Archives for May 2009

No winner for Purple Trail.

I’m so sad. We don’t have a winner for our Free Plan at PurpleTrail giveaway.

One of the requirements were that we needed to have a minimum of 5 entries. We had one. Obviously this wasn’t a giveaway that interested you all. So, you tell me: What kind of giveaways would you like to see on the site? What would bring you back and make you want to enter? (Don’t get too extravagant on me – I’m not a famous blogger…. yet.)

Tell me what you want to see, and what you don’t. I’ll take it to heart and start bringing you more of what you want!

VBS is off and running!

This morning we had our VBS kickoff. It went really well! The weather was perfect, and all of the kids had tons of fun.

This afternoon, there was a wedding at our church, which meant I couldn’t get in to decorate my room until after the wedding was over. I arrived at 6 o’clock and started working.

I had SO many wonderful ladies helping me. To any of you that may stop by my blog, Thank you, a million times over. I couldn’t have done it without you all! The room looks *awesome* and I am so excited about it!

I promise I will share pictures soon. If I disappear for a few days, don’t worry about me – I’m just overwhelmed with VBS stuff. I’ll be back soon!

I’ll check in as I can. Ya’all have a fantastic week!

Cooking Tip of the Day

I am certain that the moment my mother read the title of that post, she laughed out loud. I am not a domestic by any means. My mother cooked by picking up the menu and telling the waitress what she wanted to eat. (I love you, Mom, but you know it’s true!)

When my husband and I were first married, we were broke (funny – almost 7 years later, and we still are!). Obviously, we couldn’t afford to go out to eat for every meal, so I had to start cooking. If it didn’t come out of a box or a bag, I didn’t know how to make it. I had dozens and dozens of recipe books, but none of them had ever been opened. As the years have gone on, I’ve learned a lot more. In fact, I can now read & follow recipes, and I even make up some of my own recipes! It’s quite shocking for a girl who had to teach herself everything.

So, now that you know why it’s such a shock that I’m going to post a cooking tip, here’s my tip:
When you boil eggs for egg salad or deviled eggs, add a few drops of canola or vegetable oil to the water. The eggs absorb the oil and the shells slide right off when you peel them. As the queen of deviled eggs, I promise that this works!

As I type this, I’ve got 3 dozen eggs on the stove. I’m making deviled eggs for our VBS kickoff tomorrow. (Yep, that’s a lot of eggs! I’m hoping the kickoff will be huge!)

Do you want my deviled egg recipe? My kids will gobble these up… and they’re always the fist ones gone when I take them to potlucks or events.

  1. Put the desired amount of eggs in a large pot.
  2. Add water to the pot until it comes just above the eggs.
  3. Bring water to a rolling boil.
  4. Turn off burner and cover pot. Let stand for 14 minutes.
  5. Run cold water over the eggs until cool. (You can also put ice cubes over the eggs to help them cool faster.)
  6. Peel the eggs, cut in half, and put the yolks into a bowl.
  7. Mash up the yolks and stir in some sugar. (I use 1/3 cup for 2 dozen eggs – you don’t need a lot.) Make sure the yolks and sugar get blended together well.
  8. Add mayonnaise to desired taste, and then a dash of mustard. Mix it all together well.
  9. Scoop the yolk mixture into the egg halves, and refrigerate until it’s time to serve them.

Enjoy!!

Great Gifts for Dads & Grads (Website Review)

I would like to suggest one of the experts at Zappos.com who can offer insightful commentary on the latest trends in gift-giving.

I will admit, the first time I heard of Zappos.com was on an episode of the Apprentice. I was intrigued, and headed right to the website to check it out.

I was quite impressed the moment I logged on. Their selection is HUGE! They offer everything you can think of. Zappos.com is a one-stop shop for everything for men and women — from adventure gear to riding wear…from grilling gear to running wear…and everything in between, including shoes, of course! The Zappos.com team of experts really know what consumers want. And they go above and beyond in their customer service. They will take the time to help you find the perfect gift – on any budget. With free shipping and 365 day returns, you’re sure to get a great deal!

You may also be interested to know that Zappos.com was recently voted E-Tailer of the Year by the World Trade Congress and was named to FORTUNE Magazine’s Annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for 2009.

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for any Dad or grad, make your first stop Zappos.com. They’ve got just what you need!

Get Ready to Ride the "Dinosaur Train!"

Fresh off the heels of the incredibly successful “Sid the Science Kid,” I wanted to share the news that the Jim Henson Company is excited to announce the launch of their new series, “Dinosaur Train”– a new CGI-animated series premiering Monday, September 7, 2009 on PBS KIDS®(check local listings).Created by Craig Bartlett (Hey Arnold!), one of animation’s most successful producers, “Dinosaur Train” combines the two things kids love most: dinosaurs & trains!

The new series features Buddy, an adorable preschool age Tyrannosaurus Rex. Each of the 40 half-hour episodes includes two 11-minute animated segments, which follow Buddy and his adoptive Pteranodon family, on their adventures with all kinds of dinosaurs, creatures and reptiles. Young viewers will join the travelers on a whimsical journey through prehistoric jungles, swamps, volcanoes and oceans as they learn how to compare and contrast different dinosaurs. The series continues Henson’s legacy of quality children’s entertainment and joins Henson’s successful series Sid the Science Kid™ which also airs on PBS KIDS.

“Dinosaur Train” begins when Buddy, an adorable and huggable T-Rex, is adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Pteranodon and brought to their nest to hatch at the same time as his new siblings, Tiny, Shiny and Don. Buddy and his new family have an insatiable desire to learn all about the different types of dinosaurs, so they board the wondrous Dinosaur Train, which allows them to travel and explore the world inhabited by these amazing creatures. If you want to learn more about “Dinosaur Train” head to http://pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain/.

As a mom, I prefer that the shows my kids watch have some type of educational value to them. PBS Kids is a channel that I can trust to help my kids learn and grow.

My kids could not be more excited about this new series. They have been fans of Sid the Science Kid since it started. Now that they’ve heard that there’s going to be a new show, and it’s going to have dinosaurs in it, they’re having a hard time waiting for fall to get here and the season to start!

Just a few more months and we can all hop on board the Dinosaur Train!

Hope I see you there!

Follow Friday: Week 7

This week’s Follow worthy blog is The Copper Brick Road. With the economy being what it is, my husband’s sucky paychecks, and 5 kids, I am always looking for ways to “penny pinch.” Anything I can do to become more frugal is a good thing.

And that’s what I love about The Copper Brick Road. She’s always listing ways to save money and cut expenses. I *love* her post on CVS on a $10 Budget. And her tips on Frugal Vacation – Saving Money On Food were great. Not that we go on vacation a lot, but when we take a day trip to Helen, or if we ever get to go back to Pigeon Forge, this post will come in handy.

Here’s a little more about Rebecca, the author of TCBR:
“I am a married, working mommy. I am the director of advertising for a real estate firm and I have a 2 year old son. I am a consultant for Thirty-One gifts. I looove their stuff! I pride myself on being able to make it all work and I love the game of frugality! I love being able to tell people how much I’ve saved. (Sometimes I think it’s an obsession.) I love passing along what I am able to find and provide. Hopefully I will be able to pass something along to you and your family. Oh yeah, did I mention that I am an Independent Beauty Consultant for Mary Kay? I’d certainly love to help you with any skin care or overall beauty needs! With my online site, I’m able to help anyone anywhere! Just contact me!!”

The Copper Brick Road is full of awesome Giveaways, tons of Deals, Freebies, and so much more! Stop by for a visit, and then be sure to become a follower! You’ll be instantly hooked!

Rebecca, if you’d like to place this on your blog, I’d be honored!


Don’t know what Follow Fridays are? Find out more here: Follow Fridays Explained

If you participate in Follow Fridays, be sure to come back here and leave a link to your post!

Win a Toshiba Laptop!

Head to The Mommy Files and enter for your chance to win a Toshiba Portege A-600!

Albolene Moisturizing Cleanser (Review & Giveaway Closed)

A new study in the March 2009 issue of the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology finds that the over-the-counter moisturizer, Albolene® Moisturizing Cleanser (a long-trusted beauty staple for skin cleansing), is just as efficacious as a leading prescription moisturizer for mild to moderate eczema. For a fraction of the price and easier accessibility on the drug store shelf, Albolene has been clinically proven in the reduction of dryness, scaling and itching related to mild to moderate eczema.

Known for decades for its effective make up removing and skin moisturizing properties, Albolene® Moisturizing Cleanser is made with mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin and ceresin, which provide superior skin moisturization by trapping moisture, especially in areas that are prone to chafing, dryness and irritation. Used both as a “treatment” and a preventative, Albolene provides significant benefit in the clearing up and control of mild to moderate eczema.

If suffering from mild to moderate eczema, liberally apply Albolene® twice daily over the dry skin patches to help moisturize the skin. Moisturization is necessary for treating eczema, which affects millions. For moderate eczema, apply a topical corticosteroid along with the Albolene. Discuss with your physician.

Monkey Mama’s Review of Albolene®:
I was sent 2 sample sizes of Albolene® Moisturizing Cleanser to review. I decided to use one sample on Ashley and Zander. They have both suffered from mild eczema for as long as I can remember. Zander’s covers his arms, legs, back, and stomach, and Ashley’s is primarily on her arms and legs. The other sample I used on myself – after all, why should they have all the fun?

The first thing I noticed – and was really impressed by – was the fact that a little really does go a long way. I’ve been using the sample packs for over a week now, and we haven’t even made it through half of either pack. I love items that make me feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.

The second thing I noticed was how good my face started to look after just a couple of uses. I was using the Albolene® as a cleanser at night to remove my makeup, and I’d use it as a moisturizing base the next morning before putting on my makeup. Prior to using the Albolene®, I had been having a real problem with breakouts. In fact, Ashley even asked me (before using the Albolene®) why I never had a zit in any of my high school pictures, but my face was totally broken out as a grown up. I didn’t know how to respond. I just knew it was a problem. But, I am amazed at what the Albolene® has done to help that. I now feel comfortable enough to leave the house without makeup. It has been months since I felt like that. But, my complexion is totally clearing up, and I love how soft and hydrated it leaves my skin. The best part is that it’s not greasy or slimy like some moisturizers can be. This absorbs right into the skin and feels great!

Ashley used the cleanser on her arms and her legs. After just one use, she noticed a big difference. She wasn’t itchy, and she wasn’t nearly as red. She had been skeptical at first, because we’ve used almost every kind of cream and lotion available before and nothing has ever worked. After just one use, she was hooked. She spreads it on in the morning, and feels great all day!

With Zander, I decided to try it out on just one arm. I wanted to see if I could notice a difference. After just a couple of uses, I really did see a change. The arm we used the Albolene® on isn’t as red, and the bumps aren’t nearly as noticeable. Zander doesn’t complain about being itchy, and he likes the feel of the Albolene.

As you can see, it gets 6 very BIG thumbs up from us. Albolene® is definitely something that we will keep in stock around here… both for the kids and their eczema, and for my makeup cleansing and moisturizing.
Want to Buy Albolene® and try it out for yourself?
Albolene® is available at the following retailers in your area. Click on the links to be directed to the appropriate retail location of your favorite store.

Buy Online Now

Drug Stores:
Walgreens
CVS
Rite Aid
Longs Drugs
Duane Reade
Drugstore.com

Want to win your own jar of Albolene®?
My PR agent, Nicole, has offered up 2 6 ounce jars of Albolene®. That means 2 lucky people will get to try this fabulous product for themselves! If your children suffer from eczema, or if you’re looking for a really great moisturizing cleanser, you must enter this giveaway!

To Enter:
Go to the Albolene® website. Then come back here and leave a comment telling me one Product Fact or one Eczema Fact – your choice.
*Required. Additional Entries will not count if this is not done.

Really Want to Win? For Extra Entries, You Can:
1. Follow our blog.
2. Subscribe to our feed by email or in a reader.
3. Favorite us on Technorati.
4. Digg this Post.
5. Tweet about this giveaway.
6. Blog about this giveaway. Please include a link back to 5 Vinez Monkeys and a link to the Albolene® website.

Giveaway Details:
If you already do any of the above, you qualify. Please leave a comment for each of the extra entries you complete. However, you must first leave the required comment as stated above.
Contest will end Friday, June 12th at 11:59pm and 2 winners will be selected via random.org. Winners will be announced on Saturday, June 13th and will have 72 hours to claim their prize. The winners will then receive a 6 ounce jar of Albolene® Moisturizing Cleanser.

Good luck to all who enter!

New World Kids: The Parents’ Guide to Creative Thinking (Book Review)

Our society is entering a time of sweeping change in which innovation is not just valuable, but vital. Today’s children will be pivotal in inventing our collective future-and that future starts now, with the skills, tools and competency they learn today. A new approach to childhood education is needed that encourages creative thinking processes, the capacity to invent with many media, the ability to think across disciplines and a reliance on the imagination.

Built on decades of applied research, New World Kids: The Parents’ Guide to Creative Thinking (Foundry Media, 2009, 978-0-615-19060-0, $14.95), is a handbook for developing young minds to learn and grow in a future requiring visual literacy and innovative skills. Authors and educators Susan Marcus and Susie Monday demystify the often misunderstood territory of creativity, offering parents everyday activities to help kids discover their individual creative abilities.

“We tend to view creative achievement as a mysterious process, or another magical matter of talent,” they write in New World Kids. “It’s not a matter of chance or talent or luck, creative thinking is a matter of focus and practice. Like reading, it’s a skill that is learned by doing.”

Just as the traditional alphabet is used to teach reading and writing, Marcus and Monday say the Sensory Alphabet-line, color, texture, movements, sounds, rhythm, space, light and shape-is the foundation of creative literacy and the basis of our sensory connection to the world. The Sensory Alphabet enhances a child’s ability to understand, symbolize and communicate ideas, which are all crucial skills in our digital media world of pictures, icons, sound and video.

Through vivid photographs, illustrations and more than 200 activities, New World Kids reveals how to identify and develop each child’s natural strengths and creative potential, enhancing their particular brand of imagination.

New World Kids includes topics such as:

  • The Sensory Alphabet: Nine essential elements for creative literacy
  • A step-by-step guide for mentoring children through the creative process
  • How to raise innovative kids for the 21st century
  • How to help kids find their creativity, passion at an early age
  • How to design your home as a space for ideas
  • Incorporating media and play into the learning process

Marcus and Monday were co-founders of the Learning About Learning Educational Foundation, a Texas-based institution that conducted applied research in creativity, individuality, media and play. Together, they translated the foundation’s research into more easily accessible formats by designing programs, materials and exhibitions for teachers, parents, children and museums.

Monkey Mama’s Review of New World Kids:
I loved, loved, loved this book! The cover is eye catching, and inside, it just gets better! The photographs, the activities, and the tips are amazing.

As a mom to 5, and having worked with and taught many children over the years, it is quite clear that every child is a unique individual. They learn differently, think differently, react to situations differently, and even play differently. It’s our job as parents to learn all we can about our children and nurture them in ways that will help them succeed.

When I got to the chapter on Individuality, I decided to use the clues to see where my children fell on the spectrum. Zander is very 2-D oriented. When it came to space, he used a single line rather than creating a cube or a triangle. Jace, however, made a shape all his own. When I asked them to design a shirt, Jace’s was scribbles in different colors all over the shirt. Zander’s shirt was a solid color with polka dots. For textures, Jace had textures all over his page: leaves, strings, feathers, beads. They all overlapped and covered the entire page. Zander’s was perfectly and precisely laid out. Nothing overlapped. Nothing even touched. According to the book, Zander’s very strong and linear imagination, paired with his drawing skill would make him a natural animation artist or even a video game designer. (Which I can totally see!) Jace’s love of texture is all about being “hands on.” Cooking, surgery, anything to accentuate the tactile sensibility that he is full of.

My favorite activities to do with the kids were the Texture investigations. Even Parker could get in on the act, touching and feeling the different textures of materials. Of course, I was able to do a lot more with the older children, but I liked that I didn’t have to leave Parker out.

I’m so glad I had the opportunity to review this book. It is one that I will definitely go back to time and time again. The activities are such that we can repeat them over and over, changing them up a bit each time, and the kids won’t get bored.

Visit www.NewWorldKids.com for more information or stop by Amazon to pick up your copy today. This is a fantastic book to have on hand.

Wordless Wednesday: He Said What?

Again, not so wordless, but I hope it brings you a giggle:

If you’ve got a Wordless Wednesday post up, leave your link here. I’d love to stop by!

Huggies Pure & Natural (Closed)

New from Huggies® comes Pure and Natural diapers! The new super premium diaper features a breathable outer cover that includes organic cotton. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic, fragrance free and includes a touch of aloe and E. The liner includes natural Aloe & Vitamin E and materials from renewable sources, and the product’s outer packaging is sourced from 20 percent post-consumer recycled materials.

Monkey Mama’s Review of Huggies® Pure and Natural diapers:
I was contacted by a reputable PR agency and was asked if I would like to try Huggies® Pure and Natural diapers. They had sizes Newborn, 1 and 2 available for review. Because Parker is such a little peanut and he’s still in size 2 diapers, I thought I would give them a try.

I honestly didn’t expect to be impressed. When I hear the phrase “pure and natural” my immediate reaction is “rough and itchy.” Boy, was I ever wrong! I couldn’t believe how soft they were. Especially the inside lining! It’s almost like putting a soft cloth right up against Parker’s skin. I was totally blown away with the softness, the stretch, and the protection that Huggies® Pure and Natural diapers offer.

And when I say protection, I really mean it! Parker is my blowout king. I kid you not, the child has ruined more onesies and outfits than I even care to count. It’s ridiculous. But, in the week and a half that we have been using the Huggies® Pure and Natural diapers, we have not had one blowout. Not one. He hasn’t soaked through overnight, and he hasn’t blown out up the back or down the legs. It’s amazing! I am totally hooked on these diapers, and the price isn’t unreasonable.

Parker’s Review of Huggies® Pure and Natural diapers:
I think that picture says it all, don’t you? He’s one satisfied baby, that’s for sure!

I also wanted to tell you about Huggies® *new* Enjoy the Ride Rewards, which offers moms a chance to earn reward points which can be spent on chances to win valuable prizes such as trips, gift cards and more! Moms can sign up for the rewards program by going to www.enjoytheriderewards.com, and entering special codes that will be located on direct mail pieces, magazine ads, and online. Moms can also earn points by taking polls, watching videos and participating in other fun activities on the program’s Web site.

Want to win your own pack of Huggies® Pure and Natural diapers?
I’m not talking about a free sample, or a trial size, either. I’m talking about a full package of Huggies that you would buy in a store. Winner will receive their choice of size: Newborn, Size 1, or Size 2.

To Enter:
Go to http://www.huggieshappybaby.com and then come back here and tell me one Fun Tool they have available for visitors.
*Required

Extra Entries:
1. Follow our blog.
2. Subscribe to our feed by email or in a reader.
3. Favorite us on Technorati.
4. Digg this Post.
5. Tweet about this giveaway.
6. Blog about this giveaway. Please include a link back to 5 Vinez Monkeys and a link to Huggies® Pure and Natural.

Giveaway Details:
If you already do any of the above, you qualify. Please leave a comment for each of the extra entries you complete. However, you must first leave the required comment as stated above.
Contest will end Tuesday, June 8th at 11:59pm and the winner will be selected via random.org. Winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 9th and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. The winner will then get to select if they prefer Newborn, size 1, or size 2 diapers and that size will be shipped to their door.

Good luck to all who enter! We’re going to have one very happy baby at the end of this contest!

Only in the Mountains #4

Can a walk in the park include scenery like this….

Absolutely breathtaking, isn’t it? This was taken at Vogel State Park – one of the prettiest places in the mountains.

Maybe the mountains aren’t so bad after all.

The Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

As many of you know, my daddy died of cancer. Some of you may or may not be aware of the type of cancer that he had. I will never forget my parents coming home after meeting with the doctor. They sat my brother and I down on the couch in their bedroom (where we often had family devotions and prayed together). They told us that the type of cancer that Daddy had was called Mesothelioma. They said that the cancer had come from exposure to asbestos. I remember listening to Mom and Daddy talk about where he might have been exposed. Was it in an old school house? How about all the years he worked for Firestone? He had no idea. He only knew that he had an incredibly rare type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

It will be 11 years ago next Monday since Daddy died from Mesothelioma. Back then, so little was known about the disease, and absolutely nothing was known about treating it. Cancer centers turned Daddy away, and even charities refused to help.

Today, they are learning so much more about asbestos exposure and what it can do to families. Did you know that a worker exposed to asbestos can also expose his family to it as well? I had no idea. So, chances are even higher that myself, my mom, and my brother have been exposed. After watching what Daddy went through, that’s a very scary thought.

They have now discovered that Mesothelioma is most common in among workers in the shipbuilding industry, construction, auto mechanics, contractors, and demolition.

People who are diagnosed with Mesothelioma are often entitled to compensation, and working with an aggressive and experienced Mesothelioma Lawyer make a big difference. Many manufacturers of asbestos have gone bankrupt over the years and only an experienced lawyer can help victims receive compensations.

Like many other dangerous products, the manufacturers of asbestos knew about its dangers before they revealed it to the public. As a result thousands of people were needlessly exposed to this dangerous substance.

My family and I have passed the statute of limitations on Daddy’s death from Mesothelioma. If you or a loved one is going through a battle with Mesothelioma, it wouldn’t hurt to pick up the phone and call a lawyer.

They can’t take away the pain, or bring back your loved one, but a phone call never hurt anyone.

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Follow Friday: Week 6

I am really late with this week’s Follow Friday! I’m sorry about that. Everyone is finally on the mend – for now – so I figured better late than never!

This week’s Follow-worthy blog is “Chronicles of Our Sweet & Sour Life.” The blog is written by Jenn, the founder of MUIB. Jenn is definitely not new to the blogging world, but this is a new blog. Jenn writes with an amazing talent. I truly admire this woman.

Here’s how Jenn describes herself: Homeschooling, freelance writing, work at home mom of four. Wife to a karaoke singing, fun loving, patient saintlike husband (like my Daddy always told me, it would take a STRONG and PATIENT man to put up with me!). Coffee addict. Laundry hater. Queen of Procrastination. Domestic Diva wannabe. Sarcastic and sassy. Emotional in your face, all or none kinda gal. Southern woman that loves sweet tea, collards, fat back and of course chicken and pastry. Bless my southern heart (and my cloggin’ arteries)!

Part of me wonders if we were really sisters born hundreds of miles apart. Now that I’m a Southern transplant, I’m finding I have more and more in common with Jenn every day. Of course, she can keep her collards. Ick. I made the mistake of ordering those at a restaurant once. I will never make that mistake again. But when it comes to everything else, she and I couldn’t agree more.

When you visit “Chronicles of Our Sweet & Sour Life,” you’ll find this at the top of the page: They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Dontcha wish it was always that easy? Some days are sweet, some are sour and some are bittersweet. Life is a journey. We live. We learn. We grow. It never hurts to add a dash of humor now and then.

And that’s exactly how Jenn is and how she writes. She pours her heart and soul into everything, and this blog is no exception. Let’s get this blog off to a great start for her, and get her the followers she deserves!

While you’re there, be sure to read this post. I swear, she and I are living identical lives just states apart. Either that, or stupid people are taking over the South. It’s a toss up.

Jenn, feel free to grab this button and place it on your blog. You know I’ll be by often to check on you!


Don’t know what Follow Fridays are? Find out more here: Follow Fridays Explained

If you participate in Follow Fridays, be sure to come back here and leave a link to your post!

Dealing with some very sick kids…

Life has been beyond crazy around here. I was at the doctor yesterday and diagnosed with a very severe throat infection. Later last night, Lucy ended up in the ER with a very high fever and… guess what? Yep. A very severe throat infection.

Today, Parker has not let me put him down all day. I don’t think he feels well. Jace has also now started complaining of a sore throat.

And, Ashley has been gone ALL day taking care of my MIL who had eye surgery.

Can I freak out?

Well, it’s my blog, so I’ll cry if I want to. I am just exhausted, overwhelmed, you name it. Mama has no time to get sick, feel sick, and rest and recover. Especially not when everyone else in the house is coming down with the same illness.

If I disappear off the face of the earth for the next few days, ya’all may want to consider sending reinforcements to my house. Either that, or call the looney bin. They may need to take me away.

So much for a fun holiday weekend around here. I just hope we don’t have any more trips to the ER.

Wish us luck, and say a prayer if you think of it!

Crafty Ladies, Help Me Out!

And by crafty, I mean “those who make crafts” and not “skillful in underhand or evil schemes.” I’m already good at that. 🙂

Vacation Bible School is quickly approaching, and I will be teaching the class of 12 year olds. Our theme this year is RBP’s Polar Extremes. It’s a winter theme, obviously.

Here’s my problem: Every year, the classes try to WOW the kids by having a totally decked out room. Last year, we did a dinosaur theme, and that was easy. I used fake flower vines and the boys’ little dinosaurs. It was great!

This year, I am struggling for ideas, and I’m running out of time! Not to mention, I have the WORST room for decorating this year. I have the Missionary Room, so I have to deal with 2 full size beds, a couch, and a love seat being in there. It’s really complicating things.

I’ve already grabbed all of the kids “winter” stuffed animals. We don’t have as many as I thought we did. And, I came up with another idea: I make really cute little penguin clippies for little girls, so I took that idea and made a great big ribbon penguin. I’m going to cover the love seat with my white fleece backdrop cloth, and then I’ll tack the ribbon penguins to it. Cute, right?

BTW – that’s the ribbon penguin I came up with. he’s about 6 inches tall. I just adore him.

Sure, but I need more. What other ideas (ahem, CHEAP ideas being the key) can you all come up with? I really want to impress these tweens by having the coolest room around.

Give me your input. Simple or extravagant, I want to hear it! Help me make this the best VBS yet!

Wordless Wednesday: I can’t believe I’m posting this…

We’re stepping way back in time for this one. This photo was taken in 1989, right after we moved from Ohio to the Chicagoland area. This was the family photo that went in our church directory that year – a fabulous way to initiate a new church and school, eh?:
Can you believe those glasses? UGH. There’s a long story behind them. One I will only share if you beg me and offer me cupcakes. 🙂 And that sweater. Why was I allowed to leave the house?!

To those that knew me way back then and still love me today, thank you. LOL!

And once again, I’m doing really poorly at the Wordless part of Wednesdays.

If you’re participating in Wordless Wednesday – or “Not-so-Wordless Wednesday” put your link here. I’d love to stop by!

Winners of the BreakPal Giveaway

Congratulations to the following ladies. They have each won a lifetime membership to Breakpal!

Congratulations, Ladies! You’ll be hearing from me shortly!

I broke our toilet.

That’s right. I really, truly broke our toilet.

Do you know how bad it is to break a toilet when you have 5 children, and the only other available toilet isn’t really available because it’s attached to the room where your husband sleeps all day?

So not cool.

And how does one actually break a toilet? Well, it’s been giving us some trouble for a few weeks now. The handle was really hard to push down. It flushed, but half the time I would have to go in after the kids and flush it for them. That’s what happened today. Jace went to the bathroom, and then I went in to flush. When I pushed the handle down, it fell off. The plastic piece that supports it snapped right in half.

I am not a plumber, so I don’t know if this is a costly mistake or not. Hubby hasn’t gotten up yet today, and he’s unaware of the toilet fiasco. We had to run errands today, so at least the kids had public toilets (ick!) to use.

I cannot believe this happened. This house is crap. Everything is already falling apart, and we’ve lived here for a year and a half. Shoddy workmanship and cheap crap went into the making of this house, I’m convinced.

Anywho – that’s the excitement around here today. And, Sabrina, if you’re reading this, we may be driving to house to go potty if hubby doesn’t wake up soon!

The Mother’s Day Gift of Life

Several years ago, I received the most wonderful Mother’s Day gift from a friend. She had made me a bracelet. Each bead on the bracelet represented something different. She even went so far as to put my birthstone, my husband’s birthstone, and my childrens’ birthstones in the bracelet as well. Knowing that she took the time to think of me and use her time and her talents meant the world to me. It is a gift that I treasure and will hold dear to my heart for the rest of my life.

I believe that any gift that truly comes from the heart is the most meaningful gift you could give. When you take the time to think of someone, it really shows. When my kids make me a card all by themselves, it means more to me than any card they could have purchased at the store.

Do you have a friend, a wife, or know someone who is expecting a baby soon? Why not skip the flowers this Mother’s Day and give a truly heartfelt and life changing gift of Cord Blood Banking through Cryo-Cell U-Cord.

What makes this gift so special? Stem cells from umbilical cord blood are known to treat over 75 diseases. They have been used in over 10,000 transplants worldwide. Research is continually expanding, and who knows what amazing medical miracles these stem cells could help achieve!

I have a dear friend who is expecting her 4th baby right now. I would give anything to be able to give her Cord Blood Banking for her baby.

Here is some more information on Cryo-Cell:
Since 1992, Cryo-Cell has helped over 175,000 families worldwide preserve their newborn’s umbilical cord blood for potential use against many diseases. Along with cord blood banking, Cryo-Cell Cord Blood Bank is pioneering the way in research, to find more solutions to preserve stem cells in a noncontroversial way. Cord blood is just the first step in new medical advancements.

You have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve your baby’s cord blood, trust it to the experts at Cryo-Cell Cord Blood Bank.

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