Oct 31, 2014

This Moment: Halloween decorations

A beautiful and fun Friday ritual. Inspired by SouleMama.

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. – Amanda Soule

Oct 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Tots and Me

I went back to late October 2012 for my Throwback Thursday Post today.  It was my first Halloween with all four of my babies and we were stormed out.  But it was a wonderful Halloween where we made lots of memories anyway.

Clued in Kids: A TOS Crew Review

Clued In KidsReview
One of the things I really like about homeschooling is that we can make our school days fun!  We can even make learning a game! My girls love it when they can be having fun and learning too.  When games are used as learning tools, they are the most enthusiastic learners you could ever meet!  That's why I was excited when we were given the opportunity to review products from Clued in Kids.
 For this review, we received 2 products, Multiplication Dragons, which is like a 5-in-1 product, and Happy Tummy Treasure Hunt.

We had been doing nutrition anyway so this was a fun way to introduce more nutrition facts. At the time of posting, Multiplication Dragons costs $19.99, and Happy Tummy Treasure Hunt is $5.99. As for age ranges, it really depends on where your child is at. Happy Tummy can be for any age, but Multiplication Dragons is most suited for around ages 7-9 again, depending on your child’s skills, since math isn't one of Princess Belle's strong suits, I found it a fun way to refresh her times tables.

I received a PDF printable that I downloaded and printed each treasure hunt out for my kids (mostly for Princess Belle but the girls had fun watching her and want to do one themselves now!). You can use these treasure hunts with anywhere from 1-10 kids. Most of the treasure hunts are from ages 4 and up. These are set up to use as a one day activity with each set.  Clued In Kids treasure hunts contain a number of clues with activities or puzzles that need to be solved. When they are solved, the location of the next clue is revealed. This is repeated until the treasure is found. There are many different treasure hunts, most are printable, but there are a couple of physical sets that can be purchased and would be great for parties or gifts. You can use the PDF printables over and over once you purchase the set. Clued In Kids also has a physical set which are intended for a 1 time use.

Clued in Kids is a company that makes learning fun, easy and engaging.  They do this by creating a wide variety of Treasure Hunts.  (Check out this video to see one in action)
Some of their printable PDF treasure hunts are:
They also have preprinted ones (even some in a greeting card, that you could mail to a friend or family member.)
Christmas Treasure Hunt In A Greeting Card
Slumber Party

Clued In KidsReview

The Happy Tummy hunt that we were given, is a printable hunt that gives lessons on nutrition and diet while the five Multiplication treasure hunts, designed for 7 to 9 year olds, includes multiplication based quizzes. It is also a printable treasure hunt. There are many other fun hunts to choose from on their website as well.

The Happy Tummy Printable Treasure Hunt is great for all kids but it is especially suitable for children with various food restrictions -- allergies, GAPS diet, gluten-free, etc. This treasure hunt was a wonderful introduction to nutrition and digestion. The clues in this hunt covered the basic parts of the digestive tract, how the digestive system converts food into energy,  how vitamins help your body, unhealthy food options, how nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine, and more.
The printable treasure hunts are easy to set up, and they come with an ‘answer’ sheet that tells you where to hid each clue, so you will never forget where you put the clues. This also makes setting up so quick and easy.

Clued In KidsReview

The Multiplication Dragons set contains separate treasure hunts for each times table from 2x up to 6x. These hunts a jammed packed with fun activities to help teach multiplication. And, it was really fast to set up,  printing out the treasure hunt clues, cutting them apart and hiding them took less than 10 minutes, a fact that this busy mama appreciates!

The Multiplication Dragons is for ages 7-9 to help them retain multiplication facts. My daughter is 12, in 7th grade, has autism and has difficulties with math (she gets intimidated by it), but Princess Belle had fun running from one place to another all over the house. The game of it made her forget that she was reviewing her math.  It took her about an hour to complete the treasure hunt. This was a lot of fun and was a  real hit in our house. I loved how much fun she has while learning at the same time. The great thing is that with the printable ones, is that we can print them out again and do them again with the little girls.

Details At a Glance!!
Name: Clued In Kids
Website: Clued in Kids
Product:  5 Multiplication Treasure Hunts and the Happy Tummy Treasure Hunt
Price: Happy Tummy Treasure Hunt is $5.99 and the 5 Multiplication Treasure Hunts is currently on sale for $19.99
Ages: Wide variety of ages

We had a lot of fun with these! They are a great way to have some fun easy “work” for school. Clued In Kids offers many other Treasure Hunts, including ones corresponding to most major holidays. They'd be perfect fun activities for any elementary aged child!

Click to read Crew Reviews
Clued In Kids on Social Media
Crew Disclaimer

Oct 28, 2014

Trying but Failing

I am having a tired day.  Little Prince had one of those nights where he woke up randomly crying and couldn't  settle down.  So as a result we are both sleep deprived.

These are the times where the non-verbal part of his autism really bothers me.  I would love to know what his trouble was.  Hungry?  Here let me feed you!  Scared?  Bad Dream?  Feeling sick?  I will gladly cuddle you until you feed better.  I just want to know what the trouble is.  I am the mommy, I fix things.  But how can I fix it, if you can't tell me what needs fixing.

So here we are in the middle of the night and Little Prince is having one of those nights. Those nights where he is crying hysterically and I don't know why. I have fixed everything I can and nothing is fixed. So finally, I get up at 3 in the morning and I carry him downstairs. He can't tell me what is wrong, and I am ONE TIRED GROUCHY MOMMY. And as I try to maintain the proper amount of grouchy for a person woken up in the middle of the night, he is just so very happy that I am carrying him downstairs that he is shivering with joy. He keeps hugging me, squeezing me with his arms and his legs and putting his head into my shoulder. Clearly he is very happy to be up with me and completely unconcerned that I am trying to be grouchy here. And you know what?  It is really very hard to be grouchy when you are being hugged by your baby boy.  So, I completely failed in my attempt to stay either grouchy or tired and we both sat up and watched Beat Bobby Flay together until the sun started to come up.

Oct 27, 2014

Hard at Work

I thought I would take pictures of my girls hard at work in the classroom/kitchen today.  Princess Magpie and Princess Snifflefritz look so cute working away in their jammies, I couldn't help myself.

Deadly Odds by Allen Wyler


I was really excited to get the opportunity to read Deadly Odds by Allen Wyler.  At this point, I have had the opportunity to read a couple of novels by this author and I consistently enthralled by each one of them!  This particular thriller was a real a page-turner!  I found myself thinking about the book even when I wasn't reading it and wondering how it could all turn out well for Arnold Gold, twenty-three-year-old Seattle-based odds-maker and local computer genius.

This is a tale of espionage, killers, computer  hacking, the dark and murky underworld of the web, and a ticking clock with a terrorist threat so huge, the population of Vegas could be wiped out. We are caught up in this incredible journey wondering who can Arnold trust, will he survive this in one piece and will he be able to stop the terrorists in time?  I was also caught up in his story and enjoyed reading about his transformation and how empowered he became in taking control of his own fate.  This is the ultimate thrill ride for both techno-thriller and classic suspense fan.

I can't stress enough how much recommend Allen Wyle, Deadly Odds!  I LOVE this author (I am reading another of his novel's now) and I love this book!  His writing is well-thought out and smartly written.  And this novel is no different, it kept me engaged from the first page to the last and it was a great escape at the end of a long day!

About Allen Wyler
Allen Wyler is a renowned neurosurgeon who earned an international reputation for pioneering surgical techniques to record brain activity. He has served on the faculties of both the University of Washington and the University of Tennessee, and in 1992 was recruited by the prestigious Swedish Medical Center to develop a neuroscience institute.

In 2002, he left active practice to become Medical Director for a startup med-tech company (that went public in 2006) and he now chairs the Institutional Review Board of a major medical center in the Pacific Northwest.

Leveraging a love for thrillers since the early 70s, Wyler devoted himself to fiction writing in earnest, eventually serving as Vice President of the International Thriller Writers organization for several years. After publishing his first two medical thrillers Deadly Errors (2005) and Dead Head (2007), he officially retired from medicine to devote himself to writing full time.  He and his wife, Lily, divide their time between Seattle and the San Juan Islands.

Connect with the Author: Website
Title: Deadly Odds
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1xh54PS
B&N: http://bit.ly/1sZrIy1
Astor+Blue: http://bit.ly/1uspcim

Oct 26, 2014

Gratitude Sunday

Gratitude Sunday
Sunday's heart felt tradition. A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.

Here are some things I am grateful for this week:

1. Princess Magpie dressing up every single day and being so proud to show me her creations.

2. Silly faces and sweet smiles from Princess Snifflefritz.

3. Snuggly moments between Little Prince and his daddy.

4. Quiet moments in the window.

5. My girls spending time together, playing together, enjoying each other.

6. Sweet girls who lighten up my day, every day as do their sister and brother.


I am in desperate need of a video intervention. I can't turn them! They all come off my phone sideways and I can turn them on facebook but I can't turn them anywhere else!!! So now I have to show people my videos on their side! Sorry, but here is an adorable video of Princess Magpie doing a song from the movie, "Frozen" shown on its side.

Oct 25, 2014

Saturday Photohunt: Funny and Work Tools

The Saturday PhotoHunts for this week are:  Funny and Work Tools. These pictures made me laugh, kids playing in the mud getting completely filthy while using whatever work tools and glasses they can find to make a mess.  There is a toy tractor, a mud covered spade, and the shovel behind Princess Magpie, lots of tools in lots of mud, creating a hilarious mess.

Newfie bread and onion pudding

This is a classic Newfoundland dish that usually accompanies a Jigg's Dinner. I list some of our other favorite accompaniments here on this post.

  • 6 slices of bread torn into small pieces
  • 1 large onion cut into very small pieces
  • Pinch of salt
  • Teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Mix together well with your hand. 
  2. Mix in 1 tablespoon of flour, then pour 2-3 tablespoons of water over top and squeeze through.
  3. Dip pudding bag into the pot liquor, when bag is cool to the touch, put your bread pudding inside. 
  4. Leave a little room for it to swell, and tie it off. 
  5. Dip the pudding (in the bag) down in the pot, pull back up and sit it on top of the vegetables, cover and allow it to cook for 30-40 minutes.
  6. Turn out onto a plate, slice, and enjoy!

Oct 24, 2014

This Moment: Daddy's Arms

A beautiful and fun Friday ritual. Inspired by SouleMama.

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. – Amanda Soule

Trying to balance

I tend to rosy things up.  I don't share the bad things until they are REALLY bad and then they hit out of nowhere.  Like this neighborhood.  There are things about it I really like and will always like.  There are things about it I don't like, and never will.  There are people here I absolutely adore and people here I am actually scared of.  I don't like that I spend time and money to make my steps the cutest steps on my block and then neighbor kids actually destroy everything, even the wooden decorations that were NAILED DOWN! 

This house is the same.  There are parts of it I like, like the shelves upstairs in the hallway, that I have turned into our little library.  There are parts of I don't like, like the yard (or the lack thereof), the completely lack of storage (although that has forced us to really decided what we need and what we don't) and the fact that the way this house is has forced me to turn a really big kitchen into a cluttered combo unit that serves too many purposes (kitchen, storage, laundry, classroom, play area).

I have figured out why the kitchen is bugging me so much.  In all our other houses, our family was just as prone to messiness as they are here.  I have a big family and it is impossible for me to keep on top of cleaning up behind all of them.  But my kitchen was always my refuge.  It was the one place that was mine and I could keep it as tidy and cute as I wanted.  But here, the kids play there, they do artwork there, everyone is in there ALL THE TIME and instead of it being the tidiest room in a somewhat cluttered house, it is the one that I battle the most. I joke that we have gremlins and every time I leave the kitchen, they messy it up.  I go in and I clean and then I step outside the room.  But when I immediately turn around to go back into the kitchen, the gremlins have already attacked and it is a mess again!  HOW DO THEY DO THAT???

In an effort to share some good even on a bad day, here is the community center downstairs below our unit. The people there are awesome and I adore them and the services they provide.

Here is my wonderful neighbor whom I adore

I love my little pantry.

Here are Princess Belle and Princess Magpie standing in front of the little library I created.

But, this is my block with NO backyard.  This is where the awesome people live. Princess Magpie keeps asking me if we can move to a new house that has a yard with a tree.

This is the corner of my unit.  Down over the back, surrounding that parking lot you can see is where the scary people live, the ones with drugs, bad attitudes, loud music, yelling and guns. 

This is my nicely decorated front step, that I was so proud of:

But the neighborhood kids came along and destroyed, it, broke most of it into pieces, even the wooden ones I nailed down. The rent here is cheap and I LIKE that, Princess Belle has friends and I LIKE that too, but I am just so sad about how my things keep getting destroyed.

And I can't get a picture of my cluttered, messy, too many purposes for one little room, kitchen.  But trust me, it is bad!!