Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We Choose Virtues Giveaway

Yay! I'm so excited to do this giveaway. The kind people at We Choose Virtues sent me some items to review and give away to you (well, at least one of you).

We Choose Virtues offers products (or "tools") that help teach and inspire character. The tools help teach lasting character qualities and how to put them into action in everyday situations. Character does not just happen haphazardly nor is it offered as a course in any school that I know about?! These products assist parents and teachers in being intentional about it.

We have and use several of the products ourselves and really enjoy them. I know that I learn (and need) these character lessons right along with my little ones.

There are so many reasons I like these products:

First, the products are so user friendly and easy to comprehend - even for younger ages.

They are well made with bright colors and great illustrations.

Their products can be purchased with a faith-based (scriptures included) or non-faith based approach. Therefore, they can be used by teachers in public schools, at home with family, for homeschooling or Sunday School classes and so on.

There are several purchase options that you can choose from to best benefit your class or your family. They offer complete kits or individual products.

Today, I will be giving away the Virtue Flash Cards (faith-based) and the 100 Days of Virtue Chart and Stickers. Thanks to the nice We Choose Virtues crew!

Want it and don't want to wait for the drawing?

We Choose Virtues is offering the following discounts for the month of July:
  • 35% of Virtue Flash Cards with code "FLASH35"
  • free Virtues coloring book download with purchase (they usually offer this each month)

Win It!
Giveaway guidelines:
  • Enter by posting a comment below about how you could benefit from these products.
  • One entry per person please.
  • Entries must be made by 11:59 CST on July 30, 2012.
  • Winner will be announced on Tuesday, July 31, 2012.

Best wishes and I hope you either win or will check out their website and products at We Choose Virtues. It's definitely worth the time, effort and expense.

Tuesday giveaway postponed {I'll explain}

Hello everyone. I hope you are having a wonderful Tuesday. OK, so I know that I told you that I have a We Choose Virtues giveaway today, however, (key word here) due to a huge storm in our area, the power was out today for almost nine hours in our and many surrounding cities/towns.

Needless to say, we had no internet or electricity, which threw a curve ball in some of my plans (i.e. posting a giveaway). I now have to put it into high gear for the rest of the afternoon and evening playing catch up.

We did have a fun day, regardless of not having electricity/internet. It kind of works out with our "no television for 30 days" challenge. Anyway, here's a glimpse of one of our activities today as we found a store nearby that actually had power.

(I went shopping on a leap of faith since our refrigerator was off when we left. Thankfully, we returned to have electricity again. Here are my cute helpers.)

I will be posting the giveaway information tomorrow. I hope you will come back for a chance to win!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Back to school (already!?!) deals

Wow, how did mid-July arrive so quickly?! Many people are already thinking about the new school year and shopping for clothes and supplies. The stores are ready and waiting for the mass amounts of dollars to be spent.

I would like to help you in one way today (if I may) to keep a few more of those dollars in your pocket this school year.

If you tend to dread the thought of crowds, lines and store hopping, online shopping through Ebates would be a good alternative for you. I have mentioned Ebates in this previous post if you are not sure what it is.

Right now, they are offering extra cash back on many of the stores that a lot of shoppers would go to to check out the back to school bargains. For example, Kohls and Macy's are 6% cash back, WalMart is 3.5%, JCPenny is 4% and the Apple Store is 1%. If you are using a credit card (with restraint, of course ; )) that offers cash back for purchases, then you would be getting cash back in two places at the same time. Not a bad deal.

This is one way to save on time AND gas and actually get cash back for your purchases. It is free to sign up and start browsing stores.

Happy shopping (and hopefully saving)! Is it me or does that sound like an oxymoron?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The summer fun continues

I've been on a bit of a blogging hiatus lately. Last week, I was a volunteer teacher at our church's Backyard Bible Camp and the week before that was spent nursing my family (myself included) back to health from a horrible stomach virus. I'm happy to say that we are all feeling better AND we had a great time at Bible Camp.

Thanks for hanging in there and checking back on the site today. I'm a bit of a stickler with myself when I have committed to do something (i.e. try to post at least four times a week), but you know as well as I do that life happens and sometimes something has to give.
In the mean time, I want to share some of what we have been up to (with our summer activities) since you've heard from me last.

(Learning all about planting seeds - the tangible and edible kind and the kind that change hearts and lives.)

(Having a great time at VBS.)

(Cooling down in the extreme heat at the splash pad.)

Next Tuesday, I will be giving away some products from a character curriculum that we really like. I hope you will join us here so that you can have a chance to win : )

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

S.O.S...a cry for [practical] help (question #7)

To speak or not to speak?!?!
That is the question.

Today, I want to continue the Wednesday series S.O.S...a cry for [practical] help.

Today's topic is more of a "whatcha think?", rather than a cry for help, but I know it's an issue that many people face or think about, almost daily. I'm talking about openly "rebuking" another parent's actions out in public.

You know what I'm talking about. In fact, we were leaving my parents' house today and a police officer was looking for the parents of two boys who were playing in the street. The officer pulled up at the house and scolded the mother. I had seen the boys earlier and couldn't believe they were riding a little car in the middle of the road and I knew the mothers were around somewhere?! I'm happy that the issue was taken care of before a tragedy occurred.

Or, there was the girl who's little boy was pulled out of the lake almost lifeless TWICE in fifteen minutes because she was sitting on the beach texting. Both of these instances I have mentioned were safety issues, but similar situations happen daily all around each of us. Some are issues of safety, some of morality, some of unloving acts and some are just lack of common sense.

On the flip side (meaning I was the recipient), there was an occasion where a woman began yelling at me when we walked into a store without coats on during winter. She was ranting about what a horrible mother I was and didn't I know the temperature and so on and so on. I was so taken back that she was almost over with her rant before I even realized who she was talking to. Thankfully, I was so caught off guard and didn't have a chance to respond. {Hopefully, I would have had enough self-control to respond politely, but I just walked away. I did say "hopefully".}

The part she didn't know is that my husband drove so far up on the curb to drop us off that we were outside for about six inches before entering the store. What she also didn't know is that we occasionally keep our coats in the van because it's too hot to wear them inside the van when the heat is on. We then put them on to get out. Well, that day was a crazy day and after playing in the snow that morning, we quickly packed up and headed out to run an errand. Yes, we forgot that our coats weren't in the van until we arrived at the store. UGH! I was horrified enough and then the "lady" reminded me how horrifying it was, also.

My point is - when, really, is it our duty to call a parent out on the way they raise their children? Hence, I ask:

Question #7

When do you think it is appropriate to correct another parent's actions in public?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Growing food

(Our serrano peppers from last year. I should have been more prepared to use them?!?)

(We did manage to get some cherry tomatoes last year.)

So, we all know I can grow children, but the question is....can I grow food?! ha ha ha Last year, my dad bought us a raised garden kit. We were so excited to start it and grow food together. The girls couldn't wait to plant, water and pick.

It did fairly well for the first several weeks. As the summer went on and the days got much hotter and I got much bigger (in my pregnancy), I'll admit...we neglected the garden a bit. I almost refused to go outdoors. The tomato plants got so large that they overgrew and "suffocated" the other plants. We were able to enjoy a few of our tomatoes and some serrano peppers survived, but that's about it.

As part of our summer activities that I mentioned in a recent post, we are trying to grow food again this year. It works out perfectly with our new clean eating journey that we are on. I will talk about that more in a future post, but our garden is completely organic and pesticide free, etc. This is a great learning activity for everyone.

I hope we will have some fresh homegrown vegetables soon!

Monday, July 2, 2012


No, I'm not talking about the American singing kind. ; )

A couple of years ago, I was having a conversation with a mother of (now seven children) that I respect very much. She had subtly mentioned that her sons were taking a break from playing video games for an extended period. I, of course, was curious and asked why.

Her response was revolutionary. "Because they have made them an idol. They love them too much." Wow, such a down to earth and practical application as in regards to the charge to as Christians. One of the Ten Commandments.

You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3

Idols aren't just limited to the graven images and "sacred golden calves" spoken about in Bible times (and sometimes practiced in present day). They are things in our everyday lives that tend to rule us, rather than allowing our hearts to be focused on God and His great love for us.

Things are nice to have....they can make life fun, entertaining, interesting and even help us to be more efficient and/or productive, at times. Think about things like food, toys, money, social media, fashion, fame and so on. None of those things are really EVIL in themselves. It's when we love them TOO much and make them the central focus of our lives that they cause problems. Yes, even video games.

Think about it. Loving food too much =gluttony and health problems. Loving money too much = greed and selfishness. Loving toys too much = arguments and greed. Loving fame/popularity too much = a "me centered" attitude. Loving social media too much = wasted time and a possible "Nosey Nelly" and gossip problem. You fill in the blanks. The list goes on and on.

It kind of reminds me of this passage in Scripture.

God is in heaven;
he does whatever pleases him.
But their idols are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands, but cannot feel,
feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Psalm 115:3-7

5 6 7
My life desire is to love God above all else. I want the same for our children. I also want them to value people way more than they value things. Am I providing a good example for them in this area? Have I constructed idols in my own life? What are they?

A few ways to check your (my) heart in this area:
  • Take a look at your checkbook or credit card statement. Where does the majority of your money go?
  • Monitor your time. Where is it given? Who/what gets priority?
  • What rules your thought life?
I hope that even at a young age, we can teach our children to gauge their hearts on this matter.