The Traveling Sisterhood: 2013

Sunday, December 1

Shirley J. Cookies: Delicious, Easy, and Perfect for Christmas! #Giveaway

Shirley J makes the most delicoius baking mixes!  I've tried all of their Gourmet Cookie Mixes and can say that they are so delicious.  The Gourmet Cookies come in Classic Sugar, New York Black and White, Oatmeal, and Soft Ginger.  They taste like they're made from scratch and I guess you could say they are, but they come already measured in the perfect combinations.  I've been serving Shirley J cookies this holiday season.  So far, my kiddos favorites are the Classic Sugar cookies (best sugar cookies ever ever ever!) and my favorites are the Oatmeal cookies, though I'm really fond of the Classic Sugar, too.  I added raisins and they were absolutely delicious.  Everyone who has tried our Shirley J cookies has loved them, too, and believe me, I've served them to lots of friends!  

We added Christmas sprinkles!
Shirley J also sells these really cool Mugging Sets which are, essentially, cake in a mug mixes.  You can get any flavor of Shirley J "Cake in a Mug" mix with a nice grey snowflake mug. Comes in a cute gift box.  Sounds like a wonderful Christmas present!  

You can find all of the Shirley J products at their store, where you can also find recipes and learn about their Try It Club--a free product every month comes with membership.  Sounds quite appealing!

One of my readers will receive a set of Shirley J Gourmet Cookie Mixes--one mix of every flavor so that you can try them all!  Enter below by Dec. 7th at 11 pm anyone's time.   

You Can Find Shirley J On

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Shirley J for providing us with this review and giveaway opportunity!

Friday, November 29

Safari Ltd: Discover the Frontiers of Your Imagination! Toy #Giveaway

My kiddos were so excited to receive some new animals in the mail from Safari Ltd today!
They chose to review the Glow-in-the-dark Salamander, the Gray Squirrel, the Eastern Cottontail Rabbit Baby, and the Glow-in-the-dark Snow Dragon.  The toys are so unique and marvelously made!  They would, of course, make amazing stocking stuffers!  My kiddos love animals and are currently playing outside, creating natural habitats for their new critters.

Safari Ltd Glow-in-the-dark Salamander
What can I say?!  She's ALWAYS loved lizards and salamanders!

My kiddos also have some other very cool toys from Safari Ltd: a Sea Otter, Bearded Dragon and an Eastern Chipmunk.  All of the animals are very lifelike, as you can see in the photos below and above!  We've learned a lot just by playing with them, reading about their habitats and eating habits, and Googling photos of them. 

Along with the animal toys, Safari Ltd also sent us a pocket-sized full-color catalog.  My daughters were amazed at how many animals are available!  They're already deciding which ones they want to buy next with their "own money".  I'm pretty certain that if there's an animal you can think of, Safari Ltd. makes it.  Not only do they make replicas of actual animals, but they also make historical figures, mythical creatures, and extinct animals.  So amazing!

Safari Ltd has offered to give one of my readers their choice of replica toy and if you're following them on at least one of their social media sites, you will get another surprise toyEnter below by Dec 2nd at 11pm anyone's time.   

Be sure and enter our many other Cyber Monday Giveaways! Low entries and lots of winners!

You Can Find Safari Ltd. On:

So tell me... which Safari Ltd. toy do you want most for your kiddos?  Just type any animal in the searchbox and it's bound to pop right up!

Special thanks to the awesome people at Safari Ltd. for providing us with these toys to review!

Saturday, November 23

Samson's Classroom Reading Program Fun

Samson's Classroom is a literacy focused software program designed for grades K-5 and my 2nd grade daughters love it!  There are three units: sight words, spelling, and reading comprehension. What I really like about it is that I can completely customize it to match our book curriculum.  I use my own spelling lists for the "spelling" section and then Samson's Classroom uses those words in the three different spelling games my children play to learn that weeks spelling list.  They're doing so much better on their spelling and they're having lots of fun with their practice!  

With a family account (which is what one of my reader's will win), each child gets their own log-in and password.  When you log on as the parent/teacher, you're able track their individual progress, change their usernames/passwords, and make spelling lists available to them.  I've tried a lot of on-line programs for my kiddos and this is by far the one that gives me the most control over what my kiddos are learning.  And it's the most affordable one, too!  You just pay a one-time fee and it's yours--none of that month to month billing that so many other programs stick you with.  One-time payments: definitely preferable!

My readers can enter the code TSH for $20 off at checkout until January 1st of the new year--that makes it just $10 for a single account or $20 for a family account (up to four students).  It's a truly amazing deal!  The code can be used on more than one purchase if any of you are interested in buying accounts as Christmas gifts.  Samson's Classroom would make a great gift for homeschooling children, or for friends, nieces, nephews, or any child in your life!  What better gift than the gift of education?! 

For more fun screenshots and to stay up to date, check out:

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Samson's Classroom for providing us with these products to review!

Friday, November 15

New Lottie Dolls, The Fashionable Answer for Smart Girls! #Giveaway

The Lottie dolls are really wonderful!  They're much different than Barbie dolls and look simply like little girls.  They even stand on their own two feet, which is something that can't be said for most fashion dolls.  Each Lottie doll has a unique personality so there's a Lottie doll to fit every girl.  My daughters and I reviewed Pirate Queen Lottie.  We love History and this seemed like a fun way to incorporate History class into play.  Pirate Queen Lottie pretending to be a real "pirate", Grace O'malley, an Irish lass who sailed the seas hundreds of years ago and was an incredible navigator. Grace met Queen Elizabeth of England, which is what my daughter is acting out in the picture below.

There are also a Butterfly Protector Lottie, who may inspire a love for nature, experiments and science; Kawaii Karate Lottie, to inspire a strong mind and a strong body; and Robot Girl Lottie, who is a whiz at the science fair. An interest in robotics could happen by playing with this adorable toy! There are lots of fun accessory sets, too.  We chose to review Lottie's pet, Pandora the Persian Cat (my daughters love cats so Lottie just had to have one!)  You can see all of the Lottie Dolls and Accessory Sets here.  

Grace O'Malley meeting the Queen of England

One of my readers will win her choice of Lottie doll and additional outfit based upon availability.  Enter below by  Monday November 25th at 11 pm anyone's time.  Also be sure and check out all the other giveaways featured in our Christmas Gift Giveaway Extravaganza
You Can Find Lottie Dolls On

Which Lottie Doll and Accessory Set will you choose if you win? 

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Lottie and KidStuff PR for providing us with this review and giveaway opportunity!

Thursday, June 13

A Waterproof Bible Giveaway! Because Bardin&Marsee Publishing is Amazing

Bardin&Marsee is this incredible company who publishes waterproof bibles!  And I mean it--our newest bible from them is really awesome.  All bibles are awesome, of course, but this one just takes the cake.  You can soak it in the sink, drench it, spill coffee on it, drop it in a lake, drop it in the toilet, you name it; the water will just drip right off.  Not that I tried dropping it in the toilet or anything.  Just saying.... some of use are clumsy.  ;)  I can read it outside and it doesn't matter if I happen to set it down and the sprinklers turn on.  Or I can set it in the garden and if it gets a bit muddy, it won't matter in the least.  It wipes off perfectly and looks like new.

Doesn't it look lovely with all that water flowing off?
Even the pages were drenched.

Good as new!

I was surprised that the waterproof bibles are so affordable.  They start out at $10 for the smaller ones (7" tall) and are $20 for most of the larger ones.  You can write and underline in them, there's no bleed-thru, and they're incredibly durable.  They come in different bible translations including NIV, KJV, ESV, NLT, and NKJV.  They also come in different colors and styles. 

This would be a really special (not to mention unique) gift for anyone in your life, most especially campers, hikers, military, and people who like to read in the bath or shower, or at the pool, or... well, you get it.  How can you go wrong with a bible that's waterproof inside and out?!  Awesome.

You Can Find Bardin&Marsee On

Enter below by June 20th at 11pm anyone's time.  I'll choose a winner the next day. 

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Bardin and Marsee for providing me with this opportunity.

Thursday, April 18

Loaded Baked Potato Soup Crockpot Style, A Perfect Winter Recipe!

A couple of weeks ago, I got an amazing new crock pot and I have just been so motivated to try new recipes with it!  One of the ones I've tried was one I really loved so I thought I'd share it here!  Everyone in my family loved it!  

I made our Loaded Baked Potato Soup with Better than Bouillon and they've very generously offered to give away a jar of choice to 10 of my blog readers!  I think it's important to point out that Better Than Bouillon Concentrated Stocks are fat free and have 1/3 less salt than ordinary bouillons. 

So here you have the recipe for Loaded Baked Potato Soup!  (By the way, BACON is in it.  And we all know, unless we're crazy, that bacon makes everything more delicious!)

6 large potatoes, peeled, cut in bite-sized cubes
3 cups Better than Bouillon Chicken Broth
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can cream of chicken

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream (optional)
8 slices bacon, crumbled


  •  Combine first 5 ingredients in a large crock pot; cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.
  • Top with sour cream (if used); sprinkle with bacon and more cheese.
Super easy!  And now for our...

Enter below by 4/26 at 11pm anyone's time.  I'll choose a winner the next morning.  In the meantime, think about what you'd like to make with one of the following: Au Jus Base, Beef Base, Chicken Base, Chili Base, Clam Base, Fish Base, Ham Base, Lobster Base, Mushroom Base, Turkey Base,Vegetable Base. 

Which Better than Bouillon Base do you think sounds the most recipe-inspiring?
You Can Find Better Than Bouillon On
Special thanks to the wonderful people at Better than Bouillon who provided me with these jars to review and give away!

Friday, April 5

Follow the Drinking Gourd: Civil Rights, Astronomy, and History for Little Ones

I recently taught my kiddos (grades K-2nd) about Civil Rights.  I based our unit around the book "Follow the Drinking Gourd".  Such an amazing story!  The pictures are bright and interesting, kids learn not only about freedom but even a bit of astronomy while reading it, and it's a very thought-provoking, and discussion-inspiring read.  I have to admit, I had a hard time answering all of my children's deep and honest questions without choking up--we're so blessed to live in a time when many children can't comprehend treating someone unfairly because of the color of their skin.  I was so touched and moved by the book, by the idea that so many people risked their lives on the Underground Railroad because they believed with more than words that all people really were created equal.  I told my children about my own story about the time when I visited a home that was used as part of the Underground Railroad... 
Once upon a time when I was a little girl, my Aunt Kat was visiting. She and my mom had this glorious idea to pretend to be "rich people" so we could convince a realtor to let us see an antebellum mansion rumored to have a secret room used by the Underground Railroad. They told me to put on my best dress and not to say a word. I was only too happy to get dressed up and that last part was easy, too, since I was one of the shyest girls in the world back then. So off we went, and I guess we played our parts well enough. The entire mansion tour was pretty amazing and then, just as the tour was about to end, we were shown to a hall closet. The realtor opened the closet door and, really, there didn't seem to be anything extraordinary about it. But when she pushed on the back wall, a door swung open revealing a long passageway. We walked down the passage and, to a little 9 year old girl at least, it seemed to stretch on for a mile. At the end of the passage, there was a room the size of a bedroom. It was pink and lacy and filled up with Barbie dolls, but 150 years ago this was a room used to bring slaves to freedom. 

Of course, after the story, my children wanted to see an Underground Railroad home themselves.  Unfortunately, we don't live near any states that were a part of it.  If you do, Google "Underground Railroad Home (or Museum)".  There are tons of places in the midwest, north, and south that you could visit.

"Follow the Drinking Gourd" is often used in school curriculum so I'll bet you can find it at most libraries.... or you can also watch the read-aloud embedded from Youtube.  After you read it, it will open up so much discussion with your kids.  Be prepared to be rewarded!   Later at night, go outside and find the "Drinking Gourd"--the Big Dipper--and talk about how thousands of slaves followed those very same stars to their freedom.  

Sunday, February 17

Raising Maidens of Virtue

The Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines the word maiden as "a young unmarried woman; a virgin; fresh; new; unused." It goes on to describe a maiden as one who speaks and acts "demurely or modestly"... My goal isn't to resurrect an antiquated word, but to instill its meaning into the hearts and minds of young women.... A wise and noble Christian maiden should bring honor to her earthly father by glorifying her Heavenly One. ~Stacy McDonald

One of my deepest desires is to raise my three daughters to be "maidens of virtue".  For that reason, I was especially looking forward to reading Stacy McDonald's new edition of Raising Maidens of Virtue: A Study of Feminine Loveliness for Mothers and Daughters.

I was engrossed from the book's forward on.  Raising Maidens of Virtue is very well-balanced and really is, I believe, something that should be read by every mother of daughters and every Christian young woman who longs to live her life for God.  Stacy McDonald addresses a wide variety of things girls go through fromwhat it means to be chaste to taming the tongue. It talks about love and a knight in shining armor.  McDonald takes a relevant look at our culture today and she isn't afraid to speak truth that may be considered The book is convicting in a good way that will draw you and your daughters closer to God if you approach it with an open heart.  The author's words often touched my heart as I read.  So many times, I found myself taking out my pen to outline ideas that I wanted to read over again, and underlining sentences that spoke truth to my soul. The book is filled with poignant scripture that paints a beautiful picture of not only who are daughters can be in Jesus, but who we can and should be.

Jesus wants you to be beautiful, not to simply look beautiful.  May this type of radical beauty define your life--and may it be consistently evident to the lost and dying world around you!

Besides holding a fountain of wisdom for mothers and daughters, the book also included beautiful watercolor illustrations by Johannah Bluedorn.  I'm planning to frame them and hang them in my daughters' room.  The book also includes special memory making projects to do with your daughter(s).  Ideas like "a literary maiden luncheon" and "a virtuous maiden scrapbook" sounded like something I'd love to do with my daughters when they're a bit older.  

You can visit the author's blog at Your Sacred Calling, and you can purchase her book from my new favorite Christian bookstore Grace and Truth Books.  If you read only one book on raising your lovely daughters let this be it, or if you are a daughter, I challenge you to read this book and be inspired.