Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Jesus Sees Us Doll & Book Review with $10 off Amazon Code

It's no secret Miss K and I love dolls. We have quite a collection of Raggedy Ann's, Gerber, Cabbage Patch Kids, Barbie's and American Girl Dolls- some as old as 31 years. When I was asked to review the Jesus Sees Us Doll, I jumped at the opportunity. Where has this doll been all my my children's life? How great would it be to carry around "Jesus" instead of a favorite blanky, teddy bear or other doll?

"Jesus Sees Us was created by two mothers of preschool-ages children looking for an engaging and relatable way to introduce Jesus and their Faith to their children!

By the time a child turns three years old, he or she already has the capability to relate to Jesus. Children can understand that, like them, Jesus was a baby with parents who loved Him. They can understand that Jesus grew up to be a man who loved everyone and taught people to do the same. Children become excited and inquisitive when they can master these facts, ultimately making them more open to deeper conversations and ideas about faith.

The Jesus Sees Us doll is an integral part of fostering your child’s initial introduction to Jesus. Even though we talk to our children about Jesus or take them to Sunday services, they are not always able to understand the importance of the Christian message. Jesus Sees Us is a tool that makes Jesus, His teachings, and the concept of faith both relatable and positive to young children by introducing Him as the loving and forgiving presence in our lives. The doll becomes the tangible connection to the stories and lessons in the book. He is the touchable source of comfort that a child can relate to. The Jesus Sees Us doll has a soft body and a warm, welcoming face. His arms and hands are open, inviting your child to hold him, engage with him, and pray with him. The Jesus Sees Us doll allows your child to “play out” the valuable and timeless lessons of the Bible."

Obviously, I got to add not only a new doll to my collection, but a new doll and book to use with my precious friends during the day. I absolutely love the life lessons that the book teaches and have already used them several times with Miss K in dealing with issues with peers and manners. So as for being appropriate from ages 2-6+ for the doll, the book is working for even my 8 year old. I'm even thinking of ways to incorporate it in my large group time at church with my 2nd graders. 

Just in time for Easter, you can get your very own Jesus Sees Us Doll at Amazon and save $10 using the code JC10BLOG.

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Disclosure: I received this item as a promotional item courtesy of  FlyPropeller. This is not a sponsored post. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Letter to the Editor Regarding Education Legislation #oklaed

Today I wrote the following letter to my local newspaper for it's Letters to the Editor column. I don't know if it will be published, and if it is, if it will receive an answer from one of our local legislatures. Word on the street is that one legislator from my city made the comment that private schools are better because those parents are engaged and know what is going on. WHAT? As parents of students in the public school system we must change the perception that parents are unhappy with the schools or are not engaged. I am an engaged parent. My children, all students, teachers, and our schools need our voices to be heard.

My letter:

High stakes testing must go!  Our Oklahoma testing system must be re-evaluated and the tests given reduced. I support SB 708 which eliminates any test that is not federally mandated. This bill passed the Senate on 3/9/15.

As a mother of two children in the Broken Arrow Public School system it saddens me when my children tell me that their school year is over after Spring Break. It is over due to testing. My best learning times were after Spring Break. My teachers became creative with their "outdoor" learning experiences. So many things can be taught in Reading, Writing, Science, History and Math when you get out of the testing environment and into the world to apply those subjects.

Why is Oklahoma spending $17 million on state and federally mandated tests? Is it okay that our kids are being used as lab rats to "test" their equipment and test questions. Thankfully our new state superintendent put an end to a few field tests this year.

Is it okay that our third graders have had a growing anxiety since the time they hit the halls of their first grade classroom? An anxiety from a pass or fail test that could potentially make them retake their third grade year? My second grader is not only worried about her future but her teachers' as well. She feels the pressure because of constant assessments to prepare for these high stakes tests. Assessments and testing that take away the valuable time she needs to be learning!

My eighth grader recently completed his 8th grade writing test. It wasn't for HIS grade. He had to write from the perspective of a Cattle Hand. Yes testing companies, all Okies are cowboys so this should be an easy writing assignment. In less than a month he will be faced with another test, this one will determine whether or not he is eligible to get his drivers permit. Because driving requires you to read words like, but not limited to: STOP, SLOW, CONSTRUCTION AHEAD, and MPH.  Weren’t many of these words taught while looking at street signs during the chauffeuring to activities?

Let our Oklahoma students be kids. Let their minds be free to explore possibilities outside the classroom. Let our teachers prepare them for the bright futures that each one have ahead of them. Let's not damper their spirits with continued tests that take away valuable instruction time. Put the resources spent on these tests into our schools vs a data file. ​​

ShaRhonda Crow, Broken Arrow
​Graduate of an Oklahoma Public School, Graduate of an Oklahoma State College, Mother of two children currently in the Oklahoma Public School System, PTA member, and Voter​

What you can do:

  1. Be informed. I get most of my information from the Oklahoma PTA, you can follow them on Facebook. The bills are hard to understand sometimes. There are parents/advocates out there that dissect these bills and explain them to us.
  2. Email/Call/Tweet your Legislatures. Don't know who they are? Click here
  3. Get involved. How involved are you in your child's education? I never in a million years thought I would have to be an advocate. Even if you never send a letter, your local schools need YOU! 
Maybe Diogenes isn't specifically referring to our "state" when he made the above quote, but I believe he is definitely talking about the stability of our country and others being based on the education and experiences that is passed to future generations. Isn't our state a part of a great country? Doesn't the future depend on future generations?

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Texas K-9 Series eBook Review & Giveaway

We have had a few snow days this week in Oklahoma. Sorry, no pics this year. Seriously, that just tells you how OVER winter I am. In fact, out of the past two weeks we have had three snow days, three doctor visits, one child who missed three days of school being sick and three dance lessons! I also downloaded THREE books to read. Love Inspired Suspenses about lawmen who solve tough cases with the help of their canine partners.

Cook. Eat. Read. Repeat. Do you feel me?

Texas K-9 Unit Series Books 1-3: Tracking Justice\Detection Mission\Guard Duty (Available at Amazon)

About the books: 
"Love Inspired Suspense authors Shirlee McCoy, Margaret Daley and Sharon Dunn will get your pulse racing with tales of Texas cops and their loyal K-9 dogs tracking down a crime ring. Enjoy three action-packed Texas K-9 Unit romantic suspense novels in one box set! When a boy goes missing from his bedroom, a police detective must assure a desperate single mother that he and his trusty bloodhound will find her son. A woman with amnesia has to rely on an officer and his border collie to stay alive when she can't remember who tried to kill her. An FBI agent is called in to protect a single mother when the rookie K-9 officer witnesses a murder and becomes the killer's target."

When was the last time you read a good wholesome book? One of my blessed readers is getting their very own copy of Book 1 in the new Capitol K-9 Unit miniseries, PROTECTION DETAIL by Shirlee McCoy (author of Book 1 in the Texas K-9 series). It released March 3rd.

About "Protection Detail": 
After a prominent senator's son is murdered, Capitol K-9 Unit captain Gavin McCord wants answers. The senator was a mentor to Gavin, and he'll stop at nothing to bring the killer to justice. With his team of elite K-9 cops and his loyal dog, Glory, at his side, Gavin discovers that a child at Cassie Danvers's nearby foster home may have witnessed the murder. He's drawn to the determined and beautiful woman, but she doesn't want him interviewing her traumatized charges. Yet trusting Gavin is the only way to stay one step ahead of the deadly gunman when Cassie becomes a target.

Be sure to check out the Facebook Page, I noticed that a few of my readers are already fans of this page!

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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 the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Open to U.S. and Canada only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Miss K's Volleyball KISS Story

I love reading what my children write, and sometimes even share their writings on my blog. After all this is a blog about living, laughing, LEARNING, and loving from our nest. As my second grader prepares to become a third grader, I am seeing more and more writing prompts come home with her. Miss K is my creative one, she would rather be making something than doing what has to be done. Anyone else have a child like that? Or on another note does anyone else have a child that is a mirror image of themselves? She is definitely my mirror.

I can only imagine what she was thinking when her teacher gave the class a Hershey's Kiss and told them to carefully peel off the wrapper. Told them that the Kiss that was being given was going to turn into something....

A Volleyball. It turned into a volleyball because I love volleyball. I am not in it yet but I get about a foot away from my closet and throw the ball and it bounces away from me and so the game is against the closet. My brothers girlfriend plays volleyball and she plays for the Tigers and my brother's school. And the ball always came toward me and my family. I tried to hit the ball but couldn't. I really love volleyball. I love it. I LOOOOOOOVVVVEE itttttttttttt.

Any guesses on which sport Miss K just signed up to play?

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P.S. I am really hoping I got every O, V, E and T accounted for in the rewrite of that story. She told me that her teacher said every line had to be filled up. Oh my.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Versona: Grand Opening

I was invited to be a guest at the February 26, 2015 grand opening of the Versona located in the Tulsa Hills Shopping Center. After the week I have had, I was in the need of some therapy, and personal retail therapy was calling my name.

From the moment you walk into this store you are in awe. It is so big. Everything is SO organized. Organized by colors. If you want a Cool Mint clothing item, the table behind it has a variety of mint colored accessories from earrings to purses to match. If you are Santa Fe inspired, there is a turquoise or rustic accessory to go with it. There wasn't an inch of this store that Miss K and I didn't explore. I believe she touched every single accessory. (She even told me that the restroom was nice, yes that is important to kids and Moma's. I would sure hate to leave my much desired merchandise behind due to a potty break.)

Oh, Black & White. How I love thee. Obviously Miss K does also. 

I will be returning for this dress! Only $34.99.

Verona prides itself in being, "An exclusive women's boutique offering apparel and accessories at exceptional prices every day!" It's prices range from $7.99-$54.99. Sizes 2-14 and XS-XL. Here are a few things that we tried on/bought. 

Marsha, the store manager even took a grand opening selfie with me. The entire staff is so nice. Especially Gabriel, the gentleman who greeted us at the door. Be sure to follow Versona on all their social media sites. Facebook, TwitterInstagram, the Tulsa Hills store even has its very own Instagram

If you are out and about this weekend, be sure to stop by the newest store in Tulsa Hills- Versona! Near Michael's, 7522 South Olympia Avenue. Be sure to tell them I sent you!

And if you are looking for a Versona in a city located close to you, click here.

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*I was sent a VIP gift card and an exclusive invitation to attend the grand opening. This post is 100% my own opinion. And of course I spent more than the gift card.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Valentine Let Your Light Shine Printable Card

One of my favorite sayings to my kids is "let your light shine". As a Christian this phrase serves as a reminder daily to us to let our words and actions be just like Christ's were. To also be a reflection that Christ is in our heart, and when our light shines brightly for other they will see and want to also know the love of Jesus.

Valentine's Day is all about the LOVE, right? Married couples, engaged couples, dating couples, etc...But what about the little kids who aren't "in love yet"? I find that it is so hard to find classmate Valentine cards that are just simply for FRIENDS. Do your kids ever go through those generic packs and say I can't give that to Jane because she may think I like her? Or that one is too girly for Sam. I often think that our children grow up way to fast with all this boyfriend/girlfriend, kissy kissy, dating, gift exchanging stuff. Why rush it? Let them be kids.

Miss K will be taking these to her friends at school this Valentine's Day.

I created them in PicMonkey, then I punched holes in the ends. I purchased glow bracelets at Michaels for $1- 12 in a package (price before my coupon). Here is the finished Valentine. 2nd graders love the glow bracelets. 

I made a blank one for my readers to use also. Feel free to download at this link

And now to move on to the 14 year old...What? Carnations for sale at his school for $1. What ever happened to candy grams? 

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Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

*This post contains affiliate links

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Miss K turns 8!

Miss K turned 8 on Saturday. I have an EIGHT year old daughter. Once again we hosted a Birthday Party on a Budget. Total spent on party- $55!

I made the invitation in PicMonkey. Had them printed at Wal-Mart as 4x6 prints and invited 9 friends.

I picked up canvases and acrylic paints from Michaels and ordered paint trays, brushes and aprons from Amazon. I then used masking tape and taped off each girl's first letter of their name. Letters like "R" and "S" are hard y'all!

The girls painted over their taped off initial. They painted their way. Girls are creative that way.

The birthday girl hard at work. 

The final masterpieces! So adorable!

For the "birthday cake", I made cake balls. 81 cake balls to be exacts. Only 79 ended up getting decorated, and 45 ended up on the cake plates for the girls to eat. I served Miss K's favorite Cherry Limeade in Mason jars and Cheddar Cheese Bugles.

Each guest got their picture taken with the birthday girl. I really should have thought and had a better background other than the garage door. I will print these pictures out and send as the thank you card. 

 My sweet little sassy, artsy dancer is EIGHT YEARS OLD! Yes, we butt heads- like mad, but each day it is like looking into a mirror of myself at that age. I often wonder aloud about where she gets her independence, about where she gets her energy, her constant need to be doing something. I find more often than not that her need to do something involves creativity, either through a craft or through dance. I mean really, what 8 year old asks for duct tape and rubber bands for her birthday? She truly is my mini-me. She reciprocates everything I do, yet still embraces her own individuality. She is growing into a beautiful young lady, and I thank God each day that He chose me to be her mother.

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P.S. Do you see the chalkboard easel in the first picture? My friend Glenna gave it to us. A huge shout of thank you goes out to her for that party decoration and toy. Also, what I didn't mention in the post was my trip to urgent care the morning of Miss K's party. My boy took over the heavy lifting and clean up of this party. I could never have pulled it off without him. My kids are AWESOME!

*This post contains affiliate links

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Memory of You

Several times over the past week, I have sit down to write my favorite memory of you. You can only imagine how many times I have backspaced and deleted this post. I chose to place my memory on here rather than the pieces of paper that I had prepared for everyone to write on and deposit in the memory jar that sit on your head table at the surprise 60th party we threw for you on Saturday. I chose to put it here, because just as I suspected you ended up reading the memories of your guest aloud in front of me. We laughed and we cried. Great memories. I choose to put my memory here because I cannot be in front of you when you read this.

My memory is not limited to just one. But two.

December 12. 2000
January 31, 2007

The two days I gave birth. First to B. Second to Miss K.

You were there. In the room both times. Both times with your oldest baby, me, as I gave birth and realized for the first time as I held my babies the love that only a mother can for her children. You understood the fear I felt when he wasn't allowed to cry immediately and the fear when she wouldn't cry. You understood both times when I cried from phone calls received not long after giving birth. One from a man who I longed to be a daddy and husband, the other from a screaming newborn baby girl. You fell in love with those babies as much as I did when you also first held them. What an awesome Nana you are.

My memories of those two days stand out above all other memories. Probably because you taught me everything I know about being a mother. About the sacrifices, the tears, the absolute joy of being called Moma. And hearing those words....

I love you Moma!!

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Gourmet Lasagna with #RedGold

Today's dish of Classic Lasagna is brought to you by RedGold and Laura's Lean Beef. To kick off 2015, Red Gold is hosting a promotion that began January 13 during which twice a week they are giving away a Le Creuset Lasagna Pan, a Simple Gourmet Lasagna Kit, Red Gold spatula, Garfield Toy, coupons and an apron. Just go to this link to enter!

Perfect for any healthier eating resolutions in the New Year, Red Gold is hosting this promotion along with Laura's Lean Beef, and developed a delicious Skinny Lasagna recipe. And of course you can add all kinds of things to it to make it your own gourmet lasagna- but it might not be as skinny!

Now I am not very creative on lasagna and I think I have only made it twice in the almost ten years we have been married. Lasagna honestly scares me because of the calories, and prep time. And instead of making the complete low fat version, since I am the ONLY one in my family who will eat cottage cheese, I had to make their classic recipe using the low fat ricotta. I will tell you one secret that I did differently- mix your layer of ricotta, mozzarella, and sauce together. It spreads so much easier on top of those noodles. I highlighted this in the recipe below.

1/2 cup water
1 (28 ounce) can Red Gold® Crushed Tomatoes, or 2 (15 ounce) cans Red Gold Crushed Tomatoes
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Red Gold® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano
Salt to taste
1 pound Laura's 92% Lean Ground Beef, or any ground beef or Italian sausage, cooked and drained
1 (16 ounce) box traditional lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 (15 ounce) carton low fat ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F. In large mixing bowl combine water, crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes,
salt and ground beef, stir to combine ingredients.
Cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan with 1½ cups of sauce mixture. Arrange 1/3 of noodles
on top of sauce, slightly overlapped. Top with ½ of ricotta cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1
cup of sauce. (this is where I mix the layer of ricotta, mozzarella, and sauce together)
Repeat layers and top with last 1/3 of noodles and the remaining sauce.
Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 to 1½ hours; until noodles are cooked.
Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

The recipe makes 12 servings, but you could divide the recipe into two 9x9 inch baking dishes and
freeze one for a wintry night supper.
I of course made only the one pan. We will see if there are any leftovers....

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Red Gold and Laura's Lean Beef 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 samples of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Today's Post: My 2015 Word For the Year: BELIEVE


This word and action has been popping out of my mouth a lot the past few months. It kind of hit me as a huge DUH when it came time to choose my one word to focus on for 2015.

Today I am guest posting at the Happy First blog. Be sure to visit me there today to read my thoughts about why I chose this word.

I would love to hear your Word for the Year and thoughts!

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Love Canvas

During Christmas vacation we had a case of boredom. Imagine that. Miss K and I have a secret board on Pinterest titled 8th Birthday. We decided back in the summer that she needed to have a painting party. A what? Seriously? In January? In mine or her Grandma's house? Yep. We are. So, we have a few ideas brewing, still not completely decided on, but the supplies are bought and the invitations are ready to go out on Monday.

Once again. Birthday Party on a Budget. Party post coming soon.

So since boredom set in and I still had a few canvases left over from my A Very Pinteresting Christmas Party 2014, I sat her down and let her paint. This painting is inspired by this pin. And I apologize ahead of time. You can click on it, but it's one of those pins that is not pinned correctly and doesn't take you directly to the DIY post. People. Pin the post, not the blog.

Here is what we used:

Painters Tape (warning be sure your painters tape has not been left outside by your children. It might not stick well)
Acrylic Paint- we used Silver, Pink, Purple, Christmas Red, and White to touch up the letters where the paint bled under the painters tape.
A Paper Plate to put the paint on
Paint Brushes

Miss K painted the entire canvas- even over the painters tape to achieve the background color she wanted, then in strokes she went over in individual colors. Like I said the paint did bleed a bit, but white paint fixed it up with no problem. 

Isn't it just perfect for Valentine's Day? 

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Today's Post...Foodie Friday at OkWB: Cornbread Chicken Pot-Pie

Say what? Yes. Cornbread Chicken Pot-Pie. And I use the OVEN to make this recipe. Head over to OkWB today and read about this recipe.

(print recipe card)

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