Childhood Memories Friday
The other day, I came across this:

World Book Encyclopedia bank

It’s a little bank from my childhood, but my memories are about what it represents: World Book Encyclopedia.

Remember encyclopedias? Remember when you had a question about something, and instead of heading to Google, you actually walked to the shelf of encyclopedias and looked it up?

Yeah, it’s been a while since those days.

I remember people selling encyclopedia sets when I was a child. They came to your house and gave a presentation about how the encyclopedia would be a good investment, and how it would help your kids in school. My parents did buy a set of World Book Encyclopedias, and a set of “Child Craft” books too. All the volumes sat on the living room bookshelves for years, and I consulted them frequently.

If you wanted truly up-to-date information, you’d need to head to the library to look it up in their current set of encyclopedias. Of course, even the information here might be a year or two old. For current information, there was an index of periodicals at the library (it was a pain to use). Hardly a day goes by when I don’t marvel at how easy it is to get information these days. I wonder how much more things will change by the time my kids are my age …

Did you have a set of encyclopedias when you were a child? Do you remember using them for homework?

Candle Prayers for Kids

Candle Prayers for Kids post may contain affiliate links. Thanks to Kregel for a review copy.

Candle Prayers for KidsI have fond memories of listening to Bible stories around the dinner table when I was a child, and more such memories with my own kids. Continuing in that tradition is Candle Prayers for Kids.

This book isn’t a Bible storybook, but an illustrated book of prayers for parents to read through with kids.

The book’s author and illustrator are British, and I picked this up quickly seeing references to mummy, sums, wobbly, etc. I found it rather charming. The illustrations are cute, simple, and colorful.

Each prayer has a different theme. Some are pretty “all-purpose” and could be read anytime. Others are fairly specific, and some even seem so specific that I’m not sure several would ever apply to a certain child. For instance, Sometimes I find my brother really annoying. I get fed up with him or I wanted to be the princess in our class play. All I am going to be is a tree. My friend is the princessPlease help me to be the best tree ever.

Still, I think the book could even make a nice “bedtime story” type book, even if all the prayers don’t apply.

I would use this book as a gift for a toddler’s birthday or Christmas.

Did you have a favorite Bible themed book that your parents read to you, or that you read to your children when they were little?


My middle daughter has been fascinated with hedgehogs ever since seeing them in author Jan Brett’s beautifully illustrated books. When we got serious about looking into pet hedgehogs,  we discovered that it wasn’t as easy as finding a dog or a cat. To begin with, no pet store in our town carried hedgehogs. We learned that in some states they are considered “exotic” animals and cannot be sold.

We had our “Hedgie” for 3 1/2 years before she passed away from a female cancer. Now, my daughter has had a second hedgehog, Georgia, for 3 years. The whole family enjoys our pet hedgehogs a lot. Here are some things to consider if you are interested in hedgehog ownership.

pet hedgehog

Georgia the pet hedgehog bonds with the pet rabbit

  1. Hedgehogs are nocturnal. In other words, your pet will basically sleep when you’re awake and vice versa. Our hedgehog is in a cage in my daughter’s room, and she  spends a lot of the night running on her wheel (and the “Silent Spinner” wheel isn’t so silent!). This resulted in some lost sleep until my daughter got used to it. If you get your hedgie up during the day to “play” and let him recline on you while you read or watch TV, he will usually cooperate. This is important, because if you don’t interact with your hedgehog he will probably not bond well with you. Just make sure you take the initiative to get him up, because he probably won’t do it on his own.
  2. A hedgehog’s food is important. I have learned a lot about feeding hedgies, mainly online. What I have learned is that a high-quality dry cat food is usually a better choice for hedgehogs than food specifically labeled “hedgehog food”. Good choices often mentioned are Chicken Soup for a Cat Lover’s Soul, and Innova. Important things to check are that the protein content should be greater than 20% and the fat content should be between 10 and 20% (often necessitating purchase of the “lite” version). Hedgehogs do better with quality foods that don’t have a lot of fillers. And since hedgehogs usually eat less than 1/4 cup food per day, you can afford to get the “good stuff”. For treats, hedgehogs love to eat live mealworms, which can be purchased at pet stores. If your hedgie is like ours, he would probably gladly eat 10 or more worms at a sitting. But since they are high in fat, it’s best to limit the worms to just one or two a day.
  3. Hedgehogs need a secure cage. Yes, we learned this the hard way … when we bought our hedgehog, we put her in a large plastic bin temporarily. We kept the lid just a bit askew for air circulation. But, one day I came in to check on her in the morning and she had escaped! She had traveled down our hallway and was finally found under a toy truck in another daughter’s room. Make sure your hedgehog’s cage has a secure lid, and also has a small box or “igloo” she can sleep in. Hedgies do like to be cozy and warm. Other necessities for the cage are a wheel since this is a hedgehog’s main means of exercise. We found that a large wheel made of solid plastic worked best for our pet; wire ones have a high potential for little feet getting caught. We put a litter box (actually we use a cereal box cut in half lengthwise) under the wheel and our hedgies use it without many accidents. If you adopt your hedgehog at a young age, she will most likely litter train herself if you provide her with a little tray.

I have found a wealth of hedgehog information online.  We have found hedgehogs to be loving, fun, and unusual pets that always inspire a smile in others. I hope you’ll agree!

hedgehog in cup

Have you ever had a pet hedgehog? Have you known anyone who did?

Linking to Works for Me Wednesday.


September is shaping up to be a busy month at our local Chick-fil-A! Chick-fil-A is a restaurant I love, both its food, its excellent customer service, and its values. If you do too, and if you live in Fort Wayne, Indiana, keep reading.
  • Our Frosted Daddy Daughter Date Night is Monday, September 22 from 5-8PM. The evening includes a visit from a favorite cold-weather princess and a horse and carriage ride for Dads and Daughters. Admission is free, but does not include the cost of food. RSVPs are required for this event. Seatings are at 5PM, 6PM, and 7PM, and RSVPs can be made on Eventbrite. Here is the link for you to sign up. Update: sold out! However, there is a “wait list” button to push, and the restaurant will let you know if additional spots open up.
  • Kaleigh Schrock, Right Wing for the Fort Wayne Komets, will be at the Chick-fil-A Jefferson Pointe from 5:30-7:30PM on Tuesday, Sept 23. He will be signing autographs and posing for pictures during the Komets Squirt AA Spirit Night.
  • Chick-fil-A now accepts mobile payment via smartphones! Guests can download the free app from the Apple AppStore or from GooglePlay (search for “Chick-fil-A” and you’ll find it).
  • Chick-fil-A encourages guests to thank local military personnel. We have thank you cards set up in the store, and we are encouraging guests to write a note and drop it into the card box for our military. We will be giving the cards to the 122nd Fighter Wing.
American Girl dolls in Chick-fil-A

At our house, even the dolls love Chick-fil-A!

Check with your local Chick-fil-A to see what special events they have planned this fall.

menuplanmondayMonday: Grilled Chicken Tex Mex Packets — packet meals are popular here, since they’re so easy to personalize for each person’s tastes.

Tuesday: Sweet and Sour Chicken

Wednesday: make your own pizza — I make the crust, then each person puts their toppings of choice onto their own personal pizza

Thursday: Baked Potato Soup — I haven’t made this recipe yet.

Friday: Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken – looks good.

You’ll notice all my recipes this week come from Pinterest. In case you’re not familiar with how Pinterest works — when you click on the recipe link, it takes you to a picture (“pin”) of the recipe. To see the recipe, just click on the photo and the recipe will open up.  I’m starting to use Pinterest as a type of online cookbook to keep track of recipes we like. Do you use Pinterest much for recipes?

Desserts this week (surprisingly, I’m in a fruity rather than chocolate-y mood …):

Lemon Zucchini Bread

Easiest Pineapple Cake — I’ve made it and it’s delicious

Bolthouse Farms Smoothies

In other food-related news — this beverage is a frequent sight at our house lately (actually, a more common sight is the empty bottle). I discovered Bolthouse Farms Smoothies thanks to a coupon, and now the kids are hooked. Truth be told, I love them too — but in typical Mom fashion, I save them for the kids.

Our favorite is the Strawberry Banana Smoothie. It’s delicious: the 56-oz bottle contains 13 servings of fruit. It tastes so delicious — you really have to taste it to see. They make it so easy for teens to get the fruit they need each day: they feature 100% juice with no added sugar, and the strawberry banana variety contains 100% of the daily Vitamin C requirement, as well as 9% of daily potassium. The juices and smoothies are a bit pricey, but worth it as a healthy splurge. Discover where to buy them near you!

Thanks to Bolthouse Farms for coupons to try their products. With or without coupons, we truly love them!

What are you cooking this week? More menu ideas at OrgJunkie’s.

Dolphin Tale 2

 Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway, and a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and I received no monetary compensation.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Dolphin Tale 2

photo courtesy Propeller Consulting

I might as well come right out and admit it upfront: I’m a sucker for adorable animals. I’m also a sucker for adorable animal movies. So I’m anxiously awaiting Dolphin Tale 2 , about Winter, a bottlenose dolphin living with a prosthetic tail after being caught in a crab trap. She now lives in Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida.


Dolphin Tale 2 continues Winter’s story. She has another difficulty: she’s lonely and needs dolphin companionship. What will happen? I was even tearing up at the trailer:


For homeschoolers (or any parent really; as a parent and former teacher I believe all parents homeschool to some extent), here is a free curriculum based around Dophin Tale 2 activities.


Thanks to FlyBy, one of you can win a prize pack of Dolphin Tale 2 items — a T-shirt and sunglasses! Here they are:
Dolphin Tale 2 t-shirt
Dolphin Tale 2 sunglasses
Enter using the rafflecopter form below by September 19; I’ll choose a random winner September 20. Good luck — and enjoy the movie!

<a Rafflecopter giveaway

#DolphinTale2 #HomeschoolDay2014 & #WinterHasHope

Official Movie Website: http://www.dolphintale2.com
Twitter: @dolphintale

Passenger Pigeon Martha

passenger pigeon Martha

This is Martha. Obviously, she’s a bird, and her pose indicates she’s no longer among the living, but residing in a museum (in this case, the Smithsonian).

What makes Martha special is that she’s the very last of her species ever to live (as a child, I used to have this recurring thought: what if I were the last person on earth? As an introvert, this would be okay for a while, and yet eventually I’d get to the point where I really needed someone to help me, and NO ONE WOULD BE THERE! It was truly terrifying!). Passenger Pigeon Martha experienced that very trauma — being the last of her kind. She died September 1, 1914 — 100 years ago this month.

No one would have predicted this situation in 1814. At that time, there were billions of passenger pigeons in the US. “The air was literally filled with pigeons,” wrote bird lover John James Audubon. “The light of noonday was obscured as by an eclipse, the dung fell in spots, not unlike melting flakes of snow; and the continued buzz of the wings had a tendency to lull my senses to repose.”

So what happened? Hunters discovered the birds and began slaughtering them left and right, for food sold in markets and restaurants. The invention of the telegraph allowed the word to be spread about where large flocks of the birds could be found (sounds like the the telegraph was the social media of the 1800s).

In 1900, Congress passed the Lacey Act to protect endangered species like passenger pigeons, but it was too late for this particular species. That was the final year a passenger pigeon was seen in the wild. For the next 14 years, a few were still living in zoos.

This was where Martha lived — in the Cincinnati Zoo, where she mostly clung quietly to her perch, ignoring zoo visitors who threw sand her way in an attempt to get her to move. A $1000 reward was offered for anyone who could locate a mate for Martha, but no candidates were found.


Fold the Flock Martha Passenger Pigeon origamiNow, in the 100th year since their extinction, efforts are being made to remember the passenger pigeons. Fold the Flock is a fun site for raising awareness of the plight of endangered species, in this case by creating passenger pigeons with origami. I learned about it through an article in the most recent issue of Smithsonian magazine, which included a pull-out version of Martha that I created (with a little help from my better-at-origami daughter). The site hopes to have a flock of a million origami passenger pigeons by the end of the year, and they’re nearly halfway to their goal. What a fun project for teachers, moms, homeschoolers — try it! There are a template and instructions on the site so you can create your own.



Thanks to SheSpeaks/Febreze for sponsoring this post; all opinions my own.

Febreze fall

Well, look at the cuteness that arrived at my doorstep — a Febreze Fall Scentspiration Collection, in an adorable barn box.

I love fall: football games (well, actually the marching band instead of the football …), the beautiful trees, cool evenings, and of course the sumptuous scents of the season.

If you’d like a little help recreating cozy fall scents in your home, Febreze is here to help. Let’s take a look at your options:

#FebrezeFallFebreze Home Harvest Collection

In the blue package is a Febreze Noticeables Warmer. Just plug it in to the wall, pop in a scent refill, and wait for soothing aroma to fill the air. Two scents you might enjoy for fall are Autumn Harvest and Vanilla Latte (seen in the center). The warmer has a unique features: it has chambers for two refills, and it emits the fragrances on an alternating basis for a delightfully complex smell. You can also turn a dial to create the intensity of aroma you’d like — more for a larger room, less for a small one.

To the right, a Febreze Vent Clip for the car in Toasted Almond, because wouldn’t you like your vehicle to smell autumn-fresh too? I love the fresh scent when I open the car door. Febreze eliminates odors so that I only notice fall freshness. Ahhhh …

Febreze Craft Acorn Centerpiece

Febreze also sent lots of fun fall home ideas inspired by their Harvest Collection scents. I’m no Martha Stewart, but this Acorn Centerpiece was easy to pull off. Just fill a glass container with acorns, and lightly mist them with your favorite fall Febreze scent. Top the acorns with a fall flower, or surround them with gourds or leaves.

Oven Baked S'moresNow — don’t worry. I’m not going to suggest that you make s’mores using Febreze ;) (yes, a family member actually wondered about this).

But, the cozy fall scents just might tempt you to make these delicious autumn treats. After I was done using the oven for dinner, I just put a cookie sheet into the still-warm oven, with graham crackers and marshmallows on them. After we were finished with dinner, the marshmallows were melty, and then I just added the chocolate. Yum!

So, now it’s your turn. What scents remind you of fall? Have you tried any of the Febreze Home Harvest Collection yet?


Febreze Website
Febreze on Facebook
Febreze on Twitter




Menu Plan Monday

menuplanmondayMenu Plan Monday has arrived again. Marching band competition season has started here (oldest daughter plays flute), and Saturday was our annual kick-off potluck. It features more delicious food than you can imagine (there are 311 in the band and guard, and all the families pitch in). I brought Homemade Hawaiian Rolls and they disappeared quickly. If you want a good bread recipe, I recommend trying them. Do you know what makes them “Hawaiian”? (I didn’t) — pineapple juice in the recipe!

Here is this week’s menu plan:

Monday: Baked Chicken Chimichangas — I have made these before and they’re good.

Tuesday: — Vegetarian Bean and Barley Vegetable Soup with the rest of the Hawaiian rolls I didn’t bring Saturday

Wednesday: Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole — a favorite around here, and I like it because it’s a crockpot recipe too so it’s great for busy days.

Cheesy Tater Tot casserole crockpotThursday: Crispy Black Bean Fritters with Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce — another new-to-me recipe that looks tasty. Added plus: I have cilantro in the garden. I wish I could keep it going inside during the winter. Has anyone tried that successfully?

Friday: Chicken Meatball Soup — new recipe; looks good. I like soups on the menu because it’s something I can usually put together early in the afternoon. Keeps the house smelling good as it cooks, too …

What are you cooking and eating this week?

Post may contain affiliate links.

I had to interrupt my regular schedule to pop in with a rare Saturday post. Why? I have just learned that next week the Disney Channel will be featuring new episodes of Minnie’s Bow-Toons where Minnie is traveling the globe.

As an Anglophile, I particularly love the theme for Thursday, September 11: Royal Delivery.

Minnie Mouse royal queen

photo courtesy Disney Junior

Minnie and Daisy create a special birthday Bow Hat for the Queen and must find a way to get past the Royal Guards to give it to her.
Minnie Mouse bow toons England royal

photo courtesy Disney Junior

I just love the royal theme! Watch it with your kids and then read them a story about a real-life princess (well, Duchess at least …).


I love the show’s Monday adventure as well — Minnie and Daisy duck take a gondola cruise in Venice, which turns into a rip-roaring ocean adventure. Let’s sneak a peak …

The entire schedule for the week is below:

 Monday September 8 at 11:55 a.m. ET/PT – “Gondola with the Wind”

Tuesday September 9 at 11:55 a.m. ET/PT – “Uh, Oh, Pizza Dough”

Wednesday September 10 at 11:55 a.m. ET/PT – “Fiesta Follies”

Thursday September 11 at 11:55 a.m. ET/PT – “Royal Delivery”

Friday September 12 at 11:55 a.m. ET/PT – “Kabuki Chaos”

I love that Disney is incorporating a bit of geography into their programming. I’d be all over these if my kids were younger. Enjoy traveling with Minnie!