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Swap Shop in Elburn

April 22nd, 2015

Great opportunity if you are in the far Western burbs:

Location:
Elburn Community Center Gym
525 N. Main Street,
Elburn, Illinois

Drop off: May 15, 10 am – 8 pm

Swap: May 16, 9 am – 2 pm

What is a Swap Shop ?

Swap Shop gives area families a chance
to bring in items they no longer need
and swap for items they can use.

They accept everything in good usable condition. Nothing to swap?
Please come anyway and be blessed with God’s provision.

Would you like to volunteer to have a chance to pre-shop? Other questions? authenticmoms@gmail.com

Who organizes the Swap Shop ?
This event is hosted by Authentic Moms, a local Christian mom’s group.
Their desire is to follow 1 John 3:16-18, to love with actions & truth,
not just words.

Author: admin Categories: Special Events, giveaways Tags:

ICHE convention this weekend

June 3rd, 2013

This weekend is the convention for the Illinois Christian Home Educators in Naperville.

In honor of this upcoming event they are having a giveaway on their blog:

http://www.iche.org/blog/3906/06-03-2013/james-and-stacy-mcdonald-and-book-give-away

You can win one of Stacy McDonald’s books (both of which I have read and thoroughly enjoyed!) by leaving a comment there. The contest is only open for a couple days, so be sure to enter there for your chance to win and peruse the rest of their site for the details about the convention as well.

Review and Giveaway Ring the Bell

May 3rd, 2013
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Ring the Bell:

Ring The Bell shares the story of a slick, big city sports agent Rob Decker who seems to have it all. But on his latest mission to sign a high school baseball superstar, Rob becomes stranded in a small town where the simplicity of life—and the faith of the people—stand in stark contrast to his own fast-paced, win-at-all-costs mindset. Torn between these two worlds, will Rob have the courage to let faith transform his life? This heartwarming story of redemption is sure to entertain and inspire the whole family.

Ring the Bell is available on DVD for only $19.99

I know I have shared many times how much we appreciate being able to pop in a move that the whole family can watch without needing to fast-forward, cover ears or eyes, or wonder if something will go over their head or not. It’s not worth trying to enjoy a movie that is sub-standard morally. Ring the Bell delivers significant life lessons without any gore or inappropriate scenes or language. Everyone can watch this together.

We may have had a little soft spot for some of the main characters in this movie as their home was a type of group home for foster kids. Since we worked as dorm parents in a residential school for boys for nine years, personal memories flooded in as we watched the boys they worked with. We could easily relate to the challenges and victories that come in that line of “work.”They also speak a bit about mission work, another passion of mine, and I appreciated the clear presentation of the Gospel message more than once in the film.

As much as we loved aspects of this movie and some genuinely funny scenes peppered in here and there to break up the seriousness of the plot, there were some places that seemed to drag a bit. Some of the conversation seemed to go a little too long, even if they did have great points to make. There was also a fair bit of music that took up film time with segments of the singers actually singing. I enjoy good music and especially a good concert, but watching a concert as part of a movie seemed to slow the drama down too much. The music is great — Casting Crowns among others — but, I would have enjoyed it more as meaningful background music rather than the focal point of the shot.

Aside from the slow sections, this film has a great lesson, and the powerful tradition of the ringing of the bell every time . . . well, I don’t want to ruin that for you. See for yourself why that bell ringing is so important. It made me consider what we could do to have a similar tradition in our circle or home.

Now for the fun part, one of you can win your own copy of this heartwarming story to enjoy with your own family.  Just leave a comment below, and you are entered to win. For additional entries share about this giveaway elsewhere (blog, facebook, twitter, etc.) and come comment again letting me know where you shared. I’ll draw a winner on Tuesday May 14 in the evening.

Review and Giveaway: VeggieTales The Little House That Stood

March 16th, 2013
We have enjoyed talking to tomatoes and smiling with squash for as long as we’ve had kids. Our two year old has now reached the age of enjoying Larry’s silliness and Bob’s wisdom as well.
They continue to crank out enjoyable kid-friendly, God-honoring videos as the years go by. This time around VeggieTales has taken some well knows nursery rhymes and combined them with the truths of Scripture with a healthy ensemble of vegetables.
My kids enjoyed this twist that combined the parable of the wise man building his house on the rock with the three little pigs. The story line keeps moving, and even though they know both stories well, it didn’t seem overly predictable to them, until they had watched it over and over and over throughout the week. Even then, they asked for it again.
I always like to interact with my kids over their media interaction, and VeggieTales even helps with that. Check out their website for printable coloring pages and some discussion questions.  Help these great lessons sink in even further!
About The Little House That Stood
When the Three Little Pigs roll into Cabbageville looking to build some new houses, they meet one builder with a plan and two without a clue! Larry builds with hay, Mr. Lunt with bricks, but only Bob builds his houses on a firm foundation – following the wise plans from the Master Builder’s Handbook! Will the Little Piggies make the right choices when it comes to building their houses – and their lives – on solid ground? Find out in this parable that shows kids when they follow God’s blueprints, then can stand strong when the storms come!
Be sure to pick up your own copy maybe for someone special’s Easter basket!
If you would like your own copy of this movie, please leave a comment. I will choose a winner on Thursday evening March 21. You may leave extra comments for additional entries by sharing about this giveaway elsewhere (facebook, twitter, email, etc.)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Review and Giveaway: Abel’s Field

February 1st, 2013

We have a winner from Random.org — #3 Becky, Congratulations. :)

New family film! Read on and leave a comment to enter for a chance to win your own copy.

Website: http://www.abelsfield.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AbelsField

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AbelsField

About Abel’s Field

Left motherless by tragedy and abandoned by his father, high school senior Seth McArdle (Samuel Davis) faces enormous pressure as he strives to support his little sisters. At school, he endures the daily bullying of the football team. But fighting back only finds him singled out for punishment and assigned to an after-school work detail under the supervision of the reserved groundskeeper, Abel (SOUL SURFER’S Kevin Sorbo). Much to his surprise, Seth discovers that Abel may be the only one who truly understands his struggles. As dark times lure Seth toward desperate measures, the reluctant Abel may be the one person who can point him back toward the light.

This fast paced film draws you in quickly and keeps you cheering for Seth to make the right choices even while you ache alongside him for the enormity of the struggles life throws at him. The cast is full of dynamic actors and Seth’s younger sisters are adorable. As a family we appreciated the message that despite difficult times you need to make the right choices. People will die, money will fall short, and the wrong choice sometimes seems like the only one, but there is always hope to be found in others and in God.

We enjoyed this film with our whole family and although some of them prefer movies with more humor, they all kept interested in the ever evolving story line. I did feel that at times they were trying to pack in too much action and had to leave out some scenes or information that would have given the film a little more cohesion. We still understood what was going on, but sometimes we were left to fill in the gaps, or finish piecing it together at the end. Especially the character of Abel. He had a dark secretive past that you don’t fully understand until he writes a letter at the very end, and even then I felt I knew barely enough.

There are some fistfights and some intense moments, but nothing we found overwhelming. The only somewhat suggestive scene involves a convenience store clerk and Abel.  She makes joking references to having to stop meeting like this and not letting her  husband find out, but the conversation is limited on his part and the interaction brief.

Loved having a film that we could enjoy with pizza and have some conversation based on as well. Entertaining, a little heart wrenching, and lots of character building from seeing it.

If you would like your own copy of this movie, please leave a comment. I will choose a winner on Thursday evening February 7. You may leave extra comments for additional entries by sharing about this giveaway elsewhere (facebook, twitter, email, etc.)

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Author: admin Categories: giveaways Tags:

Review and Giveaway: The 5 Money Personalities

January 8th, 2013

What: The 5 Money Personalities

Written by: Scott & Bethany Palmer
Available now!
Check out their homes on the web –

About The 5 Money Personalities
The hidden key to a healthy relationship is not just managing money but understanding how the other approaches money.

Every couple argues about money. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married for 40 years or dating for 4 months, money touches every decision you make as a couple—from the $5 cup of coffee to the $50,000 car. And when the two of you don’t see eye-to-eye on how much to spend or how much to save, that’s when arguments turn into ugly toxic fights that leave both persons feeling hurt and angry. It’s why money has become the #1 cause of divorce in the U.S. Obviously, something needs to change. The reason this crisis has not been addressed is because it has never been identified, defined, or given a name. Scott and Bethany Palmer, aka “The Money Couple,” have identified and defined this problem and offer concrete solutions to fix it.

It’s not just about money management, and it’s definitely not just about overcoming debt. It is a whole new way of living that will change everything in your relationship. Tens of thousands have already been transformed. Are you ready?

My take:

- Easy read. I flew through this book. Easy to read, lots of real life illustrations, engaging, entertaining, and just plain old well written. Although not a flawless book, at least the reading of it was rather enjoyable.

- Unique perspective. Rather than getting hung up on the nitty gritty of money decisions, this book digs deeper into who you are when it comes to money and why that matters. Understanding who you are, and perhaps more importantly who your spouse is, in the money arena will add some enlightenment to the decisions you have made and the ones you have yet to make.

- Useful tool. While you could read it straight through, it really reads best in separate sessions. Great for a bedtime book for couples, or Saturday morning coffee book. Read a quick chapter together and talk about the action points at the end.

- Written by two spenders. I have to mention this because it stood out to both my husband and myself. My husband and I are one of those rare couples that find themselves in the same category — both savers, both security seekers (although to varying degrees). Reading a book by two self-proclaimed spenders I felt a bit misunderstood, and sometimes even mocked. I could’ve easily written the counter criticism for the spender, but that’s not the point, I don’t think, of recognizing money personalities. They still pour out lots of good advice, but if you read this book as a saver, know that you might feel a little defensive at times, and in my view that’s just fine. :)

- Some personalities overlooked? I also felt like there were some other significant areas of my money personality that didn’t get addressed. Stewardship, generosity, and faith might be hard to classify, but they are a huge part of my money decisions. I don’t know how they could be worked into their paradigm, but I did feel like there were some gaps in the 5 personalities they tried to boil things down to.

- Even more on the website. The website has more great tools for evaluating your money personality and how to come to greater agreement without arguing.

- Significance of dreams. This drew me in right from the beginning. They really nailed it in their discussion of dreams. We do often lose our dreams over time. I think that’s kind of what the movie “Up” hovered around. The Palmers want you to know you don’t need to lose your dreams. You can chase them and recapture them again, as a couple. This book is definitely just as much about a quality marriage relationship as it is about money.

- Practical tips. While a lot of the book is offering information, analysis, and perspective, it does get down to the practical before too long. Getting rid of financial infidelity, dumping, and having a money huddle are some of the practical areas that they offer very real life ideas on building or rebuilding your relationship.

This book offers great tips and perspective on overcoming money differences in your marriage relationship. None of us married our clone, so anyone can benefit from this book. As homeschoolers, living on one income, we at times feel the pinch a bit tighter than others might. I think this book can really help you come together on money issues even while retaining your unique money personality. A great read!

If you would like to enter into the giveaway to win a free copy of this book, please leave a comment on this post with an email so I can reach you if your name is drawn. You are welcome to a second entry as well by simply sharing about this giveaway somewhere else (facebook,  twitter, etc.) and returning here to leave a second comment.
The giveaway will wrap up on Tuesday night, January 15th in the evening.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Works for Me Wednesday — and everyday!

April 13th, 2012

This great little meme inspired me long before Pinterest came on the scene.

Before virtual bulletin boards, loads of amazing ideas enter the cyber world each week and inspired moms and families to find solutions to everyday problems.

The catchy name, Works for Me Wednesday rolled right off my tongue and became the place to be when it went live late each Tuesday night.

Now, they have compiled hundreds of the most amazing tips into one bursting at the seams e-book that is organized, consolidated and packed with links to last a lifetime — inspiring, time saving, maybe even life saving, tips.

The book includes sections for homeschooling, pets, meals, crafts, frugality, laundry, marriage, organization, travel, decor, and a total of 24 categories, with a total of 807 tips.

Each section begins with an adorable picture and an inspiring quote and is peppered with interviews with bloggers that made this book possible. The book comes in a PDF format which makes it oh so easy to flip through. Obviously, a book like this you want to be able to find what you need in a hurry. You won’t read it cover to cover (although it probably wouldn’t hurt you!) so the tips are arranged for easy finding.

E-book is the best format for this type of tool, because each tip is hotlinked to the site it came from that gives you the full description of the tip and how it worked for the person who entered it. Also, you get the benefit of any comments added onto the post as well. I am a big WFMW fan and to have the best of the best at my fingertips has brought me a treasure.

This great new resource is now available for purchase as well for just $8 Right now you can get a dollar off so it is only $7! Just use discount code  SAVE1

Head over to their page to buy your own stress-saving copy.

To find out more about the book:

Contest: Check out the contest on the website that continues through the month of April for a gift card for house cleaning ($150 value). Please submit your own tip to enter.
Twitter: @works4mebook

A portion of the proceeds also goes to help the Mercy House:

Mercy House is a non-profit ministry that empowers a maternity home in Kenya, Africa. The
home offers a safe refuge for pregnant girls living in extreme poverty. This organization began
and is supported almost entirely through social media avenues.

As a contributer and reviewer of this book I have been given a copy to enjoy and a copy to give away. One of you will get to enjoy this ebook for free! Please leave a comment at the end of this post with your contact info and you are entered to win your own pile of tips. You may earn additional entries by following the above links and following them on twitter and/or facebook. Just make sure you come back and leave another comment telling me you did so.I will choose a winner next Friday night, April 20th.

And, don’t forget to enter their contest for a free house cleaning!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. These come to you free of charge, but enable me to earn a little commission if purchases are made through them. Just a simple way that you can help support the work I do here without paying a dime for it. :)

Review and Giveaway: The 5 Love Languages of Children

April 10th, 2012

The core of communication comes down to language. Spoken language, body language, and even our love language.

Dr. Gary Chapman shook the dust off marriage in his book about love languages, and then he did it all over again for parents. As this concept gains world-wide attention, I enjoyed this reminder to figure out and speak my kids’ languages.

  • Physical touch
  • Words of affirmation
  • Gifts
  • Quality time
  • Acts of service

Each child speaks one of these languages more clearly than the others, and Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell set out to help you discover which one. After a brief introductory chapter the book jumps into the languages in detail so you can understand exactly what is meant by each language and how they look at various ages and stages.

The rest of the chapters help you see how understanding those love languages can strengthen you parenting relationship. Helping you identify each child’s language, the authors show you how to discipline, walk through their academic experience, and manage their anger with each of these love languages in mind. They even include some special considerations for single parents homes and more. The resources and encouragement in this book go well beyond its covers.

To find out more:

The 5 Love Languages: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/
To be their best, children need to feel loved. But if you and your child speak different love languages, your affection might get lost in translation, affecting the child’s attitude, behavior, and development. Dr. Gary Chapman’s groundbreaking Five Love Languages series has helped millions of couples communicate love more clearly, and Dr. Ross Campbell M.D. has applied the innovative system to children as well. The 5 Love Languages of Children gives practical suggestions for learning how your children interpret love and creating a sense of security in which they can thrive.

While all kids need a bit of every language, I appreciate this helpful book in decoding my kids’ signals. I especially gleaned from the sections on teenagers as things look a whole lot different at that age, and I am still learning how to decipher it all. The years of experience from the authors are such a help to us muddling through it all for the first time.

This book’s track record speaks for itself, but I cannot agree more. This book is a must read for every parent at every stage of parenting. And, it should be reread now and then as well. I read the first edition years ago, but definitely needed to read this updated version to dig deeper into my current season of parenting. Great pep talk with the practical advice to really make a lasting difference.

Buy it, borrow it, and of course, leave a comment here to enter to win your own copy! Leave a comment on this post with an email address that I can reach you at in case you win. The contest will close a week from now, Tuesday night April 17th. You can once again earn a second entry by sharing about the giveaway elsewhere and leaving a second comment.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or

services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it

on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally

and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance

with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the

Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review and Giveaway — A Perfect Pet Pal for Peyton

March 27th, 2012
A Perfect Pet for Peyton: A 5 Love Languages Discovery Book
The concept of love languages has restored countless marriages and helped many parents to connect with their children on a significantly deeper level. Learning to express love in a way it can be heard is a skill that cannot begin too soon.
Dr. Gary Chapman has joined up with Rick Osborne and Wilson Williams to craft a picture book to help children grasp this relationship-altering knowledge. As with the other 5 love languages materials, this book is top notch in appearance and in clear presentation of the material.
My kids always get excited about packages, but sometimes when they see it is “just another book” they head off their separate directions. Not so this time. As soon as my 8yo got it out of the package, her older sister and younger brother were begging me to take a break and read to them. With my toddler copying, “Book, book.” How could I refuse?
The story takes the reader through the birthday celebration of a set of twins, a boy and girl, who are excited about the day ahead when they would celebrate their birthday at Mr. Chapman’s Perfect Pet Pal Emporium. Throughout the day as they interact with the animals and their birthday party guests, you clearly see the various love languages exemplified in each character. An example of each love language comes to life as the children hug, compliment, help, give, and just enjoy each others company.  And, in the process they each find an animal that is a living example of their language as well.
My kids completely loved this book and I have read it countless times already. The colorful pictures, the animals on each page, the hidden insect in each picture, and even the conversation about love languages drew them in time and again. The book closes with some conversation starters to begin to help children to see their own love language and that of others as well.
This book offers a great way to draw your family together and is great for any age child. It is a longer picture book, so younger kids might enjoy it more split up over a few sittings. For my 6 and up kids we read it straight through each time.  The lesson fits for everyone and can be a great spark to encourage a greater demonstration of  love between siblings.

Learn more about the five love languages and Dr. Chapman here:

Of course, one fortunate reader will win a copy of this fantastic book. If you would like a chance to win this book leave a comment on this post. Be sure to leave your email address as well so I can get in touch with you if you win.

This time around you can enter three times total. First, a freebie for anyone. Second, leave a second comment sharing your love language and/or your child’s love language. Third, share about this giveaway somewhere (facebook, twitter, email, etc.) and come back to leave another comment as an entry.  I’ll plan to pick a winner on Monday evening April 2. Go get ‘em! :)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it
on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally
and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance
with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review and Giveaway: The Woodcarver

March 9th, 2012

Teenage conflict, a marriage that needs work, God blurring out of focus. These create the backdrop for a family ripe for renewal.

Nothing brings a family together like manual labor in stressful situations. Working side by side, the individuals in this fractured family begin to remember what they liked about each other and what they lost sight of in the pressures of everyday life.

Ernest Otto challenges Matthew to just ask himself one question before acting, “What would Jesus do?” And, Matthew finds that the answer sometimes surprises him, and his change of heart surprises everyone else in the process. He continues to learn from Ernest as his family is pieced back together along with the wood he had destroyed in an act of vandalism.

I appreciate that the film does not make it out that trusting God will make your life hunky-dorey. Otto lost his wife to cancer in the past, but did not lose his confidence in the power of prayer.  The story kept the attention of our whole family and had enough ups and downs and unexpected challenges to keep us on our toes.

The only disappointment to me was the ending. Poor Otto sitting by his wife’s grave crying over how much he misses her. I would have preferred him expressing his sorrow but remembering that he doesn’t mourn as those that have no hope. But, I guess they were just keeping it real.

Overall, a great film that might make you reconsider some of your own priorities and brush the dust of that well worn question, “What would Jesus do?”

The Woodcarver - DVD
The Woodcarver DVD
(releases Tuesday, March 13th)


About the Movie:
Matthew Stevenson is a troubled kid from a broken home. When he vandalizes the local church to get back at his parents, Matthew has to repair the damage to the church to avoid criminal charges. While working at the church, he meets Ernest (John Ratzenberger), an accomplished wood carver who created the intricate woodwork decoration that Matthew destroyed. Ernest has become something of a hermit, but reluctantly comes out of reclusion to help repair the church. Now Ernest and Matthew must work together to preserve the church’s beautiful antiquity, and along the way, they also manage to restore their faith in God and in life.

If you would like a chance to win a copy of this movie please leave a comment on this post. You can earn a second entry by sharing about this giveaway on facebook, twitter, etc. and leaving a second comment. The drawing will be open until Friday March 16th in the evening. Make sure to leave an email address that I can reach you at when you win!

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it
on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally
and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance
with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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