Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Last Call!

We have just two more days before I announce the winner of the sweet little girl's beanie that I'm giving away. If you want a chance to win, please leave a comment HERE, letting me know where and how you are following me. Your name will be entered for each area that is detailed on the list of possible ways to enter, but ONLY if you leave a COMMENT HERE!I can't wait to see who wins, so hurry to THIS POSTto get your name in the drawing.

Friday, November 25, 2011

`Three Cups by Tony Townsley with Mark St. Germain

Three Cups is a beautiful story about turning money management into a unique adventure that children can quickly learn and enjoy. If instilling financial skills in your children is important to you, then this book is a wonderful place to start.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Grace Effect By Larry Taunton

The Grace Effect How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief by Larry Taunton by Larry Taunton is an amazing story of the trials that the author and his family endured while trying to adopt an orphan in atheistic Russia.  Until reading this book, I had no idea that Russia was as spiritually corrupt and neglectful towards their people as they are, even to this day.  I feel truly blessed to have learned so much about the culture of Russia, their religious roots, and history that we aren't often taught in schools.  The story of this family and the adoption process is so powerful, that readers will rise and fall emotionally, as if enduring the process themselves.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Little Red Book of Wisdom by Mark DeMoss

The Little Red Book of Wisdom by Mark DeMoss, is a book about good common sense and wisdom in both the professional and personal areas of our lives. Mark DeMoss used his own life to set examples for us to follow for improving our relationships with our business partners, spouses, children, and especially with God. I feel very blessed for having had the opportunity to read this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


A lot of my friends have been posting things for which they are thankful on their Facebook walls. I have a long list of things for which I am thankful, and I'll share a few items with my readers.

This year, I am thankful for:

1. The continued right to homeschool.
2. The sounds of my children talking, laughing, creating, reading, learning,and playing.
3. Celebrating so many milestones with Princess Melody, including her sweet 16, high school graduation, online college, first job, and driver's ed.
4. Getting to watch Princess Abbey play softball.....preceded by a few frightening years with asthma.
5. Getting to be a stay at home mom.
6. A new business adventure that we are going to be able to do as a family.
7. The new baby that is coming. We thought that having Princess Tarja was something we could never have, and God turned around and followed up with Princess Ivana. What a surprise!
8. Tarja's energy. I don't know where it will lead, but anybody that can move as fast as she can, has to be destined for greatness.
9. The king's new job. He lost his job last Summer, and after three terrible months, gained the best one that he's ever had.
10. Last, but not least, I am thankful for books. Books are all over my house, stacked up in my storage shed, placed in plastic for safe keeping, and probably will always make up the bulk of our possessions as a family. It's no wonder that we enjoy the lifestyle of learning as much as we do.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Laurel Santiago and the ThreeFour Princesses

Monday, November 21, 2011

By now, Princess Melody is hard at work, at her new job.

In addition to that new beginning, we found a way to maybe start a business that we've been wanting to start as a family, while helping other people at the same time. There will be more revealed about this as it comes to fruition. In the meantime, your prayers for clarity and open doors will be very helpful. The Three Princesses have expressed a desire to do something huge together, but something that helps others at the same time as it helps ourselves. Today, we may very well have found that special something.

Princess Ivana has already been blessed richly with beautiful clothes, baby furniture and other things that she will need to start her life in a safe, easy and fun way. Thank you so much to all who have been helping with this effort. Having a high risk pregnancy is overwhelmingly expensive, and everything that everybody has done or is doing for us is greatly appreciated. I feel so blessed right now as a mother, and hope that I have been or can be a blessing to other mothers and children as well.

I crocheted a really pretty angel last night, and plan on making a lot more. I know a lot of people that will like to have them, so that will be my next big project. I don't know whether to add my first one to my etsy page, keep it, or wrap it up for somebody for Christmas, but I'm sure that the right idea will come to me soon enough.

At breakfast, I gave the Princesses the option to have this week off from school for the Thanksgiving holiday, or to continue working as usual. Princess Abbey wanted a break. She is a great deal ahead in her work. However, Princess Melody opted to not have a break, because she is halfway through her English Composition course, and wants to keep moving forward. Incidentally, as much as Melody doesn't enjoy English or composition, she is currently carrying a hundred average in that course. I am still on cloud 9 after viewing her online grade book this morning. I am so proud of the Princesses, because every time that I start to wonder if we are doing the right things for them, as homeschoolers, they do something amazing to prove to me that nothing could replace this experience.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

We decided to try our hand at paper mache clay, just to see what we can make. I have a table full of items that are drying as I write. Because we made them fairly thick, they might take a very long time to dry. After about 10 hours of drying time, they are just as wet and mushy as they were when we made them, this morning. We made hearts, teddy bears, and a few Christmas ornaments. I'm somewhat confused as to why they have not dried at all, but we'll see how they do tomorrow. If this is a success story, we plan on making jewelry and ornaments. If it is one of those projects that just won't work out, then at least no money was spent on the effort. We used newspaper that was lying around the house, and made a flour/water paste.

Princess Melody starts her new job at McDonalds tomorrow. She is very excited. In addition to that, we are about ready to have her test for her learner's permit so that she can start practicing her driving skills with the king. It's really exciting to have a teenager that is embarking on all of her "firsts".

I have been wrapping Christmas presents and am in the process of crocheting some more. There are more presents to wrap, but I have had a hard time finding a chance to smuggle them into the house without a curious princess finding them. Typically, what I do is wrap gifts as I put them away, so that if they are found, they are already wrapped. Also, I don't put them under the Christmas tree until all princesses are asleep on Christmas Eve.

Besides a new job, driver's ed, and Christmas, we joined a local art association, went to a little circus that blew through town, got some cute pictures of Princess Ivana's legs, bottom and feet, and have been playing many after dinner rounds of Words With Friends on Facebook.

If you want to win the beanie that I am giving away as detailed in a previous post, please leave me a comment. There are several ways to get your name entered in the drawing, and the winner will be announced on December 1st.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Physical Fitness Awards for Homeschoolers

We have been participating in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Challenge for a number of years. Melody and Abbey actually completed their first award last year. After that first accomplishment, they opted to try for the Presidential Champions Award. Presidential Champions is a little more challenging, and takes a little longer to achieve.

However, I receive word in my email this morning, that new activities have been added such as video game workouts, video games that promote activity, Curves, Pilates, and a lot more. The Three Princess absolutely adore the Just Dance games for the wii, and I don't know why I had not thought to include their fun dancing sessions on their activity log, but I began this morning by going back and filling in the recent days that they have played. Dancing increases their point value a great deal, I discovered, so they should be on their way to earning another award very soon. Also, there are activities listed such as billiards, housework, table tennis, baton twirling, and other fun activities that we might not always think of as exercise.

Also, I realized that because the registration is open to children aged three and up, the very energetic Princess Tarja can start earning points for her Tarjamanian Devil behavior. She loves to dance, take walks, play sports games on the wii, and whatever else she can find to do that requires as little sitting down as possible. If only we could all be as energetic as a three year old. Santa Claus is bringing gear to prepare her for her very first year in tee ball, and she can't wait to get started.

Even fellow kings and queens can sign up. As soon as our new princess arrives, I plan on earning a few awards of my own.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thank You, God, for Blessing Me by Max Lucado

Thank You, God, for Blessing Me by Max Lucadois a very sweet prayer of Thanksgiving, from the beloved character, Hermie. Hermie gives Thanks to God for some of the special things in his life. Each page is brilliantly illustrated, and the prayer is written in the form of a rhyme that children can remember as the story is read to them time and again. I feel very blessed to have read this book right before Thanksgiving. It is a beautiful illustration of Thanksgiving for young children.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Heaven is For Real for Kids by Colton Burpo

Heaven is For Real For Kids, by Colton Burpo, is a very special, very eye opening book about a little boy's real life account of Heaven. Colton Burpo died during an illness, and discovered that Heaven is a wonderful place, just as the Bible says, and that Jesus really does love children very much. This is an amazing book, with gorgeous illustrations. Heaven is For Real For Kids is a book that can be loved an appreciated by any reader of any age.
I enjoyed the book tremendously.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Booksneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's a Giveaway!

I just finished posting some new beanies on my Etsy Shop, and decided to share one. This beanie is baby blue, with a pink rose, and fits an older toddler or child. It is made from Red Heart baby yarn, and currently resides in a pet free/smoke free home. Drawing will be held on December 1.

There are few different ways to enter, and you are welcome to enter more than once, for more chances to win.

1.Follow my blog through blogger.
2.Follow me through Networked Blogs.
3.Follow me on Google Friend Connect.
4.Sign up for Thredupusing MY REFERRAL LINK.
5.Sign up for Swagbucksusing MY REFERRAL LINK
6.Post a link to my blog on your own blog.
7. Follow me on Pinterest. (You will find my button on the right hand side of this page.
8. Like me on Laurel Santiago Unit Studies for the Homeschool on Facebook.
10. Like me on Pretty Things by Laurelon Facebook.
11. Like Countdown to Christmason Facebook. Please note that there is more than one Countdown to Christmas, and you must like the page on the link provided in ordered to count it as an entry.

****12. If you are already doing any of the above, let me know in a comment. When you do any of the above, leave a comment.
****13. Check back on or after December 1st to see if you've won. The winner will need to provide me with his/her shipping information in order to receive the prize.

You have 11 ways to enter, so leave me some comments, make your presence known, and I will enter your name for each of the above activities that you complete or have already completed.

PS: There are more giveaways coming up between now and Christmas, so stay tuned!

Monday, November 14, 2011

First of all, I need more friends on Thredup, so please help a mama out and click HEREto visit my profile. If you have never heard of Thredup, it's a great place to trade your children's clothes, toys, books, games, etc. They provide you with the mailers and the postage for what you give, and if you choose something for yourself that another person has posted, then you pay postage for that item. I have so far given away lots of nice Princess items that were gently worn and outgrown. I earned enough credit (and even a little cash for certain items) to get well stocked up on the kind of baby bottles that I will need for Princess Ivana, with a total out of pocket expense of about $1.95. I truly wish that I had known about sites like this when the other Three Princesses were babies.

Princess Ivana only has about 10 more weeks before she makes her grand entrance into the king's palace. Setting aside the diabetes issue, which will forever be my issue whether pregnant or not, this has been the easiest of the Princesses to carry. I feel really blessed to have this experience, knowing that for health reasons, it will have to be the last. However, I know that there will always be children in our lives.

With that said, I saw on the Early Show this morning that today is Diabetes Day or something like that. That's pretty neat......I guess. Maybe someday, something will change for us, but for now, it's a lifestyle all it's own. The likelihood of one of the Princesses being diabetic at some point is pretty high, but maybe by the time that happens, there will be a cure. Until then, I hope to be a blessing to my family if they should ever need my help in this area. When the gavel pounded the final diagnoses for me, nearly a year ago, my very first thought was that I have nobody to turn to. After I got to where I could see through my tears, it became apparent that maybe someday I will be someone that somebody in the same situation can turn to.

Some people think and will say that all that one has to do to beat diabetes is to lose weight, and everything will be fine. Say that to a diabetic who is anorexic due to ketoacidosis. I've been on the path to weight loss. My doctor told me that if I lost ten percent of my weight, he could take me off of insulin. I did what I was told, as quickly as possible, and am on about triple the dosage of insulin that I was on before. The bonus is that I was finally able to lose some weight after years of struggling and failing, but it was not, nor will be the cure for a condition that runs in my family, regardless of weight or gender.

I want to leave my readers with something that is very important to me as the holidays roll around. Most, if not all of you, are planning a Thanksgiving feast in a couple of weeks. Do you really know the needs of the guests that are coming to eat the meal that you carefully prepare? Would it be so wrong to evaluate and revise your menu to make it healthier? After all, it won't hurt a healthy person to eat a healthier meal in any situation, but a diabetic or heart patient eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that is loaded with starch, fat and sugar might not live to see many more holidays. Baked goods can be made with Splenda. Add an extra vegetable dish to the table. Make your fruit salad with light Cool Whip (or none at all) instead of condensed milk and whipped cream. Let turkey and salad be the stars of the show instead of turkey and dressing. A big one that might hurt a lot of folks is to skip the alcohol. Those that insist on drinking, can drink elsewhere. It's really not a big deal. Above all, don't be afraid to ASK people that are coming over, if they have any dietary restrictions. Believe me, they will feel very blessed that you took the time to find out. I can testify to having been to many events that were centered around a meal that I could not eat safely, and it's a terrible, isolating feeling.

Please help keep your friends and relatives safe this Thanksgiving by being a part of the solution.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Days of the Week Calendar

On my pinterest, which you can find at the right hand side of this page, I have a pin of a set of refrigerator magnets that are fashioned to make a days of the week calendar, using chalkboard paint and wooden blocks.  I took that idea and ran with it. 

I need a calendar that is as big and bold as the schedule that my family keeps.  Therefore, I picked up 7 picture frames from the dollar store, a can of Krylon chalkboard paint, and borrowed a silver Sharpie marker from Princess Melody.   I removed the glass portions of the frames and painted them with the chalkboard paint.  After they dried, I put them back in the frames, and used Sharpie marker to write a day of the week on each frame, then nailed them as a grouping on a wall in my kitchen.  There was nothing said on the can of paint about needed to allow it to cure, but I assume that it's better to wait a day or two before I start writing on them with chalk. 

For Halloween, the Three Princesses used their tattoo booth to gather donations for the local food bank. Some families brought non perishable food items, and others brought cash donations. Altogether, they received $46 in cash donations. You can see in the pictures that all of the princess opted to be pirates, per Princess Tarja's request.

Now, for your Princess video viewing pleasure, here is a fun clip of Princess Tarja and Princess Abbey playing the royal sports. Princess Tarja hasn't learned much about good sportsmanship yet, as evidenced by her actions at the end of the video.