I don't mind scrubbing toilets, I guess. I just don't always get around to it as often as I should. Especially in our master bathroom, which I rarely use. Does that seem odd? To not use the master bath hardly ever?
Well, for the first 11 years of our marriage, my husband worked a rotating work shift: six weeks of straight nights (7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.) and then six weeks of days (6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). Since my #1 goal in life back then was to not ever wake him up while he was sleeping, I used our hall bathroom...and still do. Even though he now works straight dayshift, with a different set of hours, old habits die hard.
Okay, well, I did wake him up on September 11th. But normally, I never woke him up. And I learned to keep our little girls back then very quiet so they wouldn't wake up Daddy, either.
When I heard that SheSpeaks was planning to let folks use and review the new Scrubbing Bubbles® One-Step Toilet Bowl Cleaner, I thought it would be worth a try. If it meant I could get away with scrubbing the toilet less often, maybe it would be worth it.
The entire kit was easy to set up, even for me. I'm a bit on the "mechanically-challenged" spectrum. But it was easy - the directions were very clear. Whew!
When Elmer arrived home from work that night, he was interested in this gadget. He was a bit disappointed to learn that he could only step on the little "pedal" twice a day instead of after each flush (must be a man thing!!!), but he seemed fine with the refreshing smell of the product at work.
After one week of use, I was scrubbing the toilet in the other bathroom, so I went to check out the master bath toilet.
Ugh. There was still a ring at the water level line that was going to need to be scrubbed. I was surprised.
Our water isn't hard water, nor is it ultra soft. But it's on the soft side of grains of hardness, so there shouldn't have been a water line ring based on minerals in the water.
I checked out the price of the refill - which needs to be purchased monthly - and it was between $4.50 and $5.00 per refill can.
Bummer. I think the concept of this product is really great, but it still needs some more work. If I'm still going to have to scrub the toilet bowl every week, while paying $5 per month to use this product, it really isn't worth the expense to purchase it.
If, however, the product enabled me to still have a clean-looking toilet bowl after about a month, and all I needed to do was to clean the toilet seat and lid each week, then that might have been worth the expense, although I still think it is overpriced.
So...there you have it. My take on the Scrubbing Bubbles® One-Step Toilet Bowl Cleaner. It's a great concept, but it's a bit on the expensive side of things, and it didn't work as well as I'd hoped.
I received one Scrubbing Bubbles® One-Step Toilet Bowl Cleaner startup kit and a one-month refill from SheSpeaks in exchange for my honest review of this product. No other compensation was provided.
I've heard about the Women of Faith women's conferences for a number of years now. I never bought tickets because it was 3 hours away from my home, it seemed expensive to me (when adding in the price of food and lodging), and the promo videos shown at my church seemed to always have this as one of their main messages: "Women need to get away from their families to take a break, in order to feel satisfied and fulfilled as a woman."
Maybe that wasn't their main philosophy, but since that isn't my philosophy in life, I decided years ago to not attend. I mean, women haven't been able to get away from their daily routines and families except for the last 75 years, unless they were in the top upper crust of society. Does that mean that thousands of years of womens' lives were unfilled, or wasted? Especially those who are believers in Christ? I hope not! I must admit, I just wasn't interested in attending a conference if it hinted strongly at this message.
Until I was invited to apply for two free passes to the Women of Faith conference this last spring. I'm a book reviewer for BookSneeze (Thomas Nelson Publishers), and they were encouraging their book reviewers to apply for a set of two passes to the conference.
I decided, "Hey, what can it hurt? If I'm accepted, it will be much less expensive to attend! And if I don't really enjoy it, that's not a lot of money I'm losing."
So I applied. And I was accepted! Now to choose who would go along with me!
I prayed right away, "Lord, please show me the best person to take with me on this special trip, who needs Your encouragement, love, and grace in October."
Again and again, the Lord brought my cousin, Jayne, to mind. She was SO excited to learn that the Lord brought her to my thoughts over several weeks' time.
Then, something unfortunate happened. I was curious to read an acquaintance's own personal review of her trip to the Women of Faith conference in her area, but unfortunately, she was quite disappointed with the weekend, and while she was gentle in her review, there were quite a few things she did not like: the music, the speakers' books being pushed, one of the speakers who did the splits on stage, the seating being too dark to take notes, and the fact that Bible verses weren't mentioned very often.
Now, I was feeling confused...and frustrated. Oh, I did not want to be setting myself up for a weekend where I was going to feel mis-er-a-ble.
Jayne and I were able to split the cost of gas and parking to our event location, and we were able to join up with four other bloggers (two whom I knew already) and share two nice motel rooms between the six of us, so our lodging was very inexpensive - and only for one night. The motel provided a good, hot breakfast, and Women of Faith provided boxed lunches for both days. For one of the dinners, I was able to use a gift card someone had given us, so we really spent hardly any money at all on the entire weekend event!
Okay, here's where I tell you what I thought about our weekend away!
The event was highly orchestrated and planned, in order to be smooth and flow well. Even the worship team had choreographed their walking patterns as they sang. For me, it wasn't too "over the top" and "television-like". Instead, I found this relaxing and not distracting at all.
The music was beautiful! I love music of almost all genres, and I found the music to be tasteful and respectful, but also a ton of fun!
I had heard that the speakers' books were going to be pushed throughout the whole weekend, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that their books were rarely mentioned. Yes, they had tables of books outside the arena seating area where their books could be purchased, and rooms where book signings were taking place, but several speakers never even mentioned their book titles once.
It was too dark to take notes. Fortunately for us, on the second day of the conference, we were given almost front-row seats down by the central stage. We were able to benefit from the great lighting, and take notes! But for everyone else in the audience who wasn't down on the floor, they were in the dark. :(
The only negative thing I really didn't care for was hearing about the "Women of Faith credit card". Since the book of Proverbs warns us regularly about the problem of being a borrower and owing money, I'm not sure why a Christian organization would feel they had the freedom to promote their own credit card. I was disappointed to see this.
I do wish that passages of Scripture were mentioned more often than they were. But I also didn't feel like the Bible was overlooked, either. I was able to write down plenty of Bible verses! And nothing I heard that weekend caused any red flags to go up in my mind.
It was a fabulous weekend!
I've listened to Patsy Clairmont's life stories on Focus on the Family for the last 30 years. I've learned so much from her! She has gone through some seriously hard times in her life, including being bedridden for months at a time due to agoraphobia. I can't imagine being terrified to leave my home, let alone my bedroom or my bed, but this was a big part of her adult years. She is recovering - obviously - or else she wouldn't be on stage in front of 10,000 people!
Here are some helpful tidbits of godly advice from Patsy when we are going through a crisis:
1. Ask for prayer from others!
2. Never underestimate the power of prayer!
3. People matter for the words they say or text to us.
4. Say, "I love you." It renews our hope. It destroys our fear.
5. Change can be good. What if our resistance to change prevents healing from happening?
6. So many changes seem threatening or disastrous to us when it's God's hand in molding our life and spirit.
I'd never heard of Marilyn Meberg before, but like all of the other speakers, she was fabulous! Here's what I took from her talks: Many of us want more of a good thing, craving something new and better all the time, so we'll go chase after adrenaline rushes to get more of that good thing. Life without God's purpose is wanting more and more but never being satisfied.
We think that the next stage of life will satisfy the cravings of our hearts. Augustine said, "You, God, have created us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in You."
Ecclesiastes 3:11 - God has planted eternity into our hearts.
II Corinthians 5:5 - When God says, "You're satisfied in My presence," (in heaven), there will be no more yearnings.
Lisa Welchel is well known to most people as "Blair" in The Facts of Life. I never watched that show when I was growing up in the 1980s, because we didn't get that channel! My only experiences with Lisa Welchel are in reading some of the books she's written in the last ten years.
Lisa talked a lot about having friendships with other women. She encouraged us to learn to extend more grace to ourselves, and to also ask God to give us more grace for our friends. Here were her three lessons about friendship:
1. If you want a friend, you need to be the kind of friend you want to have. Don't place expectations on your friend to fulfill your needs. Instead, be grateful for who they are and what they give to you.
2. Identify safe friends. Keep at a safe distance, at first. Pay attention to how they gossip or are judgmental. Look for women who are full of positive comments, steering conversation to other topics when gossip comes up.
3. Avoid women who look like they "have it all together," that gal to whom it is really important to look perfect. Find someone who has failed yet still desires to seek the Lord and will give you grace as well when you fail.
I began listening to Sandi Patty's music back when I was a kid. Yes, I know she has more of an "opera-style" voice, but I wasn't opposed to that, and there weren't really that many options available on the Christian music scene in the early 1980s. Her voice is still spine-tingling, amazing, perfect pitch. Loved it!
Okay, I have to admit that I'd never heard of Mandisa before the Women of Faith conference. Obviously, I'm not an American Idol follower. It's not that I wouldn't enjoy the program, I just rarely watch television shows. When I got home and told my girls about the musicians, they squealed when I mentioned Mandisa. "Did you get her autograph?" "Did you buy her CD?" Um, nope. I didn't know my girls even knew who she was! Sorry, girls.
Selah is a three-person musical group that combines country and bluegrass, classic rock and classic contemporary Christian music, and pop and urban gospel.
Whew! Maybe that would seem impossible to mix together, but we enjoyed their music a lot. Very inspirational!
Andy Andrews was the only male speaker at the conference. At first, I thought, "What? Why would a man be speaking at a women's conference?" Well, he was simply amazing, that's why. And it was one of his products I ended up buying at the conference, not one of the ladies' books or materials! Ha!
All in all, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend at "'Women of Faith: Over the Top." Given the opportunity to be able to have free passes to attend, I'd go again! Or, if we suddenly won the lottery (which we don't even play), I'd go again and bring a bunch of my friends with me!
You may learn more about the Women of Faith conference programs and see if you'll have one of their conferences near you in 2011 and 2012! I'm glad I turned from skeptic to learner that weekend. Whew!
I was given two free tickets by the Book Sneeze program for Thomas Nelson in exchange for promotion of the event and an honest review.
Our daughters have enjoyed American Girl dolls for years now, and though we get their regular emails, we've never seen the full-sized, 18" dolls there on sale - EVER!
This week only, through November 13th, 2011, two of their historical dolls are on sale for 25% off their regular $100 price!
If you've been holding out on getting an American Girl doll due to the cost, this may help make your decision.
I'm not an affiliate with AG, nor do I benefit from letting you know about this sale. Well, I do benefit financially only because my mom and I were already planning to get one of my daughters an American Doll for Christmas. Brittany uses her dolls all the time for making stop-motion and regular movies. By splitting the cost with my mom, and taking advantage of the sale this week, we'll now each save over $12 on one of these dolls. We're excited!
I've had a few people over the years ask if we think the AG dolls are worth the cost. Well, that all depends. They are the sturdiest 18" doll we've seen, and we've seen a few different brands of dolls come through our house: Springfield Collection, Madame Alexander, an 18" doll from Fred Meyer, and an 18" doll from WalMart.
The #1 thing that makes the AG dolls stand out is their hair. Their heads are thickly covered with hair - lots of strands filled in closely together. All of the other dolls have sparsely covered hair. While the other brand dolls look beautiful in the box, the hair problem becomes apparent in just a few days...or hours. Many hair styles don't work because their open scalp shows through. The hair is also lower quality on the other brands of dolls, so it frizzes even worse than the AG dolls.
With the American Girl dolls, Brittany has learned how to straighten and curl the dolls' hair, remove blemishes from their skin, make their skin matte finish again (it becomes shiny over time with lots of playing by a child), and many other features to restore AG dolls back to near-original condition. Other brands of dolls are harder to restore and work with because of the poorer quality of materials.
However, even with that said, a child needs to take care of her American Girl doll well. If she is too young, or not mature enough, it can look "trashed" in no time at all. You'll be shipping it off to the American Girl doll hospital (can we say, "expensive"!!!), or hiring my daughter, Brittany, to restore the doll...or just shrugging your shoulders and saying, "Oh, well!"
If you have younger children in the house who would potentially "abuse" or harm an American Girl doll, it would be wise to have it kept up high in a closet or up high on a bunkbed, or locked away when your older child is not playing with the doll.
First Form Latin, by Memoria Press
If you've been following me here on Joy In Our Journey for any length of time, you'll probably be aware that our family has used and reviewed a variety of Latin language programs.
When I found out that I was selected to use and review First Form Latin this autumn, I was glad to hear this good news! Ever since our family finished using the two-year program, Latina Christiana 1 and 2 by Memoria Press, I'd been curious about how First Form Latin (also by Memoria Press) would fit into our learning.
First Form Latin, an introduction to Christian (Ecclesiastical pronunciation) Latin for students grades 5-12, is authored by Cheryl Lowe, who also designed and wrote Latina Christiana that we used in our home for the last two years.
When a student completes First Form Latin, he will have earned one year of high school foreign language! Second Form Latin is currently also available, so a student could use these two years of material and earn the coveted two years of foreign language study that can be more difficult to earn while being homeschooled. Third Form Latin is currently in the pre-ordering stage, but it will be available soon as well, for additional Latin studies.
According to the Memoria Press website,
First Form Latin is:
I'm going to show you the individual pieces available for First Form Latin, and let you know what we thought of them:
Instructional DVD lessons:
The girls and I began to watch instructor Glen Moore on the first DVD introduction. There weren't any visuals to go along with his introduction, although visuals (PowerPoint style) did appear occasionally in later lessons. Right away, the girls said that if they hadn't had two years of Latin already, they would have not understood some of the concepts briefly mentioned. They felt like this would be frustrating to new students. However, we were definitely going to go ahead and watch additional lessons, to learn more about this program.
In the Introduction to Unit 1 , the girls noticed that the teacher didn't clearly define some key words, or that he went over new words too quickly: stem vowels, conjugations, action, tense. Yes, they are familiar with these words now after two years of Latin, but since this program advertises itself as designed for students and teachers with no Latin background, the girls were quite concerned that a student completely unfamiliar to Latin would have been shrugging his shoulders and saying, "Huh?"
When we began watching Lesson 1, we were glad to see that the DVD presentation followed right along with the wording in the First Form Latin Student text. And, some PowerPoint-types of graphics were available on-screen to help us focus on the new lists and concepts. Whew!
But then...disappointment. The chart showing the grammar form for Lesson 1 was in small print. Ugh. We could only tell what some of the words actually were because we were familiar with this chart/grammar from from using Latina Christiana, and because we had the student text open in front of us. Even when we got closer to our television, it was still not very easy to read the words. Maybe this is because we have an "old style" television that isn't a flat panel or HDTV. I don't know. I just know that we didn't have this difficulty with the other Latin program we were using. Each time the grammar chart appeared on the screen for the lessons, it was in far too small type/font size.
We liked the teacher's casual explanation of how Americans use words for "you plural", like "y'all", "you-uns", and "you's guys." My girls hadn't heard of the last two versions of "you plural", so they looked at me and said, "Nuh-uh! No one talks like that!" To which, I nodded my head and smiled. I haven't heard "you's guys" in many years, but I used to hear that when I was in junior high and high school!
Mr. Moore did interject some simple humor into the teaching. He's not a Saturday Night Live comedian, but he wasn't as serious as some Latin teachers can be.
He doesn't go over the new vocabulary and derivatives in the DVD lessons; students are to do that independently.
As the lessons continue on the DVD, the instructor tends to go faster and faster over some of the new material. We felt like he covered some things far too quickly for us; it seemed like he was rushing through the material. The girls would have preferred to go at a slightly slower pace.
Audio Recitation CD:
We thought the First Form Latin audio recitation practice CD was done very well, and would help students to quickly learn their new vocabulary and grammar forms due to the way it was organized.
The student text is well-planned and is easy to follow. This is an improvement over some other Latin programs we have used, although we all thought it would have been beneficial to leave some of the grammar charts and vocabulary/derivatives blank so the student would need to fill them in. This would help keep students more engaged while watching the DVD presentation.
Hi! I'm Julieanne!