Tuesday, November 25, 2014

15 Countdown to Christmas Ideas

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.



Last year was the first year that we did any sort of Advent type activity in our homeschool. We had such a blast that I wanted to provide you with a list of different ideas that you could choose from! 

We did something similar to #4 and #7 where we had a different activity that we participated in each day for the 25 days leading up to Christmas! 

The kids and I enjoyed each and every activity and my husband was able to join in on the weekend ones! It was a memorable experience that we plan on doing again this year! 

I have my eye on #5 one of these years, but this year I think we'll stick with the activities! 


{1} Printable Snowman


Mama's Like Me  has a cute FREE Countdown to Christmas Snowman printable. Looks simple enough to get the point across to your preschoolers!


{2} Scripture Countdown




The Keep Home Simple  blog shows how to make this elegant looking Scripture Countdown to help keep the focus where it needs to be this time of year!


{3} Care Bears Advent Calendar


This Interactive Care Bear Advent Calendar can be downloaded to your desktop or iPad from American Greetings.  It is filled with games, activities and videos for your child to enjoy as they countdown to the big day!



{4} Wooden Advent Tree



 Melissa and Doug  have done it again. I adore their wooden toys and this Wooden Countdown to Christmas tree is an adorable educational gift for little ones! 


{5} Christmas Activities


The Paper Package  provides several ideas for Advent and these Activities Leading up to Christmas are my personal favorite!  

            {6} Book Advent                                        



Frogs, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails  shares the brilliant idea to Unwrap a New Book Each Day Leading Up To Christmas. My children love books so I know this would work well around here!



{7} O Christmas Tree Treasure Box




 The O Christmas Tree Treasure Box can be found on Amazon and is a fun way to treat your kids during the month of December. Fill the boxes with candy, or better yet, Lego Mini-figures!


{8} 25 Activities


The Kids Activities Blog  also shares 25 Activities Before Christmas with many creative and homespun ideas.  

{9} Countdown Chain




Lauren Makes  provides a FREE printable of  The Classic Christmas Countdown Chain. I love the design she uses! 

{10} DIY Chocolate Advent Calendar




Mindy Pitcher  uses easy to access materials to make this tasty DIY Chocolate Advent Calendar. My kids would go bananas for this!



{11} Lego City Advent Calendar


It's a LEGO City Advent Calendar. You can't go wrong with LEGO in our house. Actually, me middle son has this on his wishlist this year!


{12} Lego Friends Advent Calendar
And, for your little girl, the LEGO Friends Advent Calendar would most likely be a great fit!

{13} Countdown to Christmas Curriculum {Printed Book}


Enjoy December with your children using Countdown to Christmas Curriculum. It includes stories and activities to make this time of year memorable!

{14} Countdown to Christmas Curriculum {E-Book}


 Filled with exciting stories, images and activities, Countdown to Christmas Curriculum. This is the E-book version, available for download. 



{15} Forest Friends Christmas House


And just for the cuteness of it, why not try the Forest Friends Christmas House? Love it. 











Monday, November 24, 2014

NKJV Adventure Bible {Review}


The New King James Version Adventure Bible, with side notes and fun facts by Lawrence O. Richards, is a full color Bible for kids. The Adventure Bible is nothing new. I've seen kids carrying these around for years, BUT, it has always been in the NIV (New International Version.) When I was looking to purchase my son his first Bible, I considered the NIV Adventure Bible. but I just couldn't do it! 

My husband and I want our children to grow up reading and memorizing the King James. At the time, I didn't see a KJV option. Now that a NKJV option is available, I jumped all over this! I chose to get this for my middle son since my oldest already has his own Bible. Up until  now, my middle son has been reading and bringing a picture Bible to church. The Adventure Bible is the perfect transition. It is a full Bible, not just a picture book with stories. But, it includes full color images and fun facts throughout. He personally loves parrots, so the parrot images throughout this Bible with fun facts attached are a great fit for him!

The following features are included in the Adventure Bible:

  • Life in Bible Times—Articles and illustrations describe what life was like in ancient days.
  • People in Bible Times—Articles offer close-up looks at amazing people of the Bible.
  • Let’s Live It!—Hands-on activities help kids apply Biblical truths to their life.
  • Did You Know?—Interesting facts help kids understand God's Word.
  • Words to Treasure—Great verses to memorize.
  • Book introductions, a concordance, and 8 pages of full-color maps.

This would be a perfect homeschool  resource or  a great gift for a child ages 6-12! Perfect for emerging independent readers!


Disclaimer: Thanks to the Book Look Blogger program for providing a copy of this Bible for the purpose of this review. All opinions stated are my own. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Susie's Hope {Review and Giveaway}


THE MOVIE
Based on the true story, Susie’s Hope brings to life the inspirational relationship between pit bull attack survivor Donna Lawrence and Susie, a pit bull-mix puppy found beaten, burned and left for dead. Recognizing that neglect and abuse were to blame for the tragic attack that nearly claimed her life 10 months earlier, Donna resumes the battered animal and accepts her as family. Together, they learn to heal, love and forgive as they lead a historic effort to seek justice and protection, not only for Susie, but all animals. Starring Emmanuelle Vaguier, Burgess Jenkins (Remember The Titans) and Andrea Powell (Ender’s Game), Susie’s Hope is an incredible story of love, loss and redemption.


THE STORY BEHIND THE MOVIE
Susie was found nearly dead in Greenfield Park in Greensboro, North Carolina on August 20, 2009. Just a puppy, Susie had licked the face of her owner’s newborn baby. Her owner became violent—she was beaten so severely her jaw was broken. That wasn’t enough, though. She was then set on fire and left for dead. Incredibly and against all odds Susie survived. Donna Lawrence adopted her two months later. Susie is now a trained therapy dog and event won the American Humane Association’s American Hero Dog this year.


MY THOUGHTS
This is a movie for animal lovers, no doubt! Anyone who has a heart and passion to see animals taken care of and justice brought to them, this movie is for them! The story truly is emotional and sad but the movie brings in some humor and lightheartedness. It is sad, not only what happened to the dog, but the pain and suffering that Donna Lawrence experienced. The pain she went through would be hard for anyone and I could see how going through the event of passing stricter laws in her state and bringing the issue of abuse to the light through this movie was likely a healing experience for her. Although I appreciate and believe it is important to respect our animals, I didn't personally agree with the push for stricter laws against animal abuse. I agree that it is sad,and wrong but having a paw print on a law just doesn't sit right with me. With that said, I know that this story could bring hope to people who have experienced suffering in their lives due to an animal attack. This woman's story of hope and forgiveness could be an inspiration to many!

WIN A COPY
Enter the Rafflecopter below to receive your own copy of the DVD, Susie's Hope.




"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Week in Review

Do you ever just look at your homeschooling situation with little ones and want to throw in the towel? You don't have to answer that one. The demanding task of homeschooling little ones can be emotional, trying and frustrating. Yet, we still continue. Why? Well, for one, we have a goal. A vision. A desire to see our little ones succeed in life. What better way to encourage yourself during these challenging years but to look at the success of homeschooled students in the upper grades? The ones who have almost reached the finish line and will soon be ready to enter their destiny armed for battle with the Word of God strong in their hearts and the purposes of God ready to be revealed. I joined a homeschool group this year and finally, this week I went to one of the events. Even though I didn't really know anyone yet, I ventured out to International Night! What a blast. Everyone brought a dish to pass and shared on a country they had studied during the year. It was so encouraging to see young men and women who were homeschooled stepping out and sharing what they had learned! It was a great experience for my children and I hope to continue to be involved in the future!

Later in the week, we enjoyed an entertaining evening with fellow artisans that are a part of the Smith River Artisan Trail in Virginia. The music was performed by an up and coming musician, Mason Via and I really enjoyed his style. The food was wonderful, the people were great and it was just an enjoyable and relaxing evening.   


One of the hosts of the evening was Elliot Stone of Stonehaus Farms. He and his wife have a wonderful working farm not too far away from us where they hold cheese making classes, tours and special events. Their operation sounded like it was right up our alley, so, after all the schoolwork was done the following day we head on over to check it out!

Just in time for Turkey Day, I just couldn't pass up this pose.


Their farm is very clean, picturesque and family friendly! When we arrived we were greeted by the sweetest Great Pyrenees dogs you'd ever met. They also raise Nigerian Dwarf Goats, llamas, chickens, pigs, rabbits and more. 

The kids had the time of their lives. Me? I personally had to overcome my fear of llamas. Yes, one spit on me as a kid. I need to get over it. Fortunately, these ones were actually kind of sweet, and no spitting occurred.  In the photo above, my kids have their hands behind their back so they don't spook the llama. My son was making sounds to try and get the llama to kiss him. Yes, I said kiss. It was hilarious seeing him try this. It didn't work but it was funny seeing him try, (of course it worked for Mr. Stone though!)


Aside from the farm animals, they also sell canned goods, essential oils, scented soy candles and other homestead related items. It was an educational and fun experience for us all! A busy week nonetheless, I hope to slow things down soon. Oh wait, the holidays are coming up, nevermind!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lilla Rose FlexiClip {Review}




As a busy homeschool mom with young children I am always looking for quick, easy, yet cute hair styles to wear. When I head out to the grocery store, church or a play date I don't want to look as though I just rolled out of bed! Yet, the days of styling my hair every morning with a straightener are over. Usually when I put my hair up the only thing that will hold it is a rubber band. If I want to use a stylish clip or accessory I have to first tie a rubber band in my hair and then hide it with the clip.

I've been seeing these Flexi Hair Clips on Pinterest recently and have been drawn to them! There is just something about them that fits my style. They aren't loud and obnoxious but fun and inviting. You can wear a simple outfit and dress it up with these cute clips.  Usually whenever I'm out and about I am shopping for the kids. Now, I have found a fun product for mom! Sure, you can purchase them for little girls too but this just seems like the perfect way for Mom to treat herself!  Surprisingly, I don't need an extra rubber band to keep my hair in place. Instead, this clip goes on easily and stays there all day! Usually, with other bands or clips I have to mess with them throughout the day, constantly making sure they stay in place. 

The Flexi Hair Clip comes in six different sizes, (or order the mini for young girls!)

XS     extra small
S        small
M       medium
L         large
XL      extra large
XXL   mega

The size you order depends entirely on the thickness, length and type of hair you have. There is a very informative sizing video that can help you decide which size to order. I was nervous that I wouldn't pick the right size and that the clip would fall right out of my hair, but the video helped to make things clear and the size that I received is the perfect fit! But don't worry, if you receive your clip and it doesn't fit quite right, or if you ordered it as a gift and it was a size or two off, the company will gladly exchange your item for another size!

These clips are extremely easy to put in. Looking at the pictures, you may think that there are two pieces of the clip that you have to keep together. Fortunately, that is not the case. Even though there are two pieces, they are connected, so you only have one piece to keep track of! 

If you watched the sizing video then you saw different examples of styles you can sport with the Flexi Clip! So far, I have worn it in a pony tail, half up and tails up. They also have a beautiful French Twist and Up-Do styles. 


Party Time!
I'm presently holding an online party! If you order here, any purchase you make will help me gain points towards more Lilla Rose products! Purchase your clips anytime before the end of November to help me out, thanks!

Host a Party!
If you would like to earn FREE Lilla Rose products contact Strawberry Princess to get started! Feel free to ask her how to become a consultant as well. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Star For Jesus {Review}


A Star for Jesus by Crystal Bowman is the perfect board book to place in little hands this Christmas. This cute book is die cut to show off the fun star shape. This simple, to the point, board book shares the Christmas story with the focus of God's special star created to point to the savior, Jesus. The illustrations are intriguing for little eyes and the story is written in a catchy rhyming text. 

I remember when my kids were little, some of my favorite gifts they received were children's Christmas books! I still have a small collection that I set aside for December of each year. Then, in the beginning of December, I set a basket of Christmas books by the fireplace and allow the children to pick out a different book to be read to them each day leading up to Christmas! I've even seen on Pinterest where people would wrap up twenty-five different books and the kids could pick a new one to open each day, (one of these years, I might try that idea!)

If you are looking for a gift this Christmas season, this is perfect fit for young readers!

Disclaimer: Thank you to Book Look for providing this book in exchange for this review. All opinions stated here are my own.