Greatly Blessed

Greatly Blessed

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Trip to the Pumpkin Patch!

It's kind of sad that most of my kids are getting too old for the pumpkin patch.  Our homeschool co op had a trip to Fog Willow Farms recently, and I found myself only bringing 3 children with me.  Quite a change from bringing 7 last year.

This is HUGE.  Last year, Katie shrieked like zombies were chasing here at the petting zoo.  She's come so far!

Besides, who could be afraid of a sweet face like this one?

I got a laugh out of the boys climbing the goats' climbing tires.  There's a reason we call children and young goats both KIDS.

"Most" of our group.  We're missing 2 large bio/adoptive families, and a mom of 3 with a new baby, so just imagine most of the seats are taken, and you'll get the idea.

We picked out a "porch pumpkin" and each of the kids got their own little one.

It was a beautiful day!  Just right.  Not to hot, not to cold, not too windy.

With my friend Amber.  We've been taking our kids to the pumpkin patch together for a long time.

My little family shot.  I have our 2011 pumpkin patch group picture up on the school room wall.  It's fun to look back at how our family has changed over the years.

Amber's son is one of Jack's dearest friends.

The boys ran off to the moo mobile, so Katie and I hung out at the playground for a while.  We have many pictures over the years with this tree.

The Sugar Shack had little solo cups of candy.  I got the boys chocolate rocks, and Katie got candy corn to match her dress.

One more tradition to check of on the inevitable march toward the Holidaze.  I'm so not ready to start thinking about it yet.

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Romancing Christmas: 10 Love Stories to Spice Up the Holidays

I got an early Christmas treat!  I got to read A Father For Christmas by a favorite author of mine, Rachelle Ayala, before it was even published!  This story is part of Romancing Christmas: 10 Love Stories to Spice Up the Holidays, a multi-author boxed set.  It comes out November 3, 2014.

Do you like your Christmas nice...or a little naughty? Bring the season into your heart with love stories to match your mood. This boxed set from 10 of today’s hottest romance authors will warm your heart even on the coldest night.

Join the ROMANCING CHRISTMAS authors for their LAUNCH DAY PARTY! The authors and a slew of their sassy friends will be celebrating the release, November 3rd, 4th, and 5th, 10:30 AM to 10:30 PM (EASTERN TIME).  Prizes Galore, Q&A, Authors, Readers, Books, and FUN! So what are you waiting for? Come join us and have a blast!

~~Novellas included in set~~
USA Today Bestselling Author Dale Mayer ~ Broken Protocols 3.5

Award-winning author H.D. Thomson ~ Shades of Holly

Chantel Rhondeau ~ Season For Love

Award-winning author Leslie Lynch ~ Christmas Hope

Award-winning author Sandy Loyd ~ A Christmas Miracle

Barbara Lohr ~ The Salty Carmel Christmas

Marcia James ~ Heating Up the Holidays

Carolyn Hughey ~ Insanity Claus

Tallulah Grace ~ A Family for Christmas

Rachelle Ayala ~ A Father for Christmas

~~Preorder Links~~
AmazonBarnes & NobleApple iBooksKOBO
Add it to Goodreads

Rachelle Ayala's story, A Father for Christmas, is a sweet and spicy tale of a stressed out single mom by choice, a homeless vet, and a little girl whose Christmas wish is to have a Daddy like all the other kids.  If the other tales in this collection are as touching as this one is, it will be a fabulous compilation.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

TravelWise Packing Cubes

I am really excited about this review!  I first heard about "packing cubes" on the China adoption forums, where people were talking about packing for the adoption trip.  I thought they sounded really cool, but money was stretched so tight with the fees, I couldn't justify splurging on something extra.

Imagine my excitement when I saw them come up for review!  I was thrilled to be chosen to try out a set, and I got pretty purple ones.

As soon as I received them, I realized that not only would they be great for their intended purpose in a suitcase, but they'd also work in my larger Thirty One bags!

2 of the medium packing cubes fit easily in my utility tote.

I can pack a spare outfit for Katie (just in case!)

 in the small packing cube,

and the rest of the "stuff" we'll need for a day out in a keep it caddy, and know just what one thing to grab if an accident occurs.

And for travel?  Fluffy dress, hair bow, shoes, sweater, and unmentionables...

...all fit easily inside a packing cube.  These things are really handy!  I can imagine keeping an emergency kit in the car in one, or using one to pack medical supplies for special needs.  And they'd be super on an adoption trip, when your mind is in a haze, and the last thing you need to be thinking about is, "Where did I pack the...?"

I love that I can pack matching outfits for the girls in a cube, and when we travel, I'll be able to just pull out one thing in the morning and have everything they need to get dressed!

TravelWise Packing Cubes are currently on sale at Amazon for $32.95 for the set of 5.  They come in 5 colors, to match any luggage set:  black, red, purple, teal, and silver.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Abundant Harvest #GIVEAWAY #honesty @Stand4Character

We recently received Abundant Harvest For Kids, a conversation game from Harvest Time Partners to review, and I get to give one away, as well, so be sure to enter below!

Abundant Harvest can be played by 2-8 players, ages 7 & up.  I first played with Jack & Eli, ages 10 and 13.

The game is easy to set up and easy to understand, although, I missed that there were two stickers with each virtue, so our pieces only have stickers on one side, since I needed to put a second sticker over a couple of the ones that I misapplied.

You play by rolling a die and moving your marker that many spaces.  When you land, you earn 5, 10, or 20 points, depending on the action there.  The points cards are similar to "money" in most board games, but there's nothing to purchase.

After you get your points, you draw a card from one of the 3 card piles, based on the color of the space you landed on.  The categories are Parent, Child, and School.

Many of the school cards were not directly applicable to us, since we homeschool, but we could still discuss what someone in that situation could do.

Actually, even some of the other cards were not applicable to our family.  I drew one that said, "Your daughter comes to you crying, wishing you were home more like her friends' parents."  My initial response was, "If I was home any more, I'd develop rickets from lack of vitamin K!" (meaning I'd never see the sun)  However, what we decided as a group was that maybe the child needed some one on one attention, and the parent in the scenario should make a point of doing something special with them, like going out for ice cream and getting a chance to talk.

We got to discuss Child Development a little bit, when Jack drew a parent card about having a 6 year old child that didn't want to sleep in their own bed.  When asked what he (as a parent) should do, he had no ideas, so I explained that at 6, a child is old enough to use incentives with, and suggested a sticker chart, with a reward after a certain number of nights sleeping in their own bed.

Abundant Harvest For Kids has a list price of $24.99, but is currently selling on Amazon for $19.99, with free shipping for Prime members.

Although designed as a board game, I was thinking about taking just the cards with us the next time we go on a road trip, as it would be interesting to get the whole family talking about some of the scenarios presented.

Harvest Time Partners is a veteran-owned company, and all their products are made in the USA.  In addition to two versions of Abundant Harvest (kids and teen/adult), they also have Face to Face in 3 versions, and character books for children.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can connect with Harvest Time Partners on FacebookYouTubeTwitter, and Pinterest!  Thanks for entering, and good luck!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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The Daughter of Highland Hall

If you like Downton Abbey, you'll feel right at home within the pages of The Daughter of Highland Hall.  Most of this book actually takes place at Ramsey House, in London, but you'll recognize the time period, the lifestyle, and the life situations that come the way of the characters in this story.

Katherine is the somewhat spoiled, pampered aristocrat, whose life circumstances have changed, and needs to make a good match in order to continue living the lifestyle to which she's accustomed.

Edward is the socially acceptable, handsome young man set to inherit a large estate and become an Earl.

Jon is the missionary raised abroad, in London training to become a doctor.

The Daughter of Highland Hall is a sweet story about Katherine's journey to finding what really matters in life.

This is actually book 2 of the Edwardian Brides series by Carrie Turansky.  I liked this enough to get book one, The Governess of Highland Hall.  Book 3, which I am looking forward to, will be A Refuge At Highland Hall.  I'm not seeing a release date for the last one yet, but I'll keep an eye out.

You can connect with author Carrie Turansky on her blog, or through Facebook or Twitter.

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