Nov 16, 2014

Usborne and CC Cycle 1 Match-Up!

If you're not new to my little place on the world wide web, you know that I lovey-lovah-love Usborne books, so much so that I've become a consultant and team leader. It's just a great company that I stand behind 100%, and you can learn more about my journey by clicking here and here.

I was recently contacted about finding Usborne books that correlate with CC Cycle 1, so here's what I've put together! It's not an exact match-up with a fancy numbered table (I'm sure someone will create that if it's not already out there), but it's a good general place to start if you're looking to get yourself ready for Cycle 1. 

Nov 13, 2014

Buck Denver asks... Why Do We Call it Christmas Review + Giveaway!

We love Buck Denver and the What's In the Bible series by VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer! My kids like VeggieTales in general, but I prefer the Bible series. I have my own opinion on VeggieTales, which you can read more about by clicking here.

I was sooo excited to get my hands on a copy of this Christmas DVD in exchange for my honest opinion! Buck Denver is having a Christmas party, and all of his friends are invited. They run into some delays along the way, and while they're waiting, everyone takes part in explaining some of the most popular traditions of Christmas.

Nov 11, 2014

Saving Christmas - Giveaway + Review!

When I was asked to pre-screen this movie in exchange for my honest review, I was SOOO excited! I love all Kirk Cameron's projects (The Way of the Master is such an incredible evangelistic tool! Wow!), so I had high expectations for his new movie, Saving Christmas.

I was NOT disappointed! 

Oct 29, 2014

Oct 18, 2014

Christmas Gift Idea #1 - Castle!

In anticipation of our upcoming Mystery Hostess FB book party on Nov. 1st (woot!), I'm going to be spotlighting some of Usborne's BEST books and activities to put under your tree!

First up is our new Slot-Together Castle with an Usborne Book!

Oct 11, 2014

Mystery Hostess FB Book Party!

Usborne book home parties are SOO much fun, but sometimes it can be hard to get out of the house. Or sometimes we just don't want to clean or have people over. I hear you. Solution?

Facebook parties!

Partying in our jammies is easy, fun, and in this case, VERY exciting! Usually the hostess of the party will earn free books and discounts based on the amount of books purchased at her party. Like this:

Isn't that awesome?!

This hostess's Christmas shopping is DONE!

And I'd like to make this happen for you, too!

YOU could be the hostess - and you don't have to do anything except place an order through a special link by clicking here. When you order through that link before November 1st, you'll be entered into the drawing to win ALL the hostess books and discounts - YOU will be the mystery hostess! 

The Mystery Hostess Facebook Book Party is Saturday, November 1st, at 8 p.m. CST on my Facebook page. Coming to the party will get you extra chances to win the free hostess books, as well as other prizes like free shipping and additional discounts on amazing Usborne books! Plus, Facebook parties are just FUN!

(probably best to not binge drink; check out that huge wine glass - yikes!)

But, you get the point, right? Books make great gifts, and Usborne books are the! Why not order some Christmas presents and enter the drawing?! YOU may win ALL the free books and discounts!

Sounds good, right? But what exactly are the discounts, you ask?

If you win on November 1st, you'll get
      • free books
      • half-priced books
      • $25 in books for 65% off
      • another $20 in books for $5
      • any set/collection for 65% off!
The winner will cover the cost of tax and shipping, but that's never much when you think about all the free and discounted books. 

So, please save the date, November 1st at 8 p.m EST, and join the party! To enter the drawing to be the mystery hostess, simply place an order online. Can't make it to the party? Shop through this link between now and November 1st, and your name will still be put into the hat. However, if you come to the party, you'll get MORE chances for all the free and discounted books (and it's pretty fun, too!).

To come to the party, just hop online November 1st and go to my Facebook page. Be sure to 'like' it before then so you're all ready to go! Also, check in often between now and then for ways to earn extra points for the raffle!

Are you excited?!

Are you pumped?!

Do you have November 1st circled on your calendar?!

It's going to be awesome, and fun, and I hope you'll join me at 8 p.m CST!

Oooh, and go ahead and start browsing the Usborne catalog by clicking here! You can also see inside MANY of our incredible books by checking out my You Tube channel by clicking here! (You can also see some pretty funny video-bombs by my sweet girls, too - ha!)

Hope to see you on November 1st at our Facebook party!

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Oct 9, 2014

CC Moms' Retreat!

A BIG part of Classical Conversations is the community - the fellowship and encouragement that we give each other throughout this crazy homeschooling journey. Last weekend, the Huntsville, Alabama, area communities got together for our first moms' retreat! The goal was to foster that sense of community, relax, and just enjoy being together as mamas. For me, this goal was certainly achieved! Take a look at our amazing weekend at Smith Lake!

We stayed at a beautiful lake house that was just PERFECT for our group!

A few of us spent some time talking on the dock, while others stayed on the deck.

There was no agenda, no schedule, and nothing planned (except dinner - thanks, Mary Ann!). It was fabulous! Imagine hanging out with your friends and NOT having to be somewhere or do something! Yeah, it was pretty awesome!

After dinner and some hangin'-out, some of us played Telestrations, and others watched Moms' Night Out. If you've never done either, I highly recommend both activities!

Here's a little Telestrations fun:

It's like Pictionary, but different, and it's hilarious!

Everyone gets a little wipe-clean book and a secret word.

You write your secret word...

And then draw it on the next page. Then we pass the books to the next person, and that person tries to guess the secret word by the picture. So... Anissa passed this to me, and I totally did not get 'boxer shorts.'

Yeah, this is what I thought she drew (my guess below):

So I wrote my guess, and then I passed it to the next person, who had to draw what I wrote:

Those are perfect polka dot mits! So this person then passed, and the next person had to guess what she drew:

Sure, those look like spotted gloves! So then she passed, and the next person had to draw 'spotted gloves.'

Perfect! Then she passed, and the next person guessed what she drew:

Spotted gloves, gardening gloves, close enough! Then the next person had to draw that person's guess:

So this person drew someone in the garden with a glove and an arrow pointing to the glove. Good. Then she passed, and the next person had to guess what that picture was:

Farmer. Nice.

Remember what the secret word was? Boxer shorts.

Nailed it. ;)


So, it's like the old game of Telephone and Pictionary mixed together. And it's just soooo much fun! For me, the secret word 'tumbleweed' was the highlight of the game! ;)

Checkout time was 11 a.m., so that meant I could SLEEP IN!! And I did! And then when I woke up, I read a book. I actually stayed in bed, snuggled up, and read a book! NO clue when the last time I did that was. Oh, friends, it was just so relaxing!

The weekend was amazing, and I'm so thankful for the friendships (and nicknames!) that were made and strengthened during our moms' retreat. If you're able to organize one for your own community or area, I say go for it!

Sooo, um, any chance we could make this a monthly thing, ladies? ;)

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Sep 10, 2014

Dolphin Tale 2 Curriculum Review + Giveaway!

When I was offered a chance to review the new free companion curriculum for Dolphin Tale 2, I was SOOO excited! First, because we needed something. Something new and exciting.

Warning: slight tangent ahead...

Aug 29, 2014

Cuddle Bear Challenge!

Call me cynical, it's okay, but I just never feel quite right about donating my money to a big organization for 'research.' I'm sure it's necessary, and I'm very glad people can do that, but I just don't. It feels like the money's just floating away in midair, never to be seen again, to pay for some... well, I don't know. And that's the issue - I don't know!

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month; I never knew there was such a thing, but I'm glad for it. As a mother of a child with cancer, it's like a little sticky note that says, "We have not forgotten you." 

When Anna was first diagnosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma Nevus Syndrome (Gorlin Syndrome), our support group sent her some fun happies in the mail. We all felt loved and thought-about. Just the fact that someone cared enough to send my child, whom they didn't even know, a little care package of cute toys just to make her smile, well, it was very moving. Very moving indeed.

(This is a picture of Anna just after opening her box of love from our support group a few years ago.)

I want to do that. I want to give a smile to a child, to a mom, to a family who has a tough road ahead. It's not easy, and every path is unique, but I want to give them that same smile that Anna has above.

So, what can I do? I'm just one mom (with limited funds!).

Meet Cuddle Bear.

Cuddle Bear is a super-sweet hardback picture book about everyone needing a friend (and a hug!). Usborne Books & More donates a portion of every sale of Cuddle Bear to the Scott Carter Foundation, which supports research to end childhood cancer. Great idea, I'm sure it's fabulous, but, like I said earlier, I just don't donate to huge foundations (although I'm glad people do, really). I just like to give to people.

So, here's what I've come up with...

I'm doing a Cuddle Bear drive for the month of September. Call it a challenge if it sounds more fun, but don't bother with the ice. Awesome, right?! Yeah, okay, but now what?

As you may already know, I work with Usborne Books & More, and they have a great program where they match donations by 50%. So, when you take the Cuddle Bear Challenge (it does sound more fun like that, let's go with it!) and donate $30 to buy the book and super-cute teddy bear, your hard-earned money stretches further. Who doesn't love that?! If you donate two sets, Usborne will donate one, too! If you donate four sets, Usborne will donate two, and so on!

At the end of the month, I'll take all of the Cuddle Bear sets to Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children to be handed out to little ones who need a smile - to kids who need a hug. And Cuddle Bear will be there to give them one.

Will you help make that happen?

Will you join me in taking the Cuddle Bear Challenge?

Our family is donating the first set. Please fill out the form below or message me on Facebook to send a hug to a family who needs it. Believe me, we do need it.

And if you're in my Usborne Book Barn VIP Club, be sure to check out our FB group for a very exciting opportunity!

(Sorry that the form is a little wider than the blog, but life is just too short to spend any more time trying to fix it! You know how it is, right?)

Thank you! If you filled out the form, I'll be in touch soon to get your payment, so expect a call or email from me (check your Spam folder!). Since we're doing the matching funds program to give more sets (woot!), I have to put the order in a special way, which is why you can't just order it online.

I'll also be donating all of my commission from this Cuddle Bear Challenge. And to hype this up even more and get more Cuddle Bears into kids' hands, if you take the Cuddle Bear Challenge, I'll give you free shipping on your Usborne order this month! Please contact me to take advantage of this offer after you submit your form above.

Again, thank you so much for considering helping families who struggle with childhood cancer. It sucks. It really, really does. And anything to bring a smile to their faces is so worth it.

Let the Cuddle Bear Challenge begin!

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Aug 6, 2014

Goal #1 - Accomplished!

I want to say a big thank you to God, my husband, family, and friends, and my new Uzzie buddies for helping me realize my first goal with Usborne Books & More!

We're going to see The Mouse!

Our first family vacation will take place this January, and it's paid for!

And it may seem silly, but seeing this the other day on MY screen made me cry:

Yes, we have a reservation! Yes, my girls will be overjoyed when they see all their favorite princesses!


I'm still in shock. Still amazed that it's happened in just four quick months as a consultant with Usborne! (Click here to read about my goal from the start of this adventure!) The money doesn't fall from trees; it's like any job - you have to work and train and go out there and give it your best. But to our family, it's worth it. I've built an INSANE library of amazing books for my girls, made a boatload of new friends, and paid for our first family vacation. 

And I know I talk about Usborne a lot. I know. But, friends, it's just been such a blessing! It's hard not to share about something I've become so passionate about!

So, I'm sharing once again (shocker!).

If you're looking for something fun and flexible, something where you can be PROUD of the product and be rewarded for your efforts, something where you can stop and pick back up when 'life' happens, then I encourage you to take a look at Usborne Books and More.

This month, we have a great special on our new consultant kit:

Here's what's included:

There's a Mouse About the House (Classic!) - $10.99
See Inside Your Body - $14.99
Illustrated Dictionary of Math - $12.99
1000 Things That Go - $14.99
Illustrated Dictionary - $15.99
My First Word Book - $9.99
Secrets of the Apple Tree (SO fun; flashlight book!) - $12.99
Muddle and Match Adventure - $8.99

(we just passed the $100 mark...)

100 Paper Planes to Fold & Fly - $7.99
That's Not My Goat - $7.99
Ted and Friends (GREAT phonics collection!) - $19.99
Conspiracy 365 (young adult fiction) - $10.99
Special Forces (LOVE this one!) - $8.99
Baby's Very First Big Play Book - $22.99
Drawing, Doodling, & Coloring (AWESOME!) - $13.99
Wipe-Clean First Words - $7.99

(just passed the $200 mark...)

Jonathan James & the What If Monster - $6.99
The Last 13 (young adult fiction) - $10.99
100 Things for Little Children to do on a Trip (wipe-clean activity cards - SO great!) - $9.99
Dogs (non-fiction beginning reader book) - $4.99
Underpants for Ants (phonics book) - $6.99
Sticker Dolly Dressing Princesses - $8.99
Lots of Things to Spot at School - $8.99

And YOU can get them all this month for just $100!

For $100, you can give Usborne a try! There are no monthly minimums; sell, don't sell, it's YOUR business. However, I do encourage everyone to at least do a kick-off show with your new kit. When you do a kick-off, you are the consultant (get 25% commission) AND you're the hostess (get double-free books and other discounts up to 75% off)! So, why not?! The commission from an average party will pay for your kit, and you're left with bookoodles of FREE and discounted books! Kick-off parties are the!

So, now that my first goal has been achieved, I'm moving onto my next:


Each year, Usborne has an amazing trip that consultants can earn. Everyone starts off on the same even ground (love that!), so anyone and everyone in the company, old and new, has a chance to earn a free trip! This year, we're going to Ireland! The contest started this past June and ends the last day of January...

(big news ahead...)

I'm over half-way to my free trip!


From my personal business page:

Am I saying to toot my own horn -


I'm showing you this because four months ago I never DREAMED that we would be going to Disney World. I never DREAMED that I could be going to Ireland for free! I'm not a dreamer anymore - I'm a realist. Going through what I do with Anna has (what's the right word??) leveled me out a bit. Did you ever read the Anne of Green Gables series? I LOVE those books! Well, if you remember, in the first couple of books, Anne is so bubbly and lively and over-the-top. Then tragedy strikes with her first child and it... levels her out. And I don't even know if that's the right word or phrase... maybe 'matured,' is correct. I don't know. She's just more even-stephen and cautious with her dreaming I guess. Well, that's exactly how I've changed with Anna's diagnosis. It's just a heavy-hearted thing to deal with (as I'm sure many of you have your own heavy-hearted issues and concerns as well), so my dreaming has taken a back seat.

Well ... today I dreamed again.

Today, after we got our commission report for July and realized Disney was now paid for, I hopped up on the kitchen counter next to my sweet husband (who was doing the dishes - makes him even sweeter!), and said, "What do you think?! Let's go to Ireland!"

And we talked about passports and childcare and got on the computer and looked at pictures of old Irish castles. It was surreal!

We're dreaming again.

And it feels good. 

Really good.

And I want to give all the glory to God. He is the one doing this and leading us places. We have just prayed and prayed through this. He has led us to Usborne. And I just want to say that if you feel Him leading you to try something new to bless your family, I'd love to welcome you to the team. Click here to start your new adventure!

And if you're like me, maybe it's time to let yourself dream again.

It's feelin' pretty good!

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