Which Way to Gallifrey?

Which Way to Gallifrey? Doctor Who directional sign. Don't go to Trenzalore.

Before long, my entire house is going to be every Doctor Who fan’s dream come true. We should probably just go all in and paint all of our walls blue. Or make more TARDIS “round things” like we did for our son’s bathroom and put them on every wall in the house.

Since I have always been fascinated by those collections of directional signs, I have wanted to make one for months and finally got around to doing it. With the help of our trusty Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary, we created a list of 20 great locations in the Doctor Who universe. It was really, really hard to narrow it down to only eight for the arrows.

Doctor-Who-Arrows-1

I drew the arrows out first, onto a very lightweight sheet of particleboard, and then my husband cut them. I am not allowed to use the saw. He thinks I’ll cut my arm off or something. I haphazardly drew them without measuring and without using a straight-edge, as you can tell from the arrow above, and this actually drove him crazy. He is a perfectionist and kept trying to correct my angles and lines. I wanted them simple and rustic, like something you could find in the middle of some alien city.

After painting the arrows blue, I made the letters using my Silhouette Cameo and white vinyl.

Which Way to Gallifrey? Doctor Who directional sign. Don't go to Trenzalore.

We haven’t quite figured out where to put it yet. Next to the TARDIS cutout downstairs, or next to our sonic screwdriver cabinet upstairs?

Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

Last year, I reviewed the first edition of Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary and shared some Doctor Who bookmarks that I made. DK has released an updated and extended version, complete with the new Doctor on the cover.

Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

He certainly does look like his cranky new self in that photo, huh. The new version has 32 new pages of material, including all the season eight storylines, monsters and new characters…

Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

Like Danny Pink, who has his own two-page spread in the book. Sniff sniff. What a shame, I really liked him. Uh oh, I better not say to much…spoilers, you know.

Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

Speaking of spoilers, River Song…the Doctor’s wife.

By popular request from my readers, you can now visit my brand new Etsy store for some great River Song products and more nerdy goodness.

My Patronus is River Song My Patronus is River Song

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.


Superhero Books for Father’s Day (you can win one too!)

I love DK books and I love that as a blogger, I get to have a relationship with such a fabulous company. They have something for everyone, especially superhero dads, like my husband. We have a large collection of fan culture encyclopedia type books, which he and our son love pouring over together. The latest in our collection is The DC Comics Encyclopedia.

DC-Encyclopedia3

With 400 pages of superhero character bios, this book’s width is almost as tall as a minifigure.

DC-Encyclopedia5

Beginning with Abra Kadabra (a character I had never heard of until this book arrived) and ending with Zoom, this book is a unique encyclopedia of more than 1,000 characters created by DC Comics. It is exactly what every DC fan needs.

DC-Bookmarks

I took it one step further and made some DC bookmarks to go with our new DC book.  These bookmarks were made using the stunning images created by Calvin Lin. I fell in love with his style the minute I saw his work online. I placed character quotes on the back of each bookmark. You can also download a set of Marvel bookmarks that I made last year.  Be sure to visit Calvin’s store to order large printed pieces of the artwork.  How cool would it be to have these framed on your wall!

Be sure to laminate your bookmarks to keep them in good shape.  In case you do not already have one, this laminator is the best one out there and is only $33 at Amazon. I purchase these laminating sheets to use with the machine.

And now, how would you like to WIN a copy of The DC Comics Encyclopedia for your family? Enter below using as many of the options as you’d like for extra entries.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.


10 Minute S’mores Waffles

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LetsMakeSmores #CollectiveBias #sponsored

How to make delicious S'mores waffles in only 10 minutes. #LetsMakeSmores #ad

It is almost summer and for a lot of us summer = S’mores! The team at Collective Bias issued a challenge to share a delicious way to make S’mores in under 10 minutes. There are SO many ways that you can make S’mores. Just do a quick search on Pinterest and you’ll see hundreds of stunning photos that will make your mouth water! And if you need even more delicious and easy to make snack ideas, check these Delicious Moments of Joy.

But this is a recipe that can be made on a busy night, in less than 10 minutes. Not only that, but it can be made indoors. You don’t always need a campfire or even an oven, to make S’mores. All you need are these 5 items:

  • Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars (buy the 6 pack at Walmart to ensure you have enough!)
  • Honey Maid Graham Cracker Squares (exclusively at Walmart)
  • Kraft’s Jet Puffed Marshmallows (use mini for this recipe)
  • A waffle maker
  • Pancake batter (you should use a recipe for pancake batter and not waffle batter, because the other ingredients will thicken it up significantly.)

Ingredients

Step one:

Go to Walmart and purchase your products. You can find these products in the following aisles. You may even get lucky and find a fancy display or end cap that contains all of them together. Otherwise, of course it is worth it to adventure around the store for S’mores ingredients!

Graham-Crackers-Walmart

 

Marshmallows-Walmart

 

Hershey-Bars-Walmart

Step two:

Mix up your batter. Remember, you should use a recipe for pancake batter and not waffle batter, because the other ingredients will thicken it up significantly.

Step three:

Add-Marshmallows

Mix in your mini marshmallows. I added a cup, but you should add as much or as little as your heart desires. One can never have too many marshmallows.

Step four:

Crush-Graham-Crackers

Crush some graham crackers into small bits. The easiest way to do this is using a baggie and a rolling pin. Be sure to leave some chunks and then mix the graham crackers into the batter. Leave a bit in the baggie for later, to sprinkle on the top of the cooked waffle.

Honey-Maid

These Honey Maid Graham Cracker Squares can only be found at Walmart. They are perfect for making old-fashioned S’mores since they are already divided into squares.

Step five:

Add-Chocolate

Break up a Hershey chocolate bar into pieces as large or small as you want and pop a couple into your mouth as you work. Mix the pieces into the batter

Step six:

Waffles

Plop scoops of your batter into your pre-heated waffle maker. My waffle maker is a Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler with the add-on waffle plates. Cook your S’mores waffles for about 4-5 minutes. Don’t overdo it or you run the risk of burning the marshmallows.

Do not be alarmed if the melting marshmallows start to seep out of your wafflemaker. Just scrape them off and with a rubber spatula and enjoy an early taste of S’mores goodness.

Step seven:

While the waffles are baking, melt another Hershey chocolate bar (or two) in the microwave. When the waffles are finished cooking, you can on drizzle some chocolate and then sprinkle more crushed graham crackers on top.

Step eight:

ENJOY your 10 minute S’mores goodie!

I’d love to hear your favorite way to make and enjoy S’mores! Leave a comment and let me know!

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.


Win a Copy of American Sniper

Chris Kyle and Bradley Cooper

One of the reasons that I love being a blogger is that I often get contacted by movie, TV, and book publicists with requests to promote products and offer giveaways. A lot of times, I turn them down, but not today.  I jumped at this opportunity to provide one reader with two copies of the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combo Pack of American Sniper before it is released in stores.

You’ll receive a copy for yourself and a copy to give away to your military hero.

Keep in mind, that this movie is rated R, so this is not a movie you’ll want to watch with your young ones.

For those of you who have never heard of this movie, or heard of Chris Kyle, let me enlighten you. The late Chris Kyle is one of the most highly decorated military snipers in history. What happened to this American hero was devastating, shocking, and just plain heart-breaking for all involved.

From the moment he starred on Stars Earn Stripes back in 2012, we became huge Chris Kyle fans. Paired with actor Dean Cain, they quickly became our favorite team and we were so proud to see the way the two of them conquered every challenge given, coming in 1st place four different times. Just 6 short months later, we were sadden to hear of Chris Kyle’s devastating death at the hands of a fellow military veteran who was suffering from PTSD. As the daughter of a hero who served two tours in Vietnam, I understand first-hand what PTSD can do to a soldier.

. . . . . 

American Sniper 3D Box ArtClint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated adaptation of Chris Kyle’s autobiography is moving and meaningful filmmaking, depicting the heroism of both the service member in combat and the family left stateside. It is not an easy film to watch, given its subject matter, but it is an essential film to watch to help us better understand the cost, to those on the battlefield and on the home front, of the freedoms we hold so dear.

Warner Bros. is donating a dollar from the sale of each DVD, up to $1 million, to the Wounded Warrior Project, whose mission is to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. That’s part of what makes it such an honor to promote this movie – to know that we’re doing more than raising awareness about a movie; we’re helping those who were injured fighting for our country.


*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.


What Led to our Decision to Homeschool?

Why We Chose to Homeschool | from a mom of a 12 year old boy

Homeschoolers get asked this question a lot. A lot. In my experience, most of time, parents are just curious about why someone would choose such an odd lifestyle. Sometimes the looks we get make us laugh. Everything from open, gaping mouths to snarled faces are given when I tell people we are a homeschooling family. Homeschooling is not for every family, and I never judge others for their choices, but homeschooling is the right choice for us, and we love living such an outlandish and peculiar lifestyle.

  • To be honest, this is my number one answer. To be perfectly honest again, I’ve been told this is snobby, but here it goes. We believe we can give our son a more superior education than he would receive in school. I know I can teach him better than a certified classroom teacher can. I have a couple of friends who are teachers and I admire them tremendously, they do an amazing job with their classes, and are adored by their students. Regardless, no one will be invested in our son like we are. We can recognize and adapt to his needs.
  • We want to include God and the Bible in aspects of his education. We want him to learn Godly character and the spiritual foundation of our country. We want him to learn creation science, rather than have evolution forced down this throat. We believe that kids need to know both views exist, and that evolution is a theory, not fact.
  • We can spend as long as he would like on a subject that interests him. A ringing bell does not force him to stop doing something enjoyable and move onto something else. Moms, what if YOU wanted to learn to knit, or wanted to read the next chapter in a new book, or learn how to research your family tree and someone told you that you could not move onto the next knitting technique until you were a certain age, or told you that you could not read the next chapter until 1:30 when that class began, or told you that you could not research a particular family line because it was not on their syllabus.
  • Our son is a very advanced learner with intellectual abilities that go far beyond where he should be according to his age. He would not be challenged in a regular classroom and he needs to be challenged. Homeschooling gives him opportunities to live up to his potential.  At 13 years old, he is already mentally ready to begin college and we are going to start this year with online classes, dual credit and CLEP testing.
  • This goes along with the one above. We can give him individualized learning. Schools use a “one size fits all” standard curriculum. Not all children are ready to learn things at the same ages. Not all children learn in the same way. Not all children progress at the same rate.
  • We believe it is completely unnatural to expect a child, especially a boy, to sit still for hours at a time and bottle up their curiosity. Most adults cannot even do that. Kids need freedom to move and even more freedom to ask the questions that pop into their mind.
  • Homeschooling gives us the time and freedom to do what we want apart from someone else’s schedule. Unless he starts his own business, he’ll have his entire adult life to follow someone else’s schedule. Right now, we can take spur of the moment field trips, vacations, enroll in classes, and experience real hands-on learning whenever we want. We took a 4 trip to Universal in Orlando in February and it was practically empty and glorious.
  • We want our son to learn logic, critical thinking, self-direction, self-expression, and abstract thinking. He needs to experience events that will prepare him for life, not just for a job. He needs be taught how to succeed in life and relationships.
  • We want him to learn about sex and drugs from us, in an appropriate manner. We don’t want him learning about these things during free time or from a textbook.
  • Schools nowadays are dangerous! There is much to be afraid of and kids cannot properly learn in an environment in which they are afraid. Not only are schools physically dangerous, but emotional dangerous as well.
  • There is nothing healthy about the socialization that occurs in school. The majority of kids in school end up with an unhealthy need for peer approval. Cliques only teach kids to judge others on superficial qualities.

Read more posts about why homeschoolers have chosen to embark on this adventure at iHomeschool Network.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.


My Top 8 Favorite Places for Homeschool Books

My Top 8 Favorite Places for Homeschool Books and how I stock my homeschool bookshelves

As I was writing my How to Raise a Boy Who Love to Read post, I lingered on hitting publish and then lingered more after hitting publish, because I sat here staring at the very old photos of my two beautifully organized bookcases.

IKEA inspired bookshelves, built by my husband

One upon a time they used to look like that. Seeing those photos really motivated me to pull everything off the shelves and get organized again.  So I did. I pulled every single book from all 50 cubes and made piles all over the house. (By the way, my husband built both of these IKEA-inspired shelves for me since there is no IKEA nearby. I totally love him.)

Organizing-shelves

To say it was a mess is an understatement. As I was going through the piles, deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, I prayed and thanked God for all the authors, book publishers, and book sellers – large and small businesses and hidden gems – that I’ve been able to find over the years. As a gal passionately devoted to books (especially living books) I actually got teary-eyed several times during this process. Not only because I was simply thankful for what I have, but also because of all the memories that we have shared as a family bonding over these books.

At one point, my son looked over at me, laughed, and said, “WHAT is wrong with you?” I was a tad weepy because I just realized that he was too old now and would never read the If You…series again, so I reluctantly put them in the pile to sell. Of course, there are some books (like these) that I will never, ever, ever get rid of. I cannot bare it.

If-you-books

So now, my shelves are almost re-organized again and I even have a couple of open cubes for new books! Time to get shopping!

My Top Eight Places for Books

  • Library and Education – this company is a true hidden gem and the biggest reason that my bookshelves are overflowing. Their prices are unbelievable. You won’t regret signing up for their newsletter. Our latest order of these 26 items was only $59.45. Full price would have been over $300.
  • Oyster Books – this website helps my bookshelves because all the books we get from here are digital. Another true hidden gem. They call this the Netflix for Books and I am in love with it. Unlimited ebooks for any device – $9.95 per month. If you use my affiliate link, you’ll get a $15 credit and I’ll get one too! Here is a sample of what is currently in our reading list.

Oyster-Books

  • Bethlehem Books – they offer a very large selection of the best historical living books that you can find AND they have their books organized by time period AND most books are available in both print and digital AND if that is not all, they offer regular discounts. For example, just yesterday they had over 100 great titles on sale for only $1.75 each. Last time I stocked up, the eBooks were only 99-cents.
  • Amazon – I think this is an obvious one for anyone. I always go to Amazon to check the price on a book after I look on the two websites above.
  • Prufrock Press  – they offer very high quality books, workbooks, and curriculum for gifted and advanced learners. I have written many Prufrock reviews on my blog.
  • Heritage History – I love this company because they take all of the classical children’s historical books and they offer them on CDs with amazingly useful study guides, maps, and timelines. All of the books in their collections are G-rated and were written before 1923, during an era when virtually all children’s books were respectful of Christianity.
  • Homeschool Buyers Co-op – you have probably heard of this, but just in case…this company is exactly what the name implies, it is a buyer’s co-op. If a certain number of buyers agree to purchase a product through the co-op, the publisher will greatly discount the price. We have purchased products like Jim Hodges Audio Books at 40% off, Maestro Classics at 20% off, Discovery Education Streaming Plus at 74% off, and Master Books at up to 40% off.
  • Networks and Facebook groups – two of my favorites are: {BEST} Homeschool Swap USA/Canada and Homeschool Buy Sell Trade. Not only have I bought books on both of these, but I have sold a few as well. It is a really fast and easy way to purchase used books. Plus, through browsing, you often come across books that you never knew you needed.
What are your favorite places to buy book and ebooks?

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.