Thursday, December 8, 2016

December Nuggets of Gold (Music and Books + Free videos and more for teachers!)

Hello friends~

Well, it doesn't look like that snowy globe just yet, but you never can tell! ;)

I hope that you've been enjoying the reviews and giveaways that I've had to offer on my blog in the past week or two. Entries are still open, so go take a look if you haven't yet!
There's one for a Bible Journaling Kit, and one for Amy Grant's new Tennessee Christmas CD.

Now, here's a nugget for everyone~

FreeCCM is offering a 10 song Christmas sampler, featuring Mercy Me, Sarah Groves, Laura Story, Phillips, Craig and Dean, and Phil Wickham. What a blessing, and generous gift ~ all you have to do is enter your email~ which allows FreeCCM to let you know when they have new free offerings. *Note: Downloads must be made to a computer.

And here are some Books for Kindle that you may be interested in picking up:

A Goose Creek Christmas (Tales from the Goose Creek B and B, book 4) (free at the time of posting) ~ I just read this book, and it is a sweet, funny story. Reminds me a little bit of the Mitford Chronicles, if you remember those... Although it's book 4 in the series, I didn't mind reading it on its own, and am interested in checking out the rest of the series.

A Christmas Carol (Wisehouse Classics with Original Illustrations) (free at the time of posting) ~ Don't really need to say much about this one ~ we all  know and love Dickens' Classic story, and now you can bring it with you on your Kindle! :)

Joy to the World: A Christmas Nativity Counting Book (free at the time of posting)~ Something to read to your Toddler when you are out and about~ Simple little illustrations just right for little ones. :)

Something for the teachers among us... public/private/homeschool... regularly offers great teaching videos that promote critical thinking, and right now they have a special "12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Spectacular 2016" . You can get a FREE DVD each day, for 12 days!  Plus, they are randomly selecting one winner each day to receive a embroidered fleece blanket.
I missed the first day (yesterday), but please check it out now ~ Each day offers a new video, and a new code, good only for 24 hours (I'll be posting on my Blog facebook page with the codes, so you can just keep an eye out there, if you like). 

And one more for the homeschooling teachers: 
IEW has some free events and more: 

1. This SaturdayDecember 10- IEW's Virtual Winter Retreat

Joining Andrew Pudewa are Sarah Mackenzie, Adam Andrews, and Jill Pike. There are six sessions that will encourage and inspire teachers and parents. If someone is not able to attend, they can still register to receive the recordings of the session they want to hear. 

2. Twelve Days of Christmas Giving

Every year we celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas by doing what we love to do: give gifts. Families can register now at the link below to receive daily email reminders to download the free gifts. On the final day, we ship something special to their front door. 

I hope this brightens your week, and gives you something fun to enjoy!


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

40 Days to A Joyful Motherhood: Devotions and Coloring Book to NourishMom (A Review)

Joyful Motherhood

Are you a mother who's become less than joyful in her calling? Have you become overwhelmed or slipped into the waves of despair, when life (and perhaps motherhood) isn't all you thought it was cracked up to be? Did you have a less than stellar example of motherhood in your own life, and you want to do better for your own children? Do you want to regain the joy and delight your new status as a mother brought to your heart as your newborn gazed trustingly into your eyes? Are you a new mother, who wants to protect and nourish that joy? If these don't describe you, do they resemble someone you know?

I recently received a book for review that *may* be useful to you, or as a gift. 40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood: Devotions and Coloring Book to Nourish Mom by Sarah Humphrey is filled with 10 minute snippets of friendly advice in the form of devotions, that can help you or someone you know navigate the sometimes placid and sometimes stormy waters of motherhood. Each devotional also has a facing coloring page, to give you some time to be creative, take a time out, or allow you to meditate on a truth you may have gleaned from the text. 
The devotions are broken into eight sections, with five days devoted to each topic: 
  • Identity For Mamahood 
  • Expectations, Pain, Hopes and Dreams
  • Releasing Grief and Receiving New Life 
  • Unworthiness and the Comparison Game  
  • Self-Acceptance and Peace 
  • The Cycles of Giving and Self-Care  
  • Placing an Emphasis on Presence 
  • Living a Lifestyle of Forgiveness
Each section also has an introduction, so I think this could easily be Eight Weeks to a Joyful Motherhood, if you read the introduction on the weekend, and then read the devotions on the weekdays.

Side note: I had somewhat mixed reactions to this book to begin with. I believe my ambivalence had something to do with the concept of giving this to a new mother who may actually already BE Joyful. My concern was that some of the devotions may introduce a topic that would bring them down if they weren't already dealing with that particular concern. If you're giving this to a new mom, I would suggest couching it in the terms of preventative maintenance ~ guarding against the negative experiences that may well show up. 

On the flip side of that, this could be the PERFECT gift for a mother who is suffering from PPD, or an overwhelmed mother of rambunctious toddlers, or patience-trying teens.

A word on the coloring book portion~ The designs are mostly flowery heart doodles. Most of them are fairly simple, with a few more complex designs thrown in for good measure. If you're looking for crazy complexity, this will be a disappointment, but if you would just enjoy a few minutes of quiet coloring, this will be right up your alley. The pages are like a "better" children's coloring book quality, smooth and slightly thicker than a normal book~ takes well to colored pencils (I think gel pens would probably show through to the other side).

If you're looking for a gift for yourself or a friend that will encourage and inspire, this could be a good option this Christmas, along with a nice pack of colored pencils.

$6.65 add- on
At Amazon
(Click the image)
My College-bound
art student loves these
$6.14 add-on
At Amazon
(Click the Image)
Haven't tried these,
but the price is good. :) 


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Amy Grant Tennessee Christmas CD (Review and Giveaway)


One of our traditional Every-Christmas-Morning-Must-Be-Played CD's is Amy Grant's "A Christmas Album." It is part of the soundtrack of our lives, so we were all excited to be chosen to review Amy Grant's brand new Tennessee Christmas Album (And offer a giveaway, hurrah!). 

Amy Grant has one of those voices that is just so smooth and mellow that it makes you almost instantly relax when you hear it.

As you might imagine with a Title of Tennessee Christmas, one of the tracks is an updated recording of Tennessee Christmas. It has a very nostalgic, feel, as does the majority of the album. This was accomplished in part by recording the entire album in their home~ using friends and family for background vocals. One song has her girls (my how they've grown up!) singing together, and yes, Vince Gill definitely makes an appearance or two on this album as well. 

Take a listen... 

Here are the tracks with a little bit of my take on each one.
  1. Tennessee Christmas ~ Same songs and harmonies, slightly different cast from the original
  2. To Be Together ~ You heard it above. ;) 
  3. Christmas For You and Me ~ Not my favorite track, but some folks may like it more than I do. 
  4. Melancholy Christmas ~ The name says it all. 
  5. December ~ Another mellow, quiet, almost fragile song~ (Just like a melting snowflake)
  6. White Christmas ~ Excellent, old-fashioned version in classic Amy Grant style. 
  7. Joy To the World ~ *NOT* the typical Loud, Joyous singing~ again, very gentle into jazz, and back again. 
  8. I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm ~ Vintage~ Love it! (I don't remember really hearing this sung before~ although I understand it was performed by some of the greats~ Tony Bennet and Dean Martin ~ I think I'll stick with Amy Grant's version. ;) )
  9. Baby, It's Cold Outside (Featuring Vince Gill) ~ well, if anyone can make me appreciate this song, I guess it might be these two. 
  10. Christmas Don't Be Late ~ Love this version~ a peek at the Grant/Gill household. Not all music, but also some memories of Christmases past (And this is the is the song with Amy's daughters singing in lovely harmony). 
  11. Still Can't Sleep ~ Sweet little song. 
  12. Another Merry Christmas ~ Another nostalgic song~ gives me the same feeling as "If These Walls Could Speak" to some degree. A "real" "honest" song. 
  13. Oh Come All Ye Faithful ~ Another peek into Amy's life, as she shares a little bit and sings with her family and friends. 

I expect that there will definitely be songs from this album added to our Christmas morning playlist, and certainly, it will be played throughout this month at home and in the car.

Go buy your own, and then enter my giveaway to win one as a gift to give away! :) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#TennesseeChristmas #flyby

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bible Journaling Kit (Review and Giveaway)

Bible Journaling is something that has intrigued my Artsy Eldest for awhile now, and in fact one of her favorite Christmas gifts last year was a journaling Bible (Currently on sale! No #aff link for this one). She has enjoyed using her creativity to illustrate passages from Sunday Sermons and the occasional Youth Group study as well. One thing she didn't enjoy was carting her bulky pencil case along (particularly to Youth Group~ she usually settled with just a pencil or two most of the time), so she was excited to learn that we had been chosen to review a Bible Journaling Kit (an Ellie Claire product, a division of Worthy Publishing Group~ provided to my by Propeller Consulting, LLC). 

Almost everything in the kit can be stored in the lovely lime green pouch with an adjustable elastic strap that should fit most Bibles. Items included in the kit are:
  • 1 fine line black journaling pen
  • 8 colored pencil twists
  • 4 sheets of alphabet stickers
  • 4 sheets of word stickers
  • 24 tab stickers
  • 1 ruled page protector mat with tracing lines
Personally, Eldest doesn't use the ruled page protector mat (In part because it is larger than the area of her Bible, so isn't compact enough for her purposes), but I can see how it could be very helpful for different options, including helping to place some of the stickers neatly.

Close up of some of the stickers and tabs for your convenience. ;) 
Eldest really appreciates the ability to slip the pouch over her Bible when heading to church~ no need to carry a bulky bag of any sort, and she has everything that she needs at her fingertips. ;) 

I will mention my only pet peeve with this kit is that I wish that the zipper zipped UP instead of down~ (note the photo on the right in the image above). It would be more pleasing to the eye, while being utilitarian in keeping items inside with partial access. However, that doesn't really affect the usefulness~ simply an aesthetic thing.  We both like the cheerful green and blue design, with one of our favorite verses on the front! 

You can see in the image above some of Eldest's artwork in the top half, and some of my highlighting of verses in the bottom half. Neither of us has made use of the stickers as yet, but it is nice to know that they are available. :) (Mom-bragging moment~ doesn't Eldest's work look amazing? She isn't finished with this particular illustration, but she was so happy that the kit included a brown that worked for her pocket watch color, as none of her other pencils was just right. :)
I think this would make a nice little stocking stuffer for someone who already has a journaling Bible, or as part of a larger gift (with a journaling Bible), don't you agree? ;)

You can purchase this Bible Journaling Kit at Christian Book Distributors, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Books-A-Million
Remember reading about a giveaway when you clicked on the link? Well, you have not ONE but TWO chances to win a Bible Journaling Kit.

Worthy Publishing Group is giving away 5 different kits. You can also download some nice coloring pages (some with devotionals) at their giveaway page, so be sure to go check it out.
And I am able to give away one Kit to one of my readers (regular or new~ I'm just happy you're all here! :D). Please make sure the Rafflecopter has loaded, in order to enter! :)

"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. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.” 
#BibleJournalingKit #FlyBy

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Shopping, Searching, Surveys, and... Free Gift Cards?

I don't often post about Swagbucks, but they have a promotion going on right now that can enable you to earn a 400 SB bonus~ which is mighty close to a $5 gift card, and since I'm all about finding those nuggets of small change that add up, I thought I should make sure you knew about this one! :)
It's time for another round of SWAGO! What is SWAGO you ask? It's a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities (I use Swagbucks as my default search engine, and randomly earn SB as I complete searches in the normal course of the day~ you can also shop through SB, take surveys, and more). You can redeem those SB for free gift cards. (I'm currently headed for a $25 Amazon or Paypal GC~ haven't decided just yet). If you've never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great introduction to the site. Plus, if you have to buy holiday gifts, might as well get an extra SB bonus for yourself, right?
Here’s what you need to know to get your 400 SB Bonus, (and don’t worry, you don’t have to make a purchase to complete a pattern):
  • Shop Swago will begin on Tuesday, November 29th 9am PDT/12pm EDT, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Friday, December 2nd at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.
I hope you get your 400 SB Bonus points! I'm heading over to see what I can do right now, myself.


Friday, November 25, 2016

November Nuggets (including some time sensitive Black Friday Freebies/Deals)

Hi All,

Hope that you had a marvelous Thanksgiving! So many things to be thankful for in spite of any external circumstances that might be worrisome. God is Good.

Here's a Christmas Medley (2015) from Anthem Lights to whet your appetite for their newly released EP:

Wanted to share some nuggets that I've found, as well as some Black Friday Freebies and Deals that you might be interested in.

Because the Black Friday Deals have deadlines, I'll list them first.

Homeschool Freebies is offering $160 in downloadable resources for free! There are some great things in here!
Chemistry, Musicals, Nomenclature, Planners, and more.

Music Deals from some of my favorite Christian Artists:
Jonny Diaz~ 2 newest CD's for $5 each
Unspoken~ CD's for $5 each and some nifty bundles that would make a sweet gift for your music lover.

Now for some non- Black Friday nuggets:
A really cute "new" Winnie-the-Pooh ebook you can download. A story about Winnie-the-Pooh and the Queen's Birthday. This is a sweet addition to the lore of Pooh, even if it isn't Milne.

SuperColoring ~ Some really great coloring pages~ if you're doing any state studies, you'll find plenty of material here, in addition to famous people and celebrations.

Advent Coloring Pages ~ I've used these sweet coloring pages in the past.

Printable 24 Christmas Story Countdown Advent Cards ~ These are nicely done as well~ Focus on the reason for the Season!

And one more from Anthem Lights, this one IS from their newly released (today!) EP:


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wordless Wednesday (Simple Thanksgiving)

There is a time for everything...

He has made everything beautiful in its time...

He has also set eternity in the human heart; 
yet no one can fathom 
what God has done from beginning to end.

I know that there is nothing better for people 
than to be happy and to do good while they live.

That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil - this is the gift of God. 

Excerpts from Ecclesiates Chapter 3


I love trading in points(450), earned during normal searches, for ($5) Amazon Gift Cards!


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