Monday, October 31, 2011

Little Angels DVD Review and Giveaway!

Recently I was given a preview sample of Little Angels, a new dvd for preschoolers from Roma Downey and Phil Lollar (co-creator of Adventures in Odyssey). Here is what the website has to say about Little Angels:Discover the joy of learning and friendship with a heavenly new collection! From Executive Producer Roma Downey ("Touched by an Angel") and Writer Phil Lollar ("Adventures in Odyssey") comes the much-anticipated faith-based educational series, LITTLE ANGELS, soaring onto DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

LITTLE ANGELS is an animated DVD series created exclusively for preschool-aged children to teach not only practical learning skills, like ABCs and 1,2,3s, but also to introduce them to the spiritual, moral and ethical principles of the Bible. Of course, we think it's terrific! (We might be biased...) But don't just take our word for it - for the first time in their organization's history, MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) has awarded a Seal-of-Approval to LITTLE ANGELS.

Pre-school twins Alex and Zoe are blessed to have eight Little Angels watching over them - literally! These Little Angels "live" on the ceiling of their bedroom, painted there so they are the first things the kids see when they wake up in the morning and the last thing they see before they fall asleep at night. The angels come to life when the children need them most, helping guide them through the challenges of their young lives.

LITTLE ANGELS DVD is released in CBA stores nationwide Tuesday November 1st!

So one afternoon I sat down with my six year old and watched Little Angels together. Nate loved it! He has been singing the songs around the house and asking when we can get another Little Angels dvd. It seems like cute and engaging kids show. I'm looking forward to seeing more from these cute Little Angels!

Now for the good part!! Grace Hill Media is sending me a copy of the Little Angels dvd for a giveaway! So... if you want to be entered to win this adorable children's video please comment on this post with your email address (mandatory for giveaway entry). For extra entries you can 1) become a follower of Wani's World 2) like Little Angels on facebook - if you do the extra entries please leave additional comments telling me you have done them. The giveaway will be open until 11/11/11 and then I will post multiple winners! Giveaway is open to US residents only.

** I was given a preview sample dvd of Little Angels from Grace Hill Media in exchange for my honest feedback. All the opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Joe update

Joe recently got new orthotics. The Pediatric AFO is a molded leg support to help maintain alignment of the bones in the foot and ankle. An AFO will support the foot and provide maximum stability if weakness is present. This is his third pair. The first were just one solid piece that went up to mid-calf. The next pair were two pieces, one short solid pair that went just above his ankles (for all the time use) and those fitted into a taller solid pair that went to upper calf (for standing/walking). This pair is two pieces like the last wet but the larger part is hinged to help encourage walking. We are hopeful that this change will help Joe with his walking as his progress is obviously very slow. Joe also got a SPIO compression vest from his physical therapist. I had never heard of them until recently. From what I understand they are supposed to help via muscular support and sensory input. Here is what the SPIO website says about them: Stabilizing Pressure Input Orthosis (SPIO™) assists patients with stability and proprioceptive deficits. SPIO is a compression system designed to help children with special needs including cerebral palsy, autism, Down Syndrome, sensory processing disorders, and other neuro-muscular delays. While its still early, we have not seen a big difference since getting the compression vest. With every new thing we try a part of me hopes that this will be "the thing" that changes everything. But it never seems to be true.
Developmental Preschool seems to be going well. But we're kind of in the position of "no news is good news" right now. When Joe started dev-preschool
in the spring of '10 we got notes home daily telling us what he did each day. Then last school year they said the notes took too long and they implemented a new system of communication via dry erase board in Joe's backpack and they would circle pictures of the activities that he did each day. This year we get a weekly newsletter telling us the theme for the week and we get notes telling us when he's out of diapers or had a grumpy day. Its been quite frustrating to have the communication go down every year. We get ongoing advice from several people who have more experience in the special needs world and we're discussing the potential of writing it into his IEP that they have to give us daily or weekly updates about what he is doing specifically. I'm not good at being hard nosed and I think that is what needs to happen here.
At home... well... Joe has been rather difficult to manage. He is into everything; opening cabinet doors, getting into trouble at every turn. When I sit down to nurse Christine, Joe throws a big fit and tries to pinch and grab at her and I. He is fascinated by Christine's hair clips and pulls her hair with a death grip. We often barricade off one part of the room or another to keep Joe from hurting Christine. He has found this high pitch screech that is enough to drive me mad. Nate notices when I get really frustrated and he has started saying "Joe just turned on the light in Mom's grumpy room". What? Where does he come up with stuff?
As always, please keep us in your prayers.

Mark 9:36-37 - "He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, 'Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.'" (NIV)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Out-of Control

So lately I have realized that my computer time has gotten out of control. I am wasting time on a number of websites when I could and should be doing more important things. I have considered deleting my account on facebook, and/or Pinterest... but I am sad to say I would probably find other ways to waste time online. So I have come up with a checklist of things I need to do before I allow myself any screen-time. I'm going to keep a timer on the desk next to the computer and use it to help limit my time online also.

Here is the checklist I'll be using.

Mom's Daily Checklist:

(complete before doing anything recreational)

__ Dress/Shower/Etc

__ Devotional/Read Bible/Quiet Time

__ Plan out day's events/meals/etc

__ Homeschool with Nate

__ PT/OT/VT/Speech therapy activities with Joe

__ PT/OT/VT/Speech therapy activities with Christine
__ Read book to kids

Obviously everyone's list would be different but feel free to use any part of this if you need a little help keeping your computer habit under control too. ;-)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Operation Christmas Child - Craft Night

Samaritan's Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan's Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God's love through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Operation Christmas Child, the world's largest Christmas project, brings joy and hope to needy children around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes and the Good News of God's love. Since 1993, more than 86 million shoe box gifts have been delivered to children in more than 130 countries.

A lovely lady from my church was led to coordinate a special craft night to make skirts to put in our Operation Christmas Child gift boxes. We all met at our church, some of us with our sewing machines, some who had no sewing experience at all but were there with willing hearts and hands, ready to serve in whatever way they could. We were a busy group, sewing, ironing, threading elastic and clipping strings... What a huge blessing it was to serve alongside all these wonderful ladies and see the fruit of our labor: by the end of the evening (which was shorter than expected because things went so smoothly) we had made 35 skirts that were paired with brand new shirts and hair clips. It is amazing to think about the thirty-five little girls all over the world that will be receiving new outfits this Christmas. Our hope is that these girls will feel the love of Jesus Christ when they get these gift boxes packed with love from us.
In few weeks our church will be having an Operation Christmas Child event and our children will be learning about OCC and what they do, they'll get to do crafts and write letters to the kids who will be receiving the boxes and of course the kids will get to help stuff the boxes as well. It is going to be a very special event and hopefully we'll be able to use it to teach our children how blessed we are here in America and how to be a cheerful giver and share the love of Jesus with other children across the globe in such a tangible way.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse. You and your kids or friends can pack a shoe box for a child and share the love of Jesus Christ. National Collection Week is November 14-21, 2011. Visit their Web site to learn more about how you can change a child's life through a simple shoe box gift. To participate, order free materials by visiting or calling 1-800-353-5949.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

This dish is becoming one of my favorites and I have to share it! Its easy and fresh! We use generic frozen boneless buffalo wings (even though the buffalo wings are not that hot we usually use chicken nuggets for the kids), cheese, tortillas, salad and toppings (this time we had diced green peppers, tomatoes and avocados).
Basically you mix and match the toppings to your taste and wrap it all up! We like to top ours off with sour cream and/or hot sauces (I've been known to use leftover Taco Bell packets). So simple and so delicious!
Do you have any easy crowd pleasers at your house? I'm always looking for new meal ideas!

Tip  Junkie handmade projects
Manic  Mother

Saturday, October 15, 2011

SnowMen movie

Recently I was contacted to preview and review a new movie. It was one that I had not heard of before but after reading about it and watching the following trailer I was curious. Here is what the press room had to say about the movie.

Snowmen is a humorous and heartfelt coming-of-age story about three unlikely heroes and the winter that changed their lives forever. What will be your legacy? What will you build that lasts? Snowmen prompts audiences of all ages to ask these life-defining questions,
while affirming that it's not what you do that matters so much as how you do it.

I believe it is important to help with the grassroots efforts of movies like Snowmen which have the ability to engage, empower and entertain the family -- and which embody family values and teach strength of character.

Snowmen was created by the producers of notable films including The Passion of The Christ, The Ultimate Gift, and Braveheart. The film stars Bobby Coleman (Last Song), Ray Liotta (Wild Hogs), Bobb’e J. Thompson (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), Josh Flitter (Ace Ventura Jr.) and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future).

Just tonight we sat down for family movie night and watched it together; my husband, myself, Nate (6yrs), Joe (4yrs) and Christine (1yr). As my husband and I have been going through the American Film Institute's Top 100 Movies list we have become more critical of movies in general. We have begun to take notice of directorial styles and screenplay. Honestly our expectations for Snowmen were not overly high.

We ended up being pleasantly surprised with the quality of Snowmen. My husband said he thought it was much better than its contemporaries. Family films are often stereotypically cheesy both in the script and the acting but this was not. The main character Billy is played by Bobby Coleman a young up and comer. He did a great job and he was supported well by a few seasoned veterans including Ray Liotta. The two of them made a very touching father-son in this powerful story.

I will add that Nate (6yr) is an especially curious boy and this movie inspired a lot of probing questions both during and after the movie. I think I would use your judgement when watching the movie with kids any younger than 6yr old because of the seriousness of some of the themes: bullies, cancer, what happens when we die, etc. I am certain we will be having conversations on these topics for days to come.

All in all we found Snowmen to be a delightful and profound movie that will appeal to a wide range of ages making it ideal for family viewing. You can learn more about Snowmen by visiting

*I was given a preview of the movie in exchange for my feedback but my opinions are all my own.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


As I might have mentioned before, our home has been on the market since the spring. We have had a few showings here and there but not any serious interest. Originally we put it on the market because we fell in love with a house that seemed to meet nearly all of our future home criteria. It had an acre yard, an extra bedroom, a basement, etc. But it was a short sale and they could not accept a contingent offer so we put our house on the market in the hopes that it would sell quickly and we'd be able to make an offer on that home. Well, our house did not sell and that house did.
So we proceeded to see homes all over the county. Some were good and some were really bad. Then a few weeks ago we stumbled upon another home that seemed to meet as many or more of our criteria and we again began to picture ourselves in this "new" home, seeing the kids play in the yard... We put in an offer (contingent on the sale of our home - and we lowered our home's price to encourage a quicker sale) and it was countered with a reasonable offer that we were prepared to take. Before we had a chance to respond to their offer we got a call from our realtor that the owners had received another offer, one that was not contingent, and the took it.
Again the home that we had envisioned growing old together in is now someone else's home. We are still dealing with the frustration and disappointment and trying to regroup and decide what this means for us. Are we supposed to be patient and the "right" house will come along? Or are all these signs that we should learn to be content where we are? We're not sure what God is trying to teach us through this.
Yesterday as I was driving to an appointment I thought of a couple of my son's bible memory verses. And I was reminded how good it is for me to be learning them alongside him. I am thankful for the word of God that I have hidden in my heart to help me in times of struggle. So, even though we don't know what is going to happen with the house situation we do know that God is handling it. He is taking care of every detail as we sit here and do our best not to worry about it. While its not always easy for me to not be in control... sometimes I'm glad I'm not. I know whatever the plan He has for us is its way better than what I could come up with. Thank you God!

Psalm 121:2 - My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Silver Lining...

Sunday we took the annual fall trip to Brown County. Its so lovely this time of year and my husband's family has been going there every fall since his parents were in college together. They are big on traditions - they're all OCD like that... seriously. ;-) As we're leaving church to get ready to head down to Nashville together we realize my hubby's car has a flat tire. Completely flat. Well, we decide to deal with it later so we can get a move on.
So we loaded up the five of us, my hubs' parents and his bro and sis-in-law and their two boys into our two minivans. Along with all our food and goodies for our cookout lunch. We have a fairly enjoyable two hour drive down... fall foliage, my MIL entertaining Nate in the backseat... Just before we get to the state park my bro-in-law gets called in to work at the hospital (he hadn't realized he was on call this weekend). So we transferred all the food and my hubs' parents into our van and much to my nephews' disappointment they headed back to Indy.

Not five minutes later, just inside the park entrance our van dies. After some over the phone diagnostics from my bro-in-law we figure out it is the fuel pump. So... a park ranger loads all seven of us and our stuff into a pickup and takes us up the hill to the picnic area.
Nate had a blast at the playground, making friends with the other kids that were there. He and I walked the trails around the picnic area, exploring and observing nature together. Later Nate said our walks were his favorite part of the day. ;-)

We were able to have our picnic and chill while waiting for AAA to come tow the minivan and my mom to drive down in their 15 passenger van to pick us all up and take us home.

Even though it was a really long day... and we had some challenges... we were provided for. We were not stranded on the side of the road on a rainy day. It was a beautiful fall day and my mom was available to help out and my bro-in-law is helping Isaac fix the van... God is good.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Nate's latest

This fall Nate has been on an Upward Flag Football team at a church down the road. He has had practice one night a week and games every Saturday morning. In the beginning he was a little too easily distracted and unfamiliar with the game. But Nate has really worked hard and has improved a lot over the last month. At his last game he got three flags in a row and ran the whole length of the field for a touchdown! We just finished the season and we are so proud of him. Go Nate!
Well, we're nearly halfway through the semester now. Nate's first grade year is going pretty well. We are using a Heart of Dakota curriculum for 5-7yr olds: Little Hearts for His Glory. We are also in a homeschool coop/support group that we get together with for educational enrichment classes as well as field trips. Already this year we have gone to a nature park, the apple orchard, a honey farm and next week we are going to a dairy farm. I am teaching paper-crafting to his class at our homeschool group and we're having fun doing that together.
I will say that the excitement from the first couple of weeks of school has worn off now. Most days are good but we've had some days that had a little too much drama for my taste. Nate is incredibly smart. He is usually very eager to learn but sometimes he can be a perfectionist and he gets frustrated when his work is not up to his own standards. I am still learning how to help him when this comes up. We often have to have talks about adjusting our attitudes and choosing to have a good one instead of being grumpy.

Lately Nate has been really into creating his own "movie". We mostly listen to movie soundtracks in the car. Our favorites are the soundtracks to Dan in Real Life and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. He will make up parts of his movie based on the music. So a song will come on and Nate will say: "This is when the spy is chasing the bad guy who robbed the museum", etc. He has cast all his friends and family as characters in his movie. Except me, Nate says I get to be the director. ;-) He is so creative and a lot of fun!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Christine's latest

While we do not see quite as dramatic of delays with Christine as we have with Joe, she is still very behind.
She has been receiving physical therapy, and occupational therapy through First Steps since the spring. And we are getting ready to add developmental therapy and speech to the roster. Recently she began receiving cranio sacral therapy from my sis-in-law as well. While our schedule is swamped at times I am hopeful that we will soon see the fruits of our labor.
We are working on her upper body strength and encouraging her to be more mobile. She can sit well but isn't confident enough to rotate her trunk much. Christine does roll to get around a little bit and we feel like she is really close to doing some army crawling. She has much better eye contact than Joe ever has. And she interacts with us much more than Joe did at this age.

For awhile we were concerned about her eating skills. She has always been a good nurser, but in the spring she was not getting the hang of babyfood or taking a cup. Over the past few months she has taken quite a liking to food and is eager to sit down to dinner with us now. She tackles a lot of table food, but we still fall back on mashed stuff when we're having things that are too crunchy or tough for her. She has gotten much better with a cup. We still thicken her drinks a bit with rice cereal but otherwise she's taking cups like a pro now. Just the other day I gave her a cup in the car and she slurped the whole thing down all by herself! She is even starting to drink from a straw a little bit (which Joe just learned how to do at the end of the last school year).
Christine is a sweet smiley girl and she is happy most of the time. She brightens our days with her giggles and cuddles. Her brothers love to play with her and she loves the attention. So sweet to see them play together!
Continued prayer for her development is coveted. Thank you!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Pinterest Projects I wanna do!!

We're hoping to be moving into a "new" old house soon and I have gone Pinterest crazy with scads of links for crafty ideas for the new place. Here are a few of my faves!

This DIY daybed with storage underneath would be great in the playroom and can be used when we have overnight guests! Love it! Its pinned here.

Currently the washer and dryer are in the basement but we are discussing making the breakfast nook into the laundry room and I would love to do something like this. Its so bright and fresh! Its pinned here.
Right now the kitchen is a little on the small side so we've discussed the possibility of opening it up and having a pass through to the dining room with a bar. I have found a few that I like and this is one of my favorites. I love the molding! Its pinned here.
But then... I do really like this one too. Pinned here. I love that this one adds more storage... oh the decisions that will have to be made with this new house! I will have so many things to decide! Its so hard! Ok, one of our favorite things about the potential new place is that its on two acres - which is huge compared to our yard now which is a subdivision lot on a retention pond. We are very excited at the prospect of being able to let Nate romp around and explore... and have bonfires. I would love to make a nice brick fire pit like this one. Pinned here. Doesn't this picture just make you want some s'mores? ;-)*WARNING: Pinterest is addictive! I cannot count how many times I've clicked "Repin" in the last few weeks. So many great projects... so little time! ;-)

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Heart Changer

I have always been outright ProLife. But this movie makes me rethink how passive I have been. I shouldn't just stand aside and watch all these babies being murdered. We have a responsibility to theses unborn children who cannot speak up for themselves.