Thursday, September 29, 2011

Skin Care Awareness Month

I have mentioned previously that I have some close friends and family members that have had up close and personal battles with skin cancer. It makes me cringe just thinking about all they have gone through, and while these things aren't always avoidable, there are steps we can all take to better care for ourselves and our skin. It's never too late to start.

I have noticed over the past couple of years that my own skin is changing. Maybe it's because I am getting older (boo, LOL) or maybe it's because we have such extreme weather here in OK, and between the blizzards in the winter and they droughts and record breaking +100 days we had all summer, my skin is DRY. It has never been this dry before, but I've had to really make some changes to my skin care routine this year.

When Eucerin offered to send me some products to try and tell you about, I couldn't wait for them to arrive. My skin has become so dry and itchy, and even my fingernails were dry and cracking, despite daily lotion use. I had used Eucerin products before on my kids as babies, and loved it. I have had some of their lotions before, but not used consistently or exclusively. I normally have a few different brands on the counter and use whatever I grab. But, when I am working on a review, I use the brand I am using exclusively so I can get an accurate opinion to share.

I received the Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Hand Creme and the Eucerin Plus Smoothing Essentials Fast Absorbing Body Lotion. I'll be honest and tell you I did take some before pictures with the intention of showing you before/after. But, ewwww, my hands looked BAD. So very dry. So, yeah, I deleted them, haha!  My hands were in need of some intensive repair, and after 2 weeks of use, I can see noticeable improvement. Not completely healed yet, but oh so much better! The body lotion has also worked well, especially on my arms and legs. They are silky smooth again, and don't itch! Dry skin is the pits!

I love that it absorbed fairly quickly and didn't leave my skin feeling oily, dirty, or greasy. There's nothing worse than showering and putting on lotion that leaves you feeling icky. The lotion says it lasts 24 hours, and it probably does, but my skin has been so dry, and I am impatient, so I put it on in the morning after my shower, and again at night before bed. My feet also needed some TLC, so at night when I put lotion on them, I immediately put on socks to help retain the moisture. I don't like sleeping in socks, but it has paid off, and they look and feel much better.

For more information, please feel free to visit the Eucerin Website, Facebook and Twitter.

***Disclosure: I received complimentary Eucerin lotion to facilitate my review. No positive review was requested or required, and no monetary compensation was exchanged. All opinions expressed are solely mine and have not been influenced in any manner. Your results may vary from mine, but I truly loved and enjoyed this product.***

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just Say NO to Extreme Couponing #extremecouponing


I get tons of facebook messages and emails from well meaning friends and family members each time an episode of Extreme Couponing airs on TV. (Please notice I am NOT linking to this show or site, and it's for a reason)! So many stores and companies are changing their policies based on what they have seen on this show.

Yes, many people have been inspired by the results shown, and have begun to use coupons and save money, which has helped family budgets. That is phenomenal, and I am so glad that it has happened. BUT, the downside is that many store clerks, fellow patrons, and companies have developed a negative attitude towards couponers. Now if you know me, you know that I could really care less what other people think about me, but, it does affect me when I receive less coupons in the newspaper and online, and when store clerks don't want to accept coupons from ANYONE because they think you are doing something wrong.

TLC is supposed to be  “The Learning Channel” which implies to me that the programming should be educational in nature, and should engage in promoting ETHICAL and LEGITIMATE shopping strategies. I realize that people are drawn to extreme examples of things, but that is more harmful than helpful. Staging scenes, getting stores to bend or break all normal couponing rules 'just for the show' does not show people the reality of what THEY can do when they are shopping and using coupons under normal circumstances when they don't have their own TLC crew with them.

Take this clip for example:


Lowes Foods had this to say about the clip:
“The guy who walked up to the shelf was one of the crew members,” Selip said. “It was all staged.”
From this article here: When Coupon Clipping Goes Wild
I wish stores would STOP agreeing to participate in this show. It is NOT good for your business. I wish bloggers and fellow couponers would STOP agreeing to be featured on this show. It was in the news last year that some of the people on the show were being investigated for coupon fraud because it is ILLEGAL to buy and sell coupons. It says so right on the face of every coupon I have ever used. That's why I do not promote coupon clipping services, and I do not give coupons away. I have a separate tab of links that go directly to the stores websites or LEGAL sites that companies have contracted with to offer online coupons. You will also see widgets for some of these sites on my sidebars. You can rest assured that these are legitimate sites, and should google ads ever put one up for a clipping service, please let me know, because each time I see one, I go in and manually block it from showing again.

What I really wish is that a network would create a REAL Couponing show that actually taught people the ins and outs of how to coupon in a legal, responsible, and ethical manner. Purchasing newspapers, visiting legitimate sights to print the LIMITED quantity of coupons (usually 1-2 per person) online, and then making realistic shopping trips to use them. My local store doubles ONE like coupon per day, and requires the use of a loyalty card to get sale prices, and to use coupons. This means the MOST coupons I can have doubled in a single week is 7, and that's only if I buy 7 papers to get the inserts. It also means that I have to go into the store 7 times in a week, which isn't realistic because couponing isn't the ONLY thing I have to do. Occasionally I make the effort, like when soup is on sale and I am stocking up for the winter. The coupon is usually for 4 cans at a time, and I get all 4 for about $1. So, at the end of a week I'll have 28 cans of soup. Some people think that's excessive, but we have 5 people in our house, and if one person gets sick, typically the other 4 will get it too. So if 5 people eat 2 cans of soup each day, 28 cans doesn't really go that far.

When it comes to stockpiling, you have to be realistic about what you keep. You need to figure out what is a reasonable amount for the number of people you feed on a regular basis, and aim to keep enough on hand to use before it expires. If you can't or won't use it, donate it right away. If no one in your home will eat soup, it is a waste of $7 AND your time for you to keep going to get more, and putting it in your pantry and keeping it indefinitely. Last time I mentioned this, some were shocked that I "bought" canned soup because they know I usually make homemade. That is true. Except when I am the one who is sick. Then I don't feel like making homemade soup, and I just want to open a can, microwave it, and crawl back into bed. It also comes in handy to have canned goods (and a can opener) for blizzards if the power goes out. It's hard to cook chicken with no electricity, but you can pour a can of soup into a pot and put it over a fire in the fireplace to warm it.

I wish I could say I wasn't going to watch this week, but I will be recording it and tuning in. I DO encourage YOU not to watch it. The lower the ratings, the higher the chance it'll go away. Why am I watching it then? Because I know that I will get questions about it. Last year when I DIDN'T watch, people would argue that my "opinions on the show are wrong because you haven't seen it, and if you had, you'd know how amazing it was." So I will watch, and roll my eyes, and sigh at how I cannot believe that people allowed themselves to be manipulated and shown on TV. I don't judge them for it, I just think they weren't aware of what they were getting into, and then felt obligated to participate.

I hope if you are visiting here from StumbleUpon, a blog or twitter referral, or an internet search that I have inspired you to practice RESPONSIBLE couponing habits, and that you'll take a moment to visit my COUPON AND MONEY SAVING SITES page to help save you and your family some money!

Entree for ONE

This post brought to you by T.G.I. FRiDAY'S. All opinions are 100% mine.

We LOVE to eat at TGIFriday's, but the closest one to us is about 30 minutes away near a major shopping center. Typically we don't make special trips just to eat there, but we do visit when we are close by. For years I have bought and served their frozen appetizers when we have get togethers, but I haven't ever purchased their frozen meals because I am a very picky eater and Nick and I don't usually like to eat the same things.

However, they have recently introduced the T.G.I. FRiDAY’S “Entrées for One”, and I got the opportunity to get one for FREE to tell you about it. Nick wanted to be the one to try it out, and he selected the Entrées For One Prime Rib Stroganoff. I loved that it was so quick and easy to prepare with very little clean up, he loved the taste and quality of the food. He said it tasted just like what he eats at the restaurant. There are NINE new amazing flavors available:

  • Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo
  • Cajun Style Chicken Alfredo
  • Loaded Chicken and Cheese
  • Sesame Orange Chicken
  • Creamy Chicken Pasta Carbonara
  • Sizzling Chicken Fajitas
  • Prime Rib Stroganoff
  • Grilled Chicken Man & Cheese

I am also excited to share with you about a fantastic Fun Freezer contest that TGIFridays is having, and you can enter for the chance to win some amazing prizes! I'd include a photo of our refrigerator, but as some of you know we have had the week of broken appliances in our home, and well, you REALLY don't want to see my refrigerator OR kitchen at this moment! Hopefully it will all be repaired and functional next week so I can clean it all up and get things back in their proper order in time to get my photo taken and entered into the contest;)

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Ten Best Strategies for Decluttering the Playroom

My kids have an excess amount of toys. We do not have a 'playroom', they are all in their bedrooms, but the toy boxes we have are overflowing. We are in the midst of a project to clean it all out. I'll be sending some of the items back to my cousins, who also have boys, the next time my parents visit, passing some items to a friend here in OK, and donating the rest to charity. Here are my 10 Best Tips to Declutter and Organize your own Playroom:


  1. Pick a starting point, and make sure you have empty boxes or containers to place items you will be removing from the play area.
  2. Let the kids help in the beginning phase. This will be a multi-step project, but if they know whats happening, they'll be less freaked out when they realize some items are leaving, never to return again.
  3. Go to the starting point and start sorting the items. For us, we use Rubbermaid Totes as toy boxes. I dump one out, and we sort the items that are in there. They put what they want to keep back in the box, put what they want to share in another box, and throw broken items into the trash. We continue this for each subsequent box until we've gone through them all once.
  4. I sort the items in the share boxes into where it will go. I put all items going to TN in one area, call my OK friend to come get the items for her kids, and put items for donation in another area of the garage so on pick up day I just have to slide them out into the driveway for the truck to pick up.
  5. When the kids are in school, I go back into their rooms and dump the boxes again. I put anything I KNOW they play with on a regular basis back in the box, remove items they absent mindedly put back in during the first sort into another box, and then anything they might want to keep long term but don't really play with into a third box. (You know we ALL have items our parents threw out when we were kids that we wish we now had. I try to keep that in mind and save some items for them so they'll have them later. Not EVERYTHING, because we aren't going to become hoarders, but just the things they find important.) I continue this with ALL of the boxes until I am done. I do a box or two a day, because I have to do this when they aren't here, and still get other things done throughout the day.
  6. I then take the items I have removed and put them in boxes and place them in an area of the garage that they can't see. I leave them there until the next sort. If they ask specifically for something in one of the boxes, I'll go get it out and return it to them. If they haven't missed it, it gets added to the giveaway boxes.
  7. For organizing. I mentioned that I use Rubbermaid Totes. I take the lids away (because they once tried to hide one another in them with the lids on top, and that's not safe. So, to prevent an serious accident, mom puts the lids in the attic out of sight and reach! Their closets will fit 4 totes each if I place them right, covering the entire closet floor. Then we have one box per child out in their room at the foot of their bed.
  8. Each child can put whatever is "theirs" into their tote at the foot of their bed. These are items the brothers have to ask to share and play with. Everything else that is fair game goes into the community share boxes in the closets, regardless of what room it's in.
  9. I try to organize the share boxes in the closets by type of toy. It doesn't always stay organized long term, but generally they do stick to how it's set up. Oh, and we have two closets in their hallway that each hold one tote, and I put items in their as well. The "book" closet (formerly a linen closet) holds their books on the shelves, and "learning" electronic toys in the bottom in the tote. The "game" closet (the second linen closet in the hallway) holds all of the boxed and card games, with train tracks and trains in the tote.
  10. In the room closets, we separate all Star Wars toys into one tote, Hot Wheels and accessories into a second tote, Swords and light sabers into a clean and unused but re-purposed trash can outside the closet door, little people and accessories into a third tote, costumes into a fourth tote, and so on until each tote has a "category" of item in it. This makes it easy for them to find the items they want to play with, and theoretically easier to clean up.
To keep things de-cluttered and organized throughout the year, ( I do a big de-clutter once per year), I require that they boys clean their rooms and put everything away before they can go outside or to any activities. That motivates them to get it done quickly, and they know I will check, because I consistently do so. Consistency is the key. Once they know there are consequences to not following through, they are more motivated to getting it done and keeping it picked up. The problem comes in when it's getting close to the big clean out, and they have acquired more items than we really have room to store, and everything doesn't fit into the totes. We probably should clean it out more often, but this process works for us, so we stick with it:)

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“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hot Wheels® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.” 

Funny Kids Costumes

Looking on the internet this morning for funny kids costumes that the boys can make and wear to an event. We have a ton of costumes already, because as I've mentioned previously, one of Aaron's 'things' is to dress up as something different everyday. We think it's an Asperger's coping thing, so we go with it. Sometimes he has to be a "doctor" or "lawyer" etc, when we need him to dress up, or sometimes  he has to be another kids we know if we just need to be in 'regular' clothes. We just take it situation by situation.

Anyway, here are the funny kids costumes I found, you could use them for Halloween or any other costume needed event.




What I like about this costume is that it looks pretty easy to make, and can be adapted to materials that you have on hand. The kids can decorate most of it themselves and express their own creativity. Especially great for little boys who think Gross is Cool.




I have to say that I was just scrolling past this one without pause because I thought NO WAY. But, all three boys were screaming, YEAH MOM, THAT ONE. I was like, um, NO, but they were laughing hysterically. So, I figure if they find it funny, maybe others will too. Or you'll take my side;) Either way, it's listed on Ebay for $9.99 with 1 day and a couple hours remaining, and one bid (NOT ours) as I type this up. I don't think I'll cave in to purchase this for the event we have, but I am shocked to see just how many costumes are listed on Ebay, and most have bids. (**Update: saw this new on a few other sites starting at $31, so I guess $10 is a pretty good deal. Still not buying it though, LOL.) Interesting to note for future reference that this might be a good place to sell our outgrown costumes instead of just giving them away!




Maybe this just reminds me of the Fruit of the Loom commercials from when we were kids, but it made me laugh, and the boys laughed too, but because they think being grapes is just funny. It also comes in green, but purple is funnier. Priced new, this is almost $60, so I think a purple shirt and sweats with white gloves and balloons pinned on might be funnier AND most importantly, Affordable!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TGIFriday's Entree for One

This post brought to you by T.G.I. FRiDAY'S. All opinions are 100% mine.

This is Nick. 

Last week Karen got a coupon in the mail for a free Entree for One by TGIFriday's. She went and got me the Beef Stroganoff to try, because that is one of my favorite meals, aside from pasta dishes. She is so picky about what she eats that when she prepares meals for the entire family, it's usually something everyone likes and will eat, so if I want something different than that, it usually comes in the form of a meal for one or two (so I can have leftovers for lunch). 

I was impressed with the T.G.I. FRiDAY’S “Entrées for One” Stroganoff, it was pretty tasty, very close to what you get in the restaurant, and did not taste like most "frozen meals" from the grocery store taste like. I would definitely like to try some of the other varieties, and the boss said they are affordable and fit within her grocery budget, so I should be getting more during her next grocery store run. 

This was my first shot at "blogging" so I hope I did it all right and that y'all enjoy it.

She said she also talked previously about the Fun Freezer contest that TGIFriday's is having, and wants to make sure everyone is aware of and has a chance to enter. We are still waiting on repairmen here to fix the abundance of broken things that occured over the past 2 weeks, so we can't take a picture of our freezer just yet, but if YOU can decorate your freezer and take a shot, be sure to enter.

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Money Tree

*Photo Courtesy of Bztoons

Sometimes this would be a nice problem to have;)

Monday, September 26, 2011

180 Movie

I debated on whether or not to include this press release here. One because it is a controversial subject matter, and I do NOT want any drama here (so PLEASE, if you are going to comment, only polite, respectful, and family friendly comments are allowed. IF there are cursing, name calling, or rude/offensive comments left, I will delete them! We do not have to agree on this matter, but we do have to respect the opinions of others.), and Two, because it doesn't exactly fit my own beliefs.

You see, I am adamantly against abortion for many reasons, yet I am still pro-choice. I do not want the government or anyone else making or limiting my choices for me, and as someone who has had several miscarriages that resulted in DNC's, it is a personal issue for me. If abortions are made illegal, that will not stop them from being performed. History has proven that women who are determined to have them, will find a way to get them done, even in backroom facilities that could endanger that woman's life. While I hope and pray that women DO NOT elect to have abortions, and I will express my opinion to anyone I know who is pondering this situation, I don't think it is appropriate to force, especially legally, my religious or ethical views upon anyone.

After my last miscarriage, in which I was hemorrhaging and had to be rushed into surgery to have a DNC, I then was sent home to recuperate. A couple of days later when Nick was at work, I got a phone call from a pro-life group that had somehow obtained my private information. While they knew I had a DNC, they incorrectly thought it was an abortion, and said some pretty terrible things to me, and it devastated me. Who is anyone to judge. None of us are God, and it is not our right or privilege to cast judgment on another person.

Because I have lost multiple babies due to miscarriage, and now have three wonderful children, I cannot comprehend how abortion is the right answer for anyone. Yes, the situation might be difficult in the present, but so many parents are looking to adopt, that it just doesn't make sense to kill a baby, and if sharing this press release with the public saves just one baby's life, posting this is definitely worth it.


180 Film Turns Opinions Around Regarding Abortion

New award-winning documentary is
changing minds and saving lives


Dallas/Fort Worth, TX—What would you do if…? Thus begins the question being asked by author and film producer Ray Comfort in his new documentary,180. Titled to reflect the complete turnaround in the mindsets of all to whom the question is posed, the award-winning film shows eight pro-choice people (mostly college students) changing their stance to pro-life just moments after the question is asked in its entirety. It is Comfort’s hope that the documentary, releasing online September 26th, will go viral.

While skeptics of 180 (Living Waters Publications) say they can’t believe anyone would change his or her mind so quickly, Comfort accepts and even understands their disbelief, stating that he could hardly believe it himself when he first viewed the footage in the editing room. Initially, 180 was not the film he meant to produce. At the time, Comfort was taping interviews for a DVD to go along with a book on Hitler and the holocaust. In the course of the interviews, one question led to another, and the discussion led to abortion. Comfort explains, “It began with two male university students completely changing their minds about abortion when we asked them this one question. We realized it wouldn’t be convincing to have only males speaking on the subject, so we took to the streets, asking that one particular question, and found that six women changed their minds from pro-abortion to pro-life in a matter of seconds. It was amazing!”

Though it was not Comfort’s original intention to create a documentary specifically about the abortion issue, when he saw the direction the film was taking, he quickly recognized its potential to open the doors of discussion. “I have held up pro-life signs. I have printed pro-life literature and spoken against abortion in pulpits and in my books, but I have felt that all my efforts were almost futile—that is, up until now. In 180 we have a nation changer.”

A spokesperson for Living Waters, the production company behind the documentary, further explains the abrupt change this way: “There really isn’t that much to debunk because there is no argument against it. Its message is very powerful, eye-opening and watertight. It leaves no room for a comeback.”
Comfort adds, “Most of us know that we should be doing something to stop this horror, but the thought of protesting is a little unnerving, especially with the demonization of those who do so. But here is something each of us can easily do—we can give this DVD out. We can pass them out on the streets, leave copies on park benches or on seats in malls or give it to the checkout lady at the supermarket. This isn’t hard to do, and it will save lives—perhaps millions of lives.”

As to the rest of the question Comfort asks in 180? You’ll have to wait to watch the video to find out what it is. “For me to tell you what the question is,” he explains, “would be cheating you. You’ve got to see the facial expressions change. You’ve got to see the people, when they are asked that one question, change from one of a hard look in their facial expressions to one of a light going off, as they change their minds and realize how evil abortion is. Their thinking makes an abrupt 180 degree turn, all because of that one game-changing question.”

Although the film is just now being released to the public, an early edit of 180 was submitted for consideration and won a 2011 Telly Award.

The documentary is now available for free viewing
online at www.180movie.com.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pillsbury Breakfast

I was at the grocery store last night, and saw some new Pillsbury breakfast items in the frozen food section. They were on sale for $1.99 and I had a $1 off coupon, so I got a box for FREE (my store doubles up to $1)! That's my favorite way to purchase, LOL:) Then, this afternoon I was working on cleaning out my email because I am way behind, and I came across an email that I missed from MyBlogSpark, with information on these tasty little nuggets and a COUPON that I can share with you! I just checked and the coupon is still available, and I printed out mine:)

The new products available are Pillsbury Grands! Biscuit Sandwiches and Pillsbury Egg Scrambles. You can heat up in minutes in the microwave and/or toaster and are available in your grocer´s freezer section.

Made with quality ingredients like real egg, tasty sausage or bacon, cheese, Grands! Biscuits and Green Giant® vegetables, this new line of quick and delicious frozen breakfast dishes comes in six flavorful choices:


Sausage & Cheese Biscuit Sandwich

Bacon & Cheese Biscuit Sandwich

Ham & Veggies Biscuit Sandwich


Bacon & Veggies Egg Scrambles

Sausage Egg Scrambles

Sausage & Veggies Egg Scrambles

I used my coupon to purchase the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Scrambles, and Nick and the boys loved them. Head over to www.facebook.com/pillsbury to "Like" the brand and learn more about Frozen PillsburyŽ Grands!Ž Biscuit Sandwiches and PillsburyŽ Egg ScramblesTM, and you can print your coupon there as well! Just click the PLAY AND SAVE link on the left sidebar.




DISCLOSURE: I received the information provided in this post from MyBlogSpark. I did not receive any promotional items or compensation for sharing this information with you. I got the same coupon that is available to everyone via the Facebook page, but the coupon I used yesterday came from a newspaper insert earlier this month. For more information, you can visit the Pillsbury Website, Facebook Page, or the Doughboy Breakfast Boogie Video.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Supreme Protein Bars

I am sure all of you have seen Protein Bars in the supermarket or drugstore near the checkout at some point. While these are used by professional athletes and body builders, they are also a healthy choice for the rest of us too! Protein bars are healthy substitutes for candy bars because they offer similar flavors, but instead of sugar and empty carbs, these offer a healthier alternative.

If you participate in exercise or sports, Supreme Protein Bars can offer you added grams of protein to meet your daily requirement while helping your muscles grow and recover from the stress they endure when being pushed. Timing the consumption of protein just right when working out can help you increase your calorie burn.

Most of you know that we have medical issues in our home, and Aaron has to see a nutritionist frequently to make sure his diet is meeting his changing needs. Protein Bars are a part of his diet because he has poor muscle tone and these are a healthy and tasty way for him to get the added protein he needs, it is helping strengthen his muscles, and he is gaining weight; FINALLY!

As a stay at home mom, these are great for me when I need a pick me up. I have so many things going on, but sometimes get sluggish in the afternoon. I don't want anything carb heavy to give me 30 minutes of energy before I get a sugar crash, so I can grab one of these, and keep on going.

While they are helping Aaron gain weight with his needs, they help me lose weight because it's a healthier choice, I am not skipping meals, and they help me to feel full longer. Increasing your protein intake while dieting helps you retain your muscle mass while shedding fat. In Aaron's case he is gaining weight because he is building muscle mass that he was struggling to build on his own, and he doesn't have ANY fat to lose, so all the muscle he builds is adding healthy pounds. His pediatrician and nutritionist are very happy with the results, and we'll continue to follow this path as long as it continues to help his health improve!

Supreme Protein is available in the following flavors:
  • Caramel Nut Crunch
  • Peanut Butter Crunch
  • Cookies N Cream
  • Rocky Road Brownie
  • Peanut Butter Pretzel Twist
  • Chocolate Caramel Cookie Crunch
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Classic Vanilla Ice Cream - In the Protein Powder Form ONLY


For more information on this product, please visit the Supreme Protein Website, Facebook, or Twitter. These are available for purchase at CVS, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, GNC, and thousands of other retail locations.



"A wealth of new information is now available supporting the widespread health benefits of diets containing adequate amounts of high quality protein and restricted amounts of sugar and processed carbohydrate. Whether you are looking to improve your health, increase energy levels, lose body fat, or build muscle - The Supreme Protein site is dedicated to providing you the most up to date ground breaking nutrition information from leading researchers to help you achieve your goals. Here is just a sampling of why we feel so passionate about the power of protein and why we developed Supreme Protein Bars to help people achieve peak wellness."


***Disclosure: Supreme Protein provided me with complimentary samples to facilitate my review. No positive review or required, and no monetary compensation was exchanged. All opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner. ***

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review: Passion to Action


I am so thrilled to be participating in another great book tour. Passion to Action is a book that makes us understand that we are all just ordinary people. It is how God chooses to use us in extraordinary ways that makes us special, and I think it is amazing how many different ways everyone is used. We each have our own unique skill set that serves its own purpose. However, sometimes knowing what your gift is, isn't enough for your ability to become extraordinary. In so many things in life, the ingredient missing is PASSION. If you are passionate about something, and truly believe in it, then you will be so much more successful than if you are just going through the motions. This is true with everything from friendships and relationships, to business or evangelical missions. Reading books such as this one, that inspire the embers within us, are what helps us to ignite our flames and use the skills that God has given us to make a difference. I have included some information about the book, and a Q&A session with the authors Jay & Beth Loecken for your enjoyment. I hope they are able to inspire you as they did me!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Coast to Coast Mattresses


One of the items that we have on our need to buy sooner rather than later, is a new mattress. We purchased our current mattress in July 1995. That's 16 YEARS ago for those who are counting, and it has definitely seen better days! However, due to the flood we had in January, there are other items that took priority in getting replaced. We are almost done with that project, and will begin shopping for our long overdue mattress replacement soon.

Since our little family of two in 1995 has now grown to five in 2011, and these boys love to run and climb into my bed when it storms, I will be watching for a King Size Mattress Sale on this go round, upgrading from a Queen Size which is getting smaller and smaller as these kids get bigger and bigger!

I also have to take into consideration my new diagnosis of Fibromyalgia when I am shopping, because I need something to help my chronic pain when I sleep. Coast to Coast offers a Sleep Resource as a shopping service, and a Mattress Advisor to help you in your selection of different comfort levels, brands, and models, and one of the best features of all is FREE SHIPPING!

Coast to Coast carries all of the major brands at very competitive prices. We live near the complex of furniture stores in central OK, and when we were looking for replacement furniture post-flood, we also started price shopping for mattresses. Our two youngest also need to upgrade from toddler beds to twin size beds, and I was shocked to see that shipping prices are almost as much as the mattress prices at the local stores! We don't have a truck, so we'll have to have our mattresses delivered, so FREE SHIPPING combined with competitive prices makes this site less expensive than the store down the street.

***Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Coast to Coast Mattresses. All opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner.***

Review: The Pasta Family Children's Books

I have mentioned previously that my husband's family is Italian, and his father actually immigrated to America with his parents when he was a child. With such a strong Italian background, my husband LOVES eating pasta and we have different varieties several nights each week. When I came across a site mentioning the Pasta Family of books, and that they were looking for bloggers to review them, I knew I had to sign up right away.

When these books came, the boys just fell in love with them. They have read each one cover to cover several times. As part of their homework, they are each required to read for a minimum of 30 minutes each evening, and these books are now a staple in the rotation, although the favorite seems to be "The Pasta Family 5: Macaroni in Space".

What is so neat about this particular series is that the characters all have pasta names, such as Annaleenie, Tony Spumoni, and Verma Chelly. These books are very well written, but easy for young readers to read and understand, and they all have a wonderful learning lesson included. The artwork is phenomenal, and Aaron, our resident artist, has been trying to "re-create" some of the photos for his home school book-reports. I am happy that they are all able to comprehend and reiterate the most important lessons they learned from books they enjoyed reading.

Here is a snippet from the website about the book my kids enjoyed the most:


May The Sauce Be With You!!!
A short time ago in a galaxy very, very close to this one....the Pasta Family goes cosmic! When little Annaleenie tries to save her family's Sunday dinner with store-bought sauce, she goes where no Macaroni has gone before -- into an outer space adventure of fun, action, spaceships, jet-boots and giant, menacing meatball monsters! Will Annaleenie be able to stop the world-destroying plan of space villain Verma Chelly?
Will she face her fears to save the galaxy?

Will she learn the value of the friendship of her loyal crew before it's too late? The answers await in this, the most epic, most spectacular, most futuristic and sci-fy-est adventure of The First Family Of Macaroni
-- The Pasta Family!
84 pages



For more information on this series, be sure to check out the WEBSITE for more information, and a store where you can purchase copies via Paypal. The The Pasta Family is also available from Amazon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Myreviewsnow.net

This post brought to you by MyReviewsNow.net. All opinions are 100% mine.

Not only do I like to write reviews, I also enjoy READING reviews. For any item that I purchase that is outside of what I normally buy on a grocery or household good weekly shopping trip, I do research before I shop. I want to know that the item I am getting is the best value per dollar spent, how well or poor it worked for others, and a general overall opinion. Negative reviews are very helpful, so I rarely pass over those. When someone says something bad, I don't take that at face value. Often the very reason it doesn't work for someone else it the very need I am looking to have met. So if someone says "this product is too blue" and I am looking for something that is very blue, it might just be the perfect fit. Make sense? LOL:)

 

One site that is helpful to use as a resource when doing shopping research is myreviewsnow.net. It has everything you need to compare opinions all in one place and is very easy to use. An added bonus is the giveaway they are currently running for a $350 Gift Card to Kohl's! This is the only large store in my town, so you can imagine I do quite a bit of my shopping there. I'd love to win. Make sure you read over the official rules when you enter so you are aware of all the details! Tp enter, just visit the myreviewsnow.net Facebook page and "like" them, and also share the news on Twitter by tweeting "I LOVE TO #shopathome online!"

Visit Sponsor's Site

Father of the Year

Guest Post by: Joseph Sandoval

After years of working in the corporate world, when my wife got pregnant, I took a maternity (paternity?) leave. And stayed gone. When Eliot was born, the three of us stayed home for six weeks together and, ya know, bonded. When Kay was ready to go back to work, I ended up as the stay-at-home dad. This would be a piece of cake, right? Wake up when the baby wakes up, feed him, put him back to sleep, catch up on some overdue DIRECTV tivo, and wait for my wife to get home and cook us dinner. I was stoked, and surprisingly excited when Kay went back to work. I was used to the baby’s routine and was ready to win ‘Father of the Year’. Plan fail. Huge fail. I haven’t slept in weeks. I don’t even know how I’m typing right now, but this is my only outlet since I can’t complain to Kay who works all day. What’s worse, I think I smell like baby drool and I haven’t seen the last three episodes of Pawn Stars.

***Disclosure: This is a sponsored guest post provided via Blogvertise.***

Friday, September 16, 2011

Holiday Gift Idea: Save with Mixbook

Mixbook

I am sure that we all have family and/or friends that can be difficult to buy for, or to figure out what they might like. A photo-book of someone close to them is always a good idea, and when paired with a coupon code, you can stretch your dollars even further. When my middle son was in kindergarten, the room mother took a photo of each child with the teacher, and we had them all put into a photo book for a group holiday gift, and she loved it!

Mixbook is here to give you a up to 60% discount on their high quality photo books, cards, and calendars. No matter your skill level, Mixbook is there to meet your custom photo book, cards, and calendar needs. Take advantage of this exclusive offer, as it will not last for very long!

The highest discount of 60% goes to the 11x14 photo book, and most of our other photo books are around 25-30% off. Other products are at least 10% off and up to 40% off depending on quantity and size.
Shipping not included. This offer cannot be combined with other coupons, vouchers, Groupons, or applied after an order has been placed.

Coupon code MYSAVE60 expires on September 30th, 2011 at 11:59PM PST. You MUST use the discount code to get the savings!


***Disclosure: Affiliate Link***

Vitamin Angels

In our home, we deal A LOT with nutrition and vitamins to meet Aaron's specific dietary needs, and we check in with his nutritionist on a regular basis. It is a very delicate balance to make sure he is getting in all of the calories he needs, while also making sure that he is meeting his nutritional requirements with healthy foods. The challenge is because the healthier foods don't have enough calories, and there is only so much food that the child can eat in one day, so every calorie has to count!

From visiting Joshua and Logan's school, as well as their extracurricular activities around town, it is painfully obvious that there are many children, even in our middle class suburban area who are NOT getting their nutritional needs met. Whether it is due to financial distress, lack of time to plan adequate meals and snacks, or just a need for better parental education about what is appropriate for an individual child's situation, there are children who need help.

Across the globe, this need is even greater. Many of these children live in areas where the appropriate dietary needs are not available or accessible. The lack of education and ability increases exponentially. As a mom, specifically one who deals with nutrition on such a serious life or death level on a daily basis, it really breaks my heart to know that other children are going hungry and not getting their needs met. I'd adopt a dozen kids if I had the means to do so, just to make sure that they are loved and well cared for.

I have teamed up wit Viva Vitamin Angels to show you how it is possible for YOU to make a difference!


Did you know  that one third of all childhood deaths are caused by under nutrition and that an estimated 190 million children suffer from vitamin A deficiency worldwide? A simple, cost-effective vitamin A capsule each six months can prevent blindness and reduce under-five mortality by 23 percent. Whole Foods Market’s current podcast shares the story of Vitamin Angels, an organization that is profoundly changing the life’s of children around the world by connecting children under five with vital nutrients they need to survive and thrive.  
To raise awareness of Vitamin Angels, Whole Foods Market will donate $1 for each comment in response to the Viva Vitamin Angels podcast in September. To listen to the podcast and share your thoughts, visit: http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/2011/08/viva-vitamin-angels-2/


Whole Foods Market would love to have 5,000 comments, and as of this writing, I saw only 231 posted! Just by taking a few moments out of your day to leave a comment could really make a difference in the life and health of a child. We JUST got a Whole Foods in OKC this past week. I cannot wait to support this store who is going the extra mile to help kids in need!


***Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Vitamin Angels. The story written is our true family situation, and I do support this program. All opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner.***

LearnVest


LearnVest is a Daily Newsletter full of financial tips to enrich your life and very helpful money saving tips. It also includes:

  • Some of the best places to travel on a dime!
  • Tips for helping you learn how to build your wealth
  • How to plan a terrific dinner party for less than $10 per person
  • Understanding and learning how to manage debt
  • Beauty tips for budgets of various sizes

***Disclosure: Affiliate Link***

Sable Hunter Guest Post, Book Excerpt, and GIVEAWAY!

Welcome to my stop on the T-R-O-U-B-L-E by Sable Hunter Book Tour. I am thrilled to be hosting a guest post by Sable Hunter with an excerpt from the book, and a Giveaway for a copy of the book!

PLEASE CLICK READ MORE to be taken to the guest post, excerpt, and Rafflecopter to enter the Giveaway!

How dedicated servers fit into the blogging world

In the land of bloggers and website hosting, there are all kinds of back-end, behind the scenes things that have to be managed on a regular basis. Recently, I have known several bloggers who had issues because of posts of theirs going viral on sites such as StumbleUpon or Yahoo, that have brought an influx of visitors to their blog that is outside the norm of their daily traffic hits, and it has caused sites to crash. It's not just small sites that suffer from this, I'm sure we've all heard about Target's site crashing this week with the launch of their new line.

When looking to resolve the issue of sites crashing, you have to determine several things to figure out what your best solution will be. If it is a temporary or one time influx of traffic, you may need to just make sure you are hosted on a site that is flexible enough to allow a temporary increase. If they won't, and you don't want to change, you'll have to be careful not to write any potentially popular articles, LOL:)

If you have noticed a consistent and steady increase in traffic over time, and think you will continue to see that, and potentially (hopefully) have large spikes in traffic, it may be time for you to consider switching to a dedicated server hosting service.

A dedicated hosting service, is a type of internet hosting where you can lease an entire server. Many people start out sharing server space with other sites, but if that isn't working out and you are still having problems, then there is the option to lease your own individual server, housed in a data center.

One blog friend asked why she couldn't just buy her own, and while technically you could, that isn't financially feasible for most people due to the cost of the server and any other necessary hardware and software and finding a provider for affordable service for an individual or smaller company. Leasing the dedicated server and service is typically more affordable. This type of cost is also one reason why many bloggers find it necessary to do sponsored/paid posts and/or have ads on their site. They need to bring in enough income to at least cover their expenses related to their site.

***Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by a dedicated server company. However, the views
and opinions are my own. I signed up to participate in this promotion because I felt the content was relevant to my readers.***

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book Tour: When No One is Watching



Book Tour: When No One is Watching: by Joseph Hayes

Welcome to my stop on the tour, I am really excited to be participating! What a phenomenal book to read just before we embark on the political craziness that the Presidential Elections have become. This story is fictional, but is very believable and realistic, especially with all the insane stories about politicians that the news seems to always be plagued with. The politician in this story has an accident, but rather than deal with any consequences or potential political fallout from this, he chooses to frame someone that is supposed to be his friend to take the fall. The irony that the main character is a Chicago politician was not lost on me;)

I love how Mr. Hayes faces the issue of "The Greater Good" head on in this book. While this is an issue that politicians face frequently, really we all face it at some point, just on a smaller scale within our families and circles of friends. Everyone goes to some measure at some point to justify mistakes that they make, when ultimately the RIGHT thing to do is to own up to our mistakes and their consequences. Regardless of how big or small the mistake is, the act of denial is still the same.

As usual, I don't like spoiling anything in books, so I don't want to go into too much detail as to the events that  unfold and what their outcomes are. I have included the synopsis though so you can get a feel for the book, and decide if you'd like to purchase your own copy to read, and I hope you do! I included the link to the Kindle version of When No One is Watching, which is currently priced at a very affordable $8.95!


Synopsis: On the eve of announcing his run for Congress, a charismatic Chicago politician causes a deadly accident. Panicked, he frames his best friend, a good-hearted alcoholic, and flees the scene. As one man tries to pick up the pieces of his shattered life, the other embarks on a meteoric rise to political stardom. But when a dogged detective digs deeper into the case, the political superstar must decide just how far he is willing to go to keep his dark secret. Author Joseph combines page-turning suspense with a poignant tale of inspiration and redemption as he asks, is "the greater good" just a lie we tell ourselves to justify the sins we commit when no one is watching?


AUTHOR BIO: Joseph Hayes is a native of Chicago. He grew up in a family of eight children in the Beverly neighborhood on Chicago’s Far South Side, where the Irish-Catholic heritage and influence was strong and visible. Joe attended St. Barnabas Elementary School, Brother Rice High School and De Paul University before leaving Chicago to attend law school in California, at UC Berkeley. Since graduating from Berkeley, he has practiced law in Chicago, San Diego and Houston. Joe currently serves as chief ethics officer and assistant general counsel for a large, publicly held company based in Houston, Texas, and is widely recognized as one of the foremost experts in his field. In his professional capacity, he has written extensively about legal and ethical issues and frequently speaks about such issues be! fore employee and industry groups. When No One is Watching is his first work of fiction. His second novel, a legal thriller entitled Consequential Damages, is expected to be published soon.
Joe currently resides in The Woodlands, Texas, with his wife, Susan, and their three children, Amy, Sean and Erin.

LOCAL AUTHOR HAYES HONORED BY NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCE AWARDS AND 2011 NEXT GENERATION INDIE BOOK AWARDS

Contests recognize outstanding independently published books

THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS. Joseph Hayes, author of the highly acclaimed When No One is Watching, has been named as a finalist in the category of Inspirational Fiction by the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Aspiring to be the “Sundance” for indie books, this is the nation’s largest nonprofit awards program for small presses, larger independent publishers, university presses, e-book publishers and self-published authors.

Hayes was also recognized as a finalist in the category of New Fiction (First Book) by the National Indie Excellence Awards, which celebrates the “best of the best” in independent press.

In When No One is Watching, Hayes spins a tale involving ambition, corruption and scandal within Chicago political circles. Within the framework of this page-turning thriller is a compelling contemporary morality play dealing with ethics, personal responsibility and making a difference. It explores the rationalizations our political leaders often make – justifying their self-serving personal agendas in the name of promoting the “greater good.” It examines the notion that character and integrity are defined by how we behave when no one is watching, and the far-reaching consequences of the decisions we make when facing ethical dilemmas. It also explores the impact of guilt on the human mind and heart and searches for inspiration and heroism in unexpected places.

Joseph Hayes is a native of Beverly on the city’s South Side. He graduated from St. Barnabas elementary school, Brother Rice High School and De Paul University before attending law school at the University of California at Berkeley. Hayes is an attorney and currently serves as chief ethics officer for a Fortune 1000 Company based in Houston, Texas.

More information about the book can be found at www.joseph-hayes.com.

Partners In Crime Tours


***Disclosure: I received a complementary copy of this book to facilitate the review. No positive opinion was requested or required, all opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any way. No monetary compensation was exchanged.***

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Juppy Walker

Review: Juppy Walker

When I first heard about the Juppy Baby Walker, "the baby walker that fits in your purse", I was intrigued. I hadn't ever heard of anything like that before and had to check it out for myself. Because it is made of cloth material, it will fold right up and can in fact be tucked into any purse or diaper bag.

As you can see in the video below, this walker will work for any baby learning to walk, and save mom and dad's back!, while allowing them to feel more independent as though they are walking alone. It's also ideal for special needs kids that need some extra support when trying to become more mobile.

The Juppy Walker is also machine or hand washable, so if you have a leak or an accident, or even if it falls on the ground, you don't have to worry. It is very easy to clean. One size fits most babies, it is available in pink, blue, and black, has adjustable straps and is 100% cotton.



For more information on The Juppy Walker, you can visit the Website, Facebook Page, or find them on Twitter.

***Disclosure: I received a complementary Juppy Walker to facilitate my review. No positive opinion was requested or required, all opinions expressed are solely mine. No monetary compensation was exchanged.***

Book Review: Ditch The Joneses, Discover Your Family

Book ReviewDitch The Joneses, Discover Your Family: How to Thrive on Less Than Two Incomes!

What a fantastic book for families all across America! In this day and age when people are out of work, over-extended, or in any financial situation where they need to cut back or learn to live on less than they may have ever lived on before, it is essential that they learn to stop comparing themselves to others. You have to learn to be happy with what they have.

The overall theme of my blog is to "make the most of what you have to work with" and this directly applies to this book. There are so many money saving suggestions, and methods to help stretch your dollars further, as well as scripture and tips to help you learn that you don't need to measure up or compare your lifestyle with anyone else. Living within your means has a lot to do with your attitude on the situation.

I would suggest this book to newlyweds, new parents, anyone facing job loss or salary reduction, or anyone in general who just needs to adjust their lifestyle or learn to save/live on less.

Product Description:
We've all felt the pressure to keep up with the Joneses. Often it seems like it takes two incomes to survive in today's economy. But what if that is not true for your family? What if your family can thrive on less than two full-time salaries and flourish by spending more time together? Tackling these tough questions using faith-based views and values, this book gives parents encouraging and realistic ideas for a healthy and solid family. In this book, Brese Doebler challenges the two income assumption, and takes you on a journey toward the joy of discovering your family.

Review: Cardio in a Box


Product Review: Cardio in a Box

I have to say this is something I have never seen before, nor thought of, but it makes perfect sense. I have seen a few fellow bloggers say they were disappointed that it seemed to be just a bunch of scarves in a box, but it isn't meant to be a big piece of machinery. It's meant to be something small and portable, ideal for an office. 

Many people have just a few spare minutes throughout the day, or perhaps while they are muted on a conference call, when they would be able to take advantage of this to get a bit of cardio in during the work day. You don't want to get really hot and sweaty while you are working, but if you are like many busy people and don't have chunks of time to devote to a workout, this would work for you.

The box includes: 
  • 3 Fitness Squares (scarf like material) to use for the exercises
  • A Pop Up Dispenser, as seen in the photo above, that is about the size of a square tissue box
  • Instruction Book that includes exercises and tips
  • Links to online video demonstrations of the exercises listed in the Instruction Book, and additional exercises and tips.

Cardio in a Box is very inexpensive at only $12.95 retail, and may be purchased at the Cardio in a Box website, or Facebook page. If you "like" the Facebook page before you purchase, you can receive a discount there.


How to Choose a Good Razor

Stockbyte/Getty Image

Men shave, women shave, it's something many of us have to endure. Some of us though, have to deal with razor-burn or in grown hairs, or other shaving related issues, and we have to develop tips and tricks that make this into more of an art form to prevent these problems.

Here are a few tips and tricks that work for me, and hopefully will work for you, should you have similar issues:
  1. Shave at the END of your bath or shower. The heat, steam, and water will make your skin softer and you will get a better, closer shave.
  2. You shaving cream, not just soap. You can almost always find deals and coupons to get this for very little. The kind formulated for women, specifically sensitive skin, work best for me. I have gotten many cans for free playing the drugstore games, and haven't actually paid for any in years. I can use any of the current brands available, so I just get whatever I have a coupons to work a deal with, and stock up.
  3. I also don't need a specific brand of safety razor, any will work just fine for me. I do have some that I like better than others, so I try to stock up on those when they are on sale, but if I see a freebie deal on another kind, I won't pass them up!
  4. Shave in the direction of the hair growth. Depending on the area you are shaving, you may have to go over the area more than once to get all the directions. Go slowly and make sure you are using a sharp razor. If the blade gets dull, you are more prone to nicks, razor burn, and in grown hairs.
  5. I always apply lotion after I dry off to keep my legs soft. I also have dry skin on my legs, so keeping them soft with lotion consistently makes shaving so much easier!
Some of my friends always suggest waxing instead, but I have super sensitive skin, and allergy issues. I am allergic to the waxes I have tried, and shaving is SO MUCH better than dealing with an allergic reaction! If you have any other tips and tricks that you'd like to share, feel free to leave them in the comments, I'd love to hear them.

***Disclosure: I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog and was
compensated. However, the views and opinions are my own.***




MP3 Review: Falling Still

Falling Still is releasing a new album that includes a track I Am the Dr [Explicit].


You can view the song on YouTube at the link below. This song does contain explicit lyrics, and this is a family friendly blog, so I did NOT want to embed the video here. 

"I AM THE DR." Music Video Directed by Trent Haaga: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O80GMMKj7FM&feature=channel_video_title


I was able to listen to the entire album, and did enjoy it. I am not a huge fan of explicit lyrics, which are bleeped out on the radio, but other than that, the music was good. I had not heard of this group previously, and I am always on the lookout to discover new music that I might like. I do like the sound of the music. I have really become a fan of more jazzy/bluesy/metal/rock/bluegrass mixed groups over the past year or so, and this group fits right in there. Can't listen to this CD in the car with kids, but on my phone with headphones while I am walking, it would be ok, and has an upbeat tempo, which is great for exercising.

For more information about Falling Still, you can visit their Facebook Page, Twitter, You Tube, or Website.


***Disclosure: I received complementary access to this MP3 to aide in promotion of the release of this song, no monetary compensation was exchanged.***

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Avon Calling

Avon Reps
Avon - Become an Avon Representative

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information about becoming an Avon Representative.



A few of my childhood friends are now selling Avon, and do most of their business via facebook and their websites. They have small children and needed a business they could do as stay at home moms that didn't require them to host parties, allowed them to mail products to friends and family across the country, and still brought in enough side income meet their needs. I haven't ever tried it, but my friends assure me that they are successful, though they said it's important to remind people that you get out of something what you put into it. So, while it doesn't take up all of their time, it isn't passive income either.


***Disclosure: Affiliate Link***

BuyCostumes.com

Buy Costumes

Last weekend, I was talking to some people who were looking for recommendations on trusted sites they could buy costumes from online. I'll start posting the deals here as I see them, as the advice I ALWAYS give to real life friends is to buy early if you are purchasing online. You want to make sure you get the actual costume you ordered, that it fits, and looks in real life like what you thought it looked like online. I haven't ever had a bad experience myself, but when you are relying on the mail for delivery, ordering early is always best.

Buy Costumes

***Disclosure: Affiliate Links***

Book Review: Pilate's Cross

Book Review: Pilate's Cross by J. Alexander Greenwood

This book is based on a true story. If you enjoy mysteries, crime stories, drama, conspiracy theories, or real life stories, this is THE book for you! 


This is the story of John Pilate. He is a college professor, teaching at a college in the small midwestern town of Cross, Nebraska. (I live in a small midwestern town, only in Oklahoma....crime stories set in towns like mine freak me out!). Pilate isn't the most popular person in town, by any means, and he is bored....until he stumbles on a murder conspiracy from about 40 years previous (JFK Assassination era). Obviously the county sheriff gets his toes stepped on and is keeping a close eye on him. Eventually they begin working together, and find MORE strange things (I don't want to spoil anything!). 


I don't want to say too much because I don't want to spoil the story, should you read it. While stories of this nature absolutely freak me out (and always have), I still love them and can't stop reading them (as in I always look for more, and once I start one, I stay up until I finish the book even if it's 3 am. Sometimes because I am too freaked out to sleep and have to know what is going to happen at the end!).


For more information, you can visit the Pilate's Cross Homepage, purchase a copy of Pilate's Cross from Amazon or Smashwords, or visit the page on Facebook.





***Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Pilate's Cross to facilitate my review. No positive opinion was requested nor required, all opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner. No monetary compensation was exchanged.***

Monday, September 12, 2011

Review: Peter Hill

I came into contact with a new musician recently named Peter Hill. Peter is in the process of cutting his first album still, but he graciously shared two of his songs with me that are on MP3. They are SO GOOD, and will be included on the completed album as Bonus Tracks. He is British, and will be going on tour in England next year, and I only wish I could visit to hear him live! He is possibly traveling to the US (NYC & LA) in late 2012, but being in OK, I am right between the two, but far from both:(

For today, I am just going to focus on Love Me Tonight. The focus of this song is wanting someone you can't have. I am certain that most people have experienced that feeling at some point in their life and can completely relate. He is very talented on the guitar, the music is light, and he has such a soothing voice. If you click the link below for Amazon (UK), you can preview 5 of his songs!

If you'd like to follow Peter, you can find him on Facebook, Twitter, I-Tunes, or amazon (UK). He is also looking to grow his mailing list, so if you'd like to be included, just leave your contact info in the comments or email it to me and I can forward it to him!

***Disclosure: Peter Hill shared MP3 copies of his song with me to get my honest opinion and feedback. No positive review or feedback was requested or required. No monetary compensation was exchanged.***

It's Zhu Zhu Time!


I don't know about your kids, but my kids are just fascinated with ZhuZhu Pets. They were high on the list last year at Christmas time, so when I saw that Mom Select was partnering with ZhuZhu and allowing bloggers to host ZhuZhu parties, I signed us right up! We are ZhuZhu crazy in this house. I only thought we had most of the collection after Christmas last year. Once I started planning this party and looking around for ideas, I was amazed at how many ZhuZhu items are out there. They are for girls and boys alike, and with the new babies, probably for ages 4-12! Even Aaron who is almost 10 likes to play with these. The boys just LOVE to race them against one another and to make them do various tricks. I LOVE that they are toys so I don't have to buy a real "live" hamster to take care of. This mama has enough messes to clean up on a daily basis!

We were given 7 Zhuzhu Babies, 2 ZhuZhu Outfits, a Playset, and a ZhuZhu Pet for our party. I created some ZhuZhu themed cupcakes and cookies, we played racing games to see who had the fastest ZhuZhu, I made some search a word pages and coloring pages, and had a scavenger hunt. We have several of the FunHouses, because each child wanted their own from Santa, and we have dozens of the full size hamsters that were able to join us in the fun. I should probably mention that we did the scavenger hunt first so each guest could find their baby to have for the races later in the day, and then they were able to take them home. 
My kids have the Zhu Zhu Pets Adventure BallZhu Zhu Pets Tree HouseKung Zhu Battle ArenaZhu Zhu Pets Airport/Plane, DS game, Zhu Zhu Pets Add On GarageKung Zhu Special Forces Hamster Set of 4Kung Zhu Ninja Warrior Hamsters Set of 4, and many, many more ZhuZhu related items on their Christmas lists already this year. They start making them in July, LOL. It's a good thing Santa likes to have Amazon help him in his shopping so he doesn't have to go to 30 stores trying to hunt things down like he did last year!

For more information, please visit the Zhu-universe Website. I was sent a complimentary ZhuZhu gift package  from Mom Select  and ZhuZhu Pets to use during our ZhuZhu party. A positive review was not requested nor required. No monetary compensation was exchanged.