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#Birthday, #Party, #Book

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I have been on a party planning kick. With both my girls old enough to be a big help, I am enjoying throwing a party here and there! Still, I am apprehensive about party planning. I did not get that gene. I like to write, but three dimensional creations worry me. (And that’s putting it nicely).

So, I need all the help I can get to create a special yet not super pricey bash here and there. Enter, “Birthday in a Book: The Complete Party Planning Guide and Toolkit,” by Angie Morrissey.

Angie is one of those amazingly crafty, creative genius people, and through her book series, she is sharing her secrets as she walks the reader through the entire party planning process!

Princess Tea Party

I got to review her ebooks on the Princess Tea Party and Mad Scientist Party this Summer.

Mad Scientist Party

I was thrilled to see these because my niece is almost to the tea party age and my nephew is a mad scientist and should be very impressed with his Aunt Heathers ideas for his next party.

Angie says that “Each book has everything you need to create a themed, on budget, kids birthday party. You can pick and choose which parts of the party theme you want to do based on your time and resources.” And I agree from what I see.

Features of the book series include:

  • PRINTABLES included for invitations, party décor, costumes and more!
  • DIY step-by-step instructions for crafts so you can recreate the party or use the ideas for other celebrations or events. (I just used a few of her Princess Tea Party recipes and ideas during another party I had for my daughter.)
  • Tips and tricks and detailed illustrations that take the guesswork out of party planning.
  • Budget friendly style and philosophy.
  • Buy It directory so that the parties can easily be recreated.

There are 7 chapters in the Princess Tea Party Book, with around 62 pages of detailed directions. Truly detailed! Look at some of the beautiful things you can make:

Princess Tea Party

You’ll see ideas for everything from invitations to party games, from table décor to full menus with recipes.

I especially like the tablescapes, costumes, printables and full recipes. And, if you do not want to make something, she offers online links and suggestions on where to buy that item. Another unique part of her book is her “little Helper” sections, where Angie mentions ways the kids can help with their party, making it so much more meaningful to them!

The Mad Scientist Party is hilarious!

Mad Scientist Party


This book follows a similar format and has tons of fun experiments, like Egg in a Bottle, Slime, and Erupting Volcano the kids can do while dressed up in their lab coats. Need security badges? Angie’s got them. Cool.

There are more themes coming up! I’m waiting with excitement to see her Owl Sleepover Party (we are SO doing that).

  • Mad Scientist and Princess Tea Party – Available Everywhere eBooks Are Sold
  • Superhero and Owl Sleepover – August 2013
  • Over the Rainbow and Dinosaur Dig – September 2013
  • Camping and Under the Sea – October 2013

* Paperback books of the entire series will be available at all major bookstores and are scheduled for release in spring 2014.

Go check it out on Facebook and Twitter, and visit the Birthday in a Book website!
This was really fun and I bet you’ll enjoy taking a look. Plus, Angie even shares party photos, printables and sometimes giveaways on her site.


Purposeful Reading

Heather —  July 16, 2010
This one will read with me:)

This one will read with me:)

A good blog friend of mine, Annie Kate over at Tea Time with Annie Kate wrote a post today that reminded me of one of the reasons I love reading her blog…because her actions as a homeschool mom–and just as a person–are purposeful, considered and thoughtful.

Why do her posts strike such a chord for me? Well, I think it is that I tend to rush around a bit too much for my own liking, and have trouble sometimes, just sitting down and accomplishing things that I really want to do that take a bit of that sort of consideration and restfulness.

Anyway, today Annie Kate’s post was about keeping a list of books she has read, and participating in a meme that another blog friend, Kristin, over at A Day In The Life, is doing, called 52 Books in 52 weeks.

Not only did I absolutely love the list of read alouds Annie Kate included in her post, but because it is Summer, I was kind of struck by the meme. Hey, I want to do that, my mind just yelled. Which is funny, because I had seen that meme before, and thought Kristin was great for doing it…but I was too busy to really hear or care.

You can also go to the 52 books website...

go to the 52 books website...

Now, with Emma’s scare and diagnosis of epilepsy behind me, all the kids school, and whatever else seemed to happen to me–I’m pretty sure I’ve blocked some stuff out–it really has been a horrible year– basically what I now call my “lost Spring,” …now that’s behind me, and the book lover in me wants to read, wants to make a list, wants to sit down with ice tea and lemonade and do a read aloud, for God’s Sake!

There. I feel better. So, deep down, what appeals to me in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks meme is not whether or not I actually read 52 books. It is that I pay attention to an activity I love, and make a record of some of that….and especially that I add some read alouds, read lazily but with purposefulness, to any remaining babies who will sit with mom and listen…

51dzP4iA3lL._SL300_Wish me luck. If you want in, please join up. Take a look at Kristen’s and Annie Kate’s lists. Sit on the couch and read more than just “The Pigeon Wants a Puppy” by Mo Willams (we LOVE that one, but that’s like a warm-up-:)

If you have any ideas for great read alouds, please leave me a comment!

Anyway, this post kind of answers the 52 book question of the week–what makes me want to read a book? I always want to! I just have to make time. And, here’s a link to one of my reviews to get me started: Wholesome and Fun Summer Read For Teens, a review of Trouble With Treasure, by Susan Marlow.

Last year, I reviewed several books written for tweens. One of my favorites was Sarah’s Wish, by Jim Baumgardner. I loved that his book empowers the teen characters…and doesn’t use cheap tricks, like vampires, for excitement. Just regular life, with some exciting events from history as a backdrop….

An author, history buff and grandfather of homeschoolers with a fun sense of humor, Baumgardner and his writings are an especially good resource for parents of young teens.

Today, Baumgardner is doing some guest blogging posts about creative writing over at the Creative Learners Blog. The post is on The Fundamentals of Writing. Take a look!

Breakfast, Books & Book Shopping...My favorites!

Breakfast, Books & Book Shopping...My favorites!

Cheerios® , First Book and John Scieszka, are teaming up with a 100,000 Book Giveaway. Vote in support of their efforts and comment below to win your Cheerios Book Gift Pack!
Well, it is no secret that we love books around here. I suppose my kids have at least a hundred lying around throughout the house. I do try to share them and recycle them. I never really thought the piles of books might be evidence of how lucky we are monetarily.
Apparently, we are very lucky. Look at these statistics:

  • Over 80 percent of childcare centers serving low-income children lack age-appropriate books
  • The ratio of books per child in middle income neighborhoods is 13 to 1
  • In low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children

Wow. I consider myself a somewhat aware person, but 300 to 1? I would not have guessed that.
Well, the Cheerios family of cereals, First Book and Jon Scieszka, author of the popular “Trucktown” series and other children’s books, have joined together to deliver 100,000 books to community-based programs serving children in need – and they would love your help!

All you have to do is go online with your child and test your combined knowledge of children’s books by answering trivia questions related to “Trucktown” and other great children’s books.

Answer some questions like these

Answer some questions like these

For every trivia question answered correctly, you can cast one vote for the state you would like to receive books. The five states receiving the most votes will get 20,000 books each, for a total of 100,000 books.

Visit to test your knowledge and start voting!

I played the game and realized I need my little nephew to help answer the Truck questions…but it was fun. My state, Virginia is number 20, so I need to go vote more.

Learn More About the Book Giveaway.

Click here to view state rankings.

We also received a 100,000 Book Giveaway Package.
The kids had so much fun getting the pack. They tried to tear into the giant box of Frosted Cheerios (I made them wait until morning) and all read the little gift books which were included. That was funny, as the books are for younger readers…but they were also in both English/ Spanish, so my three teenagers were testing out their Spanish reading the books.

I quietly snuck out the Barnes & Noble gift card, which I will use at Christmas. Actually, that 1 in 300 number bothers me a bunch and I just may buy some books on sale and drop them off at a local shelter.
Enter to win a 100,000 Book Giveaway Gift Pack for your little readers! The gift pack includes an assortment of books from Cheerios, one of the many varieties of Cheerios cereals and a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble.

Required Entry: Leave a comment telling me  “Why your State should receive 20,000 books ”

(Please include your email address unless it is in your profile or you will not be eligible to win.)

Optional additional entries: Do leave separate comments for each entry!

  • Follow me on Google friend connect
  • Subscribe to my RSS
  • Tweet the giveaway- may be done once daily – 1 entry each time u tweet
  • Add my blog url to your blog roll, 2 entries
  • Add my button to your blog, 2 entries
  • Blog about the giveaway –3 entries!

One lucky winner will be randomly selected on Tuesday night, December 15th. I will email the winner, and they will have 48 hrs to respond, or I will need to choose a new winner.

Thank you to Cheerios, who provided me with the free product, information, and gift pack through MyBlogSpark™

Shadow Gov Book

“Privacy is dead, deal with it”
– Scott McNealy former CEO of Sun Microsystems

Shadow Government by Grant R. Jeffrey is a 200 page warning on the invasion of our privacy. It goes to great lengths to let the reader understand who is surveilling, why they are and what the information will be used for. An alarming visual is painted of how much personal information slips through our fingers to be collected and stored when we use a debit card, surf the internet, give our social security numbers or Google search for “funny cat videos”. It’s a call for individuals to safeguard themselves and protect their identities from thieves and seemingly omnipotent rulers who conspire among evil and thinly veiled organizations, but the message does little to encourage hope in the battle.

It portrays that a bleak and Orwellian world is already upon us and there is little we can do to derail it. The writer’s intention seems to be to warn and to provide proof that wicked world leaders and evil forces are becoming capable of fulfilling their roles, as written in Biblical Old Testament warnings and the apocalyptic message found in the New Testament book of Revelations.

The reader will walk away knowing the enemies, their tools and how quickly they are using them to gain ground economically and politically. I’m reminded of one most memorable scene described in this book, the writer details a scene in the possible near future, of a thief standing in the street. He is using a device to read the RFID tags that have been implanted in unsuspecting civilians, (imagine a chip in your hand used to pay taxes or buy a coffee) the device tells the thief all manner of personal information and how much money his victims would be carrying.

This is a guest post by Andrew Quinn.

For more information on the book, Shadow Government, Go here.

Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, for providing this book for review.

Good Morning! I have something that REALLY works for me. During the busy, wonderful, sunny days of summer, I make (yes, make) my kids all take a 1 hour siesta after lunch!
Friends ask…how do you make them do it?…Is it mean?…what do they do?

Well, I have children ranging from 4 to 22. Actually, my 22 year old does not take a siesta. He’s old enough to want to, though:) I started the whole siesta thing to help my 2 1/2 year old, who would NOT take naps, get some rest during the day.

I simply told her to get all the books, crayons, stuffed animals she wanted to take into her bed and play IN BED for 20 minutes. I set the timer and visited her from time to time. The first week was hard as she kept getting up, but similar to a bedtime routine, I just kept leading her back. I raised the timer little by little until I had…GASP…an hour of freetime…During the day!!
That also got me time to catch up around the house.

For the summer, though, I just started making MYSELF take the 1 hour siesta as well. It is wonderful. For the first time in 20 years, I am caught up on my journaling and bible reading. I warned the older children that this is important to me and I should be nicer as a result:) For wonderful ideas on journaling, see “journaling as a creative experience” at Ann’s lovely Holy Experience blog!
Now, my teenagers are resting/reading/etc for the time as well. My daughter loved the idea, while the boys, at first hated it. I caved for my one son, who only rests for 30 minutes…but still. For one hour most days, my home is a peaceful haven!!! (We do skip siesta on days when we cannot be home directly after lunch, however, most days we eat at home, so it works…)

PS: Every once in a while, we get this result, which is ok too!