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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Best Christmas Gift

December is my favorite month of the year. I'm not the biggest fan of the cold weather, but I love all the excitement of the month. We make gingerbread houses, candy, decorate sugar cookies & sugar cubes. All three of the girls have their own small Christmas tree for their rooms & we have a 9' tree in the living room. We have a lot of parties in December & we are pretty busy. This year I had the local homeschool moms over for a Christmas party. My oldest son & youngest daughter have birthdays this month, so we are very busy.
This year the surprise was on me. Morgan told me she was coming up from Colorado from December 21-January 4. I was thrilled at the thought of her coming for so long. She didn't get here until about 4:00 am Sunday morning. Mike came to wake me up, so I could say hi to her before she went to bed. I came down the stairs and she was sitting at the dining room table, but as I walked over to her Michael was standing in the kitchen. He has been in Afghanistan and wasn't suppose to be home until January & we were going down to Kentucky to visit him there. I had no idea that he came home early. He had called Mike & had Morgan pick him up at the Denver airport. They actually kept the secret from me for a month.
I was fortunate enough to be able to chat with him almost daily from the time he left. About the end of November he quit answering me. After several days, I was beginning to worry. I don't know how mom's could stand their kids off fighting in a war without the internet. Mike was a great comforter during those couple of weeks, but he knew all along that Michael was back in KY at the beginning of December.
Morgan didn't actually stay here the whole time, but she came up & stayed for several days. Having all 5 of my kids together is the greatest gift ever. The decorations, gifts, and food are nothing compared to the fun, games, laughter, and late nights with my kids.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dig-It! Games Character Contest ~ Please Vote @digitgames #voteAmber

Amber loves Roman Town & Mayan Mysteries from Dig-It! Games.  She completed Roman Town and she has finished the first part of Mayan Mysteries, her only complaint was that she didn't have the second part to Mayan Mysteries.
“I like how the games bring the ancient culture of the Mayans to life, like I am really there, because it makes it easier to learn that way & I thought it was very interesting.”
When when heard that Dig-It! Games was going to hold a contest for a new character for the second part of Mayan Mysteries she was very eager to enter.
She developed her character by writing a character description & drawing a picture of her. She chose to create a girl named Alexandra.
Amber's Mayan Mystery Character
Alexandra Faddei, age 13

Amber described her character with this paragraph:
“My character is smart and adventurous. She is Ukrainian, but she lives in San Diego, CA. She loves to travel and learn new things. I think my character should be on the Mayan Mysteries team because she has a great memory, she is a quick learner, and is very good at puzzles. My character is perfect for this job because she is a hard worker and is willing to go over the top to figure things out.”

Alexandra was one of the three finalists. That means Amber has already won an iPod & free access to the new game. If her character is the winner she will receive an iPad for her prize & she will have her character on the game & her own name included in the credits. Amber was very surprised to have gotten this far, and she would love to win an iPad, but she is excited to be so close to having her character included in the game & her own name listed in the credits.

If you would like to vote in this contest visit the Dig-It! Games facebook page. There are three finalists to choose your from. All you have to do is click like on your favorite character.  Remember, Amber’s character is Alexandra.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


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Amber decided she wanted to make ravioli by herself. She was doing a wonderful job until she decided it was taking her too long, so I pitched in to help.

She found the 3 Cheese Ravioli she wanted to try at $10 buck dinners. Amber loves pasta, so she decided to triple the recipe to make sure there were plenty of leftovers. We can all of our own spaghetti sauce from our garden, so we did not use the marinara sauce included with the recipe. We just used the noodle & the filling recipes.

She was using the Norpro Ravioli Maker With Press, and when I started helping her I used the square stamp from the Fox Run Brands Ravioli Pasta Stamps, Set of 2.
I should have taken more pictures of Amber's noodle process. She rolled out a sheet of pasta dough and then she placed it over the ravioli frame & used the press to indent the pasta to hold the filling. She rolled out a second sheet of pasta to place on the top of her frame. Then she used a rolling pin over top of the frame to seal both layers of pasta and cut out each individual ravioli.

The ravioli were a huge hit & we will be making them again. Thank You $10 buck dinners, we will be looking through more of your recipes in the future.

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Devotions from the Torah Review & Giveaway

I have recently started reading Devotions from the Torah. The first book is Devotions From Genesis and the second book Devotions From Exodus written by Nicole Halbrooks Vaughn.
Genesis 1
Devotions From Genesis is available in softcover for $12.59 or Kindle version for $8.95, it is divided into 3 sections.
  • Section 1: Genesis 1-11 Discovering the Character of God and Man through the Creation, the Fall, and the Flood
  • Section 2: Genesis 12-36 Discovering Faith and Obedience through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
  • Section 3: Genesis 37-50 Discovering the Comings of Christ and Trust in the Midst of Trial through the Life of Joseph
exodus 1
Devotions From Exodus Part One is available in softcover for $12.95 or Kindle for $8.95, it is divided into 4 sections:
  • Moses Meets the I Am ~ Exodus chapters 1-6
  • The Plagues~ Exodus chapters 7-15:21
  • Entering the Wilderness ~Exodus 15:22-27 to chapter 19
  • The Giving of the Law ~ Exodus chapter 20
I have been going through the book of Exodus with my kids, so I actually started using Devotions From Exodus first. The devotions are written for older teens or adults. I read through the study and then relayed things to my kids during my study with them. It is recommended that you read the bible chapter first and then the devotion from the book that is related to it. During the devotions we learn meanings to names, and things people did that set them apart from others, thought questions, and a sample prayer that quotes scripture and uses topics covered in the devotion.
Nicole choses key things from each chapter and explains them very simply and uses coordinating scripture from throughout the bible for further study on each chapter of Exodus. She also relates topics to our modern way of life and gets you to thinking how you can examine your own heart and apply biblical characteristics to your life.
The devotional study looks at each plague and how they affected the hearts of the people. I have really enjoyed Nicole’s look into the hearts of these people and Pharaoh, she has brought up things that I hadn’t thought of in other studies of Exodus. The NASB is quoted throughout the studies and all the chapters I have completed have been very informative and biblical. I am looking forward to going back and studying Genesis when I am finished with Exodus.
Author Nicole Vaughn is the Children’s Ministry Director at Shiloh Baptist Church in Somerville, AL. She is the co-administrator of  CrossRoads Christian Academy. She is the founder of Proven Path Ministries. She has also lead inductive Precept Upon Precept studies, has served as an advocate for her local crisis pregnancy center and has shared the testimony of Christ throughout her community and abroad. Nicole is a woman who is dedicated in her faith, devoted to her family, and driven to share the truth of God with others. She and her husband, Patrick, currently reside in Decatur, AL with their two youngest children.
I have some great news. I have 3 sets of PDF books to giveaway. Three people will win both the Devotions From Genesis and Devotions From Exodus.
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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gingerbread Houses


One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is to decorate gingerbread houses with our friends. Last December we made a quick trip to Indiana, so we didn’t get a day set to include everyone. This year we made sure we did.


I baked 21 gingerbread house and everyone enjoyed putting theirs together.

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