Saturday, November 28, 2009

ABC Bible Verse Songs for Kids- Review

The Four Silly Sisters all love to perform. They love to sing, and dance, and grab an audience. So it was with great pleasure that we received a copy of Ms. Candace's ABC Bible Memory Verse Songs from her Sonbeams site. What better way to hide God's word in their little hearts than by setting those words to music. I seldom forget the words to songs once I have learned them. I can still remember all the songs from the musicals I performed in as a child, and considering how terrible my memory is these days, it must be the music that is keeping all those words locked in up there!

Ms. Candace has done a great job of selecting the verses to correspond with each letter of the alphabet and putting it all to music. The girls especially enjoy the upbeat tempo songs. I think this will be a great tool to use for helping the girls to memorize Bible verses. It will also be handy to keep in the car so that I can listen along with them and memorize a few more verses myself, although the memorization doesn't come quite as easily as it once did! I plan to share our copy with the girls' Sunday school teachers at church as well to see if they would be interested in using it for Scripture memorization.

You can hear samples of the songs by clicking here and scrolling down to ABC Memory Verse Songs... I think it may say there that it is only available as a download, but the CD is now available.

Sonbeams is having a sale and from now until Monday November 30th you can buy these CDs with shipping for only $10. That doesn't leave much time, but if you are interested pop on over there and check out the ABC Bible Verse CD's even if you don't get to it by Monday because they are still reasonably priced at $13.95.

Thank you Ms. Candace for the opportunity to review this product. I look forward to enjoying the fruits it will provide... my sweet children's voices singing Bible verses!!

Click here to go to Sonbeams website!

Products for Christian Children

Disclosure: I was given a copy of the music for this review and am using affiliate links in this post.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sesame Street K'NEX Review and Contest

The Four Silly Sisters all really love the K'NEX Sesame Street building sets. The folks at Team Mom sent us the Police Station to review, and it is a big hit.

As a mom, I love that the K'NEX sets promote imaginative play. There are lots of options so they can build and rebuild and rebuild. I just love that a good building set utilizes many important skills and encourages thinking and problem solving while also providing hours of enjoyment!

The girls all like to take turns putting the things together in their own ways and then discussing their creations with each other.

These building toys are also very durable and good quality. We have a couple of sets that we purchased and were given for reviews last year around Christmas time, and after a year of hard play they are none the worse for wear.

We very much enjoy the K'NEX Sesame Street Neighborhood Collection building set that we received from Team Mom for this review, and we are likely to purchase more in the future.

You can find the K'NEX Sesame Street Neighborhood Collection building sets, of which there are 4, on their web site, as well as Target, Walmart, and Toys "R" Us stores.

Additionally, K'NEX is sponsoring a Video Contest in which you have the chance to win $1,000 worth of K'NEX Building Sets. See the official rules for details on how to enter located on their web site.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Book Tour: Lost Mission by Athol Dickson

First the scoop from the back cover.....about the book:
What haunting legacy awaits
deep beneath the barrios and wealthy enclaves of Southern California?

A billionaire driven mad by grief.

A pastor in love with the wrong woman.

An illegal immigrant desperate to feed his family.

Only Lupe de la Garza can save them from the ancient evil lurking in a
lost mission's ruins, but it will take an act of faith beyond all human power.

An idyllic Spanish
mission collapses in the eighteenth century atop the supernatural evidence of a shocking crime. Twelve generations later the ground is opened up, the forgotten ruins are disturbed, and rich and poor alike confront the onslaught of resurging hell on earth. Caught up in the catastrophe are...
· A humble shopkeeper compelled to leave her tiny village deep in Mexico to preach in America
· A minister wracked with guilt for loving the wrong woman
· An unimaginably wealthy man, blinded to the consequences of his grand plans
· A devoted father and husband driven to a horrible discovery that changes everything

Will the evil that destroyed the MisiĆ³n de Santa Dolores rise to overwhelm them? Or will they beat back the terrible desires that led to the
mission's good Franciscan founder's standing in the midst of flames ignited by his enemies and friends alike more than two centuries ago?

From the high Sierra Madre mountains to the harsh Sonoran desert, from the privileged world of millionaire moguls to the impoverished immigrants who serve them, Athol Dickson once again weaves a gripping story of suspense that spans centuries and cultures to explore the abiding possibility of miracles.

About the author:
Athol Dickson is an award-winning author of several novels. His Christy Award-winning novel River Rising was name one of the "Top Ten Christian Novel of 2006" by Booklist magazine. He lives in California with his wife. Find out more about Athol and his books by visiting his

My thoughts:
I thought this was a very good read. It wasn't one of those books that I just couldn't put down until closer to the end, but I still thought it moved quickly and once I neared the end I couldn't read fast enough.

While it was a bit confusing at first, I quickly came to enjoy the way the author paralleled the historical with the modern by flipping from one era to the other within each chapter.

I also really loved the fact that it wasn't tied up all nice, neat, every question answered, in a cute little bow at the end. It certainly makes you think about witnessing to others, greed, the effects of mega churches, immigration, and numerous other issues.

After reading this novel I will definitely check out his other books!

A Contest:
Tweet this and be entered to win signed copies of Athol’s award winning books:

Tweet 4 words that describe Athol Dickson’s #LostMission along with this link:


Athol Dickson’s redemptive tale #LostMission is a MUST read! Gripping story about mistakes and miracles!

(To be clear – to be entered into the contest your tweet must have these 2 elements 1. Athol Dickson’s #LostMission 2. this link:

Thank you, LitFuse, for providing a copy of LostMission for me to review. You can find other reviews of Lost Mission on the blog tour here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Clean+Green Review

Several months ago I was contacted about reviewing some eco-friendly pet odor removing cleaning products. I replied that while I no longer have any pets, I had a house full of newly potty trained little girls. Thankfully, the company, Sea-Yu Enterprises sent me a couple of their different products to try out anyway!

While I am grateful that I haven't had opportunity to use the products exactly as prescribed, Ella and I did a super duper house cleaning one day last week and decided to put the carpet and upholstery cleaner to the test. We removed all the cushions from our couch and loveseat, vacuumed underneath, and then after we replaced them we sprayed both couches down with the Clean + Green product. By the time they dried completely many of the very old stains and every bit of the odor was gone! (Our couches are OLD, and have lived through many years with a great big chocolate lab and more recently 4 young children, so this is really saying a great deal about this products' ability to remove stains and odors!!)

These are fabulous products! I would highly recommend them to anyone with indoor pets, and I'll be sending some to my little sister who has 2 large house dogs very soon!! Thank you Sea-Yu Enterprises for letting us test out a kid/ pet safe Clean+Green product that really works!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ebeanstalk & Plan Toys Activity Bus Review

Choosing quality toys is not easy. However, there is a toy website called ebeanstalk, dedicated to selecting good, safe, educational toys, and learning baby gifts. BUT they need help from moms like me to help pick the toys.

Several weeks ago they sent us an Activity Bus from Plan Toys, a company that makes eco-friendly, wooden toys for the Four Silly Sisters to review. Here is the deal on this toy…

Since it's arrival I've watched as all 3 of the almost 3 year olds here have picked it up to play several times a day. It seems to be a pretty fun addition to their toy collection. They drive it from one doll house to the other, and then open it to play with the little school house inside. It is durable and made from quality materials. They love setting up all the desks in rows and playing with the 2 little people that were included. While it isn't something that I would have thought to purchase on my own, it appears to be a big hit with my crew. Who knew?? Well, I guess that's what ebeanstalk is for, right?

If you are stumped as to what toys to look for and purchase for grand children, nieces, nephews, friends children, or even your own, check out ebeanstalk where you'll find lots of age appropriate options.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Religion Saves: Book Review

After reading no non-fiction aside from child rearing books for nearly a year, I eagerly volunteered to read Mark Driscoll's latest book, Religion Saves and Nine Other Misconceptions. I was intrigued by the title and even more so by the concept behind the book. Based on Corinthians 1 and the series of questions that the Corinthians asked Paul, Driscoll set out to determine the most controversial questions among visitors to his church. To that end, Driscoll took a poll via his Mars Hill Church website and received 893 questions and over 300,000 votes to determine the top 9 questions people have regarding Christianity.

Driscoll gives tons of biblical quotes and lots of personal insights and thoughts on each of the following issues: birth control, humor, predestination, grace, sexual sin, faith and works, dating, the emerging church, and the regulative principle, after a brief introductory chapter debunking the idea that religion is what saves us.

While not the type of book I would probably have ever picked up on my own, it is full of convicting, encouraging, and even shocking information that could possibly be helpful to have around should someone ever come to me with any of these tough questions. Having read through it, I believe I'll eventually go online and watch the sermons that each of the chapters was based on. You can go *here* to read or listen to an excerpt from the book.

About the author from the website:

Mark Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, one of the fastest-growing churches in America. He is president of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network and is the author of several books, including Vintage Jesus.

Pastor Mark preaches on Sunday, trains pastors, and writes curriculum. Mark is married to his high school sweetheart, Grace, and they enjoy raising their three sons and two daughters. More about Mark here!

Driscoll is both biblically sound and culturally relevant.... a difficult balance to manage.

The schedule for the blog tour is available *here* in case you'd like to read what others have to say about this book.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Leslie Patricelli Children's Books

Many books already adorn our children's bookshelves, but we received a couple of very cute additions last week for review from Team Mom. Leslie Patricelli is a wonderful children's book author, but I believe her illustrations and ingenuity are the reason my girls enjoy her books so much.

Baby Happy Baby Sad is one of the few books about her cute bald baby character that we didn't already own. In this series of books the happy little baby explores many different types of contrasts including: No No No Yes, Yummy Yucky, Big Little, and Quiet Loud. These books are great for babies and younger toddlers! I enjoyed sharing these books with my girls when they were younger because the seemed to really love the simple concepts and brilliant illustrations.

We also got to preview a copy of Higher! Higher! which is brand new on the shelves now and great for the older toddler/ preschool age group. All the girls are enjoying this ingenious picture book. With few words and awesome illustrations, the girls are able to "read" it themselves. Creativity is huge here with the Four Silly Sisters, and this book enforces the idea that there is no limit to the possibilities of a child's imagination.

All these very cute books are available through Candlewick Press. Thank you Team Mom and Leslie Patricelli... the Four Silly Sisters really love adding to their reading collection with excellent quality books!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Skin MD Natural

Wow, in an effort to clear my desk and mind of all distractions before I go to the airport to pick up Scott in the morning, I ran across the info for a review that I almost let slip through the cracks. The product is a really great shielding lotion called Skin MD Natural. I've been using it for the past month or so, and here are some of my thoughts:

I love that I can use it for both my face and body and the fact that it contains SPF 15. It's small 4oz bottle is easily transported for use on the go. I remember being surprised by how far a little bit really does go when I first started using it. While the product's website and many other reviewers claim that it has no smell, I found that there was a slight sunscreen scent when first applied, but it goes away pretty quickly. In addition, it goes on smooth and doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy or weighed down like some lotions do. Best of all, it really works!! My skin is not nearly as dry and damaged as it usually is this time of year.

There is quite a bit of good information on the company's website regarding the difference in moisturizing lotion and shielding lotions; I won't reiterate all that here. I do suggest, however, if you have dry, winter ravaged skin like me and you are looking for a natural skin care product that really works, you go to Skin MD and check it out!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Qlubb Review

Team Mom asked me to try out this new online service for planning and managing real life groups called Qlubb. Tonight I finally had a chance to sit down and look it over. I decided that I would use the service to set up an online site for my weeknight Bible study group. We are a varied group of women, some of whom work outside the house, some married, some moms, and some not. Email is usually the communication tool that we use, but that can be tedious and can clog up an inbox on an especially busy day.

With Qlubb you can:
Eliminate back and forth emails
Avoid reminding (nagging?) everyone about events and responsibilities
Easily delegate tasks to group members
Create a secure website for your group

I found the site very easy to maneuver. In no time I had created a site for us, made a calendar with our upcoming events (including a trip to the beach... woohoo), asked for volunteers to lead the next session, and invited all the other ladies to join our Qlubb group.

I think will truly simplify things for me as the group leader and person generally in charge of drafting and keeping up with the email strings before. I am eager to hear how the other gals enjoy the new system, and I'm excited about the fact that the site belongs to all the group members and we're all free to make changes as needed there.

Thanks Team Mom for the opportunity to test drive something on the web that may just simplify my life!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mr. Random Says...

Commenter #3 penguinmom is our winner. Please email me at foursillysisters (at) gmail (dot) com by 5 pm Friday the 30th with your mailing address to claim your prize. Otherwise I will ask Mr. Random to pick again! Thanks for playing and enjoy reading National Security Mom.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

National Security Mom Book Review and Giveaway

Before strep throat descended on our house, I was almost finished reading a fabulous book by Gina M. Bennett. Now that the meds have kicked in and I no longer feel like I am dying by strep throat, I was able to finish it tonight. Thank you to the folks at Mom Select and Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing for the opportunity to read, review, and give away a copy of National Security Mom.

I was intrigued by the title, and wondered really how interested I would be in anything regarding National Security. In fact, I only agreed to review so that I could have something new to discuss with my husband who is currently serving in Iraq.... he knows a thing or two about National security. On the other hand, I am someone who admittedly knows very little about current events, much less National Security and foreign policy. I can say that this book was incredibly easy to read and understand even for someone like me. I think it will appeal to all moms.

Here's the book's description from their website:

"How Do We Solve Our National Security Challenges? In the wake of the war on terrorism, it seems today’s parents are constantly bombarded with news of the latest threats and messages of fear. But how do we achieve national security or even protect our children when we feel so insecure?
National Security Mom, by 20-year veteran of the intelligence community and mother of five, Gina Bennett, answers this burning question through an insider perspective on national security and a unique “soft” approach to achieving it.National Security Mom examines how many of the age-old, practical lessons we teach our children, such as “clean up your mess,” “tell the truth” and “don’t give in to a bully,” apply to the covert intelligence approach to national security. Through these comparisons, Bennett empowers America’s parents to engage with confidence in the national security debate and reinforces the fact—true and lasting security is a nationwide effort that begins at home."

In her book, Bennett ultimately challenges us as parents to engage in action...whether just in the ways we teach our children at home or through the PTA, Home Owners Association, Mayor, City Council, etc, and teach our children to be good citizens thereby preparing them to be our nation's leaders.

The publishers have offered a hardcover copy of the book National Security Mom to one reader here. Just leave a comment by noon EST on Thursday January 29th on this post. Be sure I can reach you via email in case you are the winner. The book will ship out to the winner the first week of February. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No-Cry Nap Solutions.... Winner

The No-Cry Nap Solution is such a great book that I wish I could give copy to each of you who commented.... it's that good, really!

However, I only have one copy for one winner, and courtesy of Random Integer Generator that winner is:

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:9
Timestamp: 2009-01-22 03:27:44 UTC

Comment number 9 belongs to my friend and fellow baby buncher Lindsey! Her kiddos will be about a year apart once the new little gal arrives. Her oldest is not quite 9 months yet. It is of the utmost importance that big brother learn to be a great napper!

I am thrilled that Lindsey will now have the chance to read this awesome book and hopefully get some great ideas to help Luke become a champion napper before little Miss Nora is born. Congratulations Lindsey!

***Edited to add- There is something weird going on with Blogger and the time stamp. The time is now 10:50pm on my computer (and watch), but the time stamp for blogger says 7:28. I don't know what's up, but I just wanted to clarify that I did wait until 10pm to stop comments and go to for our winner! Sorry for any confusion. Anybody else noticing weird things with Blogger tonight?

Friday, January 16, 2009

No Naps, No More- No-Cry Nap Solutions Review and Giveaway

It's no secret on our family blog that the trio has not been napping well. In fact, I'd done nothing productive during the daylight hours for the past, oh two weeks, I'd say because of the fact that I was exhausted. It's not that they weren't sleeping at night, it's just the incredible energy zapping affect that their constant whining, crying, and tearing the house down like little cyclones between the hours of their supposed "rest time" and bed time was having on me.

We used to have a great schedule. The girls would all four go to bed between 7 and 8 pm and sleep until around 7:30am. Just before Christmas everyone got sick, and good sleeping was a thing of the past! Then after they recovered we still had the crazy holiday hours to contend with, and then weeks after said holidays we had still not quite gotten our groove back.

My typical MO for fixing things where the girls are concerned is to read everything I can get my hands on and then to meld all the information into a plan that I think will work for us. After simply reading Elizabeth Pantley's newest book, the no-cry nap solution, I had enough ideas and resolve to put down the books and get to work, already.

Hers is not a book full of puffed up "you have to do this or else...", but instead a gentle, real-life mother of 4, who knows from reality that what works for one kid or family may or may not work for another. I really appreciate the fact that she encourages people to choose some of the suggestions to begin working with, stick to them for a while, and then evaluate if it is working FOR YOUR FAMILY. If not, try something else. It's that simple.

In a sleep deprived parental state, it is often easy to overlook basic things that might be keeping kids from sleeping, so to have this book as a resource has been very handy. Since Ella was an infant I've been reading everything I could about children and sleep. A great deal of this info has not exactly been intuitive for me.... many of the principles I've had to see happening to believe. For example, when my girls go to be later than they should, they almost always wake up even earlier than normal. Does this make sense to me? No. Is that how it always happens here? Yes. And then there's the overtired= can't get themselves to sleep because they are too tired scenario. I would never have believed either of these had I not lived them first hand. Re-reading some of the basics about children and their sleep requirements was all the encouragement I needed to forge ahead and fix my current problem: Three two year olds in the house and not one of them was napping.

I was able to use the chapter on Nap Resisters- children who need a nap but won't take one, and discover why they girls weren't napping , make a plan with the suggestions provided, and then follow through until they are now all three napping again! Nothing short of a miracle if you ask me. I hesitate to even type it for fear of jinxing myself, but today was day 3 of a good 2 hour afternoon nap for Maggie, Kate, and Sarah.

If, like me, you are struggling with one (or three) two year olds who are prematurely trying to give up naps, or even if you just have children and want easy to read, good information about their general sleep requirements, I highly recommend Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry books. You can buy them online at amazon and Barnes and Noble.

...... and because I got so many comments and emails from commiserating moms of multiples when I began mentioning our nap woes, I asked for an extra copy of this book to give away to one of you lucky readers. Just leave me a comment on this post telling me a little bit about your successes or failures with getting your kiddos to sleep if you want to enter. I'll let choose from among the entries at around 10pm on Wednesday the 21st. Be sure to leave a valid email address in case selects you. The winner will receive an autographed copy of the No-Cry Nap Solution directly from Elizabeth Pantley.

Sweet dreams,

Friday, January 2, 2009

We Have a Winner

Wow, I win the most terrible blogger award over here... it's been 2 weeks now since I posted this contest, and I almost forgot to go to to pick the winner today!?!?

I said, almost...

The winner of the $10 Bear Bucks Gift Card is commenter number 9, Janelle.

True Random Number Service
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:9
Timestamp: 2009-01-03 00:22:37 UTC

Janelle, please email me at foursillysisters *at* gmail *dot* com with your mailing address so I can get your prize to you. I realize that you have email in your blogger profile, but I'm having some technical difficulties.