Friday, November 28, 2014

Elf on the Shelf 2014 Link-Up with The 4-Crow's Blog: The Arrival


It's #ElfReturnWeek, has your elf  returned yet? Our doorbell rang last night not long after we turned our Christmas lights on outside the house. Maybe that was their signal to come. They brought with them a Reindeer Pet that Miss K named Frost, Elf on the Shelf PJ's and a letter from Santa!




Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? Won't you please grab the button below, link up, and play along once a week until December 26th? You can share seven pictures, a few, or just one of your favorite Elf moments/memories of the week. All you have to do is grab the button and put your blog link in the linkup form that I will provide each week. I look forward to seeing all of the Elf games and fun you are having!

Elf on a Shelf with The 4-Crow's 2014 will be posted the following Friday's, hope you join in!

November 29
December 5
December 12
December 19
December 26

The4CrowsBlog

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Small Talk Book Review & Giveaway


“Sometimes God uses the smallest voices to teach the greatest truths…”

Watch this book trailer:



WOW!

I can personally attest to the above statement. I am in my third year of serving in our church's elementary ministry. I have moved up with my daughter every year since she was in Kindergarten. I love this group of kids. This year I finally found my sweet spot as a Station Leader. After our entire groups worship time, I get the opportunity to come back and recap the lesson. One particular lesson was on words and how they hurt. I asked the 50+ kids for hurtful words. One boy, in church shouted out B***H. Yes, that is a very very hurtful word. I had to not say anything and just continue on with my lesson. Afterward, I spoke with his grandmother. This boy, sweet little 2nd grade boy, had just been taken away from his mother. His life had been in turmoil. He didn't need reprimand from me. He needed LOVE. Does God reprimand me when I let a bad word slip? Nope. He loves me. Thank you Lord for using that small voice to teach me that truth.

"Every day, one of Amy Julia Becker’s children says something that prompts her to think about life in a new way. “Mom, does Santa love me?” William asks, after his mother explains the meaning of Christmas…In a chat with her dad about the children who died in the Sandy Hook shootings, Penny asks, “Did they go to heaven?” …”You was a jerk, Mommy?” asks Marilee one morning in the car.
These conversations deepen Amy Julia’s relationships with her children, but they also refine her understanding of what she believes and what God is doing in her own life.

In Small Talk, Amy Julia draws from the wisdom and curiosity of those young voices to reflect on beauty and kindness, tragedy and disability, prayer and miracles. As she moves through the basic questions her kids posed when they were very young to the more intellectual questions of later childhood, she invites us to learn from our own day-to-day conversations with the children in our lives.

This eloquent parenting memoir is about the big questions little hearts ask, the thoughts their words provoke, and the laughter and soul-searching their honesty brings—to adult and child alike.

One of my favorite stories in the book is one of when Amy was babysitting and her reflection upon Psalm 23 when David says "He MAKES me lay down..." Note my dots. Just like Amy says God doesn't stop with us there. He leads me, He restores me, and He guides me. But before any of that happens I have to rest and let God be God. Wow, again. 

Amy Julia Becker writes about faith, family, and disability for Parents.com, the New York Times Motherlode blog, TheAtlantic.com, The Huffington Post parents page, Christianity Today, The Christian century, and numerous other publications. Her first book, A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny, was named one of the Top Ten Religion Books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly. Amy Julia lives in western Connecticut with her husband and three children.

Follow her on Twitter here!
Check out her Facebook page here!

One of my blessed readers is going to receive their very own copy of this must read book. Who wants it? Just enter on the easy Rafflecopter entry form below.

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png


"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.”
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Clear Proof® Acne System by Mary Kay Review #ClearProof #VoxBox #Influenster


For a little over a month now my teen has been using the new  Clear Proof® Acne System by Mary Kay. My teen is a sweaty, stinky basketball player. And probably like any other teen does not like to wash his face. With the sweat, comes the acne. Not fun. Not attractive at all. And for an almost 14 year old boy a clear complexion is important. 

The Clear Proof® Acne System is a four step system:
  1. Clear Proof® Clarifying Cleansing Gel- He keeps this in his shower. The smell could be better, but the lather is awesome. A little goes a long way. It is great for the face, shoulders, neck and chest. 
  2. Clear Proof® Blemish Control Toner- The toner is a step that is easily forgotten by a teen. Not a lot was used in the 30 day testing process.
  3. Clear Proof® Acne Treatment Gel- From what I can tell this is just a repackage of the original Acne Treatment Gel from MK. Same formula. Same great results. A must for all ages if acne prone. 
  4. Clear Proof® Oil-Free Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin- Moisturizing is important. I moisturize daily. Telling your 13 year old son to moisturize is another story. This moisturizer is light, non greasy, and a little goes a long way. 


With just using the Clear Proof® Clarifying Cleansing Gel and Clear Proof® Acne Treatment Gel used consistently we I he can see a remarkable difference. I wish I could say that if he used all four products then maybe all acne would be gone. But four steps is just not going to work for my particular teenage boy. Sometimes even two is a struggle. 

Special thanks to my son for participating in this review and putting his face and skin in these pictures. He was really a great sport. 

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Disclosure: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. I was not compensated monetarily for this post.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Very Pinteresting Christmas 2014 with The 4-Crow's Blog Link-Up Introduction



It's beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas, but I want to enjoy Thanksgiving first. What about you? My lights on the house have been up for almost two weeks, and my tree up for almost a week. I promise though, my #1 rule is that no lights are turned on outside until Thanksgiving night!

Mark you calendars now and be sure to tune in during December as I bring you the third annual  "A Very Pinteresting Christmas" Link-up.  If you have any Pinterest inspired or worthy activities throughout the month, be sure to grab the button below and linkup your ideas!

I do have a few rules:
  • You can link up pretty much anything as long as you "created" it. (A Pinterest inspired/worthy food, craft or DIY project)
  • Keep it family friendly, I reserve the rights to delete any links that are not appropriate.
  • By linking up you are giving me permission to feature or show off your project! Of course I am going to link it back to you.
  • I would love if you linked back to my site and mentioned on your blog, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, G+, Instagram or any other social media site about the link-up. Help me spread the word please.
  • Comment. Comment love means so much to others and builds those blogging relationships. Visit 2-3 other links and leave them a nice, meaningful comment. Thanks!
"A Very Pinteresting Christmas" will be 15 days of Pinterest inspired food, fun, crafty days of linkups that all can be used during this wonderful season of joy. It will run from December 1-19 here at The 4-Crow's Blog. I hope you will join in on the fun! I can't wait to see what you come up with and your twists on the fun pins floating around.
Grab the button below and let's get ready to have A Very Pinteresting Christmas!

The4CrowsBlog

Think you will join in? RSVP below in the comments with your Pinterest URL. Be sure to follow me back!

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Elf on a Shelf 2014 Link- Up with The 4-Crow's Blog: The Introduction


Only one week away and Malia Peppermint Pattie and Charley our scout elves return from the North Pole. Two Thanksgivings ago The 4-Crow's were summoned by the doorbell and found a visitor from the North Pole. The visitor was nameless at the time, but soon became know as Malia Peppermint Pattie. 2011 was our first year to participate in The Elf on the Shelf Tradition. We didn't exactly have a "real" Elf on the Shelf, so I called our daily link up Elf on a Shelf. We had Charley, a 40+ year old Whitman's Chocolate Candy Elf given to us by Miss K's dance instructor Miss Pam.

It was that year that we hosted a daily link up where we asked our readers to show us the daily activities of their elf. In 2012 and 2013 we hosted a weekly link up, showcasing a full 7 days of elf fun. Our Charley, had to semi retire. He is still a part of our household, but because he is "vintage", I decided he no longer needed to be serving in any reindeer games. He is actually pictured in the above button, see his rips? You can read more about Charley here, also feel free to visit the last two years of linkups and see what kinds of fun our scouts have around our nest.

We absolutely LOVE this tradition, so much that we even get to occasionally blog for Elf on the Shelf. See our posts here and here.

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? Won't you please grab the button below, link up, and play along once a week until December 26th? You can share seven pictures, a few, or just one of your favorite Elf moments/memories of the week. All you have to do is grab the button and put your blog link in the linkup form that I will provide each week. I look forward to seeing all of the Elf games and fun you are having!

The4CrowsBlog



As an added bonus this year and to help keep me a little more organized since I am now working two jobs from home, I have made myself an Elf on a Shelf Calendar. Feel free to use my ideas or print out the blank form for your own use.


Elf on a Shelf with The 4-Crow's 2014 will be posted the following Friday's, hope you join in!

November 28
December 5
December 12
December 19
December 26

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tell Hyundai What You Think and #WIN a $100 Target Giftcard! #Sponsored #Giveaway


Remember last week when I posted about the Hyundai's SMARTER DECISIONS Sonata 2015 Campaign? With an opportunity to win a $100 Target Gift Card. (there is still time to enter)

Here's another fantastic $100.00 Target giveaway bonus from Hyundai - they want to know what you think about their Hyundai Smarter campaign by commenting on their Smarter living videos. I watched all of them and let me just tell you these women are phenomenal.

Come on. What are you waiting for? Who doesn't need an extra $100 for Christmas shopping? Black Friday is only two weeks away my friends.

The links for these videos are in the easy Rafflecopter form below!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Zeitghost Media. The 4-Crow's Blog will be compensated monetarily for this post. This blog is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Clarence the Nutcracker Turkey Disguise and Story by Miss K

Miss K's latest 2nd grade assignment was a Family Turkey Project. Attached to the instruction sheet was a paper turkey. We were to help this turkey make it safely past Thanksgiving by disguising him. We had to think of something unique or special to our family and disguise him accordingly.

These were the directions we had to follow:

  • Cut out the turkey.
  • Decide how to disguise him and have fun.
  • Return to school no later than November 14th.




We had a LOT of fun with this project. We used cardstock, glitter and paint to help disquise the turkey. Special thanks to this site for help on the nutcracker cutout. I had to reduce it in the copier to 75 percent of size, and then I actually used my cricut to cut out the face, nose and eyes (I can't cut a perfect circle even if a pattern is given to me.)


Miss K did a great job of cutting, pasting, and WRITING. Here is the story she had to write in the perspective of the turkey.

Hi! My name is Clarence. I am a turkey. I heard my farmer tell his kids that I am going to be Thanksgiving dinner. Yikes. I think I should run away and join the ballet.

My friend K is going to be in the Nutcracker this year. She is going to be a mouse. K loves nutcrackers. I will dress up like one and go to her practice. I need glitter, paint, a hat, a buckle, and a coat.


When Clarence went to Nutcracker practice with K, Miss Pam gave me the part of the Nutcracker. That is how I escaped Thanksgiving Day dinner.

Have you ever helped disguise a Turkey? What was the disguise?


 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Friday, November 7, 2014

Hyundai's SMARTER DECISIONS Sonata 2015 Campaign! #Sponsored #TargetGiveaway

Hyundai reached out to a number of smart, savvy women to talk about the smarter decisions they make in their everyday lives. They asked them to create a video to coincide with this Fall's 2015 Sonata launch.

The Smarter Decisions campaign celebrates the lives and accomplishments of every day women. Women who are trend setters, game changers, women who are defining success in their own terms.

Take a look at the following YouTube video. BeautybyNena is a Latina YouTube Personality and Blogger that has over 60,000 followers. The video below is in English. I applaud her for being brave and getting out there to share her tips, tricks, and recommendations.

After you watch, go to the Rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to win a $100 Target gift card.


What SMARTER DECISIONS are you making?


  a Rafflecopter giveaway

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Zeitghost Media. The 4-Crow's Blog will be compensated monetarily for this post. This blog is not responsible for prize fulfillment. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bye Bye 30's...Helloooooo 40's! Happy #FortyFabulous Birthday to Me!




Today I say goodbye to my 30's. My 30's was my favorite decade so far. I kind of like to think of it as the decade when "our" story began.

A few weeks after turning 30 I met my soon to be husband. Before he proposed in February of 2005, B then age 4, asked if it was okay to call him Daddy. That probably was the turning point in our relationship as I look back. B even went with him to pick out the ring. I said yes of course, after finding it in the bottom of a Walmart sack and we were married in May of 2005. In January 2007, Miss K was born. I was 32. The 4-Crows were complete.

In my 30's I said goodbye to a ten year banking career to say hello to full-time wife and mommy duty. Yes, it has been full of sacrifices, but I know in my heart that I have made the right decision with the choices we have made.

I began writing again in my 30's, I opened this blog on September 5, 2008. For eight years now I have been writing stories of living, laughing, learning and loving from our nest. I also was a founder of the blog The RHOK, a regular contributor at Oklahoma Women Bloggers, and have guest posted at several other blogs.

In my 30's, I learned just how competitive I really am. I learned that I am a coach in and out of the bleachers. I am a dance mom. I am a football/basketball mom. I am a volunteer. I learned that I have a voice that can and will make a difference.

I found a confidence somewhere in my 30's that never existed before. A confidence to stand up for what I believe in. To speak up when I feel something is not right. Sure, I still get knocked down at times, and my insecurities of my earlier years reappear. That's life. When things like this happen I just have to remember the cross. My savior went through so much more than I ever even can imagine before, during, and on the day he died on that cross. He died for me, and life beyond my 30's, 40's, 50's...is going to be unimaginable.

Hello 40's. I am excited to meet you. I look forward to all you have to teach me. I can't wait to embrace your decade and bring what I learn to the world around me.

Happy #FortyFabulous to me!

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Caramel Apple Popcorn


Miss K's Nutcracker program has a bake sale this weekend. Do you know how long it has been since I have been able to participate in a bake sale? Too long. Now I make, bake, and take all the time, but it's usually for teachers, friends or family. Never for kids and never for sale. School policies have ruined me.

For about a year now I have been on a huge popcorn kick. Not so much making it, but buying the flavored and eating it. But lately, I've been pinning popcorn- I even have a board called All Things Popcorn. On it is this pin, the original for the idea that is going to the bake sale this weekend- Caramel Apple Popcorn. I will tell you though, hers is much prettier than mine. Mine kind of wants to stick to the bag making it a bit cloudy. And her pictures are amazing. My kitchen lighting hates me, I had to turn my picture black and white and then bring out the green (they really aren't that fluorescent).  Kudos to LizOnCall.com, and much thanks for the idea.


So what do you need to make these fun treats? This is how I made mine. Miss K helped. It's always fun to have her in the kitchen. 

What You Need:
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn
2 10oz bags Wilton Caramel Apple Candy Melts (Walmart)
3/4 pkg Kraft Caramel Bits
Wax Paper
Baggies
Scissors
Bakers Twine
Paper Straws

Directions:
Pop popcorn according to your corn popper's directions. Empty into a huge bowl. Be sure to get rid of the kernels. Melt the candy melts according to package directions, I used my Pampered Chef Batter Bowl. Stir well, the melts will be thick and smooth. Then pour over the popcorn and mix well using a spatula. Once mixed pour on to wax paper and spread out to cool. Sprinkle about 3/4 bag of caramel bits on top and around. 

Once cool, I broke up and took approximately 1 cup and placed in a sandwich bag, inserted a straw, shaped like a ball and tied a bow around it with bakers twine. This made 12 Caramel Apple Popcorn Sticks, and I have leftovers for the kids me to much on.

Not sure how they will do at the bake sale, surely they are worth a $1 for cuteness alone....

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Manic Drive CD Review & #Giveaway



There is nothing like a loooooong road trip over Fall Break to finally be able to get some good music bonding done! A full tank of gas, cruise control, and a paved road just calls for good tunes don't you agree? That is exactly what the kids and I did last week. One of the the CD's I threw in the travel bag was the just released album by Manic Drive- VIP. Our favorite Christian radio station loses its signal after the last hill before the toll booth on the way to Oklahoma City, I just hate when I am singing and praising and all of a sudden the beat and words fizzle out. This surely doesn't just happen to me. Does it? Anyway, the kids and I really got to jamming along with this Christian boy band. I honestly had never heard of them, but their music is fun, catchy, and I even let the kids turn up the volume a little too loud!

This is definitely an album that I want on my kids iPods. My favorite song on the album is "I Hide You Seek." 

Check out this video out of their title track, VIP.


ABOUT THE BAND:
Manic Drive has been widely known as a Canadian band who always delivers a great show, but over the past few years and project releases, they have added to their extensive touring of Canadian and US markets multiple Billboard Top 10 & 20 singles on CHR & Christian Rock Radio. Manic Drive is clearly very intentional about reaching their generation and inspiring them to pursue a deeper walk with Christ and to get involved in changing the world they are inheriting. And they are uniquely equipped to do so. The band members, all in their early-mid twenties, have made sacrifices to pursue God’s call on their lives. Their life experience, spiritual maturity and ministry have opened doors to speak into the lives of their own generation and that is perhaps the most defining characteristic of this group of guys. 

Be sure to check Manic Drive out on all their sites. This is definitely a band to follow!!

Official Website
YouTube Channel
Official Twitter
Official FB

One of my blessed readers is going to get their very own copy of this CD, who wants it? All you have to do is tell me who you will listen to this CD with. Bonus entries are available.

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png


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.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Filling the Bus

The annual school sit and cheese pics have been brought home. The bus collages that hang in my hallway have had another picture added to it, leaving one less space to fill as my babies move up in their school years. I have been very, very vocal about how much I detest these particular pictures. This year they aren't so bad. These particular ones serve their purpose. They fill the bus windows.

This year though it hit me. 

Did you count the blank spaces left in the above picture? Go ahead. Count. FOUR left! He hasn't changed that much. Just lost his baby cheeks, added glasses for two years, and has now found contacts. His style hasn't changed much either. Hair or clothes. His face is longer, shoulders broader. And his height, that can't even be recognized in such pictures as these. He now towers over me by almost 4 inches at 6'1". He is in his first year of school ball- basketball! Obviously I am the mother of a rapidly growing man child. 




Miss K became a mini me in the past year. I blinked. Her hair isn't so curly anymore, with the help of product we can still make it pretty wavy. She is sassy and crafty. The girl can scream and throw drama like nobody's business. No one will ever mess with her. She always has to be busy. Her imagination is infinite. She is still dancing and even has a part in the upcoming South Tulsa Children's Ballet's Nutcracker performance.  I still have ten spaces to fill in her bus. I have a feeling I will earn my head of gray while filling these seats.

Like I said above, this year filling the bus seats hit me, hit me hard. The school day memories that have been made and will be made are memories to treasure forever. The education they receive now will prepare them for adulthood and for their future careers.

Education, a lot of prayer, and a solid faith in Christ our Savior.

 photo BlogSignature_zpsaaa2dccc.png