Category Archives: Product Review

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Are you singing the song yet? Sorry about that! It is no secret that Christmas is my favorite time of the year. From the Christmas carols, the beautiful trees, the celebration of the birth of Christ…there is something so wonderful about all of it.

So when my friends at DaySpring contacted me and asked if I was interested in getting a sneak peak at some of their newest Christmas items a few months in advance of decorating time, I jumped at the chance!

One of the things I love most about the DaySpring products is that they center around the real reason for the season. Christ has come! Each of the pieces they sent me captures that message in its own unique way.

The Nativity Hurricane Trio Luminary Set has to be my favorite item from the set. I purchased the original hurricane set years ago and have it up in my home year round, but this set is so beautiful. I don’t know that I will be able to put it away after Christmas is over! One of the things that makes it so unique is that it can be displayed and enjoyed from both the front and the back!

On the front each piece has a different word at the bottom. Savior, Jesus and Messiah. On the back are three different Bible verses! Matthew 1:21, I John 4:14 and Luke 2:10. I will be displaying mine on my fireplace mantle but these would be beautiful on a bookshelf or as a centerpiece on your dining room table.

The Christmas Door Banner is bright and bold and fits around your door so that there is a message on both the front and the inside of the door. It was easy to install and could be used on any door in your home!

These Boxed Christmas cards will be donated to a friend at church who has a ministry of making sure that people are given cheer and encouragement through the written word. When I received the cards I knew she would put them to good use. I love getting Christmas cards, don’t you?! We do send Christmas cards/pictures and a letter each year to our family, friends and business clients. The list keeps growing and at times it seems like a lot to keep up with, but people tell us again and again that they love to receive them so we keep doing it! Do you send cards out at Christmas?

If you have been to my house during Christmas you have seen my multiple Christmas trees. They are becoming so heavy with ornaments that I have threatened to buy another tree. I LOVE ornaments. I have ornaments that my mom collected for me when I was a child and now I do the same thing each year with my kids. This Glory to God Porcelain ornament is beautiful. I will be adding the date on the back of it so that I can remember what year I received it and probably will be ordering a few more from DaySpring’s collection!

And finally, I received this fun Christmas Countdown board. I have one of those chalk pens and wrote in a number inside of the star. This could be hung anywhere in your home and every day your kids could help you countdown the days until Christmas. And just for fun, in case you were wondering, it is 95 days until Christmas today!

Here are a few items that I haven’t seen in person but look like something I’d love to have in my home!

The Joy to the World Round Wall Hanging would be a fun addition to my wall space.

We have the Shepherd on the Search Advent kit from last year and it’s a great alternative to the Elf on the Shelf!!

I love the rough wood look of this A Savior is Born plank!

And these hand-thrown mugs are awesome, they have four styles, Jesus, Peace, Joy and Shine!

As you can see there are a variety of items to choose from in a wide price range. DaySpring offers free shipping on all orders over $50 as well!

I love DaySpring products. You will find them all over my home. It was a joy to receive these pieces for free in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own! Affiliate links throughout.

What is your favorite piece from the new collection?!

Giving Our Kids God’s Word {Giveaway}

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I love when our children embrace God’s Word. When they start to recognize the importance of understanding the stories contained within in a real way.

Karlena has had a “Baby Bible” now for a few years, but hasn’t had an actual Bible with the full text inside. She can’t read yet but very soon she will be reading on her own and I hope that she will learn to find God’s Word as a source of knowledge and comfort.

When this Bible arrived at our door Karlena was so excited. The bright colors and pictures on the front and throughout remind you of a Disney movie! In fact one friend asked if it was a Disney Bible!

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It is a NIrV edition, so it is an “easy reader” for children, with easier text for them to understand. Elijah asked me to read them some verses so since we were close to Easter I opened it to Matthew so that I could read portions of the crucifixion story.

Some of our favorite pages in the Bible were these insert pages.

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There was the Lord’s Prayer, the ABC’s of accepting Christ and the books of the Bible. I read one review that stated she wished there had been more of those pages throughout and I agree. Those were the pages Karlena kept turning to herself!

At church this past Sunday our Pastor talked about Peter. And while all of the passages he read were familiar to me, hearing it again brought new life and new meaning to who he was.

I think that is why we need to continue to encourage our kids to read God’s Word over and over. The meaning, our understanding, of the stories change over time. As we grow in our faith we can start to apply the principles to our own lives.

In 30+ years I want my kids to nod in agreement at a familiar story and at the same time see it all in a new light. 

Do you have a favorite children’s Bible for kids in this 6-10 age group? I’d love to hear about it!!

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The Under the Sea Holy Bible, NIrV is a perfect gift for children ages 6 to 10. Themes of underwater fun and sparkling fish grace the interior of this wonderful children’s Bible. The outside is covered in foil and sparkle. The interior has color inserts featuring whimsical underwater scenes with themes of God’s care and love for each of us and all of creation.

Learn More: http://www.zondervan.com/under-the-sea-holy-bible-nirv

I was sent the Under the Sea Bible as  a free gift in exchange for my honest review. In addition the wonderful people at #FlyByPromotions have another copy to send to one of my wonderful readers! Do you have a child between the ages of 6-10 that would love this Bible?! Leave a comment below and I will pick a winner on Friday April 1st!

The Christmas Angel, an Elf-on-the-Shelf Alternative

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This is Tinker – he was our Elf-on-the-Shelf for probably 5 years or more. I heard about this elf from another blogger and at the time Gabriel was probably 4 or 5 and just really starting to ask about Santa etc. I will admit I initially liked the idea of this “magical elf” that watched for good behavior.  The first year we had Tinker, if Gabriel was being naughty, we would just say “Tinker’s watching” and immediately he would apologize and correct his behavior.

It seemed like a genius idea.

In the past 2 years I have been trying harder to keep Christmas about Christ. Teaching our kids about the true meaning and why we celebrate. Trying to take the focus off of Santa a little.  Our kids do still get Santa presents, but we don’t make it this huge deal.

But the kids LOVED Tinker. They always remembered that he showed back up after Thanksgiving and couldn’t wait to see where he would hide.  I talked last year about getting rid of him but wasn’t sure how….

Then this year a friend on FB had a picture of this Christmas Angel.

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I asked her about it and she shared the link with me.  Story Lines Inc is the company that made the doll. The angel comes on December 1st and delivers a message about the real reason for Christmas each day until Christmas Day.

I thought this might be the perfect alternative to our elf. Admittedly, I enjoy the magic the kids feel about Christmas. Their innocence and how they believe…so we decided to come up with a “plan” to have Tinker leave our family.

He showed up like he always had and for a few days he “hid” in a new spot.  But on November 30th Tinker had a special letter for the kids….

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Basically it said that Tinker had been called on a special assignment and that Santa wanted our kids to understand the real meaning of Christmas. That a Christmas Angel would be coming to share a special message each morning about why God loves us so much and why we celebrate Christmas.

Don’t judge please….I know it seems silly – but this is the way we felt we could best transition the angel into our family.

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Our Christmas Angel has a similar “do not touch” rule.  But she isn’t leaving the family each night to “report back to Santa”…rather spreading her wings and rest on a new spot with a new message each morning.

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She has found several spots to “hide” so far and the kids have all loved hearing what her card reads.

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Each card is short and sweet – but I love the messages they bring.

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Overall we have loved the addition of the Christmas Angel to our mornings.  The kids still talk about Tinker from time to time and I know they miss him…but they also have enjoyed hearing what the Angel has to say for them each day so I am glad we made the switch!!

How about you? Do you do the Elf-on-the-Shelf?? What do you think of the Christmas Angel?? What other traditions do you have in your family to keep the focus on the real meaning of Christmas??

**Update as of Nov 2014…I heard from a reader that the site link to the angel I purchased doesn’t work anymore. I am not sure if the company is producing the angel this year, if I hear more I will update this post as it has been a very popular one this year!**

Christmas with Dayspring!

I am a HUGE fan of Dayspring products. You will find their things scattered all throughout my home. They are timeless pieces with a beautiful message.

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This lantern is sitting on my fireplace hearth. It is a part of Dayspring’s Love Came Down Collection.

Etched on the front door of the lantern is this verse: “The light will dawn in your souls and Christ the Morning Star will shine in your hearts.”  II Peter 1:19

I love that!

There is something about having God’s Word written and displayed all over a home that is so appealing to me. Little reminders that He is present in ALL things.

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I have a feeling that this lantern will be a permenant part of my hearth year round.

God calls us to be a light in this dark world.

The only way we can do that is by having His light within us in the first place. My prayer for each of us as we have entered the Advent season is that our hearts and minds will be filled with His peace and presence.

We can be light, we are called to be a light and because of Christ we are!

Is there something in your home that reminds you to be a light for Christ? I’d love to see them! Share a picture or a link below!

Recently Dayspring contacted me to offer me the opportunity to purchase an item from their Christmas shop at a discounted price, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

The Nativity Story App!

Since we are now really starting the Christmas season I wanted to share with you a fun new app available for kids to tell the nativity story!

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I love finding new ways to teach the kids about the true meaning of Christmas. I downloaded this app onto my phone and one of the features that I loved was that it has a “Read to Me” and “Read by Myself” button. So the younger kids can just sit and listen to the story play if they don’t have someone to read it to them!

The story is filled with music and vintage pictures. It was made to feel like a pop-up-book and it really does a good job at that! There are spots in each scene that are interactive as well.

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Karlena (who is almost 3) got a little button happy while she was watching it and so for a younger child to fully experience the story, an older child or adult should help with making the pages turn etc. But she loved that the screen changed and the music that played in the background.

One of her favorite parts was that she could touch the picture of the “horsey” – which was really the donkey and make it move and make sounds. 🙂

What a perfect app to have on the go to remind your younger children about the real meaning of Christmas! 

About the app :: Aimed for kids ages 2-8, The Nativity Story app brings the Christmas story alive. Where will baby Jesus be born? At the market? At a restaurant? At the inn? Readers of this book app can follow Joseph and Mary on their search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. Along the way they encounter a variety of colourful local people and animals. This is a fun and engaging way to share the original story of Christmas with the young generation and remind them what Christmas is all about.

Download here :: The Nativity Story – Popup Deluxe Edition for the iPad ($3.99) or The Nativity Story – Popup Mini Edition for the iPhone ($1.99)

FlyBy Promotions offered me this app to download for free for my honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own!

Coming Home for Christmas – Review and Giveaway!!

Coming Home for Christmas

 

UPDATE!! Congratulations Joyce you are the winner of your very own copy of Coming Home for Christmas! I will be contacting you for your address and Flyby Promotions will be sending you your copy! 🙂

I LOVE Christmas. It is my favorite holiday. It is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ and reflect on what a gift we have been given through God’s son. And then the decorating…oh how i LOVE the decorating!

But for some Christmas can be a difficult time – especially if there is a family strain in the mix.  Christmas time wasn’t always a time of celebration for our family. When Dominic and I were struggling in our marriage we weren’t the most fun to be around. I know that there were times our extended family “tolerated” us because we were related – not because we radiated love and kindness. 🙂

Thankfully things are different these days and our families enjoy spending time together. Christmas has become a time when we do return home. My brother and sister and I all live in different states with our families, and Christmas is the one time of year that we know we can all be together again at our parent’s home. We have a traditional Christmas dinner and watch the kids tear through the presents. It is always a wonderful time and I am so grateful for all God did in our families to restore what once was broken relationships!

Coming Home for Christmas” is a movie about two sisters, who have a strained relationship and haven’t spoken for 5 years, that come together to try and help save their parent’s struggling marriage. They seek the help of the new owner of their old family home so that they can surprise their parents with a old time family Christmas.

I don’t want to give all the twists and turns away in the movie but I will say that this is a clean and wholesome movie, and acceptable for the entire family. It can be hard to find quality movies available so I really appreciate that I was able to watch this with the kids present!

To see the official movie trailer – watch it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI5OSK0BAzw

If you want to purchase a copy for yourself they can be found at Walmart but I am also giving away 1 copy for one of my readers!!  To enter just leave a comment sharing your favorite Christmas movie. Additional entries given for sharing this post on FB and Twitter.  Just come back and leave a comment for each entry!

Please make sure you include your email address as well so I can contact you if you are the winner!

Giveaway ends Tuesday November 26th and is open to those in the US and Canada!

Disclosure: I received an email from Flyby Promotions with an offer to review a free copy of Coming Home for Christmas and one for giveaway in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own but I will only be sharing products here that I truly love and believe in!

Getting it Together – e-Book Review and a Giveaway!!

My friend and fellow “Dreamer” Kayse has a new e-Book available and I was given the opportunity to review it and share it with you!!

If there is one thing that I always feel I need more of it’s organization. From home, to the office, my spare time…..I need to be better about using my time wisely. And I find that when I am organized, I spend less time stressing over silly details and more time enjoying life.

So if you can relate – Kayse’s book will be perfect for you!!  It is a quick and easy read and at the end she provides you with all the printables she talks about so that you can be organized too! 🙂 And for only $3.99 on Amazon – it is a deal!! Also find it here if you don’t have a Kindle but would like a pdf. Same low price!

I haven’t ever had a “family binder”, but after reading this book, and attending a mom’s expo and a session about organization – I decided that it would be a worthwhile investment.  SO I headed off to my local Wal-mart and picked up a few things that Kayse suggested….

A binder, some page protectors, and tab inserts and I also had some old scrapbooking paper left from another project so I used that as well!

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Kayse has TONS of ideas for this binder, everything from a meal planning schedule, auto maintenance log to a pantry and freezer log! I don’t want to share everything that is included because honestly I think you need to buy the book for yourself and see! 😉

And it is in lovely colors too…I didn’t have access to a color printer though so I chose to print everything on colored paper instead. Whatever works right?!

What is great about this book is that you can customize things so they fit your family.  And once you are done you will have all that important info in one place! No more shuffling through multiple drawers to find the info you need and know you have saved somewhere (or has this only happened to me?) 🙂

Side note – I recently put some important papers in a “safe place” so I wouldn’t loose them…and have forgotten where that safe place is. Sigh….

Hopefully after going through this process – that won’t be a problem anymore!  So do yourself a favor – order Kayse’s book and get started on being just a little more organized like I am…

Here are a couple of pics of my binder – it isn’t complete yet…but I love it already!

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In one of the sections I put the info from the Mom’s Expo I went to this weekend where I learned some fun organizational tips!IMG_5498

I have another section for some of those special papers I want to save – but were getting ruined in my cluttered drawer….IMG_5499

And how about that emergency info that you will probably never need – but it’s great to have it in one place just in case!IMG_5500

With Kayse’s help I am on my way to being a bit more organized!  And now I am off to tackle another “junk” drawer. I will get this house organized if it kills me! 🙂

Kayse has generously offered to give one of my readers here a free copy of Getting it Together!! If you want a chance to win please leave a comment telling me what area of your life would you like to see more organized! Drawing will be held Thursday April 18th! Please leave an email for contact if you aren’t signed in!!

And if you want to know more about Kayse you can find her on FB and Twitter – just click the links! 🙂

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