Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.





"Should auld acquaintances be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintances be forgot and auld lang syne?"
~ Robert Burns


Till Next Time,
Monique





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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.


"And behold an angle of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear.
And the angel sand to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people:
For, this day, is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David."

        Luke 2: 9-11

Merry Christmas!



Till Next Time,
Monique


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Friday, December 14, 2018

Traveling Wisemen Adventures

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.


Once again this year, our family will be following the adventures of the Traveling Wisemen! For the past 3 years, the kids have searched and searched every morning for these wandering little men. Some days they are easy to find, while other days they are rather hard to spot. The kids have even found them playing games or stuck in a tricky spot hanging on by just a thin thread. No matter where they are, we always know that they won't stop until they find the Baby Jesus on the Epiphany. 


If you're not familiar with the Traveling Wise Men, let me explain it a little for you. 
First, I started doing this after I saw the idea as an alternative to Elf on the Shelf. As Catholics, Advent and Christmas is supposed to be focused on Jesus.....not Santa. I loved the idea of bringing more attention to the real meaning of Christmas.You know the old saying "Jesus is the reason for the season!"
So during Advent and Christmas all the way through until the Epiphany, I (with help from dad sometimes) hide the three wise men around the house. Balthazar, Melchior, Caspar, and Beth the Camel ( my kids named her) have been known to hang off of the ceiling fan, play a quick games of scrabble, get tangled in garland, or stop by the kitchen for a bite to eat.
Their travels take them far and near.



              

Our set is a little different since we've had ours a few years now. It looks like they updated the outfits the wisemen wear. The sets are sold separately and do contain small pieces. They may not be suitable for younger children. I love how the Playmobil wisemen are pose-able. It makes hiding the a little easier. You can have them doing things. You can pose them like they are in action! These are courageous and adventurous men!
If you have younger kids, you could easily use the Fisher Price Nativity set. 

Want to join in on the fun and need a few ideas?
Just check out last years posts about the Traveling Wisemen Adventures!
If you do join in on the fun and blog, be sure to link up with Jennifer's Wisemen Adventures over at Catholic Inspired!
I promise your kids will love it!
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Friday, December 7, 2018

Review~ Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women from Zondervan



Growing in their faith is an important part of my children's daily life. I was thrilled when Therese and I were given the chance to review Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women from Zondervan


This beautiful new book is a wonderful way for young women to grow deeper in their faith. As Christians there is nothing more important than bringing our daughters closer to God.





Zondervan is leader in the Bible publishing world. They offer a variety of Bibles and various other Christian books. They help Christians grow deeper in their faith by offering Bibles, books, curricula, academic resources, and digital resources. Their online store offers something for everyone. Buyers can find materials for children, teens, and adults. 



Beloved: 365 Devotionals is a beautiful book! I was shocked when Therese and I opened the box when it arrived in the mail. I was expecting a simple, soft cover book, instead I was greeted with a colorful hardcover book. The colors are stunning! The book itself is over 371 pages. There are 365 days for the young women to read through. Each day, young women are given a Bible verse and a few paragraphs to learn more about their faith and themselves. The book comes with a beautiful burgundy ribbon to keep the readers place. This stunning faith devotional will inspire them with positive role models from the Bible. Each day will help these young women face the pressures and changes they face every day. Whether they are worldly or spiritual pressures, this gorgeous book will help them along their journey.


How Did We Use Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women?

For this review, we received a physical copy of Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women from Zondervan. The hardback book costs $15.99. It would make a beautiful gift for a special young woman in your life. 


 I briefly looked over the book to see how it was laid out and then I gladly handed it over to Therese for her to read. At 13, I felt she was capable of reading the book on her own. After a few days, I asked her what she thought. She said it was a pretty good book. She felt it was easy to read and to understand. The Bible verse and lesson were fairly short, so it could be easily read before her start of the day or at bedtime. I figured once she was done, I'd read it for myself. It would be great to have a book for moms just like it!


We're His daughters. 
Valued. Adored. Cherished. Beloved.




What Did We Think of Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women?

First off, I have to repeat how beautiful the book is. I love how the book is hardback. It will last for years. It can be reread again and again. Therese could easily hold onto it and pass it down to her daughters. 


The days are broken up into short Bible verses and lessons. We both loved how the lessons were easy and simple to read. Young women can easily find 15-20 minutes each day to go through the book. Sitting down in the morning with a warm cup of tea, after praying the rosary, comes to mind. 

I loved how the book started with day 1 instead of an actual date. I've read books in the past like this, but they started on January 1st. I hate starting a book in the middle of it. The fact that this book starts with day 1 allows it to be given anytime during the year. No matter when the reader receives the book, they can immediately jump in and start growing deeper in their faith. 



Since I haven't read the book, I can't really commit on what has been presented in it. I did read the introduction and was glad to see how the book mentions the struggles young women face today. They are bombard with a variety of messages that often contradict each other. How are young women to know what they are to do? I love how this devotional's focus is on what God wants, not what society thinks is important! 



So far Therese has enjoyed reading the book. She did come across one thing that contradicted our Catholic faith. She read that Eve alone above all women lived without sin for awhile (day 7). As Catholics, we believe Mary were born without sin. If she was younger this would have concerned me more, but she came to me and mentioned it. She knew that this was not what we believed and immediately realized it was a mistake. This helped me realize that she has a strong understanding of her Catholic faith. Therese loves how the book references all the strong women from the Bible. I'd love to find a book like this about all the strong female saints the Catholic Church has. Putting two books together like that would be a fantastic way to encourage growth and strength in her faith.

Overall, we both felt that this is a wonderful book to help strengthen the faith of young women today. It's a beautiful book filled with lots of inspiration and guidance. It provides young women with 20 minutes of beauty a day with God in a world filled with so much.

Learn more about Beloved and Zondervan.....


Be sure to read what the other ladies had to say about Beloved:365 Devotions for Young Women!
Just click the link below....



Till Next Time,
Monique









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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Review~ Master Kitz The Starry Night from Kidzaw.com


Review- Kidzaw.com


Kidzaw.com allows students to create a masterpiece with Master Kitz The Starry Night. This wonderful kit gives students of all ages a chance to create their own work of art!



Who is Kidzaw.com?

Kidzaw.com is a children's art company. Their slogan is Learn, Create, Share. Their goal is to educate and inspire young aspiring artists. They currently offer a variety of products that expose students to master artists and  art history while having fun. 
They currently offer....

On-the Go Kits
Art-on-the-Go
Color-on-the-Go

Masterkitz
The Starry Night- Vincent Van Gogh
Water Lilies- Claude Monet
Sunflowers- Vincent Van Gogh
The Tree of Life- Gustav Klimt
Black Lines- Wassily Kandinsky
Flower Myth- Paul Klee
Atelier Rouge- Henri Matisse
The Great Wave- Katsushika Hokusai

Mastersculpz
Let's Explore-Cubism!
Let's Explore- Surrealism! 

and 

Art Party 
(a fun lesson for up to 12 students)
Water Lilies- Claude Monet

Students will get to explore the world of artists and be able to try their hand at a variety of art techniques. For this review, we received the Master Kitz The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. 




What is the Master Kitz The Starry Night?

It's an all-in-one box filled with an art project to complete. The kits are geared for students of all ages, from 5 to 105 the box says. The box contains materials for 2 projects or materials for two students. It's all how you look at. Most of the materials are reusable. You can easily buy more paper, paint, and pastels if you run out. 



What is Included in the Master Kitz The Starry Night?



A Reusable Artist's Tool Box (every artist needs a place to store their supplies)
3 Custom Paint Colors
Custom van Gogh Paint Roller
5 Quality Oil Pastels
2 Pieces of Deluxe Paper
Composition Stencil
Sponge Roller
Star Mask Sticker Sheet
Easy-to-Follow Instruction (5 different languages)
Learning Materials about Van Gogh






What Did We Think of Master Kitz The Starry Night?

I really, really wanted to love this product. It seemed like a fantastic way to introduce a young child to the wonderful world of art. Sadly, it fell short of my expectations. For me, it was too basic and didn't really teach the child the technique the artist used. The bright blue paint was off to me. It was too bright. The oil pastels were more like crayons and did not blend well like higher quality oil pastels. Over the years, the kids and I had used professional art supplies so we may have gotten a little picky. The stickers for the stars peeled my paper and where tricky to get off. The stencil stuck to my paint and peeled some of the paint off. I'd wait a few minutes before using the stencil. Allowing the blue paint to dry some may avoid this. I'd also recommend using cream paper to help students create a more stunning master piece. 

Even with all of my personal complaints, I still feel that Master Kitz The Starry Night is a great way for younger kids to be introduced to Vincent Van Gogh.  For the price, this kit is a great way to introduce younger kids to art. I personally would recommend this for students 12 and under. If I wanted just a fun art project for my young children to do then this would definitely fit the bill.  However for older students or students who excel in the arts, this product would probably not be a good fit.





So here are my final thoughts....

Pros
Comes with everything you need (All-in-One)
Simple, easy instructions
Let's little ones create their own artwork
Great for non-artistic parents to help teach art
Price

Cons
Oil Pastels are too waxy
Blue paint is the wrong shade
Doesn't teach the actual technique that Van Gogh used
Not challenging for older students
Instructions are not as detailed- I'd recommend waiting for the blue paint to dry some before adding the stencil

As a art major, I thought this was a great way to introduce young students to a famous artist. It allows them to learn about a particular artist. This would be a wonderful addition, for moms who are creatively challenged, to add to their homeschooling curriculum. Over the years, I have taught art at numerous co-ops and have heard plenty of kids say they never get to do art because their moms are not good at it (or they don't like the mess...gasp!).  This product solves that dilemma. 
It would also be a fun project for kids to do on a rainy day.




Therese's Thoughts

She felt the instructions were easy to understand. She thought the stencil was kind of nice, especially if you are not artistic. She claims to be not artistic, but I think she doubts herself too much!
She said the white paint needed to be done after a few minutes of allowing the blue paint to dry.
She hated the oil pastels and thought more colors should have been included. She ended up using our own. She would recommend this for students in 5th grade and younger.


Learn more about Kidzaw....



Want to see some more amazing works of art?
Click below and you can see all the masterpieces created with Master Kitz The Starry Night.




Till Next Time,
Monique




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Monday, November 5, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday~ November 5, 2018

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.





Good Morning and Happy November! Welcome to another edition of Happy Homemaker Monday. Be sure to visit Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom! I love seeing all her knitting creations. I tell myself all the time, I'm going to teach myself, but I just never get around to it. One of these days.

It seems like the leaves have finally changed color here and immediately started to fall of. We've had a rather warm fall, so last week's cooler temperatures and winds changed the scenery around here. It was beautiful to finally see the bright oranges, yellows, and reds. Now after the winds, the trees are slightly bare and it looks like fall has finally arrived!





The Weather~
Today is overcast and dreary out. It was pouring down rain this morning and now has lightened up a little. They are calling for rain all day today and tomorrow. I really want a few weeks without rain. We've had just too much this summer!

What's for Breakfast~
Coffee and coffee. I did eat a dark chocolate cashew bar before we started school. My stomach has been bothering me when I eat, so I'm trying to see what the culprit is. Since, I'm already gluten free, I'm trying to see if it's now dairy.



As I Look Out Our Bay Window~
As I sit here looking out our bay window, I see orange leavers fluttering to the ground. The ground is now covered with an orange and yellow blanket of leaves. Oddly, I see a hand full of squirrels scampering about searching for more acorns to bury. They don't seem to mind the rain that much.

Right Now I Am~
I am grading papers and lessons for the kids. So far, Michael and Therese are doing well in school. We've had a few hiccups along the way, but overall this year's lessons are working out well.

As I Look Around the House~
It's crazy around here. Boxes are everywhere! We are currently remodeling our kitchen and the house is a disaster. We have no sink or appliances in the kitchen at the moment. Cooking has been a challenge. We've been relying on the grill, the toaster oven, a hot plate, and my Instant Pot. We should have a partially working kitchen by this Friday and I am going to be doing a happy dance. Let me tell you, it's hard to wash the dishes in your bathroom sink!


On Today's To Do List~
Laundry
Putting clothes away
Cleaning up dust from the drywall work



What I'm Reading~
I just finished reading The Cafe by the Sea by  Jenny Colgan. It's a charming tale about a young woman named Flora, who fled Scotland years ago and now has returned home. She slowly discovers herself.



What's on the Menu This Week~
Sunday~ Fish sticks and Chips
Monday~ Burgers on the grill and Homemade Mac n' Cheese
Tuesday~ Chicken Fried Rice
Wednesday~ Crock Pot Taco Chicken
Thursday~ Spaghetti and Meatballs
Friday~ Meatloaf and mashed Potatoes
What yummy goodness to you have been for the week?


I'm off to teach math. Hope you all have a wonderful week!


Till Next Time,
Monique


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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Friday, November 2, 2018

All Soul's Day



“Eternal Father,
I offer You the most precious blood
of thy Divine Son, Jesus,
in union with the Masses said
throughout the world today,
for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory,
for sinners everywhere,
for sinners in the universal Church,
for those in my own home,
and in my family. 
Amen.”

~Saint Gertrude the Great






Till Next Time,
Monique

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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Review~ Balancing Diapers and Deadlines from Lisa Tanner Writing



Recently, I was given the opportunity to review Balancing Diapers and Deadlines from Lisa Tanner Writing. Lisa is a fellow crew member, so it was exciting to review this course! It's always nice to see what the other ladies are doing.


Lisa Tanner is a homeschooling mom to eight children. She launched her own freelance writing and virtual assistant business. Using her own experiences, she created this online course for other moms trying to figure out how to run a business while keeping down the fort at home. It's not easy, but Lisa has figured out ways to make it work. Are you ready to learn more about the course?



Balancing Diapers and Deadlines is an online course for momprenuers. The course gives moms all the best tips that have been tested by Lisa herself. The course contains eight units with over 30 lessons that are broken down for the reader. This allows the reader to make simple, baby steps towards change. Simple and easy...isn't that every mom's motto?

Unit 1~ Welcome to Balancing Diapers and Deadlines
Unit 2~ Building your Foundation with the Basics
Section 3~ Minimize your Decisions
Unit 4~ Minimize your Decisions: The Annual Meal Plan
Unit 5~ Substantial Growth
Unit 6~ Growing your Business with Kids Around
Unit 7~ Boost your Productivity
Unit 8~ Closing

Unit 1  welcomes readers and thanks them for their purchase. Lisa introduces herself and explains how and why she came about with her online course.

Unit 2 goes into all the details you need to get started. Lisa discusses how to get your family on board with your business goals. She then leads readers through a journey on how to create a flexible schedule, making plans, and how to adjust your plan when your day doesn't go as planned. As a mom we never have that happen right?

Unit 3 digs a little deeper into planning your days. Lisa talks about how to make time for the kids and all those lovely household chores we moms have. We all know the ones....laundry, cleaning, meal planning, errands, etc. The list never ends. Lisa encourages moms to make a plan and get the kids involved. Many hands make light work. I have to thank Lisa for pointing out the delay feature on the washing machine. I had no clue it was there! 

Unit 4 is all about meal planning. I completely understand why she made this its own unit. If meals are not planed out well, the family ends up eating cereal for dinner. Not that I know that from experience. Lisa talks about planning breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. All of it is planned. She even takes it one step further and suggests planning the whole ENTIRE year out. Shopping list included. Intriguing isn't? Thankfully she provides numerous downloads to help us moms figure out what it looks like, how it works, and just what to do to get an entire year's meal plan figured out. I have to admit I've planned dinners for a month, but it never crossed my mind to do all the meals for the whole year. It does seems a little crazy at first, but I have say it sounds appealing. No panicking and no headaches trying to figure out last minute meals.

Unit 5 is the unit I think all moms need to read whether you have a business or not. In this unit, Lisa talks about getting enough sleep, craving out some me time (and not feeling selfish about it), being creative, and finally setting boundaries. 

Unit 6 talks about how to do all of this while the kids are at home. Lisa breaks this unit down into lessons focusing on certain age groups: Littles (0-5), Middles (5-10), and Bigs (11-18). With each age range come unique challenges. I loved how she mentions getting the kids involved in your business. Not only does it show great work ethic, but might encourage kids to venture out and start their own business with the help of their parents. She also discusses how to encourage family writing time and how it can generate 2.5 hours a week to put into your business. It's the little things that count and add up!

Unit 7 deals with boosting your productivity and how to make the most of your day. Obviously starting and ending your days well are important, but so are all those spare minutes that we tend to waist throughout the day. It's like that old saying "A penny saved is a penny earned." If we are prepared and ready to go, we save valuable time and in the end have more time with our children. We've all had days when things are not planned put well and everything goes down the drain. For many of us, we get stressed and blow our tops. The advice Lisa offers helps us avoid this eruption (at least most of the time).

Finally Unit 8 is the end of the course. Here Lisa offers a few more words of wisdom and an offer to email her if you have any questions. I love how she stresses that we have to fail sometimes. Not everything is going to go perfectly all the time. It's O.K. to fail sometimes. It helps us learn and grow. Who knows, maybe a failure will turn into a huge success!

What Did I think about Balancing Diapers and Deadlines?

First off, don't let the title fool you. It's not all about diapers. Moms with Middles and Bigs will learn a lot too. Lisa offers a wealth of information that any mom with eight kids would have. I've always enjoyed learning from other moms. They can offer ideas and suggestions that we might not have thought off.  I think of it as a business meeting for moms. We are technically running our own little companies.

I will admit the whole year meal plan was shocking to me, yet it intrigued me at the same time. Wouldn't it be nice not to plan every week or month. You do it once with the help of the kiddos and boom you're done for a year! It would same time, money, and countless days of frustration. I'me forever realizing that I forgot about dinner at 2:00 in the afternoon. This would stop that mad rush to figure something out. Currently, we are working on a kitchen remodel so our kitchen is non-existent. The Instantpot has been our best friend lately. I can't wait to get into my new kitchen and plan away. I'll probably start with 6 months of meal planning. A year still feels a little daunting to me!.

I found the course easy to understand, simple to follow, and more importantly doable. Lisa doesn't offer moms any crazy ideas that seem far-fetched. They are ideas she has used herself, put into place, and proven that they are successful. The course is perfect for moms of all ages and stages of life. You can work through it at your own pace and use the information provided if it works for you. I love how Lisa stresses the point to find what works best for you own family. She wants to make you life easier not more challenging.


Find out more....





Still interested in learning more about this online course?
Be sure to read more about Balancing Diapers and Deadlines....











Till Next Time,
Monique






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