Thursday, May 30, 2013

Make life Simple by using Simplified Pantry Molly Crew 2013 #hsreviews #simplelife #glutenfree

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   Every once in a while I get to review a product or book as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew's sub crew The Molly Crew. The Molly crew is fun because it focuses on Me, the Mom and not our homeschool necessarily. Now that is not to say we cannot use these items in our homeschool but they are perfect for any family whether they homeschool or not. Today I have a review for you from Mystie Winckler’s Simplified Pantry collection, of not just one but 3 of her e-books.

  The one that intrigued me the most was Paperless Home Organization. I am overwhelmed with papers, with 6 of us in our family there are a ton of papers to deal with. This is available in either a PDF format or for your Kindle, for a bargain price of $3.99. I of course took the Kindle version, because if I am trying to save paper if I would have gotten it in PDF I would have had the urge to print it out and that would have so defeated the purpose. Paperless Home Organization is a how-to guide for creating a digital homemaking binder, using apps and digital programs. Now I am tech savvy to a point but there is still a whole lot that I am not familiar with, so when it suggested certain apps and programs I was feeling a little overwhelmed at first. I had never heard of Evernote, and I hardly every use my calendar on my phone even though I do have an iPhone. I know I have issues.

   My goal is to put technology to use to help make my life easier and this e-book delivers just that and whole bunch more. One thing that I loved immediately is, the apps and programs that they tell you to use are all FREE so there is no additional money needed beyond the initial $3.99 investment. I am as frugal as they get when it comes to apps and e-books I very rarely pay for any and if I do it is under $1 so this was right up my alley. Other apps they suggested I use were Remember the Milk, which my kids thought was a hilarious name for an App and then some more familiar ones that I already had but had hardly ever used like, Google Calendar and then G-mail which I use but not as my primary email source.

     I use my laptop and my iPad and my iPhone for all of my online activities, but mainly my iPhone and laptop. So I implemented the suggested help apps and programs and got to work. I did find I loved Evernote, its purpose is to help clear the paper clutter from your life and in my case my desk.  This handy program is designed for you to scan in any of your documents to their filing system and then call them up at a touch of a button, OK maybe not just a button, but how about a keyword. For instance I had scanned in some of Nick's test scores from his PSAT and ACT tests. All I had to do was type in those letters or his name or school and it retrieved it instantly. This even works for hand written notes, which I loved. I tend to take notes at all of my Weight Watchers meetings but again that just adds paper. I have tried to take notes on my iPad and it is just not fast enough for me. So now all of my WW notes are in Evernote and I can call them up based on the Meeting Title or any word I can remember in the notes. I wish I would have found this a long time ago.

   There were other suggestions that Paperless Home Organization offered up but they did not really work for me. For example SyncMyCal, this syncs your Outlook Express and Google Calendars, now while I am trying to be better about using my Google Calendar I do not use Outlook for anything. We use AOL for our main email so I have nothing to sync there, now just because it did not work for me does not mean it will not work for you. Especially if you use Outlook and Google Calendars.

 One of the key things I loved about the book was that it was laid out in a visual format, and since I am a visual learned especially when it comes to utilizing technology this was very beneficial to me. There were illustrations to show how to use and implement the tools they were suggesting and very explicit directions. This was key to me to help me be successful. Now I am not saying that I read this book and was magically cured of my paper chaos in my home. It is definitely a work in progress, but I feel so much more functional and organized now. It is helpful to not have so much paper on my desk, no matter how hard I have tried in the past nothing has really worked no matter what system I have used to help me. I find myself referring back to this book often to help improve my organization and I tell everyone about this as it has been such a helpful tool. I am going to implement some of the tools into our homeschool over the Summer so that school will be less cluttered as well. I am sure this will be helpful in creating the boys transcripts without keeping all of their work like I have in the past. I want to be as green as possible and this may just be my key.

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  The other two items I was given to review from Simplified Pantry I used for a short bit but with camping and such it was not a huge focus for me, both are similar although one is adapted for Gluten Free living, they are called Simplified Dinners and Simplified Dinners Gluten Free/Dairy Free, they both sell for $12.99 each and are both sent in PDF e-book format and are packed full of recipes that make meal planning simple. Helping to streamline the steps involved in meal planning, food prep and shopping for groceries. I already utilize a subscription service for my meal planning so I did not put these two to the complete test, although I think they are wonderful assets to any family struggling with meal time. There are not enough hours in the day for any Mom and anytime we can find something to help make an everyday task easier we should jump at the chance. This is one of those things, whether you are Gluten Free/Dairy Free because of allergies or just because you want to live healthier, or just a traditional meal eating family one of the below books would be a helpful addition to your meal time chores. You can check out a sample from both by going to the Simplified Dinners page and the Simplified Dinners Gluten Free/Dairy Free page.

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Simplified Pantry wants to be a blessing to all of your with a discount on their products from now until Monday June 3,2013.
Simply enter code TOS2013 entered during checkout, you can get 30% off any e-books on their website!

Also be sure to check out the other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews as we each focused on which product we found most helpful, so you are sure to learn more about all of the products we were sent. 

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Memorial Day Parade 2013

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Pink Blessings and a little fun too. #pinkscooter #MS #blessed #greatkids #awesomefriends

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OK I have to brag on how lucky I am to have the kids I do, makes up for some of the garbage I go through on a daily basis. I have a mobility scooter due to my MS because in the Summer and anytime I am not in remission it is the only way I get to do anything, well last Summer my scooter took a beating at the campground, so we brought it home and it has been slowly getting repaired by my son Alyx and his friend Eric the car guy. Like they took it apart down to nothing and repaired everything and upgraded some things.

   Well I knew they had to order a new fender and they were repainting some parts because of chipping and things, there was a joke about painting it pink in the beginning. Now those that know me know that I LOVE PINK. I was disappointed to learn that it would not be feasible to repaint the whole scooter therefor they had the paint shop color match the previous orange sherbet color it was.

    Well on Mother's Day I was told I could only have half of my Mother's Day and Birthday presents, since my Birthday was the next day Alyx got me a combined gift. So I opened my gifts and it was Pink Breast Cancer tennis balls and a brand new breast cancer pink tennis racket... I was so excited. Then he told me I would have to wait until I got home for the rest. So Tuesday Night last week I went over to see what they were up to and low and behold my other surprise is that they did indeed repaint my whole scooter as a gift for me, and guess what it is ???

    Breast Cancer Pink and Shiny Silver accents. It looks soo cool, I was speechless.  we even found metallic pink aluminum valve stem covers to go on it too.  We are in the process of looking for some vinyl graphics or maybe have it airbrushed to add a little more personality to it.
    They have been in touch with EV Rider, the scooter company and a picture of my custom scooter is going to be put on their website when it is all done, it still has some work to do on it, like some new front tires, that were ordered but have not come in yet. I am so excited and so blessed. God is good.
                                     Here is some pictures of my new Pink Baby!!

                                             Partners in Crime, Alyx and Eric

 So because of the whole Pink thing, the guys have been saying they have to hurry and finish my scooter, because they have to get the Pink out of the garage, it is sucking the testosterone right out of their man cave. Good Grief. So for a joke, Alyx took a piece of wood and sprayed it pink, and went down while Eric was at work and screwed it to the front of the work bench drawer. I thought Eric would get mad, but instead he made laughed and made Alyx and I both sign it and he is going to clear coat it and leave it on the drawer front as our little mark on the garage and a reminder of how much fun the two of them had working on my scooter. I thank God everyday for putting Alyx and Eric in each other's lives and our whole family's as well. They are like two peas in a pod and Eric is such a positive role model for Alyx and has taught him so much, and Alyx has even taught Eric a thing or two. We have become such good friends with Eric and his wife Jan and it is nice that they are now are neighbors too.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dice Fun with Joyce Herzog Schoolhouse Review Crew Review 2013 #hsreviews

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       We are always on the hunt for fun educational games, especially now that Camping Season is underway. Small portable games are best, which was why I was delighted to be chosen to review a game that is all that and more from Joyce Herzog. We were sent the Educational Dice Bag for our reviewing pleasure.

    Now you may be wondering who is Joyce Herzog, like some of you I had never heard of her until I was offered this review opportunity. Joyce is an educator with over 25 years of experience and expertise. She has taught in both Public and Private institutions and has also had the opportunity to work with learning disabled students in these settings. On top of all of this she has served the Homeschool community for over 25 years as well, through speaking engagements, books she has written, and consultations. Her goal is to help students reach their full potential by helping them learn by how they each learn the best, their own unique learning style. Her website has all sorts of unique learning tools to help accomplish just that. So now that we have established the Who and the Why and the What, here is the Where as in where you can purchase all of these amazing learning tools. Head to the Joyce Herzog Store to experience all she has to offer. Just be sure to follow the directions as you have to create a user account first.

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3 sets of Dice all wrapped into one, plus the numbers operations Die for the price of $23, Now you might be thinking $23 for dice? Well I am here to tell you these are not just ordinary dice. These are Math Games and Grammar and Spelling games. You get Alphabet Dice Delight. Rolling Math Games and Deca Dice Fun. These dice games are geared for children and adults of all ages from wee ones up to adults. I love items that have such a broad range of diversity like the Educational Dice Bag. 

The packaged arrived and when we opened it we found a Sandwich Size zipper bag and it were 3 smaller jewelry size ziploc bags,each one containing its own set of dies, and the instructions and tips for how to use them and games to play. We immediately paired the directions for each set of dies up, and then folded the directions smaller to fit in the individual corresponding bags, this way there was no confusion. 

The Alphabet Dice Delight bag contained a 30 sided Alphabet Die, one side for each letter and then 4 wilds, and a vowel die A,E,I,O,U,Y and the tips on using the dies and game directions.

Rolling Math Games this bag included one die with numbers, another with number words and 2 dice with colored dots, like traditional dice and a sheet with instructions and tips for using them.

Deca Dice Fun this bag was full of the most fun dice of all, included were a Deca Die with numbers,(as you can probably guess it is 10 sided) and 1 dotted Deca Die, 1 number word Deca Die and 1 Double Deca Die, this was the boys favorite die besides the 30 sided alpha die from Alphabet Dice Delight, the Double Deca Die was a clear die with numbers on it with another smaller red Deca Die inside of it, so when you roll it, you get two numbers at once. This was great to use for Multiplication for Taylor along with the Numbers Operations Die. A sheet with tips and explanations of the games came with this as well.

The Math Operations Die was a multi sided die that has signs for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division as well as less than and greater than symbols. This particular set is extremely helpful for Math drills and practice. Something Taylor really struggles with.

There are many aspects of the Educational Dice Bag to like.
1. Organization: I like organization so for me this is important and something to really like and appreciate. The way each set is in its own bag and then all of the bags put into a larger bag. All of the bags being see through so you can see their contents. Also that the directions are printed out for you and included within each bag. Nothing I despise more than to have to run to a website or email to obtain the directions. I want them right there so when someone wants to use them they have them accessible.
2. Portable: I enjoy taking educational fun on the go, whether it be playing in the car, in the waiting room of a doctor's office or up at our camper I like small games that can be tossed in my purse or small tote bag and we can be off to go do whatever we need to do, and if the kids get bored I can pull it out and they can play. One of the wonderful tips included with these dice was to put them in a small container so when you are rolling them you are not having to go off chasing them off the floor. Small plastic containers, you know the cheap, somewhat disposable kind you can get at the grocery store. I just happen to have a small rubbermaid one so this is what we used, but ideally something you could see through the lid would work best.  The small ones work great and still allow them to be portable. I took the small bags of dice games and popped them into the container and then we just use the container for the one we want to play with at the moment. This also makes it so easy to play these games in the car. You do not have to worry about flying pieces or them getting lost. 

3. Hands On: My boys love anything that does not involve just sitting and listening to me talk or them having to read. They want to learn hand on and this delivers just that. Anything that is fun but you are learning what needs to be learned or skills that need to be enforced is A+ in both my book and my kids. 

4. Reasonable: Now you may think that these are pricey. In reality they are not, if you break them down by game, they are less than $8 each and you have to admit you cannot buy many educational games for less than $8. Remember you are getting 3 Games for the price not just one and not just random dice, these dice have function and are educational and fun. We have been having a blast refreshing and mastering multiplication facts with the Deca Dice Fun. Building their vocabulary and using the dictionary with the Alphabet Dice Delight.  There are so many things to do with the dice and you would be amazed at the games the kids create themselves. These are a must have for any classroom. I did not know what to really expect but they exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds. 
Be sure to click on the crew banner banner below to check out all of the products the crew got to pick from for review, there is something for everyone. 


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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Introducing Schoolhouse Library!! From The Old Schoolhouse Magazine #schoolhouselibrary

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    My wonderful friends at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine have once again outdone themselves....
They have a brand new addition to their already comprehensive list of resources they offer, introducing The Schoolhouse Library. For only $25 which is a one time fee, not a monthly or yearly subscription you will get access to over 175 valuable tools to use in your homeschool classroom. E-books ad Audio files on over 25 various topics from Art and Economics to Geography and Special Needs, there is bound to be something for everyone's needs. Get a taste of Lapbooking, Study Guides and Drawing, and even helpful pick me ups for busy, frazzled homeschool Moms. Whether you are a seasoned homeschool Mom who just might need to put a spark in her teaching, or a new Mom who is just about to start off on this awesome adventure we call homeschooling, it is a tool you do not want to go without. Be sure to head over to www.SchoolhouseLibrary.net  and secure your membership today. You are just $25 away from help from all of the resources packed into this learning tool.

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Wordless Wednesday Alyx's Latest Project for his Nana for Mother's Day!

Pin It Now!                               Her whole house is decorated on the outside in Red, White and Blue
                                              First it was in the flower bed
                    Then it was moved to the porch, I like it better there and so does my Mom.
                                      She absolutely loved it...

Monday, May 20, 2013

I finally hit my 10% Milestone in my weightloss journey!! #WW #weighloss #gettingskinny

Pin It Now!   WOW! It feels so good to finally accomplish this big goal that I set way back in January. My 10% was to lose 27 lbs and I would have probably hit it a month ago but I got sick and it set everything back a bit. In the past I would have let my setback stop me and I would have just quit and gave up. Not this time, this Momma has this!! I needed to lose -3.4 lbs this week to meet this goal and I ended up -3.5 lbs down so I squeaked by with the skin of my teeth. I was so excited. Here is my keychain I earned by making this goal with Weight Watchers, along with my -25 lb charm and my 16 week stay and succeed that I earned a few weeks ago.

It has been a while since I posted some updated pics so here are my 10% -27lb photos.

One thing I find myself having to do as I go down in sizes for shirts is having to layer as the shirts are too short for my liking, so I either throw a tank top underneath like in the above photos, or I am going to start using my new favorite find.
They can be worn so it makes your shirt longer or on top to cover your cleavage with low cut tops to maintain a more modest appearance. I found them on clearance at Meijer for just over $7 so decided to take the plunge, I am going to go get some more and in a smaller size when we get paid this week. 

I did my monthly measurements and I was down again.... 
from April 15 - May 16 I was down -5 inches in my bust,-1 inch in my waist and -1 inch in my hips. for a total monthly inches lost in just those 3 areas of -7 inches.
My 3 month total inches lost is -9 inches lost in my bust, -10 inches in my waist, and -6 inches in my hips, for a Grand Total of -25 inches lost in just those 3 areas.
I also lost a total of -20 lbs in those 3 months. 

I cannot stress how much energy I have and how motivated I am to keep going on this journey. Sure there are days when I do not feel like exercising and may take a break but the next day I get up and get moving. I find now that I actually crave exercise and feel deprived when I cannot get out and walk or my new hobby run(yes I said run) I love how it makes me feel. Now I cannot hardly run as far as I can walk, but it is a work in progress. I am hoping by fall I will be able to Run the entire 5K that I am going to be signing up for. Hoping for a color run of some sort but we will see. I just subscribed to Runner's World Magazine thanks to the motivation from my friend Sarah. I went out and bought the current issue, since the cover was all about color runs. I just could not wait the 4-6 weeks for my first subscription issue to come, I also ordered a couple books from the same company. Those should be here this week. 

I ended up having to order a new charger for my iPod Shuffle since mine got dropped out of my laptop bag and eaten by one of the dogs. UGH. I ordered it from Amazon with a gift card I had and it was only $2.84 with free shipping, it should be here this week and I still have some money left on my gift card so I am on the hunt for what I might need or want next. I really want a pair of under armour running shoes but I will have to save my pennies for them. 


photo from www.Underarmour.com
I bought the cutest little piggy bank for all of my spare change it is actually a magnet, I found it at the thrift shop up at camp and I could not resist for only $.60 I just had to have it. I also got a cute pair of Capris that are my new clothing goal. They are a size 12 and I hope to wear them by at least the Fall before the weather turns cold. 

I did get a new pair of red tennis shoes to add to my collection while we were away at camp, they were a birthday gift to myself. Did I mention I am now 37, Yikes I am getting old, but you know what I feel younger than I have in years. It is amazing when you eat healthy and exercise regularly you feel younger, who would have thunk it?
Here are my new shoes....

I have been searching for Red shoes that were not an arm and a leg and I finally found them, they were on sale for $14.99 that price I can handle, because like Alyx keeps reminding me, I NEED another pair of tennis shoes like I need a hole in my head, Gee I think I may have said something similar to him when he wanted a new pocket knife?? It always comes back to bite me!
Well I think that is all the news I have to share this week, I am hoping and praying for a -2.9 lb loss this week at the scales to get me to that -30 lb weightloss Mark and then It will be onto making new weightloss goals.  Have you reached a major weightloss milestone recently?? 

I would love to hear your goals and achievements please share and I will help you reach them by cheering you on.