Monday, December 16, 2013

Yellow Pages Prize Pack QUICK Giveaway!! (12/18)

*Disclosure: The following information, and giveaway, was provided to me to share with my readers in promotion of Yellow Pages. I was not compensated in any way.
Do you love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from knocking out your to-do list? You must be a Doer!
YP is the one site and one app for people who wear busy as a badge of honor. Within seconds you can find a hardware store, gardener, limousine service, dentist or bounce house for your child’s birthday party. Search 18 million business listings as fast as you can tap.
But the big question is… do you DO the holidays right? YP has created a fun quiz to help you find out, and learn some fun facts along the way!


I, personally, like to use YP to find friend's addresses.  Many people aren't listed in our phone books anymore and it's super easy to get on YP.com and get an address.  I just used YP.com recently in sending out Christmas cards!

I can see where YP.com would be useful for several other needs as well, especially if your new to, or traveling to, an unfamiliar area.  Plus, having the YPMobile app dowloaded to your phone would make it super easy to find a place to eat or to look up a hotel's address.

Here are some other benefits to the YPMobile App:
• Ratings, reviews, photos and phone numbers (of course) to help you decide which businesses are right for you
• Thousands of local coupons, deals and discounts from businesses and services near you
• Create personalized collections of your favorite, go-to businesses using My Book
• Find the cheapest gas around with one click
• Search 350,000 menus to find the perfect meal



GIVEAWAY!!

Congratulations to comment #3, latanya t!

One lucky reader will win the following prize pack (pictured above):

• Black Cinch Bag
• Flashlight
• Tape Measure
• Notepads
• Pencils
• USB Car Charger
• Gum

To enter to win, tell me which question or fact from the quiz, in the blog app, is your favorite. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address with the comment, so I can contact you if you're the winner.

Each household is only eligible to win ONE YP Prize Pack via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Extra Entries:(1 extra entry per method. Leave a comment for each.)
*Subscribe to my blog in the upper left hand corner.
*Follow me through Google Friend Connect
*Follow me on twitter.
*Tweet this giveaway and leave the URL in your comment
*Follow me on
Pinterest
*Pin an image from this post to one of your boards
*Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post and let me know which post.

Open to U.S. residents 18 years and older. Giveaway will end Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be chosen shortly after and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Powerocks Magistick Portable Cell Phone Charger

*Disclosure:  I will receive a product for review in exchange for this, and the review, post.  I will not be compensated in any other way.  All opinions are my own.

I don't tend to leave home enough to worry about whether my cell phone will lose it's charge when I'm out and about, but my husband is gone for work, and other circumstances on a regular basis, and has found himself having to turn his phone off to save the battery in case he REALLY needs it!  It's in situations like that, and I'm sure many others, where I can see this new Powerocks Magistick being super handy!

This little Magistick is a portable cell phone charger that is small enough to fit in a pocket, purse or back pack, so there is no need to worry about a cell phone's battery dying.  I can see my husband keeping this in his office at work, or in a coat pocket when he's working outside.  If his cell phone battery is low, he can just plug it in to the Magistick and he'll be good to go!

Some other neat things about the Magistick:
*Charges standard smartphone and other digital devices such as Bluetooth headsets, cameras, GPS, e-readers, and more!
*2800mAh battery capacity provides up to 2 full charges before needing recharging
*Engineered with smart chip technology to prevent damage or over charging
*Fun color assortment for personal style expression..like pink, blue, green, etc.
*Charges as fast as a standard wall charger in an electrical outlet
*Check power status with a push of button

I'm really looking forward to reviewing the Powerocks Magistick for you, my readers, and letting you know what I think.  In the meantime, stop by the Powerocks website and check out the Magistick, as well as their other products.  I can see this being a great gift this Christmas for that person you know who just can't live without their cell phone! ;-)

I'll leave you with this video, so you can get an idea of how useful the Magistick could be:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Blu-ray #MovieMagic GIVEAWAY!! (12/18)

*Disclosure: The following information, and giveaway, was provided to me to share with my readers in promotion of Blu-Ray. I was not compensated in any way.

This Holiday rediscover the #MovieMagic behind your favorite films. Blu-ray offers exclusive special features that put you in the filmmaker’s chair, with a behind-the-scenes access to all of the magic: Special effects, talent interviews, alternative endings, unreleased scenes, bloopers, and more!
With a Blu-ray combo pack, you can enjoy your favorite films in high-definition whenever and wherever you want. You can keep the Blu-ray disc in the living room, DVD in the car, and the digital copy on your phone for when you’re on the move!


Grab your favorite movie lover a Blu-ray this holiday!
Highlights:
• With the combo pack you can take your favorite films wherever you go. You can keep the Blu-ray disc in the living room, DVD for the car, and the digital copy on your mobile phone while on the move!
• Blu-ray lets you to watch your favorite movies with unmatched sound and video that is SIX TIMES the quality of DVDs!
• Blu-ray offers the most premium possible in home entertainment experience
• You don’t have to worry about the buffering that happens with streaming videos




GIVEAWAY!!

Congratulations to comment #18, Gianna!

One lucky reader will win one of the following titles (chosen at random from the list below):
• The Little Mermaid - Diamond Edition
• The Lone Ranger
• Monsters University
• Angels Sing
• Rise of The Guardians
• Despicable Me 2
• Turbo
• Grown Ups 2
• Wizard of Oz 3D
• The Wolverine
• Star Trek: Into Darkness
• White House Down
• Fast 6
• Pacific Rim
• After Earth
• Man of Steel
• Red 2
• World War Z
• 2 Guns
• Weeds: The Complete Collection
• Predator 3D
To enter to win, tell me which Blu-ray would YOU love to get this holiday as a stocking stuffer?  Please be sure to leave your e-mail address with the comment, so I can contact you if you're the winner.

Each household is only eligible to win ONE #MovieMagic Title via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Extra Entries:(1 extra entry per method. Leave a comment for each.)
*Subscribe to my blog in the upper left hand corner.
*Follow me through Google Friend Connect
*Follow me on twitter.
*Tweet this giveaway and leave the URL in your comment
*Follow me on
Pinterest
*Pin an image from this post to one of your boards
*Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post and let me know which post.

Open to U.S. residents 18 years and older. Giveaway will end Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be chosen shortly after and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lesson Learned...the Hard Way

Morgan has been looking forward to joining Girl Scouts for a couple years now.  A friend of Morgan's has been in it, in another town a half hour away, for a while and Morgan has been able to hear some of the fun stuff they do.  I had tried to get her into a local troop, but the day they met didn't work out for us at the time. As of last March, she was signed up as an 'at home' Girl Scout, but we never actually took the time to do anything with it.  So, recently, a couple moms decided to start a new troop for her age and we jumped at the opportunity to join!

Last Tuesday would have been Morgan's first meeting but, unfortunately, she was sick with the flu that day.  She said she felt better and could go that night, but she still had a fever at the time of the meeting and we wouldn't let her.  She had been looking forward to doing it for SO LONG that not being able to go brought her to tears.  I felt bad for her as I went to the meeting to get the paperwork all filled out.  I had told a couple moms I knew at the meeting that she was sick and mentioned how much she had wanted to be there...that she was even in tears.....HUGE mistake!

A couple days later, after school, Morgan ran to her room and started crying out of the blue.  When I went in to see what was wrong, she was mad at me because I had told a little girl that she had cried because she couldn't go to Girl Scouts and that girl was telling other girls.  My stomach, and my heart, sank. I knew I had mentioned that Morgan cried, but only to emphasize how much she wanted to be at her first day of Girl Scouts.  I never meant it to be a negative thing about Morgan or her character.  I also really felt for Morgan.  Like me, she tends to be more sensitive, so she was really embarrassed and hurt.

Being the first time I unknowingly embarrassed my daughter, I didn't know what to do but apologize and tell her what was said was never meant to hurt her.  We talked a bit and went into how much it hurt her to have someone talk about her behind her back, or gossip about her, and how we should never say anything bad about anyone to other people because of how hurtful it is.  I also told her that I wasn't sure the girl probably didn't understand that what she did was hurting Morgan's feelings.  (At least I hope the girl didn't understand what she was doing!)

Morgan has another meeting tonight, so I've been thinking more about it.  I plan to talk to Morgan again, before we go, about what the other girl could have done instead of gossip...like tell Morgan that she was glad to see she is in school and feeling better...maybe add that she was sorry that she missed Girl Scouts and let Morgan know what they did for their first meeting.  As bad as I feel that Morgan was embarrassed over something I said, I want her to understand that it could have taken a whole different direction...that something very thoughtful could have happened instead.

I know I learned to watch what I say in front of kids her age.  Although I'm sure the mom understood what I was saying, the daughter must not have.  I hope Morgan learned how gossiping is hurtful and I hope she learns to be thoughtful if a similar situation ever happens to a friend of hers'.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"The Promise" DVD Review & Giveaway!! (12/11)

*Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the following movie in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own.
 
ABOUT THE PROMISE
The Promise: The Birth of the Messiah is an animated musical celebration of one of the most pivotal events in all human history, the birth of Jesus Christ.  This beautifully crafted musical is a faithful adaptation of the birth narrative from the Gospel of Luke in both story and song. The animated production leverages optical motion technology to blend traditional animation techniques with the performance talents of ballet dancers and dramatic stage actors. The result is a unique and worshipful story experience that will inspire audiences young and old for years to come.

 


My Review:
I really enjoy musicals, so watching The Promise was really a delight for me.  The way this movie is presented is really like watching animated characters performing a musical on stage.  Such a beautiful and unique way to see the story of Jesus's birth!

The kids and I watched The Promise after our town's Christmas parade.  We were so cold that we turned on the space heater (no fireplace), cuddled under blankets, and enjoyed hot cocoa and popcorn while watching it.  Morgan and Blake thought it was neat and wished it continued beyond Jesus as a baby.  Blake said he wanted to see what Jesus looked like all grown up...in the movie at least. ;-)

I would highly recommend watching The Promise this Christmas!

Buy It!
The Promise can be purchased through Family Christian Bookstores or amazon.com for $14.99.  The running time is 45 minutes.

To learn more about The Promise, visit any of their following sites:
Website: http://www.gloriousfilms.com/thepromise/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GloriousFilms
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gloriousfilms

GIVEAWAY!

Congratulations to comment #12, tarter95!

One of my readers is going to win their own copy of "The Promise"!

To enter to win, please leave a comment below. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so that I can contact you if you're the winner!

Extra Entries:
(1 extra entry per method. Leave a comment for each.)
*Subscribe to my blog in the upper left hand corner.
*Follow me through Google Friend Connect
*Follow me on
twitter.
*Tweet this giveaway and leave the URL in your comment
*Follow me on
Pinterest
*Pin an image from this post to one of your boards
*Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post and let me know which post.

Open to U.S. residents 18 years and older. Giveaway will end Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be chosen shortly after and contacted via e-mail. (Winner must not have won within the last month in order to share the prizes with more readers.)  The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

Monday, December 2, 2013

"When Calls the Heart" DVD Review

*Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the following movie in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own.
 

About the Movie:
When Calls the Heart is the story of Elizabeth Thatcher, a cultured young school teacher in 1910 who, through the discovery of her aunt's secret diary, finds the courage to leave her big city home to accept a teaching position in a frontier coal mining town. And in the process, she also finds the potential for love with a handsome Royal Canadian Mountie.
 
When Calls the Heart debuted on the Hallmark Channel to more than 3.2 million viewers, making it the No. 1 movie of the week on ad-supported cable. Distributed by Word Entertainment, The DVD became available to purchase in Christian Retail November 19th, 2013.
 
About the Director:
Michael Landon Jr., son of the late television legend Michael Landon, has been in the film business for over 25 years. With two of the highest rated films in the history of the Hallmark channel, and several top ten releases targeted to the Christian market, Michael has become known for creating heartfelt, inspiring films that connect to the family. He has developed and/or produced, directed, and written screenplays for Fox, CBS, NBC, Disney, Sony, Lifetime, and others.



My Review:
I have never been a big reader (until recently), so I have never been familiar with many authors, but one that I've heard of for a long time and knew I would enjoy reading her books is Janette Oke.  So, when I was asked to review this When Calls the Heart, I was excited for the opportunity.  Even if I hadn't read a Janette Oke book yet, I could at least see a movie based on one of her books! And if I liked the movie, I'm even more sure that I would like her books.  After seeing When Calls the Heart, I have to say that I am HOOKED!

Not only am I hooked, but so are the kids!  I would have never expected a 6 and 7 year old to get into this movie, but they LOVE it and have watched it on several occasions in the short time we've had it.  I think the subtle love story, combined with the adventure, the humor and the heartache draws them in as much as it did me.

When Calls the Heart made me wish I had more than basic TV.  This movie was the kick-off for a TV series that will be airing January 2014 on the Hallmark Channel and I'd love to see what happens next!  I guess I'll have to settle for visiting my local library to get my Janette Oke fix... ;-)
 
Buy It!
When Calls the Heart retails for $19.98 and runs 89 minutes. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

"The First Christmas Night" Book Review & GIVEAWAY! (12/8)

*Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the following book in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own.
About the book:
The First Christmas Night is a beautiful retelling of the birth of Jesus on that joyous night in Bethlehem so long ago. The poem begins with the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and winds though Christ’s birth, the angels’ appearance to the shepherds, and the visit by the Wise Men. The simple, yet elegant, verses will appeal to little ones and are accompanied by the rich acrylic illustrations of Christine Kornacki.
 
About the Author:
Keith Christopher is a composer, arranger, orchestrator, and educator, and he has served as editor and producer for several major music publishers. In addition to writing and studio producing, Keith is on the faculty at the Blair School of Music of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with his wife and two children.



About the Illustrator:
At a very early age, Christine Kornacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life. After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children's books began to take shape, including illustrating the best-selling The Sparkle Box for Ideal's Children's Books. Christine's recent work also includes illustrating the six-book series for the American Girl historical doll characters Marie-Grace and Cecile. She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut.
 
My Review:
I actually had Morgan read The First Christmas Night to Blake for this review.  Blake used to complain when Morgan would practice reading and now he enjoys her reading to him...on occassion.  ;-)  This was one occassion where Blake thoroughly loved it! 

The First Christmas Night is written in a similar style as The Night Before Christmas, which makes it a fun and enjoyable way to hear, and read, the story of Jesus's birth.  On top of that, the large, beautiful illustrations really grab your attention pull you into the book.

If you're looking for a fun, new way to share the story of our savior's birth, I highly recommend The First Christmas Night!  I know this book will be a favorite book to read each Christmas in our home from now on.
 
 An excerpt from The First Christmas Night:
 
Twas the very first Christmas when all through the town
not a creature was stirring—there was not a sound.
 
The moon shining bright in the heavens so high
gave the look of midday to the Bethlehem sky.
 
The animals were nestled in warm, cozy places
with looks of contentment on each of their faces.
 
 
 
Buy It!:
The First Christmas Night is 32 pages and the hardcover book can be purchased through Ideals Books for $16.99
 
GIVEAWAY!
 
Congratulations to comment #30, Zuzu!!
 
One of my readers is going to win their own copy of "The First Christmas Night"!
 
To enter to win, please leave a comment below. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so that I can contact you if you're the winner!

Extra Entries:
(1 extra entry per method. Leave a comment for each.)
*Subscribe to my blog in the upper left hand corner.
*Follow me through Google Friend Connect
*Follow me on
twitter.
*Tweet this
giveaway and leave the URL in your comment
*Follow me on
Pinterest
*Pin an image from this post to one of your boards
*Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post and let me know which post.

Open to U.S. residents 18 years and older. Giveaway will end Sunday, December 8th, 2013 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be chosen shortly after and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Garden Harvest 2013

Our little garden did quite well this year.
The one thing that I wish did a little better was the zucchini, but I still got all sorts of zucchini salsa and ate way too much zucchini bread and zucchini brownies...SO YUMMY!
 
The apple tree made up for last year and was bursting with apples.  Last year we had a warm week in March causing it to blossom early, then frost came and killed the blossoms.  We think there were maybe 10 apples on the tree. :-/
 The kids loved climbing the ladder and finding the best apples to make applesauce out of.  We canned about 8 pints.  I think the tree could have given us hundreds of pints-LOL!
These are the tomatoes we had when we cleaned out our garden.  It felt so good to have the garden cleaned out, but the amount of tomatoes from just 9 plants was beyond overwhelming!  My sister ended up with most of them because I had canned all the salsa, tomatoes and spaghetti sauce that I had wanted.  We gave more away to my dad and my mother-in-law, but ended up throwing out the rest.
 We planted about the same number of potatoes this year, but they flourished in our cooler, wet summer!  I bet we had double to triple the potatoes and they were HUGE!  They'll last us most of the winter and we'll replant what's left.

These pumpkins started off so cute!  The kids really wanted to carve them and I thought I'd probably cook up one or two.  Unfortunately, when we set them out as decorations, the chickens decided they looked tasty and pecked away at them. At least the fed and made the chickens happy. ;-)
The end of the day we cleaned out (most of) the garden.  Our picnic table is quite big and it was FULL!
Morgan and Blake are awesome helpers when it comes to picking and husking the Indian popcorn!  This is a small portion of what we got.
It's currently hanging up in the mudroom to dry.  It's all across the sliding glass doors and the window.  We'll shell it soon and then have some tasty popcorn to eat through the winter.
We also planted 2 sweet potato plants that produced more than we could have imagined.
They turned out quite big.  From our experience last year, the big ones didn't have as much flavor, but I hope that's not true this year...
 ...we have A LOT of them! :-)

 I'd say I can't wait for next year's garden but, to be honest, I'm glad...ecstatic actually...to be done for the year.  The work from the garden in the Spring, Summer and Fall sure makes me look forward to winter!  ;-)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Blake's Fall Art Class Projects

Blake enjoyed another art session this fall once soccer and cross country were finished.  There is another session going now that we decided not to do.  We've been going nonstop with activities, appointments, etc, since school started and just needed a little break before the holidays.
 
 
I believe he used an ornamental pear leaf to make this out of clay.
This one is a jar with lightening bugs/fireflies.  The paint on the bugs glows in the dark! :-)


Monday, November 18, 2013

Regarding Giveaway Entries

I have to apologize to all those who entered my giveaways over the weekend.  I accidentally deleted your entries this morning instead of publishing them.  Those two buttons are just way too close together! :-/  I feel terrible, because I know it takes a good deal of time to type out and do all the entries. 

If you'd like to re-enter, please just type out something quick for each of your entries...for example: "tweeted".  There is no need to tweet again or leave links.  Also, you are more than welcome to take an extra enry...you can just type in "oops entry" if you'd like. ;-)

I plan to turn the comment moderation off as well, so hopefully I don't lose any more entries in the future.

Thank you so much for following Kristie's Notes!  And again, I'm very sorry for inconviencing you. :-(

Friday, November 15, 2013

Melissa & Doug Terrific 25 List and Giveaway

*Disclosure:  By sharing this post, I have a chance to win Melissa & Doug toys.  I have not been compensated in any other way.  All opinions are my own.
http://www.melissaanddoug.com/Promos/Terrific+25+Holiday+Gifts+for+2013/Terrific+25+Holiday+Gifts+for+2013/36605


Melissa & Doug have come out with another great list, their Terrific 25 List, that compiles Melissa & Doug's greatest Christmas gifts for the year.  To celebrate this gift list they're having a “25 Days of Terrific 25” Giveaway on their Facebook page.  They'll be giving away a toy from the list each day and one lucky winner will receive ALL 25 toys on Black Friday!  Be sure to check out the list and enter to win some awesome prizes! :-)

"Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas" DVD Review & Giveaway!! (12/1)

*Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the following movie in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own.



About Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas (From the Press Release):
Top-rated reality television star, Si Robertson, is transformed into a loveable and wise okra janitor named Silas. Silas narrates the adventures of the holiday flick, which stars Larry the Cucumber, the vibrant Head Elf of the mall who will stop at nothing to assist a compassionate young girl on her quest to help a neighbor in need for Christmas. Bob the Tomato co-stars as Phillip Fleagle, a harried mall employee who takes some time to realize that there is more to the holiday season than material gifts and light displays.


The uplifting theme song, “Light of Christmas,” from radio hit maker Owl City, featuring multi-Grammy award winning artist, TobyMac, brightens the release and is certain to be a holiday hit among children and music lovers of all ages.

My Review:
I've enjoyed VeggieTales since I was in high school and "Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas" is just as great as the first ones.  This DVD not only made me laugh, but also shared a wonderful message of helping others at Christmas. 

Those who enjoy Duck Dynasty will love that Si Robertson is featured as the narrator!  I have yet to see Duck Dynasty, but I have a feeling I'd love watch and see how God is central to their family and their lives.

"Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas" is definitely a great show to watch with the family this Christmas.  Be sure to buy it, watch it, and then do some of the fun activities that I mention below! :-)

Fun Activities:
First of all, check out the featured song from the movie!

The kids and I enjoyed listening and dancing to this several times!  It carries a wonderful tune and a wonderful message.  Start this up and dance with your kids...or by yourself, because I did that too. ;-)

Besides dancing to to "Light of Christmas" be sure to check out some of the other activities to go along with the "Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas" at the Veggie Tales website.  Here's a direct link to a Merry Larry Activity Pack.  The kids had fun coloring their coloring pages we found on the site.

Most importantly, to follow the message of this movie, take time to help others in need this Christmas.  Each year, the kids pick out gifts for children their age to put in a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child.  Our shoe boxes are already wrapped and waiting at our church to be dedicated, but this is a post from a previous year if you'd like to see a little of what Operation Christmas Child is about. Also check out the Operation Christmas Child site for more details.

Buy it!
"Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas" is currently only $8.99 at VeggieTales.com!!

GIVEAWAY!
 
Congratulations to comment #13, Daniel M!
 
One of my readers is going to win their own copy of "Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas"!

To enter to win, please leave a comment below. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so that I can contact you if you're the winner!

Extra Entries:
(1 extra entry per method. Leave a comment for each.)
*Subscribe to my blog in the upper left hand corner.
*Follow me through Google Friend Connect
*Follow me on
twitter.
*Tweet this giveaway and leave the URL in your comment
*Follow me on
Pinterest
*Pin an image from this post to one of your boards
*Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post and let me know which post.

Open to U.S. residents 18 years and older. Giveaway will end Sunday, December 1st, 2013 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be chosen shortly after and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Halloween Activities 2013

Our Halloween activities started at the beginning of October.  Some friends invited us to camp with them at a nearby campground during one of their Halloween Weekends.  It was a warm weekend for October which made it nice to be outside.  It was rainy too, but only at night while we were sleeping.  The kids enjoyed a scavenger hunt, looking at the campsite decorations and trick-or-treating.  There was a haunted hayride too, but we figured they were too young.
Morgan as a fairy and Blake as Hulk.
The kids with our young friends.
 
***********
 
The following Friday night we had made plans with another friend of mine to go to one of Greenfield Village's Halloween nights.  It had cooled off a bit, but was a pleasant night and perfect for being outside.
 
The kids just outside the gates waiting for our time to go through.
The amount of carved pumpkins was AMAZING!  There must have been hundreds lining either side of the walking path, plus more stacked in places and the neatest was seeing several decorating a tree!!  (Bottom left picture is the tree with the jack-o-lanterns.)
There were several 'spooky' sites, but nothing really scared us.  Some of our favorite spots were a covered bridge that was full of smoke, the carousel with ghosts riding, the mad scientist lab where all the glassware glowed neon colors and the headless horseman!  The kids thought for sure the headless horseman must have been fake.  We reassured them that he was alive.  His costume was just so good that you couldn't really tell that his head was in it...we didn't tell the kids that though ;-)
 
There were also treat stations along the way with people in really neat elaborate costumes.  The whole experience was really quite awesome!  The only thing I wished was different is that it wasn't so crowded!  Keeping track of the kids, in the dark, in shoulder-to-shoulder people, was a tough task!  Thankfully they're really good about sticking with me.
 
************

We didn't make any new decorations this year, but we enjoyed the ones we already have.  The kids absolutely LOVE the decorations that glow and had me take pictures of them all.  They thought it was fun to turn them all on and shut the lights off to make it 'spooky' in the house. :-)
 
 
***************
 
We also took advantage of the library's Halloween activities this year.  They had a Halloween Origami night this year.  The kids were able to make some neat origami pumpkins and bats!

 The library also had a movie night where they showed Monsters U with snacks, a treat bag and a costume contest.  Blake was still the Hulk, but Morgan changed her mind the week before and said she wanted to be a vampire.  When I asked her why, she said her teeth made her look like a vampire anyway!  LOL!  (She was missing her 2 front teeth.)  I didn't think it'd happen, since we didn't have anything to make her look like a vampire, but she found a cape at her grandma's, she wore her own black pants and white shirt, Blake's vest and some orange teeth he got from his teacher, we pulled her hair back and she inherited her pale skin from her mom.  ;-)   She was all set!  She won 2nd place ($2) in the costume contest! :-)
 
 
***********
 
Halloween day was busy!  I didn't even stop to take pictures...how bad is that?!?  The kids had their Halloween activities at school that I went to to be with them.  They went at separate times to see a magician who was quite good and it was all Halloween themed tricks!  They would typically parade through town and the businesses would hand out candy to them, but it was rainy and our town's main street was torn apart, so someone from each of the businesses lined the hall of the school to pass out candy.   Then they'd usually enjoy donuts and juice outside, but they had that in their classroom instead.
 
I then took them out of school early, so I could run them over to meet up with my mother-in-law and go to Rich's great-grandmother's nursing home were they handed out candy to the kids.  Afterwards we had dinner with Rich's family, then spent the rest of the evening driving around visiting family.
 
That was the gist of our Halloween this year.  Very fun times that I'm sure we'll always remember. :-)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Coming Home for Christmas" DVD Review & Giveaway!! (11/27)

*Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the following movie in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own.

About Coming Home For Christmas
After their parents separate, two estranged sisters who haven't been on speaking terms reunite in hopes that having a family Christmas all together for the first time in years will bring their Mom and Dad close again. They plan to do this in their old family home... the only problem is someone else lives there now.


Director: Vanessa Parise
Cast: George Canyon (Christmas Miracle, Dawn Rider, Man of Steel), Aaron Pritchett, Britt McKillip (Dead Like Me), Carly McKillip (Hot Rod)
 
The DVD includes a limited edition Norman Rockwell print!  Who is Norman Rockwell? Rockwell was famous for his famous American culture illustrations and artwork. He was born in the late 1800’s and died in the mid 1900’s.

This is the Norman Rockwell print that came with my DVD...sorry the picture turned out a bit blurry.
 
My Review:
 The kids and I had a little movie night at my mom's house to watch this movie.  The kids enjoyed it and made us laugh at their comments and reactions throughout the movie.  Morgan would get squirmy each time there was a romantic moment...there wasn't even kissing!  It was too funny!  Blake had a really hard time keeping the sisters straight in the movie.  I couldn't blame him, since they're real-life sisters they do look A LOT alike!  Every scene change he was asking, "Is that the big one?", meaning the older sister.  He had a hard time sitting still and paying attention, though, so he may have been a little young to watch it.

As far as the movie itself, I think the storyline was cute and fun.  I think the acting was quite good for a lower budget film, but the actor's lines, or script, didn't seem to flow well all the time.  All-in-all, it was a very enjoyable movie though.  A nice movie to watch with the family this Christmas season and remember how nice it is to have loved ones together sharing traditions on Christmas. :-)
 
Buy it!:
 "Coming Home for Christmas" can be purchased at Wal-Mart for $14.99.

Thank you to FlyBy Promotions and Wal-Mart for providing a copy of Coming Home for Christmas for me to review and another to give away!
 
GIVEAWAY!
 
Congratulations to comment #6,  Debby@JustBreathe!
 
One of my readers is going to win their own copy of "Coming Home for Christmas"!
 
To enter to win, please leave a comment below. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so that I can contact you if you're the winner!

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Open to U.S. and Canadian residents 18 years and older. Giveaway will end Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be chosen shortly after and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cross Country 2013

Morgan and Blake ran Cross Country for the first time this year and I couldn't be more proud of them!  The elementary school offered a club for them to join and they were able to practice two to three days a week after school and then run at three meets.  The grades ranged from 1st to 6th grade that ran together at the meets.

Meet #1

They ran 1.5 miles and Blake had a time of 16:58
 
 Morgan ran at a separate time and ran the same distance in 16:32
 
Meet #2
 
The kids before they ran 1.75 miles.
 
Blake's time was 19:52
 
 Morgan came in 23rd for girls at this meet and received a medal!! She had a time of 17:45.

 My mom got a nice picture of us after their race.  I was so glad it was sunny and I could wear my sunglasses to cover the happy/proud tears. ;-)


Meet #3

This last meet was cooler and they had 2 miles to run on a golf course.  (Lots of hills!)
 
Morgan had a time of 21:29

 
 Blake ran the 2 miles in 24:34
 
 Happy to be done!
 
The cross country season was fun for Morgan.  She had some great runs and seemed to be very consistent.  She paces herself well and didn't need to walk much.  She thought it was pretty awesome to get a medal too, like her uncle always used to. :-)
 
Blake, while he ran and did well, didn't seem to like it as much.  I think it was a bit scary for him to be running around on his own with hundreds of kids...a bit intimidating.  He usually started or ended the races in tears.  He says he doesn't want to do it again at this point, but there were times that he was excited to run and he likes to be outside with me when I run...we'll see!
 
All-in-all an amazing experience!  I would have never imagined my kids running those distances at the ages of 7 and 6.  Again, very proud of them for finishing each of the races.
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