Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blog Bash Christmas



Welcome to Blog Bash Christmas hosted by Family Approve and This Lil Piglet! Each participating blog has a prize valued over $100. The giveaway will end at midnight EST on 12/6.

Cambodian Threads


I received this scarf from Cambodian Threads to review. I am so touched by the story that is behind this company, and I am thrilled to share the details with you.

This company offers a hand-made, fair trade silk scarf. They are created (without child labor!) in a small Cambodian village, and they use a portion of the proceeds from each scarf sold to furnish school supplies for TEN children. The scarf I received is valued at $26 on sale, and covers the cost of materials, labor, and school supplies for 10 kids (notebooks, maps, pens, pencils, paper, etc). That is shocking to me. Such a nominal amount to provide for so much! Most of the workers in this area (farmers, crafters, etc) survive on an income of $20-$40 per month.

It takes 6-8 days for them to finish each scarf. They purchase raw silk from local farmers, dye it naturally by hand, dry it, and spin it into thread using a spinning wheel. The finished silk thread is woven by a traditional wooden loom. They then hand twist the threads at the ends to prevent them from fraying.  If you purchase one, you should hand wash it in cold water with a gentle detergent, lie flat to air dry, and a low heat iron can smooth out any wrinkles.

I love the scarf that I received. I have several black skirts, pants, and colored blouses that will look very nice with this as an accessory. The material felt a little different from what I am used to, but previously I've only gotten scarves purchased at the store. I love knowing that it is handmade from scratch, and that it is supporting a very good cause. The education of children is so important. I love knowing how far $26 will go towards supporting a family, a business, and ten students.

You can get more information on Cambodian Threads from their website, Facebook, or Twitter pages.
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. They are offering a discount code "holidays" to save 15% on any order!

Winners Galore

Several Winners Announcements, some of these ended last week and the winners have already responded, I just wanted to make sure to get a formal announcement out for those two and announce the rest of them. Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to all who entered! Emails have been sent to all of the winners at the email addresses you left on the Rafflecopter.

Carmex Gift Pack: Kristy M.

Home for the Holidays: Jessica T.

Harry Potter DVD: Jeff M.

Black Friday Giveaway: Mary

Gratitude Giveaway:
Book from Paperback Swap: Jude K.
Key of Kilenya (ebook): Michele L, Jennifer M, Alex W, Helen B, Valerie M
Ember Gods (ebook): Jessica C, Terri M, Melissa S, Colleen M, Leah C
Kilenya Romance (ebook): Sylvia O, Nicole S, Ashlyn W, Ruth H, Melissa H.
I did not get a list of the 200 winners of the other ebooks where people emailed the author directly. If you won one of those, I'd love to know, just leave a comment :)

Glasses USA

I remember being in the sixth grade when I realized I needed glasses. We had assigned seats, and I was near the back of the room. I couldn't see what was on the board, and I had to keep asking a friend to copy it down on paper for me so I could do the assignment.

One day it was time for our annual eye exam at school. They'd bring in students and they'd examine us as part of their curriculum. Very quickly, they wrote a note to my parents letting them know that I was in dire need of eyeglasses, and they should take me to the optometrist for a prescription.

My parents wanted to know why I hadn't said something about having trouble seeing, but I am nearsighted, and previously had always been sitting at the front of the classroom, and hadn't had any problems. Plus, I think it gets worse gradually over time, so I had been compensating for it, until I was in a situation where I just couldn't see to read the blackboard. We went to the optometrist, and picked out some cheap glasses to start with, so I could get used to wearing them, primarily just as needed in the beginning.

I take my own kids in for annual visits with the eye doctor, in addition to the exam the pediatrician performs at their well child visits. I know eye problems run on both sides of the family, and I don't want them to develop the same issues that I had. I want them to be comfortable with the process, and not be afraid when they time likely comes that they too will need and eyeglasses prescription.

This post is a true story, written by me, but brought to you on behalf of GlassesUSA.com. They'd also like to offer my readers a discount code, good for a limited time only.

  • Use Code: iSee20FS to take 20% off any frame in the iSee Eyewear Collection, AND get FREE shipping within the US. 
  • You can take 10% off any order of prescription glasses using code: Blog10

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Tour: Precisely Terminated

Book Tour: Precisely Terminated by Amanda L Davis

This was my first Dystopian novel to read. I had avoided them previously, because they just didn't seem to fit the genres that I prefer and enjoy. However, I had heard great things about this up and coming writer, and since I home-school my own child who has learning disabilities, I wanted to give this one a try, and offer my words of encouragement and support. This is the first book in the Cantral Chronicles Trilogy and I will be getting the other 2 books to complete the set. Joshua is reading on this level, and I am planning to let him read the series.


I honestly have to say that I surprised my self, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was very well written and thought out, and does not seem to be a freshman novel. The story and theme were intriguing, and the details were meticulous. You can actually imagine the scenes and settings, and the characters are easy to relate to and I just love that she put in a lesson that all readers can take away from the story.

As always, I don't want to spoil too much of the story for you, so I have only included the publisher's synopsis. The suggested Reading Level is 13+. My 8 year old is a very, very advanced reader, and having read this book first, I think it is appropriate for him, and a story he would enjoy. I'd love if y'all could leave some comment love for Amanda on the post, and consider giving this book as a gift to a young reader in your life!


About the Book:
Monica, a noble disguised as a slave girl, escaped the chip implantation process that the slaves of Cantral and Cillineese were subjected to at birth. As a result, she alone holds the ability to find a paper bearing instructions for shutting down the mind-­controlling computers and execute the paper's directives. But the Cillineese rulers discover Monica's existence and move to seal the city. They plan to gas all the inhabitants before Monica can set them free. The ensuing race against time pits one girl against the tyranny of powerful nobles...with an entire city's inhabitants hanging in the balance.

About the Author:
Amanda L. Davis is an award-­winning writer who spends her spare time spinning yarn, sewing, quilting, and embroidering. She honed her writing craft while attending writers conferences with her father, award-­winning fantasy novelist Bryan Davis, and through years of participating in Cleanplace, an online writers group for teens. Amanda is available to speak about her process of living with dyslexia, excelling in a homeschool environment, and chasing your dreams-no matter what your age.

This book is for sale at Amazon, currently priced at $10.39. You can also view the Book Trailer on YouTube.

***Disclosure: I received a complementary copy of this book for participating 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.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Tour: Benny's Angel

I didn't receive my copy in time to review it, but I wanted to share this with you today anyway! I love the theme in the summary of this book, and just love to have quality material to read to my kids. I think this would be a fine gift to a child's Sunday School class as well, if you are so inclined :)

Book Summary:
Benny's Angel
Who stole the flowers in God’s Secret Garden?

When Ella Eagle discovers that the flowers in God’s Secret Garden have wilted, she alerts Mayor Benny Bunny. The main suspect in the case is evil Count Slime, who is jealous of the joy the animals have in the garden. Mayor Benny calls in Oliver Owl, the captain of the Owl Force Wisdom Watchers, but the owls have not seen Count Slime during their patrols of the garden. Mayor Benny suggests the animals pray for an answer. God hears their prayer and sends Marietta the angel to help them solve the mystery.

This delightful tale uses animals, nature, and a visit from an angel to teach children the importance of prayer and the value of trusting God.

Smallville Season 10


When you've watched a show for 10 seasons, you are always sad to see it end. You feel like you know the characters well, and that they are like old friends you are going to miss when they are gone. This is especially true with a show such as Smallville.

When we first sat down to watch this series, I had no idea what it was about, just that it sounded like a show about a quaint small town. I was sort of correct. The big thing I wasn't aware of was that the show was based on the DC Comic character, Superman (aka Clark Kent). Clark grew up in the small town of Smallville, Kansas, which is where the series is set, after coming to Earth from Krypton. In the very beginning of the series, it shows him as a boy, then focuses on his high school years.Clark stays in Smallville until he is a young adult, which is when he moves to Metropolis and starts working at the Daily Planet.

Fast forward to Season 10, and there are some big changes that you need to be aware of if you are starting here, and even though it's the last season, it was one of my favorites, so these are also things that I loved about Season 10:
  • Lois Lane is aware of Clark's Superman secret. She no longer has to choose between the superhero and the reporter. The men she loves are actually one and the same.
  • During Seasons 1-9, Clark could only fly when he was mind controlled. In Season 10, he is able to fly under his own power.
  • The last episode is the only time in the series where you get to see Clark in the Superman suit.
  • Clark finally makes peace with his past and his superhero situation, and he makes the conscious decision to not be seen as a rogue vigilante, and to show everyone that doing the right thing, and saving those in need is the right thing to do.
  • Clark is shedding the demons from his past, and realizes he has to remove all of the doubts and temptations in his mind and heart if he is truly to be accepted as a real Beacon of Light in Metropolis.
The "Smallville: The Complete Series" has all 218 episodes with over 28 hours of special features, never-before-seen features and production art and an Exclusive Daily Planet newspaper written by DC Comics! Season 10 contains 22 episodes.

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

Credit law

I have a friend who lost her battle with cancer recently. It's not something I've talked about on here, and still won't get into it really for the sake of privacy for her family. However, her spouse is facing some steep medical bills, in addition to their "regular" bills.

Of course, she did have life insurance, however, the amount they had purchased turned out not to be adequate enough to cover their needs once she passed. So often we all put off discussing issues that are sensitive like this when we are healthy because they make us uncomfortable. Yet, once we get to a point where we realize that we need more than what we have planned for, its often too late.

Regardless of your specific situation, if you are encountering collection harassment and need relief, I strongly encourage you to research your rights as a consumer, and to consult legal counsel should it come to that. Many creditors are so focused on getting their money that they do not stop to really listen and hear what someone's situation is, nor do they really care. Make sure you know your rights, and are not taken advantage of!

Babydot


Babydot is a new Diaper Club. You can save time and money, and earn free gifts and prizes for mom and baby each month! It is FREE to join, and you'll find deals on diapers, wipes, formula, and many other items!

AcornPoints



If you sign up to try AboutOne's new AcornPoints rewards program, FREE online organizer, you will be entered to win a Kindle Fire! It is a fast, easy way to organize your busy life. Supercharges your existing calendar and contact tools to make your household information work for you. Calendar-based, online organizerEasy, auto-magic data entryCompletely private with bank-level securityGuides you on the path to organizationFull mobile accessBest of all, AboutOne pays you to be organized! Your information, instantly formatted when and how you need it. Be the first to know when we launch Plus You could win a Kindle Fire!


I have to tell y'all life has been crazy, and I am behind. I'll apologize now for the influx of posts over the next couple of weeks as I try to get caught up. Part of my issue is also that my organizational system that has worked for me in the past, isn't working anymore. I have too many projects and activities, and now it takes too much time to enter them all into my existing organizer. I saw this on a friend's site and signed up. It looks very promising, and I am hoping to use it starting now on new projects going forward, and phase out my existing system by year end. Wish me luck!

Cubby Storage

When you have children, you figure out pretty quickly that you need some type of cubby storage system to contain the mass quantity of toys that are soon going to take over your home. It doesn't matter if you have boys or girls, they all come with a various assortment of toys in all shapes and sizes.

For us, I opted for plastic tubs in the bottom of the kids closets. I put the larger items around the wall on the floor, and have the toys in the tubs categorized by type. We have little people related items in one tub, cars in one, legos in one, and superheroes in another. It also worked out really well to put all the Thomas train set items in one container, and tracks for racing cars in another. I found a trash can to use for plastic swords and light sabers. Having three boys who love Star Wars means we have a ton of light sabers!

If I had it to do over again, I'd opt for a better solution for puzzles, games, and the legos. Right now, I just have them in gallon size ziplock bags, and they are piled in a box in the hall linen closet. It functions, just not as efficiently as I'd like.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Book Tour: The Daughter She Used To Be

Book Tour: The Daughter She Used To Be by Rosalind Noonan

Book Description:
The daughter of a career cop, Bernadette Sullivan grew up with blue uniforms hanging in the laundry room and cops laughing around the dinner table. Her brothers joined New York's finest, her sister married a cop, and Bernie is an assistant District Attorney. Collaring criminals, putting them away - it's what they do. And though lately Bernie feels a growing desire for a family of her own, she's never questioned her choices. Then a shooter targets a local coffee shop, and tragedy strikes the Sullivan family. Anger follows grief - and Bernie realizes that her father's idea of retribution is very different from her own. All her life, she's inhabited a clear-cut world of right and wrong, of morality and corruption. As Bernie struggles to protect the people she loves, she must also decide what it means to see justice served. And in her darkest hour, she will find out just what it means to be her father's daughter.

This was a new author for me to read. I loved the concept of the book, and dove right in when it arrived. The story grips you right from the beginning, and is very fast paced. This was another book that kept me up into the wee hours because I had to see how it was going to end! Some pretty powerful things happen in this story that disrupt this honorable Irish Catholic family. The characters quickly see consequences as a result of their actions, and depending on your own views and life experiences, your reactions could be completely different than those of someone with a different history. When something life changing happens, it's important to make sure to stay true to yourself and your values as you head down the new path life has given you.



***Disclosure: I received complimentary access to this book to facilitate writing 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.

Little boys love noise

As the mother of three boys, there are very few toys we have in our house that are not noisemakers. If the toys, don't make noise, you can guarantee that the child will create his own noise associated with the toy. It's the way boys work.

We have cars and trucks, trains, lego creations, all types of balls and sporting equipment, power rangers, and so many others. I thought once they got a bit older and more into video games, we'd have at least a slightly lower noise level, but I was so wrong. Now they are cheering for one another and getting competitive while they play both console games and handheld games.

My oldest son is 9, and I was talking to a friend recently about the noise. Her boys are older so I asked her when do they get quieter. Her response, when they go to college:/ Sad to realize just how close that is. She said when they're teens, they get more into music and the noise only increases, LOL. I guess all we can do is enjoy it now, while they are still home all day, every day!

Discount Medications

I know that many people are weary of online sites that sell discount medications. If you have good prescription coverage under insurance, it's likely that you've never looked at any of these sites, or really needed too. However, in today's economy where many people are out of work, underpaid in jobs they are overqualified for just so they have a job, or perhaps have insurance but the co-pay for your medication is still beyond your reach, there are options.

Why is Norton useful

This post brought to you by Norton Small Business by Symantec. All opinions are 100% mine.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I'm a new Country Gourmet Consultant!

A friend of mine sells Country Gourmet, and has been encouraging me to try this for a couple of years. Today (and likely this weekend) they are having a great promotion, so I signed up. Here's how it works if any of you have been on the fence about this too:

Independent Basic Consultant:
No down lines or free websites
Quarterly sales requirement of just $25

Independent Advanced Consultant:
FREE Website and downlines
Quarterly sales requirement of $100. Includes all personal AND website order totals BEFORE discount codes applied!

*Can switch from advanced to basic for free at any time, but if you later decide to go back to advanced, there is a $10 fee. IF you choose to sign up, I'd love you to put down my name (Karen Puleski) as your referral!

Single, ready to mingle?

Most all of us, regardless of our own relationship status, know someone who is single. Perhaps they've never married, they could be divorced or widowed, any number of situations. Even at the young age of 36, I have more than a handful of friends who have been widowed. They've endured accidents, cancer, war, and other various tragedies. Regardless of the reason, dating today is not the same as it was 15-20 years ago, and it's difficult to know where to even begin!

Ann Summers

Today is Black Friday and I am sure most of you are deal hunting this weekend as I am. One suggestion that I have for married women, is to consider purchasing some Ann Summers Lingerie for you and your spouse to enjoy when spending some private time together. If you have something nice that makes you feel special, you will be more relaxed and able to enjoy some quality time bonding with your mate. Some couples need and make use of a variety of other adult products, and you can purchase sex toys online to save yourself any embarrassment from purchasing in person. If you aren't comfortable with that, then some nice lingerie would perhaps be ideal for you.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Book Tour: Marian's Christmas Wish


Book Tour: Marian's Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly

Christmas is such an emotional time of year. It often is a time of reflecting on loved ones not with us, for whatever reason, and a time of closure on the current year as we begin to look forward to the upcoming year. I adore historical romance novels, especially this time of year. It's nice to sit inside on a cold, dreary day and read such fascinating stories. I love the manner in which the characters speak to one another, how they interact, and the properness of everything.

In this story, I love how Marian is so proper and headstrong. She has seen how other women seem to lose their sensibilities when they fall in love, and she has vowed not to let that happen to her. Until, a dashing gentleman invades her heart. She soon learns that one cannot control matters of the heart. As always, I don't want to spoil the story for you by revealing too much, I'll just say that I truly enjoyed this book. It was very well written, the story is captivating, and you won't regret spending the time getting lost in this tale.

Book Description:
Miss Marian Wynswich is a rather unconventional young lady. She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man. And she s certain falling in love is a ridiculous endeavor and vows never to do such a thing. But everything changes when she receives a Christmas visit from someone unexpected--- a young and handsome English lord.

If you'd like to visit the other participating blogs on this tour, you may view the calendar HERE. You can also visit Carla Kelly on her blog or facebook pages. Marian's Christmas Wish is also available for purchase at Amazon!


***Disclosure: I was given access to an e-copy of this book to facilitate promotion of this tour. No monetary compensation was exchanged. No positive opinion was requested or required, all opinion's expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Plus doesn't have to be frumpy

There are many reasons that women might gain weight. Sometimes it can be helped through better diet control and exercise, other times it might be due to medical conditions and medications, etc. Regardless of the reasons, it can be very stressful for women who don't fit the "average" mold to go shopping and find stylish clothes that fit them well.

Fortunately, there are stores that sell plus size dresses, pants, shirts, sweaters, and undergarments that are both stylish and designed to fit a woman. Let's face it, women have curves, and many of us have a few extra pounds we carry around. The larger department stores in the mall are beginning to carry more stylish Women's size clothing, but it can still be hit or miss. Online and specialty retailers are much more focused creating stylist, not frumpy, plus size clothing.

If you find it difficult to find stylish clothing to fit your size, I encourage you to look around online to see what's available. I think you'll be happily surprised to find most of it looks better than what you see in stores!

Alaska Official State Guide

I'd love to Travel to Alaska. It's not in my immediate or foreseeable future, lest I win the lottery or some amazing vacation sweepstakes, but I still like to dream about it, watch shows about it, and just enjoy nature's beauty, even from a distance. If you feel the same, or might actually be planning a visit somewhere down the road, be sure to request a FREE copy of the Official State Guide to help you plan your (real or dream) vacation!

Norton Small Business - Finance

This post brought to you by Norton Small Business by Symantec. All opinions are 100% mine.

New Message-494Most of my blog readers who know me personally are aware that for most of my life my family has owned two small businesses. One was a restaurant, the other a bait and tackle store. When you grow up in a family that owns a small business, you come to appreciate all the work and products they use out of necessity to keep their businesses afloat. Norton Small Business by Symantec is a product that over 28% of small business owners use and prioritize as necessities. 

New Message

Not only do they need these products in order to run successful businesses, in today's technology dependent society, they also need to make sure that they are protecting themselves online with reliable security products. 

While my family does not own their businesses any longer, I still have other friends and family members that are small business owners. I also recommend these products to them, and for a limited time through the following link, a coupon is available: 2012 Norton Small Business products now available for 30% off. Norton 360 and the Norton Internet Security 2012 were both launched just this past September, so they are complete with current protection and information!

I have been fortunate not to have gotten any viruses so far because we are very careful about what sites we visit, and that we always have anti-virus software on our computers. Once my children get a bit older and are using the internet more frequently, not only will we monitor their activity for safety reasons, but also to make sure that they learn how to responsibly use the internet. We do not want any identity or confidential information leaked due to unsafe internet usage. 

 

If you are in the market for internet safety software, I encourage you to look at the products Norton has to offer. I'd love to know which products you think would benefit your family the most!

NortonLogo_white.jpg

Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

LG DoublePlay

This post brought to you by LG DoublePlay™. All opinions are 100% mine.

In 20 days, it will be the one year anniversary of when I got my first smart phone. I put it off for so long because I didn't realize the value in it. It didn't seem 'frugal'. Until I got one. Then I realized just how much time and money it actually saves me! 

If you haven't made the switch, or if you have and aren't happy with your current smartphone, I'd suggest the LG DoublePlay™. I have a different one, but I'd much prefer to have a QWERTY keyboard, and this model has a split keyboard to make typing even easier. It is available exclusively through T-Mobile, so if that's your carrier it's something to consider.

Other features include:

  • multi-tasking abilities to surf the net, update facebook, check email, and/or text all at the same time!
  • 5 mega pixel camera with LED Flash
  • 720p HD video recorder
  • many texting options including Cloud Text or Group Texting
  • Access to Android Market and Apps
  • Dual capacitive touch screens for multi-taskers and social networkers like me!

Personally, I send an average of 400ish texts a month. The majority of my close personal friends and family live out of state, so we spend a lot of time texting and social networking to stay in touch. I'd tell you how many hours that is, but it might be embarrassing to admit, LOL. If I had this LG DoublePlay™ phone though, I'd be so happy. As it is, I have a touchscreen phone, and I'd spend more time using it than I do if it had a keyboard. I hate typing on a touchscreen keypad. So, if Santa is reading this, please keep this model in mind for my next upgrade :)

I'd love for y'all to leave me comments and let me know how many hours y'all spend texting, engaging via your social networks, and if you think a phone such as this would be useful for you. Please don't let me feel like the only person who spends hours on these networks, haha.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Book Tour: Geek Girl by Cindy C Bennett

I am pleased to be participating in this book tour for Geek Girl by Cindy C Bennett. What a fantastic YA book. I also think that women of any age, and social status during their high-school years will enjoy this and be able to relate to the story. The high school years are so pivotal, and full of learning about friendships and relationships. These are the formative years where you learn how to develop and involve peers in what can frequently be drama filled relationships. Really, these situations never end, so learning to deal with them early on can be quite useful.

In this story, the amin character has lost her father, and her mother is in prison. Not an ideal situation for any teenager. I don't ever like to reveal too much about a book because I don't like when books get spoiled for me, so I am very cautious not to ruin them for others. Here's an excerpt from Amazon:
"Think I could turn that boy bad?"


My two best friends--my only two friends, really--follow my gaze and laugh.


"Trevor Hoffman?" Beth scoffs. "No way, Jen."


"I bet I could," I say, shrugging.


"Why him?" Beth asks. "Why not any of the other nerds sitting there with him?"


"Because," I say slowly, "he isn't your typical run-of-the-mill geek. Trevor Hoffman is different. He would be a little more difficult to take down--more of a challenge, you know?"


Jen's teenage life of rebelling and sneaking out is growing stale. In an effort to combat her boredom, Jen makes a bet to turn Trevor, a nice geek, into a "bad boy." Unexpectedly, she is pulled into Trevor's world of sci-fi movies, charity work, and even--ugh!--bowling. Jen discovers that hanging out with Trevor isn't so bad after all.
But when Trevor finds out about the wager, all bets are off.

About the Author:
Cindy C Bennett lives in the shadows of the majestic Rocky Mountains near Salt Lake City. She has spent several years doing volunteer work with teen girls, whom she finds to be fascinating creatures - hence, her writing stories for and about them. When not reading or writing, she loves to spend time with her family which includes a husband, two sons, two daughters and three dogs. She does her best creating while cruising down the highway on her Harley Davidson Fatboy. GEEK GIRL is her first published novel. HEART ON A CHAIN is her newest novel.

You can visit Cindy at her Website, Blog, Facebook Page, or Twitter Page. You can visit the Cedar Fort blog Tour Page to see links to the other participating blogs, and a calendar with the posting schedule.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Geek Girl to facilitate my book tour post. No other compensation was exchanged. No positive review was requested or required, all opinions expressed are solely mine and were not influenced in any manner.

Swan and Dolphin

I'm going to take y'all way back with this post. When I was in high school (the early 90s!), I was in my high school choir. We were very fortunate to be able to take a spring trip each year and perform at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. This was one of my first trips without parents along, and I remember so vividly riding the tram from a parking area where the bus dropped us off, to whatever park we were visiting that day. It stands out specifically, because of the epcot resort hotels Swan and Dolphin. If you've ever visited there, I am sure you know what I am talking about. They looked so nice, and really stood out from the others with the statuary figures they exhibited.

I always thought that those would be where I would want to stay should I be able to return as an adult with my own family. Fast forward a few years, and I got married. Nick was in the Navy and we were stationed in FL, just a couple of hours from Orlando. We got discount tickets due to being military and state residents. In 1997, we flew my little brother down and took him to the Disney Parks for a graduation present. We had SO much fun, but didn't get an opportunity to stay at any of the resorts because we lived too close to justify the expense.

Now, many, many years later, I have children. Except we live in Oklahoma. Of course they would love to visit Disney, and I'd love to take them. Hopefully it will work out in the not too distant future that we can go there, and you can bet when I am booking reservations, I will be checking rates and availability at Swan and Dolphin to see if I can work it out for us to stay there :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Exercise

In August 2009, I got the P90x DVD's and attempted to start them. It lasted about 3 days, and then we got a phone call that we had a family member who was critically ill, and soon passed. We had to go out of town to handle the arrangements, and when we got back, I was a bit overwhelmed with things to take care of to try and do such an Extreme Body Workout. Then, I started having back issues, and now, it's two years later.

I refuse to give up my dream of regaining my Beach Body, but I am realistic. I know that with Fibromyalgia I have to be very careful, and take things slow and easy. I do find it amusing on Facebook though that everyone seems to be aware of how intense P90x is. Every time someone mentions that they are starting it, people advise them to read 90 Day Reviews to make sure they know what they are in for. The results seem to be amazing, if you can't stick with it and get through the workouts.

All in all, I think the main thing is that we all stay active in some form or fashion. It doesn't have to be extreme or intense as long as we are making an effort and trying to get and stay healthy.

This is a guest post provided by Fitness Alliance.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

CBLS Tour: For Queen and Country


I am pleased to present you with an excerpt of For Queen And Country (Shimmy And Steam) by Michelle Kopra. I hope you enjoy it:)

Blurb:
Sparks of lust fly between the queen’s military advisor Lord Colin Mandrake, and her chief spy aboard The Gypsy, Lady Constance of Berkshire. However, no matter how good the sex is between them, Constance and Colin butt heads over who is in charge of the mission to capture the sultan Khalid Bin Bargash. Can Colin win over her heart, and can Constance teach Colin who is boss?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Christmas

Author: Joseph Sandoval

My husband and I have been planning on buying our children a large swing-set for Christmas for almost nine months. We have two kids, and they are just now getting to the ages that they can enjoy a swing-set outside. They are three and five years old. Because we have been saving for this gift, we have tried to pinch pennies when we can. We recently switched to fixed-rate energy through TEXAS Electricity Providers as a way to more easily balance our budget. My husband, who is a middle school math teacher, has started tutoring after school. I am a nurse, and I have tried to pick up a few extra shifts here and there to earn some extra money as well. I know that our oldest, a boy, has been thinking about a playground for about six months. He started asking me if we could buy a playground, and he loves to go to the park and play on the huge jungle gym. He is very active, and I think it would be a great gift that he could enjoy for years to come. I remember when I was a child and the fun that my sisters and I had playing and swinging on the tiny swing-set in our backyard.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Social Media Strategies Summit

The Social Media Strategies Summit


Social Media has quickly become the best means of communication between brands and consumers in recent times. It is remarkable to see how various companies respond to positive and negative feedback using these mediums. I had three negative experiences with two very large companies,and one that is fairly big in our area, but local, this year, and tweeted about them. In both situations involving large national companies, executives contacted me within 24 hours regarding these situations. They both realized that the companies were in error regarding the handling of these circumstances, and had resolutions established immediately that were to my satisfaction. I did not tweet with the intent of drawing such attention, but I was very pleased to see that these companies actually cared about what I as a consumer thought of them, and that they were willing to go the extra mile to correct these issues. With the third, local company, I got no response. I looked at their twitter feed, and while they have their twitter linked on advertising materials, they've never sent out a single tweet, so I guess it should be no surprise that I got no response. I'll also note that one of the national companies will be represented at this summit. I honestly half expect to see my situation as one of the case studies. Maybe not, but it would be an excellent case for study, and I'd love to be able to attend that session just to see if it is featured, and offer my deepest gratitude for the manner in which they resolved the issue.

I have also had situations where I have tweeted when I have gotten excellent service. I make sure to always tweet those out AND mention the names of the employees providing exemplary service in hopes that they get rewarded by their companies. 

Titanium Jewelry

As "mommy bloggers" it seems like we typically focus on discussing and reviewing items for our children or other moms. Of course in June when Father's Day is approaching we feature products more for men, but for me anyway, when I think back on the past year, I haven't had a lot of items geared towards men.

Today, I'd like to at least mention some Titanium Bracelets. Of course, these could probably be worn by anyone, depending on your style choice, but these seem like items the Italian men in my family who love to wear jewelry, would select.

The bracelet featured above is normally $99, but currently on sale for $39.90! That is a tremendous savings and would make a fabulous holiday gift selection. It is made out of Grade 1 commercially pure titanium, and is 9mm wide, 20 cm long. All links are removable to allow you to shorten it for a perfect fit.

On a side note, they also offer titanium ring designs. I haven't seen these in person, but they do have matching wedding bands featured for both men and women, with and without stones. If you are in the market for new or updated bands, or know anyone engaged looking for bands, these are worth checking out!

Lincoln Law

I spoke a bit last week regarding bankruptcy, and how it is not always a negative thing, though it should not be abused. I hope my thoughts and opinions have helped some of you understand the process and myths a little better, and will allow us all to show more compassion to those who find themselves in a position where filing for bankruptcy is their best option.

I also want to reiterate that if you are in financial distress or know someone who is, then encourage them to seek the counsel of bankruptcy lawyers in Utah or wherever their state of residence is located. Most bankruptcy attorneys will offer at least the first consultation visit for free, and can assess your specific situation, and advise you as to what your legal options are in your state, and help you navigate the path to financial recovery.

Filing bankruptcy in Utah or anywhere often is not as hard or expensive as you might initially think. It is my understanding that once you have completed the necessary paperwork with your attorney, that you are able to stop making payments to certain creditors while in litigation. This frees up money to cover your legal expenses and meet other pressing needs you may have. A dear friend of mine who has been out of full time work for 2 years has been taking temp jobs and any part time jobs she can find while seeking full time employment ran out of savings last month. She had saved diligently for years, and has had to use all of that up to sustain her essential needs such as mortgage, car, insurance, utilities, and food. She has used coupons, and not spent any extra money. The stress of the situation has overwhelmed her, and caused medical issues. While she had no credit card debt, since she went on private health insurance, and began having medical problems, she has found herself buried in medical debt. She finally saw a bankruptcy attorney in her home state, and is going to be able to wipe out her medical debt, surrender her home that has dropped in value leaving her with negative equity, but keep her car. She has no spouse or children, so she can move into an efficiency apartment and lower her utilities. Her part time work will cover these bills, and she'll still have her car to look for full time work. The relief of this action is making her feel so much better than she thought it would. Hopefully once she feels better, she'll interview better, regain full time employment, and be able to rebuild her savings and be in a position to save and become a homeowner again in the near future!

I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog sponsored by bankruptcy attorneys in Utah, and was compensated. However, the views and opinions are my own. I keep participating in these types of campaigns because I personally know dozens of people who are in financial crisis due to job loss, medical bills, divorce, and many other issues. I want to give them and anyone else who needs it, avenues to explore for help, and encourage others to support them during these times of crisis, not judge them and gossip about them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

E Commerce

Many of us find ourselves in a situation from time to time where we may need some additional income to meet a specific need (without using credit) or perhaps are looking to establish a home based career. You don't want to try any get rich quick schemes or anything of that nature, so you probably look around to see what items you might be able to sell, services you can offer, or perhaps you craft or are involved in direct sales, you just need an outlet to sell online.

I'd like to applaud anyone going to these lengths to fulfill a dream, or just willing to work hard to meet their needs. As a blogger who works from home to help meet needs within my own family, I can certainly appreciate this. I wish I was crafty enough to make things that people would want to buy, LOL. I do have several friends that have their own etsy sites, and others who are just starting out doing embroidery, knitting, sewing, crochet, woodwork, jewelry, and a few other things that are in the market for an ecommerce solution for when they have enough stock to open their online stores or websites. You may have seen some of their wares featured in my giveaways, and I hope to be able to continue to support them in the future!

I have another friend who is looking into ecommerce solutions, but for another reason. This friend has been working from home as a virtual assistant. She was invoicing and collecting her payment via a free online service, but has run into some issues. She reports her income and pays taxes on it, but the free service wants to send her a 1099 and report the money through them. I don't know the specifics, except that her accountant said it could cause her issues at tax time, so she is seeking an alternate solution through software she has purchased.

If you have an ecommerce need, I encourage you to look around, explore all options, and make sure that you  have chosen the product to best meet your needs. Sometimes purchasing the most appropriate software up front can save you money in time, trouble, and stress down the road!

I am participating in a blog campaign for Bucks2Blog for an ecommerce solution company and was compensated. However, the views and opinions are my own.

Chris Tomlin - How Great Is Our God: The Essential Collection


I am thrilled beyond words to be able to share about this wonderful CD with you. I have to say that I have heard of Christ Tomlin previously, but didn't realize how many of the songs I adore were his until I listened to this CD. Just last weekend when I was at the Women of Faith event, several of his songs were featured by the Praise Group. I love music, and hearing thousands of women sing these songs together, believing and living the words is phenomenal.

There are 15 songs on the How Great Is Our God: The Essential Collection CD, and there was not one that I did not enjoy. To pick a favorite, I'd probably go with Our God, but it would be followed closely behind by several others. I could listen to this CD for hours and enjoy every moment.

Got Junk?

I don't know about y'all, but I like to watch the show Hoarders on television. It inspires me to clean, it inspires me to purge, to be respectful of others and their unique fragile psychological states, and to never judge because you don't know what someone has been through, what they are going through, or what secret trials they might be enduring.

For me, I don't want to leave a legacy of clutter or junk. I know that I have tendencies towards collection of items, books particularly, and certain other items. I make a concerted effort to keep the items I collect organized and put away in a proper place. It's difficult though when I have so many coming in for review, etc, and reading is a passion that I want to pass on to my children. I try to keep classics, books that mean something to me, collections by favorite authors, or books that are age appropriate (or soon will be) for my boys and pass along the rest. The Kindle helps because I can keep hundreds of books on that one little device.

For other items, I try to clean out monthly when it's our big item trash collection week, and the city will haul it away for free. It keeps the large clutter under control in our home. For smaller items, I try to pass along what I can to those that I know can use it or need it, or just toss it. I don't want to contribute any more than necessary to landfill problems, so I do try to reduce, reuse, and recycle, as well as be purposeful as to what we bring in in the first place. However, if it's already here and has served its purpose, and we no longer need it or will use it, then it's time for things to move on.

If you are in need of a huge purge and need a service to help you remove junk or other items, there are services such as Houston junk removal that provide this type of service.

Uses for 800 numbers

Their are a variety of uses for Toll Free Numbers. The vast majority are used by businesses large and small so that their customers can contact them without having to pay long distance phone charges. This is advantageous to them if they accept phone orders, or if they offer customer service or support via phone.

However, 800 numbers can also be helpful to individuals, parents, grandparents, bloggers, etsy shop owners, independent/direct sales reps, authors, etc. I have several friends who had children early in life, and their kids are now going off to college. Yes, they all have cell phones, but those have limits on minutes used, and in cases where it's their first time away from home, or they've traveled a great distance to go to school, they sometimes get homesick or just want to be able to call home on a whim and speak without restrictions on time. In these instances, the parents have purchased a toll free number for a small fee, and their kids can call for free from anywhere in the world and talk as long as they want or need. I know of others with extended family members serving in the missions fields or military that also find these to be useful to their family's.

Likewise, bloggers, authors, etsy shop owners, and direct salespeople might also have a need for these. Perhaps you need a way for PR companies, publishing companies, clients, etc to contact you but you don't want to use or publish your home phone number in a public forum. With the use of an 800 number you can maintain your anonymity, while still establishing a form of phone communication with those who may need to contact you on a regular basis.

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tea Collection

When it comes to giving my kids Christmas gifts, I have always followed a particular pattern. For us, the focus of Christmas needs to be on Christ, and not centered on gifts, so we do not overdo it. I typically get each child one pair of pajamas to open Christmas Eve, one Christmas ornament, one book, one game, one toy, and one new outfit. Sometimes though, this year specifically, Aaron has finally hit a tiny growth spurt (height, not weight, unfortunately), and he is outgrowing all of his pajama bottoms. In situations such as that, I will buy several pairs of pajamas in his current size, and 1-2 sizes ahead while they are deeply discounted for holiday sales, and put the larger sizes up until he is ready for them.

For my nieces, I tend to send them one pair of girls pajamas, and either a game or toy, and a book. Reading is important to me, and I hope to pass along my love for books to my kids and my nieces. Since I don't have daughters, I get to enjoy picking out cute, pink clothes for my nieces on their birthdays and at Christmas. I mean, I guess I could try to put my boys in pink, but they probably wouldn't go for that.

Gift Idea: Photo Wall Calendar


Vistaprint - Free Photo Wall Calendar
1 Free Photo Wall Calendar! The Calendar is FREE
Just Pay Shipping and Processing. Shipping starts at: $5.67.

Vistaprint always has good gift ideas. We have done these before, and they make excellent gifts for grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. Especially for them to take to work and show off their grandkids! The calendar is free, but you do have to pay shipping and handling, but if you can get it shipped under $6 it's a great, unique gift you can tuck in as a nice surprise!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Auntie Anne's At Home Baking Kit

I LOVE pretzels, and Auntie Anne's is my favorite. Every time we go to the mall, I must have one. So, of course when I saw an opportunity to test the At Home Baking Kit (which I didn't even know existed!) I had to sign up to participate! I was so excited when the kit arrived so I could test out some of the recipes. Then, I burned my hand trying another cooking experiment for a different product and I had to wait! Devastation. Today, however, I was ready to make some Pretzel Cinnamon Rolls when the boys overruled me and begged for Pretzel Dogs! So, here's how it went:

One Stop Plus

I would venture to say that many of us do not have the same physical stature today that we did when we were in high school or college. If you do, I applaud you and your efforts. Sometimes we've just had multiple kids and life get in the way of exercise, and some women just have a larger physical structure than what society considers "average". It's something that most women think about each and every time they shop for clothes. How is this particular piece cut, does it run small or large, and then facing the reality of the size on the tag of the item that actually fits you.

It's never more prominent than when you are pregnant. You already feel huge, and you're battling hormones on top of that. Then you start needing maternity clothes, and it can be very upsetting to find that the "regular" maternity clothes just don't fit, regardless of the reason or situation. To make it worse, there isn't a huge supply of plus size maternity items available in the majority of stores in the mall. There is hope, however, with online shops such as One Stop Plus. Not only do they carry plus size maternity clothes, they are also affordable! This is such great news, because you have to have clothes that fit for the 9 months you need them, but since you'll only be wearing them for a few months, you don't want to spend a fortune!

I hope that if you know of someone who could benefit from this site, you'll pass the word along. The maternity selection is so cute. I'll also share with you a little secret. (They sell non-maternity clothes too, and a small is a size 12!). You can shop from there and give yourself a self-esteem boost when you put on the adjusted sizes :)

Hope Underground

Hope Underground: The Chilean Miners
and Their Story of Faith and Miracles
The true story of thirty-three men trapped
beneath the earth and a loving God who
would not abandon them.

I am sure that most of us remember hearing this story in the news, and praying for these men and their families. It's been just over a year since this tragedy occurred, and they graciously shared their touching stories with these writers who compiled them into this book. These stories are touching, and you will need tissues as you read! God works in powerful and mysterious ways when we turn it all over to Him!

Press Release: For several suspenseful hours on October 13, 2010, the attention of the entire world lay centered on a solitary spot in the Chilean desert. It was there that 33 trapped miners emerged to fresh air and freedom and the eager embrace of jubilant family and friends, after having spent ten weeks entombed one-half mile underground. Their emergence brought an end to the greatest mine rescue of all time.

As told to writers Mario Veloso and Jeanette Windle, Hope Underground: The 34 Chilean Miners—A Story of Faith and Miracles (Imago Dei Books) records the personal journey and spiritual involvement of a local, unassuming minister with the miners and their families. In a series of circumstances that would change his life forever, Pastor Carlos Parra Diaz rose to prominence as he became the influential chaplain of Camp Hope—a makeshift tent community established not far from the site of the mine collapse.

Yet Hope Underground is clearly more than just Pastor Parra’s story. Rather, it is the story of all who came together at Camp Hope focused on asking God to do a mighty work on behalf of the miners and the overwhelming evidence of His response that followed. Told simply and from the heart, Pastor Parra describes not only his own involvement with the families at Camp Hope but also introduces the reader to those miners, family members and officials who extracted nuggets of hope from the situation and then used them to instill faith in others.
For most people, this spectacular rescue is already yesterday’s news. However, for the millions who prayed for a miracle, this event has become a spiritual heritage for the whole world, a stirring reminder that God listens to the pleas of His children.

Readers are introduced to women like Maria Segovia, the “mayor” of Camp Hope, whose quiet strength and steadfast faith daily encouraged others. We meet the miner whose wife gave birth to their first child during the ten-week ordeal—a daughter they named Esperanza (which means Hope). And no reader will soon forget the youngest miner who boldly insisted there were 34 in the mine instead of 33 because, as he explained, “God never abandoned us.”

Though on its own, the story of his involvement would provide fascinating reading, what Pastor Parra gives us in Hope Underground is so much more. With humility and reverence, he leads us through the story of Camp Hope to a new realization that God remains a never failing presence to everyone willing to call upon His name.


Hope Underground:
The 34 Chilean Miners—A Story of Faith and Miracles
by Carlos Parra Diaz (as told to Mario Veloso & Jeanette Windle)
Imago Dei Books/October 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9869799-5-8/157 pages/paperback

Blue Sky Scrubs

We spend a lot of time visiting specialists following up on Aaron's various medical conditions, trying to stay on top of existing conditions, prevent future conditions if possible, and having tests run concerning un-diagnosed conditions while we treat the symptoms. The vast majority of his specialists are located at our local Children's Hospital where the kids are made comfortable and extra attention is given to the small details to make things less scary. To someone who just sees an occasional specialist there, or is visiting, some of the details may be overlooked or under-appreciated. However, to those who spend a significant amount of time there, and to children who have to face a multitude of tests, it's the little details that mean everything.

For instance, at our Children's Hospital, they have several fish tanks. To a child with Asperger's who loves fish, we have to stop and visit them all when we are there. They are like little friends to him. We also appreciate that they have cartoons on TV's throughout the waiting areas to take kids minds off of why they are there. They do have toys, but, when your immune system is susceptible to germs, you tend to stay away from toys and books in public places that can harbor germs, or you bring your own.

The biggest comfort though, is that all the nurses and many of the staff at our Children's Hospital wear scrubs that have kid related themes. You wouldn't think that's a huge deal, until you have to go to a lab where they are wearing white lab coats and solid scrubs or regular clothes. Suddenly my child is afraid. He is scared of what they are going to do to him, and in our experience they usually either aren't accustomed to dealing with kids (specifically special needs kids and their special issues) or they are just in a hurry ready to get to the next patient. I have suggested to a lab we have to frequent (and we see other kids their regularly), that they have at least one technician to be dedicated to taking blood, etc from kids, and for that person to wear kids friendly scrubs. They agreed to try it, and on our last visit they thanked me. They saw that my theory was correct, and said that they do see kids on a daily basis, and since they took the time to focus on their unique needs and fears that it has gotten incredibly easier to run the necessary tests on them.

I say this to encourage each of you to speak up and offer a solution when you see a problem. If you are a nurse, lab tech, or medical office staff person and need a place to purchase scrubs, I encourage you to visit Blue Sky Scrubs at http://www.blueskyscrubs.com/ and look around.

Mr. Food - The Ultimate Thanksgiving eCookbook

Free eCookbook - The Ultimate Thanksgiving eCookbook from Mr. Food, sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission, features 40 must-have recipes to make your holiday spectacular, including plenty of Thanksgiving survival tips and even recipes for that leftover turkey!

I don't know about y'all, but Mr Food is one of my favorite segments of the noon news broadcast in my area. I love seeing what recipes he's come up with each day, and thought I don't always follow them exactly, I have been able to glean nuggets of ideas from him and then use those to make my own creation! I also enjoy getting the FREE recipes you can write into the stations for, and now you can get 40 of them FREE instantly with this link! Enjoy :)

Reebok Settlement

This post brought to you by Reebok Settlement. All opinions are 100% mine.

This is a notice of a Class Action Settlement. If you purchased certain Reebok toning shoes and/or apparel between December 5, 2008 - October 12, 2011, you may be eligible to receive payment from this class action settlement. 

The lawsuit alleged that Reebok violated certain state laws in regards to their marketing and sale of certain toning apparel and shoes. Reebok denies all wrongdoing, and the court did not rule which side was right. The parties have both agreed to the Reebok settlement.

For more information on this class action EasyTone Settlement and Reebok refunds, you can call 1-888-398-5389. 

The eligible shoes are: SimplyTone, TrainTone, EasyTone Flip, SlimTone, JumpTone, RunTone, and EasyTone.

The eligible apparel is: EasyTone Short Sleeve Top, EasyTone Long Bra Top, EasyTone Pants, EasyTone Sleeveless Shirt, EasyTone Shorts, and EasyTone Capri.

My pain management doctor recommended these to me, for use when walking and getting my recommended exercise in. She felt like they'd help give me the extra support I need and help get toned faster. I have the EasyTone Shoes and the EasyTone Pants. They are comfortable when wearing while walking, and I'd hoped to perhaps purcahse more, so I hope they are still going to be available!

I am including the Full Press Release for additional details New Message

 

 

 

Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rubberecycle

As the parent of a child with special needs, I am especially sensitive to the need for a safe playground environment. It's not something that I talk about a lot, but when Aaron was in Kindergarten, he as assaulted by another student on the playground, and he got a concussion. The anxiety that resulted from this situation still plagues him, but we are taking steps to help him work through and resolve that. He also has as part of his Aspergers a co-ordintion problem, and he doesn't have to instinctive reflexes to catch himself if he falls or is pushed down. So, it is imperative that the surface of any playground he plays on is safe.

One type of material that some playgrounds use as a safe playground surface is rubber mulch. The Rubber mulch from Rubberecycle has a new unique mixture of granular rubber particles that is made up of shredded rubber, and rubber chunks and nuggets. It's also really good for the environment because it is using recycled materials. This company even supplied their material for the playground at the White House that the First Family uses.

I am curious as to what other school playgrounds use for safe, environmentally friendly materials. I'd love for anyone to leave me comments about what they use, and how well it works for your situation.

Also, when I was just looking at the website for this company, I saw that they feature it as landscape mulch as well, which is something that hasn't ever occurred to me. Currently our front little area that used to have flowers and plants before I killed them all (I have a black thumb for plants :/) has small pebbles and rocks over black plastic. Under the weeds of course, LOL. But when cutting the grass/weeds this summer those rocks and pebbles would cause nicks and cuts in legs, so we've been considering what we could replace it with. This might be a good direction to go with it!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book Tour: The Kissing Tree by Prudence Bice

Book Tour: The Kissing Tree by Prudence Bice

Welcome to the last stop on this tour! I am a huge fan of historical romantic fiction, so every time I see a book of this genre available for review, I sign up to participate! I loved the characters in this book and how they interacted. The characters in this book do spend a bit of time reflecting on past events, which can sometimes be difficult to follow, but I did not find that to be the case in this instance.

The love story here is remarkable. It very accurately describes the fluttery feeling you get when you're in a new relationship with someone. The sparks you feel when they first hold your hand, and the general warm and happy feeling you get just from being in the presence of someone you have fallen in love with. In this story, the characters were best friends when they were very young, just 13, and they share their first kiss under the Kissing Tree, then separated by a move. They are reunited when Georgianna returns to Colorado, and neither has gotten over that first kiss, even though Georgianna has a boyfriend back in New York, she still has unresolved feelings towards Ridge. Being back in her home town stirs them all up again.

I don't want to spoil the ending of the story for you, but if you'd like to purchase your own copy of The Kissing Tree, it will be available at Amazon when it's released Dec 8.

Description:
After five long years, Georgiana McLaughlin returns to the only place she’s ever considered home—the same place she stole a kiss from Ridge Carson under the “kissing tree.” But this time he’s a man, and reconciling their past is just the beginning. You’ll find yourself applauding each new chapter filled with fun, romance, and adventure in this captivating, heartfelt tale of love, friendship, and finding your way back.

About the Author:
Prudence Bice has loved writing her entire life. Born in Orange County, California, one of eleven children, she always felt drawn to stories that spoke and enkindled her romantic heart. Having overcome tragedy in her own life, inspiration for her first novel was spark by her desire to ignite true romantics everywhere with a wholesome, feel good story about the power of love, rising above the pain and suffering from loss and circumstance.

She resides in St. George, Utah with her husband Ray and their five children, four daughters and one son. Her hobbies include drawing, photography, music, writing, and of course reading anything she can get her hands on! Currently she is majoring in English at Dixie Sate College and loving it. The future is bright, she says, every day I wake up with a prayer in my heart and story in my head. I never thought life could be so good!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary e-copy of this book courtesy of Cedar Fort to facilitate my review. No monetary compensation was exchanged. No positive opinion was requested or required, all opinions expressed are solely my own and were not influenced in any manner.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Draperies

When we first moved into our home, there were no window treatments. One of the first things we had to do for obvious privacy reason was purchase blinds for all the windows. We soon figured out with the afternoon heating, that we needed to put up window curtains to keep the heat at bay. I purchased the Energy Saving kind, and immediately noticed a difference. The rooms stayed much cooler, and the A/C wasn't running as much. Yes, the initial investment was slightly more than traditional curtains, but they more than paid for themselves in the first month of an Oklahoma summer.

Since the house flooded in January, and they had to cut out the bottom half of the walls in the kitchen, hallway, living room, and had to replace all the drywall, we were lucky to get the hideous wallpaper that was here when we moved in replaced. However, the wallpaper was a darkish blue color, and I had the walls painted a light yellow. That combined with the bright morning sun means blinds are NOT sufficient in the dining room/kitchen area. So, I am trying to decide what type of curtain treatments to put in there. Do I want the cute kitchen style, or full curtains to block out all that sun in the heat of the summer? I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

Red Envelope

Holiday Day gifts at Red Envelope!
10% off Any order, 15% off $80+, or 20% off $125+

As the holiday season approaches and we're all making our lists, checking them twice, and vigorously searching the internet for the best deals available, I'll keep sharing these sites and deals so hopefully we can all stretch our available dollars a little bit further this holiday season!

Eliminate the stigma

Bankruptcy in America has such a negative stigma associated with it, and many times those forced into bankruptcy end up there because of hardships that have occurred outside of their control. Yes, sometimes people make mistakes or exercise poor judgment, but that isn't always the sole reason that they need to file for bankruptcy. Sometimes there are medical issues, billing errors, unemployment, underemployment post job loss, and many, many other problems. Filing bankruptcy can actually be the responsible thing to do in certain situations. By taking legal action to erase certain types of debt, you are able to start fresh keeping only the secured items you need at payments you can afford. It will allow you to reduce stress worrying over bills you can't pay, make you happier that you are able to take care of your family without being hounded creditors, and perhaps improve your quality of life all around. Don't get me wrong, I'm not encouraging this, just stating that it isn't the end of the road if it's a situation you need to go through, and hopefully education people in general not to pass judgment on those who need to travel down this road.

There are many myths surrounding bankruptcy, and I think that's where many of the negative stigma are generated. It is a myth that you will lose all assets under bankruptcy. It doesn't mean that you get to keep them and erase the debt if they are secured, but generally you are able to work out affordable arrangements to keep secured items such as your home, car, etc depending on what chapter you file. A bankruptcy attorney can advise you on what is best and most applicable to your specific situation.

Sometimes people think that if they file, they can't get any credit again for at least 10 years. That's not true. Early on post-filing, you will have to pay higher rates, but as time goes on, and you re-establish timely payments, those rates will diminish. Yes, the filing may stay on your record for up to 10 years, but if you are able to re-establish yourself, your score will improve. I read from a bankruptcy attorney nc a very good statement about how bankruptcy can actually IMPROVE scores for certain people. Why? Because by the time people are looking into bankruptcy, their credit is likely pretty low at that point. By eliminating the debt they can't pay, they stop the negative reporting, lower the debt to income ratio, and once they start paying remaining debt on time, the score will go up.

I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog on behalf of bankruptcy attorney north carolina and was compensated. However, the views and opinions are my own.

Women of Faith #wofimage

I will be gone Friday and Saturday attending the Women Of Faith Conference here in Oklahoma City. I am so excited to go! I will even be attending with one of my college roommates and sorority sisters from Tennessee that now lives in Oklahoma as well. We haven't seen one another since 1994, so it will be fabulous to catch up!

The line up for our Over the Top Event includes Patsy Clairmont, Marilyn Meberg, Brenda Warner, Deborah Joy Winans, Mandisa, and 3 of people I have been wanting to hear most of my life live: Amy Grant, Lisa Whelchel, and Sandi Patty!!!



I would like to thank Booksneeze for selecting me as a blogger to receive these two tickets for free. I never would have been able to attend otherwise, and I cannot wait for the first session to begin at 10 am in the morning!

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Aeropostale

My kids are finally at an age where they care about what brands of clothing they wear. Even though they are boys, they still want to go shopping with me, when I am purchasing clothes for them. It's important to them that I am shopping at the right stores, for the right looks for all pieces of an outfit.

I feel lucky that we have a mall not too far away where there are several stores that we can shop at and compromise on clothing. With three growing boys, budget is my primary concern, while they just want they latest and most popular selections. Aeropostale is one of our favorite stores to shop at. They run sales regularly that allow me to purchase the items the kids want, at a price I am willing to pay.

Due to the house flood we had last January, many of our jackets, etc had to be thrown out. We were fortunate that our heavy coats survived unscathed, but jackets, sweaters, and other items were not so lucky. When the weather first started changing, the kids needed light jackets to wear out the door in the mornings. Their heavy winter coats were too hot. So, we headed out to see what outerwear for kids  was available. We found some adorable zip up hoodie style jackets that were just right. Not too heavy or bulky for afternoons in the 70s, but just warm enough for mornings in the 40s.

Next time your kids need clothing, consider Aeropostale, they have items that kids love from head to toe at prices that won't break your budget!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Batteryheads

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, it often seems like there are more things on our to do list than time to actually get them done. For me, a few things always seem to slip through the cracks, and you don't realize it until it's too late. For me, the things I ALWAYS forget to check is our Canon camera battery. We have both a film camera and a digital camera, both happen to be Canon's. At Joshua's birthday last month, of course I forgot to check for film on the 35mm camera, so we got out the digital one. Sadly, the Canon digital camera battery was dead on that camera, so it was out too. Thank goodness for smart phones, or we wouldn't have had ANY pictures of his party!

So, I have been researching, and purchased a Canon battery charger so I don't have to remember to BUY batteries for Thanksgiving/Christmas, I just have to remember to charge them. I also bought extra film for the 35mm, haha. Does this happen to anyone else? Please tell me I am not the only mom out there that has an expensive camera, yet forgets to buy batteries and film, and then when important moments happen, you are left with your phone camera to capture them!

The Steam Team

Most of my long time readers will likely recall that our home flooded last January when our pipes froze. We have spent MONTHS getting things ripped out, cleaned or replaced, and trying to get back to "normal". Well, in July, when it was our record summer of 63 days of temps over 100 (many in the 110 range), our air conditioner decided to go out. Then, in September, we had several things break ALL IN ONE DAY. Things like the Hot Water Heater went out, drains clogged, drains leaking, ice maker going out and leaking water all over the kitchen, dishwasher went out, and on and on. It hasn't been a great year to own this home.

However, in the midst of all of this, there are positives. We are all still alive, and with so many items replaced with brand new, they are at least under warranty now! Other items we had repaired. During the replacement of our hot water heater, we discovered that we have been VERY fortunate that our home hadn't caught on fire. The previous owner had done many repairs himself, without benefit of permits OR proper training, and we had several very dangerous hazards in our home. We don't know why the home inspector didn't catch these things when we bought the house, but nevertheless, the professionals we hired for repair got everything fixed, cleaned up and out, pulled proper permits, and had the city inspector make sure it was all done properly and to code.

So often I am afraid that many people take on home improvement tasks like our previous home owner did, and they are not properly trained, and don't know the proper rules, regulations, safety measures, and codes that need to be followed for safety. Yes, it may save you a few dollars in repair costs, but if you do something improperly and your house burns down, you haven't really saved yourself anything at all. In fact, you've cost yourself quite a bit of money.

My recommendation is that if it involves gas lines, electrical lines, certain types of plumbing, and/or anything else that requires a license to work on: DON'T do it yourself. Spend the extra money for a professional. There are many places such as http://www.thesteamteam.com/austin-restoration-services/smoke-fire.shtml whose company does air duct cleaning work and so much more.