Tuesday, February 21, 2017

WW: Read to Succeed {Linky}

After Mica's adventure of the Spelling Bee his teacher came up to us and said, "Well Mica you may not of won this, but you have Read to Succeed to look forward too." I sort of knew what Read to Succeed was about. I know that Mica could have participated in it last year, but chose not to.

Mica was talking about reading 6 books for it. All he needed to read was 4 books.

He was in a group with 3 other students that also read 4 or 5 books. His group was against 39 other groups. They were asked questions about the books. Their teacher thinks that they got all the questions right. Out of the 40 groups, only 15 received a gold medal. Mica's group was one of those 15.

Their group competes again against the other gold winners in April for a trophy.

I'm proud of him because last year I got on him about not participating in extra things. He let a lot of opportunities pass him by.

This year he joined band, did the Spelling Bee and won at school, Read to Succeed and won a gold medal, Chess and was 1 of 3 that won a gift card to go to a movie, and Student Council. It may sound like a lot. They were all active at different times, so it worked out. He's happy, successful, and had fun. I'm not all about pushing him if I didn't think he could handle it. He's the type that could easily get bored in school. Very much the opposite to how I was in school. I had to work for my grades! Even then I struggled a lot.

Here's his Read to Succeed Medal:

Have you ever been a bookworm?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Is the US the BEST Place to Live?

When I went to grad school in Savannah, Georgia I got into a conversation with a mix of people. One thing I loved about Savannah College of Art and Design is that they recruit from all over the place. I quickly learned that not all of my friends thought the US was the best place to live. It was just a place to live. Savannah is beautiful. I wonder what they'd think of the midwest?!

I watched a show this weekend that made me think about that conversation I had many moons ago with friends from all over once again. In the show many countries were interviewed about their thoughts on the US. Many said that if we could just get past the fact that we think we're so great, open our eyes to other countries and what they're doing; we'd do better. I could see their point.

I was discussing the movie I saw with a group of people. The majority of the people I work with are fairly closed minded. They know what they know, and they don't want to talk about it. Very opposite to most artist types. A few of them told me that the US is the best place to live. Keep in mind that they've never been outside the US, except for one that I know of; she lived on a military base as a child.

I believe that there is yin and yang everywhere. Even here. Where there's good - there's also bad. There is no perfect place. I'm not saying that the US is bad. I just don't believe that it's the BEST place. In my mind there isn't a BEST place. I believe that every place has it's ups and downs. When you go up a slide you have to go down one somehow.

The Washington Post - if you want to call that real news had an article about Germany being the best place to live. The US was ranked 4th. Again I feel like most places have their ups and downs.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the US is the best place to live? Do you think we have ups and downs just like everywhere else?

Spring is Coming

I never know if I should listen to the groundhog on Groundhog Day. It's seriously the silliest holiday. If he sees his shadow spring is early, and if he doesn't winter is longer. I think that's how it goes. Schools have every kid in the surrounding area believing in it. Ha! Isaak even bought the whole put your pjs on inside out and backwards for a snow day.

Maybe because of Groundhog Day silliness it's the reason that they made the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray.

We seem to be done with ice storms.

Ice on Branches:

Living in Nebraska anything can happen. Spring like weather could be faking me out, and we could have ice in a few weeks. Here we have 4 true seasons.

We had 70 degree weather Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Today it's raining a spring like rain. 

Our dwarf Magnolia tree in the front has buds forming on the tips of the branches.

Yet Another Sign of Spring:

Spring never happens as early as mid February here in the center of the US. Omaha is smack dab in the center of the US. Counting Crows has a song called, Omaha. One lyric, "Omaha, somewhere in the middle of America. Get right to the heart of matters. It's the heart that matters more."

Nebraska is now a zone warmer. We now match Kansas City, which is 2 1/2 to 3 hours south. 

Readers what do you think about spring happening so early? Lately the weather for a few years has been so crazy! Is it just a shift of weather pattern? Is it global warming? Is it chance? What do you think? 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Acrylic Color Set Review

I love reviewing art supplies! I recently got an Acrylic Paint Set.

Who Can Use These Paints?

It can be used for beginners, pros and anyone in between. It's for kids and adults. These paints are non-toxic. Kids will need help opening up the paints. They have a metal that needs to be punched with each tube. Luckily the cap has a point on one side that is meant to punch the tube.

24 Colors!

I love the variety of colors! You wouldn't NEED this many colors, but having them is awesome. They are in smaller tubes. If you do nothing, but acrylic paintings you'll run out of paint fast. I do a lot of mixed media pieces, so I don't mind the smaller tubes. I look at this this way - if they are small tubes they won't dry out like bigger tubes. I can never use all the paint fast enough with the bigger tubes.

Colors includes: Zinc White, Titanium White, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Mid, Orange Yellow, Scarlet Lake, Vermilion, Orange, Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Blue, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Green Light, Emerald Green, Viridian, Sap Green, Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Red Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Vandyke Brown, Black

  • Images will be vivid
  • Sharp colors
  • Lots of colors to choose from
  • Can be used on different surfaces
  • Can be used for arts, and crafts 

$31.97, it was knocked down to $27.97 and again to $17.97

What I Used Them For:

I started a mixed media piece. It's not done yet! It took a bit to get it done enough to put up on this review. It's a girl with a hoop skirt. Inside the skirt is going to be a bird cage with a mocking bird in it. On the wall there will be a cuckoo clock. It's a piece about captivity.

I did a transfer technique for the wallpaper, glue for the ground/molding with acrylics and colored pencil lines, paint and fabric for the girl. Her hair has a lot of sewing lines in it. I'll take better and more pictures of it when I'm done.

What would you paint if you had these acrylics?

Disclaimer: I received this acrylic set to assist with this review. I wrote this post, and was not influenced at all with an opinion. I only review things that I find interesting, or that would benefit my readers or family.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Random Tid Bits

  1. I finally broke down, called my doctor's office and said, "Here's the deal: I got sick shortly after Christmas with a cold. I got put on antibiotics and cough syrup from your office. The antibiotics did nothing. It went into asthma. I still feel like crap. It's a revolving door of not being able to breathe. I need your advice. Do I see your office for a full check-up, an Ears Nose Throat Specialist, or an Allergy Asthma Specialist? How does that work with insurance? Do I need a referral for a specialist? I'm sick of not having any energy."

    Thankfully I had a nurse call back with all my answers. I'm seeing a Allergy Asthma Specialist towards the end of the month. I feel like I'm taking 5 steps back in life because I used to see one in the same office when I was a kid, but it's needed. 

  2. I spotted the t-shirt below. I can't stand shirts that make it seem like someone does nothing wrong. It's one thing to have an empowering message, but another to send a message like the one below.

  3. I love my first year students way more than the class I had last year. They are just so attentive, respectful, and we can still joke back and forth. It's such a relief because I was beginning to think it was a generation problem. Not so! So I'm sorry if I complained a lot last year. Now I get to hear other teachers complain that teach them now.

  4. I give my students podcasts to listen to in one class. I have worksheets that they have to answer questions about what they listened to. Illustration books kept going out of print for me. This way they don't have to pay for a book. The podcasts are interviews with illustrators, art directors, editors, designers, and stock houses. I found them interesting. I ask the questions in order, so they can work and listen at the same time. I found that the ones that actually listened were getting all of them right. The ones that were not listening missed about 1/2 of them. We had a talk today about guessing, and copying. I can't prove that they are copying. They could listen in a group, and fill out the answers together. It just so happens that they all in a group get really wrong answers. Today all of my students got most of the questions right. YAY!

  5. It's supposed to be in the 70s this weekend. Is it nice where you live?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Juicy Skin Care Gold Glitter Up Review

I'm always pretty careful about what I put on my skin. I have a ton of allergies, but one that gets me is my allergy to sulphates. Sulphates are in a lot of skin care products.

Gold Bond Lotion & Body Glitter Lotion has nothing harmful in it. I love the way it looks on my skin!


  • Water
  • Ribes Nigrum Fruit Extract
  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
  • Actinidia Chinensis Seed Oil
  • Betaine
  • Aloe Barbadensis Extract
  • Cucumis Sativus Extract
  • Raffinose - It's a galactose, glucose, and fructose. It can be found in beans, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, other vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Carbomer - This one threw up a bit of a red flag in my mind. It's a thickener. WebMD said to consult your Pharmacist before using it.
  • Triethanolamine - Used as a buffing agent.
  • Allantoin - Prevents acne.
  • DMDH Hydantoin - Another red flag. This is formaldehyde. It can cause skin cancer over time.
  • Apple Fragrance 

There are a few ingredients I don't like.

Here Comes the Sun:

This product works best for after being in the sun.

How it Looks:

I put some on the right side of my hand to rub in. Then I added a blob, so you can see what it looks like when it's not rubbed in.

I do love how it looks! It adds a shimmer to the skin that's pretty/not flashy. I'm not a girly girl, but I do like pretty things from time to time. Since Isaak's favorite color is sparkly shimmery shiny gold, I thought this product would be fun to try.


There is 5.29oz. for $24.99.

Have you ever used a lotion with a sheen or glitter in it?

Disclaimer: I received Juicy Skin Care Gold Glitter to assist with this review. I wrote this post, and was not influenced at all with an opinion. I only review things that I find interesting, or that would benefit my readers or family.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

WW: District Spelling Bee {Linky}

Mica had his District Spelling Bee last week. I was more nervous than he was. 

We had no idea what to expect in a lot of regards: How many kids was he up against? How long would it take? What would happen if he did happen to win?

We walked in, and registered him at 5:45. Since he's an Apel, he was #1.

The program answered that he was against 29 students.

Practicing moving the microphone up and down:

During the Spelling Bee they wouldn't let us take photos. 

The Bees:

Mica's the third one in the back. That's as close as I could get.

Written Round:

He went through the written round. It was nerve racking because he was not asked a single word on his study packet. The packet was pages long, and he knew every word from it. We're still wondering if he even got the correct packet to study from.

Mica sat there with his hands folded, and two of his fingers crossed. He was just hoping they'd call his name off.

They called Mica's name!

Oral Rounds:

Oral Round 1:

Again there were no words called off from the pages of words he knew. 

I don't even remember the word on this round. He did get it right! 

Oral Round 2:

Another word not from the packet. The word was Automaton

Mica had the guy say the word 4 times. I was thinking, What in the heck is Automation anyhow? I had no idea how I'd spell it. 

He spelled it right!

Oral Round 3:

Another word not from the packet. The word was Stipple

I know what stipple is. I'm an art teacher, my Dad was an art teacher. It's an image done in dots. I was thinking, An easy word. You've got this Mica.  

He spelled, Stiple - Incorrect.

He was in 10th place. 


Mica's in 5th grade. He beat out some middle schoolers. We're super proud of him. He felt like the whole thing was unfair. Many acted as though they knew the words. Much like he knew his whole packet. We're still wondering if he got the right packet to study from, or not. It is what it is. I said, "At least you don't have to study for another Spelling Bee this year." He said, "True!" I said, "Maybe you can kick my butt in Scrabble. Now you know so many words, beating me is a given." He said, "Mom you know I don't care for that game." I said, "You can give it a chance though." 

He was really worried about what kids at school would say. I said, "You got further than any other kid at your school. You were their star when you won the all school Spelling Bee. Plus your teacher said you got farther than anyone at your school in history! Don't worry about it! You did your best." He said, "True." He was happy to show off his medal the next day. All the kids wanted to see it. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Natural Whitening Teeth & Gum Powder Review

I love cleaning my teeth with charcoal powder. It sounds so crazy to say that. I've tried going back to the toothpaste that's typically found in the store, and it tastes so fake. My mouth doesn't feel clean all day. Recently I got Natural Whitening Teeth & Gum Powder to review.

This is a powder you can use right on you wet toothbrush. 

When I took off the lid it looks like this:

It's an inner lid that pops off easily. The scraper is just meant to put the charcoal on your toothbrush. The only downfall of charcoal is that it can be messy. It's messy when I take this inner lid off, and I get black speckles here and there from brushing. Speckles happen with any toothpaste, but it's more noticeable when you're brushing with something black.

Why Charcoal?

It's a great natural cleaner. It cleans off tea and coffee. With whiteners I always worry about the enamel of my teeth going bye bye. Not with charcoal. I've been using charcoal tooth cleaners for a few years, and I haven't had one cavity. Why? Because it cleans.

Charcoal Powder or Paste?

You can use this charcoal powder on a wet toothbrush. It will do its job. If it seems too strange, you can make a paste. I used:

  • 2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of Charcoal Powder
  • 5 Drops of Essential Oil (I prefer orange, lemon or peppermint)
  • 7 Drops of Liquid Stevia 
There are other paste recipes online. There's some that contain turmeric and baking soda.

There is no need to worry about using an essential oil that can swallowed. You're spitting it out anyhow.


$15, but on sale for $12.50 with Prime. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way!

I notice some people cringe when I tell them about using charcoal on my teeth. Have you ever used charcoal to clean your teeth? 

Disclaimer: I received Phaii Natural Whitening Teeth and Gum Powder. I was not asked to review this product. I wrote this post, and was not influenced at all with an opinion. I only review things that I find interesting, or that would benefit my readers or family.

Tools4Wisdom Planner - Premium Hardcover Edition Review

I'm happy to share with you a new planner I got from Tools4Wisdom. It's called: Always Believe in Yourself.

Why Keep a Planner:

I never really was a planner type person. I tend to be the type that just makes lists, and remembers things I need to do. Don't get me wrong, I like planners. They are stylish, a way to store your thoughts, and a way to check things off that you've gotten done.

Last summer I kept the boys on task with a planner. They do things if they are written down. I think it's important to have realistic goal that can be achieved daily. This planner gives space to write down anything that you need to remember.

Tools4Wisdom Offers Lots of Planner Options:

There are a ton of options that they carry. Variety is the spice of life.
  • Always Believe In Yourself
  • Asian Art
  • Beach With Quote
  • Blissful Walden
  • Chillax
  • Journey of Life
  • Lightness of Being
  • Paris
  • Passion
  • Professional Black
  • River of Dreams
  • Serene Blue
I Heart the Positive Message This Has!

I'm not just talking about what's on the cover. The inside page has a positive message as well. It talks about goals throughout.

Other Specs:
  • It's dated from January to December 2017. 
  • It has a full calendar in the front. 
  • It's hardbound.
  • It's spiral bound. 
  • It has spots for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals! 


$39. 97 and on sale for $27.97 for the 8x10 planner.

$32.97 and on sale for $24.97 for the purse sized planner. It has a spot for a pen or pencil to slide in.

It's more like a book, so it's not going to get bent up.

Do you keep a planner, journal, or sketchbook?

By this on Valentines Day with the code: MEKEEP50 for 50% off!

Disclaimer: I received Tools4Wisdom Planner. I was not asked to review this product. I wrote this post, and was not influenced at all with an opinion. I only review things that I find interesting, or that would benefit my readers or family.

Red Lentil Dip

This weekend I made a Red Lentil Dip. I got the original recipe here. I found it made too much, so I cut the recipe in 1/2. Two of those bowls full of dip is just too much for my family of 4. You're getting a recipe that makes 1 of them. I also added more spices. To me it just was too bland. With the spices added I love it!

You can dip corn chips, pita chips or crackers into it. It's fairly healthy!

Usually I can't get Mica to have dip at all. He'll eat up our chips, and leave the dip behind. On Sunday he gobbled up much of the dip. 

The best parts are:

  1. That it was super easy to make! 
  2. That it is full of protein. My boys won't be coming back after this snack to say, "I'm hungry!"


The opinions on this blog are my personal take on products and topics relating to motherhood. This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me.

I am not compensated to provide opinions on a variety of topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are my own. If I claim to show knowledge of certain topic or product I will only endorse products or services that I feel, based on my expertise, are worthy of such endorsement.

If you have any questions about this blog, or want to get in contact with me please email me at: anapeladay@gmail.com