Jawbone Fitness Tracker: Review

I’ve had my Jawbone for a few months now. I can honestly say I LOVE it. It is sleek-looking and totally functional. I wear it all the time (except in the shower). It keeps me motivated to meet and beat my step goal each day. I also can keep a food journal with the app. One of my favorite things is the sleep tracker. I know that I don’t get enough sleep. I also know that I wake up multiple times throughout the night. The tracker lets me see how long it takes me to fall asleep and the quality of the sleep I get. It challenges me to go to sleep earlier on the nights when I can. There is a Smart Coach that gives you little tips throughout the day. I really like this part. It has warned me on several occasions that my amount of sleep is so low that I am walking around in a state that is equivalent to being legally drunk. When I get this warning, I make sure I get more rest. The battery life is great on this. It lasts 10 days. I usually just put in on the charger when I hop in the shower.

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I’ve tried to convince both my mother and mother-in-law to get one. I see such a benefit to having a health tracker. If you are looking for one, this is the one I recommend. I tried the Fit Bit and the Microsoft watch and can say honestly that this is my favorite!

 

Hilton Head Island: Fall Break

Our fall break was rudely interrupted by Hurricane Matthew, but we still had a good time. We let our senior in high school decide where to spend her last fall break and HH was her choice. She didn’t make it to the ocean once before we had to leave. She did, however, get lots of relaxation time. We spent one day on a boating and private island excursion with Outside Hilton Head. It was nice to do something none of us had ever done before. I fished for the first time in my whole life. I caught two sticks and a crab. We also kayaked. My dad, at 71 years old, did it for the first time in his life. He loved it and said he wanted to buy a kayak when he got home. We enjoyed the shell island that our captain stopped and let us explore. I could have spent hours there. I have a few DIY shell projects floating around in my brain as a result.

Here’s a little peek at that fun we had on fall break.

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Hilton Head, I miss you already.

Endangered Arts {Art Gallery in Hilton Head}

There is an art gallery in Hilton Head that is absolutely delightful! It’s called Endangered Arts. The owners are Clay and Julie Rogers. She runs the gallery and is a professional photographer. Her love of the ocean and all the creatures that inhabit it is evident when speaking with her. She is kind, warm, and friendly. Her husband, Clay, is a self taught painter. He paints all the things you might see in Hilton Head. They have many works of art from many different artists from all over the world. I was so impressed by every single piece of art there.

We went in looking for a painting that would remind us of our favorite place. Julie helped us figure out exactly what we wanted. We ended up choosing a Clay Rogers painting. He wrote a special personal note to us on the back and included the practice sketch he’d done of the painting. I walk by it every time I go into our bedroom. It makes my heart happy to have something as a visual reminder of the place we love so much. A visit to Hilton Head wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Endangered Arts.

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Antiquing

My new favorite thing to do on the weekend is going to the local antique stores. I didn’t go this weekend and I felt like I was going through withdrawals. I have found so many wonderful items. I bought a bundle of letters from a couple during WWII.  I also found a picture of a baby that is likely to be a distant relative of my husband. I have a love of milk glass and hobnail glass. I’ve acquired some new pieces for my collection.

There is something wonderful about walking in to those stores and thinking of the days gone by. It makes me long for simpler times. The craftsmanship and attention to detail in those antiques is hard to come by in today’s instant gratification world.

My daughters have also found a new love in those old things. It is an activity that we can do together and that has sparked many conversations about many different topics.

Here are some of the items that we’ve come across on our outings.

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Wise Words

One of the things I love about Ambleside online is the amazing books that we get to read. (Now, I will tell you that each year I have found at least one book on our list that I have decided to not read. We either tried it and disliked it so much that there was no point in continuing or we found a book that better fit our children’s and our tastes.)

Back to great books… I have had the pleasure of discovering some great books through homeschooling and I never like to keep good information to myself (that seems so selfish). One of the books we are currently reading is Wit and Wisdom from Poor Richard’s Almanack by Benjamin Franklin. It is basically proverbs. Some you’ll recognize right away like “No Pain, No gain” or “Haste makes Waste”. There are so many other gems of wisdom in this little book. I have definitely had to explain most of these to my girls. The language is sometimes hard to understand; but there is so much wisdom in those words that once I explain it, they are eager to tell of examples where this makes sense.

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This is a very inexpensive book at only $2.50. It would make a great little gift for a graduate, someone getting a new job, or even a stocking stuffer.

Meet the Disney Junior Characters

Of all the Disney World parks, Hollywood Studios is ranked lowest on my favorites list. I feel like there are not enough rides and that for our family, there isn’t quite enough to keep our attention for very long. On our last visit, I took the littles with me while my husband took the bigs to ride Tower of Terror ( I’ve done it once and I’m good). We decided to meet the Disney Junior characters. The lines were long, but not horribly long. I loved seeing all the little kids just eager with the anticipation of meeting these characters. It was adorable. My parents were with me, helping me wrangle the children. It was incredibly hot that day and they needed water and cold treats and cold napkins the whole time we were in line so I was so thankful they were there! 465 When it was finally our turn it was magical and memorable and they loved it.

 

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David was a little shy with Jake. He really liked Minnie Mouse. But he LOVED Sofia.

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There was so much laughter at that kiss. He had obviously been thinking it out since he saw her. It was priceless and I’m SO GLAD we got pictures of it.

Meeting these characters is completely worth the trip to the park. You don’t get the opportunity to meet them (with the exception of Minnie, of course) anywhere else. If your little ones are Disney Junior fans, then they will definitely enjoy this experience!!

 

 

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This site has an auction with a lot of different and really awesome stuff up for auction all to benefit the Meyers family (The Freckled Fox), if you want to check it out.

 

Reading and Listening: Audiobooks

Since we use “real” books and not as many textbooks in our home school, we spend most of our days reading. Because two of my children are struggling readers and the books that they are “reading” are quite demanding, I usually read aloud. This is good for all of us; but there are occasions where I simply do not have the time or that they are just not listening to me because the baby wants my attention or they are just sick of hearing my voice. During these times, I have found it extremely helpful to use Audibles and LibriVox. Audibles is through Amazon and is a pay program. You buy the audiobook. I use it with my older child. She reads along as it reads it aloud. This was one of the recommended methods for her due to her phonological processing disorder.

LibriVox is a free program. People volunteer to read chapters or whole books. The books in this program are all public domain, so only certain books are available. We used it with Burgess Animal Book. I felt like the girls listened along much better and we were able to pause or go back and repeat if we needed to do that. I like both programs and would highly recommend both to anyone who enjoys listening to stories.

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Please continue to keep The Freckled Fox family in your thoughts and prayers.

“Magic”Cookie Recipe

My family really likes cookies. Pretty much any cookie will make them happy. I made these cookies a few years ago and brought them to the pool. One of my daughter’s friends tasted them and declared they were “magic”. Why? Because they just made her instantly happy she said. Hey, it doesn’t get much better than that.

When we were all teaching in VBS a few weeks ago, she asked when I was making some more of those “magic” cookies. The next day I brought her a batch. Her eyes literally filled with happy tears.

I don’t know if anyone else will enjoy them as much as our dear friend does, but here’s the recipe to bring a little “magic” into your day!

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Loved in the South’s Magic Cookies

2 cups almond flour

1 cup Splenda

1/2 cup Torani sugar-free brown sugar cinnamon syrup

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup lower sugar cranberries

1 1/2 to 2 tsp.  orange extract (depending on how orangey you want it)

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1 stick  softened butter (the best butter is Kerrygold)

Mix the softened butter, Splenda, syrup, and almond flour together. Add the rest of the ingredients. Drop into small balls on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until edges turn light brown. I baked them 8-10 minutes. Enjoy!

 

Agenda

You know the scene in the movie, “You’ve Got Mail,” where Meg Ryan says she loves a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils. I feel that exact same way! I love school supplies. I love new pencils. I love stickers. I love folders. I love agendas. I also love Lilly Pulitzer. So, you can imagine how happy I was when I got the email that said the new Lilly agendas were ready to be pre-ordered. I ordered mine right there and then.

It hasn’t arrived yet, but I can hardly wait to get it!

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photo credit: Lilly Pulitzer

Good Eats on Hilton Head Island

Every time we travel we check Trip Advisor, Yelp, and ask around for the best places to eat. Sometimes the reviews are spot on and other times we are left wondering if the owners somehow coerced people to leave the positive reviews.

Here is an honest review of some of the places to find good food on Hilton Head Island.

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Alexander’s : The food here was really tasty. I had the stuffed shrimp and I would highly recommend it. Some of the other people in our party had the surf and turf and said it was some of the best they’d ever had.

The Old Oyster Factory: This had some of the most beautiful views of the marshes. The food was all outstanding. Everything that everyone ordered was perfectly prepared and outstanding. This is a place we’d visit again and again.

Coco’s on the Beach: I didn’t eat anything from here, but my children and the rest of the family did. They said the burgers were out of this world. They also loved the mozzarella sticks. The children loved ordering the virgin drinks there too.

Low Country Backyard: I had the best shrimp and grits of my life at this little restaurant. Unfortunately, we’ve only been able to eat there once. There are only a few cooks, very few tables, and no reservations. This helps keep the quality of the food high, which I appreciate. It just makes it extremely hard to get to eat there with a large family.

I hope that if anyone out there is headed there that this little review helps.

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