Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving All! As I think today of all of the wonderful blessings I have in my life, I want to take a minute to express my gratitude for a few of them. I am grateful that I have a wonderful husband who has been by my side for the past 12 years and continues to be a wonderful support. I sure love this guy:Some days I think I am going crazy, but I am truly thankful for this great group of kids. They may be wild at times, but they are sweet, thoughtful children who make me smile every day! How can you not smile when you see all of that red hair and those sweet smiles:
I am so thankful for a wonderful extended family, both my own and my in-laws. I couldn't' have been more blessed. I have parents who are always willing to take my kids for me so I can be present in my kids class rooms, or fulfill church responsibilities. They support me and my family in so many ways. My husband's parents are wonderful people. Sadly we lost my mother-in-law this year to a long battle with Alzheimer's, but she was a wonderful woman who always let you know that she loved you! My father-in-law stood by her side and took care of her daily through her struggle. He loves his family and it shows!

We have wonderful friends and neighbors in our little town. We know that we are in the right place for our family. We also have a wonderful home that amazingly fits our large family.

I am also grateful for simple pleasures. An icy glass of this:
a great camera I can use to capture our family memories, good books, my local library that can help keep me in good books without breaking the bank!

And a big thanks to you for reading my ramblings!

Happy Thanksgiving all! May your day be filled with yummy food and family!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving with Sandra Lee and Joshua Bell GIVEAWAY

Pop Up Audio

The Perfect Thanksgiving is filled with family, food and ambiance. You already have the family so Sandra Lee and Joshua Bell (read my review of his album here) have teamed up to help you with the rest. Sandra Lee has created the perfect Thanksgiving Meal inspired by music from Joshua Bell's new album At Home With Friends and Joshua Bell has made his entire album available through streaming audio for you to enjoy during your Thanksgiving Celebration (click on Pop Up Audio to listen now!)

Here are some tips from Sandra Lee for creating wonderful, yet simple Thanksgiving dinner that your guests will enjoy:

  • “Thanksgiving is the perfect time to bring everyone together to celebrate a year of blessings. Serve savory and decadent dishes such as Savory Bread Pudding and Praline Sweet Potato Casserole on an inviting table, filled with rich colors and seasonal textures. Simple, time-saving shortcuts to create a meaningful feast can be found in my new book Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time. Give your gracious gathering a heartwarming start with my personal favorite, Joshua Bell’s album, At Home With Friends and greet guests at your door with a vibrant cocktail, such as a Peach and Apricot Cider or Pumpkin Pie Martini . The main attraction is food, so try turning your Turkey or Pork Roast into a colorful centerpiece, served with a side of cornbread stuffing or cranberry sauce. For a quick and easy dessert try Semi-Homemade Glazed Spice Donuts with Pecans or a Sweet Potato Cake with Citrus Glaze, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time celebrating with your family and friends.”
  • “If you’re facing a time crunch—pick party foods that are delicious and impressive, without being fussy. I recommend, Savory Bread Pudding and Fig and Port Tartlets—both of these tasty treats can be prepared before your guests arrive and served at room temperature.”
  • “Sometimes you need the culinary equivalent of a big warm hug. Praline Sweet Potato Casserole is a classic, comfort food creation that is baked to perfection.”

Savory bread pudding - Appetizer
Prep 25 minutes Bake 35 minutes Makes 12 mini bread puddings
o-stick cooking spray, Pam®
8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, Johnsonville®
1 package (8-ounce) sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon canola oil, Wesson®
1 teaspoon bottled crushed garlic
2 cups milk
4 eggs
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, McCormick®
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 loaf country-style bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat twleve 21⁄2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside.
2. In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook sausage until browned, breaking up lumps. Remove sausage from skillet. Add mushrooms, oil, and garlic to skillet. Cook and stir until mushrooms are lightly browned. Remove from heat and stir in sausage. Let cool.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Add cubed bread and sausage mixture to egg mixture; press bread with back of a large spoon to submerge into milk mixture. Let stand for 10 minutes or until bread absorbs milk mixture. Ladle bread pudding mixture into prepared muffin cups and place in a large rimmed baking pan. Carefully pour hot water into the baking pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and bread pudding puffs. Serve warm.
Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time, by Sandra Lee
Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

Praline Sweet Potato Casserole – Side Dish

Prep 15 minutes Bake 45 minutes Makes 6 servings

No-stick cooking spray, Pam®
3 cans (15 ounces each) cut sweet potatoes, drained, Princella®
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 can (5-ounce) evaporated milk, Carnation®, or 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice, Minute Maid®
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, McCormick®
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, McCormick®
1 cup packed light brown sugar, Domino®/C&H®
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted cold butter, cut in small pieces
2 cups finely chopped pecans, Diamond®
Pecan halves (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray; set side.
2. To make the casserole, in a large mixing bowl, mash the drained sweet potatoes with a potato masher. Stir in the eggs. Add the butter, evaporated milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice; mix until well combined. Spread into the prepared baking pan.
3. To make the topping, in a medium bowl, combine the sugar and flour. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture is the size of peas. Stir in the chopped pecans. Sprinkle topping over the casserole. Garnish with pecan halves (optional). Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is browned.
Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Weeknight Wonders by Sandra Lee
Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

Pork Roast and Cranberry Dressing - Entree

Prep 15 minutes Cook 5 to 6 hours (Low) Stand 15 minutes Makes 6 servings
1 1⁄2 cups frozen chopped onions
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 3-pound boneless pork shoulder roast
2 tablespoons Montreal steak seasoning
1 can (16-ounce) whole cranberry sauce
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable broth
1⁄4 cup butter
1 box (6-ounce) pork stuffing mix
3⁄4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1. In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine onions and celery. Sprinkle roast with steak seasoning; place on vegetables in slow cooker. In a medium bowl, stir together cranberry sauce and wine until combined. Spoon over roast in slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on Low heat setting for 5 to 6 hours.
3. Transfer roast to a cutting board; let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, over high heat, bring vegetable broth and butter to a boil. Stir pork stuffing mix and dried cranberries into pan. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
5. To serve, mound some stuffing on center of plate. Spoon a portion of celery, onions, cranberries, and accumulated juices from slow cooker over stuffing. Top with sliced roast.

Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Money Saving Slow Cooking, by Sandra Lee
Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

Brownie Bottom Cheesecake - Dessert

Prep 30 minutes Cook 2 1⁄2 to 3 hours (High) + 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours (Low) Chill 4 hours Makes 8 servings
Canola oil cooking spray
1 box (18.3-ounce) fudge brownie mix
4 eggs
2⁄3 cup canola oil
1⁄4 cup espresso-and-cream coffee drink
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
1⁄3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cake flour
Pinch salt
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Coat an 8 1⁄2-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Wrap foil around the bottom of cake pan. Crumple additional aluminum foil to create a “ring base” about 5 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, stir together brownie mix, two of the eggs, the oil, and coffee drink until combined. Pour into prepared pan.
3. Place foil ring in bottom of slow cooker; pour 1⁄2 inch of hot water into bottom of slow cooker. Using 2 long strips of foil, make an “X” over foil ring and bring it up along the sides of slow cooker to assist removing pan from slow cooker. Place springform pan on top of ring and the “X” in slow cooker. Stack 6 paper towels; place over top of slow cooker bowl. Secure with lid.
4. Cook on High heat setting for 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours. (Do not lift lid for the first 1 hour of cooking.)
5. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Add sugar, flour, and salt; beat until smooth. Add the remaining two eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add cream and vanilla; beat until combined. Pour over brownie mixture in slow cooker.
6. Cover and cook for 1 1⁄2 hours more. Turn slow cooker to Low heat setting. Cook for 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours or until cheesecake is set with a wet-looking center. Turn off heat and let sit, covered, for 30 minutes.
7. Use foil strips to lift springform pan from slow cooker. Place pan on wire rack; let cool to room temperature. Chill in pan for at least 4 hours. Just before serving, remove cake from pan.
Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Money Saving Slow Cooking, by Sandra Lee
Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

You can purchase both Sandra Lee's newest book and Joshua Bell's CD at

And one lucky reader will win a copy of Joshua Bell's CD At Home With Friends!

You MUST complete the first entry before you can qualify for any additional entries. US addresses only and I MUST have an email address to contact you. Either leave your email address in your comment or make sure it is set as public in your blogger settings.

1. (MANDATORY)Head to Joshua Bell's Website and tell me another album you would love to own.
2. Follow my blog publicly through Google Friend Connect
3. Subscribe to my feed through a reader
4.Share your favorite Thanksgiving recipe (you can leave in a comment or link to your blog with the recipe)

Contest ends 11:59 PM Mountain Time on December 6th.

I received one copy of Joshua Bell's CD to giveaway. No further compensation was received for this post.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

50th Anniversary Special Edition of the Original Cast Recording: The Sound Of Music GIVEAWAY

When I was little (I won't tell you how long ago...a lady never reveals her age) I spent great of of time with my aunt. She and I would spend time together baking cookies, going shopping and just generally having fun (at least I had fun...I am not sure how much fun it was for a young woman in her early 20s to be spending so much time with a preschooler but she made me feel like I was special). When we would ride around in the car she would say to me, "Let's sing Show Tunes!" and the one song I remember always singing was "Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music. This catchy, singable tune was so much fun for me as a child. These experiences helped to foster a love of singing that I carry with me today. Through my high school years I sang in my school and church youth choirs, participating in church musical theater productions. Today I still sing in church choirs, and occasionally work up the courage to sing in small groups or solos.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the debut o
f the Sound of Music on Broadway (November 16th, 1959) Masterworks Broadway has restored the original Broadway Cast Recording and is making it available to the public! The 50th Anniversary Special Edition of the Original Cast Recording: The Sound of Music was released on November 3rd. In addition to the original recordings the album includes three bonus tracks. These are:
-"From Switzerland: The Pratt Family," a spoof of The Sound of Music created for and performed by Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett in 1
962 on their TV special Julie and Carol Live at Carnegie Hall;
-A live recording of "Edelweiss," sung in German, from the historic first production (2005) of The Sound of Music in Vienna;
-A soaring cover version of "Climb Ev'ry Mountain
," sung in Swedish (as "Sök dig till bergen") by Tommy Körberg, best known to American audiences for his vocals on the concept album of Chess.

Another exciting Sound
of Music release is: The Sound of Music: A Classic Collectible Pop-Up. Released by Simon and Schuster, this pop-up book is an adaptation of the stage musical by Bert Fink. It would be a beautiful addition to any family's library. (I will be on the look out for this one for our family library as it is available now at booksellers!)

I received a digital copy of the newly released album to share with my family. It was fun to listen to these songs performed by someone other than the cast of the 1965 movie. My children enjoyed dancing and singing along with Do-Re-Mi (and of c
ourse I was singing along at the top of my lungs...and NO, my kids didn't give me funny looks, they are used to their crazy mother who likes to sing!) This album would be a great addition to your family's music collection; it is a great way to introduce your children to Broadway!

For more fun, you can download a beautiful Sing-a-
Long guide for your children. It includes beautiful illustrations from the Simon & Schuster pop up book and fun activities for your children. It is a PDF file and will require you to have Adobe Reader software.

The album is available on line at or
iTunes and the book can be found at Amazon.con. You can also check your local music and book sellers.

How would you like to win your own copy of the CD? I have one copy to giveaway to a lucky reader! Here's what you must do to enter:

1- MANDATORY (this must be done before you can qualify for any other entries). Tell me five of Maria's favorite things (from the song). You can find five of her favorite things on the Sing-Along guide, or list five that you remember from the song Favorite Things.

Bonus Entries:
2- Tell me one of your favorite things
3-Follow my blog publicly through Google Friend C
4-Subscribe to my feed
5-Write a unique blog post about this giveaway (with link to this post). Leave a link to your post in the comments

You MUST either have your email set as public i
n your blogger profile or leave your email addres
s in your comment! If I cannot contact you, you can't win!

US addresses only

Contest closes at 11:59 PM MST on November 30th.

I received a free digital copy (Thank you Dana of Sony Music) of the album and product information in order to write this post. All personal experiences and opinions are 100% my own.

This giveaway is a Prizey Pick! Thanks to Prizey and to everyone who has entered!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tell Me A Story Tuesday- Enchanted Thyme

This weeks Tell Me A Story Tuesday is a tasty adventure! Enchanted Thyme, Book 1 in The Delicious Adventure Series is the story of Belinda and Peter, a brother and sister who set off on an adventure in the land of Enchanted Thyme. The Queen of the land has been cursed by the Fricassee Fairy; she can eat and eat and eat but never feels full. The more she eats the hungrier she gets, and unless the royal chef (who looks amazingly like Belinda and Peter's father) can create a special meal that will break the curse, she is doomed to hunger! Three mice appear in Belinda and Peters room and whisk them off to the land of Enchanted Thyme in order to help the royal chef in his quest to create just the right dish.
Giants, talking mushrooms and giant green gargoyles help
Belinda and Peter in their quest. Will they solve the riddle and create the perfect dish, helping the Queen, or will the Queen be doomed to a life of constant hunger? Find out by purchasing your own copy of Enchanted Thyme!

A tasty adventure wouldn't be complete without food, would it? Well this adventure is chock full of delicious sounding recipes for you to make with your children. The recipes are by Chef Michael Wilson and they aren't your typical children's recipes; they use wonderful fresh ingredients and are sure to please parents and kids alike. My daughter decided that we should try the recipe for Chef Michael's Macaroni With 3 Gooey Cheeses for our dinner tonight! She helped me every step of the way and it was a definite hit! My oldest son ate three plates worth and my daughter was the last to leave the table, gobbling up tons of gooey, cheesy pasta!

The story is on the short side, but very cute and great for kids! I really like the note to readers at the beginning of the book. Author Ariane Smith says, "I like to use big words, especially when they're part of a big adventure." She includes a glossary in the back of the book, with definitions of big words used in the story. This is great and encourages children to try to read harder words, and gives them the definitions so they can expand their vocabularies. My daughter loved this book so much (she has wanted to be a chef since she was five years old, so she loves anything to do with cooking and food) that she has chosen it as the subject for her book report!

Learn more about the book, a future PBS series and more by heading to . You can purchase copies of the book at

Thanks to Big Word Press and Kate at KSB Promotions for sending me a copy of this book to review. No further compensation was received. As always links to will result in compensation through the Amazon associates program.

Do you ever do crazy things like this?

Seriously, am I the only one who does things like this?

So all day yesterday I was craving a milkshake...a Utah style milkshake
(what is a Utah style milkshake you is more Blizzard or McFlurry than milkshake...super thick and filled with yummy mix ins).
No, it was NOT that time of the month, and no buns in this oven,
just a craving for some yummy ice cream goodness!
Does a girl really need a reason for an ice cream craving?
So, last night on the way home from buying doughnuts for my son's Kindergarten class
(he has a summer birthday, so today was the randomly selected day for him to celebrate his birthday) I stopped off at Arctic Circle for one of these:

I selected a super yummy strawberry cheesecake shake and brought it home to enjoy.
I only got a small, but after about 2/3 the way through I decided that I was full
and took it to the freezer so I could save it for later...
well I THOUGHT I put it in the freezer.
This morning, I decided that I wanted to enjoy the rest of my milkshake.
I opened the freezer and couldn't find it anywhere!
I was beginning to get angry, thinking someone had stolen my milkshake..
Opening the refrigerator to get some milk for the kids cereal I saw it, yes
there sat my milkshake on the refrigerator shelf...completly melted!

So, tell me. Do you do crazy things like this when you are tired?

I could tell you more crazy stories about double diapering children and putting my fresh strawberries in the freezer, but I will leave those for another time...suffice it to say, I tend to do crazy things when I am tired. Please tell me I am not alone...please...please...

Arctic Circle restaurants are located mostly in Utah and Idaho, but can also be found in parts of Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Tell Me A Story Tuesday coming soon!

Just a quick note to let you know that Tell Me A Story Tuesday will be a bit late today (I know, I know I was late last week too).
Today's book includes some fun recipes and my daughter and I will be giving one a try
when she gets home from school today
(I finally made a trip to the grocery store last night)!

So PLEASE come back this evening for a fun taste of
Tell Me A Story Tuesday!

Monday, November 16, 2009


Seriously, laundry is just crazy for a family of seven! It feels like I am constantly washing clothes and we never have any that are clean. I have tried different systems of doing laundry, and nothing seems to really work for me...I think what I really need is two sets of washers and dryers...maybe then I could stay on top of things...but then again, maybe not! The battle of mom vs laundry wages on and it seems that laundry has the upper hand!

Armed with a large capacity washer and super concentrated laundry detergent, I am off to wage war on the dirty clothes in this household...wish me luck!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

1-2-3 Draw Super Fun Stuff REVIEW

Do you have a budding artist on your Christmas list this year? My oldest son LOVES to draw, and from the moment this book arrived on my doorstep, he has been drawing like crazy. Race cars, birds, elephants and more have been showing up on scraps of paper all around the house.

1-2-3 Draw Super Fun Stuff is a combination of five of the 1-2-3 Draw books by Peel Productions. The books included are:

1-2-3 Draw Knights, Castles, and Dragons
1-2-3 Draw Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals
1-2-3 Draw Wild Animals
1-2-3 Draw Pets and Farm Animals
1-2-3 Draw Cars, Trucks and Other Vehicles

This hard covered, spiral bound book is very well made. The spiral binding makes it perfect for laying open on the table and the step-by-step instructions are easy to follow and perfect for children.

My son loves this book so much that last night when I thought he was going to sleep I caught him up on his bunk bed with this book open, drawing away! He can't seem to get enough.My daughter also loves using the drawing instructions found in this book. Her favorite things to draw are animals, and this book is a wonderful source for animal drawing instructions.

I was also sent a copy of the book entitled DRAW Magical Fantasies. This book is created in the same style as the 1-2-3 Draw books, but is created for an older audience (suggested for ages 9+). I am sure that once my children have mastered the skills in the 1-2-3 book they will be excited to move on to the DRAW book!

You can discover all of the wonderful drawing books and other great books by Peel Productions (including Peel The Extraordinary Elephant) by visiting their website. You can purchase the books directly from Peel or

If you have a budding artist on your Christmas list, look no farther than the 1-2-3 DRAW books by Peel Productions, you and your little artist will not be disappointed.

I received copies of both the 1-2-3 DRAW Super Fun Stuff and DRAW Magical Fantasies books in order to provide a review. No other compensation was provided. Any purchases through links to will result in compensation. I presented my honest opinion.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Halls Refresh WINNERS!

Thank you to everyone who entered my Halls Refresh Giveaway! I hope that you will all come back often. Now on to the winners:

Here are your random numbers:
30 44 37
Timestamp: 2009-11-14 01:35:01 UTC

That is:

30. sibabe64 said...
Halloween and pumpkin picking. kids jumping in the leaves
November 9, 2009 9:46 PM

37. FDP 4 Life said...
November 10, 2009 12:45 PM

44. lilyk said...
I become a fan of Halls on Facebook under the name Lily Kwan/likwan.
November 10, 2009 11:59 PM

Congrats winners! I am sending you an email right now. Please respond within 72 hours with your name and address or I will choose a new winner! If you see your name here but have not recieved an email from me, please send me an email at reviewsbychris(at)gmail(dot)com.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tell Me A Story Tuesday (yes I know it is really Wendesday!) Peel The Extraordinary Elephant

I know, it is Wednesday, but I had a super busy day yesterday and didn't want to wait until next week to share this adorable book with you! So, I hope you will allow me to be a day late with Tell Me A Story Tuesday this week! I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of Peel, the Extraordinary Elephant by Susan Joyce. I love the colored pencil/crayon style illustrations by Doug DuBosque. They give a softness to the story that traditional illustrations would not have given.

This book follows a little Elephant on a journey of discovery. He meets many friends along the way who help him discover who he is and what makes him extraordinary. Peel's story is told in rhyme, which is wonderful for reading aloud (my daughter thought that it was great that the book was a long poem)! Peel remembers a lullaby that helps him through tough times, and at the end of the book you will find the lullaby and basic sheet music so you can learn to sing along with Peel(one line, treble clef only).

The story is broken up into several chapters, making it a bit long for a single reading for very young children. Older children will enjoy it in one sitting, while younger children may need you to read the story over a couple bedtimes. Your children will enjoy following Peel on his journey and learn with Peel that we can learn from both the good times and the bad.

You can find copies Peel's story for sale on Amazon.comor directly from Peel Productions.

Thank you to Kate at KSB Promotions and Peel Productions for providing me with a copy of this book to review! Look for another review of a Peel Productions book coming later this week!

I received a copy of this book in order to provide a review. No further compensation was received. As always, purchases made through links will result in compensation. The above review reflects my honest opinion.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Slice by Five for Fighting REVIEW

The piano is one of my all time favorite instruments! It can be played in so many styles and lends so much beauty to a performance. If you love the piano and great vocals you will enjoy "Slice" by Five for Fighting! The title track is great, playing on the classic song, "American Pie"

Five for Fighting is not a group that I was too familiar with before I received a digital download of this album from One2One Network. I really enjoyed John Ondrasik's unique voice. He has an incredible high range! I don't say that lightly, it truly is gorgeous. You can really hear him display this in the song "This Dance".The blend of his voice with the gorgeous piano (and at times a mix of other instruments) makes this album a winner in my book. It will be making it's way on my house cleaning play list (A true sign that I like it! I have to have good music when I clean!)

Here is a list of the tracks on this album:
1. Slice
2. Note To The Unknown Soldier
3. Tuesday
4. Chances
5. This Dance
6. Above The Timberline
7. Transfer
8. Hope
9. Story Of Your Life
10. Love Can't Change The Weather
11. Augie Nieto

For more info on Five for Fighting you can check these sites:
Five for Fighting on Facebook
Follow John Ondrasik on Twitter

Slice is available now on and other music retailers.

I received a digital version of this album in order to provide a review. No other compensation has been received. Links to Amazon are associated with their associates program and purchases made through them will result in compensation. The opinion expressed is honest and completely my own.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pencil frustrations!

Maybe it is just me, and I am completly inept when it comes to sharpening pencils, but seriously...the pencils in my house always have broken lead. I can sharpen a fresh, brand new pencil and within minutes the lead with crack and I will be required to resharpen the pencil...only to go through this process over and over again ( and I don't mean just the sharp point will crack, I mean crack at the point where the lead is just coming out of the wood). I can't keep mechanical pencils in the house, because my children (when they are between the ages of 6 months and 3) seem to think that the erasers on those are so much fun to eat...(really I do feed these kids). And when the erasers are gone, all of the lead falls out and the pencils are useless...

So whats a mom to three school aged children to do? When it is time to do homework I seem to spend a majority of the time either searching for pencils that are sharp or sharpening pencils that have just broken... Have you found a good brand of old school pencils that always work for you... Is my problem that I buy the cheap, $0.50 packs of pencils during back to school? Would the more expensive pencils really work better, or am I doomed to waste away the minutes sharpening pencils over...and over... and over again?

Please help this pencil challenged mamma...share your pencil tips (really, no pun intended)with me!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

My little goblins!
Check here to see more of Wordless Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tell Me A Story Tuesday Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Today I am sharing a favorite book from my childhood. There are several books that stand out in my memories of my childhood, and one of those is the story of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel Mary Anne. Mike and Mary Anne are a great time, digging canals and cutting through mountains for the railways. But, as time goes by, gasoline and diesel are introduced. Nobody wants to use an old steam shovel anymore when these new shovels can do the work so much faster. Mike and Mary Anne are forced to look for work far away, and end up in the small down of Popperville. They make a deal with the city, that they can get the whole basement for the new town hall dug in one day or the town will not have to pay them for their work. The whole city comes to see if they can finish in time. Find out if they succeed or fail by picking up a copy of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel available at or other retailers of children's books.

A funny little tid bit..when I was younger we switched Doctors for a short time (we changed insurance shortly after switching to him, so we had to change again) to a pediatrician who's name was Dr Mike Mulligan. I remember thinking that was so cool that his name was the same as the character from this book...

No compensation was received for this post, but I am an Amazon Associate, so any purchases made through the links in this post will result in compensation. This has no bearing on my opinion.