Saturday, December 17, 2016

Timberdoodle Review: Tenzi came and Card Deck

Here's another gift idea from

TENZI  is a fast paced tactile dice game that can be played with most ages. The TENZI Tube comes with 40 brightly colored dice, 10 each of 4 different colors (enough for 4 players). The most basic play is to roll 10 dice, with the ultimate goal of rolling ten of the same number (similar to rolling 5 of the same number in Yahtzee). It's nice to have a simple game which is good for beginners, and is great for amount/number recognition, but it doesn't stop there.

Included in the tube are rules for 6 or 7 more variations including TENZI tower ~ Stack your dice as you roll the number you're collecting, SPLITZI ~ Roll 2 sets of 5 different numbers, TIMED TENZI and more.

Once you've mastered those,  you can pick up 77 Ways to Play TENZI Game Cards to expand on the play. The cards include specific goals as well as patterns to roll and even some physical challenges (Stand on one foot while rolling the dice for example).

One of the things that I, as a mother, really appreciate is that it really can be a quick game (10 minutes?), for when you feel the need to break things up a bit in the school day, redirect a child, or fill somebody's love bucket with some fun attention, and my 9 year old enjoys playing and rolling all those dice!

TENZI is part of Timberdoodle's 2nd grade curriculum kit, which is a great age to begin playing TENZI, although it could be played with slightly younger children, and it is enjoyable for those who are older as well. Timberdoodle definitely seeks out interesting and fun educational toys to go along with their curriculum, and I value the inclusion of play in a curriculum package.

I think the combination of TENZI and 77 Ways to Play TENZI  would make a very nice gift on their own, or a really nice stocking stuffer for anyone aged 7+. It is very compact and portable, perfect to pack in a bag for family visits, road trips, and camping.


Friday, December 16, 2016

When Jesus Was A Green-Eyed Brunette (WHAT ???) A Review


I just received an interesting book for review that I'm submitting for your perusal. I had not read anything by Max Davis, so I was curious to check it out. His book, When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette's  title might seem a little sacrilegious to some, but it is an encouraging and inspirational read, particularly for those who are struggling with the hypocrisy of religion, or perhaps even wondering if there is anything to the story of Jesus.

Max shares honest, sometimes raw stories from his life, and in each one, God shows up... not typically as a body-less supernatural presence, but as a supernatural presence inhabiting the heart and life of those who follow and love Him. The outworking and real-life examples of Galatians 2:20
I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Max tells about his own path to the reality of Jesus, whose presence shone through the eyes of a green-eyed brunette. His call throughout the book is to return to the roots of real Christianity, not Religiosity~ to have a real relationship with Christ, and to exemplify His love, grace, and peace in our lives.

When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette was written by a man, and is not Gospel. However, there are many nuggets of truth that are intended to turn the reader back to the Gospel, the person of Christ, encourage them to walk with Him, and see where God shows up ~ sometimes in and through the most unlikely people and circumstances. 

About the Book:
When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette weaves heartwarming and miraculous stories of Jesus showing up in ordinary people, revealing that He knows us and is fully present in our everyday circumstances, especially in our difficulties. Those hurting and weary from worn-out religion are longing for a fresh touch from the living Jesus. Best-selling author Max Davis challenges us to do more than simply receive God’s grace—we need to allow grace to soften, change, and shape us. As you read this book you will laugh, cry, and come face-to-face with the living Jesus, much like Davis did, when he found Him living in a green-eyed brunette. As Davis puts it, “Jesus is very much alive today and still does incredible things—sometimes supernatural things—through us!”
List price: $15.99
208 pgs. 14 Chapters

About the Author:
Max Davis is the author of over 20 published books and has been featured in USA Today and Publishers Weekly and has appeared on The Today Show and The 700 Club. He holds degrees in Journalism and Biblical Studies and is a much sought-after speaker for churches and organizations worldwide. He and his wife, Alanna, live on 50 beautiful acres in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana.

#JesusGreenEyedBrunette #FlyBy

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Timberdoodle review: Simbrix (What is that ???)

Here at ~ Acorns ~ Nuggets of Gold~ I am always on the lookout for unique gift ideas that are also educational in nature. Often I turn to one of my favorite Homeschool vendors, Timberdoodle, to see what they have found that is new, fun and edifying for the brain cells. ;)

This year, in looking at their 4th grade Curriculum Kit (Because youngest is in 4th grade...), I discovered a STEM item that I'd not seen before:
Introducing Simbrix Expert Kit, from Nottingham, England:

What exactly ARE Simbrix? They are a two dimensional pixelated art supply, most similar to fusible beads, but they don't fall off a peg board mid-design (Hurrah! So much less frustration!). In fact, there is NO peg board. The beads are square, instead of round, and lock together to create whatever design your child thinks up or wants to illustrate from their learning. While the designs won't be permanent unless ironed, they can hold up to moderate display ~

Simbrix can be used to focus on following directions and patterns, similar to following a cross-stitch pattern, for example, and are excellent for fine motor tactile skills.

They are also simply pleasing to the eye and hand, and can be used a'la sand-table style, to create multicolor designs simply by swirling the beads into a specific shape.

The Expert Kit includes a brightly printed canvas with two plastic bags of beads in bright and pastel colorways~ with 4000 beads in total, and 17 colors, the possibilities are only limited by imagination, and unlike fusible beads, creations can be taken apart, and the beads can be used to build something new. 

We had a Tardis and an 11th Dr. Minion

A Baseball field and American Flag (Sort of)

and some Flowers, for our first attempts

Younger children will be challenged simply by putting the pieces together. Older children (And perhaps adults) may be a little finicky, as the pieces definitely have a front (Smooth and shiny) and a back with little dots. In the close up of the Flag you can tell that the pieces were put together with disregard for front and back, but it doesn't really affect the final outcome for the one who put it together. 

Just as adults and teens can be drawn into coloring with a younger child, Simbrix offers the opportunity for many levels of "play" for all ages, and may be a creative tool that would be enjoyed in your home throughout the seasons. You never know what might end up being the stand-out, unexpected gift of the year (And they were carrying this item LONG before it was found at any of our local toy stores), but Timberdoodle has offered products in the past that have been just that at our house. Maybe Simbrix will fill that spot at YOUR house this year! :)


Saving money with Groupon's Coupons

Disclosure this is a sponsored post~ all opinions are my own.

I'm sure most of you are familiar with Groupon and their local and travel deals. Personally, I have used Groupon to save money on a variety of things~ Starbucks and Whole Foods Gift Cards, Tech items, and other Restaurant deals. What I wasn't as aware of was the fact that Groupon also has a  Groupon Coupon section.  I am definitely about saving small change, so that it has the opportunity to add up to big change, and coupons for items I'm planning to buy (or at least investigate purchasing) anyway is a good way to do that.

Groupon offers coupons to stores with a brick and mortar presence, like Claire's (which I didn't realize even had an online presence... Nice to have the option not to brave the pre-Christmas parking lots, and still save some money when looking for stocking stuffers and the like). Some of the deals include free shipping with minimum purchase and 20% - 25% off coupon codes (some exclusions may apply). There are currently 4 promo codes and 10 "Sales" being offered on the Groupon Coupon site. 

There are also coupons for stores that are exclusively online, like the popular Kiwi Crate. I've heard more buzz this "Shopping season" about this particular store online, than many others. Pretty nifty concept, having packages with projects shipped direct to your door just like the old book clubs, only these are crates packed with supplies and projects!
While they may have started with a pre-school/early elementary emphasis, Kiwi Crate has expanded into the 9-16+ range, with "Doodle" crates for the artists, and "Tinker" crates for  those with a science and engineering bent, and Groupon Coupons can help you save a little green if this is your thing~ You know~ things like 30% off your first month's subscription, or 40% off your first box~ free shipping, etc... There are currently 15 "Coupons for Kiwi Crate~ 5 promo codes and 10 "sales." 

Chances are that if you're looking to shop an online store, Groupon Coupons probably has something to save you money. It's definitely worth a look. You can keep up with the latest from Groupon on Facebook and Twitter

Have you purchased anything from Groupon Coupons? Did you know about that part of the "Groupon Family?" I hope that this is useful information to you, as you finish up your Christmas shopping (With free shipping coupons?). :) 


 #GrouponCoupons #ad 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Gift Ideas for Babies ->Teens (Made in the USA!)

Happy 10 Days Till Christmas Eve!! 

Figured it was time to put up a (hopefully) helpful list of gift ideas for the kids in your life, with the bonus of being #MadeInTheUSA . Be on the lookout for a similar list for the grown-ups in your life soon!

All images lead to Amazon and I do appreciate your purchases through my affiliate links~


A sweet baby gift, something that I have purchased in the past for baby presents, an all natural wood rattle with a jingle bell inside~ LOVE it! (Currently $12.54, 10% off list price)

And here is another set of rattles and teething toys, again, all natural wood. (Currently on sale for $19.95).

For ages 6 months and up, a lovely stacking toy that can extend to older ages as it teaches counting sides and learning shapes! (Currently on sale for $18.37, 22% off list price).

Make Four 4-inch vehicles out of wood. Hammer and Glue required. Non-toxic fun for ages 3 and up. (Currently on sale for $14.99, 22% off list price).

This one is another ages 3+, and I think it would make a wonderful gift for an elderly person as well~ what lovely illustrations! (Currently 8% off list price at $23.99)What a GREAT gift idea!

Uncle Goose offers a large variety of wooden blocks~ the full color alphabet blocks as well as uncolored Upper Case, Lower Case, and Numerals for you to decorate yourself, if you are artistically inclined. :) There are many more, including foreign language blocks, Braille Blocks, and Sign Language Alphabet Blocks. So Cool!

Obviously, I'm a fan of natural wood products, but there are some others out there worth looking at as well. Green Toys were just starting to be on my radar when my youngest was the appropriate age~ they have some fun things made from recycled materials, and again, made in the US of A. ;)
Tea Set is $17.52  and Dinner Set is $25.72, Dump Truck is $17.19

Kids (Tween to Teen)

CLASSIC Christmas gift~ Who doesn't remember the classic potholder loop-weaving kit? I personally love this Kit ($16.99) from Harrisville Designs, along with the refill loops kit ($15.78)~ these are GORGEOUS colors!

Magnetic Poetry! There are a number of sets~ The BIG First Words set for the younger kids, and there are some really fun sets for older kids and adults as well... Love the Bard? There's a set for that! Make Merry on your Refrigerator!

$12.99 currently
Have you seen this Wallet Multi Tool? What a fun and useful gift for the handy kid in your life! Pretty nifty piece of work right here, with 3 screwdrivers, 6 nested hex wrenches, Bottle opener, letter opener, and 6 more tools.

Currently $11.60

Or a stocking stuffer sized light to keep in a car or backpack? With the sun setting so early and rising so late, a little extra light is not a bad thing! (I saw a  student waiting for the bus at 6-something this morning... in the dark, on the side of the road, no reflective materials~ a flashlight would be a good thing!)

Currently $22.95
Along the same lines~ if you have a runner (or dog walker, or really anyone who goes out at night) in the family, how about a reflective beanie? There is a ponytail version and a regular version.

Fun Socks anyone? Soulmate recycled cotton blends make for super cute mismatched socks, with color choices that suit both guys and gals. This boot topper is just an example of the designs you'll find.
Mismatched Boot Topper
$14.00+ $2 S&H

Hope this gives you some ideas~ I'd love to know if you found something new and useful in your post~ thoughtful comments are always appreciated. :)




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