Three and a half years…

It has been a long three and a half years…but Kyle finally got his braces off today! I am wondering if Lauren will have hers on for that long or if it will only be for two years. She did start off with an appliance first as well as some early braces and all of that stuff took some time. I guess we will just wait and see! 🙂

three and a half years..

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Home School in the Woods – Ancient Greece {Review}

Our school year officially started this week! Well, kind of. We are still waiting for a few things to arrive. But, we like to take a slow start to school and not rush in full on. We are going to work really hard on geography this year as Lauren is still having issues in that subject. We are also going to be doing World History this year. Home School in the Woods has come out with HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece.  I am all about the unit studies, friends! They make me so happy! Such a fun, easy way to learn!

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

I got the downloadable format, but it also comes as a CD. Now, I will warn you, there are a lot of files! When that happens, I tend to get overwhelmed until I get the hang of where things are and what I am doing with them. That was the case with this. I looked at each folder of files, looked through the files a bit, acquainted myself with everything and then I was good to go.

The study is broken down into stops, there are 25 total. Each stop has a list of things that are accomplished, which is nice, I love when things are easy like that. And here comes another warning…that first stop is a doozy! I suggest pre-printing everything for stop one before you start. A lot of the other stops build on what is printed in step one, so it just gets easier after that first step.

These unit studies are made for grades 3-8, but let me tell you, my older kids all enjoy them! Even Ryan, who is graduating this year, ha! We all work on them together and have a good time..

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When you have three kids working on this unit study, be prepared to print a lot. I don’t mind this at all, as it is such a fantastic study. There are so many projects, things to work on and put together that it doesn’t even seem like school is happening! You don’t have to do everything either..you can pick and choose! We like to do them all though, so we just print away!

On a typical stop, this is what we do… We start by reading that days text, which I read aloud. Then, I use the travel itinerary for that stop to see what we do next. For example, stop #3 is the Archaic Period. It starts out with adding things to your Snapshot Moments section. This is kind of a timeline that goes with what is read that day. You can color, cut and place the different items on the corresponding pages. I will admit that we don’t color the items, but I think younger kids totally would want to do that!

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Step two has us adding to the newspaper which is called “Greek Weekly”. Kids can’t write article and also place things on the newspaper, like ads, which are given for you to cut out.

Step three is working with postcards! One of the earlier stops had them make a postcard rack.. So each stop has a postcard provided that has something to do with that days reading. They cut those out, draw a picture on the other side, and put them in their postcard rack. My kids do draw on the postcards.. Here is a picture from an earlier stop.

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They do a lot of work with maps. This helps to get them familiar with the locations are that are being talked about. They fill in a little bit each day. By Stop #3 they are working with three different maps. You can choose if the children cut out the different locations from a file provided, or they can just write them in. I have one that cuts out and two that write in..just to make it interesting, lol.

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There are master files provided that show you how the finished projects are supposed to look, where things are placed on the maps, etc. I have used this plenty of times already!

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Once you complete all of the stops, you can then put your lapbook together! This is where the magic happens and you can then keep all of your projects in a safe place all together! It all just fits in there somehow, ha! I am so glad that I don’t have to figure that out and it is already done for me!

Eventually there are even some MP3’s to listen to, which is a nice break for the kids not having to hear more of my voice..ha! But there is over an hour of listening on these files!

What I love about unit studies is that you can make it work for your family. We did this two times a week. It helped me have time to print and organize everything on the off days, and I could get everything prepared. Also, with Ryan’s college schedule, it just worked out better for us that way. In the end, it will take us longer to complete the whole study, especially since we take longer at each stop because I want to get some extra learning in since they are older.

This unit study is so well put together, once I get everything organized in my own mind, that you can’t help but to love it. It tells you what to do every day and there is one file that has all of the stops on just a couple pages, so you can glance and see what is coming next.

If you want to read about some of the other unit studies from Home School in the Woods, feel free to click on the banner below for some more reviews on Ancient Greece as well as Ancient Egypt, The Middle Ages, and Renaissance & Reformation. I am also excited that Ancient Rome is coming out in 2018!

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study Reviews

Home School in the Woods – Ancient Greece

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Foster care update

I have gotten a few messages on various social media accounts asking if there is a foster care update. I guess I can kind of do an update?

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The reason why that is a question is because there really isn’t much to update! Before we got licensed we got asked to take in a child. They needed daily transport to a city that is about 40 minutes away. I would have had to go there twice a day. With Ryan’s college schedule it just wasn’t going to work since at that time he didn’t have his drivers license yet and I was driving him to college and back.

We got licensed in September of last year. The following month we did respite care for a baby girl for about a week. Her foster parents had to take a trip and couldn’t take her with as they were leaving shortly after getting her. I love the foster parents, they are great people, so it was nice to meet and get to know them!

Then there was another child that was possibly going into care through our county. He had health issues that we just couldn’t do because of the way our house is and no extra rooms downstairs. I wish we could have made it work as we aren’t opposed to health issues or anything. This is why we either need to move or get our remodel done asap!

Apparently our county hasn’t had very many kids come into care these last few months, which is fantastic!! The neighboring counties are full of children though. It’s weird how that happens!

So, we will be waiting here in case we are needed! Talking about doing some credit hours to keep our license active as you need a certain amount each year or two. We don’t want it to sneak up on us all at once and have us scrambling.

That’s the update! I know it isn’t much, but I thought it would be easier to mention it here than type it out numerous times.. Yeah, I am kinda lazy. 😉

That’s our foster care update! I will update again if there are any changes!!

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Bye bye Christmas?

Please tell me I am not the only one… I am still finding little bits of Christmas around the house. Well, first of all, we have a huge bin by the front door from when I packed up everything. I kept it there because I did keep finding things. What made me write this post is that I am sitting here working on homeschool things and I look up to see a Christmas thing over the entrance to this room that I am in. I mean, I guess I just got used to it being there and it blended in? Am I the only one that hasn’t completely said bye bye Christmas?

Christmas

I am still finding bows on EVERYTHING because when we started to decorate for Christmas, Ryan found a huge bag of little bows….and proceeded to put them everywhere. No surface was safe. The tv and printer…the mirror..even the lock on our front door. I don’t know when the day will be that I stop finding those..ha!

There were good intentions to decorate for Valentine’s Day. I switched out the fake flowers to pink and red. But, the chalkboard and subway art are still reflecting Christmas and New Years. One day I will be on the ball and plan ahead for holiday decorating. It would be easier if we had places to properly store decorations. That is when I really miss our last house. It was the perfect house for us! I wish we could have brought it here with us. Except that it was made of stucco…but whatever!

Now that Valentine’s Day is going to pass, I am contemplating on what holiday I should plan to attempt to decorate for. If I go far enough in advance, it might just happen! And it should be something that I don’t mind looking at for a while, because at this rate, I might only be good for a few holidays a year. Gotta make ’em good ones. 🙂

 

 

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I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug! {Review and Giveaway}

You guys know that I am loving on the little kid books… There are so many cute ones out there! This latest one is extra cute! It is called I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug! This one just came in the mail the other day, but I can definitely see it being read often. I already read it to Jeffy…hehehe.

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The  story starts out with a bear hug and then goes through all sorts of cute little animals and the different hugs they give. There are your typical dogs and cats as well as whales and bugs. I can see this being a giggly book when read to a little one during the day while being silly, but also great for a bedtime story when read at night and a little softer.

The illustrations are wonderful and they add so much to the book! The colors on each page go well with each animal portrayed also. There are 32 pages of fun hugs to read about. The book is hardcover too, which I always prefer.

The book mentions it is good for ages 4-8, but I can see reading it to younger as well. The pages might tear easily if a little one were to get it, but for just the story, I think it would be fine for toddlers.

I find it interesting that the author, Caroline B. Cooney has previously only written YA novels! This book is her first picture book. She wrote it based on a verse that she wrote for her children when they were young. So sweet! I think she should definitely write more picture books and other books for children! I am going to look up her YA novels next time I go to the library too!

If this book interests you, it is on sale for $16.99 at the Zondervan link above. (Zondervan and Zonderkidz both have wonderful books that you can peruse!)  I am also giving one of these books away! Just enter down below!

I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug! {Review and Giveaway}

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
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Thursday Things

Another week has gone.. It just happens so quickly anymore! February is such a short month anyway, I think it might mess with me a little bit. Since it is already Thursday, I guess it is time for another Thursday Things. In case you are new, this is where I mention around five things that I liked about this last week. It could be a product, an event, whatever! I do it on Thursday because I think it gets a bum rap being so close to Friday…ha!

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Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Brownie candy bar – Let’s just jump right in with some chocolate, shall we? 😉 Now, I normally go for the dark chocolate if I am shopping for a chocolate bar… but Jeffy and I were at an office supply store the other day and we saw these as we were waiting in line. I HAD to get one! He got a caramel one…pft. But I tried it and woah, it totally had that brownie batter taste in the filling. So good. I am almost wanting to make something with one of these bars.. I should see if someone else already did that.

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Erin Condren for Staples Spiral Notebook – As we were in said office supply store, I saw these notebooks in the clearance section. The ruler was missing, the cover was off… but I figured, what the heck, it was on clearance… So I put the cover back on, I didn’t need the ruler anyway..and bought it! I live on lists. Seems like there is a new list every other day. Or I need paper for something that I am planning/organizing. My go to is just stealing some from the printer. Come on, tell me I am not alone in that! Anyway, I love me some notebooks, but they are so boring! This one has colorful pages and the pages themselves are so thick! I am totally loving it and already used a page for my shopping trip to Target the other day…

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Trader Joe’s To The Power of 7 Organic Juice Blend – Ok, I know this is a couple years old but I just tried it this week. When I was visiting Arizona my brother brought some up with him and talked about how good it was. I took his advice and got some this week. It is so so so good! And refreshing. I could see many good uses for this. It is pomegranate, tart cherry, black mulberry, red grape, carrot, cranberry and blueberry juices. Interesting combination and I was wondering if I was going to like it as cherry and I have a love/hate relationship…But I was pleasantly surprised…

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Frequency – Jeffy and I started watching this show this week and are almost done with the season. I am so glad we randomly watched an episode, I am loving this show! We look so forward to our Netflix Nights…you thought I was going to say Netflix and chill…pft… Anyway, it isn’t a completely new concept, but I love the way that they combine the past and the present. So fun and I can’t wait to see where it takes us. I hope it continues to be a good show!

Growing Up by Run River North – So, I know I like different music than a lot of my friends, but I am loving this song! Even though it is a few years old, it’s so catchy and I like the lyrics. The video has pretty light and it’s just a simple fun time. Music tends to always make me happy anyway, so that’s why I usually include one for my Thursday Things.

Well, that’s it for this week! Let me know what made you happy this past week!! 🙂

 

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What I read in January

Wow! I read a lot this month! I guess traveling will do that, but I was still surprised. Turns out I am 15% done with my reading challenge already! I just started a new book and I think it is going to take me a while to get through it. Just a little slow at the moment, hopefully it picks up. Have you read anything wonderful lately? I love being able to read some of your suggestions! Anyway, here is what I read in January!

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Leave Me by Gayle Forman

For every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention–meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who’s so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn’t even realize she’s had a heart attack.

Afterward, surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: She packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once we get to where we’re going, we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves and from herself.

With big-hearted characters who stumble and trip, grow and forgive, Leave Me is about facing our fears. Gayle Forman, a dazzling observer of human nature, has written an irresistible novel that confronts the ambivalence of modern motherhood head-on.

What I thought: I have read this author with YA novels and was intrigued on the adult book. I actually liked it! It was told in such a way that you just understood where she was coming from. I hope she writes more books!

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The Christmas Angel Project by Melody Carlson

Five women from different walks of life have become close friends through their book club–enjoying one another’s company even more than they enjoy the books. So when the leader of the book club unexpectedly passes away on the cusp of the Christmas season, the four remaining friends are stunned. They relied on Abby for inspiration and motivation. She was the glue that held them together, and they’re sure that without her the group can’t continue.
When the group gathers “one last time” to open a bag Abby’s husband gives them, they find Abby had made each of them an angel ornament for Christmas, crafted especially for each woman and accompanied by a sweet and personal note. Inspired by their beloved friend, together Cassidy, Louisa, Grace, and Belinda decide to commit themselves to becoming Christmas Angels to others in need. Each woman will use her life situation and talents to reach out and help others in her own unique way–little knowing that her own life and her relationships will be changed forever.
Fan favorite Melody Carlson is back with another touching Christmas story sure to grip readers’ hearts and perhaps inspire them to become Christmas Angels themselves.

What I thought: I had gotten this book in December but didn’t get to it until January. Things happen I suppose! But it was a cute Christmas story that was better than I thought it would be. A very fast read. For a shorter book, the main character was done pretty well!

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The Family Plot by Cherie Priest

Chuck Dutton built Music City Salvage with patience and expertise, stripping historic properties and reselling their bones. Inventory is running low, so he’s thrilled when Augusta Withrow appears in his office offering salvage rights to her entire property. This could be a gold mine, so he assigns his daughter Dahlia to personally oversee the project.

The crew finds a handful of surprises right away. Firstly, the place is in unexpectedly good shape. And then there’s the cemetery, about thirty fallen and overgrown graves dating to the early 1900s, Augusta insists that the cemetery is just a fake, a Halloween prank, so the city gives the go-ahead, the bulldozer revs up, and it turns up human remains. Augusta says she doesn’t know whose body it is or how many others might be present and refuses to answer any more questions. Then she stops answering the phone.

But Dahlia’s concerns about the corpse and Augusta’s disappearance are overshadowed when she begins to realize that she and her crew are not alone, and they’re not welcome at the Withrow estate. They have no idea how much danger they’re in, but they’re starting to get an idea. On the crew’s third night in the house, a storm shuts down the only road to the property. The power goes out. Cell signals are iffy. There’s nowhere to go and no one Dahlia can call for help, even if anyone would believe that she and her crew are being stalked by a murderous phantom. Something at the Withrow mansion is angry and lost, and this is its last chance to raise hell before the house is gone forever. And it seems to be seeking permanent company.

The Family Plot is a haunted house story for the ages-atmospheric, scary, and strange, with a modern gothic sensibility to keep it fresh and interesting-from Cherie Priest, a modern master of supernatural fiction.

What I thought: I wasn’t sure what to think of this book when I picked it up. There were a couple spooky bits in it but it was one book that I didn’t want to put down. It was a unique story for me, especially since I don’t read many books like this, about a haunted house. I was definitely intrigued though!

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The Island House by Nancy Thayer

The charms of Nantucket tempt a woman to leave her established life in Kansas City—but with a piece of her heart, and a love interest, in each world, she discovers she must look within to choose the right path.

Every summer since college, twenty-nine-year-old Jenny has traded the familiarity of the Midwest for the allure of Nantucket. Now an established university professor in Kansas City, she finds herself caught between two lifestyles and two very different men. She chooses Nantucket and the glamorous life she associates with it, unaware that the summer will take an unexpected turn, and she will have to let her heart decide what it truly wants.

What I thought: This was another cute story, you know, a typical beach read that I read in the middle of winter, lol. I enjoy this author, I think I have read a few of her books. They are all pretty light to read, which I wanted after the spooky book, lol.

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The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

What I thought: YES!! I so loved this book! The story was completely about what happened in one day. It was so great reading from different viewpoints, whereas a lot of the time I don’t like that as much. It was done so so well! I want to read more!

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Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.

What I thought: I loved this book! I mean, I like all of the shows that Lauren Graham is in and she does have a wonderful way of talking very fast, lol. It was a great behind the scenes kinda read. Not much behind the scenes, but it got you a little glimpse. And you can totally hear the way she talks in her writing… 🙂

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Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older brother Jaja lead a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. They live in a beautiful house, with a caring family, and attend an exclusive missionary school. They’re completely shielded from the troubles of the world. Yet, as Kambili reveals in her tender-voiced account, things are less perfect than they appear. Although her Papa is generous and well respected, he is fanatically religious and tyrannical at home—a home that is silent and suffocating.

As the country begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and Jaja are sent to their aunt, a university professor outside the city, where they discover a life beyond the confines of their father’s authority. Books cram the shelves, curry and nutmeg permeate the air, and their cousins’ laughter rings throughout the house. When they return home, tensions within the family escalate, and Kambili must find the strength to keep her loved ones together.

Purple Hibiscus is an exquisite novel about the emotional turmoil of adolescence, the powerful bonds of family, and the bright promise of freedom.

What I thought: I wasn’t sure where this story was going to go at the beginning, but I got into it the more I read. The main character was so well written that you felt close to her. I really enjoyed this book, I just wish it had ended differently..

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Shelter by Jung Yun

Kyung Cho is a young father burdened by a house he can’t afford. For years, he and his wife, Gillian, have lived beyond their means. Now their debts and bad decisions are catching up with them, and Kyung is anxious for his family’s future.

A few miles away, his parents, Jin and Mae, live in the town’s most exclusive neighborhood, surrounded by the material comforts that Kyung desires for his wife and son. Growing up, they gave him every possible advantage—private tutors, expensive hobbies—but they never showed him kindness. Kyung can hardly bear to see them now, much less ask for their help. Yet when an act of violence leaves Jin and Mae unable to live on their own, the dynamic suddenly changes, and he’s compelled to take them in. For the first time in years, the Chos find themselves living under the same roof. Tensions quickly mount as Kyung’s proximity to his parents forces old feelings of guilt and anger to the surface, along with a terrible and persistent question: how can he ever be a good husband, father, and son when he never knew affection as a child?

What I thought: This was another different book for me! It kept taking different turns and I wasn’t sure how it was going to end for a while.. I love that, it makes me keep reading! The description of the book just is a quick glance as there is so much more in this story!

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Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

Four friends. Twenty years. One unexpected journey. Inseparable throughout college, Eva, Benedict, Sylvie, and Lucien graduate in 1997, into an exhilarating world on the brink of a new millennium. Hopelessly in love with playboy Lucien and eager to shrug off the socialist politics of her upbringing, Eva breaks away to work for a big bank. Benedict, a budding scientist who’s pined for Eva for years, stays on to complete his PhD in physics, devoting his life to chasing particles as elusive as the object of his affection. Siblings Sylvie and Lucien, never much inclined toward mortgages or monogamy, pursue more bohemian existences-she as an aspiring artist and he as a club promoter and professional partyer. But as their twenties give way to their thirties, the group struggles to navigate their thwarted dreams. Scattered across Europe and no longer convinced they are truly the masters of their fates, the once close-knit friends find themselves filled with longing for their youth- and for one another. Broken hearts and broken careers draw the foursome together again, but in ways they never could have imagined.

A dazzling depiction of the highs and lows of adulthood, Invincible Summer is a story about finding the courage to carry on in the wake of disappointment, and a powerful testament to love and friendship as the constants in an ever-changing world.

What I thought: So, if you have read my reading blogs for any length of time you know that I prefer not to read multiple viewpoints. It usually confuses me. This one was done with perfection though! I loved all of the characters! There was pretty much one main character and then the rest, but it starts out around college and goes through 20 years of life stories. It was like glancing in on their lives from the outside, which is quite fascinating, lol. Loved this book!

Ok, that’s what I read in January! Have you read any of these? Have any recommendations for me? 🙂 Let me know!

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Samurai Sam’s Revisited…

Wow.. Well, I have written before about Samurai Sam’s. This is Samurai Sam’s Revisited… lol. You can read one blog post here if you’d like. Basically, Lauren has sensory issues and most of them are with food. No, she’s just not picky… :insert eyeroll: I know fellow sensory parents can understand that…

I had mentioned previously how Lauren has limited food items for meals, she basically eats the same meals every day, or every other day. In Arizona she would eat rice with Samurai Sam’s sauce at least once a week. We might have gone to the restaurant or had a bottle at home to use.

As I brought up in the above blog post, after we moved it was just hard to get sauce anymore! That totally limited Lauren’s meal choices. Thankfully we have friends and family still in Arizona that are willing to ship us bottles. It may be two bottles, it may be nine bottles. Every now and again she gets a case, which is 12 bottles!

Jeffy’s mom had shipped Lauren a case for a present this past Christmas. We had been out of it for a few months and she knew how much Lauren liked it. She told me how much is cost to ship and I flipped! Well, not literally, ouch…ha! But it is seriously expensive!

We were excited for her to open it come Christmas morning because she loves it so much! But little did we know that Lauren was going to get ANOTHER case delivered around the same time!

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This package came from the same VP person that talked to me all those years ago.. I couldn’t believe it! A little card with a handwritten note was included as well! The thought that went into this was so wonderful!

Lauren had no idea what to think of having 24 bottles of Samurai Sam’s sauce! You can bet she had rice the next day, that’s for sure, lol.

I had to do a retake from the pic on the blog post that I linked above because it was just asking for it. It’s kind of overwhelming! And yeah, she has an almost empty bottle in her hands like the other one too, lol. I am telling you, this stuff doesn’t last long around here.

Lauren with Samurai Sam's Sauce

This was just so amazing that someone would go out of their way to send Lauren a case of this sauce. Jeffy’s mom did it with a huge shipping fee and a complete stranger that doesn’t know us at all did it. I know things could be worse than just having sensory issues, but when it comes to food choices and being limited to just a few things, this definitely makes a difference in all of our lives…

Thank you to anyone out there who has ever sent Lauren sauce. We all appreciate it!!!

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Thursday Things

This is my first Thursday Things of the new year!! Goodness, and here it is half way to February! I hope everyone has had a lot of things to like about this previous week. I would hope that you would join me in thinking of five things each week that you liked. Even if you don’t put them in a blog post or anything, I think that even just looking back over the week and picking out five good things will do wonders. 🙂 So, here’s what I liked about this past week!

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I went back to AZ for a few days. I wish it could have been longer, but due to our vehicle situation I had to be back earlier. 🙁 But I was able to see family! I don’t have any other pics than this one, but I was happy to see everyone. My brother Robert I hadn’t seen in 2-3 years so I am glad he made the trip from Tucson.. 🙂

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Ok, I bought these as a last minute thing…and woah… I am so glad I did, lol. They are so yummy! There aren’t that many in a box and they don’t last very long in our house. I didn’t share at first but then I had Ryan try them and then Jeffy tried them….well, I need to go back to Trader Joe’s, lol.

You guys, if you travel at all, look into getting the TSA precheck.. It was so much faster. Not having to stand in the long line and also not having to take everything out of bags. I don’t travel often at all, but this one thing made my trip so much better. 🙂

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I am not sure how I packed all of my liquids and such in my little quart size clear bag, but I did! Although I did have a little cream stuck in a backpack bag that they didn’t say anything about. But I was running out of soap on my stay and the cream was not the most convenient to use..So I ran to the store and got some soap and lotion from the Soap & Glory brand. Everything smelled great, which is huge for me. And it wasn’t greasy which is also a plus. I will look at more of their products.. 🙂

This song is from like…2013, but it played quite a bit this week. It is so catchy and I love it. I love rediscovering old favorites.

So that is my Thursday Things that I enjoyed about this past week! What are things that you enjoyed? They don’t even have to be things, they could be moments! Moments are definitely great…

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Six favorite online retailers

In case you haven’t noticed, Christmas has gone.. Well, so has new years, but that’s not what we are talking about here folks. I figured this was an ok post to do because how many of you still have your Christmas decorations up? I thought so! In the spirit of sharing, I thought I would let you know six favorite online retailers that we used this past Christmas.

I had to wait until after Christmas to post this as I wanted to see how well the gifts and things were received. Doesn’t that make sense? See, I’m using that thing inside my skull.. Now, some of these may have affiliate links, but honestly, I wouldn’t share them if I didn’t love them. If you are against them, feel free to find the link yourself and purchase that way. :shrug: It’s all good, I am just passing on info, lol.

Now, of course we used places like Amazon and Target, but I do try and shop small when we can. I do love buying unique gifts and always try to throw something unique in if I am getting a few gifts for someone.
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  1. Hollar. I have posted about Hollar a few times on my facebook page. I was so hesitant to use this for the first time, I thought it was a scam. But then I saw someone I knew post about buying stuff from there with no problems so I thought why not try it! This place is so fun! And cheap! You sign up and you get a credit, bang, you can put one thing in your cart and just pay shipping on it if that is your thing. But I used it for the first time months ago when we were still getting licensed for fostering. I got a few baby toys and that sort of thing. One time I shared it on facebook and someone let me know that they had Essie nail polish. What?? I didn’t even notice. So, this place has kitchen stuff, kid stuff, beauty stuff…and I am pretty sure everything starts at $2. They have recently been getting in some higher priced items, but the brands that they are make up for the price increase! And by higher priced, I mean like $10, lol. I did get a few things for stocking stuffers this year as well as some smaller gifts to go along with larger gifts. You can use my link and automatically get $2 to use towards a purchase. They also have free shipping over $25, which that can be a ton of items, if you shop right!
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  2. Tree Hut. Shopping for Jeffy is hard. All year we have a ‘want list’ on the fridge so that if there is something you want you can put it on there. It is great for birthdays and Christmas as well as just small gifts throughout the year if the item is on the smaller side. When I first looked at Jeffy’s list it consisted of: a meat thermometer. That’s it. Okayyy. Well, I was trying to find something that I could get him and I found Treehut. The ad showed watches made of wood. I thought that was pretty cool. I found one that had both a dark wood and one a little lighter, so that he could wear it with more things. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go over with him, but Jeffy loved it. He has gotten complements on it already even though he only wears it on certain occasions. They also have sunglasses! You can use my link and get $15 off your next purchase.
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  3. BlueQ. I think I have mentioned this place a time or two in the past as they have been included in fun little giveaways that I have done. I will always buy their products. I love that their bags are made almost completely from recycled materials and 1% of the sales go towards the Nature Conservancy. Love that! Their socks are hilarious, some I just couldn’t wear, but I can still laugh at…hehee.. And 1% of the sale of their socks goes towards Doctors without Borders. But they sell other fun things, their Lavatory Mists are a great idea for any household, they have tins, mints and gum…just some very unique things! I am crushing on their new unicorn bags right now! They have free shipping on orders of $75.
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  4. FlavorGod.This place is all about spices. We try to cook at least one big meal each day around here. Sometimes it is an old stand-by meal or sometimes it is something new! I got Jeffy some of these spices because I kept hearing great things about them. They are ground fresh right before shipping. I think that’s pretty cool. Most of them are savory, but there are a couple sweet flavors as well. When I ordered, I also got an e-recipe book. I haven’t yet looked at it closely, but at first glance there were some recipes that I was excited about. They definitely smell unlike any other spices when I opened them to smell them! I am going to keep following them to watch for any new product releases!
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  5. JustSpices. Um…yeah, we like spices around here, did I mention that? I ordered these for myself, so I am calling them girly spices. They definitely have other spices though, for meats and eggs and such, don’t get me wrong…lol. I ordered three different ones. One for my smoothie, one for oatmeal and one for pancakes. As of now I have only tried the one for smoothies. I think it is fantastic! I use flax in my drinks and sometimes the nutty taste that I am not overly fond of masks the taste of the fruit that I use. This spice brings out the fruity taste again. And you only need ¼ tsp as it packs a punch! I am looking forward to trying the other two flavors soon! Not that I need a reason to have pancakes…. You can use my code to get $10 off!
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  6. EcoSphere. These are pretty awesome.. It is a totally enclosed ecosystem. I got this for Kyle as he tends to like these kinds of things. When I was first looking at them, I noticed that the delivery date was going to be December 20th so I thought I should order asap! Welll, a short time later I got the box. These can’t be in the dark that long, so I had to take them out of the box and keep them on my dresser. Not sure how he didn’t see them as he gets in Jeffy’s sock drawer all the time… But no, he was surprised! So basically what his looked like is just a round glass ball. Inside was a little branch, some pebbles and little sea monkey type things. The sun creates algae and the little critters eat that. You can also use a magnet to help clean the glass if it gets to that point. I hear of people that have their little shrimps for years and years! It will be interesting to hear how long these last…

 

Well, these six favorite online retailers are all I have for now, as our internet has been so intermittent lately I figure I should go ahead and post this while I have a chance to! Let me know if you have any unique stores that you like to shop at, I would love to get a head start on some possible gifts! J

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