Small jar grape jelly
Jar of Chili sauce
Put it all in the crock pot and crock it on low all day. Yep, that's it. Serve it on toothpicks, over rice, or any way you like. People will *never* guess how you made it and everyone will love it. I'll have to update the post with a picture because we already ate tonight's example! Happy New Year...
Wow. I have so many posts in half-finished form right now. I have one comparing the Kindle Fire and the Kindle Paperwhite (with my thoughts about the iPad thrown in). I just realized that my family owns 5 Kindle Fires, 1 Paperwhite, 2 iPads, and a Google Nexus (to say nothing of the 2 desktops and 3 laptops). There is a lot of technology in this house (I forgot to mention the iPods and mp3 players). And I call myself a Luddite...yeesh.
In any case. I have all these posts started, but on 12/23, I got a massive migraine. It didn't go away until 12/27. Yep. I had it all through Christmas. At least (unlike on Christmases past) I didn't have to spend the whole day in bed. On 12/27 my headache went away...and I got sick. The kind of sick where you can't do ANYTHING. You know, the congestion and exhaustion...so most of that is better, but the legacy of the cough is here.
Enough whining. For now. The point is that within a few days you can expect posts on Kindles and Audible (I have, ahem, 902 books in my Audible library. Don't judge.).
Finally, does anyone have Munchkin?
There are so many reasons to get a Kindle, but the best one is the price -- and right now that price is $49! That's right, the basic Kindle is only $49 today! I honestly can't emphasize enough how much my kids love reading on Kindles and how convenient it is to be able to buy a book and then send it to every Kindle in my house at once. Jump on this deal. Tomorrow I'll write about Whispersync for Voice and Audible and why it is absolutely the best deal going...but you'll need a Kindle (or at least the app) to take full advantage of it!
Okay, so one of my obsessions is makeup. It's always been there, but it goes latent from time to time. It's not latent now. This will be a short post so it can get to Pintrest in time to make a difference! If you love Urban Decay, but don't love the prices, consider this amazing deal on the Book of Shadows IV!
On Cyber Monday, this bad boy is supposed to be available for $25. N.B.!! This is the Book of Shadows IV redux, UD's answer to its sold-out original. The CM deal is just noted as Book of Shadows with Revolution lipstick sample. Either way, it's a hugely good deal on some of the most amazing eye shadow out there!
If $25 is still a bit much for you, or you don't want to wait until tomorrow, or you like Smashbox just a tad more than UD, check out one more amazing deal:
Smashbox's Click, You're It eye palette which, if I remember correctly, was their 2012 holiday palette. Right now, at All Cosmetics Wholesale, this palette is under $18. Now, you won't get the primer and the lid may be bowed. It won't be boxed. HOWEVER, the shadows are still Smashbox quality! I can deal with the everything else!
Maybe you don't do high-end makeup at all. Click on over to ACW anyway. Check out their Wet n Wild section. I seriously need to do a whole blog post on WnW. Back in the day, I bought them because black lipstick was not cool (not like now when no high-end line is complete without its blackish shade), and WnW was the only company that made it! Quality was...not great. Times have changed. WnW lipstick is not my favorite, but the shadows are wonderful! Used over primer, they last and last. The colors are great. Well, ACW carries a ton of their discontinued stuff. They also carry other drugstore brands. And Lime Crime. Just had to throw that in there.
The first day of Advent marks the first day of the Liturgical Year in the Catholic Church. Like all Church seasons, it is denoted by a color. This one is marked by my favorite: purple! Purple signifies both the sovereignty of Christ (his Kingship - hey, it is a royal color!) and penitence. If you want to be very technical, the purple of Advent is deeper and darker than the purple of Lent (of course, we get a liturgical break on the 3rd Sunday of Advent, but that's for another post!).
The second week we Prepare.
Okay, so I won't do this on Facebook because it is so public, but I will do it here (and have it post to FB - ha!) in my own personal space. The fact is that very few people know anything at all about me, so I have to think hard about what I am willing to give away!
10. I am obsessive and I border on being a hoarder when I am obsessing over something.
9. As much as I want not to care, I cry when people unfriend me on FB, especially when it's because they find my Catholic morality hateful. Especially when it is someone I have known for a long time.
8. I got married the day after 21, which made me barely legal for my honeymoon in Las Vegas, where I was carded (that was almost 18 years ago for anyone who is curious). There were doubters who thought I wouldn't finish college by getting married in the middle of my junior year of college: to you I say, "I'll see your 1.5 years of college and raise you 7.5 years of grad school."
This is my favorite album by my favorite band, and it was "given" to me by my high school boyfriend, Marc.
It was kind of funny...one day I had a little girl, and then one day I woke up with a young lady. One day Therese didn't care about makeup at all, and the next she loved going to Ulta, checking out the weekly beauty sales at Walgreens, and ooohing and aaahing at the Urban Decay pallets I drool over online. The only problem is that she is 12. She seemed way too young to me...until I realized that when I was 12, I went to a public junior high school and I was in possession of pressed powder and barely there lipstick. I'm pretty sure that the powder was parentally approved; I'm not so sure about the lipstick!
Of course I see the girls that Therese dances with, and they wear full faces of makeup at her age. They look ridiculous at 11, but by 14 I want to ask some of them about their eyeshadow application tips. I don't want either one of those options to apply to my daughter! However, I am in love with lipstick myself, and one of my recent loves seemed to offer a perfect compromise for Therese! Honestly, I was kidding when I asked Henry if Therese could wear lipstick, but he said that as long as it was unobtrusive, he didn't mind...
Enter - Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Peach Parfait!
At Home in Dogwood Mudhole is a really entertaining, even charming, book that I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing. Written by Franklin Sanders from At Home in Dogwood Mudhole, this book is a memoir, written diary style (to be accurate, it is actually written as a personal letter to subscribers to his newsletter, but the reading experience is that of looking into a diary), about a man who takes his family and leaves his known way of life to live off the land in Dogwood Mudhole, TN. Yes, there really is a Dogwood Mudhole, TN!
When I first got this book, I knew it was going to be a good one when Mr. Sanders used the word "Luddite" in the preface. Any man who knows the Luddites is a friend to me. Any man who can work in a reference to them before he even officially begins his memoir surely has the kind of writing style that will resonate with me. Boy was I right! Mr. Sanders has written the kind of memoir that I would like to write, if only anything in my life was memoir-worthy. It is funny, pathetic (in the archaic usage, related to the Greek pathos), and surprisingly hard to put down! It is the kind of book that you feel good, rather than guilty, about reading. To get an idea of what I mean, read the sample chapter "Pig Persuader."
The Sanders family odyssey begins when the nuclear family realizes that Y2K is around the corner and that they are not really very satisfied with the pace and composition of modern life anyway. Hence, they trade in their pedestrian lifestyle for multi-generational, two generations removed, family style Tennessee farming. The title of Volume 1 of the memoir, "Nothing That Eats" refers to Mrs. Sanders' request that the family not acquire anything that eats. Of course, you can only imagine how long that resolution lasts!
Beginning in June, 1995, Mr. Sanders begins writing a monthly update in which he describes his family's life and decision-making process, the culmination of which was the decision to find a homestead in Middle TN in which to weather out Y2K. If you're thinking that this book reads like some kind of book form of a show like "Doomsday Preppers" (a show I've never seen, but have seen advertised), you could not be farther from the truth. With hindsight, it is easy to forget how consumed much of the country was with thoughts of Y2K and what might happen as a result of unprepared computers. What now reads as a little quaint would have read as very current to Mr. Sanders' newsletter subscribers. Putting that aside, though, the final impetus for the Sanders family move in no way detracts from the overall theme of the book: the family had run out of ideas for good places to raise their seven children and for a way to live the kind of authentic life they felt they were being called to live. Y2K almost becomes incidental.
Volume I of this projected three volume memoir (two volumes are currently available) ends in September, 2002 as the family uses up the last of its stored Y2K supplies. It is hard to leave the Sanders family after going on this adventure with them, so it's a relief that Volume II is out now (11/15/13), with Volume III not far behind!
At Home in Dogwood Mudhole is written for adults, but would make a great read aloud for almost any age. It has nearly 400 pages but is a very quick read (I read it in three days). It can be purchased from the At Home in Dogwood Mudhole website for $22.95.
Lots of Crew families got to read this neat book, so click the banner below to see what they thought!
French Essentials is one of those reviews that I can't believe I actually received. It's amazing. It's terrific. It's worth every penny if you're not blessed enough to get it free for review. Can you tell I like it? The Full Access Online Program is nothing short of delirium-inducing. It includes every single aspect of language learning, from written work to language lab. Honestly, it is far better than the Spanish classes that I took in school (nothing could be better than the Latin I took in school, but that has everything to do with my amazing Latin teacher). And since Therese (12) has been begging to learn French, reviewing this program truly has been a wonderful experience.
How It WorksFrench Essentials' website says it best:
French Essentials is a complete, downloadable French curriculum with online features that include culture, fun exercises, lesson tests, and more. Designed by experienced French teachers specifically for home learners, it is clear and easy to use and does not require previous knowledge of French.What on Earth could be better than that?! French Essentials is unique in that even the downloadable pdf worksheets feature audio content (in addition to the video content that is on the website). There are several components to the website and the program, so I'll describe each of them.
When a student logs in, this is the dashboard she sees:
Clicking on "Download Area" allows the student to select the module on which she is currently working, bringing up a page like this:
The online exercises are actually Quizlets flashcards! I use Quizlets for everything, so I was delighted to see them incorporated into this program! Language lab!
Finally, there is the Culture component:
Learn about Francophones and where around the world French is spoken. The Culture element rounds out this program to make it 100% complete!
How We Used French Essentials
How Much Is It?
I will let the pictures speak for themselves because I don't want to say things I'll regret...but aaaahhhhh!
What is it about that book cover that makes science look fun and exciting even when you know it's really scary and intimidating? All I can say is Apologia Educational Ministries has done it again! I am not ashamed to say that my science bookshelf looks like this:
As I said, this text is laid out in much the same way as previous Apologia books. To get a good feel for what that looks like, check out Chapter One in the downloads section on the textbook's webpage. Every couple of pages of reading, you'll come across a "Try This" section:
How We Used Apologia
Do I Need the Notebooking Journals?
Although IXL has always been known for its math practice, it has recently introduced a new language arts offering for grades 2-4, with additional grades to come. IXL's language arts practice follows the same general format as its math practice. There are currently 57 skills for 2nd grade, 70 skills for 3rd grade, and 71 skills for 4th grade. Questions asked gradually increase in difficulty as students answer more and more correctly.
How The Drills Work
How We Used IXL
The Nitty Gritty
A subscription to IXL costs $9.95 per month for math only or language arts only, or $15.95 a month for both subjects. If you prefer, you can subscribe for a full year for $79 for a single subject (math or language arts), or you can pay $129 a year for both math and language arts. Each additional child is only $2 per month, or $20 per year. I have always thought this sounded like a lot of money in the past, and, well, it kind of is...but it's worth it! My kids all love it. Okay, Therese doesn't *love* it, but she does like it. She doesn't argue about having to do it at all. Nicky's verdict: "Awesome!" You get so much for your money with IXL - you really do.
Crew members with children of all ages have been busily using IXL math and language arts, so click the graphic to read all of their reviews!