Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I am really enjoying this Tech Wednesday.  I love finding new programs to use.  The one I have today could change your lives.  Well, not really, but it could definitely change how your pictures look.

For most of you, I am going to assume, you take pictures and then just send them in to be printed.  I use Costco to develop my pictures and they will do an auto fix on your pictures for you.  I do not do this because I like to be in control of how my pictures look, so I use a photo editing program.

For some of you, the Costco auto fix might be just what you need.  But for those of you who are like me, you might like to have that control of what your picture will ultimately look like.  Often photo editing software can be spendy or so complicated you just never use it because you do not have the time to learn it.

I have another option for you today.  It is called PicMonkey.  It is a simple photo editing software online. This means you do not have to download the program to your computer.  You do all the editing online and then save the pictures back to your computer.

I just glanced through it and think it is great.  It has all the standard editing tools and then lost of fun extras.  Many of them cosmetic edits.  You can even give yourself a tan.  I am telling you this is a fun program.  Bailee is very excited to use it.  She has been using Picasa, but this has so much more.

I am going to leave you with a link to another blog that walks you through a simple tutorial on how to edit a photo using PicMonkey - The Mother Huddle.

If you try it, please come back and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Georgette Heyer

About a year ago, I was looking at free ebooks on Amazon and came across a book by Georgette Heyer.  It was set in Regency England, which is an era I love, and it was free, so I downloaded it.  I loved it.  It was full of the language, manners, and attire that I find so fun.  I am not sure that I would have actually liked living back then, but I love to dream that I would.  Everything seemed so polite and proper.

Of course, my favorite characters are those that are a little more sassy and don't quite follow the rules.  This leads me to what so far is my favorite Georgette Heyer book - Grand Sophy.

Sophia is raised by her politician father "on the Continent" (Europe).  She, of course, has a nanny and governess at the appropriate times, but her father always to be more mannish.

Then comes the time when her father must travel to Brazil and Sophy (as everyone calls her) comes to live with her Aunt and cousins in London.  Sophy is not anything they could have imagined.  She brings life to a stuff household along with a monkey.

I have read several of Mrs. Heyer's books and like I stated previously this is my favorite.  I just love Sophy.  She is not necessarily improper, but just as such a sparkle about her.  She sees things for what they are and if need be, does something about it.

If you enjoy Regency literature, I would highly recommend Grand Sophy and Georgette Heyer.  Below I have listed a few other of Mrs. Heyer's books and links to them on Amazon.  I hope you enjoy.

The Reluctant Widow
The Nonesuch
Bath Tangle
Lady of Quality

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I wanted to let you know about a great program I have found.  It is called Evernote.  The great thing about Evernote is that you can download it on to your computer, phone, and other mobile device.  You then will be able to share notes between any of those devises.

The basic Evernote is free and they have other programs also: Skitch, Evernote Food, Evernote Hello, Evernote Clearly, and Evernote Peek.

If you are looking for a way to keep track of almost anything, this is a great program.  You can save things from the web, type out your own notes, or copy and paste old notes.

I keep a lot of my recipes on it.  Then I can find them whether I am on my laptop, Mac, or iPod.  I would highly recommend checking it out.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Family Time

 A couple of Sundays ago, we had some nice weather and decided to go for a walk.
 Bailee was in rare form and did her best to push all of Sam's buttons.  The above picture is Sam telling her to stay away.

 I am so thankful that our girls have no desire to sissify Luken.  They love to rough him up and play swords with him.  They wrestle him and he loves it.
We missed winter, but are definitely ready for spring.  Not that we have experienced much spring lately.  After this weekend, our weather decided to get colder.  It is March and I have hope.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Samaritan's Purse

Thursdays I have designated for missionary updates.  As you all know, my parents live in Eldoret, Kenya as directors of a children's home.  Right now, they have 23 Kenyan children they have responsibility for.  They range in age from 1 to 7 and the majority are 3 right now.  Crazy!!  Sadly, I have not been able to visit them there yet, but I know God has a time picked out.  You can check out my mom's blog here: Leister's Kenyan Life.

My sisters with a few of the kids

I tell you all that to give you an idea just how important it is to me to keep up on missionaries that my family supports.  And today, I want to share with you one organization that we have supported for the last several years.

Samaritan's Purse is a wonderful organization that has touched so many areas on our planet that have been touched by nature disasters or mankind disasters.  They have taken the gospel to place that many of us may not have even heard of.

Jeremy and I initially got involved with Samaritan's Purse via their Operation Christmas Child program.  You fill a shoe box with little items for a boy or girl within a specific age range.  Samaritan's Purse then takes those boxes and delivers them to children throughout the world.  It is a wonderful program.

But as I said earlier, they do so much more.  In fact, I just received March's newsletter and I want to share the links with you.  If you do not have an organization that you support that reaches the nations, I would highly recommend looking into Samaritan's Purse.  I love to know that although I cannot at this time person go and touch other nations.  I can help those who can.

Samaritan's Purse History
Helping Victims of Deadly Twisters
A Year of Restoration: Japan
Humanitarian Crisis Escalates: Sudan
Operation Christmas Child

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I received this blog post in my email the other day and I thought it was too good to not to share.

I can relate to this mom in regards to this situation.  I have had moments when my kids wanted to pass along items to their friends.  I would start thinking - "Will you want to play with that again?"  "What if the person that gave that to you asks how you are enjoying it?"  "Hey, I gave that to you."  or "Hey, I made that for you.  It took hours."  Of course, all these thoughts stay in my head and most times I have allowed that item to be passed along.

I remember being a kid and watching my mom go through the same struggle with one of my brothers.  He free gave anything away.  At the time, I thought he was insane, but now he has grown into such a caring, generous man.  I want my children to be just like him in this area, so I hold my tongue and allow them to gift things to their friends.

Here is the link to the post from Simple Mom regarding this topic: Honoring the spirit of generosity in our children.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pinterest Find

I am going to try to be more regular with my blog.  I have decided I am going to set up a idea for each day of the week.  Mondays are going to be for Pinterest finds.  So with that said, here we go.

My first Pinterest find I want to share is this great 30 day marriage challenge list.  It is so good to have practical ideas for how to show our love for our spouse.  Let me know what you think and if you do it.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I thought I would just let you know about this great new math site I found.  I was led there by another wonderful blogging mom I follow.

It is called XtraMath.  The site's focus is on building math facts - addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  The one of the great things about it is it is free.  It is totally set up for parents or teachers.  They even send you progress reports for you child(ren).

I got on the site yesterday and I was able to set up an account for each of my kids.  You choose their grade level and it adds which facts they should be learning.  Another great thing is you can go in and customize the facts they should be learning.

Say you set up a child and they are in the ninth grade, the default gives them addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts.  They are excellent with addition and subtraction, so you do not want them to be distracted by those.  You can go in and take out the addition and subtraction facts.

I signed myself up as a student.  They start by having you take placement tests.  They only have you do problems for about 10 minutes and then you are done for the day.  It is timed, but I think that adds to the challenge.

Below is the email I received when I finished today:
Congratulations! Jess has finished addition in XtraMath. That means your child has demonstrated the ability to answer all of the basic addition facts correctly in under three seconds.

A certificate of completion is available in your parent account that you can print and give to your child. Sign into your parent account and look for "Certificates" in the left column.
XtraMath is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to math achievement for all. We do not charge for XtraMath nor do we have advertising on our site. Instead, we are supported by donations from parents like you. If you appreciate our program please make a tax-deductible donation. Your donation will help cover the cost of operating this website, make XtraMath available to more students where it is most needed, and improve the program for all. Thank you!

I am going to be starting my girls next week and I am very excited to see how this will improve their math skills.

If you are a parent and your child could use some math fact help or your a teacher with a classroom of students that need this help, I encourage you to check out this site.