Friday, October 17, 2014

A Tribute to My Cousin Brigid

My beautiful cousin, Brigid Anna, on her wedding day.

Two weeks ago today, I lost my cousin, Brigid.  She was young, bright and beautiful.  And although she had MS for over half of her life it was a shock.  I have so many memories of us as children.  We were the two redhead cousins and we could make some mischief.  In the summer, we would swim in the pool so much we practically looked liked raisins when we came out.  And then we would stay up way too late watching Nick at Nite reruns.  Of course we would sing the Patty Duke Show's song - Cousins, Identical Cousins! 

You don't expect to lose loved ones that are younger than you.  While Brigid was only here on this Earth for 32 years, she touched so many.  My life will forever be changed because of her.  I laugh more, I appreciate my blessings and I look at peonies with wonder.  You see, Peony, was Brigid's nickname.

If there is anything that I have learned from loss it is that time is so short and faith is so important!  I have no doubt that my cousin is in heaven with God, her Mom and so many other loved ones.

If I have been a little out of sorts the last few weeks I apologize.  Uncle Billy and Mike - Brigid was a treasure and she will be missed.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall Crafts and Table Display with Dollar Tree

I don't know about you but Dollar Tree is a hot shopping spot for my family.  We visit Dollar Tree for just about every party we have, and we have lots of parties.  Our kids buy birthday presents for their siblings there because they find great items that fit their budget.  We always get Mylar balloons there, only $1!  Everything's $1.....So Everybody Leaves Happy.

Today, I want to show you my new Fall table.  Everything came from and can be found at Dollar Tree, which also means that it is super budget friendly.

The first thing I did was cut some cardboard letters.  I chose to spell out FALL.  Then I took the floral moss and applied it to the letters using my hot glue gun, easy peasy.

 Here I am halfway finished with the F.

 I started applying candy corn using my hot glue gun.

Next, I started my two sided wreath.  One side is layered candy corn and the other side is floral moss.  I like the idea of having a two sided wreath that can be displayed with the candy corn side or the moss side.

I went around and around with the candy corn.

Then, I started to layer it.

Now apply the moss to the back side.

The moss side

My finished wreath!

My wall display together.

 No lid

Next, I cut off the stem of a pumpkin to make a vase.  I arranged the Fall flowers in the pumpkin vase and that was it.  This was super fast.

So pretty.  I think this would be a fun thing to take to a friend just to say hi or hope you are having a great day!

Under the lettering

 Cutting the pumpkins in half

Lastly, I decided to make pumpkin lids for my drink dispensers.  I simply cut the pumpkins in half using a large knife (be careful).  I applied a thin layer of scotch tape along the bottom edge of the pumpkin so no Styrofoam would drop into my drinks.

 Pumpkin halves

 I set the pumpkin lids on my dispenser.

 And here is the dispenser with tea and lemonade.

So, what do you think?  Are you looking to make a Fall display?  Dollar Tree is your one stop shop for everything you need for a Fall party!

For more Holiday craft ideas, visit

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Dollar Tree for sending me items to facilitate this post.  I seriously love your store and hope to work with you again in the future!  All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, October 6, 2014

ICustomLabel Custom Water Labels Review & Giveaway

Have you heard of ICustomLabel?  ICustomLabel allows you to create unique, personalized labels to use at any occasion making the event truly special.  You can use their labels and stickers to do anything you want, the possibilities are endless!  You can custom design your labels to perfectly match your themed event or choose from hundreds of already designed labels.  Your labels don't have to be bland and boring but they can be colorful, artistic and fun.  At ICustomLabel you can create address labels, candy labels, food jar labels, water labels, gift tags and more.

I was recently given the opportunity through Tomoson to try ICustomLabel water labels.  This was the perfect chance to make some labels for E's 3rd birthday party.  I decided to go with an already designed label, the pink bright striped label.  I love the colors, font and message.  I personalized my labels to say Happy Birthday, Emily's 3rd Birthday.  The website was super easy to use and the customization was a cinch.  In no time at all my labels were delivered.

My labels, aren't they great?

 I purchased Archer Farms water bottles from Target.  The Archer Farms labels came off without much effort at all, making it easy to attach my custom labels.

 Attaching the labels

 Close up of a bottle of water

 Finished labeling the waters

The labels added a fun personalized element, not to mention a cute display.

I also used a few labels on my drink dispensers!

What do you think?  Want to try ICustomLabels for yourself?  One lucky reader will win their own set of 24 custom water labels.  Labels measure 2" x 8", are made of glossy polypropylene material and are 100% WATERPROOF.  Enter the giveaway below 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.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Learn how to build a family legacy with Dr. James Dobson

Have you heard of the new series, Dr. James Dobson Building a Family Legacy?  I am a huge fan of Dr. Dobson!  I am actually in the middle of reading his book Bringing Up Girls so this is great timing for me.  Now I have access to material that easily makes this book a personal study or small group study as well as a teaching DVD.

Our Girls

This new series, Building a Family Legacy, gives parents and churches the vision, desire and resources to inspire families with sounds advice and the tools to turn young hearts to Christ.  One of our repetitive prayers for our children is that they would know Christ as early as possible and that their hearts and lives would be for Him.  Wow, a series that helps offer just that!  These books, films and study materials are designed to motivate Moms and Dads - lifting their families both now and for generations to come.  I love that it focuses on the now and the future, for my kids and their kids and so on.  Count me in Dr. Dobson! 

This is an 8 part series which includes:
 Your Legacy
 Wanting to Believe
 Bringing Up Boys
 Bringing Up Girls
 Dare to Discipline
 Straight Talk to Men
 The Strong-Willed Child and
 Love for a Lifetime

Right now, Family Christian, has a coupon that would be great to use with this series. 20% off your entire purchase of regularly-priced with coupon code SAVE20 at

Another way to Experience this series for yourself - Simulcasts of Dr. Dobson's Legacy Teaching DVD are airing at thousands of churches across the country today through October 5th.  You can check out participating locations here!

What do you think?  Will you check this series out?  Are you already a Dobson fan?  How are you building your family legacy?  Make sure to check out the  Family Resources from Dr. Dobson; Books & Coordinating DVD Bible Studies

Disclosure:  I am proud to be a Family Christian Blogger.  This post contains Affiliate links.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Christmas At Rose Hill Farm Book Review & iPad Bundle Giveaway & sign up to host a Book Club Brunch!

Yes, I have another book to tell you about and they have two of my favorite things in common, Christmas and the Amish!  Suzanne Woods Fisher's book, Christmas at Rose Hill Farm was a delight to read. 

The author does a fantastic job of explaining the past while keeping you in the present.  I loved reading all the rich detail of life.  I found this book to be engaging, delightful, and an easy read.  I personally loved all the information about roses and how that ultimately buds an old and new romance.  If you enjoy reading about the Amish and a good romance, Suzanne Woods Fisher will not disappoint.

You can purchase a copy of this book here!  Read more about this book, author and enter the giveaway below (quickly though, it ends soon).

About the Book:
Bess Riehl is preparing Rose Hill Farm for her Christmas wedding, but her groom isn't who she thought it would be. Billy Lapp is far away from his Amish roots working as a rose rustler for Penn State and wants nothing to do with Stoney Ridge, his family, or Bess. And that suits Bess just fine. Why should she think twice about a man who left without a word, without any explanation? It's time she moved on with her life, and that meant saying yes to Amos Lapp, Billy's cousin and best friend. But as Bess and Amos's wedding day draws near, her emotions tangle into a tight knot. She loves Amos. Yet she can't forget Billy.

When a "lost" rose is discovered at Rose Hill Farm, Billy is sent to track down its origins. Get in, identify the rose, and get out. That's his plan. The only catch is that he's having a hard time narrowing down the identity of the lost rose, and he can't get those tropical blue eyes of Bess Riehl out of his mind.

As the history of the lost rose is pieced together, it reminds Bess and Billy---and Amos, too---that Christmas truly is the season of miracles.

"Filled with heart-twisting moments amid the sweet anticipation of love, this story will charm readers into the holiday spirit."

About the Author:
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Inn at Eagle Hill series, Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well an nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace.  She is a also the coauthor of a new Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp.  Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.  Suzanne is a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist.  She is a columnist for the Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines.  She lives in California.

Join best-selling, award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher for an Amish Christmas to remember. Filled with heart-twisting moments amid the sweet anticipation of love, Christmas at Rose Hill Farm will charm readers into the holiday spirit.

Suzanne is hosting a "Christmas Rose" iPad bundle giveaway and a nation-wide Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch in November. Enter the giveaway below and sign up to host a brunch HERE.
TWO grand prize winners will receive:
  • An iPad
  • A Rose-patterned iPad case
  • A Rose-patterned phone case (for any model phone)
  • A Christmas wreath
  • A set of Christmas hand-towels
  • Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Five second place winners will receive:
  • Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 28th. All winners will be announced September 29th at Suzanne's blog.

rosehill-brunchbuttonHost a Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch! This fall Suzanne is inviting book clubs across the nation to throw a Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch. Sign up here between now and September 29. If you’re selected as one of the 50 hosts, you’ll receive a copy of the book plus two other Revell titles (give them away as party prizes or door prizes or keep them for yourself), a complete party kit, and a discount code to purchase copies of Christmas at Rose Hill Farm for your book club at a discount. Suzanne is also encouraging each book club brunch to collect non-perishable items for their local community shelter. She will be making a donation to her favorite charity (helping abused women and children) for every brunch that meets their goal. Click here for more details and to SIGN UP!

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne's blog on the 29th to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Litfuse Publicity Group for allowing me to be a part of this tour and providing me with this book to facilitate my review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Myrtle Beach and Crown Reef Resort

Crown Reef Resort at Myrtle Beach

We are back from our amazing vacation to Myrtle Beach.  I actually won this trip through the Purex Insiders program, so exciting!!  We were able to drive through six states (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina) and see all the capitols.  This was so much fun because we are studying American History and the U.S. States and Capitols so it fit perfectly as a homeschool trip and family vacation.  We stayed at the Crown Reef Resort which was literally right next to the beach itself.

Check out this amazing gift basket that was waiting for us in our room, loved all the fresh fruit.

We were on the 4th floor in the second tower and our view was simply amazing.  Our room, one of their "Oceanfront Queen Deluxe Suite"  had ample room for our family of 8.  We loved having the Murphy bed because during the day we pulled it up and it gave us that much more floor space, plus we were able to easily put 6 chairs around the table in the living room, squeeze in a couple more at the corners, and had a perfectly acceptable dining option for meals or snacks in the room.

Looking straight out our balcony

The view sideways from our balcony

Looking straight down, the older kids are swimming in the pool with some new found friends.

Not only does Crown Reef resort have several swimming pools and hot tubs but they have a sprinkler, water-fun area complete with three slides and a large lazy river.

Another pool, semi-indoor (covered)

 Here you can see the two big slides - the red one uses a tube and the blue one you just slide down yourself.  I really enjoyed the blue one!

Of course, the main attraction for us was the beach!  We spent a lot of time at the beach.  The kids and I had never been to the Atlantic Ocean state side, and this was baby F's first ever beach trip.

Our kids love to jump and surf in the waves

 Look, a Baby F castle!!

I've got lots more pictures included below.  For now, let me show you just a couple more things we enjoyed at Crown Reef Resort.  One evening, we had dinner at the resort restaurant, Loco Gecko.  The food was great and the service was excellent.  My kids loved that we got to keep the cups as souvenirs. 

 Getting ready to order

Right next to the restaurant is the Town Center Dining and Fun Zone.  It has an arcade, ice cream station, and there is a smaller grab and go style restaurant that is open for breakfast and snacks.  We all enjoyed Swirl Ice Cream one afternoon and the kids enjoyed playing games.

Town Center Dining and Fun Zone - Arcade

And our room had a kitchenette, microwave, full sized refrigerator, oven and stove-top - along with basic dishes, pots, pans and utensils provided.  Right down the road on 14th street you can get groceries from Food Lion.  This allowed us to cook several meals in our room and make homemade brownies one night - felt like home at the beach!  If you are heading to Myrtle Beach anytime soon I would definitely recommend the Crown Reef.  It is worth checking out!

Enjoy these photos!!

Running in the water

 Happy, Happy, Happy


 We borrowed this awesome tent from my friend.

And we had fun in the sand!

 Where's D?


 Baby F and I

We built a fun sand turtle complete with babies and a nest.  We came back in the evening and watched the tide wash them away.

 Close up of the nest

 A coming down a slide

B coming down the tube slide

E and Daddy in the lazy river.

 C having fun in the lazy river

The silly submarine

Lots of opportunities to get wet

You can probably see that we had an amazing trip.  I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to experience this and include my family.  We would definitely go back if given the chance.  Crown Reef was excellent.

We really appreciated that they had a laundry facility.  We were at the pools and beach multiple times a day and I found myself doing laundry every night.  Purex No Sort was definitely my friend.  

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to Purex and Crown Reef for this amazing trip!  I am so honored to have won and blessed that we were able to enjoy this trip as a family.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own.