Thursday, October 30, 2008

Beautiful Wordle Essays

Some of you may remember the essay my husband wrote last year about the naming of our daughter. A few months ago, he sent me the same essay in a different format. I've tweaked it a little more and would like to share it with you. Just click on the image above to see it larger. I would love to have this printed in color so I can frame it and hang in my daughter's room.

Some fun things to turn into a Wordle might be
  • A list of your students for classroom teachers,
  • Your favorite quote,
  • A Psalm from the Bible,
  • The names of all of your family members,
  • A famous speech,
  • The text of your child's favorite poem, or
  • Random news stories.
If you make your own Wordle, let me know so I can come check it out. It is a lot of fun to play with all of the different options. Among other things, you can change the colors, word orientation, font, background color, and even put the words in alphabetical order.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hello Cupcake

For my birthday I received a copy of Hello Cupcake. It is an inspiring book that shows even lame cake decorators like myself, how to make cutesy cupcakes. Since I have been hanging out with my family this week, Michelle (my sister-in-law) and I decided to make some owl cupcakes in honor of Halloween.

They taste as yummy as they are cute (and for the record, I think they are super cute!) Doesn't this cupcake look wise beyond her years?
Making them wasn't incredibly difficult. We frosted the tops of the cupcakes and then split open Oreo cookies for the eyes. Junior Mints filled in for the pupils and the beaks were made of banana Runts. We also sawed the other half of the Oreos to use as the owl's eyebrows and then covered them with frosting. My piping technique needs some more practice, but you still get the gist of what these are supposed to be.

These weren't difficult to make at all, but we might have overdone it a bit by making 45 of them! We managed to get two of them into freezer containers so I can take one home to my hubby. (We miss you Bruce!)

And as bad as my cake decorating skills might be, I can always take comfort that there are professional cake decorators who aren't any better, and might even be worse. When you get a few spare minutes and need a good laugh, visit Cake Wrecks - When professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Guest Blogger: Help Me 2 Teach

Tess is back with another homeschooling product review!

Here I am again with another review that The Old Schoolhouse magazine has set me up to do. I think this particular review would be something a parent of a preschooler to a college student might find interesting.

I have learned about a site,, that could definitely give any home schooling family the peace of mind and confidence they need to know that their children are accessing sites that are safe and filled with valuable information they need to help them learn.

Here is a website that claims to have 2000 plus safe educational links that are suitable for children, parents and teachers. I say “claims” not in a bad way but just that I can’t sit down and count them. We are all familiar with how to surf the internet for information that we need. If you are anything like me then you definitely know how to search for that hidden gem that you know will give your child the “A HA” moment that they need.

The creator of is most definitely well intended. She (a former teacher of 40 years) knows what it is like to find cost effective, relevant materials for parents to use teaching or for kids to use learning. She understands how parents want safe places for kids to research topics instead of just surfing while mom or dad stands nearby ready to pull the plug if necessary. This is the most valuable part of this site for me.

There were lots of other things I liked about the site. I like the fact that each link is coded for learning levels as well as for whether a teacher or parent is needed to direct the learning with the link or if it is self learning.

I liked the variety of materials. There are links to games, links to sites for worksheets, informational links, and links to places to purchase what you may need.

I like that there is a table of contents to help find the information needed. I know that a site like this is under constant construction and change. New links are added everyday I am sure.

There was very little that I didn’t like about the site. I think that it is best used with kids. Parents can surf the internet and come up really the same results as with this site. It is just a safer way for kids to find the information they need. I also noticed that when I tried the site out and was searching for “layers of atmosphere” that many other science topics came up like “human anatomy.” So you still have to weed through what you need and don’t need.

All in all, I liked the It is a wealth of information for all grades in nearly every subject. It is safe. It is easy to use. You really should check it out. You can see for yourself with a 3 day trial for $4.95. Don’t just to trust my opinion . Visit The Homeschool Crew to read many other reviews on this particular site as well as other educational resources.

Since this review was originally written, Tess sent this update in:

I have a small but important update to let you know about regarding site. Many of my fellow reviewers noticed that there were not any faith based links. Originally, the developer of the site thought that this could go in too many directions and opted to leave this area out. Well, after so many requests from us, she has decided and already begun developing this area. She has labeled it as Christian stories and Bible stories. Also, many of us like to use lap booking as a way of learning. She now has a section devoted to this as well.

The owner of this site has also agreed to extend a “buy one year, get one year for free” to everyone through December 2008. That is two years for under $30. I do think that at this price you can’t help but win. You can get this deal by putting TOS for a discount code when subscribing to HelpMe2Teach.

Friday, October 24, 2008

CVS Queen

My family calls me the CVS Queen. Let me show you why.

Pictured: 4 Colgate toothpastes, 6 G2 flavored water, 1 32-oz Propel, 3 bars of beauty soap, 4 bags of tootsie rolls, 1 Tylenol Rapid Release, 1 dye-free Children's Mortin, 2 bath poufs, 4 cans of Progresso Light Soup, 2 Blade Body Sprays, 1 box of Just For Men (which comes with an $8 rebate) and 2 travel size Christophe Products. Not pictured are 2 more bags of Tootsie Rolls, and 2 Reinventing Beauty magazines.

Would you believe that I only paid $11.09 out of pocket for ALL of this?? My receipts say the retail value of it all is $71.43. Plus, on top of that ridiculously low price, they paid me another $13.69 in ECBs (Extra Care Bucks) just to take this stuff out of their store. That means, I netted $2.60 this week! I'd say that covered my gas for the three trips I made, but I walked to CVS 2 of those times. (Now aren't you even more impressed with my frugality?)

And I still have an $8 rebate to submit, which means I will have made almost $11 to buy all of this stuff.

How did I do this? Well, I combined manufacturer coupons from the newspaper and online with CVS sales and ECB deals. I also used ECBs I had earned in previous weeks to pay for some of my purchases. It took a while to get the hang of it, but after reading Crystal's blog and practicing on smaller purchases I can really rock the deals now!

Do you CVS? Would you be interested in learning more about how CVS works for my family?

Gown Giveaway

I often find lots of giveaways from other bloggers that I want to share with you. This one I am sharing just because the dress the blogger is giving away is utterly amazing! You have to at least go over and check out the dress, even if you don't enter.

Marie-Therese Gown Giveaway

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Generation Huggies

Some people want to label me as a member of Generation X. And, now, someone wants to label me as a member of Generation Huggies.


Well, Huggies were first introduced to parents 30 years ago, about the time I was born. I have no idea if my mom used Huggies on my sweet bottom, but I know that they are the preferred diaper for my daughter's tiny bottom. Several months ago, I discovered that they stayed with her better when she was moving around and more importantly, could hold all of her nighttime wetness without leaking onto her pajamas or bed sheet.

To celebrate 30 years of Huggies baby-love, they have created Generation Huggies, a website, contest, and sweepstakes all in one!

The contest is a way for moms to reflect on what motherhood has meant to them. I viewed several of the videos already submitted and loved to see mom, just like me, talking about how motherhood had changed them. It is clear that Huggies will be choosing real moms for their national ad campaign.

If you'd like to be a part of that campaign, there are two ways for moms to create a video reflecting on that theme.
  1. Your homemade videos can be uploaded to
  2. Alternatively, moms can create a video on-site when they visit a local Generation Huggies event. (I can't find a location listing just yet.)
As for the submission rules - here they are:
  • Videos should be no longer than 60 seconds in length and no larger than 5MB.
  • The deadline for submitting a video is November 20, 2008.
  • Everyone can participate by giving a hug, or vote, to their favorite video through November 30, 2008.
  • Judging ends November 30, 2008.
The sweepstakes is open to everyone, every day. It doesn't take hardly any effort at all to enter to win $30,000! The grand prize winner will receive $30,000 and will be chosen in December 2008.

If you decide to submit a video, let me know. Otherwise, good luck in the $30,000 prize drawing.What mom doesn't need an extra 30 grand?

This post sponsored by Mom Central.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

30 Days to Natural

Ahhh... natural.

It seems that natural is the magic word when it comes to consumers these days. We are all looking for those products that keep our family safe and allow us to claim a shade of green as our own.

Personally, I started my rode towards greenness in earnest about a year and a half ago. Sure, I sorted my recyclables and put the ubiquitous yellow bin at the end of my driveway. But that was about it.

Then, I was on vacation and found this over-sized canvas grocery bags. I bought 4 of them and never looked back. It is rare for me to forget my grocery bags and I feel good when I use them. I have acquired a few more since then and have them stashed every where - under my seat in the car, in the stroller basket, and around the house.

At some point after Charlotte was born, I considered using flannel cloth wipes instead of toilet paper, but my husband absolutely refused. So, we compromised. I bought a set of white cloth napkins at the thrift store, and we gave up paper towels. That has been hard for Bruce too, but he has mostly come around to using them instead of constantly asking me where the paper towels are.

Finally, when we moved into our new home, I wanted to simplify our cleaning routine and make it possible for Charlotte to help. (It is never to early to teach our daughters how to keep house. Maybe if I start now she will be better at it then I am by the time she is an adult!) So, I scoured the internet and found a natural product that would be safe for her to be around. It was expensive, but all I could find at the time.

Shortly after my concentrated product arrived, I learned about Green Works, a product similar to the expensive one I ordered online (and paid shipping for!) that is available at my local grocery and drug stores.

Green Works also sponsors the website 30 Days to Natural. It is designed to help us ll become a little bit greener each day. You can sign up for 30 days of e-mails, each with a tip that you can do that day. Or you can choose to receive them via text message (like me).

There are also 3 moms featured on the site who are video blogging their own 30-day journey to natural. They seem like everyday, regular moms.

If you have any desire to improve your carbon footprint, I recommend you check this site out. I am looking forward to seeing what kinds of tips the bring me over the next 30 days.

This post sponsored by 30 Days to Natural.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Pet Meme

Thanks to Peter Plum of VeggieTales Review for tagging me for this meme. My family knows I am not really a pet person, so this should be interesting. (If you are not sure what a meme is, then check out The Daily Meme for a definition.)

1. What is the first pet your remember? A long-eared rabbit named Honey.

2. How many different kinds of pets have you owned? Um, 2. Honey and a bichon frise named Alex that I shared with my brother. RIP

3. What was your strangest pet? No strange pets for me, as I'm not really a pet person.

4. What is your dream pet? The one that doesn't need to be taken out for potty duty and cleans up after his self.

5. What is your nightmare pet? Any pet that doesn't come with someone else to take care of it.

6. Your Best/funniest pet story. Alex, the bichon, was a Christmas gift when I was in the 6th grade. My parents had picked him up on Christmas Eve so that we would get him first thing the next morning. The only problem was, he liked to bark and my parents didn't want us to know about him yet. So, they didn't say a word when Nick and I turned the living room tv up way too loud because they knew it meant we couldn't hear the barking.

7. Tell your worst/saddest pet story.
When my parents divorced, I had to give up Honey. I have never been entirely certain what happened to her, but I think she was either killed or released into the wild.

8. Did you ever have a scary animal experience?
I get freaked out by really big bugs that won't leave us alone. It isn't really scary, but they bother me. A lot.

9. What was your favorite pet?
I don't have one. Alex the dog was too much work and eventually, my dad took me as his own, turning him into a trucker dog. RIP Alex.

10. What did you really want to tell us about pets that didn’t fit in the other questions?
A few years ago I really, really, really, wanted a puppy. But Bruce said I couldn't have one, so we had Charlotte instead! I think I got the better deal. Charlotte will take care of us when we are old, a dog couldn't do that.

The rules say I should tag 4 people. So, here you go.

1. Rebecca (because she has been too busy on Facebook to post a blog)
2. Tonggu Momma (because she needs a distraction)
3. Katie D (because I am her blog buddy)
4. Erica (because she promised to post more)

The rules. Don’t worry. They’re easy.

1. Copy the questions to your blog. Answer them. This is the fun part.
2. Feel free to grab the adorable button. (It wasn't working when I wrote this post.)
3. Tag as many people as the legs on your leggiest pet. Probably 4, but if a fish or snake was your only pet then you’re off the hook. If you ever had a centipede, you have my sympathy.
4. Copy the rules to your blog. You’re done. Wasn’t that fun?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Giveaways of the Week

I haven't had a lot of time to enter blog giveaways as usual, mostly due to helping Bruce grade his student's papers. But finally, I took some time this week to enter some that looked interesting, and I liked the ones below so much that I am sharing them with you - all to earn extra entries!

Momma In Flip Flops has a smorgasboard of a giveaway this week. Have you ever heard of The Spotted Box? I hadn't, until Andrea shared it with us. I was surprised to see how many items they fit in each box, and from so many different companies. Plus, all of the companies seem to be small businesses, particularly those set up on Etsy. I think my favorite company this month is Felt Hungry. It looks live winning this giveaway might be the only way to get a box this month too! When I checked on the 15th at 9:15 pm, the October boxes were already sold out!

Do you want a blog make-over? Then, check out RS Designs! They are giving away a $60 credit over at Sisterly Savings (who was recently redesigned by RS Designs).

Here's another Andrea giveaway, courtesy of Layla Grace. Isn't this tutu adorable?!

And are you, or do you know someone who is, or will be pregnant??? Then, why not enter the Zaida Baby giveaway at Now Entering Momville?

I also picked the winner for the EcoBrain giveaway. It was Amy. I've e-mailed her and will hopefully hear back soon so she can claim her prize! Congratulations Amy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

World Food Day

Yesterday might have been Blog Action Day, but today is World Food Day.

I had intended to address the issue of poverty for Blog Action Day, but then I read this post. The author pretty much summed up my own thoughts on the matter, and way more succinctly than I ever could. So, if you want to know how I feel about the relative importance of poverty - go read his post.

While World Food Day is a yearly event sponsored by the United Nations and NGOs around the world, I want to focus more on what Christians can do to alleviate the food problems that our world experiences.

First, if you are a member of a Southern Baptist Church, a portion of your offerings are given to the Cooperative Program, which has a World Hunger fund. The money in this fund is "available to Southern Baptist missionaries to meet food-related needs such as assisting people with receiving food, buying food, growing food and/or using food properly." What I think is particularly important to note about this fund, and the way it differs from other food projects, is that it has "an intentional spiritual strategy [to] share the Gospel (loving God)."

Second, Christians can also make choices about the foods they eat as a way to help world hunger. You might wonder, "how are my dietary decisions important to a hungry Russian?" Well, if you choose to eat simple foods and reduce the cost of your grocery bill, you will have more money to send to those who are working to alleviate hunger. There are several Christian organizations working to fight hunger. Ask your pastor about ones that your church already supports, or visit World Vision and make a donation to them.

Third, read stories about women like Esther. Esther lives in Zambia and feeds her grandchildren a drink made from roots and sour fruit because her crops were destroyed in a flood. Reading stories like hers will help you understand in your heart that this problem affects real people and not just statistics.
Esther knows that the lives of her grandchildren are at risk, but she feels powerless to help. "I simply have nowhere to run to…where do I go and what should I do for these children to survive?" wonders a worried Esther.

Her neighbors echo her cries of concern. Many children have dropped out of school to search for food. Others have turned to early marriages or prostitution, raising fears that the prevalence of HIV and AIDS will increase.
As you can see, a lack of food can lead to drastic measures. We should all pray that girls around the world are never forced to sell their bodies so their family can eat.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Aquatics Review

Charlotte has had fun playing with a new toy this week, an Aquadoodle Draw ‘N Doodle Mat. When I received it for review, I was really surprised by how large it was. She could sit on it and still have plenty of room for "drawing."

What I especially like about it though, is that the mat is mess-free! Charlotte can draw to her hearts content, and I don't have to worry about her coloring on her clothes or the carpet. All I have to do is fill the "magic pen" with water and then let her at the mat. The large fabric doodle mat works with the water to reveal her designs. Mostly that consists of scribbles and dots right now. The drawings disappear as they dry, allowing for hours of no-mess fun. I especially like the "how-to" doodles along the edges. It gives this art handicapped mom some ideas for entertaining her daughter. They even sell accessories like stamps and wide brushes on Amazon.

The other cool water toy we received is the Bath Blizzard. This fun, compact bath bubble-maker hangs securely from the bath spout. With just the turn of a knob, a waterfall of soapy bubbles goes spilling into the tub. Charlotte loves bubbles so this was fun for us to play with. Once Daddy loaded up the 4-C batteries (I know, yikes!), I added a bit of liquid soap and water and we had bubbles in 30 seconds. I think kids of any age who still take baths would like this toy.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, you can "play" with the Aquadoodle Draw ‘N Doodle Mat online at their website.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Meditation Week 12 - Unfulfilled Longings

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming. Kind of.

I dove back into Lies Women Believe and am glad I did. It always amazes me (even though it shouldn't) how God's timing is perfect.

The first lie I addressed this week was "I have my rights" (pg 73.) This is definitely a lie I believe. I believed that "if any of [my] rights are violated, [I] have a right to protest." That is kind of what happened with my recent church situation.

I believed that my right to be heard out was violated. Saying this doesn't make my opinion less valid or that the pastor shouldn't have been willing to talk to me. But it does mean that I went about sharing my opinion in the wrong way. I was like Jonah and Ninevah. My "emotions were controlled by whether or not [I] thought [my] rights were being fulfilled." That is how Satan got me to lose focus on my study for two weeks.

Now though, I have let go of the situation. I prayed that God would give me a peace in my heart about it because I found all last week, I was still thinking up snappy one-liners to e-mail back to the music minister. It was distracting to not be able to focus on other, more important issues. Realizing that the desire for Truth can be lethal when combined with the sin of pride really helped me see my own part in this. I was impatient to have a resolution (a common theme in my life, just ask my husband).

This week, I will work on letting go for my need to have "closure" and try to remember what DeMoss wrote:
We will always have unfulfilled longings on this side of heaven (Romans 8.23). In fact, if we could have all our longings fulfilled down here, we would be easily satisfied with staying here, and our hearts would never long for a better place. (page 85)
What longing are you holding on to? What longing is keeping you from trusting in God for fulfillment?

We're onto chapter four this week. I pray that you are being blessed as you follow along with me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ducks and Pumpkins

On Wednesday, instead of going to story time at the library, we met up with our friend Jackie, and her son Cayman for some quality time feeding stale bread to ducks and some meandering around the nearest pumpkin patch. I took over 130 pictures and then pared it down to about 100. It was extra tough trying to choose the cutest pictures to share. Charlotte is so adorable I just can't help going a little overboard when I pick up the camera.

This trip to feed the ducks was the first time I took her out of the stroller. I've always been worried about the ducks being too aggressive or trying to keep her out of the lake. It was definitely a new experience for her - she stood in the same spot for about 2 whole minutes, not knowing what to make of her new lakeside freedom.
Finally though, she got moving and began to investigate what was on the ground.

And then, she was off! She wandered all around our little area, going back and forth between a big tree and her stroller.

Eventually though, it was time to climb back in for duck feeding time. I always give her a piece of bread when we go and typically, she just eats it. This was no exception. Though, I did notice, when we were leaving that there was some bread next to her stroller. She might have been trying to feed the ducks, but her throwing arm doesn't work yet.
And is a pictures of one of the swans we visited with.

Who can resist this face? I have about 10 pictures with this face, but will only make you see one of them!

This is mom Jackie with her son Cayman. He is almost a year old and moves like a rockstar! I don't know how Jackie finds the engery to keep up with him.
Once at the pumpkin patch, it didn't take long for Charlotte to pick out a mini-pumpkin. She had this pumpkin in her hand almost the entire time we were there.

Cayman really wanted to sit on a pumpkin. And Charlotte wanted to know if he could. I think he ended up crawling all over it while Charlotte just watched. (note, pumpkin is still in her hand)And she is off again. The rows of pumpkins were too irresistible for both of us. She had a lot of fun running down the row 10-12 feet and then running back up to me.
Here we are almost at the end of the row. Her hands are empty and she is only coming towards me now because I hold the precious pumpkin! (You should really click on this to blow it up, her face is just too funny!)

I know we will end up visiting more pumpkin patches and will try not to bore you with too many pictures, but you gotta admit - orange and green do go well together.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Night 182 - No Cry Sleep Solution

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Charlotte slept for 10 straight hours last night. No, that isn't a type, I mean to put the 1 in front of the 0 to make the number ten. I could hardly believe it myself, but it is true.

I loved being able to sleep from about 10:30 pm until 5:30 am. That is more continuous sleep than ever in the last ~15 months. I hope this continues for a long, long time.

Right now, she nurses right before going to sleep and then again in the early morning (between 4-5 am). My plan, once she sleeps really well for an entire week, is to switch her bedtime nursing session to before bath time. I'd really love for her to be able to go to sleep without nursing. Then, Bruce and I could go out in the evening more often and leave her with her grandparents. (I'm not ready for a random babysitter yet. And why should I, when G-ma loves to spend time with Charlotte?)

So.... I am one happy, and very well-rested momma today. I may even be back with a new video blog soon and I have more than 100 photos from yesterday's play date with Cayman to sort through. Here's one as a teaser for what is to come:

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Sea World w/ the Family

Last Sunday (yes, we skipped church), we visited Sea World with my family. It was a lot of fun and made even better by the fact that Bruce gets in free for an entire year because he is a teacher. I was able to get a 12-month pass as well for less than $100. It includes free parking and 10% off in-park purchases. But, enough about our deal... onto the pictures!

Yeah! It's the sting rays! This was the first animal we visited and clearly, Charlotte was excited.

Charlotte is a great walker and it really isn't fair to make her sit in her stroller all day, so G-ma bought her a Goldbug backpack that also has a tether for me to keep her close by. It was wonderful to be able to let her loose a little and it allowed her to get closer to the action - but not too close!

Part of being on the move means climbing onto every possible surface. She didn't quite make it onto this ledge, but it sure was cute to see her try!
Once I finally got her settled up there, she enjoyed watching the large polar bear in this exhibit. We couldn't see our reflections in the glass, but I love that you can see them in this picture.

This is Charlotte watching the manatees. She stared at them so intently I was surprised to see her looking straight into the camera.

We were able to get VERY close to the dolphins... I know this picture doesn't include Charlotte, but we were amazed that we could get so close. Bruce got to touch the dolphins 3 times, and he didn't have to pay Discovery Cove prices!
I finally got to ride some rides! Yeah! Whenever we go to a theme park, it always seems I get "stuck" with Charlotte and don't get to do the fun stuff. This was definitely fun! I'll have to scan the picture they took of the three of us (my brother, Nick, and his wife, Michelle, and then me in the back) and share it later.
And what would a trip to a place full of animals be without my requisite picture of a mother nursing her baby?!

Seaworld is celebrating a Spooktacular Halloween and had these fun pumpkin fish everywhere. They also had trick-or-treating with some awesome treats - M&Ms, Swedish goldfish, mini bananas, Airheads, Twizzlers. It's a shame Charlotte only gets to try the bananas. I guess her dad and I will have to eat the rest of the candy. Can you believe this picture was taken at the END of the day? We are so blessed to have such a cheerful little girl.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

EcoBrain Blog Tour & Giveaway

I love to read. It used to be, pre-Charlotte, that I could read a decent sized book in just a day or two. Once she came along, I took to reading more on-line though since I couldn't hold a book and a nursing baby at the same time. That was when I discovered blogging.

It never really occurred to me though, that I could read a book on my computer. I had downloaded some cook books in PDF format, but never novels or non-fiction. Now though, as e-books grow in popularity, there are so many titles available. And, just like in the real world, there are niche publishers that focus on special topics - even green living.

Think about it, doesn't an e-book publisher that focuses on environmental issues make sense? Of course it does. EcoBrain is a relatively new e-book publisher that does just that, and then some. They even have an Environmental Mission Statement!

They publish e-books about the environment, sustainable living, outdoor activities, and even the business of being green. I was also intrigued by their fiction section and their kids section. There are even more categories and sub-categories to explore.

As part of the Mommy Go Green EcoBrain Blog Tour, I am giving away 1 e-copy of Radical Simplicity. Here is a description of the book from EcoBrain.

Imagine you are first in line at a potluck buffet. The spread includes not just food and water, but all the materials needed for shelter, clothing, healthcare, and education. How do you know how much to take? How much is enough to leave for your neighbors behind you - not just the six billion people, but the wildlife, and the as-yet-unborn?

In the face of looming ecological disaster, many people feel the need to change their own lifestyles as a tangible way of transforming our unsustainable culture. Radical Simplicity is the first book that guides the reader to a personal sustainability goal, then offers a process to monitor progress to a lifestyle that is equitable amongst all people, species, and generations.

Combining lyrical narrative, compassionate advocacy and absorbing science, Radical Simplicity is a practical, personal answer to 21st century challenges that will appeal as much to Cultural Creatives and students as to spiritual seekers, policy makers and sustainability professionals.
I will randomly draw 1 lucky winner next Monday. There are three ways to enter and you can do any of them you like, for up to three entries:
  1. Leave a comment telling me you want to enter,
  2. Subscribe to my RSS feed, and leave a 2nd comment telling me you did so, or already are subscribed, and
  3. Link to my giveaway on your own blog, leaving another comment with the permalink to you post.
That's it. 3 ways to win and 1 lucky winner. This giveaway will end at midnight on Monday, October 13. Read all contest rules here.

Don't miss any of my upcoming giveaways -
Subscribe to Family Musings by Email or Subscribe in a reader

Disclaimer: I do not endorse all of the political views you might find on EcoBrain. Please use discernment when reading anything online. Also, I will receive minor compensation in the form of an EcoBrain credit for this review.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Tess is back giving homeschooling parents another great tool for staying at the top of their game.

Here I am again, Jennifer’s guest blogger about all that home schooling stuff. Please take a moment and let me tell you about this great magazine.

I am a fairly new subscriber to “The Old Schoolhouse” magazine but I am not new to home schooling. My family is now in its 8th year of home schooling. This magazine gives me a feeling of staying current. I love reading about the new products, the political issues that we home schooling families face, and about the success stories as well as the stories of trials faced by parents that are trying to do what they believe is right for their families.

With this being said, I wanted to tell you all about The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Fall Special. You can get two years of the magazine, 6 fabulous physical gifts (not downloads!) worth over $120, plus the current issue of the Old Schoolhouse Magazine that is full of ideas for the new school year, so you start receiving your magazine in a flash!

It really is one of their best deals ever and you don’t want to miss out. In fact, they’ve got a really cute Homeschooling with Heart tote bag (valued at $13.95) for the first 1000 to subscribe. About half of them are gone, but you should still be able to get one if you hurry! (They will remove the info from the subscription page when the bags are all gone.) The total value is over $212, but you receive it all for only $39 - 50% off cover price! Plus subscribers get their online monthly Teacher’s Toolbox which focuses on a different topic each month, giving you words of encouragement, hands-on teaching ideas, book recommendations, field trip ideas, and a bonus download item.

The Teacher’s Toolbox is really a great feature of your subscription. Click this link to sign up for the promotion. I wouldn’t be letting you know about this if I didn’t think it was absolutely great.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Night 175 - No Cry Sleep Solution

Okay, I'm really not so an al retentive that I counted 175 nights from the first time we tried Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution, but we are some where in the ball park with that number.

I figured since there hadn't been an update since night 31, it was time for one, especially considering that we've finally made some progress. For the last three nights, Charlotte has slept 6 hours straight, without waking up and asking for her Momma's Milk.

You could say that I am thrilled. I'll say that I am well-rested. I haven't been able to get that much straight sleep since BEFORE Charlotte was born and I was getting up to use the potty 2 times a night.

What made this sudden change? I don't know. A switch just flipped in her brain, she gave up her 11 pm nursing session and now loves sleep more than milk. Can I tell you that our mornings and afternoons are happier too? They are. I love this little creature I call my daughter.

She is suddenly more affectionate towards me and her dad. She will sit in our laps long enough for 2-3 pages of a story book. And, her naps are better too.

So, what made the difference for us you might ask?

First, we have had a fairly consistent bedtime routine now since she was about 11 months old, back in late July. Sure, it gets thrown off some nights, but we try to stick with it. She knows what to expect each night and knows the routine well enough that she moves towards it.

Second, I stopped going into her room each time she made a crying noise. That was the harder part for me because I am definitely NOT a cry it out type of parent. However, what changed is that I slowly began to see my daughter put herself to sleep in her crib without crying.

Once I knew she could do that, it made holding back a little bit easier. What typically happens now is that she will make crying like noises in her sleep and never wake up. My new rule has been that if she stands up in her crib or cries so that she has tears, I will go in and quickly and quietly comfort her. Otherwise, I stand watch at her slightly cracked door so she can't see me and I can make sure she is okay.

I have always told Bruce that one day she would get to this point, and boy am I glad it is here!