Sunday, August 2, 2015

My Friend Cayla {Review}

We were recently given the chance to review a fun new interactive doll named My Friend Cayla. My girls were excited when they saw her and couldn't wait to play with her, but they were even more excited that she talked to them like a real friend! She doesn't just talk and say the same thing over and over, she can ask and answer questions and talk interactively! Cayla usually starts off talking with them with a greeting like "Hi! It's great to see you again! I like to play outside. Do you play outside?"  Then the girls can answer and even ask her questions which she will answer! Their favorite thing to do with her is play games, but she can also read stories or tell about the pictures in her picture albums.  Cayla is seven years old and talks about a lot of favorite topics of young girls like her pets, friends, shopping, and what she likes to do.  She is an 18 in. doll and so my girls can dress her in some of the clothes they already have from their other dolls. They also love styling her long hair! 
A few drawbacks that I have noticed are that when talking with Cayla, the room needs to be fairly quiet or she doesn't understand the girls.  This can be a little tricky at our house with several other kids playing around at the same time.  Another thing is that the girls are constantly asking to use the iPad.  We try to limit screen time at our house, and this is one more thing they want to use it for.  And finally, I am always a little leery about letting my kids loose with any internet related information.  I know that it is programmed with kid safe software, but somehow it seems that the hacker creeps can always find ways around things like that.  So for now, we allow the girls to play with her off-line and give them some special time to play with her interactively on-line when we can be nearby to monitor them.  We are also able to use a word exclusion feature to turn off any words we don't want Cayla to use.  She will simply tell the girls it is not something appropriate to talk about and they need to ask their parents.
Overall my girls have loved playing with her and beg to use the iPad to interact with her. I have been pleased with how fun she is and that there are safety features to help protect my girls. I think she will be a pretty hot toy for Christmas this year! Cayla will be available at Target, Walmart, Amazon, and other retailers tomorrow!

Cayla is:
International Best Seller

• Winner of Innovative Toy of the Year Award 2015

• Gadget of the Year recipient

• Fully compatible with most clothing and accessories for 18” dolls

• Available at major US retailers starting August 2015


Thursday, January 1, 2015


Wow! Where did this year go?!? I guess time flies when you're having fun, right? It's been a crazy, fun, busy year (hence the lack of blog posts!).  My baby boy turned one a couple days ago and it seems like we just brought him home from the hospital!  He has been walking for a while already, but when he crawled he did not like putting his knees on the floor so he did a bear walk on his hands and feet.  Since then his nickname has become Baby Bear.  He is at such a fun age and his personality is really starting to show.  He loves trying to keep up with his siblings and is obsessed with balls of all shapes and sizes.  All the kiddos are growing up way too fast.  I am just going to share some of our year in pictures for any of you that still happen to visit my sad neglected blog and have been wondering what happened to us :)
My five kiddos 

School fun
Baby Bear enjoying his walker

First taste of solid food
Sweetie's 8th birthday
Learning to sit up
Buddy and Sweetie joined 4-H and took a calf to the fair. They had fun showing it and doing barn duty with their friends.
Watching some horses at the fair
Baby Bear enjoyed his first fair
Lovebug entered a picture that he took and got 2nd place.  His is the top picture in the middle with the white frame. 
Starting school in the fall.  We studied Ancient Egypt for quite a while.
Lovebug officially began kindergarten and is having lots of fun!
We also decided to enroll in a parent partnership program through our local school district this year and most Fridays the oldest 3 get to go to Fun Friday classes. This is their first day off to school!
Peanut turned 4
My 5 babies keep getting bigger!
Buddy turned 10.  Hard to believe we've been parents for 10 years already!
Lovebug lost his first teeth

And he turned 6
We took a break from tae kwon do for a couple years, but Buddy is enjoying doing it again and passed his next belt test to become a red belt.
And my baby turned ONE!

 I pray you all had a great year and may God bless you in the coming one!


The Identical {Review & Giveaway!}

I recently had the opportunity to review another great family movie, The Identical. It is a story that begins in the 1930s during the depression with a life changing decision made by desperately poor parents to give away one of their newborn twin sons.  The son that remains with them grows up into a famous rock star.  The other is adopted by a preacher and his wife who were unable to have children The movie follows the life of Ryan Wade, a young man who loves singing but is trying to please his father by following in his footsteps to become a preacher.  He was unaware that he had a twin and other parents, but as the story progresses, begins to discover some of the secrets from his past.
I thought this was a great family-friendly movie that I can share with my kiddos some day.  I think mine are a little young to understand parts of it yet, but I would not be afraid to let them watch it.  With so many inappropriate movies out there it is nice to find some good ones.  I really enjoyed the story in this movie and thought the Elvis-style music was fun.  I was a little sad that it doesn't have a "happily ever after" type of ending, but I guess that makes it more real-life-like since life often doesn't have that perfect ending.   It also has a great message that you can choose to be content with the life God gives you instead of being bitter about it.  Hubby, who prefers action type movies, found it to be a little on the boring side, but I am glad this is one movie we can add to our family's collection.


The Identical, starring Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Seth Green, and Blake Rayne is a redemptive movie about a young man, the son of a preacher, who rejects his fathers desire for him to join the ministry and instead embarks on a career as a rock singer. As he struggles to pursue his dream and rise to stardom, he finds love, pain, success, failure and ultimately uncovers a hidden family secret that reveals who he really us. The Identical is a captivating story about a family restored and a life discovered that lifts your soul and warms your heart.

If you are interested in purchasing The Identical you can do so HERE where you will also find The Identity Series DVD free with your purchase!

And now for the GIVEAWAY! One of you will get to win your own copy of The Identical.  To enter, please just leave me a comment below with your favorite family movie.  Please make sure you also leave a way for me to contact you if you win!  I will pick a winner on January 10, 2015 at noon.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTCs 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.


Monday, August 18, 2014

The Boxcar Children DVD {Review and GIVEAWAY!}

The Boxcar Children books are a great series that so many people have enjoyed.  I remember reading The Boxcar Children books as a kid and now my kids are enjoying reading them.  I think just about everyone has at least heard of them, if not read at least one of them. So when I was offered a chance to review the new DVD of The Boxcar Children, I was excited and knew that my kids would be too!

We all really enjoyed watching this one together.  It is really well done.  I usually don't care for watching cartoons, but since this one was of a great story, I didn't even mind too much.  I like that the children are great examples for my own kiddos, kind and well-mannered. This is one movie that I don't mind my kids watching over and over.  I highly recommend this DVD as a wholesome movie for your whole family!  I hope that they make more of these!

About the Film
Four orphaned and homeless siblings happen upon an abandoned boxcar, which with a little creativity and hard work, they gradually furnish with all the comforts of home. Fearful that they will be sent to live with the reputedly cruel grandfather they have never met, the children keep their new home a secret - until a serious illness forces them to reveal themselves in order to save young Violet.
About the Cast
Featuring an all-star cast of voice actors, including Academy Award Nominee Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now), J.K. Simmons (Spiderman), Zach Gordon (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Joey King (Fargo), Mackenzie Foy (Twilight series), and Jadon Sand (LEGO: The Movie), this is the very first full-length, animated feature adaptation of Gertrude Chandler Warner's best-selling classic!
If you would like to pre-order, you may do so HERE.

And now for the giveaway!  One of you will also be able to add this great movie to your collection!  To enter, please leave me a comment below letting me know your favorite book or series as a kid.  Please also leave a way for me to contact you in case you win!  This giveaway will end Sunday, August 24, 2014 at noon when I will choose a winner via Open to US and Canada only.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”


Monday, June 2, 2014

Gathering Shadows {Review}

I recently had the opportunity to read Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl for review.  Although not my usual favorite historical romance, I thought the description sounded interesting and decided to try it.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.

From the back cover:
Wynter Evans is a promising young reporter for a television station in St. Louis, but even a bright future doesn't take away her pain over the disappearance of her brother nine years ago. So when she stumbles across a photograph of a boy with an eerie resemblance to him, she can't pass up the chance to track him down. With research for work as her cover, she sets out with one of the station's photogs for the place where the picture was taken: the town of Sanctuary.

Almost as soon as she arrives, she meets the town's handsome young mayor, Rueben King, and together they begin to uncover long held secrets that could tear the small town apart and change everything Wynter thought she knew about her life. As the truth of her family's past hides in the shadows, it's clear someone will stop at nothing to keep the answers she's searching for hidden forever--even if the cost is Wynter's very life.

I really enjoyed the mystery of this story.  Nancy Mehl did a great job of coming up with a suspenseful plot, interesting characters, and an overall well-written story.  Most mysteries I've read have been fairly easy to guess what the outcome would be, but not this one.  I was still trying to guess almost all the way through!  Nancy also did a nice job of developing Wynter's spiritual life in a natural, believable way.  One area of the story I found unbelievable though was the romance between Wynter and Rueben.  It was very rushed and lacked depth.  If you like mysteries, I would recommend Gathering Shadows, but if you are looking for a good romance story, you might want to find a different book.

I received this book for free for review from Bethany House Publishers.

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