Aug 132016

QK_ravuit_buttonAs far as inspirational people go, they don’t come much “bigger” than this little girl:  Phiona Mutesi.

As the book points out, calling Phiona “the ultimate underdog:

To be African is to be an underdog to the world.  To be Ugandan is to be an underdog in Africa.  To be from Katwe is to be an underdog in Uganda.  To be a girl is to be an underdog Katwe.

The story is truly amazing, and a hard one to tell to an American audience, since the conditions of Phiona’s life are truly so far from anything that we can actually imagine as “daily life”.

Somehow, though, the book didn’t “wow” me.  Having heard about the story, I kept reading because I wanted to know… But I didn’t keep reading because I was captivated by the story as it was being told to me.  Only the last quarter of the book or so actually kept me turning pages and not wanting to put it down.

The video trailer for the upcoming Disney movie gives you an idea of just how much “feels” there are to this story.  And maybe the movie will have an easier time of holding out attention while it paints the picture for us.

You can find out more about Phiona, and the amazing ministry that first reached out to her, at this special website put together by Sports Outreach.

I received a copy of the book free from the Ravu Collective / BuzzPlant for review purposes.  As always, my opinions are solely my own, and no other person has any say in what I write in my reviews, nor am I compensated for them.

Jun 232014

renaissance hatIt’s always fun when we have the opportunity to review a costume from They have a great selection, and my kids enjoy dress-up at any time of year.

This latest was the Renaissance Peasant Boy Costume.

Ummm, that’s R.T. not wearing the hat correctly.  (And their stock photo of the costume if you do get it all on your child at once)

Wolf and I have a substantial investment in our Renaissance Faire costumes, which we have been building up for decades.  Kids, though, grow so fast that it just doesn’t make sense.

renaissance boyIf you’re not crafty (like me!), these inexpensive, cute, and comfortable costumes are a great way to go.

You can find Anytime Costumes on all the usual social media outlets these days.  Give them a follow to find out about sales and new arrivals:



Disclosure: I received one or more complimentary products or services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it on my website and/or in social media. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe may be good products/services for my readers. I disclose this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

May 262013

You probably know by now that we’re Star Trek fans in our house. Last year, the kiddos even had a Star Trek birthday, complete with a Borg Cube cake that was my first foray into fondant, and very stressful!

Although we haven’t seen the new movie (and weren’t big fans of its predecessor, being fans of the classic stuff), it is definitely nice that the publicity has generated a new wave of fun Trek stuff.

I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to review something from the array of Star Trek Costumes out there. To be sure we’re in compliance with the new FTC rules, let me state here that I was given the costume pieces we’re about to discuss for free, for the purpose of writing this review; full details are at the bottom of the post.

The kids already had their costumes from the party (see first photo), so they opted for some accessories – cool phasers! Trek fans may note that the costumes are from the new movie, while the phasers are from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The kids don’t seem to mind. :)

Battery powered. Cool noises. What more could you ask for?

I received the referenced items for review purposes. I was not compensated in any way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone.
I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.

Jan 012013

[By Wolf]

Have you ever had that feeling of flavor filled nostalgia?

We recently took a trip to Disney World and had a wonderful time. During all of our planning we each thought about what things we really wanted to do that would make us feel satisfied after the vacation was over. One thing on the list was to go have pineapple Dole Whip at the Tiki Room.

Well, we did have some Dole Whip at the Magic Kingdom and to our extreme satisfaction, we were able to have it 3 times. We found that the Polynesian Resort had self serve Dole Whip at one of its eateries. There we created MOUNT DOLE WHIP.

Now it’s in our brain … and taste buds. We are looking for Mr. Dole Whip.

I tried a recipe tonight that left us wanting. It tasted more like pineapple ice cream. It wasn’t tangy enough and was too creamy and too sweet.

The recipe used:

1 quart of pineapple juice
3 cups of whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 cups of sugar
and top it off with milk

The family all agreed that it was really good pineapple ice cream, but not the elusive Dole Whip.

So, the search continues. Perhaps we need to start with a sherbet or sorbet recipe?

 Posted by at 7:08 pm
Nov 302012

Advent begins on Sunday (December 2nd)!

As I’ve posted previously, last year I purchased the inexpensive eBook Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands after reading a friend’s recommendation on Facebook.

It’s set up to be a Christmas ornament each day, but we decided to modify things a little and make each project into one page of an Advent Book. I’ve had several people ask me about it, so I wanted to do this follow-up post and show you what I mean.

Shown are Day #2 – Kingdom (by Jewel), and Day #3 – Zacharias (by R.T., with writing by Mama).

I had some heavier-weight paper/cardstock that we had purchased to print greeting cards. It came in four colors, and the kids decided to do multi-colored books. I think having the heavier weight (rather than just paper) is a good call, since some of the projects do have a bit of mass to them. Color is entirely a matter of preference, of course.

A gracious friend gave us some “pocket” 3-ring binders, so that they could do a piece of artwork on plain paper and just slip it in. Obviously, the options for decorating your covers are endless.

We didn’t get all the way through with our Advent projects, and (as you can see) the covers need to be done as well. This year December will be VERY full, so I think finishing up the boos we started last year is a realistic plan.

This year, in addition to the eBook itself, you can purchase a set of printable ornaments from Truth in the Tinsel.

This would speed up the process, be more portable (to work on while travelling, etc.), and also help with the “flattening” if you want to do a book like we did.

However you choose to celebrate the season, I pray that you will remember to keep your focus on “the Reason for the season.”

I received some of referenced items for review purposes, and may earn commission for purchases made through my links (thank you!). I was not compensated in any way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone. I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.

Dec 022011

We are so excited to be doing an Advent devotional this year! I’ve been trying to get my act together enough to do this for a couple of years now.

I was delighted to find a friend’s recommendation on Facebook, and I eagerly purchased (inexpensively!) Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands.

The book has an easily broken-down shopping list of supplies – most of which are things you’re likely to have around the house anyway (or can substitute for such things).

Each day has a Scripture reading, tagged to a “clue” that the kids find in their Advent Calendar (several options for how to do that).

Then there’s a fun craft project for the kids to do, along with some other discussion ideas for you to use (or not, or as you see fit).

The projects are set up to be done as a series of Christmas Tree ornaments, but for a variety of reasons, we’ve decided not to go that route.

We’re going to “flatten” everything, and mount each artwork on a sheet of paper. Then each of the kids is going to assemble their 24 projects into an Advent Book (in a 3-ring binder, to give it some protection), which can be stored away in their memory box, or enjoyed again next year, or whatever other use we can think up!

The photo is the Littles at work on Day 1 – a candle, for Jesus, the Light of the World.

I’m not going to post our project each day, partially out of respect for the book’s copyright (go buy one, I tell you!). I’ll post perhaps weekly or so, with the highlights.

Who else is doing something special for Advent?

Aug 302011

A young filmmaker made a movie based on just that question, and it’s called (surprise) Divided.

His question is why our Christian young people are leaving the church at an alarming rate. Why are the much touted – oh yeah, and expensive – “youth ministries” failing?

Through interviews with youth, with youth pastors, and other Christian scholars, he explores what’s going wrong, what the Bible has to say, and what we need to do.

This is something that we talk about often, and feel very strongly about. God calls Fathers to disciple their children, and calls believers (all of them) to gather together in worship.

Get a cup of tea, take an hour, and watch this important movie.

It’s available free online until September 15th – just click the graphic below. (The DVD is also for sale).