Friday, November 23, 2012

Gus the Elf Arrived - with huge surprises!

Our "elf on the shelf" Gus arrived on Thanksgiving morning with a huge surprise, a 40" HD Samsung TV!  (I don't have a media center yet, so had to put it on an old cedar chest!! ha)...
 
 
Here's our silly elf! 
 
And on morning two, we all got new pajamas!
 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

40th Birthday Celebration

Hubby and I met a several friends on Saturday night for my 40th Birthday Celebration.  We had a blast, and I appreciate all who showed up!!  I still can't believe I am turning 40 this weekend! wow.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Anyone else want to pass on Thanksgiving this year?

Bah humbug!  I am over Thanksgiving this year.  Usually, it's my favorite time of year, but our plans keep changing over and over, and I am just...well, kind of over it. 


You see, each year we usually travel to see my parents in Louisiana, but that changed last year, when my kids started school.  My kids only get 3 days off school, and it's just such a LONG trip for only 5 days.  So last year, my parents came to see us in Florida.  It was nice.

So on to this year.... 

Plan A. My parents promised to come back this year, but at the last minute their plans changed.

Plan B.  A friend and her family (including 3 kids) were coming over.  I had crafts planned, and was looking forward to visiting with them. However, they decided to go out of town to see her parents.

Plan C.  Mother in law and two sister in laws coming over.  And a person actually offered to deep fry our turkey.  Great, sounds perfect.  Well, that only lasted a few days.  Now, one sister in law is heading out of town, and my turkey fryer is going out of town as well.

Seriously, I don't even want to celebrate this year.  I don't even like turkey anyways.  Sorry to be such a downer, when I should be thankful...but I am just sad that everyone keeps changing their plans...and deep down, I really just want to be in Louisiana with my folks!  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I LOVE Curious George, and had to share this research!

NEW CONCORD EVALUATION GROUP STUDY FINDS THAT CURIOUS GEORGE EPISODES AND TV TIE-IN BOOKS LEAD TO SIGNIFICANT GAINS IN SCIENCE AND MATH SCORES FOR KIDS 4-5
 
 
 
Report also shows that parents who read or watched CURIOUS GEORGE with their kids became more confident about supporting their children's science and math learning
 
(Concord, MA, November 14, 2012) A new study conducted by the New England-based Concord Evaluation Group (CEG) has determined that children who watched episodes of the Curious George PBS KIDS television series or read books based on the Curious George PBS KIDS series were positively impacted in terms of their knowledge about the science and math concepts covered.

The study also found that Curious George TV tie-in books prompted children to use scientific habits of mind, such as making predictions, making observations, asking questions, and hypothesizing. It also indicated that parents who read or watched Curious George with their children reported feeling more confident about exploring science and math with their children and reported they were more motivated to do so.

"Science, math, and engineering sound scary, even to adults," said CEG Senior Researcher Christine Paulsen, PHD. "As preschoolers, it's a very different thing. They're learning how to explore, they're learning how to be curious. Across all platforms, Curious George is an educational winner for kids."

The long-running, top-rated PBS KIDS television series, which airs weekdays on PBS stations across the country (check local listings), is designed to inspire kids to explore science, math, and engineering in the world around them in a fun and entertaining way. Based on the best-selling books published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the TV series and tie-in books encourage inquiry and curiosity, promote hands-on exploration, and show parents and caregivers how to support children's science, engineering, and math-related play.

STUDY METHODOLOGY:
CEG's study employed the use of a rigorous, experimental research design to evaluate the impact of the Curious George TV tie-in books on children's (ages 4-5) knowledge of science and math concepts such as measurement, hibernation, colors, and weather. CEG also studied the impact of the Curious George television episodes on children's knowledge of buoyancy, sound, sorting, and plant life. Content for the book group and television group differed, so no comparisons can be made between how the two groups performed.
Families were recruited from preschools across the country and eligible families were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups or a control group. Study participants included 155 families representing 31 different states. Families received books and/or episodes on DVD for their participation. Families across the treatment and control groups were equivalent in terms of the children's age, gender, ethnicity, household socioeconomic status, parent education, prior exposure to Curious George, family interest in science and math activities, and children's curiosity about science and math.

KEY STUDY FINDINGS:
  • Children who watched the Curious George episodes and read the Curious George TV tie-in books scored significantly higher on science and math concepts covered.
  • The study found that children who watched the Curious George episodes scored better on a test of the science and math concepts covered (i.e., buoyancy, sound, sorting, and plant life) than children who did not watch the episodes. Children who read the Curious George TV tie-in books also scored better on a test of the science and math concepts covered in the books (i.e., measurement, hibernation, colors, and weather) than children who did not read the books.
  • Curious George enabled parents to become more comfortable helping their children learn science and math.
  • The majority of parents whose children watched the episodes (86%) or read the TV tie-in books (84%) reported that Curious George helped them feel more confident that they could help their children learn about science and math.
To access the complete study findings online, including an executive summary, please visit pbskids.org/curiousgeorge/research

About the Concord Evaluation Group (CEG)
Concord Evaluation Group (CEG) is a small, woman-owned, consulting practice based in MA providing independent research and evaluation services to organizations that create educational TV shows, outreach campaigns, curricula, informational websites, and educational technology applications. CEG's mission is to use its research expertise to have a positive impact on individuals and society. CEG routinely evaluates projects funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education as well as state education agencies and private organizations.
Curious George and related characters, created by Margret and H.A. Rey are copyrighted and trademarked by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and used under license. Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLP. Television series: ©2012. Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
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Apparently, I'm Pregnant

Well, apparently I'm pregnant.  My sweet 7-year old daughter had nothing to share during prayer time at school this week, so decided to announce, "My mama is having a baby!". 

She knew it was not true, and decided to tell me after school.  However, it was too late.  Classmates had already gone home and told their parents, and the rumor mill had begun. 

Pretty funny, in hindsight.  I did make my daughter apologize to the teacher, and I think she learned an (embarrassing) lesson on telling lies.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Crhistmas Sweepstakes: $500 gift card

 
The "Be the Hands and Feet of Jesus" Christmas Sweepstakes is an opportunity for constituents to promote Operation Christmas Child to their friends and also win a $500.00 gift card plus Focus on the Family resources for their family, and name another family to receive the same Christmas blessing (gift card + resources). 
 

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Skin is going NUTS right now: Rosacea or Acne??

derma e Tea Tree & E Antiseptic CremeAbout two weeks ago, my face started breaking out with little tiny whiteheads.  I would wake up to find 10 on my chin, and now it's gotten worst.  I wake up to about 30 tiny white pus-filled pimples on my face everyday. Yes, gross, I KNOW!  (I haven't changed any facial cleaners, makeup, detergent, hairspray, etc).  My husband also noticed that my neck and chest constantly looked red and sunburned.

I went to my primary care doctor who said it was probably a bacterial acne, and he prescribed Tetracyclicne antibiotics.  But they gave me heart palpitations/flutters, so I only took them for 4 days.

I am not sure if I have adult acne (maybe hormonal), Rosacea, or an allergic rash! I have been searching online to self-dx but can't seem to find an exact answer.  (And I can't see dermatologist for another two weeks!) I did get some relief from Hydro-Cortisone cream over the weekend, but I know I can't use that long term, so this morning I ran to Whole Foods and found this great homeopathic cream, derma e's Tea Tree and E Antiseptic Creme

Immediately out of the store, I put some on my chest and neck...and WOW, it's so soothing and my skin is looking better already.  The only downside is that for the first few minutes, I smelled like a medicine chest (ha). 

Anyhow, I am pleased to find something "natural" and sure hope it continues to give me relief! I had not heard of this brand (Derma e) but definitely plan to buy more of their products.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Sneak Peek of the New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom

We were so fortunate today to be able to attend a "dress rehersal" at Disney World's New Fantasyland. This is a great new area for Belle and Arial. (It doesn't officially open until December 9th, I believe).

The new "Be Our Guest Restaurant"  - but good luck trying to get reservation as they are filled up for months, but the menu looks devine!

 Gaston's Tavern
 
Gaston and my son showing their muscles!
 
Unfortunately my camera battery died right before entering "Enchanted Tales with Belle" but the kids really enjoyed the interactive story time.
 
 
Outside of "Under the Sea" - Little Mermaid New Ride

The seats are "clam shells" (similar to the NEMO ride seats at EPCOT)

 The end of the ride/last scene...the ride is SO CUTE, great music, just FUN all around.
 
Arial's Grotto - photo time

 
It's just beautiful - and MAGICAL - in the new area. My kids loved it. 
I can't wait to go back again soon. 

New "Circus Theme" Characters at Magic Kingdom

My kids were off school today so we hit Magic Kingdom.  We were able to do several NEW things today, including a visit to "Pete's Silly Slideshow".  Basically four of Mickey's best friends--Donald, Goofy, Daisy and Minnie--are dressed up in magical costumes. Very cute. 
 
Donald Duck

Daisy Duck

Minnie Mouse

And Goofy!

Monday, November 05, 2012

JCP continues to amaze me; Shoes for 25-cents!

Hubby needed some new dress shoes for work, so we headed to JCPenney.  While there I noticed a clearance rack of men's shoes.  There was a great pair of brown leather sandals in my hubby's size on sale for $12.00 (orginally $25).  When the sales clerk scanned the price they rang up for $0.25.  Yes, a quarter.  She said to me, "I have seen shoes ring up for a $1 before but never a quarter!"