Win a Vera Bradley Backpack!

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I don’t know about you, but we’re going to need some new backpacks before the fall.
Would You like to win a Vera Bradley Campus Backpack?  There will be 95 winners!
Winners can pick from the following colors: Pink Swirls, Ziggy Zinnia, or African Violet.
Each backpack is valued at $109.
Enter the giveaway by heading to  and submitting your email address on the form at the top of this page.

You will also receive an exclusive coupon code for $20 off $75!
The giveaway ends Wednesday, July 9th at 9:00 PM ET.

The winners will be chosen via a lottery drawing on Thursday (7/10) and notified via the email address they used to enter.

Here’s the link to enter!

(Disclosure:  this post contains affiliate links.)

Read a Great Story by Diana Waring

Diana Waring

 

Here is a great story by Diana Waring.  She has written a fun American history through folk songs curriculum called Experience History Through Music that I’ll be sharing about next week!  (And she’s part of an awesome giveaway of over $700 worth of Homeschool products!)

From Diana:
So, more back story. . .this one brings us up to the present—with a bit of a miracle thrown in!

Sometime in the mid 1990s, the partnership that had produced “America,” “Westward Ho!” and “Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder,” decided that it was time to let a “real” publisher take over. So, we signed contracts with a company that was quite large in the homeschooling movement at the time. We were excited to have others taking over the day-to-day details, as I had moved from the Portland area to South Dakota, and this was going to make things so much easier for us all.

However, when this business went bankrupt in the late 1990s, something happened that was past my comprehension. I still don’t know why, but when they declared bankruptcy they simply threw everything in the dumpster—including our masters. When I heard this, it utterly devastated me. These wonderful projects were gone, and to reproduce this again seemed too hard without the audio masters. Between having to start over from scratch with all of the images and graphic design and having no audio masters, I thought the entire project was gone forever.

People would ask us about them from time to time, as they had read about them, or heard of them, or had owned the original cassette tapes, but we always told them sadly, “I don’t think they will ever come back into print.”

Then, several years ago, Gena Suarez of The Old Schoolhouse contacted me to see if we might have any remaining stock of this product. She had heard of a family who had gone through a fire and lost everything, and her company was trying to help them rebuild their lives. I guess that the mom specifically talked about these American folk music in history books/audios, and this prompted Gena’s call to me.

I contacted the former partner who owned the recording studio to see if he, perchance, had somehow saved the audio files to digital. At the time, Tad was quite busy with other things, but he told me that he thought he might have saved a FEW songs. Since it didn’t sound promising, I thought it was probably a dead end. And I was sad all over again. It seemed like such a waste of a really fun product, that families had thoroughly enjoyed for years!
And, of course, these were the first books I had ever written. . .

Why I tried again two years ago is a mystery to me. I just took the notion to contact Tad once more and ask if he had discovered whether or not he had saved any of the songs. This time, as we talked, Tad realized that there were possibly some ways he could “pull out” the recordings from the antiquated DAT machines. However, he was in the midst of some medical issues, and was not sure how much time he would have to devote to the project.

It took two years. And then, suddenly, I had an email in my inbox. The songs had ALL been digitally restored, remastered for CD, and were ready to go!! I could hardly believe my eyes. After fifteen years, these products were going to have a new life.

I can hardly describe what this means to me, personally. But, maybe I can share with you what happened a few months ago to illustrate. Our business phone rang one day, and a woman began excitedly talking to my husband. As he heard what she was saying, he suggested that I would like to hear her story directly. When I took the phone, this is what she said:

“Diana, I met you fourteen years ago at a convention. When I told you that our family absolutely LOVED ‘Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder,’ you told me what had happened when the publisher threw your masters away. You asked me to pray that somehow it would all be restored. . . And, I have been praying!! Each time I walked by the cassette tape, I was reminded to pray. . . for FOURTEEN years!!”

She went on to say that she had just read on social media that the products were coming back into print, and she was so excited to see that her prayers were finally being answered. Together, we shared a few tears and a few amazed words of joy at what was taking place before our very eyes.

And, now, YOU are all a part of this restoration!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

After Diana posted this on her Facebook page she received this message:

“That lady with the house fire was ME! We so miss our “Yankee Doodle Tells A Tale” cassette! I’m so excited about the launch! My first round of kids loved these and now we are homeschooling our second round since we adopted two little ones out of foster care and I know they are going to love these songs, too.”

Can you believe it??? For all of these years, I have wished that I could give the three books/CDs to this woman, but I never knew her name and I didn’t have the products!!

So, please check back next week to read about these wonderful products of Diana’s.  I’m sure your family will love them as well!

New Sponsor: Homejoy- House Cleaning Atlanta

AMB BADGE

 

I have a new sponsor today:  Homejoy Atlanta which does house-cleaning in the Atlanta area.  If you live around there, be sure to check them out!

Thanks to Homejoy for supporting I Choose Joy!

How to Become #CartonSmart!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carton Smart for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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I was excited recently to be introduced to Tetra Pak cartons.  I received 3 different food items that were not packed in cans, but in Tetra Pak cartons.  

These foods are great for making your holiday meals, whether it's soup using organic chicken stock

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cookies,

pumpkin pie,

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green bean casserole,

or simply having a lovely cranberry loaf on your table.

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The package of Cranberry also had a great recipe on it for making Cranberry Pecan Crunch Squares.  Yum!  I'm going to make it next week.

I used the package of Organic Pumpkin Puree to make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins for my boys to take to their early morning band party.  They turned out really yummy!  There is also a recipe for pumpkin pie on that package.

Here's my recipe:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

(makes about 24 large muffins)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 t. baking soda

2 T. pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 t. salt

1/2 cup butter (softened)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla

16 oz. package Pacific Organic Pumpkin Puree

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Mix dry ingredients (first 4 listed) in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Alternately add some of the flour mixture and the pumpkin puree, mixing well after each addition. After thoroughly mixed, stir in the chocolate chips.  Fill muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees.  

Why Tetra Pak cartons are pantry stables for those that enjoy living smart: 

• Tetra Pak® cartons are made of 70% paper, a renewable resource, from selectively harvested, re-grown trees that are FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) 

• Cartons use 1/3 of the packaging compared to cans…or even an egg! 

• Cartons are space saving, easy to store and open. Keep your pantry neat and toss your can openers, stackable and space saving. 

• The unique packaging process preserves the flavor and nutrients of food without the use of preservatives.Product quality is exactly the way it was intended to be. 

• Recycleable and in fact result in 60% less landfill waste than cans 

• Cartons are re-closable so you can use what you need and save the rest for later.

See how the packages open? 

Be #cartonsmart and follow along with Carton Smart's social pages:

Become Carton Smart

Tweet @CartonSmart

Follow #CartonSmart on Pinterest to see some "Smart" ideas!

 

Leave a comment below of how you are trying to live #CartonSmart this holiday season, with great tasting food, but less waste!

Visit Sponsor's Site

May Flowers Giveaway Announcement Post

May Flowers Giveaway Event Announcement Post
Famous Free Samples’ May Flowers Giveaway Event

Sign-ups are now open for this great new giveaway event!

  • Event is free to join with an announcement post. If you don’t wish to post the announcement, please send the $5 non-post fee to tiphero@gmail.com
  • You’ll receive 1 free link for participating (either Twitter or Pinterest)
  • Additional links (RSS/Email, Twitter and Pinterest) are available for $5 each
  • Sign-ups for this event end on April 29th
  • Event runs from May 1 – 15
  • Prize: $100 Home Depot gift card

Please send all payments to tiphero@gmail.com as a “gift” via PayPal.
Sign up for this event here.

Curves– Get a Free Consultation

 

 

Do you have a Curves nearby?  Get a free consultation!

More details:

Welcome! You’re just three quick steps away from burning more fat than diet alone!

This year, be the star in your own Success Story. Every day, women who thought they couldn’t get fit find out that they can at Curves. Burn up to 500 calories with our 30-minute workout, which combines strength training and cardio for a workout that works your entire body–from head to toe. It works every major muscle group and gives you results that last. Now’s the time to take the first step toward YOUR success.

* The consult is absolutely FREE!
* Your personal information is PROTECTED.
* Curves Complete is the ONLY whole solution to weight loss.

Some restrictions may apply. Valid only at participating locations in the US and Canada.

(Post contains affiliate links.)

 

Funny Friday–Beware of the Doghouse!

Did any of you receive a Christmas gift like this?

(Click through to my website if you don’t see the video.”

 

Six Months Old!

Today our sweet baby E turned 6 months old!  She has been such a fun baby.  All her brothers and sisters love her so much.  She is never lacking in attention!  Here are a few pictures to see how she’s grown.

By the way, I’ve never mentioned that she was born with a hemangioma birthmark on her right arm and hand.  You can see somewhat in the pictures how it has changed in the last 6 months.  It has already started to fade and should be completely gone by the time she is 10 years old, if not sooner.  It doesn’t hurt her at all.

Also, she started out with brown hair.  It all fell out, and is now growing in blonde!

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Circle of Moms Top 25 Big Family Blog

Thanks for your votes, everyone!  We made it!

God’s Beautiful Sky

These photos were taken by my second son.
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Circle of Moms Top 25 Big Family Blogs

Thanks to whoever nominated me again this year for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Big Family Blogs contest!

I’d love your vote–scroll down to find I Choose Joy!  Thanks!

You can actually vote once every day for the next 2 weeks if you really want to help me stay in the top 25!

Food on the Table–Free Life Membership!

If you missed this last time, you have another chance–but hurry, before it’s gone again.

Food on the Table matches recipes/ grocery lists with the grocery store sales of the week!  It’s a wonderful way to get organized for evening mealtimes–and we know how important those sit-down times are for our kids’ development.  They even have ways of narrowing down recipes for gluten-free, vegetarian, low-carb, low-fat, low-sodium, or specific ingredients.  It’s very handy!

So, you can sign up to get a free membership (3 meals a week) for life using the link above and the promo code:   SPRINGFREE

 

(contains affiliate links)

Need help Potty Training?

Save 25% off our Potty Training Kit with code POTTY25 at checkout

Ah, potty training.  Not my favorite part of being a mom!  But here’s something that might help.  Sometimes kids just need something fun to motivate them.  I have 2 more kids to potty train, and this might be something I’ll get!

The Baby Signs Potty Training Kit has everything you and your baby need to make potty training fun and easy! This exciting program combines the power of the Baby Signs Program with developmentally appropriate practices that help babies begin potty training as early as 12 months. Highly motivational products with the “Potty Train” theme make this program ideal for children of all ages.

The kit contains:

  • Parent Guide - This straightforward guide from trusted child development experts will help you confidently lead your baby to potty success.
  • All Aboard the Potty Train DVD - With its catchy tunes, delightful animation and real kids, this exciting DVD will teach your baby five potty-time signs and reinforce each step of the potty routine.
  • All Aboard the Potty Train Lift-the-Flap Book - Your baby will love discovering the potty-time signs hidden under each flap in this fun and interactive board book featuring the DiaperDoodles”.
  • Job Well Done! Stickers - These colorful reward stickers feature fun images and positive messages such as “Good Job” and “I’m on the Potty Train!”
  • All Aboard the Potty Train Conductor’s Whistle - Whether to signal it’s time to go potty or to “sound the trumpet of success,” this fun-to-blow whistle will put a smile on your baby’s face when it’s potty time.

Use coupon code POTTY25 at checkout.  Sale ends Monday 4/23/12.

 

(contains affiliate links)

Family Fun Magazine- 20 issues Free!

I’ve always enjoyed FamilyFun Magazine, as have my kids!  They’ll be so excited to get it again.  Here is a picture of a sand castle cake that we made from a recipe in FamilyFun:

You can get a complimentary 20 issue subscription to FamilyFun Magazine!  No strings attached.  You’ll never receive a bill!

FamilyFun is the magazine for parents with children ages three to twelve.  It’s an ideabook for all the exciting things families can do together.  FamilyFun is the essential information source, offering creative activities, party plans, family travel, learning projects and all clever ideas that busy mothers and fathers need to have at their fingertips!

Sign up for your 20 free issues here.  Offer expires Wednesday, April 18–do it now!  (Update:  I was just informed that the offer has reached its cap.  Try to get it, but I’m sorry if it’s too late!)

 

(contains affiliate links)

Tax Day: “The Government Can”

In “honor” of Tax Day, I thought you might enjoy Tim Hawkin’s “The Government Can.”

Today is also Tax Freedom Day, which means (according to this website) that you have finally worked enough days this year to pay next year’s tax bill!

Free Valentine’s Day Mousepad

Here’s a cute Valentine’s Day gift idea–a mousepad.  It’s free (s/h starts at $4.41).

See the deal at Vistaprint.

(Contains affiliate links.  Thanks for supporting I Choose Joy!)

DIY Blog Critique Workbook on sale now

diy-blog-critique-book-150

If you are looking to improve (or start a blog), here is a great e-book workbook to help you do just that!  Anyone can use the code JANPROMO from NOW until January 20 at 11:59:59 pm ET to get the sale price of $10.50.  After that the price goes back up to $14 (but that’s still not a bad price for all that’s included.)

The DIY Blog Critique is a point-by-point walk-through of best practices for an awesome blog. It comes with a checklist as well so bloggers can work through their progress.  There are tons of links included as well.  Do you have a New Year’s Resolution to push your blog forward in 2012?  This will help you do it!

diy-blog-critique-book-150

 

 

 

(Contains affiliate links.  Thanks for supporting I Choose Joy!)

Great Deals from InkGarden

Need a new desk calendar for 2012 or some FREE business cards?  See below for 2 great deals!

Desk Calendar for a $1 plus shipping/handling: USE CODE: DESKSP
Shipping Rates:$4.99 for 1st calendar, $1.99 for each additional calendar

Choose from 100 Free Business Cards plus shipping/handling:
USE CODE: 100FREE for front
and for back USE CODE: 100FREE2 
for 100 Free double sided business cards
Shipping Rates: $4.99

Father-Son Camp

For the past few years, my husband and older sons have had an awesome time going to the annual Father-Son Camp.  I think it’s the highlight of my sons’ year!  Check out these pictures (from 2010 and 2011), and you’ll probably see why!

 

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