Monday, November 30, 2009

Gift Ideas for Kiddos 2-4 years old....

Snap N Style dolls have been a great pick for Julia. She is 2 yrs. old and ready for Barbies and all but this is a great product a friend told me about. This is one of the sets she got for her B-day. I picked up one for $10 at a local retail store and the set included ONE baby, 2 onsies, 2 hats, a little purple teddy bear (smaller than the baby), 1 blanket, and the bed. The onsies simply snap onto the baby by pushing them up against her....making it easy even for a two old to take them off and put them on. Julia loves playing with them!!

TJ Berrytales is my first suggested gift. Zach who is four still loves listening to "TJ" as he tells each story....There are little cartridges that go into the back of TJ and then a play,pause, and stop button. Tj can simply tell the story to younger kids, or if you trust them not to destroy the cute books they can follow along. We got this many years ago and all my kids have enjoyed him. You can buy additional books at $15-$20. When I looked up a link for TJ they started at $179.00....maybe this is a newer version that what we have, because I am positive that our cost more like $40 or so.....


BRAIN QUEST CARDS
You are looking at one of the best products I know of, Brain Quest cards!!!! I honestly can't say enough positive things about this lovely simply product. Ages 2-3 is the first set that is available as far as age goes. We have them all the way up through 2nd grade. These cards are double sided any ask 3 question per card. I love them because they are sooooo much fun yet educational for the kids to enjoy. My kids love them because they are colorful, challenging, and engagaing. They love that when we sit down to do them that they get some great one on one time with mom. Yet they are also set up for older children to complete them individually.  There us such an asssortment of these cards per package that the kids do them over and over without boredome as well. Yet another plus to this product it is affordable.....$10 at many retail stores!!
 

 LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Leap FROG!!!!!! We have 5 Leap Frog Dvd's and I can't wait for yet another new one coming out this spring!!! If my kids are going to watch DVD's or TV I would like them to get more out of it than just vegetating on the couch. I want what they watch and take in to be stimulating, engaging, and educational....No not everything we watch falls into this category.....I totally LOVE how these DVD's are educational without being to corny for even my older boys to still watch when the younger kids want to watch them. They have fun music and just a great learning approach. Caleb and  Zach learned their letters and their sounds very early because of these great DVD's. Again they are very affordable for everyone!! Around $10....or cheaper!! GO here and buy them for $7.96 each.....scroll down to the bottom and keep looking on the right hand side to see the other Leap Frog dvds available!!

So there are a few suggestions for the 2-4 age group!! Just FYI for you all these are all products that either I bought myself or they were given as gifts to us from family. I am not getting paid or asked to review these products by any of the individual companies. So they are just my own honest opinions to help spur you on in trying to find budget friendly, and kid-friendly gifts for your loved ones!





Friday, November 27, 2009

A Week of Gift Ideas!

I thought is would be fun to pass some gift ideas along to you all. All ideas will be things we have either bought ourselves, gifts we have been given, or products we have reviewed....I am not being compensated by any of these companies and of course are all based on my personal opinion.....so feel free to take it or leave it! Either way I thought it would be fun and something great to kick off the holiday shopping season. So starting Monday, November 30th, we will start our FUN!! So I hope you'll stop be each day and join me.....

DANIELLE

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Give THANKS With A Grateful Heart.....

 This time of year I so enjoy hearing what others and THANKFUL for....and I love how most of us seem to make it a conscious effort to stop and meditate on all the MANY blessings we have experienced throughout  the last year. I think the older I seem to get the more I try to focus daily on the blessings around me, and give THANKS even when I don't feel like it. So in the spirit of THANKSGIVING I wanted to share some things with you all that I am truly grateful for in 2009.

*Most important and FIRST on my "List" The GOD I serve...THANKFUL for his grace, patience, and loving spirit all which I am totally undeserving and unworthy of, but he gives them abundantly anyway.
*My wonderful hubby, Justin, and loving father to our troop. I am THANKFUL for his hardworking and persistent character. I am thankful that he has been blessed by God with gifts that allow him to provide for our family and for me to be at home.
*My energetic children....even though I sometimes moan and complain about a "bad day"...I am still THANKFUL that God had entrusted these four kiddos to me for a time. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a mommy and wouldn't trade it for anything.
*Coffee in the morning....this may seem silly, but oh how I am THANKFUL for my cup of sugary, creamy, coffee each day.
*Sitting by the stove...we have a "corn stove" totally LOVE it! I am THANKFUL for the heat it provides and curling up beside of it in a chair with a good book...
*A good book....I have been very blessed this year by authors and publishing companies to be able to review several GREAT books. I love to read and I am so THANKFUL for these opportunities to give my opinion on the books..THANK YOU!
*My Mother and Father-In Law...seriously I have the best in-laws! I realize not everyone feels this way about in-laws. From the first day I met them over 11 years ago they have always made me feel like I was one of their own. The LOVE they have shown to me and my children is really amazing, and not something I take for granted. I am so THANKFUL that the Lord has placed me in this family!
*Girlfriends...Nothing can lift my spirits when I need a mommy-day-out better than spending time with women I care about! I am THANKFUL for the women God has placed in my life throughout the years. I cherish their encouragement, advice, wisdom they share with me. Because of the season of life I am in, I don't get as much "girl time" as I would like, which makes me treasure it all the more when it does happen!
*Church...I am so THANKFUL for our church family! I am grateful that our pastors preach from the Bible. They doesn't sugar coat the messages. They tells it how it is, but with LOVE and then emphasize how we, as a church body, can personally apply Scripture to our lives. THANK YOU to all of our pastors!!


*Spiritual growth....I am THANKFUL for the time I spend in God's word and the conviction I feel to always be striving to be more in line with God's plan for my life. I can't think of a better way to begin my days, then  to be at His feet, in His word, feeling His presence.

My prayer for each of you is that you will take some time to reflect on what you are THANKFUL for...even if your going through hard times...

HAPPY THANKSGIVING...Have a great holiday weekend....with too much food....and lots of family time.....GIVE THANKS!!!

DANIELLE

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Cherish Planet Earth~ Giveaway & Review




This product, I Cherish Planet Earth, is more than simply a book or a game. The book introduces children to our multi-faceted natural world. It introduces 24 different nature loving affirmations such as, "I love the forest," "I honor all animals," "I conserve water," "I grow a garden," etc. Each affirmation is lovingly described alongside soft, beautiful pictures that both engage and delight. The set includes a "memory" pair matching game with a twist as it uses the artwork and affirmations to reinforce each concept as each tile is turned over in search of the matching pair. There are many extensions children can play, such as, Sharpening Memory, where you take a game piece, look at it for 30 seconds, close your eyes, bringing back the picture in your mind. Now tell all the different things you remember. What is happening? Make up stories and skits based on any of the pictures. What does it mean? Look up the meaning of terms such as cherish, respect, honor, value, etc.

Discussion time. At the end of the game have each player look at the matching pairs they have collected and discuss their meaning. Talk about how we are a part of nature and how it sustains us. Take action- Discuss different ideas and decide the Earth-friendly changes you can make and commit to in your life, home, and neighborhood. The picture book helps build meaningful understanding, while the memory game reinforces those ideas. The game extensions are well considered and offer the opportunity for communication, creative self-expression, and action. This activity set is about appreciating and preserving nature and our planet. It inspires all to learn about and care for all life, from the tiniest flower to the greatest forest. It is a natural addition to any go-green program, at home, neighborhood, school, or other community. Printed in the USA on recycled paper and it uses vegetable-oil-based ink. This product is part of the 1% for the planet program.

If you have been a followers of my blog for any amount of time you would know that I really appreciate companies who go out of their way to educate our little ones amount the importance of stewardship. This product focuses on our stewardship of taking care of the Earth. I love that this book/game provoke discussion in such a natural way. I think it really helps when the kids can verbalize what they are learning and then think how they, even as children, can apply these honoring practices in their own life. I also love that that Challenge & Fun, along with Focus Bloom, don't just talk the talk, but walk the walk. I love that this product in made on recycled paper and MADE IN THE USA!!! I think this product is a nice addition to a science lesson.This product is aimed at 4-10 year olds. 

I Cherish Planet Earth was also the a pick for DR. TOY Best GREEN product 2009!!


If your interested in getting yourself a copy of "I Cherish Planet Earth" for $16.95 you can go here!

FOCUS BLOOM has been kind enough to offer a GIVEAWAY of I Cherish Planet Earth!!

Simply leave me a comment if you would like to enter!!  HURRY!!! Deadline is 11/30/09

DANIELLE

Wright On Time: Arizona~Mama Buzz Review


As soon as we received Wright On Time, my 8 year old snatched it up and curled up in the chair and started reading. Wright On Time: Arizona, is  book one in this fun series about a family who had decided to embark on an adventure across the USA in an RV. They are a homeschooling family that loves learning and immersing themselves in a hands on approach to schooling.

Lance, my 8 year old, said he really enjoyed reading the book. He wants to see what adventures the Wright family find waiting for them in Utah (Book 2).

From a mommy's point of view, I did like the book. I felt the sense of adventure as I flipped the pages. I would have like to see the book explore more of Arizona. I felt that the book concentrated only one aspect. I would have like to see the book be longer in length and include more details about the state.  I do like that this book represents two things our family is passionate about, homeschooling and RVing. My husband has even mentioned he would love to take off in our camper and travel the country......playing Bluegrass music to support our travels......Ohhhh well a guy can dream!


 Wright On Time , which is aimed at 5-12 years olds, 87 pages in length, and will cost you $12.99. I find this a little pricey for such a short book and would like to see the cost down about half that price. I do like concept of having a collection of books by the state as this series progresses.


DANIELLE

Monday, November 23, 2009

Winner!

Congrats to Candice for winning the Artisic Albums Giveaway!!!  A SPECIAL thank you to Nicole for providing us with her service!!!

DANIELLE

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mommy - Daughter Moments

 Hello there! So I thought I would share a few things that Miss Julia has been up to lately...Well dressing up in her little high heel shoes ranks pretty high on her list of favorite things to do...when she's not talking on her phone...smile...


 She loves carrying this cute little Hello Kitty purse around with her..we scored it for $1 at Goodwill! 

The other day, as I put laundry away, she decided to go get some "friends" and hang out in "Mommy's bed"..hugs and kisses all around!!





 Don't forget the cuddling..you can't be in "Mommy's bed" and not get some good cuddle time in...

Oh she's just growing like a weed! I am still loving. loving, loving having this little joyous girl around the house with all the boys!! I mean I could do without all her DRAMA moments, and super high squeals when her brothers are trying to redirect her in another direction....but then again those are probably the moments I will remember when I am old and gray....at least that what everyone keeps telling me.....hearty laugh......

DANIELLE

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Father - Son Moments

 Well if you don't already know, hunting is a BIG deal around this house. Deer season is offically in now and Lance is just always itching to get in on the action! Since in our opinion he is not ready at 8 years old to go hunting by himself, he has been begging, pleading, and down right insistent about getting in some practice shooting with his dad. So one night this week dad made that happen...


 Oh course, Lance can't have all the FUN..Dad had to get a few shot in too...smile...Lance doesn't seem to mind....I can tell he is smiling even from this angle...can you?

 The hat on backwards cracks me up...this is not the way we normally wear our hats around here....but we wouldn't want it to get in way of shooting

 A spare pumpkin got to be the target...Lance is impressed that he blew a hole in it....All said and done they had a great time and enjoyed their special time bonding....and grunting....and doing "men stuff"...okay so maybe they didn't really grunt, but you know what I mean men have their own "man stuff language".

 So this is what a boy looks like when that same dad takes a brother deer hunting instead of this mighty man.....he might be cracking smile because he could believe I was trying to take his picture.. ...but I assure you he was not a HAPPY CAMPER being left behind. (oh ya and they saw 3 deer that night...but of course his brother did didn't rub it in any...ahem....

DANIELLE

Just for the JOY of it!


 Since the Holiday season is upon us and I know I will soon be receiving everyone's FUN holiday cards in the mail I thought I would share an idea we came up with a couple of years ago at our home. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE getting pictures of family's this time of year but always hated throwing them away after New Year's was over. So I turned this simple bulletin board into "Our Prayer Board". Each year for the past two years I loved being able to display these lovely pictures on our board and it helps to be our visual remind of who we can pray for. We put up the prayer cards of Missionaries, and holiday cards we get from family and friends. Last year I even covered the board with a winter fabric, and then put the pictures on.....then I realized we were so blessed with so MANY cards you couldn't even see the fabric...grin....so i decided to remove it.
Throughout the year it brings such JOY to my heart to see these smiling faces each time we come in the door to our home! Our guests always love looking at our board too!
Check out Good True and Beautiful to see more "JOYFUL" links.....


 Do you have your own prayer board....do you use your fridge......how do you display you holiday cards? You know I love to hear from you all...so leave me a quick comment!!

DANIELLE

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Giveaway of a different kind......

I just wanted to make you all aware of a GIVEAWAY of a different kind. Brandon contacted me to share that he is offering a GIVEAWAY PACKET on his site for a counseling packet. This packet is FULL of helpful worksheets that help a person work through very personal issues. For example grief, anger management, addiction, and depression just to name a few. This packet is valued around $30.
Even you don't struggle personally with major issue I think we all know someone around us that does....so consider heading over to Brandon site to check out the giveaway for yourself.

Thanks for sharing your GIVEAWAY and you heart for helping people Brandon!


DANIELLE

Wonder Why Wednesday?



Welcome to Wonder Why Wednesday!

I find that whenever I add humor to my day, my week, my mommy's moments it always make life a little easier to swallow.....anyone else feel that way?
With that in mind, this series it meant to be done and received with a playful spirit in mind.

EVER WONDER WHY....

Some people are always in a bad mood? Ya know the ones that are seem to always choose to be negative about everything!!! Ohhh how I loath being around such people on a regular basis. I remember when I worked full time, pre-kids, I worked with such people. It wasn't long before all there negative talk and perspective starts to rub off on me.
It is in those moments when I realize that it really is up to me to surround myself with like minded positive Christian women. Putting myself in a "family" of women who LOVE the Lord, these women can help me keep a proper grasp on circumstances and encourage me when I need it! I have learned over the years how I choose to deal with these people......being overly kind to them and being very positive and upbeat (not in a fake way) which comes natural for me. I think it is hard to keep being so grouchy when no one will join in on your complaining party....that is just my opinion and how I choose to deal with people who needs some happiness!

So that leaves me WONDERING how do you deal with chronically negative people in your life?

DANIELLE

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Story of Christmas~Mama Buzz Review

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The Story of Christmas  by Gwen Ellis
Illustrated by Steve Smallman
Ages: 4-7
Put out by:   Thomas Nelson
Price:  $10.99
Based on the International Children’s Bible, this book begins with the birth of John the Baptist. Next comes the angel appearing first to Mary, then to Joseph, the trip to Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus, the angel’s announcement to the shepherds, the wise men and their gifts, fleeing to Egypt, and at last heading home to Nazareth. The “Can You Retell the Story” activity at the end of the book is a fun way for children to learn to tell the story themselves.

I was sent a FREE copy of The Story of Christmas (DVD included!) from Thomas Nelson, which is a book that is a part of the READ and SHARE series. The DVD reads along with the book (which is about 17 minutes long) and the DVD also includes 6 other stories, and coloring pages. The animation was really great, I enjoyed watching it myself. My two year old was caught up watching it just as much as my 6 year old. I would say it was just the right length for my two year old and kept her attention the whole time. For Caleb, he said he could have been longer and that he knew all the stories. Since children learn in different ways I like that this resources enforces the same story in two different ways: listening and watching. I also think the asking price of $10.99 is very fair for this product.....especially when you get a book and a DVD! I would recommend this product for 2 to 4 year old children.


DANIELLE

Monday, November 16, 2009

Review for Mama Buzz~ Police Blockade




POLICE BLOCKADE is the latest product I have been genereously given to review FREE!

Here is some information from Timberdoodles website (the company who provided me with this product)
This company offers many different games and homeschool materials so be sure to check them out!

Police Blockade

Sirens screaming and tires screeching, there is nothing like a little police action to liven up a road trip. Police Blockade lets you keep it legal but is just as exciting.
Your Job: Block Him
An elegant red sports car has been stolen and the police force is scrambling to jam every escape route. As police chief, your child will be asked to coordinate all available units in order to prevent a getaway. His career is on the line; can he block the perpetrator's escape and avoid unnecessary bloodshed?
60 Challenges!
With 60 fast-paced easy to expert challenges he will have plenty of chances for a "do over"! For 1 player. Includes game board, clear plastic lid, one red sports car, six police cars, and four sets of buildings, game booklet, and a nifty elastic band to hold it all together.
Logic, Thinking Skills, Visual Perception...
This one-player game develops logical reasoning, builds higher cognitive thinking, and strengthens visual and spatial perception. It is self-contained, includes solutions, and makes an ideal travel companion. Plus, it offers an amazing amount of fun for all ages!

Features
Develops logical reasoning
Builds higher cognitive thinking
Strengthens visual and spatial perception

Game includes:
Game board
60 puzzles with four levels of difficulty
One red sports car
Six police cars
Four sets of buildings
Solution booklet

Time To Play: 5-20 minutes
Players: 1

I don't know about you but I love games that does double duty! FUN and EDUCATIONAL!!! I also love that this game is something my children (the 6 and 8 year old) can do this indepentenly in their own quiet time. I also love that their are so many options and way to play the 60!!! So far I think this game is a hit with our family, but because of busy schedule and getting the game just a short time ago we have only been able to test out the product for a short time. I think this would be a great suggestion for someone to get for your children for Christmas and worth the money since it will provide great training for great life skills!
Go HERE to purchase POLICE BLOCKADE for $17.95.

DANIELLE

 Remember these fantastic views from our vacation to Mexico last year? Well in case you missed my post...my Hubby won yet another trip through work this year!! Ohhhh how blessed we feel to get to go on another get away from a week!!! This year we are headed to SUNNY Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.



 So I thought with our big trip coming up again I would ask you all for your GREAT advice....on traveling! Have any helpful hint on packing, traveling, getting things in order for the kids while you gone? I would love to hear them!!

DANIELLE

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fun Playing in the Leaves!


Here are a few snap shots of us enjoying one of the many warm fall days around these parts. For some reason jumping into a leaf pile never gets old...my kids will do it over and over and over!! 

DANIELLE

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wonder Why Wednesday?


Welcome to Wonder Why Wednesday!

I find that whenever I add humor to my day, my week, my mommy's moments it always make life a little easier to swallow.....anyone else feel that way?
With that in mind, this series it meant to be done and received with a playful spirit in mind.

EVER WONDER WHY....

 You feel guilty when you stop to play? I am have this great guilt that comes over me when I am hanging out with the kids playing around during my regular day. When I am hanging out I have this dreaded feeling of being unproductive. I know in my heart that this "feeling of guilt" is a lie, and that spending time with my kids playing or being silly is productive in many ways. I know that in these moments together we experience great teachable and precious moments that I treasure and I know they LOVE my full attention. I do struggle with it though....and I really WONDER WHY! I know what scripture has to say about how I spend my time. So why in the world is this even an issue with me????
MY EXCUSE: I am a Type A personality who likes lists...check..check...check....

I also hate the idea of someone showing up at my house and it is completely destroyed!!! Which seems to happen often with my four children!! I am getting better at this one, because I have learned there is a big difference between a filthy dirty house, and a house that is simply lived in and needs toys, books, or whatever picked up.

Also I want my husband to be able to come home to a clean and uncluttered house. Not because he demands it, because he doesn't, but I want our home to feel like a haven he can relax in and not look around and see all the mess!

All that being said I still know where my heart lies, and that is with my children. A clean house is nice, but not where my heart is. So I have been constantly training myself to follow what I know in my mind to be truth, and not go with the "feelings" my heart gives me...which tend to be lies the devil is throwing my way to distract me. So do you struggle with this also? What seems to help you overcome being a "workaholic?"

That wraps up another week of WONDER WHY WEDNESDAY!! Feel free to link up!!




DANIELLE

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Aristic Albums by Nicole Review & Giveaway!

 I have been blessed to meet some great people through blogging and Ms. Nicole is one of them. She graciously offered to make my family a greeting card for us to send out this holiday season!! I actually ran across a great deal that HERE FREE...$6 for S&H). So she customized our greeting card into postcard size. The whole process of working with Nicole was such a breeze. I simply sent her a couple pictures, and my idea of how I wanted he card to look and she created from there. Of the two cards she designed for me I picked this one! I am extremely pleased with what Nicole came up with....and after my THIRD editing request.....I wanted to add text, then I wanted to change that text....then add something else....I think the final product is simply PERFECT!
All this to say that Ms. Nicole is very "go-with-the-flow" and most importantly she wants you to be totally satisfied with you end product....and I am for sure!! So if you would like a postcard made for you, with her special right now..it would only cost you $5 for a custom!!!! Totally worth it!
I hesitate to show everyone our postcard early...but I really wanted to show you how great Nicole's work is......and with Vista's customized postcards you also get to customize the back....so there is still a little bit you won't see here..smile...Just one more thing to think about...If you have Nicole design your holiday card you might want to consider doing it soon...Vista's deals end November 22nd....if you get the postcard size you also save on postage.....BONUS!!


"Let us walk in the the Light of the Lord" Isaiah 2:5 ( I thought the verse fit well with the picture)

Nicole does an array of other things like custom digital scrap booking.....She has many sample pages you can pick from and then add your own pictures and text. Here are a couple of items I thought were really great keeping Christmas gifts in mind. Have ms. Nicole make you up a great layout for the grandparents and then frame it up for a gift! Nicole also has a special promotion deal going on right now....5 items for $5 each!!! Here are a few of great examples of Nicole's work....





To see more gorgeous layouts for you to request from Nicole go Here to her website to check out more! Remember the sky is the limit for what she can design for you...all these great examples are just a place to start! Would you love to win a design of your choice from Artistic Albums?
Greeting card, post card, scrap page, you name it!!!! It's your choice!!! (Just a little reminder that this is for the design only...you will still have to have them printed at your own cost)

WAYS TO ENTER!!! Deadline for entries is November 19th 2009. @ NOON!!!

1. (Mandatory for giveaway!) Go to Artistic Albums and tell me which design is your favorite!
2. Which design you would choose: Greeting card, digital scrapbook page, personalized page (gifts)?
3. Follow Gaertegang
4. Grab my button!
5. Follow me on Twitter
6. Blog/FaceBook/Tweet about the giveaway (1 entry for each you do)

DANIELLE

Jantsen's Gift ~ Mama Buzz Review

 I was sent a FREE copy (actually two FREE copies because of a shipping mistake) from the Hachette Book Group for this review. The people at the Hachette Group generously let me keep both copies to with as I wish...sweet of them I thought!


 The very first thing that drew me to this book was that IT'S TRUE!!!! This book is based on the true life experiences of Pam Cope, a SAHM of two kids (one son and one adopted daughter...then later two more adopted children.) This book takes you along on her journey to find real faith, real strength, and discover what is truly means to be passionate and sacrificial about giving.
The book begins when Pam's  son Jantsen suddenly dies in 1999, due to an undiagnosed heart defect. I appreciate how honest and candid Pam is about her experience in dealing with severe depression and the grief associated with losing a child. Pam was very honest and transparent throughout the book, and I think that takes real courage. Courage is something Pam re-discovers in herself throughout the book. I think the book really captures of essence of what ONE PERSON can do to make such a PROFOUND difference in the lives of other people. I think many of us, including myself, fall prey to the lie "What can I do I am only one person....what I do is not really going to change the world." I love how this book puts that excuse to rest and shows ONE person's great vision can and does make a difference ONE child at a time.
I learned so much while reading this book. You see I also am a small town girl, always have been and probably always will be. I guess in the back of my mind I knew things like child prostitution and child trafficking existed, but never chose to let it sink what that really meant for MILLIONS, yes you read right, MILLIONS of children around the world. I feel ashamed that I have not been broken over what a huge problem this continues to be in 2009.......SLAVERY is still alive and well in many corners of the world people!!!! CHILD slavery.....just saying it makes me angry and sick all at the same time.
In the book Pam focuses on the places in the world that her organization, Touch A Life, is operating.

Ghana, Africa were millions of children and orphans are bought and sold like livestock. Parents who can't afford to feed themselves let alone their children are forced to sell them in order to survive. BE CAREFUL not to judge to quickly though. This takes a lot of courage and love on their part because they think they are giving their children a life they are not able to offer them with food, schooling, clothing and shelter. Unfortunately child traffickers are professional liars and these children are fed MAYBE once a day, worked from 4am to dark, beaten within inches of their  lives, and not sent to school., Most don't know their age, or why they have been sent away from their parents so suddenly.

Vietnam is also another place of focus for the Touch A Life organization. Here they focus on getting children off the streets, out of brothels, into a safe environment with schooling. Prostitution runs rapid in the streets of Vietnam and lots of girls, as young as 5 years old are sold into prostituted out to Cambodia where apparently many western men go to do unthinkable things to these poor souls.

I would have only two bad things to say about the book. First, some of the language was a little strong for my taste. Nothing really offensive, but some cursing I could have did without. Second would be the price of the book. Since I am frugal in nature I would personally have a really hard time paying just shy of $25 for a book. On the flip side of that, I think the message that this book sends is priceless.

After reading the book for myself, and knowing how it has convicted my heart to be more aware of these issues. More importantly I have a new importance for teaching my children about these hard issues and taking advantage of some real teachable moments. So with that being said I would pay $25 for this book and I would pay it again to buy one for a friend!
This book makes me even more convinced that not everyone is called to adopt....not everyone is called to travel to far away places.....but we are ALL CALLED to do whatever we can to help save these children from these horrible, abusive, and heartbreaking lives they are forced to lead.

If you would like to learn more about Pam's organization visit www.touchalifekids.org

 Jantsen's Gift is Hard Cover book that is 320 pages in length and is available through Hachette Book Group. To get a copy of this compelling book  for $24.99 go HERE!

DANIELLE

Monday, November 9, 2009

10th Anniversary~ Date Night!

 
We had a really great time on our Anniversary night out!! We had some time to kill before our dinner reservation, which was at 845pm, so we went this Irish Pub that had live music. I can't say we went to a Pub without feeling like I need to explain a little bit first. In the town we spent our date night in there is no smoking the restaurants and bars anymore. So I really liked how we were able to go in and sit down and enjoy some music while not feeling like we were drowned in smoke and a typical bar scenario. It really felt like we were just hanging out in a restaurant. It happen to come up that we were out celebrating our wedding anniversary and the guy singing dedicated a song in our honor. We got up from our table and enjoyed a slow dance together....Our waitress took our picture to document the moment! It was very sweet...I enjoyed it very much!!
Then we headed off to our dinner reservation....there was also live music (a band) at our restaurant, but that started at 930p. Justin had heard lots of good things about our restaurant and was hoping it would be a good pick. I, on the other hand, had never heard anything about this place. Let me just say Justin had to tell me I was not aloud to be frugal on this date night. Just relax and have fun and don't look at the prices...smile...which is very hard to do...but I pulled it off.
I think the funniest thing that happened on our night was Justin asked the waitress to guess what anniversary we were celebrating........she guess it was our "16th wedding anniversary"...I pretty much about fell out of my chair!!!! Which by her calulations she thought we were about 36 yrs. old......which might I say is not old...but when someone guess you are 6 years older than you really are...I don't call that a compliment......It did give Justin and I something to laugh about the rest of the night! Our waitress offered us a FREE dessert....I think it was partly a peace offering...partly because it was our anniversary....whatever the reason it was the best dessert I have EVER ate in my life! Really the whole night was full of foods that were just the most amazing tasting I had ever had!! Here is a shot of the desserts we had to choose from.....We picked the pumpkin cheesecake...Mmmmm!

We had such a fun night!! A special THANK YOU to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law who so willingly took on our four kiddos so we could stay out as late as we wanted!! What a fun anniversary night we enjoyed and I look forward to celebrating at least 50 more with my great husband!! Thanks to all of you who left us sweet messages! I really appreciated all the nice things you had to say!


 
DANIELLE

Friday, November 6, 2009

JUSTIN'S LOGGED IN AND SHE DOESN'T KNOW IT

I logged in to Danielle's Blog account (yeah I know the password) to suprise her!!!!
She's still in Bed!

I love you Danielle.  Thank you for being my wife for the last 10 years. 

I love you more now than I did back then and I think you're still smokin' hot. 

You are a great Mom to our 4 kids and I don't know what we'd do without you!!!!

You are more than my wife, you're my sweetheart and my best friend.

I'll never love another, you're all I'll ever need. 

I'll never leave you nor forsake you.

Oh yeah, about the wedding details.....

You forgot to mention that I hauled you to the reception in a Peterbuilt semi truck, after spending the entire previous week cleaning it out so that you and our Moms wouldn't kill me for getting your dress dirty.
(This was not an easy task because it was, and still is, a farm truck.  Hauling hogs, grain, equipment etc...)

Any way you're the best and I'm looking forward to our night out tonight.

Love,
Justin Thomas Gaerte

OUR STORY....

 Today Justin and I celebrate our ten year wedding anniversary! In celebration of that I thought I would share with you "OUR STORY", we all have a story to share and I love hearing how others met, fell in love, and of course the proposal story! So sit back and take a walk with me down memory lane....

In May of 1998, I was a senior in High School and I had recently claimed a "single status". I had went to a good ole' country party because a friend had invited me to go along. I went  and had so much fun catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, and enjoying cool spring night. This guy, who I knew of because he had a locker next to my BFF , but really didn't know well, struck up a conversation with me on and off throughout the night. Well the night ended and my girlfriend and I decided to call it a night and head home. As we were leaving this same guy came up to our car, which I did not see, and knocked on our window. He scared the living daylights out of us! I rolled down my window to see what in the world he wanted.....he asked if he could call me sometime.....I reluctantly said "Okay, I guess." Now remember I was a newly single women...the last thing I wanted on this night was male interest of any kind, but he was a nice guy, he was pretty funny, so what would a phone call hurt, right? It certainly did not mean I had to go on a date with him.
So after 3 days and no phone call from the guy...I figured maybe I was off the hook. Then after five days he called and asked if I wanted to  go out that weekend. I said okay, even though, I was still not sure about this whole dating again thing, but what could one date hurt, right? He took me out to a great steak house and a movie. We had such fun that night! He was very easy to talk to, no weird silent moments, and oh how we laughed. We laughed more I could even remember ever laughing in one sitting...and then at the end of the night he asked if I wanted stop by and ride in the tractor with him sometime. (He worked on the farm for his uncle and it was planting season.)  This was also pre-cell phone consumed society days.
A couple days later he called to take me up on riding around in the tractor with him. I think we rode around for eight hours that first night....my butt gets numb just thinking about it now....but 11 years ago that wasn't even on my mind. I had a good time chatting with him...not much else to do when your sitting in a tractor all afternoon and evening plowing the fields. I think I came back several times during that week and rode with him some more. In a very short time, I can to the conlcusion that you can get to know a person quickly when all you do is talk about everything from A to Z. I always knew our conversation were geiuine and that made it so fun to get to know each other. So in a two week period, the guy went from someone I knew of to someone I knew very well!
As one month turned into two, then three, then four....we had grown to know each others' family very well. We spent much of our time with them. When my birthday rolled around in September we planed to go out for supper that night. Before heading out Justin asked if we could go out to the barn a minute before leaving. So we headed to the barn he grabbed a bucket and asked me to have a seat...I looked at him a little funny, and thought to myself, "I don't want to get my jeans dirty if we are going out". Then I sat anyway a little confused at this point, but then I saw him go around the corner and come back with his guitar. It was then that I totally realized what was going on. HE WAS PROPOSING to me!! He had written a song for me and at the end of song it asked if "I would be his wife for the rest of my life?"  He then set his guitar down and pulled out the ring box, got down on his knee, and asked me to marry him. He slipped a totally gorgeous 1 ct princess cut diamond solitaire on my finger. I was so THRILLED!!! So there you have it after only five months of dating, we were now engaged!
Even though our dating time was short, by most people's standards, our engagement would last what seemed like FOREVER!!! Engaged in 09-1998 married in 11-1999...too long!!! I was in college and we thought it was best to wait until I graduated to get married, but I am not sure I would do it the same if I had it to do all over again.
November 6th arrived and I wore a handmade wedding gown. Sown together by my mother-in-law, and beaded by my mother and myself. It was a perfect sunny, and warm November day! We chose to be married at a near by church because our church would seat very few people. We both have large extended families and wanted to be able to invite whoever we wanted. Well the church seated around 400 and then we also had people standing in the back...It was such a huge blessing to have so many people that loved us be in attendance! After the wedding we were off to the reception, and celebrated for many hours until we headed to "our home" to get some sleep...maybe...before having his parents pick us up and drive us to the airport.
We honeymooned on a Carnival Cruise to the Bahamas! Very nice, very beautiful, and so much FUN!!
Our story only began there! We then went on to start our family, a baby in 01', 03', 05', lost a baby in 06', then another on 07'. We have grown in size that is for sure!! We have learned so much along the way and grown to love each other and the LORD more with each passing year. I never imagined that the abundant love I felt for this man on my wedding day was only a mere starting point. I am so thankful for the Lord putting Justin in my life when he did, even if I didn't agree totally with the timing at first. The Lord knew just what I needed, and continues to be faithful to me in this way. I can't imagine raising my familiy without him...he is our ROCK. I am thankful for the past ten years I have been married to this incredible man...which only makes me more excited to spend many more years by his side.

Happy Anniversary Honey! I LOVE YOU! ~ Danielle

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"It's a Pary and Your Invited!!"

First of all Congrats to Beth you won the plug-in and one Bar of Sticky Cinammon Bun (ohh so yummy smelling!) Beth I sent you an email!!

I am hosting an online Scentsy Party! I thought this would be a great way to host a party and you can just stop and your convience from the warmth of your own home...the only drawback is that you don't get to smell the scents in person...sad face....If you want to read more about Scentsy read my review HERE.
Another great thing is that everything you order from this party is sent DIRECTLY to you!! So you can order from anywhere in the country and get it right to your door....which is so fun for all my bloggin friends and follwers!!!

Here is the link to go shopping!! Just look for me name, Danielle Gaerte, and then click on Buy and you can browse from there!!

You can place order for ONE week ONLY 11-5-09 through 11-13-09!!

 So HURRY over and Shop till you drop....


DANIELLE

Gaerte Hog Roast 2009!

 This year at the Hog Roast it was decided that we would try out having a candy trail for the kids since this year the Hog Roast fell on Halloween. Well it went over well! Lots of kids, lots of candy, and lots of smiles.....You can not have a Hog Roast without a little jamming from the Blue River Boys...You can also see the women behind all this for 25 plus years in the blue sweatshirts....the "Younger generation" in the white sweatshirts.


In the bottom right you can see we have hay rides, a zip line (engineered by my Hubby and Bob, my brother-in-law)...that is always a GREAT hit,( this year we had some pulley issues)...still fun for the kids! A huge fire! I did not get a picture of it for some reason but my father-in-law also had his train ride zipping around during the night.....great babysitter! I think someone said they tried to count as people went through the food line (we do pot luck carry-in) and thought we had around 175 people this year! SO FUN!!! I can tell you one thing is for sure, I must be old, because after this weekend I was totally whipped!!! It is all the extra effort and work and we just keep doing it year after year!

DANIELLE

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wonder Why Wednesday?




Welcome to Wonder Why Wednesday!

I find that whenever I add humor to my day, my week, my mommy's moments it always make life a little easier to swallow.....anyone else feel that way?
With that in mind, this series it meant to be done and received with a playful spirit in mind.

EVER WONDER WHY....

People now a days think 4 kids is a big family? Whenever I am out and about and I see people I haven't seen in a long time or maybe I just have not seen them in a couple of years one questions always arises soon rather than later. "So how many children do you have?" When I reply that I have four and then they ask their ages....they just about choke, gasp in horror, or roll their eyes and reply "Wow, big family huh!? I usually don't say anything in return just smile. I mean what are you suppose to say.....What I really want to do is laugh because believe it or not at our Christian (non-denominational) church four is pretty much the minimum....so they are think of us as a small family...smile... It wasn't that many years ago when America was so much more family oriented and everyone had about 8-12 kids without blinking an eye. I realize that these are different times now....but I don't think that is always or in most cases good thing. I think there are a lot of people caught other non-essential issues when they think of family size in today's terms. Like for example people think that if they have more than 1 or 2 children they could never pay for college for both of them. (Who says that paying 100% of your children's college education is a good idea anyway? (That is whole different discussion in and of itself.) 

So I guess today I am left Wondering Why my family's size makes people turn and run the other way...smile.....


Link up below and feel free to grab my banner and link back to The Gaertegang!





DANIELLE

Girl Talk Review




Five Star Publications graciously sent me a free copy of the book GIRL TALK to Review (Mama Buzz). Well to be honest I really had no idea what the book what really about until I started reading it....I wasn't really sure what to expect or sure if I would be able to relate to the book. I can say I was pleasantly surprised as I started pouring over the pages as to how much I was enjoying every word. GIRL TALK is a book of compiled "words of wisdom, encouragement, mentoring, and heart touching moments". The subjects of discussion ranged from career, home, travel, and home. The women in his book come from all walks of life, some are famous Hollywood stars and other are proud stay at home moms. Throughout the book these different women enlighten us with their thought provoking words.

Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from the book: page 27

"I really enjoy shopping for gifts for my friends and relatives and I really don't mind wrapping them in pretty paper and bows, but I do not like having to buy and fool with the boxes that the gifts go in. If you buy a gift and it comes in a box, that one thing but how many shirts ever come in boxes? Anyway, I discovered that an empty cereal box is the perfect size for a shirt! I just pull the paper out and wrap away! I would rather spend the extra money on the gift rather than the box! CHERYL LYLES~Civil Engineer
Great hint don't you think so?

Excerpt: page 19
"My husband and I borrowed this idea from a friend. We collect Christmas ornament from cities we visit..It's fun to bring those out each year and recall that trip, and tell our children about it. We want them to want to explore new places too. We write the year on each ornament too so we won't forget. 
We also buy books from and about the places we go, so we have a library of our travels...We really want to travel all over the United States and learn more and more about this amazing country. (Not that we are against international travel either.)
FRAN COODE WALSH~ Television Producer
I totally love the buying a book about each place you vacation!!! Instant library and a souvenir that you might actually look at again...most other souvenirs just end up in the trash.

Excerpt: page 91.
"In a conversation with an avid gardener, I found out some fabulous tips on gardening that you can use your leftovers for.
Violets need an acidic liquid to bloom, so some cold leftover coffee is a perfect solution.
Roses need a lot of potassium and potash, so some diced banana peels around the base of each  bush should do wonders. Roses also love the tea from  inside used tea bags. This is one of the reasons that English rose gardens are beautiful, the English drink lots of tea every day! Just open the used tea bags and sprinkle the tea around the base of the canes.
To keep you lawn green and keep the crabgrass away, spray a mixture of half beer and water over it. 
If you are planting green peppers, throw some leftover matches in the hole first because they love sulfur."
MELISSA MARTIN~ Junior Varsity Basketball Coach  

I love how this book pays tribute to women lovingly helping other women through life with inspirational thoughts and heartfelt guidance in all areas of life.The book is 146 pages in all and is a great book for someone who doesn't have a lot of time to devote to reading a book.....

You can buy this charming little easy read for $15.95 HERE!

BLESSINGS,
DANIELLE

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

~A Homemade Christmas!~



Well I have decided that I want to give all or mostly all homemade gifts for Christmas! The whole idea of it appeals to me and I personally know I would rather receive something that was made in love from a person than a store bought gift any day of the week. That is not to say that I don't love those gifts to, don't get wrong.
This year I am wanting to stay with the HOMEMADE theme in mind!! So I know that collectively all of you have wonderful ideas and with all of us together would be able to share many more sites and link than just one person could so I am asking you a favor!!!
Do you have some homemade Christmas ideas up your sleeve? Have you posted in the past about things you  have done? I have two ideas that I am planning on doing, but need some more...unfortunately I can't share those idea with you because my fabulous family would know what they are getting for Christmas....kinda sneaky huh..smile....

So write up a post with all your great ideas for us to see! Maybe even include some links for us to check out. Then come back here and link up!!! If you don't have time for blogging something then just simply leave a comment with some helpful and creative links!! I am so excited to see what you all come up with!
I have created a button so feel free to grab it for your own blog.
I plan to leave it up until Christmas in the hopes of inspiring some great ideas for us all to consider....






DANIELLE

Preparing for the Big Event

 The last Saturday in October for over 25 years is reserved for the GAERTE HOG ROAST! We get roast a hog, cook up some soup, make stuffing, and invite all of our friends, neighbors, and family to join us. Justin's dad and his brothers and their wives started all the fun and now, "the younger generation" as we are called, are taking up some of the responsibilities and planning. We started on Friday night and we end on Sunday.... a long fun-filled weekend of running around! Thus the reason for the messy house..smile..


 
 So as you can see...if you need a boat oar to stir your soup....that's is a lot of soup!! After some of work is done and the hog is on the cooker for the night, it's time to have some fun! FUN is definitely something the GAERTE'S know how to do well!


The kids got to paint some pumpkins! They totally enjoyed every second of that! Justin got to play some bluegrass...and invited a few buddies to come join in! In the bottom right Justin's sister, Jessica, is enjoying sewing up the hog....The kids also played some corn hole later in the night...FUN!!
That is a look at some of the party prep. Stay tuned for the pictures of PARTY NIGHT!



Monday, November 2, 2009

What in the World?

 So I am not sure who broke into my house and destroyed it while I was gone? I clearly remember having my house clean on Friday morning....then suddenly by Sunday it looked like this...
I am not sure if this is some kind of "joke on me" and this random burgler went around to all my neighbors reaping havoc and messing up their houses or weather I am just lucky like that!


Okay so I am totally joking about the whole burgler thing...you knew that right? I am simply amazed at how quickly we can trash the house in such a short time when we are on the run all weekend.....

Oh ya...here is the laundry room in all its GLORY!!! Remember that "Just for the Joy of it" post last Thursday...well this is on Sunday...like I said I much prefer the other much cleaner look...smile...
I am happy to report that after a total rest day on Sunday...including a nice long nap...oh ya!!! That is everyone's concentrated, focused help the house looks back to the clean house I remember on Friday morning!
Disclaimer: No children were lost, harmed, or traumatized amongst the piles of laundry and coats and dishes.

If you wonder what in the world we were up to all weekend to leave the house looking like a tornado hit it....check back tomorrow for a look at our fun!

DANIELLE

 
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