Sunday, November 9, 2014

High Maintenance Lashes for this Low Maintenance Girl REALLY LOVE make up...a lot...I have gotten into a habit lately of not wearing it daily, but really...this barn needs painting!  Anyway, while this barn needs painting, life is crazy busy and I just haven't made the time for this to be a priority...BUT I cannot LIVE without mascara.  I have been on a quest for just the right know...long, thick (but not spider leggish), make your eyes pop.  Well, nothing ever completely filled the bill...I cannot tell you how many trips out to grab another tube, hoping for a miracle serum of just rightness...

Well...I think I have finally found it!  Moodstruck 3D Fiberlash.  This is the BEST MASCARA EVER!
So I do have to say though...the price tag almost made me choke...I think the most I have ever paid previously was about $15...this is $29...there, I said, before you check out...let me remind you...this is the BEST MASCARA EVER and I WILL be buying it again.  It is MUCH cheaper than those extensions (which are about $100-125 and last UP TO 2 months...this is looking better and better!) and MUCH LESS of a hassle than false eyelashes!

I will show you why in just a second, but first...check it out here and get more info about Younique here.  I know you can read about this everywhere, but these are NOT false lashes, but natural fibers made from green tea leaves.  They are hypoallergenic, safe for contact lens wearers and water resistant.  The product washes off with soap or eye makeup remover.  I would personally recommend an oil free eye makeup remover...but that is just me.  Also, the product recommends beginning with a base coat of regular mascara first, but I have heard mixed things...My Mother in Law said, "Oh, nobody does that.", The website says that you get the best application with a base coat of mascara.  The presenter I worked with, Raquel, says it is optional.  Since I currently have a REALLY BAD tube of mascara, I usually chose  NOT to use a base coat.

Now, I say this is a mascara, but it is really a three step system, using two products.  You apply the Transplanting Gel, then a layer of the Natural Fibers, then another layer of the Transplanting Gel.  Through trial and error, and by asking Raquel questions, I learned that it is a good idea to work one eye at a time, so the gel doesn't dry before applying the fibers.  Be generous with the Transplanting Gel...this helps the fibers stay in place.  I noticed in the beginning that when I was tired, my eyes would get every itchy...after talking with Raquel about this, I tried appling more of the gel and that helped tremendously.  No more issues for me!  One reviewer suggested combing through your lashes with a comb in between steps so that you don't get your lashes all clumped up...I am going to try this IF I can find one in my makeup box...remember, I am a LOW MAINTENANCE GIRL!

So, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then this must be worth three thousand...seeing really IS believing...

Raquel mentioned that your Moodstruck 3D Fiberlash set should last about 3 months and I completely agree with that...once mascara has been opened, it is not good forever, even if you do not use it everyday.  Younique has a variety of other products that are natural based and they do not test on animals. 

You can try Moodstruck 3D Fiberlash for yourself to see if you love it as much as I reviewer said that they were going to set aside $10 a month to ease the purchase into their budget...I love that idea and will probably do it myself.
Please check out what others had to say about Moodstruck 3D Fiberlash here

Friday, October 31, 2014

Wizzy Gizmo: In His Image

Wizzy Gizmo: In His Image
Old Testament Bible Series
Ages: none specified...many ages can benefit from this resource, but I would suggest 3-12
Price: $12.99

Wizzy GIZ-WHAT?!?!  What can possibly come out of something called WIZZY GIZMO?  Can it be legitimate?  "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"  As a Member of the Home and School Mosaics review team, we were generously given a product of our choice and then were able to download some of the others if we chose to do so.  I chose The Wizzy Gizmo Old Testament Bible Series Book Two: In His Image to review because we were just about to start our Worldview series on a similar topic.  I had NO IDEA what was coming!

Before we move on, let me share with you a little more about Wizzy Gizmo...if you are like me, you are probably just scratching your head, perhaps a bit perplexed...from their website:
We are parents, pastors, worship leaders, Sunday School teachers and Homeschoolers who are committed to equipping our children for life, by planting them firmly in God's Word; and we want to help you do the same.  Why? Because we believe that, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."

Learn more about Wizzy Gizmo and the team that is creating these materials.  These links were informative and fun to read.

Some of these points are probably covered in the above mentioned links, but here are some of the things we LOVE about Wizzy Gizmo: In His Image

The story is wholesome.  There is nothing inappropriate to censor out while reading.  It is funny too...which I will need to see Qwacky's nose blasting incident in Chapter 2 for this.  I just love the sweet feel of this book.

The illustrations are colorful and fun, but are not overwhelming.  The characters are also fun!  Qwacky and Pepe, Wizzy Gizmo, the children...The many different personalities were blended together well.  This would be a great book to use as Bedtime Bible Stories.  Read a chapter each night and leave your children wanting to know each night what happened next and eager to come back the next evening to find out.

Vocabulary words are in bold type within the text of the book and then there is a glossary in the back.  Words like Cacophony, askance and inerrant are sprinkled in the text...which also makes me think...this book does not dumb down the Word to a child's level, but teaches them and allows them to reach for greater understanding...I LOVE THAT!

As you read along, doctrinal issues like Trinity, ex nihilo, and inerrant are brought up within context and explained.  These do not feel forced to meet a certain criteria, but has a "when you walk along the way" (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) feel to them.  This is how I would explain these things to my children as they come up.  Besides being introduced in a natural manner, your children will learn theological truths like: God created everything out of nothing, the Bible is without error and God sustains all things.

There are comprehension questions after the story is done.  This is a valuable resource and reinforces what the Bible says and teaches, not what the story was about.

In the book I received, you get to see many instances of what it means to be made in God's Image while stepping through Genesis chapter 2.  The story leaves you wanting I look forward to seeing many more Wizzy Gizmo books coming down the line. I HIGHLY recommend Wizzy Gizmo!

 I got the chance to review the other items too and one product I would like to share with you is the Fast Track Bible Pack New Testament Card set.  This is a set of 5 x 9 cards that are really a survey of the Bible books.  Right now, only the New Testament cards are available, but the Old Testament cards are in the works.  On each card, you have a Bible book summary, key chapters and verses, theme and doctrines covered.  This is such a FANTASTIC tool in an easy to understand/teach manner.  When I saw a sample, I had to have these.  They are sturdy, colorful and very helpful.  I cannot say enough about these.  At $14.99 for the set, they are an affordable Bible Study Tool.  You can find ways to use these cards for different ages here as well as see an example of the card for yourself.

One last thing to share that I am excited about, Wizzy Gizmo is continuing to produce tools to help us in our Christian parenting.  At some point, these will be a product that you will be able to purchase, but they are works in progress.  52 Bible Verses Every Kid Should Know caught my attention when I was poking around the website.  These are fun devotions that focus on a verse and then give some simple instruction so that it can be applied.  There is a worksheet available to print.  Let me tell you, I will be spending more time in here in days to come.  I love that the verses seem to have themes: Thanksgiving, Confession, Christmas...I look forward to seeing this become finalized.  Justin, from Wizzy Gizmo, says that these will be a baseball card size.   Wizzy Gizmo also has a Weekly Devotional in the works that looks like it will focus on the names and attributes of God.  It is not quite ready yet, but you can subscribe to their newsletter to find out when it will be ready.  Justin said these will be similar in style to the Fast Track Bible Pack cards.   It looks like Wizzy Gizmo is really helping families by providing great Training Resources for Kids to support us as we teach them to walk in the way they should go.
Doesn't that look neat?  Sign up to receive Wizzy Gizmo's newsletter for more information about these cards.

And...for a GIVEAWAY...Receive one copy of either the Fast Track Bible Pack New Testament Cards OR the Audio Drama by leaving a comment about why you think this would be a great resource in your home.  This giveaway will end on November 7, 2014!

See what my Friends at Home and School Mosaics have to say about Wizzy Gizmo

Anybody want some salad dressing ice cream?

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Taco Soup

Today, I am going to share my adaptation of Lisa Taylor's Taco Soup recipe...Her Grande Cooking technique was used by my homeschool support group every so often as we would gather and prep meals for our families.  It was a fun time of fellowship and many hands making light work.  What I love most about this particular recipe is that it is SO EASY to throw together and get into the freezer.  You cook the meat and pretty much open cans and dump it in a bag.  Some may shudder, but let me tell you...I NEED meals like this to keep my sanity...and it is MANY steps away from the Golden Arches!

Here are the measurements for one meal's adapted by me for my family's preferences.

1.5 lbs ground beef, cooked with onion and garlic.
3 cups tomato puree- we do not care for tomato chunks in our soup
1 c tomato sauce
1 15 oz can refried beans- slightly thickens the soup and we LOVE refried beans
2 cups salsa- we have a produce stand that sells a pico style salsa that is DELCIOUS...but Costco's Organic salsa is also very careful though, sometimes it has a bite.
1 can pinto beans
1 can chili beans- not chili
1 can kidney beans
3 c water
1 pkg. taco seasoning

After the beef is cooked, dump everything in the bag.  I use empty #10 cans to set my bags in to help with finishing this recipe.  That is one of the best things I learned from our freezer meal sessions.  Sometimes I stir everything up in a LARGE pot first to break up the refried beans and just measure into the bags, but most of the time I just dump it into the bags. I HIGHLY recommend using 2 gallon bags for this OR making a double batch and dividing it between three bags.
You can use Rotel or diced green chiles in this if you like, we prefer it without.

To cook: Thaw and pour contents of the bag into the crock pot...cook on low 6 ish hours or heat in a pan until hot.  Serve with cilantro, sour cream, cheese and corn chips.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Love Letters from God

Love Letters from God
Written by Glenys Nellist
Illustrated by Sophie Allsopp
Zondervan Publishing
Ages 4-8
Price: $16.99

I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions are my own.
From the website: Love Letters from God, written by Glenys Nellist and illustrated by Sophie Allsopp, is a whimsical collection of eighteen iconic Bible stories that include little love letters from God written especially for the reader.

Love Letters from God is a Bible Story book, with beautiful illustrations for children ages 4-8.  Retelling some of our favorite Bible Stories, one thing that makes this book unique is a lift the flap letter that you can personalize for your child (Or children) that gives an application that is at the child's level.  Children love to get letters, and it is fun to lift the flap and read the letter at the end of the story.  My son was a bit old for this book, as he is reading the Bible on his own...but he still enjoyed looking through the pages and lifting the flaps.
I think this book would be best used to read one story/letter per session, whether you do it daily, weekly or as you think of it.  It is too much to take in all at once and it would be sad to rush through it just to get to the end.  There is a lot to see in the illustrations and much to talk about in the story and letter.  There are some good lessons in, for Joseph: God will never leave you...or David and Goliath:Do not be afraid of the giant things in your life.

One thing that I did not care for were the little extras the author added in to fill in details or make the story more interesting to read.   For instance, In the first story, the author refers to the day as one magical morning...well, that sounds pretty harmless, but are we unintentionally taking away from the majesty and power of our God by saying that?  Was it magic or did God speak everything into existence.   In The Lions Who Lost Their Lunch, the author seems to give the lions a voice in this retelling of the story.  They knew Daniel was coming, they were looking forward to eating him, he smelled good, the lions almost laughed out loud...It seems to just make the word a bit ridiculous.  In the Very Smelly Belly, Jonah prays while holding his nose and when he gets vomited out onto dry land, it says he did "several flying somersaults".   I could go on, and these are little things, but  I do not think we need to dumb down the Word of God and God's Word does not need embellished. You might want to look through this book and see if those things bother you or not before you purchase it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Jonah and the Great Big Fish

Jonah and the Great Big Fish
Written by: Rhonda Gowler Greene
Illustrated by: Margaret Spengler
Zondervan Publishing

I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions are my own.

From the Website: “God told Jonah to obey, said, ‘Go to Nineveh this day.’ But, stubborn Jonah fled instead. Didn’t do just what God said.” Jonah’s disobedience landed him inside a big fish! And there he had time to think and pray. Children will feel the waves and hear the splash as Jonah sinks “down and down and down” into the belly of the fish. This story serves as an excellent reminder of how important it is to listen to God.

Written in the sing song rhythm of poetry that children LOVE and remember, this book encourages children to listen and do the things God wants us to do.  With beautiful illustrations and text that you will be quoting after you read it a couple of times.
The book ends about half way through where the Bible book of Jonah gives the full account, with Jonah waving to the big fish and then going to Nineveh.

I really loved this book, but wish it would have told the whole story and while I understand making young children's books must have a fine line in which parts you choose to tell, I think waving goodbye to the fish was a bit much.

NIV Teen Study Bible

NIV Teen Study Bible
Zondervan Publishing
Ages 12-15

I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions are my own.

From the Website:
As an on-the-go teen, you’re moving fast. God is moving faster! The Teen Study Bible will help you keep in step with all he has done, is doing, and will do in the world---and in your life. This bestselling Bible will help you discover the eternal truths of God’s Word and apply them to the issues you face today.

Features include:

We Believe: Upacks the Apostle's Creed to reveal the biblical foundation of faith

Panorama: Keeps the big picture of each book of the Bible in view

4 full-color pages

Key Indexes: Help with in-depth Bible Study

To the Point: Reveals what the Bible says about pressing issues

Dear Jordan: Offers Biblical Advice for Teens

Instant Access: Tells what God says to you personally

Q & A: Tests your knowledge of Bible Trivia

Bible Promises: Highlights Bible verses worth remembering

Book Introductions: Provides an overview for each book of the Bible

8 page, full color map section

Complete text of the New International Version of the Bible

We received a paperback version of this Bible for review purposes.  The look of this Bible would be nice for boys or girls about ages 10-13 or so.  I think that older teens would prefer a study Bible, but this might be a great segue from a children's Bible to a study Bible.  The font is a nice size and the extra features are fun to read, but I think mostly a little light for older students.

The one area you might want to consider with this Bible is the Dear Jordan portion.  Some of these topics are pretty heavy, rape, incest, abortion, Aids, alcoholic parents, cyber sex...just check into that and see if you think these are appropriate for your family.  There is a list of the back under the title Teen Life Index and you can get a feel for how this would work in your home.

The Preview sections give a basic rundown of what is happening in the book, with some key things pointed out.  I think these sections are nice so you have a little background into what you are studying.

In our home, our older boy was not interested in this and my younger boy was too young for the topics covered in the Dear Jordan sections.  My daughter liked the look of the Bible, but I don't want these topics brought up to her either right now.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Berenstain Bears Keep The Faith

The Berenstain Bears Keep The Faith
Mike Berenstain
Zonderkidz Publishing

I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions are my own.

From the website:
Brother and Sister love science. But when their friend Ferdy Factual shares his questions about God creating the universe, the cubs are confused. A trip to see Preacher Brown helps them understand the meaning of faith.

I grew up LOVING the Berenstain Bears.  Originally created by Stan and Jan Berenstain, I would read the books and watch the cartoons of the bears often.  I was excited to introduce the much loved Berenstain Bears to my children, especially with such a great topic as faith.  This book is written by Mike Berenstain, son of Stan and Jan.

In the beginning of the book, you see Brother and Sister's Friend Ferdy, who loves science share that he doesn't believe in God, because he believes in science, ..."in things you can see and test and prove."  The cubs were confused and talked with their parents over dinner.  During the conversation, the question of what is faith comes up.  Mama and Papa do not answer the question, but plan to take the cubs to Preacher Brown to get an explanation, because Preacher Brown "knows all about faith."  I understand that discussing topics that are hard for adults at time to grasp is difficult, but I really would have liked to see the cubs parents talk with them about what faith is.

The next day, the family goes to see the preacher.  The preacher refers the children to the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den.  The implication is that the Lion's didn't eat Daniel because he had faith that God would save him.  Then he says, "That's what faith in God is all about- trusting in His love."  

At the end of the book, the bears head towards home.  Storm clouds are gathering and Sister started to be afraid.  She remembered Daniel's faith and that helped her feel braver.

I know this is a children's book...but it seems to send the message that if we have faith, nothing bad will ever happen to us.  I don't think it really addressed the issue of what is faith either.  The Bible says   " Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)
I guess I would have liked to have seen that addressed and then taken back to the comment from Ferdy that he believes "in things you can see and test and prove", rather than taken off in a tangent that was not even an issue.  I feel like the answer just muddied things up more.

While I personally did not care for the direction the story took the question of "What is Faith", my children enjoyed the story and we were able to talk it through more deeply, which is probably the best part of the whole thing!