this award along to a few people to share the love.
Thanks so much ladies! I appreciate the awards! Sorry about not posting this sooner, Lisa. I've got pregnancy on the brain.

Sesame Street K'NEX : A review and a Giveaway!

Did you love Sesame Street when you were little? I sure did! I still think Sesame Street is super, and so do my kids! I was so excited to try out the new line of Sesame Street themed building sets from K'NEX! Caleb and Madelyn love making funny versions of Ernie. The Ernie set comes with 15 pieces, including KID K'NEX rods, connectors and blocks plus unique parts like specially designed character hands, eyes and even Ernie's Rubber Duckie! I thought it wasfunny that Ernie's hair was even a piece. Ernie's arms and legs move, so it is fun to play with him. All his pieces fit into an Ernie head container. The set also came with stickers and an activity book. This product line is geared toward ages 2-5 and retails for $10.99. Caleb told me that we need to get Bert because he is friends with Ernie. After watching the kids play with this, I couldn't agree more. I love that K'NEX came up with this line for the younger tots, then they can build with their imagination, too.
K'NEX has offered to do a giveaway for my readers. It will be a surprise which set you get in the mail, should you be the lucky winner... so, keep that in mind. Here are the rules: This contest is open to all readers living in the Continental United States. To enter the contest, check out the Sesame Street building sets from K'NEX. Then comment on which one you think is the cutest. You could also tell me your favorite character (back from your childhood, or one on the show now). Click here to see how you can earn extra credits to win, and click here to see guidelines and the official rules. Contest will end on October 15th, at 7:00 PM CST.

Taking you back in time...

So, with joining facebook, I have met up with so many people from High School and College. It is so great reconnecting with people! Takes me back to some great and special memories....I thought I would share two photos with you from when I was in college. I was in a small singing group called 'Adoration.' We sang in churches on the weekends, traveled and stayed in guest homes, did tours, sang in prisons...etc. Once we were chosen to be on the singing group, we went away for the weekend to bond, learn songs, get to know each other, etc. This first picture is from my first year of college, I was 18...
Can you see me? I am the one in the middle with the white t-shirt on. Can we say young? Hey, I don't think I look all that bad. :) ~lol
This next one is my second year of college in the Adoration group. I actually think I look younger in this picture!
I am the one with the stripes. You can't miss me in the 90'ish top. I just thought I would share these with all my readers. I know they don't mean as much to you, but this group was amazing to be apart of! God really shaped and molded me. It was great to be in other church families when we did our singing tours. I miss some parts of my college days, and this group was such a big part of my college memories!

Baby Bunch Cupcakes are here!

If you remember reading my review of the Baby Bunch Bouquets...and if you loved them, then you will get a kick out of the new line~ Baby Bunch Cupcakes! These adorable little cupcakes (actually they look big) are onesies wrapped and folded into a ball, and inserted into a cupcake holder. I think that the felt decorations are super adorable. Each cupcake either has a fruit or flower decorating the top. All the onesies are sized for 0-6 month (up to 16 pounds) and made with 100% cotton. I really like how the Baby Bunch presents these cupcakes in a bakery box tied with a ribbon. Makes the treat extra special for those new moms. The bakery box features a magnetic clasp and can be reused; the decorations can be saved as mementos...so the gift keeps on giving. Baby Bunch offers three different styles of Baby Bunch Cupcakes. One for the baby girl (colors for the onesies are pink or yellow), one for baby boy (colors are blue or yellow) and one for the mystery baby (yellow). Each set does come with white onesies as well. Prices vary depending on how many onesies you want. The gift boxes come in boxes of 6 onesies, 4 onesies and 2 onesies. I like that the Baby Bunch has such a great selection and variety of options. I think if you are searching for a great gift to give a new mom, Baby Bunch Cupcakes are the way to go! Purchase yours by clicking here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Spot shot: Carpet Stain & Odor remover: A review

I was impressed to try the New! Non-Toxic, certified biodegradable Spot Shot! I was happy to be on this blog tour for Mom Central, and try this new product out! I got to try this on a stain of chocolate, one of the toughest stains, and I was impressed how well the Spot Shot worked! What was even better ~
there wasn't a terrible smell to the stain & odor eliminator spray! Usually cleaning agents have a horrid smell to them, or toxic, and the Spot Shot is neither of those things. It leaves behind a stain-free area, and a fresh scent. Plus, the Spot Shot is safe to use around children and pets. This product was not tested on animals, either. Being a mom, and dog owner, this is a great feature! My parents were telling me to bring this over to their house to use on the older stains in their beige carpet. The Spot Shot eliminates stains on all kinds of new and old stains! There is also anti re-soiling agents to help protect carpets from future staining. Spot Shot is a member of the WD-40 brand family. I think this product is super!
There is also the New! Spot Shot available in pet formulation. This would be great to remove pet stains and odors. Having an indoor dog, I will have to get this one! Spot Shot products are available in both aerosol can and trigger spray bottle forms. You can find the Spot Shot in the household cleaning section of your favorite mass, supermarket, drugstore or club store, or you can order online from the WD-40 company.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I Spy! Private Eye Game Review & Giveaway!

We had a blast playing the new I Spy Private Eye game from Briarpatch. Nathaniel, Caleb and I played this game on Thursday night, and we had fun! Even Caleb, who is 3 years old, could remember what he "saw." This game comes with 2 decks of cards, one for the beginners and one for the advanced players. What you do, is you put all the dice (nine picture blocks) in the blue (Jumbler) container. You put on the lid, and shake 3 times. Then, you move the Jumbler around on the table a bit, to let the dice settle so they aren't piggy backing on the other dice. After that, you remove the cover and look carefully at the pictures on the dice. You get as much time as the timer (which you assemble to the top of the container) gives you. We didn't use the timer, because we were playing with Caleb. We don't think we needed as much time as the timer allowed, but we would probably use all the time allowed if we were using the advanced cards. After you take a look at the dice, you replace the lid, and draw a card. Then, you have to remember what you saw, and see if the card has it or not. If you guess correctly, then you win the card. If you are incorrect, the card is placed on the discard pile, and the next player could win their card as well as yours if they correctly guess on their turn. There is a "Spy Glass" included as a game piece. This is used for challenges.
This game is geared toward ages 5 and up, and retails for $24.99. My kids really like that there is no reading involved, and this is a game that they can bring with them in the car for travel. The Jumbler has a compartment on the bottom where you can store the cards, so that helps with keeping it all together.

Briarpatch’s strong legacy of stimulating children’s lives through fun and eco-friendly products has earned the company over 270 industry awards (and counting). Since its founding, the company’s co founders applied environmentally conscious business practices in such innovative ways as using vegetable and soy-based inks and post consumer materials.
A key ingredient to Briarpatch’s success has been to combine fun with learning. Both parents and children adore the exciting new licenses and products that Briarpatch continually brings to market. Few game and puzzle companies can boast a green thumb while enriching childhood.

Would you like to win I Spy! Private Eye? Briarpatch has offered to sponsor a giveaway for my readers! This contest is open to all readers living in the Continental United States. To enter the contest, Go to the Briarpatch website and look at all the wonderful games they offer. Come back here and comment about another great game you would like to own, or do own. Click here to see how you can earn extra credits to win, and click here to see guidelines and the official rules. Contest will end on October 15th, at 7:00 PM CST.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

~Babies~ appointments, Dr.'s and a funny....

I have my Doctor's appointment in the morning to see how baby is doing. I can't believe that I am 24+ weeks along already! Wow~ this pregnancy is zooming by! I guess things are just so busy with an elementary child, a (pre)pre-schooler, and a toddler! Now we will be getting into the holiday season, and time will really fly! Before I realize it, my arms will be filled with a brand new baby! WOW~

I am really excited to start our new insurance coming the beginning of November. Once that happens, I will be going to my main OB/GYN. I really miss him. About a month ago, I was practically in tears after my last appointment. I didn't get the welcoming factor from the current OB/GYN I am seeing. This Dr. is all new to me. I didn't get the warm welcome hello...no, "How are you doing, Sarah? How is the pregnancy going? How is Terry doing? What are the kids up to these days..." Just, the statements like, "Do you have any questions or concerns? Let's listen to the heartbeat." Blah, Blah. I am so missing my Dr. (even though he is more of a drive) To me, it is worth the extra miles and gas to feel loved and appreciated. I have had my other Dr. since High School ~over 15 years ago. So, I am glad I get to go back to him...even for just the last 2 1/2 months. Since I am more than likely needing to schedule an induction at the end of my pregnancy, there is a high probability that he will be the one delivering our baby. Caleb is the only one that he delivered. Actually, Terry delivered Caleb, with our Dr. just assisting him, and telling him what he needed to do. What an amazing Dr. he is!! He is so caring, and he just knows people.

Anyway...funny story from something that happened this evening. Maddie and Caleb love talking to the baby. Caleb (almost daily) says, "Hi Baby!" to my tummy. So, Maddie has picked up on this and does it, too! She also likes to pat and rub my belly when she can, too. *Sometimes she mistakes "the baby" for being up higher than my belly*~lol, so I just tell her, no...the baby is here~ with pointing to my belly. Anyway~ tonight, Terry was sitting at the computer on the chair, and Maddie toddles over to him and says sweetly, "Hi baby!" while looking at his belly. Opps! Terry said, "Is that her polite way of telling me I need to lose some weight?" Ha ha ha ~~

Hearts at Home

Have you ever heard of Hearts at Home? I so much want to go to one of their conferences one of these years!! They have yearly conferences that focus on reaching out to MOMS! It is a conference to be refreshed, restored, and know that other moms go through very similar experiences that you do. A Hearts at Home conference is like going to “mommy school.” You’ll laugh, you’ll learn, and you’ll be inspired to be the best mom you can be. Can you see why I so badly want to go? Hearts at Home also offers books, an online mothering community, a bi-monthly magazine, and a free E-Newsletter. I strongly urge you to grab some girlfriends and attend one of their upcoming conferences:

October 3-4, 2008 Grand Rapids, Michigan
November 7-8, 2008 Rochester, Minnesota
March 13-14, 2009 Bloomington, Illinois

If you don’t live close enough to drive to a conference, and hopping on a plane isn’t an option, you can also order a Home Conference Packet which gives you the conference via CD.
Check out the Hearts at Home website today to find out all that Hearts at Home has to offer you! AND~ Pray that we (you and I) can go to this conference some day, that God will provide the funds, and provide the way to go!

Die Dog!

We usually put our dog in the downstairs bathroom when we leave somewhere, just to keep her in a safe location~confined. Well, lately we have let her be out of the bathroom when we are gone. Giving her the privilege of being free. I try to shut the bedroom doors when we do this, because I have "caught" her sleeping on Nathaniel's bed a few times. I can't stand pet hair on beds (just disgusting). So, anyway, we were going to be gone for a few hours last night, and I had shut the bedroom doors when we left. Terry ran back in the house to get his wallet, and accidentally left our bedroom door open.
When we came home, we noticed that Lena (our dog) had dug in the garbage cans, and pooped on our bedroom floor. Talk about being ticked off with her!! We have left her for hours longer in the bathroom, and she has not had any accidents~since we got her over 2 years ago. Actually, there have been a couple of times where she had been in the bathroom 10-11 hours...and no accidents! So, we were shocked, and very upset with her. After Terry cleaned up the mess, he crawled into bed next to me. Then he said, "Get up." Lena had peed on our bed! Ohhh...I wanted to do something terrible to that dog! That was completely uncalled for. As if pooping on our floor wasn't bad enough!! GRRR....She not only peed through our comforter, through the sheets, and through the mattress cover, it got the foam padding wet. I can't wash the foam padding, so now that is trashed!

Terry and I are so mad with Lena!! Needless to say, she has lost her privilege to be free when we are gone...back to the bathroom she goes!

Mat Chats: Review and Giveaway

Contest is now over! Thanks to all who entered! The lucky winner is missdenise! Please contact me with your mailing information and choice. Thanks again!

Mat-chats (proper noun)- Placemats used at meal times to break down barriers and promote conversation.
Do you ever have a hard time getting into conversations with your child, especially when they are entering the pre-teen years, or are in their teen years? I have been introduced to a great product to get those conversations moving! Mat Chats are placemats that you can place in your child's "spot" on the table. There are 8 different topics of Mat Chat Placemats. I got the Fun/Work placemat to review. Some of the questions/topics are Describe how my being responsible helps the family. Myself? Talk about something fun you would like the family to do either today or in the future.

Each Mat Chat includes: a discussion topic, Inspirational Quote (gets you thinking), 4 questions (gets you talking), dictionary meaning of discussion topic, and a reminder to always respect others. There are 8 place mats in each kit, and they are priced at $14.95 a set.

Lisa Brown is the founder and CEO of Mat chats. Being a widowed mom of two, and a Psychiatric NP, she knows the importance of active parenting. She knows life is busy, being a busy mom herself, and the inspiration came to her one harried morning. She wanted something to help make the most of her time with her kids. What is great about Mat Chats, is her kids help her put the topics/questions together.

Lisa Has offered to sponsor a giveaway for my readers! Here are the "rules" of the contest: This contest is open to all readers living in the Continental United States. To enter the contest, Go look at the Mat Chats available and pick out which one interests you the most. Come back here and comment about it. Click here to see how you can earn extra credits to win, and click here to see guidelines and the official rules. Contest will end on October 6th, at 7:00 PM CST.


Thanks to all who entered the recent giveaways! Thank you to the companies who sponsored the giveaways, too! Here are the winners~ Congratulations!
Please e-mail me your mailing address. If I don't hear from you, I will e-mail the second number chosen from random.org. Thanks!

Wow! Wow! Wubbzy (DVD): ellen cunningham

Saturdays with Stella (book) 2 winners: reb & Baba

Rix Games giveaway: Sharon

Congratulations to all of you winners!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A handbag contest: Open to all

Handbag Planet is having a contest to win a free handbag! They will be giving away 24 handbags in 24 hours starting at noon on October 15th. This is a big promotion to launch their new website. Go to the sign-up page here. Upon launch, their bags will be priced between $30-$80. So, try your chances with winning one of their fabulous looking bags! You will also be given other entries to the contest with fulfillment of other options. GOOD LUCK!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker by Jakks Pacific: A Review

The Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker by Jakks Pacific is a fun product that kids can try out their skills with making cupcakes. I like that kids can learn and use their math skills with measuring ingredients. Kids can also use their creativity with frosting and designing their creations with sprinkles. This product comes with four special cupcake mixes and frosting that are custom designed for use with this toy. The cake flavors include red velvet, chocolate, yellow, and cinnamon sugar; the frosting's are chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and cream cheese flavored. These easy-to-use mixes and refills can be purchased when you run out. The toy comes with: a tiny mixing bowl, measuring spoon, water dropper, and miniature spatula for mixing the batter and frosting; a microwaveable container for baking the cupcakes; 4 cupcake papers; 4 "shortcut" recipe cards; sprinkles/sprinkle container; and a cupcake frosting gadget with a stand-up mixer. I like that this set is made with smaller hands in mind. I think it is fun when companies come out with products that encourage our kids to learn life skills (like baking/cooking). The cupcakes bake in just 30 seconds, and the kids can have so much fun decorating. This products looks like it is geared toward girls, but boys can have just as much fun making their own cupcakes. It would be great if Jakks made one that was gender neutral.
With the baking, you need to have a microwave handy. The cupcakes won't taste like homemade cupcakes, but they taste like cupcakes, and kids will love them.
This product is geared toward kids ages 8 and up and can be purchased on Amazon for $29.99.

Some adorable pictures to share....

My mother in law took these photos the last couple of times she was with or had Caleb and Madelyn...

Caleb's funnies over the weekend...

On Friday morning, I was cleaning up after breakfast, and Caleb came in singing, "Remember your children...Remember your children...(over and over)." So, I sang the song to him that he was singing from, and he said, "Yes, that's right mom." It was so precious.

Friday night, we were driving under a traffic light, and I said to my mother-in-law, "Those lights are two different colors. One is pea green and one is neon green." Caleb giggled and said, "Pea Green. That is funny mom! Pea Green! (laugh, laugh, laugh). Mom you are so funny! Pea Green is really funny! *pause* Mom, can I say pea green?"

A little later, Caleb said something along the lines of: "Mom, when you were a little baby, I held you and wrapped my arms around you. You were so little, and I could hold you."

Sunday, Caleb got into some different clothes. He put on shorts and a shirt that was sleeveless. He came running to me and said, "Mom, look at me! I have a shirt on with no arm sleeves!"

Our weekend~

It was a busy weekend, as you can tell, I didn't really spend much time online. Friday, I babysat all day. Then, I came home, packed my bag, made a birthday card, and got ready to head to the cities. My mother-in-law showed up during this time, and Nathaniel got home from school. Then, we left to go pick up Terry at work, because he had to work late. I was suppose to bring a change of clothes for him, but I forgot (of coarse) and we were late in getting him. I had to get gas before I left town, so that made us a little later. I was only 10-15 minutes later than planned, but I could tell I disappointed him. He was going to go set up for a train show that was on Saturday, and he wanted to be there at 6:00. So, he ended up being about 10-15 minutes late. I felt bad about not being there at 5:30, and forgetting his clothes. Anyway, we dropped him off, and then brought Nathaniel to meet his Dad. Then, since we had extra time~ Terry said set up was from 6:00-8:00~ we decided to go to McDonald's and get a cone, and let the kids play in the play area. Caleb was saying he was hungry, so I got him a cheeseburger, too. I was happy that this McDonald's had kiddy cones. (free child size cones) After they ate, Caleb ran around pretending to be Batman, and Maddie climbed right up to the top of the play place. She is not afraid at all. It was so funny when she got up to the top~ she freaked out from the bubble windows! She didn't understand that when she put her hand up to the "window" she couldn't touch it. She was weirded out by that. The little boy next to her was a few months younger, and he was holding on to it, and looking at her like, "see, it is easy to hold on to, whadda freaking out about?" When we were going to go, Maddie was still up there. Fortunately there was this nice Dad there, and he was willing to go up in there and bring her down for us. My MIL didn't want to go up there, and being pregnant, I didn't have any excitement to go up.
Picking up Terry we were about 2 minutes late. He was sitting outside (in the dark)...so, of coarse I felt bad about that. I apologized, and told him that I thought he said set up was 6-8. He said no problem. (as the tension/frustration is building) Then, we went to Barnes and Noble for a bit. I found a great book for my friend's birthday, and she was happy to get it. After we were done, Terry and my MIL dropped me off at Jennifer's house. We couldn't find the house for almost 30 minutes, because Mapquest is all messed up! So, Terry was getting very frustrated even more so. We did find it by trial and error, and I was finally at Jen's house. I was sad that Terry and I left each other with negative feelings. BUT, we did talk about it on Saturday, and cleared it all up. Anyway, Jennifer and I had a good time. Friday night, we watch a movie, and went to bed. Saturday, she had an appointment with a bride for photography. It was fun to go with, because it is someone we both went to college with. It was fun to see her after all these years. After that, we drove around for a bit, trying hard to decide on a place to have lunch. We ended up at an Italian diner. We went back to her house, and had some great talks. Jennifer and I never run out of things to chat about. It was great to be together and spend time together. Saturday early evening, Terry picked me up after his train show, and then we went out for supper at one of our favorite restaurants: Granite City Brewery. Then, we headed home.
Yesterday (Sunday), we went to church, had lunch, and the kids and I took a nap. Terry mowed the lawn, and did some outside work. Then, we spent sometime outside, had supper, and went to get Nathaniel. My MIL stayed with Caleb and Maddie, so Terry and I just went to get Nathaniel. When we picked him up, we went over the new 35 W bridge. It is pretty at night all lit up. We stopped for a cone at McDonald's then made our way home. It was a good weekend, but it sure went fast. Today (Monday), Terry and Nathaniel went off to work and school. I colored and cut my MIL hair. It turned out very nice, I think. She just headed for home. Now, I am going to get some things caught up, and get some cleaning done. I hope you all had a great weekend!

Bringing Home the Prodigals: A Book Review

Parental love is such a deep, and strong love. We would do anything for our kids. I am not to the point where my kids are venturing out on their own, but I was in that point in my life where I left home. Some kids don't come back home, for whatever reason, and the parents worry over them and wish they would return. Bringing Home the Prodigals is a book about children leaving home, sometimes physically and sometimes emotionally. Children make choices and sometimes those choices are not what parents would choose for their children.
And yet as much as we love them, as much as we want their good, as much as we would give all that we possess for their sakes, we cannot live their lives for them. Our children make choices. And sometimes those choices are bad ones.
We are their parents; we have spent all our lives making things right for them, but at times even we have to step back a little and let them learn the lessons of life. Sometimes the pain is part of the coming home. But that does not stop us feeling that somehow we are responsible. The parable of the prodigal son is the third story of a trilogy. In the first there is a lost sheep, and in the second a lost coin. It would be hard to blame the sheep (and certainly the coin!) for getting lost, but this story is different. Here the boy is capable of making a decision and does so—to turn his back on the father and the father’s house. He, himself, chooses. And yet in spite of the fact that our children make their own choices, we so often feel the guilt ourselves.
Sometimes the church itself makes the "prodigal" feel terrible, and makes things worse. Sometimes other families can make it seem as though their children and family make good choices all the time, and never turn their backs. So in that case, parents of the "prodigals" feel like they went wrong somewhere, or feel inadequate as parents.
And as if parenting wasn’t hard enough anyway, modern society practically forces us to see our children’s lives as a judgment on whether or not we have been successful. We want our children to do well because we want to be well-thought-of ourselves. So often, when our children go through tough times—whether it’s unexpectedly poor grades or some much more serious issue—our first thought is, “What will people think of us?”
He (Rob Parsons) urges us to be released from false guilt, to stop judging each other, and to remember that God, the perfect parent, has trouble with his children, too. He challenges the church to recognize the part it has played in creating prodigals and says, When our prodigals do come home, pray that they meet the father first and not the elder brother! But this is not just for other people. We suddenly see that the dirty, tear stained face coming down the road is our face. And then we discover what, deep in our heart, we knew all along we are the prodigal.

Rob is a best-selling author of ten books. He is a lawyer by profession, has subsequently become a well known author and speaker on family issues. Drawing from his own experiences of family life, and often joined by his wife Dianne, he has addressed over 500,000 people in face to face events. In 1988, Rob launched Care for the Family, a registered charity motivated by Christian compassion. The resources and support offered are available to everyone, of any faith or none.
Bringing Home the Prodigals by Rob Parsons
Authentic Publishing/April 2008
Buy your copy at Amazon.com

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Girlfriend Time

I am so excited for tomorrow evening! I get to spend the evening with one of my bestest friends, Jennifer! I am really looking forward to just being together! Her hubby is away for the weekend, and she asked if I would like to come spend the night with her. Ummm...no, NOT! Yes, of coarse I would love to come hang out! Tomorrow I will be babysitting during the day, then, we will be bringing Nathaniel to his Dad's. Terry will be helping set up a model train show, and then he is dropping me off at Jen's house. YUP~ NO kids for me to take care of! For the night, anyway. My dear, and wonderful Mother-in-law is coming for the weekend (sometime tomorrow late afternoon). She is going to watch them on Saturday while Terry works the train show from 9-3. Then, Terry will help tear down the displays and come pick me up. So, we are talking all day girlfriend time on Saturday! Woo Hoo! I wonder what we will do!? Maybe I should bring our Wii with? LOL~ OH, And today is a special day, because it is Jennifer's birthday~ So, Happy Happy Birthday Lady! *hugs to you*
So, I may be MIA for a bit, but you know I will return.

The Road to Lost Innocence: A book review

Born in Cambodia and orphaned at an early age, Somaly Mam, a Buddhist sex trade survivor, grew up never knowing her real name or birthday.
As a teenager, Somaly Mam was sold into prostitution and spent years in the brothels of Cambodia where she witnessed and experienced the full-blown horrors of the human sex trade – rape, torture, and nearly unfathomable abuse. After her eventual escape, she could not forget the young girls (some as young as 5) left behind in the brothels, and so she returned to serve them. Her new book, "The Road of Lost Innocence," is her newest means of advocacy. It tells her personal story, ultimately inviting people of conscious, such as our Christian community, to become involved (or to continue involvement) in this war against an epic evil, a modern battle for "the least of these." Truly, not only is this book worth reading, it's worth sharing.
Author: Somaly Mam is the co founder of AFESIP (Acting for Women in Distressing Situations) in Europe and The Somaly Mam Foundation in the United States, whose goal is to save and socially reintegrate victims of sexual slavery in Southeast Asia. She was named Glamour's Woman of the Year in 2006. She lives in Cambodia and France.

Huggies®Diapers: chance to win free diapers and wipes.

HUGGIES® Diapers are my family's choice of diaper. I think they are the best for leakage, and comfort. I think they hold well, especially with my son. He has super soakers. At least that is what I thought before I saw this video. I think this kid tops my son!

Huggies has a great sweepstakes going on right now for Happy Baby 2008~where you can sign up to win a year's supply of diapers, and Huggies products! Wouldn't that be totally awesome! I know I could sure use that! I currently have 2 in diapers, and I am due in January with my fourth baby....so, I should buy stock in Huggies, right? Go sign up to have a chance to win. Hey, if you don't need diapers, you can sign me up to win! I will let you! ;)
Also, M80 parents Meta blog is having a great contest to win coupons for free diapers and wipes from Huggies. There will be two winners on their site! Hurry over! Again, if you don't need diapers, sign up and give them to me, because I desperately need diapers! :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

13 great books for kids! ~ and a GIVEAWAY!

~~Due to the winner not contacting me, I needed to chose a new winner~~
Congratulations to the lucky new winner~ Abi! Please e-mail me your mailing address and selection asap. Thanks!

Candlewick Press, based in Somerville, Massachusetts, publishes some of the best children’s books (in my opinion) and readers of all ages can enjoy them! I have been very impressed with the selection they carry, and the books are well loved by my kids!
Here is a sampling of the variety that they have:
Let's Play in the SnowThis book follows from the first Nutbrown Hare book: Guess how much I love you?The Nutbrown Hares are playing I Spy as they hop through the snow. They spy something that belongs to a tree, a bird, a spider, and even something that belongs to Little Nutbrown Hare that is only there when the sun comes out. But what does Big Nutbrown Hare spy that belongs to him and is his favorite thing of all?

The MiniBug series of four is written by Jessica Spanyol : -- four wild, crazy drivers, each with a book of his own! Giorgio is a fast minibug, who speeds his crane train along until the inevitable CRASH and SPLASH!
Here's Bob, who drives his van really fast downhill.
Keith is a super stunt rally racer!
Clemence is on his fire engine en route to a rescue!
Crazy Hair Day: Stanley shows up to school with his best, craziest hair day ever...only to find out it was the wrong day! He wanted to just skip school for the day (in the bathroom). To top it all off, it is picture day! His friend and teacher help him realize that it isn't so bad after all.
Stanley and the Class Pet: Stanley can’t wait to show Figgy (the class pet) to his mother and to take care of the bird for the weekend. But when Figgy flies the coop, Stanley is faced with a very tricky problem. What to do? And whose fault is it?Leslie Patricelli Board Books (3 in the series of the Yes! Yes! pack). These books are great for talking about opposites with your kids. They remind me of the "NO, David!" books~ with the illustrations. Yummy Yucky: Spaghetti is yummy, but worms - and blue crayons, and sand, and other things too gross to mention - are definitely yucky when tasted.
Big Little: Ladies are big, but ladybugs are little.
No No Yes Yes: Yanking cat by tail: no NO. Gentle pat on back: yes YES. *very funny book.*
Charlie and Lola's Numbers: Lola is a delightful, and very imaginative girl. I think these books are so cute~ In this counting book Lola learns that she has two toothbrushes (one for her and one for her lion friend), and four moon squirters, otherwise known as tomatoes. She loves pink milk, too.
Charlie and Lola's Opposites: Another great, witty, and funny read of Lola's imagination with Opposites. She is ordinary, but a crocodile is extraordinary!
This is by far my absolute favorite pop-up book of all time! It is quite astonishing, actually! It will amaze you. (I suggest you keep this out of little one's hands, and keep guard over it while you read). Charlie and Lola's I am Not Sleepy and I will NOT go to Bed (coming in October) is such a clever book! I was so impressed, and laughed so much with Lola's imagination sparkling off the pages, and her brother Charlie's quick responses. You will be laughing over this great read! Be watching for it at Candlewick Press coming soon!
Would you like to win one of these books from Candlewick Press? They have offered to do a giveaway for my readers! What a great back to school giveaway! Great selection to chose from for your young readers! This contest is open to all readers living in the Continental United States. To enter the contest, check out all the great books I wrote a review about. Pick out which one is your favorite, and leave me a comment on which one. If you click the title, you can get more details of the book. Click here to see how you can earn extra credits to win, and click here to see guidelines and the official rules. Contest will end on September 29th, at 7:00 PM CST.

Always: Book review and Giveaway!

Contest is over~ thanks to all who entered. Congratulations to the lucky winner: justicecw!
You will love your new book! Please send me your mailing address.

This very evening Terry was faced with the question, "Do you love me?" from Caleb. Caleb had taken a bite of Madelyn's finger in the bathtub because he was upset with her. Terry was giving them a bath, and when Caleb did this, he was immediately taken out. He knew that he upset his Dad~extremely. So, of coarse his security was feeling threatened...with that, he asked his dad. This question is asked by a lot of children, and if it isn't asked, it is thought of by most children~ if not all children.

The book Always is a great book to read to your young children. This book is about a little boy who asks the "do you love me when..." questions. The Mom reassures him that she loves him no matter what~ Always! Caleb and I love reading this book together. We comment on some of the things that the little boy has done. Caleb says, "Oh-oh, that isn't very nice." I let him know, that his mom still loves him. We also talk about how his dad and I love him no matter what. Great book!!
About the Author & Illustrator:
Ann Stott is a children's book designer. She says that this book, her first, was inspired by questions her own son has asked her. She lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Matt Phelan has worked in the film industry and illustrated a number of books for children, including the Newbery Medal winner THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY, THE SEVEN WONDERS OF SASSAFRAS SPRINGS, and THE NEW GIRL . . . AND ME. He lives in Philadelphia.
The suggested retail price is $15.99 and this book is geared toward children between the ages of 2-5. Candlewick Press sells many great books!
Would you like to win a copy of this great new book?
This contest is open to all readers living in the Continental United States. To enter the contest, tell me if you ever had to answer this question, and what your response was. OR, did you ask this question when you were little? Tell me about it in the comments. Click here to see how you can earn extra credits to win, and click here to see guidelines and the official rules. Contest will end on September 29th, at 7:00 PM CST.