Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An Early Christmas Miracle in the Hall Household

This may come as a shock to my dear family and friends, but I am going to send out Christmas cards this year. Really!

One of the things on my pre-deployment list was to have new family pictures done and we were able to do that at Disney World this past summer. They turned out wonderful and no one even cried ;0) It was also an amazing bargain. If you ever get to Disney World, I totally recommend their professional photo shoots.

Thanks to Shutterfly, my cards are already designed and ordered! I am so far ahead of myself, it is almost a miracle. Now I just have to get them in the mail...

This was the design we picked out before Mark left:

No, this isn't my family. To see one of the pictures we used, visit this page.

I really appreciate how quick and easy Shutterfly is to use. Even someone as creatively challenged as myself can make awesome cards.

Shutterfly also takes the work out of shopping for relatives. For Grandparent presents we will do the photo calendars again this year. They make great gifts and come with birthdays and important dates already in them. That is a big deal when you have as many kids as I do!

Since I won't be able to get a package to Soldier boy before Christmas, he will be getting a coffee mug with the kiddos' faces on it for his birthday. My hubby is such a coffee addict, I have already been instructed to send Starbucks on a regular basis. You would think it is too hot over in the sandbox for coffee...

Up next on my list, addressing all those envelopes. Do you think I could have the kids do that part and call it penmanship class?

*If you are a blogger, find out how you can get 50 free cards from Shutterfly here.


Friday, November 19, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #22

Happy Friday! I am so glad I survived another week. Just another 42 Fridays (give or take a few, we are talking about the Army here...) to go. I hate deployments.

I want to again thank Wifey for hosting this meme each week. It is nice to have a diversion to keep me busy for a while.

Are you a MilSpouse Blogger? Come over to Wife of a Sailor and join us for the Friday Fill-In! It is so much fun to get to know other MilSpouses.

1. If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs – such as food and water – were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?

My Kindle and my cellphone (with service of course!).

2. If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you have?

I probably could have answered this in the past, but I just spent two months on a diet (I did lose almost 30 lbs!) and I can't even stand to think about salad anymore... Give me a big ol' steak with A1 sauce please. 

Photo 'borrowed' from Wikipedia
3. If you had to live on a ranch, what kind of animals would you raise/own?

Highland Cattle (aren't they cute!?!) Of course, that would mean living in Scotland and Soldier-boy can wear a kilt ;0)

4. If your life was portrayed as a movie, who would you choose to play you and your significant other?

Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable (Yes, I have a "Gone With the Wind" thing) or Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. I know they are all dead, but I don't keep up with current movie stars, sorry.

5. What was the last thing you put a stamp on (envelope, duh, but what was in the envelope)?

A birthday card for my dear friend (and pseudo boss) Kelli. Happy Birthday Kelli!

Have a great weekend and in case I don't 'see' you next week (we are going out of town), have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

P.S. Come over and check out my contest for a copy of "What's In the Bible? #4 - Battle for the Promised Land". It would make a great stocking stuffer for the kiddos in your life.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

"What's In the Bible" DVD Review and Giveaway!

I am very excited to be a stop on "What's In the Bible?" Blog Tour! I love it when someone creates new ways to help my kids learn about God and his Word, especially when it is something that we can enjoy together. Our weekly 'family nights' have become almost non-existent since Mark went on orders in April and I am hoping that DVDs like this one will help us get started again.

I was provided with a copy of "What's In the Bible #4, Battle for the Promised Land". Here is a quick preview of the DVD:


"In What’s In the Bible #4, Battle for the Promised Land, Buck Denver and cast take the viewer through Joshua, Judges, and Ruth. They also explore two more Big Questions.

From the man who made vegetables talk (and sing, dance, and tell Bible stories) comes this engaging new series that walks kids through the entire Bible! Each DVD is filled with an entertaining cast of characters that bring the most powerful Bible stories to life using humor, animation, creative storytelling, and fun songs. Join VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer on a wild and zany journey and see the world’s most amazing book come to life for a new generation."

While I tried to get all six kids to watch it, I just couldn't interest the 17 year-old and the 3 year-old was all excited about hearing familiar voices (from Veggie Tales), but it didn't hold her attention for long. She did think that the guys singing the Judges song sounded like the Jonas Brothers (yes, she does watch way too much Disney Channel).

However, the other 4 really enjoyed it. Here are their 'reviews':

1. What did you learn from it?
2. Did you find it entertaining?
3. Would you watch the rest of the series?
4. Who was your favorite character?

Mac (age 9):
1. I learned about different books of the bible, like the historical books.
2. Oh yeah!
3. Yes
4. The pirate. He was really fun!

Little Soldier (age 10)
1. I learned what the 1st five books of the bible are called.
2. Yes, very, it was hilarious!
3. Yes
4. Pirate Pete

Abs (age 12)
1. Thanks to the Sunday School Lady, I learned that it took a woman Judge to finally do the job right.
2. Yes, it was funny.
3. Probably
4. Pirate Pete

Toast (almost 15)
1. The names of all the Judges.
2. Yah, loved the satire and sarcasm.
3. Yes
4. Pirate Pete and the old ladies on the couch.

My thoughts...

I will admit that I am not a huge fan of t.v. and most kid shows. I don't usually sit and watch movies with my kids, I let my husband do that. I do however, LOVE Veggie Tales and that is why I signed up for this blog tour.   

That being said, I was able to sit through the entire hour long DVD. Had it been something like Boz, I would have left the room. (No offense to Boz, my 3 year-old loves him, I just can't do kid shows.) "What's In the Bible?" was entertaining and kept my attention. There were a lot of things they covered that I know I have never taught my children and probably should. In fact, I am pretty sure the last time I covered the book of Judges was when my senior was in 2nd grade.

However, it was not like Veggie Tales. I think I secretly hoped it would be :)  My older kids were more than fine with that. They think they are too old for Veggie Tales and pretend that they only watch it because the baby wants to see Bob and Larry.

My kids really seemed to enjoy the DVD. When they came in the door from church tonight I was replaying part of it and the 14 year-old did the shrieking thing that teenagers do and exclaimed, "I love this part!". They have also been singing parts of it for a few days and anything that can stick in their head that long and include biblical truth is a good thing.

All in all, I think it is a good product and definitely a DVD that we will watch again. I will most likely purchase the first three for Christmas. They will be a nice addition to my Veggie Tale collection.

Now for the contest!

How to enter:
1. Main entry - Leave a comment letting me know your favorite thing to do for 'family time' and how you make it special.

Bonus entries - Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

2. Like "Our Crazy Life" on Facebook

3. Share this post on Facebook - or any other Social Networking Site using the "Share the Love" buttons below the post. One Bonus entry per 'share', make sure to leave a comment for each entry!

4. Follow me on Google Friend Connect.

5. Sign up for "What's In The Bible?" newsletter.

6. Become a fan of "What’s in The Bible?" on Facebook

7. Tweet this giveaway (1X/day - be sure to leave a comment for each tweet). Copy and paste: 
Enter to win "What’s in The Bible?" DVD from @mama2six at http://bit.ly/9x1s80 ends 11/26 please RT! #Giveaway

8. Add my button to your blog (Worth two entries, leave two comments!)

9. Blog about this giveaway with a link back to this post. (Worth two entries, leave two comments!)

Please make sure you have a way to contact you, either by having your reply-to email address set or by leaving a link to your personal blog.

Contest will end Friday night, 11/26, at 10:00 pm CST.

Winner will be mailed a Tyndale House gift certificate redeemable for a free copy of the DVD "What's in the Bible? #4, Battle for the Promised Land". It is the winner's responsibility to redeem their certificate.

For more information, visit Tyndale House Publishers and "What's In the Bible?" .

*Fine Print: I was provided with a copy of the DVD for review purposes. The opinions expressed are all mine (and my kiddos) and I was not required to give a positive review.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Free e-books from Amazon 11/17

This will be a short post, as I am working from safe mode on my computer. Thankfully the stupid thing is still under warranty and Dell is sending someone out to give me a new hard drive and motherboard (again!). When I finally get to talk to my husband, I will thank him for spending the extra money and apologize for telling him it was a dumb idea at the time...

Anyway, there were a lot of free books today and I didn't want you to miss them! Be sure to always check the price before you download as it can change quickly. Also, if you don't have a Kindle, you can download a reader using the banner at the bottom of this page.

Here are the freebies (sorry, no pix today - they take too long to load and I don't know how long my laptop is going to hold out for!):

On the Run  (from Zonderkidz)

I can't wait to get started and it is great reading weather here with way too much snow for me to want to leave the house!

Happy reading and don't forget to come back tomorrow for my giveaway!

If you appreciate the freebie listings, please let me know by leaving a comment and sharing this post with your friends :)


"What's In the Bible?" giveaway starts tomorrow! Also a chance to chat with creator Phil Visher!

Just a quick reminder that tomorrow I am hosting an official stop on the "What's In the Bible?" blog tour. Come back tomorrow for your chance to win a copy of "What's In the Bible? #4 - Battle for the Promised Land."

Also tomorrow - a live chat with Phil Visher!

Have you ever wanted to chat with VeggieTales & What's in the Bible? creator Phil Vischer? Now's your chance! Phil will doing a LIVE chat Thursday, Nov. 18 2-2:30 pm ET on CMConnect. Click here for more information.

Share this post on Facebook (using the "Share the Love" button below the post) for a bonus entry into the giveaway! Be sure to leave a comment letting me know you shared it with your Facebook friends.

Looking forward to 'seeing' you tomorrow!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Book Review - The One Year Book of Encouragement

I truly believe that God is in control of everything, including the books that I receive to review. When I got "The One Year Book of Encouragement" in the mail, I opened it up right away to read the passage for the day and wept. It was just what I needed at that moment. 

If you have read any of my blog, you probably know that we are in the midst of a 400 day deployment. I am trying to juggle life, ministry and being a mom to six busy children without my husband. At this point in my life, I need all the encouragement that I can get!

The One Year Book of Encouragement: 365 Days of Inspiration and Wisdom for Your Spiritual Journey"The One Year Book of Encouragement is a collection of insights from assorted Christian authors, past and present—from Oswald Chambers and Philip Yancey to John Calvin and John Wesley. Draw encouragement every day from the wisdom of the ages with this One Year book—it’s bound to be a classic!"

I have thoroughly enjoyed this book and it has become a fixture on my bedside table next to my bible. With wisdom from such men and women of faith as C.S. Lewis and Joni Eareckson Tada, each page is filled with inspiration and encouragement for your spiritual journey. 

Every day includes a devotional, a prayer and a scripture verse and are the perfect length for a busy mom. I have found myself writing down the prayers and verses on note cards to read again, such as the one from August 19th: 

"Lord, you know my troubles. I lay all of them before you. Help me to do the right and wise things and to see your hand of mercy right now. Lead me into your ways of obedience and joy."

This is one of the best devotionals that I have read in a long while and one that I will continue to use.

*The fine print: The publisher provided me with a complementary copy of this book. The opinions expressed are all mine and I was not required to give a positive review. 


Sunday, November 14, 2010

My First Blog Award!

So a quick update... I am back from spending four precious days with my Soldier. I promise a post with pictures soon - just as soon as I catch up on some sleep and housework!

While I was gone, I was given an award from Rachel at Flying High: Life of an Air Force Wife. I appreciate that someone, other than the close friends I threaten, read my blog :)  Thanks Rachel! 

Here are the rules:
1. Thank and link back to who gave you the award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass it along to 7 blogs you've recently discovered and enjoy.
4. Leave your recipients a note, telling them about the award.

My 7 things (these might be cheesy, it has been a long week!):

1. I love old movies. Especially anything with Cary Grant. "Indiscreet" is one of my favorites along with "Mr. Blanding's Builds His Dream Home". I don't think much good comes out of Hollywood anymore, so I tend to stick to the Classics.

2. Neither my friends, husband or children appreciate my taste in music. My favorites include John McDermott and The Irish Tenors. I can listen to Scotch & Irish music all day long, but they also sing so much more, including some Broadway tunes. One of my new favorites is "For Good" done by Anthony Kearns of The Irish Tenors.

3. I enjoy writing. I even had my first 'published for money' article in MomSense magazine this summer. I hope to have more, but that would require time to write and edit and I haven't had much of that lately. I have also written for Army Wife Network and Faith Deployed.

4. I am an avid reader. I finally got a kindle(!) and unfortunately, haven't been able to do much reading on it yet. I usually devour a book in a matter of hours, so I appreciate the freebies that the publishers put out on Amazon.com. I especially enjoy reading Historical Fiction. Some of my favorite authors are Tricia Goyer, Elisa Morgan, Julie Barnhill and Liz Curtis Higgs. Amazing, talented women!

5. I have lived all over the US - including New Orleans, LA (my fav) and Seattle, WA (a close 2nd). I tell people that I married a man who was supposed to get me out of this one-horse town and he brought me back. I hope we can retire someplace warm and with a bit more culture. Being back in Louisiana last week has made me homesick... 

6. I don't really like holidays (or maybe it is just the commercialization of them). Yes, it is great to experience them through my kids and their excitement, but I am not into big productions and would much rather live a simple life and just enjoy being with my family. Don't expect any blow up Santa in my front yard...

7. I love volunteering for Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS). I have been involved for over ten years and can't imagine not being a part of it. I don't know of any other group or organization that celebrates motherhood at this level and helps equip women to be the best mom they can be. I am proud to be a part of "no mom alone". 

Passing this award along... 

1. Wifey @ Wife of a Sailor. I really appreciate her Friday Fill-In each week that helps me connect with other MilSpouses.

2. Wife on a Roller Coaster @ Riding the Roller Coaster 

3. Jenn @  Day to Day with Jenn 

4. Lynn @ The Ladybug Chronicles  

5. Amber @ Fully Engaged (I know she hasn't posted in a while, but you will have to forgive her. They have been busy building a house while living with her in-laws...) 

6. Say What? (she also has a great home school blog too!)

7. Ivymama @ Ivy Six-Pack is a wonderful real life friend too. Pray for her and her husband as my six kiddos and I descend on them for Thanksgiving :)

So there you go! Hopefully you won't find me frightfully dull after reading my list! Thanks again Rachel. 

Come back soon for the promised pictures of New Orleans and if you have kiddos, I will be having a contest starting on Thursday! We will be away a copy of "What's in the Bible?" by the creator of Veggie Tales. (In fact, if you are one of my few (but loyal) readers, share this post on facebook for an extra entry for the contest! Be sure to leave a comment letting me know you shared it!)

Hope you had a blessed weekend! 



Friday, November 5, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #20 - November 5th

Thank God it is Friday! My house is falling apart, my kids won’t stop fighting and I am ready to lose my mind. If this is what I have to look forward to for the next 11+ months, I may hide under the covers for the duration! Have I mentioned lately how bad deployments suck?

Good news is that I am getting on a plane very, very soon and leaving this hicktown for a 4 day pass with my Soldier. Fair warning to my babysitter, I may not come back…

Since I will be gone, there probably won’t be a blog post until next Friday and that is if my kids give me any time when I get home to write. I will try to post an update or two and some pictures on my facebook page.

Now for the questions…  (A big thanks to Wifey at Wife of a Sailor for doing this! If you are a MilSpouse blogger, come and join us each week.) 

     1) A different twist on last week’s question. This week, the first question is: what’s the nicest thing a MILSPOUSE has ever done for you? (brought to you from navy_smurfette)
Well, we are a National Guard family, so we don’t have the same type of ‘community’ as Active Duty (even though we live near an Air Force Base). However, we have great friends who let Soldier-boy stay with them during drill weekends and then for 4 ½ months when he was on ADOS orders this year. It saved us a lot of money and I am very thankful for them.

2.      2) How often do you drive faster than the speed limit?
Not very often (anymore…). I have teenagers and I constantly hear, “You’re speeding! Slow down. You get mad when we drive too fast!” I have had to get better. But if they aren’t in the car and I am on an open road…

3.     3) Did you have a nickname in school? If so, what was it?
Nope, no nickname in school. My older sister has one for me, but that won’t be shared here!

4.     4) If your life was a book, what would the title be and how would it end?
“Gone With the Wind” and with a handsome Southern man leaving me on a doorstep. Oh wait, that has been done!

5.      5) Look back (in your planner if you have one) to September 14th… what did you do that day?
Well, my ‘daytimer’ is online at Cozi and I love it. However, there is nothing listed that day and it was only few days before Solder-boy deployed, so we were just trying to cram in every moment together that we could. 

This week's MilSpouse Weekly Roundup is hosted by Devil Dog Darling.

Have a wonderful weekend! 


Thursday, November 4, 2010

I did it...

I finally did it. I have temptation issues when I am on the computer late at night. 

I ordered a Kindle

I just couldn't stand the thought of flying to New Orleans without any reading material or music (I am leaving my laptop at home so the kiddos can Skype with dad). 

I know I will feel guilty later - and maybe even more so over the pretty pink cover that Amazon flaunted on my check out page... 

I am going to go to bed now and dream about my new toy that will be here on Friday :)

Night everyone,


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This week's FREE ebooks from Amazon

First, your friendly Public Service Announcement for today  :)

As the daughter of veteran and wife of an American Soldier, I don't take for granted all the the men and women who have died to keep our country free. Please go vote! 

I am getting ready to head out to spend four days with Soldier-boy before he hits the sandbox. We are meeting up in one of my favorite places, New Orleans. I am such a history freak, and NOLA is an awesome place to soak it in. Plus the food is AMAZING! We have reservations for Emeril's, K-Pauls and Antoines. I am hungry just thinking about it. Also, I know it has only been six weeks or so, but I can't wait to see Soldier-boy again!

Stocking up on reading material before I fly is almost as important as printing my boarding pass! So here are the latest free downloads from Amazon.com.

Note: Please don't forget to verify price before clicking on the order button! They change frequently. If you still don't have a Kindle, you can download the app for your PC, iphone or ipad from the banner on the bottom of the page.

If you like my free book listings, please 'like' me on facebook to get updates and feel free to "share the love!" with the tabs at the bottom of the post to share with your friends.

And now, the books: 

Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul 
 Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul 

Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching
Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching  

Cool Beans: A Maya Davis Novel

Cool Beans: A Maya Davis Novel  

A Girl Named Mister
A Girl Named Mister 

Coffee Shop Conversations: Making the Most of Spiritual Small Talk
Coffee Shop Conversations: Making the Most of Spiritual Small Talk 

The Holy Bible English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible English Standard Version (ESV) 

Relentless (Dominion Trilogy #1)
Relentless (Dominion Trilogy #1) 


Saint Training
Saint Training 

Happy Reading!