Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

R&R Games

SOOOOIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!!! Ahem! Uh, yes, well, excuse me there. I just couldn't help myself. Why, you ask? Well, this month, I received the game Pig Pile from R&R Games, and I guess I just got caught up in the fun of it all :)

Now then, since you're here, why don't you pull up a chair, grab a cuppa, and hang out while I tell you a bit about it.

Proclaiming right on the box to be "The Hog Wild Card Game", you know it's gotta be fun. Opening up the box, I immediately came across an adorable little bag of tiny  piglets, which naturally sent my little darlin's into "squeals" of delight. (Sorry, I really will try to control myself with the puns.) ANYWAY, after wresting the bag away from their happy hands, we got down to the business of playing!

I need to admit, that , at first, I was a teensy overwhelmed with the lengthy set of directions. But, doggone it!, I pressed on and got to work. So, let me begin with the directions - as I understand them - the cliff notes, if you will.

Okay, so, you have your baggie of piglets...they will stay in the box, and that will be their pigpen. You're having fun already, aren't you? Yeah, me too. Okay, so next, you have a deck of cards. Shuffle 'em real good! Everyone gets 3 cards that will stay face down. This is your "SLOP" pile. Don't touch these now, they're for later.Then, everyone gets 3 more cards that are placed on top of the SLOP cards, again, don't touch these for now. Now, everyone gets 7 more cards, and these will be your main playing hand. The rest of the cards get put in the middle as the "draw" pile.

The dealer is the first player and plays a card from her hand. The person on the dealer's left is the next player, and then has to play a card that is equal or greater to, the number of the card that was just played. If the player has more than one of the same card, they may be placed on the pile as well. Then the player takes a card from the draw pile, and the next person takes a turn. If the player has no cards that may be played, he has to take the pile of cards - the "pig pile", and a new pile will be started.

The object of the game is to be the first player to be rid of all the cards, and collect the most pigs. A variety of special cards keep the play fun and lively. There's the Hogwash card, that, when played, takes all of the pig pile cards out of play. Then there's the Ewe Turn card, which reverses the turns of the players. Then, there's the dreaded Hog Tied card, that causes the player to lose a turn.

Now, as I mentioned before, those are the very basic rules of play. You'll find more detailed information in the game's instructions. Pig Pile is meant to be played for 5 rounds, with the winner being the one to get the most piggies. We followed the rules for the most part, although we adjusted the amount of rounds that we played, to accommodate the 5 year old in our family, so she could play without stretching her attention span to its limit.

The family consensus for this game is 2 thumbs up. I was going to say 2 pigs up, but that doesn't make much sense. How about 5 pigs? You know, like 5 stars? Um, never mind, let's stick with the thumbs. Anyway, as I was saying, we really had fun with this game. Once we had a handle on the rules, the pace picked up, and everyone had a blast. The girls loves all of the pig references, and soon were happily, and loudly, truth be told, calling out "Hogwash!", as it occurred.

On a lesser note, I also like the compact size of this game. It's nice and small, easy to store, with only cards and the bag of pigs. Great for those of us with limited storage space.

As I come to the end here, I can say with confidence that if you add Pig Pile to your collection, not only will your family have fun, they'll, (to borrow from the game on last time,) go "Hog Wild". (Sorry, I really am done now.)

Also, for a limited time (until the end of the year), when you order Pig Pile, you can receive 20% off your purchase by using the coupon code: CREW20
Go check it out!

**Note - I received the game Pig Pile for free in exchange for my honest opinion, with no additional compensation.

R&R Games- Pig Pile
Ages: 7 and up (My 5 year old played and understood and enjoyed the game too.)
Price: $15.95

You can see what other TOS Crewmembers had to say about this and other products at TOS Crew Homepage. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Foster Pride!

There have been quite a few people that have expressed interest in our decision to become a foster family. So, I thought that would be a good topic to post about :) Here goes...

Many of those close to Paul and I know the length of time it took for us to have our biological children, about 8 years in fact. We were disappointed yes, but open to what the Lord had in mind for us, so we decided to pursue the road to adoption. We read books, took classes, had a home study, found an adoption lawyer, and everything else a couple does to prepare in this way (this is the short version).

On several different occasions, we were notified that we may have a  baby, but, each time, it fell through. By the last time, we were just emotionally drained, and decided to put the adoption process on hold. Again, we were disappointed, but by now I really was okay with the idea that the Lord might not have it in mind for us to be parents.

Then...the cliche "surprise" happened, and we joyfully discovered that I was expecting our oldest. Less than 19 months after that, our youngest was born.

Through it all, the topic of adoption was still in the corners of my mind.

(As a quick aside right here, I had always hoped to have some kind of side ministry with Paul.)

Fast forward to about 6 months ago. I knew of quite a few friends and acquaintances that fostered. The idea began coming up over and over, and I just couldn't shake the thought that we should be foster parents. All the while, I had a running argument with myself...I already had my hands full with our girls, would be crazy! When I had prayed about it for a while, I decided to bring it up to Paul to see what he would say. His response? Let's do it.

So here we are. We applied to a local agency that a friend fostered through, and now, we attend our first foster training classes this weekend. It feels right. The girls are very excited to be foster sisters. I have felt further confirmation from the response of our families, and their immediate and enthusiastic support of this decision. Not that their approval would carry more weight than what we feel God is calling us to do, but they have been a consistent plumb line for us in various situations we have faced. And, it's the ministry I had hoped to have with my husband.

I'll update as we move closer to an actual placement. If you feel so led, we would covet your prayers as we continue this journey. Until next time...:)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Grace Card


The Grace Card, a new DVD set for release today, August 16, tells the story of police officer Mac McDonald, and how he copes with the tragic loss of his young son in an accident. Still overflowing with pain and resentment nearly 20 years later, he turns his anger towards God, his family, and everyone else he comes acoss.

Faced with a new partner that he resents being paired with, a crumbling marriage, and his angry teenage son, McDonald  ultimately has to hit rock bottom before he learns just what the power and grace of God can do in a persons life when every other resource has been exhausted. 

Without giving away too much and spoiling it for you, let me just say, WOW. This film engaged me from the opening scenes. The characters were effective in portraying each of their unique  perspectives. Even Mac, in all of his anger and bitterness, showed us a vulnerable side that evoked sympathy for all he had been through.

There were several great twists in the plot that added to the suspense - I want to tell you, but you'll just have to see it for yourself!

One more tip - keep the kleenex nearby, you'll be needing it!

The Grace Card is rated PG-13, and for families with kids in that age range will find this movie a great choice. The word that keeps coming to my mind is powerful. 

Learn more here:

Now, for a little fun. You have the opportunity to win a free copy of The Grace Card DVD!!  : )
There are a few ways to enter:

1.) Follow my blog, and leave a comment  telling me you did so.

2.) Go to The Grace Card facebook page, "like" it, come back here, and leave a comment telling me you did so.

3.) Share this giveaway with friends, come back and leave a comment telling me you did so.

*Don't forget to leave your email addy so I can contact you!!! :) *

This contest goes until Wednesday, August 24. A winner will randomly be selected, and notified on Thursday, August 25. Good Luck!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, August 15, 2011

Across The Wide River by Stephanie Reed

A beautiful story that blends real events with fiction, Across The Wide River tells the story of Lowry Rankin, his introduction to, and ultimately, his contribution to the Underground Railroad.

Lowry is familiar with slavery, and the struggle for freedom in 1800’s Kentucky. Why, his best friend Sherwood is a slave. When Sherwood is badly beaten, Lowry’s young eyes are opened to the cruelty and danger faced by those trapped in slavery.

A family move to a town called Ripley in Ohio brings more challenges for young Lowry, as he becomes acquainted with the Underground Railroad through his father’s involvement. He sees the injustice all around him, yet even as he fights for the cause of freedom, he is simultaneously waging an unspoken personal war against the path he finds himself on, and his father’s expectations for his life.

Along the way, Lowry finds friendship, his purpose, and romance, in this, the first in a series.

A little about author Stephanie Reed:

Stephanie Reed’s family often passed through Ripley on their way to their grandparents home. Signs about the Rankin house prompted her to write this story which included years of research. A mix of actual events along with imagination,  Across The Wide River is not “…the history of the Rankins, but the story of the Rankins.”

This was a wonderful read, start to finish. This is a teen fiction book, but really, it’s great for anyone interested in events from the Underground Railroad, and the courage of those brave abolitionists. I love how Reed wove the promises from God’s word throughout the story, and how the characters use them to work out their purpose for life. Add this one to your personal library.

Check out these links for more information about Stephanie Reed, Across The Wide River, and its sequel, The Light Across The River.

You may also like to check out this link to view the first couple of chapters of Across The Wide River, and its sequel The Light Across The River.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

                  Chicago Botanic Gardens

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

If you have a peanut butter lovin' friend or family member who is gluten free, then these cookies may be just what you're looking for. Very rich and peanut buttery, it's hard to stop at just one. Now, I will say, there is a lot of sugar in these little babies, so we're definitely not talking health food. But, for a once in a while treat, they're yummy! Enjoy!

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Mix everything together in a medium sized bowl. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Using a fork, press criss cross patterns on each cookie. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute; transfer to cooling rack. Mmm mmm good!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tasty Tuesday–Chex Puppy Chow

I feel that it is only right that I warn you ahead of time that these sweet little treats are  addicting!!! They go by several different names that I know of: Sweet Minglers, Sweet Nothings, Muddy Buddies, and the name my children prefer – Puppy Chow. Make this recipe once, and I bet it gets filed under “family favorite”. A great recipe that your kids can help make. Have fun!

You’ll need:

1 package (6 oz., or 1 cup ) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/4 cup peanut butter
6 cups Kellogg’s Crispix cereal
1 cup powdered sugar


In large microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate on high for 1 minute. Stir and heat 30 seconds longer at high or until melted when stirred. Stir in peanut butter. Gently stir in cereal until evenly coated.
Place powdered sugar in 2 gallon zipper type plastic bag. Add cereal mixture to sugar and close bag. Gently toss until evenly coated. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.  16 servings.