Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bay Tree Solutions

I just entered to win a $50 Amazon GC from Bay Tree Solutions. They are a company that handles timeshare resales. If you'd like to enter, just blog about the company linking to their homepage, using the anchor text timeshare resales to be entered. Good Luck!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Shameless


The father in this show, Frank Gallagher spends every penny he can at the bar. If you could take just a portion of that money and give it to his daughter Fiona, what would you tell her to do with it? Take a long, much needed vacation? Invest in a new house? Feed the family for a year? 

If I could give some of that money to Fiona, first I'd hire a nanny/housekeeper to help her with the house and her siblings. I'd make sure they had plenty of food, all the bills were paid, and that she was able to enjoy her youth. I'd then send dear old Frank to REHAB so that hopefully he could be the father they need him to be when he gets out, and he'd stay sober. 

In Season One of Shameless, we see Fiona take on so many parental roles that should not be her burden to bear. I keep thinking what an amazing, strong young woman she is, despite the many mistakes she makes along the way. I think she does a fantastic job of handling responsibilities that she did not create, and I so want Frank to get sober and let her just be a young woman.

One Tree Hill

I have spent the day watching Season 8 on DVD while cleaning :) Just TEN more days until the season premiere!!! (Wed, Jan 11 at 8/7c on The CW for those looking to join in!).

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blog Tour: Fate's Second Chance and GIVEAWAY

Guest post by author AJ Jarrett:

Let me start off by saying hello to everyone and Happy New Year’s Eve. Another year is coming to a
close and I must say it went fast. Being a wife and mother I’m always busy. Add becoming a writer on
top of that and I can’t even remember most days.

A year ago January I decided I wanted to become a writer. I wanted to try my hand at creating stories to
entertain others. I’m fortunate enough to be published and that my dream is coming true. I have three
books coming out with Silver and Fate’s Second Chance being the first. And I just signed a contract with
Siren Publishing for a book that is scheduled for release in April. So I’m thinking 2012 will be just as busy
or so I hope it is. I love to write and cant image my life without it.

I’ll keep this short since I’m sure everyone is busy with plans or like me busy getting ready to sit on the
couch. I wish everyone the best for this New Year and thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pretty Little Liars

Just FIVE more days until the premiere of the new season of Pretty Little Liars on Jan 2 at 8/7c on ABC Family. I don't know about y'all, but I am excited! I am pretty sure we have to wait until March to find out for sure who "A" is, but I can't wait to watch the story unfold.

“Missed some of the nail-biting suspense from last season? Make sure to get all caught up here: http://bit.ly/tupDF8"

One Tree Hill

The Wedding - Brooke and Julian

When I got married at 21, I wanted the big Church wedding with the poofy white dress and all my family and friends, and it was fabulous. As an adult, if I were planning one, I'd suggest perhaps a destination wedding. None of the hassle, and all the fun. However, I did enjoy watching Julian and Brooke get married. Watching them exchange their vows was so sweet and romantic.

I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote One Tree Hill Season Eight on DVD. Season 9 premiers on Wed Jan 11 at 8/7c on The CW. Season 8 is now available on DVD and UltraViolet.

One Tree Hill - 'I Love the Way You Love Me' by thewbdotcom

Waiting around to watch festive holiday specials

Guest post written by Annie Colbert
It really is the most wonderful time of the year, especially when it comes to TV. There's just so much great TV on right now and I Love taking advantage of it. There haven't really been all that many great things on TV as far as I'm concerned so far, but I'm pretty excited about all of the Christmas shows that are sure to come on soon. I think that there has been some stuff that's okay, but there's really not been anything that's too exciting as far as my standards go, I really love Rudolph and all of the other claymation classics.
I was online seeing if I could find some schedules for some of those claymation classics and while I was doing that, I ran across some info onMiracle Ear. After I lookedt hrough it a little bit I went and got fitted with some hearing aids.
I really do love a good holiday special, but I think that my favorite one that isn't claymation is the Charlie Brown one. You can't deny a classic like that!


Monday, December 26, 2011

Shameless

The first season of Shameless is full of 'Shameless' moments. I would love to know your favorite and funniest Shameless moments from the first season. Warner Bros. has also set up the I-Never Challenge, which is so much fun between friends. It is a selection of short video clips showing the most out-there and shameless moments from the show. After every clip, you can take the challenge to admit or deny that you have done something similar to what was in the clip. You can connect via Facebook and Challenge friends to reveal their most Shameless moments. I did this with some of my friends and we had such a great time laughing and challenging one another!

I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote Shameless Season One on DVD. Season 2 premiers on Sunday January 8 at 9ET/PT (8CST) on Showtime. Season One is available tomorrow on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Shameless 'I-Never Challenge' by thewbdotcom

Rizzoli and Isles

I can't believe tonight is the season finale of Rizzoli and Isles! I love having my mommy time watching this every Monday night at 10/9c on TNT. I've mentioned before that I DVR this show so I can watch it in peace and quiet and relax after putting the kids to bed. Thank goodness for re-runs and the full season DVD.

Synopsis of tonight's show:
Jane and Maura investigate whether arson played any role in the death of a firefighter killed in a warehouse fire. Not too long after, a hit-and-run complicates the case. FBI Agent Gabriel Dean returns eager to renew his relationship with Jane.

You can find out more about this show at: http://bit.ly/lnDvyi! I couldn't get the sneak peek to embed, but I found one on youtube you can see at http://youtu.be/rECO_kJ6yso
“I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote Rizzoli & Isles."



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Zenni

This post brought to you by Zenni Optical. All opinions are 100% mine.

order_detail_5068

With the new year approaching, many of my "real life" friends on Facebook have been discussing the various changes to their health, dental, and vision plans for the upcoming year. Then, some friends who've been unemployed for most of the year commented that they were looking for various plans that they could get since their COBRA had expired or portions were too expensive to continue. One site that came up for vision products was Zenni Optical. A friend of my mother's says she buys all of their eyeglasses from Zenni and she's been very impressed thus far with the quality of them. 

Personally, I am also due for an eye exam this upcoming year, and I am dreading it. I just know I am going to need bi-focals, yet I feel way too young for them. I realize it's probably not that big of a deal, and in the grand scheme of things, I am grateful that I have insurance and am able to afford the glasses that I need. I must say that when I was browsing the Zenni site, and found a pair of bi-focals that I liked, I was shocked to see that the pair featured above were a mere $6.95! That is a very low price to pay for quality frames that come with great features. Just because they offer cheap eyeglasses doesn't mean they are necessarily bad. At this price, I plan to purchase some just to see the quality for myself. 

If any of you take a look around, I'd love to know what you think of the frames as well, or if you've had any personal experience with this site!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rizzoli and Isles

It's Monday y'all and I cannot wait until my mommy time tonight with Rizzoli and Isles! Traveling 9 hours each way alone in the car with three children this weekend wore me out! The kids are still in school this week, so they had to be up and on the bus bright and early. I have a booked morning, afternoon, and evening ahead of me, so I'll be ready to relax and watch my show.

I adored last weeks show when they went to the high school reunion. These girls seem like they would've fit right into my circle of friends when I was in school. Maybe that's why I like them so much! Tonight they are entering the competitive dance environment, and I am certain it will be just delightful. I've included the synopsis and a sneak peak video of tonight's episode for your enjoyment:)


Synopsis:
The world of competitive dance turns deadly when the mother of a star performer is stabbed to death at a competition. Jane and the team search for clues, but they soon realize something is off about the woman's history. Korsak has his hands full when his stepson is accused of shooting a cop. Recurring guest star LOLITA DAVIDOVICH appears as Korsak's ex-wife, Melody.

If you haven't seen Rizzoli and Isles, you can check it out here http://bit.ly/lnDvyi!

“I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote Rizzoli & Isles."


Rizzoli & Isles - 'Don't Stop Dancing, Girl' by thewbdotcom

ChoozOn



At my recent House Parties, we were just discussing the myriad of different daily deal sites, etc. Each person seems to have one site they prefer over another, for various reasons. I think most of them tend to offer great deals, depending on what you are in the market for. It can, however, get time consuming trying to follow them all! It made me giggle this morning when I opened my email and saw this new site, ChoozOn, that will scour all the deals based on selections you pick, and combine them all for you. It's the kind of site my friends and I will be asking one another, Why didn't we think of that, LOL:)

ChoozOn brings you deals and offers matched to your current interests, featuring your favorite brands, loyalty programs, deals-of-the-day, private (flash) sales, and the products you may be searching for. Think of us as your personal shopper for deals. Range of deals. We’re working with more than 1500 major national brands, local daily deal services, coupon sites, flash sales, and loyalty programs.


Our Mission – Help busy Moms to get the most value, for the least possible effort, from the brands they love. ChoozOn has just released a beta-test version of its new service, which is open for customers to try out and provide feedback. We would like to give the Web’s savviest, deal-conscious bloggers a private preview of our site, and a chance to share their thoughts about this convenient deal-hunting service with their readerships, before the wider public hears about ChoozOn.

Craftsy



Crafting seems to be a popular and fun activity for many women that I know. There are websites we see that inspire us, and then we get together and try to re-create things. The supplies, though, can get expensive. There is now a site, Craftsy, that offers daily deals in addition to an online support group for crafters. It's free to join, so I hope you'll check it out :)


To Signup for Craftsy Crafting Daily Deals click on one of the deals, after signing up you get the full information about the deals offered. 
Craftsy is the fastest growing online community for Crafters - with over 500,000 monthly unique visitors, having just launched in May 2011. This rapid growth results from two primary offerings which Craftsy users love: 
1) Terrific online classes from amazing instructors for beginning, intermediate and advanced quilters, knitters, crocheters, sewists, jewelry makers, and other crafters. 
2) Astonishingly good deals on crafting supplies: organic yarn, lovely fabrics and fat quarters from top designers, high quality needles, etc... 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Book Tour: What We Deserve



Book Description:
Years after Sean’s heart was broken by his first love Jamie, he is ready to try his hand at love again with Tyler, his handsome, perfect-geek-for-him boyfriend. But when Jamie returns home after twelve years in the Army, Sean finds himself unable to choose between his passion for Tyler and his still smoldering desire for Jamie. But if Jamie and Tyler get along, maybe he won’t have to choose after all. 

Disclosure: I received complimentary access to an e-copy of this book to facilitate participation in this tour. No monetary compensation was exchanged. No positive review was requested or required. All opinions expressed are solely my own and were not influenced in any manner. Your experience may differ from mine. You can visit the TOUR POST HOME for links to the other participating blogs in this tour.

Oral B Stages House Party

I had originally scheduled my Oral B Stages House Party for Saturday December 10, but then two of my kids woke up sick that morning and I didn't want to spread the germs among our friends, so we cancelled the party at the last minute. We rescheduled for Thursday, December 15, the night before we went to Tennessee to visit family. We've just been back home about 30 minutes, so I'm trying to get the pics uploaded to show you how much fun we had! The picture above is a sampling of the gift bags and what was in them Oral B very generously sent:

BizzClick

I have not yet made the jump into publishing pay per click ads on any of my sites. I know several bloggers that have, and it's been quite successful for them, but I've been too swamped to really have the time to figure it all out. BizzClick is a Pay Per Click agency where web site owners can set up a publishers account, at no cost or obligation, and add the code to their site. There is a 75% revenue share based on your statistics and it shows several ways to monitor your activity. It's something I am considering for monetizing traffic one of my other sites, just to see how it works.

Likewise, if you are an Advertiser seeking to place ads on a pay per click network, BizzClick offers a personal manager for each client, and 24/7 support team. They also utilize their own FiSoAp traffic ranking system so that they can help their advertisers to get traffic sources that fit their needs. It allows you to get the highest bids while avoiding charge backs.

They do have an affiliate referral account, but I have not set up an account yet to pass that information along to you. If you are interested in that information once I check it out, just leave me a message with a method of contact, and I am happy to pass along my personal experiences to you once I've had a chance to try it out.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Book Tour and Giveaway: Farsighted

Book Tour and Giveaway: Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

Most of y'all know by know that I am not a huge fan of paranormal or vampire books, but I was intrigued by this book because it's a YA book ( I knew it wouldn't be too graphic) and because the main character is blind, was bullied, but refused to be a victim. I find that to be inspiring, and am always looking to read stories of that nature, to use as inspiration for Aaron. This book was very fast paced, and I found that I truly enjoyed the story. The author was very unique in how she came from the perspective of a blind person, it was very believable, and the paranormal wasn't so out there that I couldn't enjoy the meat of the story. I also enjoyed the mystery aspect, and trying to predict the ending. I've included a blurb about the book below for you to enjoy, and the author has also generously donated an e-copy of this book to one reader. Just complete the Rafflecopter form to enter:)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pretty Little Liars

I am curious to know if any of y'all watched the season finale of Pretty Little Liars. It ended with a cliffhanger, and I'd like to know who you think "A" is, Who planted the shovel, and what do you think of the Jenna/Garrett Alliance?

The spoiler sites are saying that on the March 19 show, which is the season 2 finale, "A" will finally be revealed! I have to say that I go back and forth on two theories about who "A" is. I think it's either someone VERY close to the inner circle, or someone that is a minor character in the show at this point. "A" knows so much about the group that it makes sense that it would be someone they all trust, but at the same time, I think it could be someone who is shown from afar in the show, yet watches the actions of the group very closely, perhaps in jealousy? I don't know. I can't figure out the shovel either. These things could go in so many directions. I am a total nerd reading and following the spoiler sites, and fan sites, trying to glean any tidbit of information that could sway me one way or another, or even take me in an entirely new direction. I also kinda think maybe it was Jenna. Maybe Ali really is alive and it was all a hoax. I just don't know! LOL:) Not sure of the Jenna/Garrett Alliance, maybe it's because I sort of think Jenna could be "A", but maybe Garrett doesn't know and she's just using him. She is mysterious, and seems sort of self centered, like she is using him to do her dirty work. Eighteen more days until the season premiere, can't wait to see how it unfolds!

“Missed some of the nail-biting suspense from last season? Make sure to get all caught up here: http://bit.ly/tupDF8". The NEW Season Premiers Monday January 2 at 8/7c on ABC Family.

"I have been hired by Warner Bros WBWord division to raise awareness for 'Pretty Little Liars.'"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One Tree Hill


One Tree Hill has a phenomenal cast, and it's a show that both men and women that I know enjoy watching it. My girlfriends and I also adore young Stephen Colletti from Laguna Beach who is also on the show :) This show just makes me smile. Yeah, it's got drama, but it's got romance, and comedy also. Episode 15 of Season 8 was based on Valentine's Day. It was full of romantic events between the characters, but my favorite part is the way the actors interact with each other. They are so believable and easy to relate to. Their body language and the way they look at one another, it will melt your heart.

In the beginning of this episode, the pregnant mama takes some of her son Jamie's Valentines candy, shows him the KISS ME, and steals a kiss. SO CUTE! Then when Jamie is picking out a Valentine's gift and card at the store, the little girl made eyes at him, it was adorable. When Mom and Dad were in the bathroom brushing their teeth getting ready for the day, it was so realistic of what long term love in a relationship is like, even on Valentine's Day, I just loved it.

"In Tree Hill, NC, there is never a dull moment. Hope, heartbreak and a hurricane - all in one season! One Tree Hill's Season 8 is packed with drama and ready for pre-order http://bit.ly/w2DhRu!" The new/final season premieres Wednesday January 11 at 8/7c on the CW.

“I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote One Tree Hill Season Eight on DVD, it will also be available on Ultra Violet. It will be on pre-order status until the release date of December 20, 2011."

Book Tour: A Summer in Europe

Book Tour: A Summer In Europe by Marilyn Brant


I will confess, I am in my mid-thirties. Most of my friends, when approaching the 30 year mark, had some sort of period of self-reflection. We all pondered questions such as, Am I where I thought I'd be at this point in life?, Moving in the direction I want to be moving in?, Are there things I want to do before I turn 40?, etc. I think reaching a new decade mark gives us some sort of mental push to evaluate our lives. It's important to live intentionally and not just go through the motions.

When I started reading this book, it reminded me of the questions I thought about, and how life changes for us as we pass each decade marker. At 20, you are just out of high school, possibly in college, learning to be an adult. By 30, many of us are married, with kids or trying to have kids. At 40, mine will be teenagers, I figure I'll be just trying to survive the teen angst. Around 50, they'll all be out of school and entering their 20s. Going to Europe is something that is on my own dream wish list, so I could definitely relate to this book. I wish I had taken the opportunity to do some of the things that the character in this book did, before I settled down. I think it's important for people to set goals for themselves and work towards them. We can't predict the future that our lives holds, so it's important to enjoy every experience and opportunity as it presents itself. This is a romantic book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's definitely one to recommend to your girlfriends!


Book Description:
On her thirtieth birthday, Gwendolyn Reese receives an unexpected present from her widowed Aunt Bea: a grand tour of Europe in the company of Bea's Sudoku and Mah-jongg Club. The prospect isn't entirely appealing. But when the gift she is expecting - an engagement ring from her boyfriend - doesn't materialize, Gwen decides to go. At first, Gwen approaches the trip as if it's the math homework she assigns her students, diligently checking monuments off her must-see list. But amid the bougainvillea and stunning vistas of southern Italy, something changes. Gwen begins to live in the moment - skipping down stone staircases in Capri, running her fingers over a glacier in view of the Matterhorn, racing through the Louvre, and taste-testing pastries at a Marseilles cafe. Revelling in every new experience - especially her attraction to a charismatic British physics professor - Gwen discovers that the ancient wonders around her are nothing compared to the renaissance unfolding within...

Disclosure: I received complimentary access to this book to facilitate participation in this tour. No monetary compensation was exchanged. No positive opinion was requested or required. All opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner. Your experience may differ from mine. This book is now available for purchase from Amazon.

Auto Insurance: Save Money by Getting Only the Coverage You Need

Guest Post: Auto Insurance: Save Money by Getting Only the Coverage You Need
By Jessica Bosari
Since personal circumstances are constantly changing, I always reassess my needs and financial situation before buying car insurance.   First, I compare car insurance quotes every six months. Second, I save a substantial amount of money by not over insuring my vehicle or purchasing types of insurance that I’ll  probably never use.
Auto Insurance Mandated by Law
Most states have laws that require people to buy specific types of auto insurance.  In the state I live in Liability, Uninsured, and Underinsured Insurance are required, so I already know I’m going to buy them.  The minimum requirements are usually not enough since injuries and damage to cars can cost so much.  I try to buy enough that I’m not left destitute if the worst-case scenario happens.
Lending Institution Requirements
If you’re like me, you pay cash for a car, so you won't have to buy whatever the lending institution requires.  Most are going to insist on liability plus collision and comprehensive insurance.  Until the loan’s paid off lenders are going to make sure their collateral’s covered.  Lender required insurance is non-negotiable, so I avoid car loans altogether.
Choosing a Deductible
Since I have enough saved to cover the cost of buying a replacement car, I save hundreds on collision and comprehensive insurance every year.  But not everyone has such a healthy emergency fund. If not for that space cash, I would figure up how much I can pay out of pocket and try to save enough money to cover a higher deductible, because it decreases the amount of my insurance premium.
Extra Insurance Riders
Once again, I go back to my personal circumstances to determine whether to buy any of the additional insurance riders that companies offer.  I won’t buy any extra type of insurance just because an agent recommends it.  If I’m pretty sure it’s something that I’ll use and I can see that the benefits outweigh the cost, then I’ll consider it.
Emergency Road Service
Each insurance company’s different, but most pay someone to fix your car on site if it strands you on the side of the road.  If it can’t be fixed on site, it pays a tow service to take the car to the nearest dealer or garage. This only makes sense when it's cheaper than other roadside assistance programs like AAA, and it usually isn't. Also, if you have to make a tow claim, it could affect your car insurance rates. No thanks!
Car Rental
I don’t usually add rental to my policy because I can always hitch a ride or borrow a vehicle.  If I didn’t have any other transportation options while mine was out of commission I still wouldn't add it to my policy.   It's usually cheaper to rent for a few days than buy the coverage.
Yes, I'm frugal, but I also know another importance of carrying adequate insurance, having worked in the car insurance industry for 13 years. Read more of my car insurance tips at CarInsuranceQuotesComparison.Com.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Book Review: The Magi


Book Review: The Magi by Kevin Turner

As I have mentioned previously, I am always looking for new and unique YA books to keep Joshua challenged. When I first heard of The Magi, I knew it would be an ideal fit for him because he really enjoys books that are mysterious and magical. This is the first book in a five book YA fantasy series, and I can't wait for him to read the other four books in this saga. Other reviewers have related this book to the Harry Potter series, and I definitely think it fits in the same category and classification. It is very well written, age appropriate, and I could see this being turned into a movie series eventually as well. Joshua loved it, and will be writing a report on it for his teacher this week. We are travelling out of town over the holidays and this is on my Kindle, so I will likely have him read it to his brothers while we're on the road. I never want to give away too many details of a story, but I have included the Book Description for you!

Book Description:
Thirteen-year-old Elijah Hawk has never heard of the Magi. He knows nothing about their three thousand-year-old secret. He has never been to Savenridge, the Magi city hidden deep inside the northern woods. Most of all, Elijah is unaware of the dangers hunting him.

After one terrifying night, however, all of that changes!

On a quest to solve the horrific murder of his parents, Elijah stumbles upon the land of the Magi. Learning their ancient secrets and training with their power is the least of his problems. In order to find out why his parents were killed, Elijah learns that he must confront the dangers that are hunting him, even though it means almost certain death. What's more terrifying is discovering that his journey to this new world may not have been an accident after all.

Disclosure: I received complimentary access to an e-copy of this book to facilitate this post. No monetary compensation was exchanged. No positive review was requested or required. All opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner. Your experience may differ from mine.

Book Tour: His Mistress by Christmas

Book Tour: His Mistress by Christmas by Victoria Alexander

Y'all probably know by now that I am a huge fan of Victorian era books, and I do enjoy Victorian romances as well. There is something so delightful about books set in this time period where men were polite and gentlemen-like, and women were full of grace and charm. People are respectable, use proper manners, and are focused on enjoying the company of one another. Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, full of magic and charm; mix in a little romance, and you have the makings of a marvelous story!

Book Description:
For three years, Lady Veronica Smithson has been perfectly happy as a widow — and thoroughly independent. Still, the right gentleman could provide the benefits of marriage without the tedious restrictions. And in Sir Sebastian Hadley-Attwater, renowned explorer and rogue, Veronica is sure she has found him. Sebastian will come into his inheritance in a matter of weeks — if his family deems him responsible enough. There’s no better way to prove his maturity than with a home and a wife. But though the lovely Veronica will share his bed, she steadfastly refuses to marry. However, Sebastian has a plan. An intimate sojourn at his new country house will surely change Veronica’s mind. For Sebastian never takes no for an answer. And even in the midst of mischief-making relatives and unexpected complications, he intends to persuade his Christmas mistress that they belong together — in this, and every season to come...

Disclosure: I was given a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate participation in this tour. No monetary compensation was exchanged. No positive review was requested or required. All opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner. This book is now available for purchase at Amazon.

Shameless Season One


If you haven't seen Shameless yet, it airs on Showtime. The series is returning again on Sunday Jan 8 at 9/8c. The star of the show is Frank Gallagher, played by William H Macy, and he is the father of six children. The mother is not in the picture, so a lot of the pressure to take care of the children falls to the oldest daughter Fiona.  In one episode in particular, one of the middle children, Debbie, is very depressed after the passing of their aunt. The kids are all at a birthday party at Debbie decides to secretly take one of the children home and disguise him as a little girl. Her siblings get home and discover this and are scared because now the police are involved, and they want to return this toddler to his parents without being noticed by anyone, to try and keep Debbie out of trouble herself.

While this show does have some dramatic issues, it has comedy as well. I like it because it is easy to relate to. Sure things are dramatized for television, but there is usually a foundation in many of the situations that hits all too close to home, and it something that most families can relate to. Sometimes we all feel like we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders, especially where our siblings are concerned, regardless of whose responsibility caring for them actually is.

I remember as a teenager that my own little brother used to get himself into some pretty crazy situations. Yes, our parents were at home each and every night, but like any parents, they can't watch their kids 24 hours a day. In most families, some responsibility always falls to the siblings to watch out for one another. It's the kind of deal where you can't imagine how your sibling managed to get themselves into certain situations, but you'd go to any length to protect them and help them. Regardless of how irritated they make you:) I was watching the above episode and heard Fiona ask little Debbie, "WHY would you steal a baby?" and I could just hear myself asking my brother, "WHY would you do (insert situation I won't reveal to the public, LOL)". It doesn't matter that it's been 20+ years since I went through this with my own brother, seeing this episode took me right back there in my mind.

“I have been hired by Warner Bros. WBWord division to promote Shameless Season One on DVD." Season One of Shameless is coming soon on DVD and Blu-ray.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Book Tour: A Death at the North Pole


Synopsis:
Detective Lauren Bruni has dealt with death for her entire life. She has watched it ruin lives, and brought people closer together. Her job taught her to separate fact from fiction.
But on a cold December day, all Lauren had believed in would be shattered and tossed aside. Thrust in a world unlike any she has seen before, she investigates a prominent figure’s grisly murder, and searches for answers along a strange new set of people.


All while a killer watchers her every movement from the background. He waits in the shadows, waiting to strike at her when the time is right.


What is the secret of the death at the North Pole, and what is the larger horror at hand? Life lessons are learned and a realization that sometimes the most real things in this world are the ones we believe in the least.

***Update: Guest Post from the Author:)

Holiday Shopping Ideas for Authors

When the holidays come around, certain people prove to be a problem to shop for. It is because of this you will want to be sure that you consider the person and some of the things they might like. In some cases, you might consider looking at their overall interest as a way to find the perfect gift. With that in mind, if you are shopping for an author, then you might want to consider the following items. 

One of my favorite books on writing is Bird by Bird it is by Anne Lamott. This is an exceptional tool that will provide writer’s with some great tips on ways to improve their writing. The information in this book can help the avid writer to focus on the things that matter in writing and churn out a better story. 

If your author has a particular style of music they love to listen to, you can pick up a few albums that will help to put them in the writing mood. In some cases, the best choice you will have is to pick up an iTunes gift card and let them begin to pick out their favorite songs so they can build the perfect writing playlist. 

Notepads and pens are always a great idea when you have a writer in your life. During the course of a lifetime, these individuals will fill endless numbers of notebooks and spare pieces of paper with their writing. By giving them a single item they can use, they can contain a series of thoughts into an impressive book. 

Of course, you are going to find that no matter what you end up getting them, that special author is going to love what you have purchased for them. As a rule, these individuals tend to be very appreciative of everything that they receive and will truly cherish every item that has been gifted to them.

Book Review: Iris and the Dragonflies



Book Review: Iris and the Dragonflies

I am very happy to say that I have found another YA book for Joshua to enjoy. While reading other reviews of this book, I see that many people make reference to this book as being for young girls, but I found it to be a book that boys could enjoy also. Joshua loves reading books on my Kindle, and he enjoys mysteries. I typically read these books first, to ensure they are appropriate for him, then I allow him to read them. My kids are big into magic, and Santa might even be bringing one of them a magic kit:) So, when I proofed this book and saw that it contained a story about magic and mystery, I knew he'd enjoy it.

We are in the unique position of having Aaron return to school after three years of homeschooling, following a bullying incident at his former school. While Joshua is younger than Aaron, he is more advanced than him in certain areas, some of it relating to Aaron's medical and learning disabilities. I often have Joshua read aloud to both Aaron and Logan. In this story, there are bullies, and I felt like it was a story that all three boys would enjoy, and lessons they'd be able to take away from it. So, I had Joshua read it aloud to his brothers. I don't ever want to spoil a story by revealing too much, so I've just included the book summary for you. I would highly recommend this story to anyone who's kids enjoy magic and mystery as well!

Book Summary:

Iris, a feisty, solitary, eleven-year-old girl prefers being down by the creek near her house more than anywhere else in the world. School is nothing but a joyless prison and uninterested in her classmates she spends each day gazing out the window, waiting for the dismissal bell to ring. Her only friends are the dragonflies who flit through the shoulder high bulrushes growing along the creek's banks. Iris discovers the dragonflies are more than they appear to be and that she is the key to resolving an age-old battle between light and dark, good and evil. She has the ability to unleash the power of the Earth to restore the balance that has been lost. This however is not what the Solaris have in mind. They are the world's most powerful Evil and Iris is the only one who can stop them! Will Iris and her friends be able to win this battle? Iris and the Dragonflies is empowering, and a must read for all girls.

About the Author:

Rosemary Danielis grew up in a part of Montreal, Quebec, Canada that no longer exists. The creek in the woods behind her small apartment is now an industrial development. Rosemary pursued her passion for literature and obtained a degree in English and Communications from McGill University. Rosemary has also written numerous online articles which can be found on her website: www.RosemaryDanielis.com. "Iris and the Dragonflies" was written for her children who rekindled her love for books and fantastical stories. Rosemary still lives in Montreal, the woods and the creek live on in her heart while the bugs and the flowers thrive in her beautiful garden. www.IrisAndTheDragonflies.com.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Siding

When we bought our home here in Oklahoma, we were looking at a variety of different types of houses. Since we have such severe weather out here, and maintenance is an issue, we knew that we wanted a home that had either brick or siding. We ended up with a combination of the two. Planning ahead and being intentional about the type of home we selected has paid off. There are other homes in our neighborhood that have wood instead of siding, and the difference is noticeable in how it is weathering. Our siding still looks brand new, while the home across the street that has wood was just painted two years ago, and it already has paint peeling.

This past summer, I am sure many of you remember the hurricane that went through the Northeast. It seems like they had several severe storms and weather related events, similar to what we have out here in Oklahoma. If their homes are constructed similar to ours, with similar codes, etc. then many of those homes, old and new alike, that are constructed of wood, are likely showing signs of weathering. When the time comes to do the maintenance on your home, I'd think probably in the spring after the winter storms, then consider looking into siding New Jersey. The initial cost of purchasing siding may be more than what you'd spend on paint, but in the long run, you will save on maintenance costs, and likely come out ahead. It's at least worth looking into, in my opinion :)

Rizzoli and Isles

Rizzoli and Isles is a crime drama that airs on TNT Monday nights at 10/9c. I have loved this show since the pilot episode, and I DVR it each week. I originally started watching it because Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander are two of my favorite actresses. Then I found out Lorraine Brocco was in it as well, and I knew I'd be hooked. I wasn't wrong. It comes on right as I'm putting the kids to bed at 9, so I like to make sure I don't miss the beginning! I can put the kids to bed, do my last minute chores around the house, then settle in for some mommy time and enjoy my show in peace and quiet before I go to bed.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Book Review: The Jinx



I am always on the lookout for new books that Joshua will enjoy, and that will challenge his reading abilities as well. Even though he is only in second grade, he is reading on a middle school level, and his teacher is encouraging him to read books that are on that level to keep him interested and learning. He gets bored with books that he thinks are "too easy". So, it is especially exciting to both of us when authors contact me with an offer to read and review books that are in the YA genre that he can read.

We got the Kindle edition of this book, and Joshua loves to borrow my Kindle. He read this book over the course of the weekend, and he really enjoyed it. I made him write a paragraph book report for his teacher, because the other kids in his class have assigned books to read, but she lets us choose his own books, he just has to bring her a weekly book report on what he has read. He found the story very interesting, and loved the suspense. He likes it when he can't figure out how a story will end, he doesn't like predictable stories. I don't ever like to spoil a story by revealing too much, but I have included a summary of the book for your reading pleasure. Joshua loved it, and I am sure your young adult would enjoy it as well!

Book Summary:
It’s the story of Stephen Grayson, a 13-year old whose run of bad luck gets so bad he worries he is endangering his family. Fearing he is cursed - or is turning into a supervillain - he flees home to protect his loved ones, only to find that he is in the middle of a tug-of war between a cult obsessed with order and misshapen monsters known as “Chaons” who seem bent on hunting him down. It's a fun story for kids aged 8-13, and anyone who loves YA books and suspense.

If this book sounds as interesting to you as it did to Joshua, you can read the first chapter FREE here. The author is also on Facebook and Goodreads.

Writing the future of Smallville

I must admit when I saw my assignment for Smallville this week, it made me giggle. Just last week I was talking about the things I would have changed if I were a writer for the show, then this weeks assignment is to respond to the questions, "If you were the writer for the next episode of the next season, what would happen? What does the future look like in Smallville?"

A Smurftastic Extravaganza

Well, I had planned to have our Smurftastic Extravaganza last Sunday, but Joshua came home from school with a fever on Friday and by Saturday Aaron had a fever, and on Sunday, I had a fever. So, I cancelled it. I didn't want to spread our germs to all of our friends and family! At the last minute, we were able to have some people over this weekend. The photo above is the "winning" Smurf Art Picture selected by the guests. Sorry I couldn't get it to scan and post turned around. Aaron is VERY proud of his picture:)

We enjoyed blue kool-aid, we iced sugar cookies with Blue Icing, and had some blueberry muffins before we watched the DVD of the new Smurf Movie.This was a favorite cartoon of mine as a child, so it makes me happy to see my own kids enjoying it as well.

Pretty Little Liars


A friend of mine just introduced me to the show Pretty Little Liars not too long ago. For those of you who haven't seen it yet, it airs on ABC Family, and is listed as a mystery-thriller Teen Drama, though many adults that I know enjoy it as well. However, until I was researching this article, I had no idea that it was based on a series of novels. Since I am such an avid reader, you can guarantee that I will be looking into acquiring these books!

Book Tour: What Do You Think Of Me? Why Do I Care?

Peer Pressure is not something that only teens face. Many adults, those who work outside the home, and those that hold down the fort at home, find that they have to deal with peer pressure from family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, PTA, church members, and so many others. When adults don't know how to properly handle peer pressure, it's impossible for them to offer substantial advice to their own children about how to handle it. I enjoyed this book, and I think there are valuable lessons in it that everyone can take away. As a former manager, I had books that I purchased and passed around to my team members to help them deal with the stress and pressures that they faced within our company. If I was still in that situation, this would be a book that I'd recommend to all of my team members to read. Peer pressure is a serious issue when it isn't handled in a proper manner.

Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency and the Fear of Man

In his latest release, author Edward T. Welch
offers a way of escape for young adults held
captive by the opinions of others


Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX—In an increasingly unstable culture, being obsessed with what others think is an escalating struggle among teens and young adults, leading to more serious consequences than ever before. Although everyone—whether they’re sixteen or sixty—works hard to win someone’s approval or ward off someone’s rejection, these issues plague teenagers and young adults with particular intensity. And how teens and young adults answer the big questions of their lives now will affect the direction of their adult lives for better or worse. In his new book, What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care?: Answers to the Big Questions of Life (New Growth Press, October 2011), Edward T. Welch extends hope to those weary of hiding behind a mask of performance in order to gain love and acceptance.

Peer pressure, codependency, shame, low self-esteem—these are just some of the words used to identify how young people can be controlled by the perceived opinions of others. Stand out in the right way to the right people, and you’re on top of the world. But experience failure in front of those same people and prepare for a sinking sensation in your stomach and a night of tossing and turning.

Why do you care? Why do we all care? These are questions that can’t be answered without listening to God, the One who made us and knows us better than we know ourselves.In What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care?Welch takes the big questions of life and shows that freedom from what people think of us comes as we learn who God is and who we are in relationship to Him. Only then will we be able to let go of our masks, stop trying to fill our leaky love cups and begin to live for something bigger than ourselves.

An interactive book, What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? includes questions throughout the text for individual or group study and is especially aimed at teenagers and young adults. A corresponding website rich with controversy and dialogue, My-Big-Life-Question.com, will also offer readers a place to discuss personal needs as well as to find other resources for life’s journey and places to go for help.

“I want to draw people to the path of becoming truly human, where you are controlled by God more than other people and where you love others more than you need them to love you,” says Welch. “The result? Genuine loving relationships and the ability to make a lasting impact on the world around us. It’s a hard process, but it’s wonderful and the results are worth it.”

Author Bio: Edward T. Welch, M.Div., Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He has counseled for over twenty-five years and is the best-selling author of many books, including When People Are Big and God Is Small; Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave; Blame It on the Brain?; Depression: A Stubborn Darkness; Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction; Running Scared: Fear, Worry and the God of Rest;and When I Am Afraid: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Fear and Anxiety. He and his wife Sheri have two daughters, two sons-in-law and four grandchildren.

Build A Bear

I'm not sure who loves Build A Bear more, me or my kids. I have always loved Teddy Bears, and I collect them.  I have dozens of stuffed and porcelain bears. Of course, having boys, they prefer the "masculine" bears or the animals from the movies and shows they like watching. But, they love them nonetheless.

We finally got a Build A Bear Workshop near us, and I just love to visit the store. They always have the cutest selections and promotions running. If you haven't visited a store before, it is very unique from any store I've visited before. You select the "body" you want, attach it to the filler machine, to let the body grow. You can also put in a Heart:) Then, you select the clothes and accessories you want to make your bear uniquely your own creation. They offer so many choices, there is something there for most anyone. I had a bride and groom bear set at my wedding back before these stores were around, but I would have LOVED to have a set created just for me!

Between now and Dec 18, they have a promotion running where you can purchase any animal PLUS any outfot for just $24.99. That is a great deal for such a personalized and unique gift! Personally, I'd love to have the Snoopy doll pictured above. If Santa is reading this :)

"Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a Build-A-Bear Workshop gift card in exchange for this post. No monetary exchange took place. All opinions are my own. Take a look around the Build A Bear site today to see for yourself what great selections they offer!"

Women of Faith #wofimage


Last month, I was privileged to be given the opportunity to attend the Women of Faith Conference here in Oklahoma City. Even more amazing, I was able to take my former college roommate (we won't think about how long ago that was, LOL)  from Tennessee with me. She and her husband are planting a church in a suburb of the city, and it was the first time we had seen one another since 1995! We met outside the Arena Friday morning, and went inside to chat while we waited for the event to start.

The event opened with the Worship Team leading us in some wonderful songs. Next up, we met Patsy Clairmont and Andy Andrews. I had never heard either speaker before, and was very touched and moved by what they had to say. I didn't realize until I got home that I actually owned some books that Patsy authored. I connected with what she had to say immediately, and some of it hit very close to home. I needed to hear the words that she had to say, and when I am struggling with some specific issues, I can still a month later, hear the advice that Patsy gave on stage. Andy, is hilarious. He has so much energy, that it reminded me of my little Logan, who is all over the place. But, if you stay with him, and follow along, he too has some very insightful wisdom that you will be grateful to be the recipient of. Friday evening, I was blessed to be on the second row on the floor for the Mandisa performance! I have loved her since her American Idol days, and she put on a phenomenal show!

I am sort of speeding ahead, because while I enjoyed Friday immensely, Saturday was the day I had most been waiting for. Since I was a very little girl, it has been my dream to hear Sandi Patty and Amy Grant live, and to top it off, Lisa Whelchel (Blair on Facts of Life) was going to be speaking too! I was not disappointed Sandi Patty was AMAZING. I could listen to her sing for hours! Her family was also with her, and her husband joined her on stage for a gorgeous duet. Lisa had some great advice on adult friendships, and how we as women relate to one another. The speaker who surprised me the most though was Brenda Warner. I had no idea what to expect, but her story and the things  that occurred in her life resonated deeply with me. While my situation isn't identical to her, there are many similarities and her steadfast Faith and dedication gave me the assurance that I needed to hear.

The Women of Faith will be back in Oklahoma City again next August, and I hope I am able to attend this phenomenal event again. It is just the energizing event that women need to be able to recharge and live the lives we are meant to live.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dream Vacation

I am a huge fan of reality shows, especially shows such as The Amazing Race and Survivor. I love being able to see various exotic locations that I'd love to be able to visit one day. I also happen to have a few blog readers and friends that I have met online that live across the world from me in Australia. Some of my close friends have been fortunate to be able to visit this part of the world, and it is an area I dream of being able to explore one day.

When I see these regions mentioned on the shows I watch, I always message my friends to see if they happen to love close to the areas. Usually not, but sometimes yes. One friend of mine had a unique opportunity while attending University (many years ago) to work as a tour operator during his school breaks. If I ever am fortunate enough to actually be able to visit Australia, that is one resource I will take advantage of with thousands of questions about the best places to see and visit while I am there. What about y'all? Ever dream of taking Australian or Patagonia tours, or any other exotic dream vacations?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ladida

My kids are still fairly young, with the oldest being only 9, so children's fashions hasn't really much of an issue with them yet. We do have the oldest, Aaron, who has Asperger's and goes through phases where he wants to be in a costume, or "dressed" up in "fancy" clothes, and then swings the pendulum where he hates those clothes and only wants sweats or even pajama pants. We've been fortunate since we've home-schooled him for a while that we've been able to accommodate him, and his therapists and specialists understand.

However, now that he's beginning to go back to school, we are having to work out acceptable school clothes. He will be in a resource room, so it isn't a huge issue what he wears, and they are willing to let him wear whatever he's comfortable in, but since he had the issue of being picked on previously due to his special needs, we don't really want to call unnecessary attention to him from the other students in "mainstream" classes and subject him to taunting. I've been showing him some sites featuring boutique kids clothing and various styles of fashions for children to get him an idea of what kids his age are wearing, to see if something catches his eye.

He went to the school today for the first time for a test, and it was his first time being back in a school without me since the trauma 3 years ago. He did very well and was excited to be there. I think he talked the therapist to death, she was very impressed with his vocabulary:) Since he was in a room with just the one teacher, and I knew I'd be leaving him alone, I wanted him to be comfortable, so I let him pick out his own clothes. He chose dress pants, a button down shirt, a tie, a vest, and a suit jacket. A little formal for 3rd grade, but he was happy, so we went with it:)

Dear Santa

A friend shared this with me on Facebook because it sounds so much like my little Logan. If you like it, I'd love if you gave it a Thumbs Up :)
***Saw this on a friends Facebook page, no idea where it originated.

iPad 2 Accessories

I am trying to get on board with all the new technology. It just seems to come out so fast that once you finally learn how to use a product and get familiar and comfortable with it, something new has come along! One product that it seems like 75% of my friends own, some type of  iPad or other Tablet device. When we have get-togethers, you can look around, and most every adult in the room has one. Recently I was at a Conference in town, and I was amazed at how many people there had them too! One topic of conversation that comes up frequently in groups of people using the similar devices, is the need for specific accessories. All the guys think they have the perfect invention, then you go to the store and see it's already for sale :)

One such accessory is the Pad Pivot. This is a really cool pocket sized pivot that lays across your leg, and helps secure the device. I was in a group of people with a variety of devices, and it fit most of them, and I got it to work with my Kindle. I just rests on your leg (there is a tether strap to hold it on), and you can sit back on the couch and read or browse without worrying about dropping it, or having it fall. It can also sit safely on any table or flat surface using this device. It rotates 360 degrees.

This was so nice to test out. I tend to talk with my hands, and it's challenging to do that while holding an iPad. These things are way too expensive to drop and risk breaking, and I'm accident prone when I am paying attention, so you can imagine how likely I am to break something when I'm distracted talking. One of my favorite things to do on the iPad is to stumble and discover articles. That would be fine, except I tend to find so many that I love (shocking I know), and I want to show the site to everyone around me. With this Pivot on, I don't have to worry that I will drop it when I'm excited, and I can just turn the screen around to show people what I've found, and the wonderful iPad is safe and sound. The listed price as of this posting was $39.99. It would make an excellent Christmas gift!

Another accessory is the iCapsule. I think this may have been created for me, LOL:) I am so bad at typing on touchscreen keyboards. I really prefer an actual keyboard. I had no idea that someone had created a keyboard to work with a Tablet, but considering I can't be the only person to fail at typing on a touchscreen, it makes sense that this is available. I hooked this Rocketfish - Advanced Series Keyboard Capsule for Apple iPad2 up, and it was magical. I was so happy to have a real keyboard to type on! It even came with a USB charging cable, and earphone jack spare cover. It connects to the iPad using Bluetooth technology, and it automatically turns off the iPad when you close the capsule to save on power.

Do y'all see how much that keyboard makes the iPad look like a laptop? I love it! When my laptop got ruined in the flood last January, I missed it so. We had to go many months without a replacement until the insurance got straightened out. We had the iPad2 to use, but it just didn't seem the same. Not that it isn't fun as well, but I seriously need and prefer a keyboard. If you've got a text, email, or seen my Facebook posts from a touch-pad keyboard, you are aware that auto-correct and I do not get along. I wouldn't use the iPad for email, blogging, or anything that required typing. I was only using it for games and stumbles, both of which my phone can do, so it felt like a wasted investment to me. Others use it for other things, and I am sure get their money's worth out of it. For me, being practical and frugal, I felt like I was missing what the big deal was about the iPad. I received this keyboard to test, about 12 days ago. In that time, I have discovered what the big deal is. It's wonderful! Having a keyboard attached made all the difference in the world for me, personally. No longer was I limited to visiting sites that didn't require typing on a touchscreen. Now I could visit any site I wanted, and use ALL of the apps that we have downloaded. I don't know who thought up the idea for this, but I owe them a huge Thank You! This product is currently priced at $99.99. If you've paid the money for an iPad2, this is an upgrade accessory that will help you enjoy the product to the fullest.

***Disclosure:
“The reviewer has received the reviewed product from Best Buy for free.”

Keeping your home Holiday Clean

We have yet to put up our holiday decorations this year, but hopefully we'll get to it this weekend! This photo is from a previous Christmas. We've been super busy around here with work, school, the soccer season ending, and hosting a variety of house parties. With three little boys, that means it's a never ending cycle of cleaning. Aaron went to meet his new speech therapist at the school today, he is transitioning from a homeschooler to homebound student, and eventually back to full time at school. He decided at the beginning of the year that he wanted to go back to school, so we are supporting him and easing him into it. The speech therapist has kids the same age as mine, and she mentioned that Aaron told her what chores he does around the house, and she was shocked that they actually do those things. When I got home and saw this opportunity, I felt it was the perfect time to share some of my tips.

I have broken my house into 7 "zones". Each day, I do a "deep" cleaning of that days zone. Not spring cleaning deep, but just a general thorough cleaning of one zone per day. Then I can do a quick pickup around the rest of the house in about 10 minutes. No room gets too messy, and it breaking it into manageable tasks helps me manage my time. I am able to give Aaron his school assignments and then get to work. He's done about the time I am, and I can check his work, and then move on. I also try to do 1-2 loads of laundry and dishes each day so it doesn't get overwhelming. I taught my kids from early on that they have chores that they must do each day. They are responsible for bringing me their laundry to wash, then they get it out of the dryer, fold it, and put it away. They don't fight me on it, because I started them very early on doing these things.

I also try to spend a solid 3 hours once per week, and have finally gotten Nick on board with this, and we work together on one home project. We have a ton of stuff that we have moved around from house to house since we married over 15 years ago, and we need to purge! Once a month we have big trash pickup, and we always have a pile ready to go. We also have a monthly pickup from a local charity in our neighborhood. I try to put out as much as I can then too, in addition to sending kids clothes and toys with my parents when they visit, and pass along to my cousins.

Doing all of these tasks year long, means when the holidays arrive, I'm not overwhelmed when we have last minute guests, parties, or events. Just get the whole family involved so you just stress yourself out over the small details, realize everyone's home has some "dust bunnies", and enjoy yourself. The greatest thing about the holidays is spending time with those you love, so use your energy to enjoy it, not waste it stressing over a messy home.

Merry Christmas y'all!!!

"I am sharing my holiday home decor and cleaning tips for the chance to win prizes from The SITS Girls and Great Cleaners."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Book Tour: Carving Angels

Book Tour: Carving Angels by Diane Stringam Tolley

My boys are 6, 8, and 9, and I can't wait to read this story to them. This is a wonderful and inspiring book for families of all ages and sizes. I love that the author used the youngest grandchild to inspire and renew life into her grandfather. She was able to show him that we are only as limited as we allow ourselves to be.

About the Book:
Papa Adam, the North Pole’s oldest elf and Santa’s former chief carver, has given up. Blind, frail, and feeling useless, he counts the minutes in every day waiting for the end—until his youngest granddaughter challenges him to carve again. Together they prove that the most beautiful creations can come from the most unlikely sources and with the right love and encouragement, anything is possible.

For the other tour stops, just visit the Cedar Fort Tour Page. If you'd like to purchase a copy of Carving Angels, it is available at Amazon.com.

***Disclosure: I received access to an ecopy of this book to facilitate participation in this tour. No monetary compensation was exchanged. No positive review was requested or required, all opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

CP Toys

Several of my friends have had babies this year, and we've been discussing the various toys for infants that are available. There are some really cute items out now, that I wish would've been available when mine were smaller, and it wasn't even that long ago!

It's amazing to me how fast technology changes, and how advanced things get so quickly. We all seem to agree though that sometimes the most basic toys are what smaller kids seem to enjoy the most. Things like soft building blocks, stacking blocks or circles, toy farms with animals, etc. These toys help them learn basic skills that they can use and build on.

My all time favorite infant toy for my boys was a shape sorter. I remember having one like it when I was little. It was the little cube with the shapes in it, and you had to fit the plastic shapes inside the cube. We spent a ton of time with this when Aaron was little. With his issues, he had a very difficult time, and it was rewarding to watch him figure it out, and be so excited that he could complete it. While I've passed on many of their toys they've outgrown, this is one that I've kept in the closet to pass down to their children.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Smallville

We talked a little bit last week about my favorite moments from the 10th season of Smallville. This week, I'm going to talk a little bit about my thoughts on how the show ended. I still have to say that I was sad to see the series end. Ten seasons is a long run by today's standards for a show, but when it's a good story-line, you really aren't ever ready for it to end. With Superman and Lois Lane, there are so many story-line possiblilities that I wasn't sure where they were going to leave things. I am not a comic book fan personally, and haven't ever read one completely, so my entire knowledge base of the Superman story-line before this show was solely based on the movies.

As I said previously, it wasn't until the last episode when we finally saw Clark learn how to fly under his own powers. That was good, but I wish it had come earlier in the series and been more developed. If I could've had influence on the writing team, I probably would have had it centered more on his relationship with Lois, and how his love for her and his conscious choice to use his powers for good and not evil were the most powerful influences on his abilities to fly on his own. Overall though, it didn't spoil the series for me, and my knowledge and preferences aren't based on the story from the comic, so perhaps they made the decisions they made for reasons that I am unaware of.

"I have been hired by Warner Bros WBWord division to raise awareness for 'Smallville.'" The Smallville 10th Season DVD is now available for purchase, as is Smallville The Complete Series.

Veterans

When you are in the military, housing is often a tough call when your family is getting moved to another base. You have to decide if you are going to rent a house or apartment or purchase a home. If you are purchasing, it brings up an entirely new set of questions. What part of town do you want to live in, how long are you going to be in the area, what is the resale value, how long will it take to sell, and finally where to get a loan from.

Veterans are fortunate to sometimes qualify for a Military VA Loan, which gives a lower rate, and the government guarantees it, which is appealing to lenders. It is also available to veterans for refinances. We always rented when Nick was in the Navy. We considered buying in Jacksonville, but then found out the squadron was being relocated within 2 years, so we decided it wasn't a good option. It turned out to be a good decision because Nick ended up getting a medical discharge due to an injury.

When we bought our house in OK, we didn't use the VA Loan because our broker was able to get us a better deal, but it is nice to know we still have that option down the road, should we need to refinance or if we ever sell this home and purchase another one.

Vessel Sinks

Despite the year we've had with major issues needing repair and the house flooding this year, we were fortunate that insurance and/or warranty covered many of the items. The one room that suffered NO damage is the one that needs upgrades the most. That is our 2nd bathroom, that the boys use. It is in desperate need of a remodel.

The guy who lived here before us, apparently undertook many home improvement projects on his own. The issue is, he didn't know what he was doing, and did many things improperly. For example, he laid tile over linoleum, and didn't use the right materials, so it looks bad. He also put in a new sink and vanity, but didn't get it level, and the pipes were leaky within a couple of months of us moving in because he didn't use the proper sealant.

Due to the costs of the other repairs we've had this year, we don't have any surplus left to replace the items in that bathroom, so we've just been doing repairs as needed. However, that doesn't stop me from browsing the stores and websites making my wishlist of items that I want when we are able to replace these items. I spend hours watching home improvement shows, and I think I am leaning towards a vessel sink and a vessel faucet, but if I get those in the 2nd bathroom, then I'll want to get matching vessel sinks for the Master Bath as well so they are all the same.

I'd love to know if any of you have had vessel sink faucets before, and what you think of them before I get to the point where I am ready to make that investment. Do they work well? Are they convenient to use, or is it awkward having them raised? Are they easy to clean?