1. Metromint: 0 calories, 0 sugars, 0 anything bad for you. Incredibly refreshing drink. My favorite flavors are Chocolate Mint, Cherry Mint and Spearmint. Downside: runs about $1.69 per bottle.
2. Piano Wizard: A computer program/keyboard that teaches the basics of piano and reading music with a fun video game. Cost is $200 for everything you need at piano wizard. Program has a 4 step process that by level three has you reading music. The wizard academy then switches them off a keyboard and onto a real piano. As a pianist, I believe there is no substitute for a good teacher, but this was a fantastic way to start all my kids, not to mention cost effective. I can ascertain their level of interest and give them a level of confidence as they play basic songs before ever shelling out for the lessons. For Christmas, we purchased the Guitar Wizard... to teach the basics of guitar without them knowing they are taking lessons but I don't know how that works yet. I'll let you know next year.
3. Electrasol Dish Detergent: recommended by the man who installed my dishwasher. I get it at Costco and Love it
4. Movie: Cranford a BBC production based on the book by Elisabeth Gaskell. (North & South and Wives and Daughters are pretty good too.)
5. Jewelry organization system: My friend Jeanie showed my how to use clear adjustable tackle boxes to store my jewelry. I keep them on my closet shelf and reach into each square and pull out a coordinating jewelry set, necklace, bracelet and earrings.
6. Ped Egg: I saw this on infomercials and purchased it for my husband and his HOOVES. I tried it on my soft feet and have the softest feet I've ever had. It goes without saying that I don't even recognize my husband's fee, neither does he. I purchased it for $9.99 at Walgreens.
7. Favorite Picture Books for ages 3-100: The Princess Kiss, by Jennie Bishop (about the importance of saving yourself for the right one), The True Princess, by Angela Elwell Hunt, and The Squire and the Scroll by Jennie Bishop (about the rewards of a pure heart). God's wisdom for Little Boys by Jim George (lessons on character)
9. Family Scripture Study: 1. Read Searching the Scriptures: Family Scripture Study by Gene R. cook. If that doesn't inspire you, nothing will. 2. Create a space: I use a $5 red cloth basket from Wal-Mart that sits by my breakfast table. 3. Pick a time: After trying every time and trying to get everyone home at the same time, I have surrendered to holding more than 1 study. Our main study is after breakfast just before I take everyone to school. 4. Our format: First, I pray. We alternate during other prayers, but this is my plea to my Heavenly Father for my children during the day that sets the tone and brings the spirit. Second, we sing a song... again to bring the spirit. Third, we have a quote that we repeat every morning or we go over the scripture we are memorizing at the time. "I AM a child of God and a gift to my parents. I CAN do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I OUGHT to be kind to others and have a teachable heart. I WILL do all things that my Heavenly Father asks. 5. KEY INGREDIENT: mini dry erase boards! These are for illustrating a story while its read, finding lists in a verse, dozens of things. They keep the children engaged. 6. Other resources are the Gospel Art Kit, Scripture Study for Latter-Day Saint Families and the story picture books for the non readers. Each child has their own CHEAP scriptures from Deseret Book Outlet for $1. This is separate from Church or other scriptures because they stay in the box and don't get lost. Each child has a set of pencils for marking (color coding different colors for faith, atonement, repentance, etc. )7. Memorization scripture goes on the fridge for the week. Those who pass it off take a trip to the prize box. (Inexpensive things I collect wherever I go, suckers, gel pens, color books etc.) 8. Each child makes a carry along B of M with Modge Podge and scrapbook paper that can go with them anywhere. I take mine and read it in the car, working out, or at the Dr.