Books I Love – The Alchemyst

Hello lovelies! Today’s book recommendation is The Alchemyst – book one in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series! 

This series is one of my favorite upper middle grade/young adult (recommended for grades 6 and up, but I think kids could as young as nine or ten would love it). This fantasy adventure series features characters from history, legends, and myths and is perfect for fans of Rick Riordan’s books. It’s a very clean read, which is refreshing. The story is action packed, the characters are relatable, and the writing is engaging!

I loved this series and rapidly devoured all the books. I really have no idea why this series doesn’t get more attention. I loved it as an adult, but I think especially for younger readers this is one of my top book recommendations.  🙂

Make Your Own Gummies Kit – Review

Hi guys, my latest review has been published at The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. You can find it in full here, and I’ve included an excerpt below.


Boo loves to bake. Working with her in the kitchen to create something new is one the best ways to spend quality time with her, so we were excited to try the Make Your Own Gummies Kit from Verve, Inc.

gummies kitThe kit costs $13.95 and gives you the opportunity to do something fun as a family, or with one of your kids, or however you decide to use it. It contains everything you need to make one batch of all natural sour gummies from seaweed: simple step-by-step instructions, sour mix, naturally colored and flavored Fair Trade sugar, powdered seaweed, dried seaweed, and molding starch to make your own candy molds.

It also comes with a sweet story about a girl named Divina in the Philippines whose family has a seaweed farm. The story tells us a bit about how they grow the seaweed, what types of things it’s used for, and how using seaweed instead of gelatin in the gummies helps support Divina and families like hers.

The process of using seaweed that you boil until the carrageenan is extracted was a really neat experience and we were all fascinated to watch it work. We think we may have done something wrong, though, because the end result solidified super quickly, before we even had the chance to get very much of it poured into the molds.

The kit comes with some sour powder to coat the gummies in once they’re made, if you so choose. Boo initially wanted to only make half of them sour, but after trying one gummy without the powder, she decided to coat them all.

All in all, I’m glad that we had the opportunity to use this kit. Boo had a good time, and we enjoyed getting to try something new. I also appreciated the fact that it was supporting seaweed farmers in the Philippines, plus seaweed was a new ingredient for us to work with and that was a fun experience.

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Apple Pie Party

Awhile back, my sweet Apple turned ONE! We threw her by far  the most elaborate party I’ve ever had for one of my kids, and I certainly couldn’t have pulled it off without my parents hosting, and my Mom making me fantastic decorations, and my daughters helping bake treats, and everyone helping me set up that day (thanks SOO much for all your help, guys).  As with anything, the reality isn’t ever exactly  like your inspiration boards on Pinterest, but of course one year olds don’t care at all.  We were able to celebrate with my parents and all my siblings and their families – which was quite a group. 😀

Here are a few peeks at her Apple Pie Party. #sweetaspie 🙂

Apple Pie First Birthday Party

Apple Pie First Birthday Party

Apple Pie First Birthday Party

Thin Stix – Art Supplies Review

My girls and I were thrilled to receive a free set of the Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors from The Pencil Grip, Inc. for us to review. We’ve had the opportunity to review a few of their other products and loved  them, so we were quite hopeful that we would love these quick drying, solid paint sticks. Let me tell you, we were definitely NOT disappointed. 🙂

Kids Art Supplies --- THIN STIX! Solid tempera paint sticks a.k.a. the perfect smash up of markers and paint! | Review of free product by Running With Spears #messfreeart #kidsart #kwikstix Thin Stix are solid tempera paint sticks a.k.a. the perfect smash up of markers and paint, and they’re also thin enough that you can use them for fairly detailed pictures, and even writing words or letters for various projects.

As soon as I received the package, my girls were begging to use them!

I decided to start with a fun project of coloring wooden blocks that my girls could keep on their desks or in their rooms, or to possibly use as a gift for grandparents at some point. I went ahead and put paper beneath the blocks to help with mess, but we actually have had these get on the table and I’ve been able to wipe it off with a damp rag. I’ve not yet tested whether they’ll come off clothes though, but I always prefer for my girls to wear old clothes when we do art projects anyway (I say – as I look at the pictures from the project and realize that they didn’t change clothes this time. I guess it’s a good thing this is such a low-mess art supply that they didn’t get any on themselves).

The Thin Stix worked perfectly for the project, and my girls had a blast, too!

Kids Art Supplies --- THIN STIX! Solid tempera paint sticks a.k.a. the perfect smash up of markers and paint! | Review of free product by Running With Spears #messfreeart #kidsart #kwikstixI love how little set-up is required to use these, unlike using actual paints. And they’re virtually mess-free, too. Not to mention the quick-dry feature that’s totally legit. In fact, when my girls were just pressing lightly it seemed to be almost insta-dry! You can also press harder and then smudge the colors with your fingers, and layer the colors and blend them together which my girls enjoy doing, but even then it only takes about 90 seconds to dry.

I love these for Bible Art Journaling, too. When I apply them lightly, I can see through them plenty well enough to read the text beneath. Using them that way, they don’t wrinkle the page at all, and barely bleed through to the other side! When I use the edge, I can carefully write (just not too small of letters), which is a neat feature.

Kids Art Supplies --- THIN STIX! Solid tempera paint sticks a.k.a. the perfect smash up of markers and paint! | Review of free product by Running With Spears #messfreeart #kidsart #kwikstix

6 CLASSICS 3D_zpsed6rsjg0Thin Stix (and other Kwik Stix) are now being sold on Check out the products here.  Thin Stix also come in Neons and Metalix, a 12 pack with more colors, and a 24 pack with all of the above.

And now, I’m excited to announce that The Pencil Grip, Inc has offered to give one of you guys a free pack of the Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors!  

These are such a fun art supply, so I’m thrilled to be able to give one of you the chance to fall in love with them. I’m trying out a little giveaway tool this time to make it easier for me to keep track of entries. It should just take you a second to fill out the two required fields, and then there are a couple quick bonus entries if you’re interested in doubling or tripling your chances to win. 🙂

*** Please make sure you click the link Running With Spears News in the box below to go to a page where you can subscribe to my newsletter – entering your email in the box just allows me to contact you if you win the giveaway, it doesn’t subscribe you.***


Click here to view this promotion.

Thin Stix are one of our very favorite art supplies. 😀
Make sure you hop over to the Homeschool Review Crew link up to check out what other reviewers have to say, and to see what sort of fun projects they’ve come up with, too!


Scripture Stickies – Review

Hi friends! Another article of mine has been published at The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. You can find it in full here, and I’ve included an excerpt and a couple pictures below.


When I was a kid I loved memorizing Bible verses. It was so easy back then. But now, with my busy schedule, I rarely memorize any new verses. I know that I should get back in the habit, and I also really want to help my girls get into a routine of hiding God’s word in their hearts. What a blessing that Julie and Gregorio have developed Scripture Stickies to help me do just that.


Scripture Stickies are packs of bible verses printed on strips of paper that have sticky strips on the back so you can put them wherever is convenient (and then take them down when you’re done without harming the surface they were stuck to). There are Scripture Stickies packs available for a variety of subjects.

scripture-stickiesThey’re quite plain, just a verse printed on paper that has sticky strips on the back, which lets everyone customize them as much or little as you want. Some may like them best just the way they are, no frills. For myself, I have some sheer paint sticks that are perfect for adding color. My ten year old enjoys taking a sparkly gel pen and adding patterns to hers, and my seven year old decorated hers with stars and flowers and such.

My girls really enjoyed each selecting one verse from the Kids Study Packs to decorate and put on our fridge. The verses in these packs for kids are great basics for them to begin memorizing, and include plenty of room on each strip for my girls to add their own embellishments. When the verses have been memorized, my girls can move them to another location such as a closet door, or notebook where they can continue to review them while working on memorizing the next verse that they choose.

I’m so glad I had the opportunity to try these nifty Scripture Stickies packs. Now it’s a cinch to have Bible verses in my house and car for me and my family to read and memorize. I can definitely see myself buying more once we’ve used all the ones I have.

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