Wednesday, October 31, 2012

American Girl Doll Giveaway -The Pitch List

Celebrate 'The Little Girl' in all of us
with The Pitch List Members as we giveaway a
$150 Gift Card to
for one lucky follower!
American Girl celebrates girls and all that they can be. With themed Dolls that help girls grow up in a wholesome way, as well as, encouraging them to enjoy girlhood through fun and enchanting play.

As a young girl I loved reading the books.  I would have loved a doll and would love a chance to get one for each of my girls!

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A Thousand Sleepless Nights -Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Thousand Sleepless Nights
Realms (October 16, 2012)
Michael King


When Mike Dellosso won a one-year battle with colon cancer he set out to help readers of his books discover it before they had to go through what he experienced.

“I want others to avoid what I had to go through,” he says. “It was an experience that taught me a lot about myself, others, and God, but one I wouldn’t want to repeat. If I can help even one person battling this disease, it would have been worth it.”

Mike set about writing a novel quite different from what his fan base had come to expect from him. Not a thriller, but a character-driven novel, so he wrote it under a pen name, Michael King, and entitled it A Thousand Sleepless Nights. His publisher, Charisma Media, went for it and the first copies went on sale in October.

Mike’s next step was to determine whether a partnership between him, Charisma Media, and the Colon Cancer Alliance was possible. This month both announced their cooperative fundraising venture, with Charisma Media making a significant contribution to CCA and Mike committing a portion of the proceeds from the book through December to CCA.

Speaking about A Thousand Sleepless Nights Mike says, “I want people to see colon cancer (and all the other cancers) for the monster it is, but also to show it does not need to defeat us. There is hope, there is strength, and there is courage and love. And though cancer may rob us of our physical vitality, it has no power over our spirit.”


In the 1970s, escaping a home where he knew nothing but violence and hate, Jim Harding found work, and love, on the largest horse ranch in Virginia. The object of his affections, Nena St. Claire, is the daughter of the owner—a man who ruled his ranch with an iron fist and would do whatever it took to keep Nena and Jim apart.

Against the wishes of her family, Nena marries Jim, and after her father dies, she sacrifices everything—including her family—to keep the ranch alive. Now their three grown children have lives of their own and want nothing to do with Nena. She was never the mother they needed.

When cancer strikes and Nena is given a devastating diagnosis, can Jim reconcile the family before it is too late?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Thousand Sleepless Nights, go HERE.

My thoughts:  This book is full of raw emotions.  I was saddened, I cried, I filled with joy, I rejoiced.  Yeap this book is really good and will make you question all the decisions you've made as a parent or help you to realize what type of parent you want to be when you become one.  I loved the book and recommend everyone read it.

I received a copy of this for free to read as part of the CFBA. However, all opinions in this post are mine and not influenced by others. I was not compensated in anyway for this review other than a copy of the book

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Beloved Books, Sugar Creek Gang Cd's Review -TOS

Beloved Books produces many audiobooks(stories) for the listeners "reading" pleasure.  I was privileged to get to review Volume 1 of the Sugar Creek Gang Series. A 12 cd compilation, it includes six stories:
The Swamp Robber
The Killer Bear
The Winter Rescue
The Lost Campers
Chicago Adventure
The Secret Hideout


Written by Paul Hutchens, the first Sugar Creek Gang book was published in 1939.  His lifelong sport of choice was fishing which is evident in the stories in the first chapter!  Several years ago(but long after they were written) another Paul came to be with the stories.  Paul Ramseyer is the voice on the Audiobooks.  He narrated 36 books onto cd for our listening pleasure.  And it is a real pleasure to listen to him read.  He has a wonderful voice that keeps you enthralled and spellbound. 

Lucas and Mariah listening away.

My kids love these stories. I must admit that we have done other "books on tape" with them so they're used to sitting and listening and not having to see the story in a movie form.  I long ago realized I did not want my children to be couch potatoes or addicted to television.  So, while we do have a television we only use it for the occassional movie or educational show.  We do not have cable or any other kind of hookup for it, so only the VCR and DVD players can get it to work.  I am thankful for this as my kids love to read and love to listen to stories.

Audry, naked baby Fionna, and Zyera listening

The stories are told from the viewpoint of a young boy named Bill Collins.  He and his gang, members Poetry, Circus, Big Jim, Little Jim, and Dragonfly have many adventures and narrow escapes!  The narrator has just the right voice to bring them all to life and keep you on the edge of your seat! These stories have great ethics and promote good Christian values.  I love that they honor obedience to your parents and encourage kids to do what is right.

Patrick and Bridgett listening to the story

We are planning a trip to the zoo soon as a birthday present/school field trip and the kids have already informed me that we're listening to these books on the way.  It's a 2 hour drive one way so I'm sure we'll get through quite a bit.  Of course, their daddy doesn't get to go with us so we'll have to relisten to the stories he missed with him later.  He loved reading the Sugar Creek Gang books when he was young and I think he loves listening to them more than the kids do!

Colin being his normal hammy self.

You can purchase all 36 books through Beloved Books or just purchase one volume or even just the first storyVolume 1(which we reviewed) is $54.95 with free media rate shipping. 

Check out the reviews of other TOS bloggers by going to The Crew posting.  I find it fun to read the other reviews and see what everyone else thought of the items. 

For an extra special treat enter SUGARCREEKGANG-20 when you check out for 20 % off your order!  This code does not expire so use it again and again!!

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

My opinion has not been influenced or altered in anyway by the company and only includes my honest thoughts on the product.
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Samson's Classroom Review -TOS

My kids have been begging us to let them work with the computer recently and so when I was offered an opportunity to review Samson's Classroom with The Old Schoolhouse Crew I jumped at it!!  Up until now my kids had not used video games or computer games or really even used a computer at all.  I'm sure this will be evident in the picture of my 7 year old pecking away to spell her words!

Bridgett pecking out her spelling words.

A bit about Samson's Classroom.  Samson's Classroom is an online program designed to help children excel in language arts.  It has three sections for children to use- spelling, sight words, and reading.  This program is unique in that it is designed to be used either at home(by homeschoolers or as extra study for public schoolers) or in the classroom.  I really like the fact that I can import my spelling lists into the kids spelling section or use the prechosen spelling lists.  We decided to use theirs and ours(yeap my kids wanted EXTRA schoolwork to do)!  The program is varied enough that it can be used from Kindergarten through 5th grade. 

Patrick listening to the sight words. 
Colin is the pouting one because he's not getting to do it yet.
Patrick does really well with the sight words.
All the kids beg for more time to do this and I know they'll be dissapointed when they finish!

The sight word portion contains the 224 most commonly used words in the English language.  These are words that our children shouldn't have to sound out, but should just be able to recognize.  I have used this with ALL of my children.  They will all come stand beside me while I sit at the computer and we all look at the word, say the word, and spell the word while I run the computer portion.  Now even my two 4 year olds can pick out these simple words in their books!

The first part of the sight words is seeing and hearing them.

They even have a cute checklist which shows what they've mastered.  Just a note, my camera puts the time and day of download so sorry for them all being off.  Bridgett now has the whole page in checkmarks!

The spelling portion has premade spelling lists containing an assortment of 5000 words appropriate for each grade level or as I mentioned before you can add your own lists.  With the spelling lists you also have a variety of levels and skills that it teaches you besides the basics of just spelling the words.

We loved the spelling with keeping him out of the ice water!

All done!

The reading portion is the part that my kids struggled with the most.  It helps with reading comprehension.  The kids are given a section of a story to read and then answer questions.  We found that we were taking a very long time to read the story.  My kids once again have not used a computer much and really struggled with reading without being able to put their finger under the word or use their rulers.  They did excellent through with answering the questions and I was very encouraged by how much of the story they could repeat back. 

The reading took us the longest, but was still fun!

If you are the teacher you also have access to worksheets, lesson plans, and other assorted pages to print and use with your children in conjunction with the program. 

You can purchase an online account with Samson's Classroom for $30 per year for an individual, $50 per year for a family(4 users), and a classroom account(up to 30 users) for $80 per year.  If you visit their website you have access to a free video demo as well that really gives you a feel for the program. 

Please go over to The Crew Post and check out all the other blogs who have had the chance to review Samson's Classroom and read what their thoughts on the program were.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.
My opinion has not been influenced or altered in anyway by the company and only includes my honest thoughts on the product.
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Beyond the Storm -Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Beyond the Storm
Abingdon Press (October 2012)
Carolyn Zane


Author of 35 books, wife, mother and yes…hot (flasher) lives with her fabulous husband, Matt and their 5 children and 3 dogs in the scenic Willamette Valley in Oregon. When asked to describe her family, Carolyn likens her crowd to the Brangelia Bunch saying modestly, “Only we’re better looking.” Right now,Carolyn is back in the saddle with her new title: Beyond The Storm, coming out in October 2012! In the mean time, be sure to catch her on the critically acclaimed TOOHOTMAMAS Blog where Carolyn and Wendy tackle Marriage, motherhood and menopause: How to do all three and stay out of prison! They are hilarious! You'll wet yourself, guaranteed! Visit them at:


After a tornado rips through her town, store owner Abigail comes across a piece of fabric from a wedding dress among the devastation. Abigail is moved to start collecting other swatches of fabric she finds – her neighbor’s kitchen curtains, a man’s necktie, a dog’s bed – which she stashes in shopping bags. As she pursues her seemingly absurd quest, horrible realities spark the question, “What kind of a God would allow such tragedy?”

As she struggles to reconcile her right to happiness amidst the destruction, Abigail begins piecing together a patchwork quilt from the salvaged fabric in hopes it will bring some peace. But a new relationship with Justin, a contractor, may require too much of her fragile heart. Will her pain and questions of faith give way to the courage to love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Beyond the Storm, go HERE.

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book.  I was sorry with part of the ending, but it really did complete the story.  I felt myself identifying with several of the characters and hoping that I never have to identify with others.  As someone who lives in Tornado Alley, it seems like too many people are becoming "lazy" about storm preparations.  We need to make sure we're ready for what may come!

I received a copy of this for free to read as part of the CFBA. However, all opinions in this post are mine and not influenced by others. I was not compensated in anyway for this review other than a copy of the book

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Dog Costume Contest!!

Halloween Time


Doggie Costume Time!

Who has the cutest dog in their costume?
We know they're all cute, but we want to find the absolute cutest!!

For Him and My Family is hosting a

Halloween Dog Photo Costume Contest

One Lucky Winner

will receive a

$25 Target Gift Card.

Requirements: Your dog must be in their Halloween costume, the picture can be from this year, last year, or any year, but the dog must belong to you.

How to submit your pic: Email your picture of your dog in their Halloween Costume to  .... In the subject line type "Halloween Dog Photo Contest
Make sure to include the correct subject line or it might be deleted or go to spam!!


Post your picture of your dog in their Halloween costume on your blog. Then come here and write a blog comment that includes your name and your blog direct link to the picture post.

Contest:A panel of judges will select the winner. That winner and their prize winning entry will be announced on here, November 2 for all to see.

All participants in this, and other blog hosted photo contests will advance to The Big Event Halloween Dog Photo Contest hosted by where one lucky winner and their pooch will win a $500 Target Gift Card.
All participating photos will be featured in a special Halloween Gallery where viewers may comment and vote for their favorite hound. Participants may promote their own dog or their favorite dog by sharing links on their Facebook, Twitter or wherever they need to do to get people to vote for their hound.

The participant with the most votes by 8pm EST on November 12th, 2012 will be declared the winner!!
Make sure to go HERE to enter your Dog into The Big Event Halloween Dog Photo Contest hosted by where one lucky winner and their pooch will win a $500 Target Gift Card.
Disclosure: For Him and My Family is one of many host blogs in the Dog Fence DIY 2012 Halloween Dog Photo Contest. I received a $25 Target card as a hostess gift for participation. You are only allowed to win one $25 target Card from Dog Fence DIY.

Entry #1
Lydia's Bonnie
Pet Costumes 2012 021.JPG
Bonnie Boo Boo (Honey Boo Boo)
Entry #2
Lydia's Clyde as Baby
Pet Costumes 2012 053.JPG

Entry #3
Kate's Lhasa Apso Kibo
Kibo Halloween costume.jpg
cute little pumpkin
Entry #4
Meredith's Brody

Entry #5
Cocoa dressed as a pumpkin by Mary F.
Ahh look at that smile!!

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Crossbow Reading Rulers Review -TOS

I recently got the chance to review some lovely reading rulers from Crossbow.  I had never used them before myself or with my kiddos.  My kids immediately loved the colors that we received and wanted to start using them.  Of course they are beginning readers and wanted to use them upside down so we had to show them how to properly place them over the words on the page.  Once they got the hang of it they were off!

The lovely rulers we received.

Close up of one of the rulers.
 Crossbow Rulers are marketed through the Crossbow Education website along with other products including sand timers and colored overlays.  They specialize in reading aids for children with dyslexia and visual stress issues.  Over 40% of schools in the UK use their reading rulers.  I recently had the chance to talk with my cousin who lives in England and is a teacher(of math not reading, but still).  When I asked her about them she did say that her girls used them when they were in primary school!
Even our youngest at not quite 2 really loved these.  She'd point out the A's on her page through it.
 We received the 10 pack of duo window eye level readers in multicolor to try out.  Each of my children ended up with a special color that they preferred.  It was interesting to see whether they chose the color that is their favorite or one that actually seemed to help them read and see better. 

At 4 he's not reading yet but he loved picking out letters in his book with his.
 The multi pack included 10 colors including yellow, celery, grass, jade, aqua, sky, purple, magenta, pink & orange.  The rulers are recommended for all ages and as you can see from the pictures my children ages not quite 2 up to almost 8 absolutely loved them.  The reading rulers are 2.75 inches wide by 8 inches long.  There is a small reading window used for one line at a time on top and a wider window on the bottom for more advanced readers who stay on focus better.  The 10 pack of rulers sells for $16.95 on the Crossbow website. 

Showing how lower level readers use the ruler.

Sorry for the picture but showing my just starting youngest reader using his.
 As my children age the rulers can age with them.  They can easily move from using the top smaller window to using the larger bottom window to read a paragraph at a time.  Young readers, especially those with dyslexia, have trouble learning to focus on only one word and then one line at a time.   They also have trouble with reading from left to right.  These rulers help them to focus on only what they are reading. 
Our oldest at 7 is showing signs of dyslexia.  She loved reading with these and seemed to have less troubles.
 Did I mention these are small and easily can go with you where ever you go?  My kiddos were using them as their book marks as well which I thought was a very good idea!

Hmm, it twisted my picture, but again showing how we use them.
 Our thoughts on this product are simple.  We loved it!  Each of my children was thrilled with reading through the colors.  They actually sat and focused on their reading and for the most part did very well reading with their rulers.  I think we will most likely continue to use the rulers for years.  Each child has latched onto their favorite ruler and uses it for their personal reading as well as school reading.  At night it is not uncommon for me to find their rulers either under their pillow or on their dresser where they can easily access them when they wake up!

I love that my children are all excited about reading and doing so well with the rulers! 

Patrick loved the blue ruler for his reading books.
You can read other reviews from member of the Crew by visiting the Crew webpage.  It also contains some additional information on the Crossbow Rulers and the Crossbow company as well as links to all the different reviews. 

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine. 
My opinion has not been influenced or altered in anyway by the company and only includes my honest thoughts on the product.
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BluApple Review and Giveaway- The Pitch List

We eat produce like nothing else here.  My kids love fruit!  I purchase most of my fruit(apples, oranges, pears) through Azure Standard in bulk.  So I often come home with a 20lb or more box of each.  Sometimes part of that will go bad before the kids can eat it which makes me a little upset as it's organic fruit and at a really good price.

I recently tried out a great product to help increase the life of our fruit called bluapple.  Bluapple works by absorbing the chemicals that produce let off that control their ripening.  I tried this out by placing one bluapple in a drawer with oranges.  Not just a few oranges, but as many as I could cram in there!  You can see the pictures below.  I did not take a before picture of my oranges, but took the picture today.  These oranges are over a month old.  And yes it was hard to keep my kids out of them, but I allowed them to eat the ones that didn't fit into that drawer!

pretty neat little things

holes in the top

holes in the bottom

after a month my oranges still look fresh and perfect!
I was provided with this product in conjunction with the Pitch List in order to do this review.  You may enter below on the rafflecopter to win a set of bluapples for yourself.  All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in anyway or form. 
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Accidentally Amish -Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Accidentally Amish
Barbour Books (October 1, 2012)
Olivia Newport


A Word From The Author:

I’m imagining you. You walk past as I water my front flowerbeds and we wave. You check the time as we both stand in a long line at the grocery store. You sit in front of me in church. I’m at my table in the coffee shop and you’re at yours.

We may smile politely and move on with our separate lives. Or one of us may speak, a simple invitation to conversation, and the words flow between us.

Here the adventure begins. When we meet someone new, we never know where it might lead.

I’ve been married for over thirty years and have two twenty-something kids. We live in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where the day lilies in my back yard grow as tall as I am. (No short jokes, please.)

Not every piece of my life is pretty, though. Some days I want to throw out whole chunks. But I am living each day looking for the grace of God to me, in me, and through me. Having your companionship along the way will help uncover a lot of great stories.

Thanks for stopping by my site, where conversations and adventures begin with a click. I hope we’ll run into each other often.


Escape the helter-skelter of the modern culture and join software creator Annie Friesen, hiding at the home of an Amishman. With her high-tech career in jeopardy, Annie runs from fast-paced Colorado Springs—and straight into the hospitality of San Luis Valley’s Amish community. There she meets cabinetmaker Rufus Beiler, and the more time she spends with him, the more attracted she becomes. When Annie finds she shares a common ancestor with Rufus, she feels both cultures colliding within her. But is her love for Rufus strong enough for her to give up the only life she’s ever known?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Accidentally Amish, go HERE.

My thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book.  I am waiting rather impatiently for the next one to come out.  I loved how the characters found themselves and solved their problems along the way.  I laughed quite a bit while reading this book.  I also read it in pretty much one setting. . .

I received a copy of this for free to read as part of the CFBA. However, all opinions in this post are mine and not influenced by others. I was not compensated in anyway for this review other than a copy of the book

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Treasure Hunt #5

Our final treasure hunt was for an item that my kids love!  This is better according to them than the candy was.  What is it you might ask?  Stickers of course!  My kids love stickers.  These stickers were hidden in the stove in our garage near where the kitties play!

Waiting to go into the garage.

The last treasure.

Hmm, what could it be?

Wow look at all those stickers!

Activities too!

She chose this set.

And had to show it off, plus how cute is she!!
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