December BSMB Kindle Giveaway

BSMB Kindle

Enter to win a Kindle!! Woohoo! You guys know the deal, use the Rafflecopter form!

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Winter Wonder Week Giveaway Hop

Winter Wonder Week

Welcome to Winter Wonder Week!  100 bloggers have pulled together to offer some great prizes, such as:

  • $500.00 CASH paid via PayPal from all of the participating blogs
  • Epson Artisan 837 all-in-one printer
  • $100 Gift Card from Howard Computers
  • 3pc. Gaming Bundle from Newbie Technology
  • Kindle from Jolly Savers
  • iPad 2 from a Super Secret Sponsor (they’re a nonprofit who has asked to remain anonymous – they just ask you remember the pets this holiday)

As you hop along to the different blogs you’ll find some may have a secret image.  That image shows you have earned an extra  5 entries, so be sure to use the linky below the Rafflecopter form to hop along to all the participating blogs!  Without further ado, let the wonder begin!

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TOS Sweet Critique: Artistic Pursuits

Artistic Pursuits

Artistic PursuitsWhat:  Artistic Pursuits


Cost:  Books – $42.95; Art Supply Packs – varies

Recommended Ages:  Preschool through High School

What is Artistic Pursuits?


Artistic Pursuits is an art curriculum designed “to give children a quality art education that will prepare them to meet creative challenges in their future endeavors.”  The curriculum is made up of ten books and a variety of art supply packs, all designed for a specific age group and a specific art focus.

Our Thoughts



We reviewed Grades K-3, Book Three because Babydoll really liked the idea of engaging in a bit of painting and sculpture.  This book is filled with 32 lessons that focus on painting, sculpture, history, and artists.

Favorite thing #1 – This curriculum does a phenomenal job of combining art appreciation, artist study, art exploration, and history, all in an easy-to-understand-and-teach way.  The lessons are short and to the point, but pack a punch and we love them!

As you move through the book, you learn about artists, their work, why it was important in the historical period in which it was created, and other fun tidbits.  At the end of the lesson, the student is given an art assignment, such as painting or sculpting in our case.

Favorite thing #2 – I absolutely love the fact that this book does not tell the child how to create the art.  It explains the concept and gives pointers to build confidence {and a picture of actual student artwork}, but it doesn’t tell them how they need to create or what they need to create.  In previous art instruction we’ve used, I hated the fact that it told Babydoll how she should do something.  That’s not art!

Babydoll was so excited to try this out; she loves art.  She spent hours {I’m not even kidding you} creating her Impressionist painting.  She understood why they were called Impressionist paintings, and understood how she could create an Impressionist painting.  It made sense to her, and she felt like she was given a task that she could easily complete.  Total success!

The lessons are age appropriate and engage the child without putting them on the spot. The evaluation of art it asks of the child is not pretentious, it’s done in a way that a kid can understand and have fun with, not something that makes them self-conscious about not knowing the “right” answer.  That was favorite thing #3.

Bonus favorite thing – Lessons are not too long. Other art curriculum we’ve done has had such drawn out lessons; it wasn’t fun. These are just right.

Definitely check this one out; I think this is one of our favorite TOS things thus far.  The books are non-consumable, which I know is a huge plus for many of you.  The materials required are not obscure and hard-to-find.  Give it a whirl and let me know what you think!

What Did Others Think?


Also, check out what other TOS reviewers thought about Artistic Pursuits!

True Confessions:  I was provided with an Artistic Pursuits book to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.

Gifting our Mail Woman with #MurphyUSA

Murphy USA

Murphy USAMost of us have mail carriers who are great at what they do.  With the exception of a few envelopes I’d prefer not be placed in the mailbox, our mail woman does a great job.  Packages are always put under the porch in case it rains, she speaks to us when we’re out there, we really can’t complain!  So we thought it might be a great idea to get her a little something.

Goodies for the Mail Woman


We don’t really know her, so a personalized present was out of the question.  Getting her something useful was important, and so we thought a snack would be perfect.  We know we get hungry when we’re out…

A trip to Murphy USA was just right.  I never would have thought to visit the store for something like this, but I tell you, they have a surprising assortment of stuff.

Side note:  For our football celebration, yes, we went to a Murphy Express and found a ton of stuff.  What was really surprising about the Murphy USA store is that at first glance, it looks like a simple kiosk.  Upon closer examination, though, I found that there were quite a few cases of snack, drinks, and other stuff.  Crazy, there was a ton of stuff to choose from!

Not prepared for the sheer magnitude of stuff waiting for us, we had to take a few minutes to look through everything before deciding what to purchase.

Murphy USA

Murphy USA

Murphy USA

Murphy USA

Murphy USA

After we investigated all of our choices, we decided we’d get the mail woman a protein, some cookies, and a lemonade.  We figured this would be a nice little snack for her!

Murphy USA

We found a pretty little bag to put it into, included a note, and hung it on the mailbox!  We can’t wait for her to get it!

Murphy USA

If you have a Murphy USA around, I recommend checking them out.  They have so many things that you might not have ever known about {especially the Express stores!}, and it’s all a really great price!  Perfect for putting together little gifts like this.  You can view more of our trip on Google+.  Be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter, too!

True Confessions:  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias  All opinions are my own.