Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lilla Rose Flexi Clips (review and giveaway)

For quite some time, I've seen some of my blogging friends talk about Lilla Rose Flexi Clips. I hesitated to buy any for myself, though, because we have drawers full of hair accessories in the bathrooms.

I was thrilled when my friend Jennifer offered to let me review a Flexi Clip. I have never been so impressed with any hair accessory, and I wish I had ordered some sooner.

For my review, I chose an extra-small scrollwork heart for Lauren to wear. (I just love heart shaped jewelry and accessories for her.) The extra small hair clip worked wonderfully the morning that I had curled her hair for church.



When I haven't put her hair up in pin curls, it's very straight and fine. Without curls, she uses the flexi clip to hold her hair in a low ponytail, similar to the way I'm wearing it in the picture below.


I also used the flexi clip to hold my hair twisted half-way up.


I have to say that the flexi clip is absolutely the most comfortable way that I've ever worn my hair put up. I fell asleep while still wearing it, and I couldn't tell that it was still in. It is also one of the easiest hair accessories that I've used. The picture of my half-up hairstyle above was taken after I just twisted some of my hair around and slid the clip into place. I probably didn't even look in the mirror.

Addison has requested a larger flexi clip so that she can use it to hold her thick hair into different hairstyles. She also said that the Lilla Rose bobby pins would make gorgeous stocking stuffers.


Flexi Clips are available in seven different styles and many, many gorgeous designs. Most of them cost between $11 and $21, depending on what size and how fancy they are. A few of the largest and more complex designs are slightly more expensive.

The Lilla Rose Flexi Clip is a big hit with all three of the females in our house. My only complaint is that one flexi clip is hard to share amongst all of us. Thankfully, I've already ordered some more Flexi-Clips to hide under the Christmas tree.


As a special treat, Jennifer graciously allowed me to offer a flexi clip to give away to one of my readers.

Giveaway rules:
I will be giving away one certificate, redeemable for a flex-clip, or any Lilla Rose item of the winner's choice, valued up to $16. Giveaway is open to the US, Canada, and Mexico. Winner must be at least 18 years old. The corporate office's rules for the certificate are "one winner per household"so if you have already redeemed one or won another Lilla Rose giveaway in the past 6 months you are ineligible to win this giveaway. Contests ends Monday, December 3rd at midnight (Mountain Standard Time).

To enter:
Simply leave a comment below telling me you'd like to win.

Extra entry:
Visit Jennifer's Lilla Rose website and leave a comment telling me one (or more) of your favorite products.

Edited to add: Be sure to leave your contact information or use your blogger identity to post your comment. I need to have a way to let you know if you win!


Disclaimer: I received a Flexi-Clip of my choice for this review, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give my honest opinion of the product.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

K is for Knitting

I've posted a few times in the past about knitting. I nearly always have at least one knitting or crochet project lying around the house or tucked into a tote bag to take with me to appointments. Right now, I have a knit shawl in my downstairs project basket and a crochet Fisherman's afghan lying beside Lauren's school table upstairs.

Last year I shared step-by-step directions for how I taught Lauren to knit when she was only five years old -- Yes, She Can Knit. I know that she has a baby blanket that she's working on right now, but I think it's a crochet project. I'm pretty sure I saw her grab some knitting needles and a skein of bright orange yarn when we left for a long outing this morning. Lauren nearly always has a project that she carries with us when we're going to be in the car for a while or when we might have to wait somewhere.

Earlier this week, I thought about how much I appreciate having some sort of knitting project to grab when I'm doing schoolwork with one of the kids or watching a movie. I often have trouble paying attention and/or staying awake when I'm just sitting still. Knitting takes up just enough of my attention that I don't start daydreaming. As counterintuitive as it seems, when I'm knitting, I'm able to pay more attention to Lauren reading a book to me or Brennan telling me details about what makes one specific brand of headphones better than another.

As I thought about how I pay attention better when I'm knitting, I wondered if I could find Brennan something to do while I read aloud to him in the afternoons. In the past he's sometimes made survival bracelets out of parachute cord or colored geometric designs. On a whim, I asked him if I could teach him to knit while I read to him so that he could make me some more dish clothes. He agreed to learn, but I didn't press my luck by asking him to let me take a picture. I think it's a bit too early to tell if it will help during our read aloud times, but I look forward to seeing if it makes a difference in terms of how much he's able to remember. If nothing else, perhaps I'll get a few new dishcloths out of the deal.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

My knitting tales are linked up with others that are Blogging through the Alphabet. This week Kelli at Adventurez In Child Rearing is hosting the link-up; be sure to stop by and see what some of my other friends found to share about.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankfulness Catch Up

I started off this month the same way I did last this time last year -- with a post each day about what I was thankful for. Unfortunately, as my November days got busy, I decided that I would rather spend time getting things done around my house instead of stressing about posting something each and every day.

Today I'm taking advantage of a quiet afternoon to catch up on my Thankfulness posts.

November 6th -- I'm thankful for books, lots and lots of books for our family to enjoy.


November 7th -- I'm thankful for stacks of paperwork that needs to be filed, most of which is medical-related. I'm thankful for Tricare that paid so many of the bills.

November 8th -- I'm thankful for the time I've had this week to finish unpacking boxes and to get closer to being all the way settled into our house.

November 9th -- I'm thankful for the way Lauren skipped into the lab at the hospital this morning and didn't mind getting her blood drawn.

November 10th -- I'm thankful for Lauren's physical therapist. Although the PT clinic does not specialize in pediatrics, her therapist goes out of his way to make the exercises fun for Lauren. He renamed all of her exercises yesterday so that they had military related names.

November 11th -- I'm thankful for the many, many birthday wishes I received today. I'm also thankful for the internet and Facebook that allow me to keep in touch with friends across the country (and around the world).

November 12th -- I'm thankful for the help I had at the Commissary this morning. Tim took half the list and went up/down the aisles in the middle of the store while I did the produce, meats, refrigerated, and frozen stuff. It would've taken me a lot longer to get all the stuff I want to have for Thanksgiving if I had gone by myself.

November 13th -- I'm thankful for the Schoolhouse Review Crew. I'm blessed to be able to work with so many wonderful encouraging people. (I'm also thankful for the holiday break before the new Crew starts in January.)

November 14th -- I'm thankful for Addison who is willing to babysit so that I could go to a lunch meeting with some other military spouses.

November 15th --  I'm thankful for gorgeous weather that was perfect for a short afternoon run.

November 16th -- I'm thankful for getting to spend time with Addison. We went to see some of her chorus friends perform in Beauty and Beast and had a wonderful time.

November 17th -- I'm thankful for carpooling. One of the other girls in the Advanced Choir lives out on our side of town, and her mom offered to bring Addison home from rehearsal this morning.

November 18th -- I'm thankful that I can now say with full confidence that everything inside our house is put away where it belongs. I was beginning to think that I'd never see the end of boxes and piles of stuff stacked in the corners of bedrooms.

November 19th -- I'm thankful that I found a good endocrinologist, and I'm even more thankful that my diabetes is staying under control.


I hurried to complete this post so that I could join with my friend on the Schoolhouse Review Crew that are blogging about Thankfulness this week. Tomorrow morning (Tuesday, November 20th), all of the links will be available on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog. You can get there directly by clicking the button below.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

J is for Journaling

One of my favorite parts of Lauren's school days is her journal time. We started doing a daily journal last year as a part of her Primary Arts of Language: Writing program.

My goal is for Lauren to dictate at least a couple of sentences for each day. While I write down her thoughts, I take the opportunity to discuss some writing ideas. For instance, I limit the journal entry to one specific topic. When she starts talking about other things, I tell her that we'll have to save that for another day because a paragraph is only about one thing. She's learned that exclamations end with an exclamation mark and will now tell me when her exciting statement needs an exclamation mark.

This year we've expanded our ideas for the journal. Instead of always writing about her day, we sometimes write a poem or make a list.


Lately, we've had a few days when Lauren has gone ahead and written her journal entry without my help. These entries are perhaps my favorites.

Last week, I looked at the library website and thought I saw that the Harry Potter audiobook we had place on hold was available for pick-up. Unfortunately, it wasn't ready when we stopped by the library that afternoon.

Here's what Lauren wrote the next day:


Translation: "Mommy was wrong it wasn't in. It will be in next week. She read it wrong. It may be in on Monday. I got audiobooks but it was not Harry Potter."

For the record, our entry a few days later talked about how Daddy was a hero and picked up the Harry Potter CDs over the weekend.

I love to look back at the entries Lauren and I have written since she started Kindergarten. Right now, I see the value in our journaling time as a way to model good writing skills. I also see the beauty in remembering all the little things that Lauren choses to write about. There are many precious memories tucked between the pages of her composition books.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

My journaling entry is linked up with others that are Blogging through the Alphabet. You can jump in and join us anytime -- "J" week would be a perfect opportunity to do just that!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Growing up Wild (Schoolhouse Crew Review)

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I remember fondly the years in the past where we have added stories of Missionaries to our regular studies. Lately I've been missing that, and I was thrilled when I heard about a review opportunity for the video series Growing Up Wild.


Growing Up Wild takes the viewer into the remote jungles of Indonesia and allows you to walk side-by-side with a missionary family serving there. According the their website, "The "Growing Up Wild" DVD series was developed for the purpose of introducing children to the work going on in foreign mission fields. Our hope is that "Growing Up Wild" will educate and challenge your children, and be used by the Lord to play a part in raising up the next generation of missionaries!"

The Wild family has filmed 15 episodes in the series about their lives in Indonesia. On the videos we received, we learned about their home, their supply trips, and the world around them in the jungle. Each DVD comes with an activity guide that encourages your child to compare their lives with the lives the Wild brothers are living. We watched Volume 1 and Volume 4 of the set.

For instance, after viewing the segment about the Wild house, Brennan completed a Venn diagram listing similarities and differences between his house in Arizona and the Wild house in Indonesia. Another activity has the student calculate the amount of food our family would need if we only went supply shopping once every three months. Each DVD includes suggested activities for math, science, world cultures, field trips, and Bible study.

Brennan's biggest complaint was that the videos were too short. Each episode is only about fifteen minutes long, and there are only three episodes per disc. I think that would be a perfect length to show in a group setting, perhaps a Bible class or a co-op group with a missions focus. The videos are appropriate for ages 5-12, but they didn't capture Lauren's interest. (In all fairness, though, she usually only agrees to watch something on TV if it's her own choice.)

Each DVD costs $18.99 and can be ordered from Growing Up Wild. The complete 5-disc collection is available for $80.99. Each DVD comes with activity guides to accompany the video.

Disclaimer: I received 2 DVD volumes of the Growing Up Wild series as a member of the 2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Read Aloud Challenge (week of Nov 6th)

Recently my friend Debra at Footprints in the Butter resurrected an old challenge that I used to participate in, and she has challenged her readers to share what books they are reading to their children.

Lately, Lauren's been wanting to hear The Boxcar Children series of books by Gertrude Chandler Warner. She convinced Oma and Col. Opa to read quite a bit to her while they were here visiting. I think Col. Opa ended up reading the end of one mystery and the beginning of the next. I finished up reading the fifth book in the series, and we're already a third of the way through book six.


Lauren has also been listening to Addison read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when she babysits. Addison's busy schedule means that they aren't moving rather slowly through it, and we're now waiting for the audiobook version to be available at the library.

I haven't been reading anything to Brennan lately, but he has been listening to a lot of audiobooks. My goal for this week is to pick a new read-aloud for him and to actually start it.

If you'd like to share what your family is reading this week or if you'd like to find some new read-aloud ideas, you can join the weekly Read Aloud Challenge.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Goals Update

For this week's Goal Planning Monday (which I posted here early Tuesday morning), I only set forth a small goal.

Before:



After:

This morning, I set a second goal -- pick up the rest of the stuff tossed around in the office.

Before:



After:




Tomorrow's goal is to finish the office. I have one box to unpack and then I need to sort through the basket that's been gathering miscellaneous papers for the past few months.

Before:



Modesty Matters (Schoolhouse Crew Review)

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For as long as I can remember, my mom sewed. She taught me a few basic sewing skills, but I've never been able to do much. In fact, up until recently, I've been locked in an ongoing personality conflict with my sewing machine. I managed to do a few simple things, but there was no way that I could teach Addison to sew.

When we heard about Modesty Matters and their You CAN Sew! curriculum, we were both excited. Addison practically begged me to submit an interest form for the review, and I was really hoping that I could learn some sewing skills too.

You CAN Sew! is a very accurate title for the program. The instructions and video clips start at the very basics of sewing knowledge and move step-by-step through the basics.

Addison found the lessons very thorough. The first lessons started by discussing very basic sewing knowledge such as parts of a sewing machine, necessary sewing supplies, fabric choices, and color selection. Each lesson has a detailed video to watch and accompanying text in the binder to read. Many lessons have homework assignments to either practice a specific skill or to go purchase the appropriate supplies for the upcoming projects.

Addison easily sewed a pincushion without any help from me and only needed a little assistance for the apron project. All of the pattern pieces are contained as a pdf that needed to be printed and assembled -- a task that was easier with extra hands to help match everything up and tape it into place.


Addison is about half-way through the program. Her next project is an A-line skirt and the final exam (so to speak) is a basic dress. At the end of the program, I am confident that Addison will have solid intermediate level sewing skills.

Not only has this program given Addison the tools that she needs to sew, it has also inspired both of us to take on more projects. Addison has already made two simple capes to use as Halloween costumes this year. As for me, I picked out a simple pattern online and purchased the fabric I need to make a top for Lauren. If I run into too many problems, I'll have to go back and watch more of the Modesty Matters lessons to fill in the gaps in my sewing knowledge.

The complete You CAN Sew! program is available from Modesty Matters for only $159. They also offer a quilting version of You CAN Sew! -- more information on both programs can be found on the Modesty Matters You CAN Sew! page. Both programs are appropriate for ages 12 and up (including adults); younger children may be able to complete the program with adult assistance.
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Disclaimer: I received You CAN Sew! as a member of the 2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Goal Planning Monday

As the work of unpacking the things in our house has stretched on, I've gotten discouraged. I'm starting to worry that we'll still have have piles of things scattered around on the floor when Thanksgiving rolls around. And if there's stuff not put away by Thanksgiving, I can guarantee that it won't look any better after we get done with our busy December schedule and celebrate Christmas. I do not want to still be looking at messy rooms for that long. It's time to buckle down and get everything done.

Unfortunately, I became quickly overwhelmed with all the things I need to or want to do. I don't want to set a goal that's too broad because I like having goals that I can check off of a to-do list, not goals that would require a multi-page to-do list.

I decided to set one goal at a time. I took a picture of my first goal with the intention of posting it as my Goal Planning Monday entry.

The desk area in my kitchen has become sort of a catch-all area since we moved in.


After snapping the picture, I had a bit of time that I could start working on it. It didn't take nearly as long as I feared.

Goal Accomplished:



My next project is the office area. I need to move these books


back to where they belong on this bookshelf.


It looks like I need to find the shelves first...


I'm sharing this post with my friends at Real Life Unscripted, but I'm hoping that it won't take until next Monday before I can share another "Goal Accomplished" update.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Month of Thankfulness -- Day 4 and 5

I'm thankful that Arizona does not participate in Daylight Savings Time and therefore did not have a time-change yesterday. The idea of an extra hour of sleep is appealing, but as the mom of an early riser, I know that changing the clock would not easily change what time Lauren gets up in the morning. I love my "little bitty girl that wakes up with a great big smile," but I prefer to see her after the clock turns six-zero-zero.

Tonight I'm thankful for another awesome kick-boxing class with my friends from church. What a great workout!


Journeys of Faithfulness (Schoolhouse Crew Review)

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Apologia is known throughout the homeschool community as a leader in Christian-based science materials for students of all ages. Addison is in the middle of her fourth Apologia science class, and we've been very impressed with the materials. In addition to their science materials, they also offer Christian apologetics curriculum and encouragement for parents (whether or not they choose to homeschool).

PhotobucketRecently, I've been reading Sarah Clarkson's new book Journeys of Faithfulness. The subtitle implies that it's appropriate for "young Christian women," and the Apologia website gives a recommendation "for ages 12 and up." I loved the book and think it would be wonderful for many women, not just teens.

Journeys of Faithfulness delves into the rich stories of Biblical women, stories of Mary and Martha, Mary the mother of Jesus, Esther, and Ruth. Sarah Clarkson devotes three chapters to each character (or pair of characters for Mary and Martha). The beginning of each chapter is a fictionalized interpretation of the scripture. I like the way the story unfolds with rich details and insights into the minds of the characters. I know that all the specific details of the stories she tells are not found in the scriptures, but I enjoy reading one possible look at the way things could have happened.  For instance, while I was reading the first chapter about Mary the mother of Jesus, I could imagine the fear Mary felt when she told her father of her encounter with the angel and the promise that she would be the mother of the Messiah. The descriptions in Sarah Clarkson's retelling of the Biblical stories bring the scriptures alive.

Following the story, there is a short devotional section offering thoughts on how the lessons of the Bible can relate to modern women. The stories swept me back in time and I was caught up in imagining how things must have happened. The devotional sections challenged me. I read through them slowly, with lots of passages underlined and lots of time spent reflecting on the ideas shared.

Since this book is aimed at teens, I asked Addison to read a few chapters. She thought the book was merely okay, but later told me that she just really doesn't like reading devotional books. If she is learning about spiritual topics, she'd rather be in a situation where she can discuss the material instead of just reading it. She did think that the enhanced versions of the Biblical stories were interesting. I suspect that other teens would enjoy reading both the stories and the devotional thoughts.

Sarah Clarkson's Journeys of Faithfulness can be ordered from Apologia for only $13. I think it would make a great gift for any woman, young or old. If you'd like to read a bit for yourself, you can find a sample of the book containing the entire first chapter here.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Journeys of Faithfulness as a member of the 2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

First Day Photos (November)

I'm afraid I did a poor job of taking pictures throughout our whole first day of November. The majority of the pictures are ones that my dad shared with me after we all went on a tour of the airplane boneyard nearby.

A new dress from Oma




Oma and Opa posing in front of a C5 -- the plane he used to fly

Brennan in the cockpit






Slushy day -- Lauren was awesome during the three hour tour

New music!


I am linking this post with all the others at Journey to Josie. Click the cute paper airplane button if you'd like to join us.
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