Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bug Traps


Ugh!! Traveling is nice but not soo great:( Yesterday we had no internet at all so I feel like I have so much to catch up on. Amazing how you can live years without a blog and internet and then you feel like you have to have it every day. Anyways, today I am talking about bug traps. Here in Illinois the bugs aren't too bad. We do have a certain time of the year where the flies are horrible. And on occasion we get ants in the house. Thankfully we have never had to use a stink bug trap:)

Living here in Illinois we have had to deal with our fair share of ants and flies. Normally the flies arrive during the summer and we have to use the fly strips. They are so easy to hang up and work really good. Of course, you do have to watch them hang and die, and sometimes they make this awful noise trying to get off. Nasty!! And you have to make sure you don't get your hair stuck in it. Not easy to get off. But overall I would rather deal with that than some other bug. We do have ants on occasion but they often come in a rush and then once you kill them they are gone for a while. Maybe once a year or so. And all it takes to get rid of them are a few well placed gel bait traps. We have to make sure the pets can't get them, or the kids:) Though one time our dog got a hold of it. Thankfully nothing happened as we caught her right away.

We once lived in Maine for almost a year and boy oh boy! The ladybugs were horrendous. I am dead serious. I have never seen so many ladybugs in my life. During the winter time they would invade the house. And you think of ladybugs as being nice little insects but having hundreds of them in the house makes you rethink that idea. One time we even had one fall into a pan on the stove. Gross!! It stunk soo bad. 

What about you all? Ever have any trouble with bugs or insects in the house? 

This is a sponsored post however, all the points and views are my own.




**DISCLOSURE: This is a sponsored post however, all the points and views are my own. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Traveling and Portable Chargers.

Well, yesterday started our trip to Florida. It will be nice to get out of the cold weather and into a little bit more warmth. Some friends down there though are saying we will be heading into rain and muggy air. Not exactly the best but I am happy about it. On our road trip we have obviously brought along all our electronics. Everything from iPods to iPads, tablets to laptops and of course our trusty GPS. The only problem with that is trying to plug everything in. What really helps is having the iphone portable charger.


Our trip has brought us through some pretty scenery. Down through Missouri and Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and finally we will end up in Florida. Of course, we did have a funny yesterday morning:) Driving through Missouri we passed a road called Piene. Well, I saw it first and brought it up. How in the world do you say that!! We were all laughing for a while afterwards. Just imagining how to pronounce it.

One nice thing with all the electronics is having my tablet handy when we slip into a restaurant for a snack or a bathroom break. I can check my emails and see if anyone has written me while I am on the road. Of course, that is where the portable charger comes in handy again. I actually was given a portable charger a while back that you plug into your computer through the USB port and charge for a while. Then you can unplug it and take it with you on a trip. When you need a phone charged or a tablet, etc, you just plug it in, without having to be plugged in to a jack or outlet!! No having to worry about the lighter outlet or the jack being over extended. Believe me, a laptop being charged takes a lot of electricity.

I have been taking some pictures and will post them maybe this weekend. Some days will be nice and relaxing while others will be like yesterday. A nice long day in the vehicle:) But it will be nice to see friends and visit some new places in Florida!


This is a sponsored post however, all the points and views are my own.



**DISCLOSURE: This is a sponsored post however, all the points and views are my own. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

CFBA Tour for Ashton Park with Review!!





This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Ashton Park

Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2013)

by

Murray Pura


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:







Murray Pura was born and raised in Manitoba, just north of Minnesota and the Dakotas. He has published several novels and short story collections in Canada, and has been short-listed for a number of awards. His first books to be published in the United States are the inspirational works Rooted and Streams (both by Zondervan in 2010). His first novel to debut in the USA is A Bride’s Flight from Virginia City, Montana (Barbour), which was released January 2012. The second, The Wings of Morning, will be published by Harvest House on February 1. Both of these novels center around the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.



ABOUT THE BOOK



For fans of the hugely popular Downton Abbey series, comes this equally enthralling story of the Danforth family of Ashton Park.
Among the green hills and trees of Lancashire, only a few miles from the sea, lies the beautiful and ancient estate of Ashton Park.
The year is 1916.  The First World War has engulfed Europe and Sir William's and Lady Elizabeth's three sons are all in uniform--and their four daughters are involved in various pursuits of the heart and soul.

As the head of a strong Church of England family for generations, Sir William insists the Danforth estate hold morning devotions that include both family and staff. However, he is also an MP and away at Westminster in London whenever Parliament is sitting. During his long absences, Lady Elizabeth discreetly spends time in the company of the head cook of the manor, Mrs. Longstaff, who is her best friend and confidante. This friendship includes visits to a small Baptist church in Liverpool that exposes Lady Elizabeth to a less formal approach to Christian worship and preaching than she is used to and which she comes to enjoy.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Ashton Park, go HERE.

MY REVIEW-From the description and the cover, I thought this book would be a kind of Victorian story set in London. Almost like a Julie Klassen book. But soon after starting it, I found out it was not as I thought. And not saying it was a bad thing, but I just could not get into the book. It was somewhat slow starting out and the characters were almost rushed. I liked the other book I read by Murray Pura so I don't know. Maybe it was just me. They say it is a good for those who are fans of Downtown Abbey but I wouldn't know as I haven't watched that:) Again, please don't take my opinion as you would hate the book. I have personal preferences and other people enjoy different books. Pick it up if you like Downtown Abbey and check it out. You just might love this book!



**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Auto Repairs.



Have any of you ever had a bad break down? With all our time traveling on the road, vacations, trips, etc, we have definitely had our full share of auto repairs. They vary from a small thing like a tail light out, low air pressure on a tire, to big things such as a blow out on a trailer, engine trouble, etc. And with traveling, we have had to get auto repairs all over the place:) Auto Repair Plainfield, IL is one such place. Plainfield, IL is a nice little town near Chicago. And we had have our break downs in IL just like any other place.

One time we were traveling in a smaller area and we were pulling a travel trailer behind us. Heading out camping for the weekend. Well, you know how those weekends normally go? We definitely got it! All of a sudden as we are driving down the road, a semi passes us. We hear this loud POP and immediately pulled over. We expected a flat tire or something cracked but once we looked everything over, we realized that it was actually his tire that had popped. It just sounded so loud we thought it was ours. We had a good laugh afterwards but it sure scared us half to death:D

We have had some bad break downs though and had to get our vehicle towed and repaired. One time we were hauling a utility trailer, and our truck broke down. Now the hard thing is deciding what to do with the trailer. You can't exactly leave it by the side of the road with our stuff in it. But we also weren't sure about getting it towed. Needless to say, they brought out a big flatbed and loaded everything right on top! Worked out great and this repair place was soo nice compared to many we have dealt with.

One thing we have learned from having break downs and auto repairs, is make sure you have all the paperwork ready if need be. Also have AAA or another auto help. Especially with a family, you need to be able to get things done quickly.


This is a sponsored post however, all the points and views are my own.




**DISCLOSURE: This is a sponsored post however, all the points and views are my own. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

FIRST WildCard Tour!! The Juice Lady's Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies.


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!


You never know when I might play a wild card on you!





Today's Wild Card author is:



Cherie Calbom



and the book:



The Juice Lady's Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies


Siloam (January 8, 2013)



***Special thanks to Althea Thompson for sending me a review copy.***

MY REVIEW-I was able to read Cherie's previous book about juices and smoothies and I really enjoyed it. This one was no different! Lots of excellent recipes, good for you info, tips on how to get the most out of your juices and smoothies, etc. This is jam packed with information in a manner pleasing to the eye. Over 400 recipes:) You could make these over and over. This includes your basic recipes such as Cran-Apple Juice, Mint Lemonade, Fruit Punch and more. And then you can go all the way up to the more exotic sounding juices like Hot Tomato, Alkaline Power, Dilly Sweet Pea, and that is only the tip of the iceberg. But if you like juices or smoothies, you will find one in here to make. Loved it!!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Cherie Calbom, MS, is the author of The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet, The Juice Lady’s Living Foods Revolution, and Juicing for Life, which has nearly two million books in print in the United States. Known as “The Juice Lady” for her work with juicing and health, Cherie has taped HealthWatch for CNN and scores of TV and radio shows and has appeared in Shape, First for Women, Women’s World, Men’s Journal,Vogue, Quick & Simple, Marie Claire, and Elle Canada. Cherie earned a master’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University, where she now serves on the Board of Regents, and has practiced as a clinical nutritionist at St. Luke Medical Center in Bellevue, Washington.

Visit the author's website.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:



Juice and smoothies are sweeping the nation! Why? They’re fruity, delicious, easy to make, and packed with powerful nutrition. It’s no wonder everyone is enjoying the convenience and great taste of these healthy meal and snack alternatives. Bring your blender or juicing machine into the twenty-first century with the most updated versions of Cherie’s recipes to be found anywhere—more than just refreshment, these recipes enhance your energy and boost your mental and physical health.




Product Details:
List Price: $17.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Siloam (January 8, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162136030X
ISBN-13: 978-1621360308




AND NOW...THE INTRODUCTION AND A FEW GREAT RECIPES! CLICK ON RECIPE PICTURES TO SEE THEM LARGER:









The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies

Introduction

MORE AND MORE celebrities, athletes, and people of all ages and walks of life are turning to juicing and green smoothies to lose weight and to improve their overall health. Why? Because they have found that juicing is changing their lives—giving them more energy, better sleep, stronger immune systems, brighter skin, and a younger appearance. It’s even helping their bodies heal from a variety of ailments. Below is a testimony I received recently from someone who has read my books and come to me for counseling.


It’s been about a month since you last spoke with me. You may not remember me because you talk with so many people. But I will never forget you. I told you about the more than fifty pounds of fluid I had retained. Using both natural and medical prescriptions, I had not been able to get rid of that fluid. I have also not been absorbing my food. You told me not to worry about my diet because I already had a healthy one but to add a green juice drink with every meal. About three weeks before I spoke with you I started drinking pure cranberry juice every day, and that was helping with the fluid. Over the three weeks I lost fifteen pounds, but I would bounce back and forth with my weight. When I added the green juice drinks, it put my body in high gear. I have lost thirty pounds. The water weight is literally just falling off of me.

You have no idea how much better I am feeling. I have energy and can physically work. I have not had energy or felt good since my last baby was born twenty-five years ago. I have not been able to push my body to work for the last five years. Now I am splitting firewood and stacking it. I  shoveled rock for our drainage system in our yard. I can  clean my own house again. Yesterday I cleaned house and stacked two cords of firewood. If you haven’t stacked  firewood, let me tell you, that’s a lot of wood. And I can walk again. For the last two years I have been fighting just to walk up and down my short driveway, feeling totally exhausted  and in pain afterward. Now I am easily walking a mile and have energy to burn. I feel great and have no pain when I’m  finished. And my fibromyalgia pain is almost gone.
For the last five years I have been fighting to stay alive.

 Now for the first time in years I feel alive. I am no longer on Lasix and have cut back most of my nutritional  supplements. I was taking over $500 worth of supplements a month, and it was bankrupting us. Last year my doctor told  me to apply for disability because my body was dying. I  could no longer function. The naturopathic physician I used  to work for told me that my husband and I needed to accept  the fact that my body was dying. He told us to purchase  better health insurance and prepare for the worst. I wish he  could see me now.


Long story short, Cherie, I am so grateful to you for taking  the time to talk with me. I know you probably hear stories  like mine all the time, but for me it’s new and life saving.  Thanks for pointing me to the path of life. You have been  one of God’s blessings and a lifesaver in the most literal  sense of the word.

 I hope her story encourages you to juice every day. With more than four hundred delicious recipes, The Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies can help you change your life, just as juicing has changed the lives of thousands of people who have adopted this plan for themselves—people just like me. My life changed years ago when I discovered the healing, vitality-producing power of freshly made juices and raw and whole foods.

Sick, Tired, and Completely Toxic

I sat by the window in my father’s home in Colorado staring at the snow-topped mountains in the distance, imagining that people were enjoying the hiking trails; perhaps someone was climbing the mountain that day. It was early June and a beautiful, sunny Colorado day. I wished I had the strength to just walk around the block. But I was too sick and tired—I could barely walk around the house. I had been sick for a couple of years and just kept getting worse. “Would I ever be well again?” I wondered.

I had to quit my job when I turned thirty. I had chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia that made me so sick I couldn’t work. I felt as though I had a flu that just wouldn’t go away. I was lethargic and constantly feverish with swollen glands. I was also in nonstop pain. My body ached as though I’d been bounced around in a washing machine.

 I had moved back to my father’s home in Colorado to try and recover, but not one doctor could tell me what I should do to improve my health. So I browsed around some health food stores, talked with employees, and read a few books. I decided that everything I’d been doing was tearing down my health rather than healing my body. When I read about juicing and whole foods, it made sense. So I bought a juicer and designed a program I could follow.

I began my health program with a five-day vegetable juice fast. On the fifth day my body expelled a tumor the size of a golf ball. I was totally surprised that in five days this amazing result could take place. I never did have the tumor tested because I was too taken back and overwhelmed by the event. I just flushed it away.

I then continued to juice every day and ate a nearly perfect diet of live and whole foods for three months. There were ups and downs throughout. On some days I felt encouraged that I was making some progress, but on other days I felt worse. Those days made me wonder if good health was an elusive dream. I didn’t realize I was experiencing detox reactions—no one had told me about them. I was very toxic, and my body was cleansing away all the stuff that had made me sick.

But one morning I woke up around 8:00 a.m., which was early for me, without an alarm sounding off. I felt like someone had given me a new body in the night. I had so much energy I actually wanted to
exercise. What had happened? This new feeling of good health and vitality had just appeared with the morning sun. Actually, my body had been healing all along; it just had not manifested fully until that day. I felt such a wonderful sense of being alive! I looked and felt completely renewed.

With my juicer in tow and a new lifestyle fully embraced, I returned to Southern California and my friends a couple weeks later to finish writing my first book. For nearly a year it was “ten steps forward” with great health and more energy and stamina than I’d ever remembered. Then all of a sudden I took a giant step back.


The Night I’ll Never Forget

The Fourth of July was a beautiful day like so many others in Southern California. I celebrated the holiday with friends at a backyard barbecue. That evening we put on jackets to insulate against the cool evening air and watched fireworks light up the night sky. I returned just before midnight to the house I was sitting for vacationing friends, who lived in a lovely neighborhood not far from some of my family members. After such a full day I was in bed shortly after I arrived at the house.

I woke up shivering some time later wondering why it was so cold. I rolled over to see the clock. It was 3:00 a.m. That’s when I noticed that the door was open to the backyard. “How did that happen?” I thought as I was about to get up to close and lock the door. That’s when I saw him. Crouched in the shadows of the corner of the room was a shirtless young man in shorts. I blinked twice, trying to deny what I was seeing.

Instead of running out the open door, he leaped off the floor and ran toward me. He pulled a pipe from his shorts and began beating me repeatedly over the head and yelling, “Now you are dead!” We fought, or I should say, I tried to defend myself and grab the pipe.

Finally it flew out of his hands. That’s when he choked me to unconsciousness. I felt all life leaving my body. In those last few seconds I knew I was dying. “This is it, the end of my life,” I thought. I felt sad for the people who loved me. Then I felt my spirit leave. It felt as though it just popped out of my body and floated upward. Suddenly everything was peaceful and still. I sensed I was traveling through black space at what seemed like the speed of light. I saw what looked like lights twinkling in the distance.

But all of a sudden I was back in my body, outside the house, clinging to a fence at the end of the dog run. I don’t know how I got there. I screamed for help with all the energy I had. It was my third scream that took all my strength. I felt it would be my last breath. Each time I screamed, I passed out and landed on the cement. I then had to pull myself up again. But this time a neighbor heard me and sent her husband to help. Before long I was on my way to the hospital.

Lying on a cold gurney at 4:30 a.m., chilled to the bone, in and out of consciousness, I tried to assess my injuries, which was virtually impossible. When I looked at my right hand, I almost passed out again. My ring finger was hanging on by a small piece of skin. My hand was split open, and I could see deep inside. The next thing I knew I was being wheeled off to surgery. Later I learned that I had suffered serious injuries to my head, neck, back, and right hand, with multiple head wounds and part of my scalp torn from my head. I also incurred numerous cracked teeth, which led to several root canals and crowns months later.

My right hand sustained the most severe injuries. Two of my knuckles were crushed to mere bone fragments and had to be held together with three metal pins. Several months after the attack I still couldn’t use my hand. The cast I wore, which had bands holding up the ring finger that had almost been torn from my hand and various odd-shaped molded parts, looked like something from a science fiction movie. I felt and looked worse than hopeless. The top of my head was shaved, and my eyes were totally red and swollen. I had a gash on my face, a weird-looking right hand, terrorizing fear, and barely enough energy to get dressed in the morning.

I was an emotional wreck. I couldn’t sleep at night—not even a minute. It was torturous. I was staying with a cousin and his family, so there was no need to worry about safety from a practical point of view, but that made no difference to me emotionally. I’d lie in bed all night and stare at the ceiling or the bedroom door. I had five lights that I kept on all night. I’d try to read, but my eyes would sting. I could sleep only for a little while during the day.

But the worst part was the pain in my soul that nearly took my breath away. All the emotional pain of the attack joined with the pain and trauma of my past to create an emotional tsunami. My past had been riddled with loss, trauma, and anxiety. My brother died when I was two. My mother died of cancer when I was six. I couldn’t remember much about her death—the memories seemed blocked. But my cousin said I fainted at her funeral. That told me a lot.

I lived for the next three years with my maternal grandparents and father. But Grandpa John, the love of my life, died when I was nine. That loss was very hard. Four years later my father was involved in a very tragic situation that would take far too long to discuss here, but to sum it up—it was horrific. He was no longer in my daily life. I felt terrified about my future. My grandmother was eighty-six. I had no idea how much longer she would live. The next year I moved to Oregon to live with an aunt and uncle until I graduated from high school.

As you can probably imagine, wrapped in my soul was a huge amount of anguish and pain—it felt like gaping holes in my heart. It took every ounce of my will, faith, and trust in God; deep spiritual work; alternative medical help; extra vitamins and minerals; vegetable juicing; emotional release; healing prayer; and numerous detox programs to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally. I met a nutritionally minded physician who had healed his own slow-mending broken bones with lots of vitamin-mineral IVs. He gave me similar IVs. Juicing, cleansing, nutritional supplements, a nearly perfect diet, prayer, and physical therapy helped my bones and other injuries heal.



After following this regimen for about six months, what my hand surgeon said would be impossible became real. My hand was fully restored and fully functional. He had told me I’d never use my right hand again, and that it wasn’t even possible to implant plastic knuckles because of its poor condition. But my knuckles did indeed re-form primarily through prayer, and my hand function returned. A day came when the surgeon told me I was completely healed, and though he admitted he didn’t believe in miracles, he said, “You’re the closest thing I’ve seen to one.”

It was a miracle! I had a useful right hand again, and my career in writing was not over as I thought it would be. In the end it seemed my inner wounds were the most severe and the hardest to heal. Nevertheless, they mended too. I experienced healing from the painful memories and trauma of the attack and the wounds from the past through prayer, laying-on of hands, and deep emotional healing work.

I call them the kitchen angels—the ladies who prayed for me around their kitchen tables week after week until my soul was restored. It seemed I cried endless buckets of tears that had been pent up in my soul. It all needed release. Forgiveness and letting go came in stages and was an integral part of my total healing. I had to be honest about what I really felt and be willing to face the pain and toxic emotions confined inside, and then let them go. Finally, one day after a long, long journey—I felt free. A time came when I could celebrate the Fourth of July without fear.


A New Beginning

When I look back to that first day in the hospital after many hours of surgery, it’s amazing to me that I made it. My hand was resting in a sling hanging above my head. It was wrapped with so much stuff it looked like George Foreman’s boxing glove. My face had a big cut running down the left side, and my eyes were red—very little whites. A maintenance man came into my room for a repair and did a double take. He asked if I’d been hit by a truck! He was serious. I felt like I had. As I lay there alone with tears streaming down my face, I asked God if He could bring something good out of this horror. I needed something to hang on to.

 My prayer was answered. Eventually I knew my purpose was to love people to life through my writing, juicing, and nutritional information— to help them find their way to health and healing. If I could recover from all that had happened to me, they could too. No matter what anyone faced, there was hope.


Juice Recipes for Health and Healing

In the pages that follow, you’ll discover a wide variety of juices for every possible need and occasion. I have basic juice recipes for those who are getting started and want something simple. There are yummy fruit juice recipes for those with picky palates who want the sweet taste of fruit. Green juices are my favorite and offer the most nutrition; you’ll find a big selection of green juice recipes to choose from.

Check out the chapter on juice remedies and rejuvenators for juice combos that address what ails you. And I think you’ll really like the gourmet juice chapter that has a lot of unique combinations and delicious drinks. There’s also the green smoothie chapter with one hundred smoothie recipes and great combinations. And I also included my old favorites from The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet and The Juice Lady’s Living Foods Revolution. Have fun trying some new and unusual combinations. There’s a lot to choose from with more than four hundred recipes.

And if you’re struggling with your health, there is hope for you, no matter what health challenges you face. Never, ever give up. There’s a purpose for your life, just as there was for mine. You need to be healthy and strong to complete your purpose. To that end, The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies can help you live your life to the fullest. My hope is that this book of delicious recipes will truly inspire you to juice each and every day and that you will experience firsthand the healing, rejuvenating power of fresh juice and green smoothies.





























**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Smaller Sized Furniture –The Latest Fad of 2013



Lack of space tends to put a dampener on our thoughts, dreams and visions of a beautiful home, especially if grand ideas are involved. Usually it is natural that when the space is less, your furniture needs to be carefully selected. It used to be that you could only utilize furniture that’s used more for practicality rather than for artistic expression. However, things have changed and this is not the case anymore!
Now it is possible to have it all in your home and it is also affordable too. The new concept is very simple and involves the fusion of designs with the simple requirement of having home owners who earnestly want to enhance the appearance of their homes. This concept has gained a lot of popularity among families with multiple kids because most children desire their own space. The coming together of a family’s needs and ideas also ensures that a room has all its facilities and features, yet does not look too crowded.
One of the best examples of this concept are sofa beds, which can be folded to become a sofa during the day time and unfolded to become a full length bed at night. Available in a variety of colors and patterns, this sofa bed is a must have for mommies who want to give their kids a separate space to sleep in as they grow up. With numerous designs available online, it’s easy to just visit the site and select from relevant trend setting furniture. Plus, the furniture comes from a variety of designers and concepts that are all showcased online.
So far the trends for 2013 seem to encourage designers to come up with designs for furniture which are small in size but are still functional and plenty big when placed in an interior. This trend has been proving that moving into a smaller home can be an enriching experience and that 2013 is going to continue to set standards for small scale furniture. This will ensure that you now have everything at your fingertips, thereby saving time and energy. This will also make families very happy since most mothers have to run around picking up after their kids throughout the day.
The colors on trendy furniture currently are both bright and beautiful. During 2013 you will continue to see people throw caution to the wind as they do away with neutral shades and instead embrace vibrant colors, which reflect their love for life. The fusion of colors will not only make the room look dramatic, but it will also make it come to life as well.
Yet the one aspect that will always bring enjoyment to your latest decorating projects is the fun factor. Whatever new designs are available, having fun with the latest decorating trends will lead to feelings of happiness. This in turn makes for a happy and healthy family which always triumphs over any challenges that life throws your way.
This is a guest post written by Sierra. 



**DISCLOSURE: This is a guest post written by Sierra. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Interview with Lisa Lickel and Meow Mayhem Giveaway!!

Hey readers!! Today I am leaving on a trip to Florida but I will be updating the blog every week. Just might not be as often:) And what I have for you here is an interview with author, Lisa Lickel, and a giveaway of her new book, Meow Mayhem. This has just come out and I am excited to read it. Have it on my wish list:)


Thank you for being with us today, Lisa!!!
I’m pleased to be back – I love Giveaway Gal!


How long have you known you wanted to be an author?
Since 2002 when I took a writing course online. I was gainfully employed at the time, so it wasn’t scary to think about it. Of course, that was my last regular paying gig.

Can you tell me a little bit about your newest book?
Meow Mayhem is a contemporary sweet, romantic mystery that takes place in a little town in eastern Illinois. Here’s the back cover write up:

After being left at the altar, Ivy Amanda McTeague Preston uproots herself and her cat,
an Egyptian Mau named Memnet, from her boring and lonely life to start over at the
urging of Mayor Conklin, a fellow pedigreed Mau owner.

Truesdale Thompson is ready to move in a fresh direction with his life. A private man
whose physical wounds are the only outward sign of a tragic accident in his past, True
and his cat, Isis, open a branch of his trendy little bookstore and coffee shop in Apple
Grove.

When Ivy takes a mysterious message while the mayor is away on business, only Ivy’s
criminology professor mom and True believe there’s something rotten in Apple Grove.
Can Ivy carry on her romance with True while saving the town from further Mayhem?

When a reader gets done with your book, what do you want them to come away with?
I hope readers have had an enjoyable few hours’ worth of entertainment, as really, that’s one of the main goals of fiction. Maybe a reader will learn something about cats or cat scratch fever, or taking chances or how afraid Americans were during war times and built tunnels or other structures in their communities to hide in, and hopefully understand that life’s too short to be greedy and ridiculous.

Is there a place you have always wanted to visit? A vacation spot, historical monument, overseas, etc?
I’ve only flown over Great Britain. I’d love to spend a month there, tramping around with a guide.

If you could have dinner with 2 people, who would they be?
Jodi Piccoult and JK Rowling, today... I’d love to know how they decided on their genre and how it worked to leap into the best seller category, and the consequences of their success.

What one event would you love to be at? Historical or future?
I remember last time I visited I said something about a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first viable moonbase. Today…such choices! I’d like to watch, from an enclosed safe bubble, the building of St. Basel’s in Moscow. I’ve been there, but it would be terrifying and haunting, but intriguing to see how it went up.

Do you have a favorite hobby?
These days, it’s cleaning house in between writing and editing gigs.

Is there something about you most people wouldn't know?
Well, I guess I spilled the beans above, but I spent a couple of weeks touring Russia—the Soviet Union—back in 1981 for a college seminar. I’m not positive I’d like to go back. There’s something quasi-democracy does to a nation that might have been best served behind locked doors.

Do you have any suggestions for the aspiring writer?
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: this is a business. An author’s business is to be READ, not to finish a book or whatever. In order to be read, authors must tell others that a book is available to be purchased, thus the business part. Fair trade must happen: a book that meets the expectations of a reader must be offered in exchange for cash. You will meet people along the way who enjoy creating unhappiness, and even when given a book free, and even if it was enjoyed somewhat, you will be booed, because there are a lot of people who love to boo. You cannot let those boos overcome the oohs, however tempting it might be. The last writer standing wins, but that does not mean you can cheer the dropouts, either. Character counts.

Any last thoughts for your readers?
Chew well and thoughtfully, leave positive feedback and tell others when you enjoy something—spread the word. It’s fun, and you never know who might talk back.

So, if you love a good mystery, this sounds like an interesting one!! One of my readers will win a copy so get your entries in below.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The New Look!!

So everyone, how do you like the new look? I am sooo excited to get this blog change done and in my opinion, I think it looks great!! The colors blend nicely and I enjoy how it looks fresh and new. I almost get surprised sometimes when I get on my own page:) My friend Stephanie, over at A Cooking Bookworm, has been blessed with the ability to look at things and just make them come out right. She has a very good eye! And all this work would never have been done without her. Thank you Stephanie!!

I have to know, what would you, my devoted readers, like to see more of on my blog? Giveaways, recipes, blog hops, etc? I try to keep things pretty balanced and I know that giveaways are a big hit, but if you have any other ideas, please let me know. Also, make sure to stop by A Cooking Bookworm and check out Stephanie's blog. She often features recipes, books and other goodies. Believe me, I have had to go make some cookies after reading her blog ;-)



**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Friday, January 25, 2013

Secretly Smitten Blog Tour!!

CONTEST FOR SECRETLY SMITTEN!!

The "gals" are celebrating the release of Secretly Smitten with a fun Live Webcast on February 5th. They'll be debuting the *NEW* animated Smitten trailer, giving away tons of prizes, dishing on the book and their friendship. They'll also be wrapping up the Secretly Smitten blog tour, answering audience questions and testing your trivia skills. Don't miss the fun and bring your friends. Click here to RSVP and set up a reminder.





Summer, fall, winter, spring—Smitten, Vermont, is the place for love . . . and mystery!
There’s a secret in Grandma Rose’s attic—a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to Smitten. How did the dog tags end up in the attic?
The mystery intrigues Rose’s three granddaughters—Tess, Clare, and Zoe—and they decide to investigate, though their mother, Anna, warns against meddling. But as the seasons turn and the mystery unravels, the three young women and their mother encounter some intriguing mystery men of their own. Has a sixty-year-old puzzle sparked something new for this close-knit family of women?
Join popular romance novelists—and real-life BFFs—Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for four delightful intertwined tales of mystery and sweet intrigue.


MY REVIEW-This is a book that really intrigued me. The flow of four stories, written by four different authors makes for an interesting read. Each author comes through with a style all her own, even as the story comes together as a whole.

My favorite story was the first one and the third one. The first one deals with Tess and Ryan. This is such a sweet romance and I really enjoyed how Tess is not a slim, petite or slender gal. Not many books are written about big gals and I am glad this one featured a girl who wasn't afraid of her curves. Sure she deals with some insecurity, but at the same time it doesn't stop her from eating what she wants. And Ryan was my top hero! He knows what he wants and goes for it. His little girl is his top priority and he wants Tess for his wife. Beautiful story Colleen!!

My next favorite was the one that featured Anna. Anna is the girls mother and she doesn't really expect to find love again after her first husband treated her like a jerk. But we all know that wonderful things can happen, especially in Smitten:) Along comes Michael. Strong, handsome and a secret to hide. They made an excellent couple!

The other two stories were good reads as well but I just really enjoyed these ones. Perfect endings for all the women. And the multiple plots were good too. History coming to life in ways they never imagined!!

Please make sure to visit the other blogs and check out their reviews.



**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Abel's Field DVD Review & Giveaway!!


About Abel's Field
Left motherless by tragedy and abandoned by his father, high school senior Seth McArdle (Samuel Davis) faces enormous pressure as he strives to support his little sisters. At school, he endures the daily bullying of the football team. But fighting back only finds him singled out for punishment and assigned to an after-school work detail under the supervision of the reserved groundskeeper, Abel (SOUL SURFER’S Kevin Sorbo). Much to his surprise, Seth discovers that Abel may be the only one who truly understands his struggles. As dark times lure Seth toward desperate measures, the reluctant Abel may be the one person who can point him back toward the light


MY REVIEW-Abel's Field had the possibility of being a good film. But I have to say, I wasn't that impressed with it. Some of this is my personal opinion so I am just going to give an overview and what I didn't care for and let you all decide. Believe me, I have enjoyed something before and then had a friend really dislike it. So I know people have different like and opinions. That is all I am trying to do here:)

This film is about a young man, Seth, who has basically been abandoned. He is trying to raise his two little sisters after his mother died and his father left to be a trucker. But with school, bullies and raising them, things just don't seem to be working out. Then as a punishment one time at school, he is put to work with the handyman(Kevin Sorbo), who happens to be a run down guy named Abel. Abel is gruff, barely speaks, and is very secretive about his past and who he is. Seth has a hard time dealing with him. There is a girlfriend who  helps him keep up his spirits. I think he did an excellent job acting and I felt he added a good deal of strength to his character. The overall gist of this film was good. I understand what they were trying to put across to the viewers. The acting was good and even had a bit of sarcasm in there:)

Here are my problems with the film. I had read the dove reviews and we are kind of strict on what we allow. But after reading the reviews I figured there might be a couple spots to fast forward and the rest would be okay. There are two parts where this older woman is flirting with Abel. She runs the local grocery store/gas station. Both times she is wearing something low cut and some things are said the I was uncomfortable with. Sure it is all done in a kind of funny way, but it can still put ideas in your head. The other thing that got to me was the dress. With teenage boys in the home, it is hard to find things decent to watch. In most of the scenes with the girlfriend, you see cleavage. And not just a little bit, I am talking quite a bit. Again, part of my reluctance with this film is because of having teenagers in the house. Especially teenage boys.

So, am I saying this was a horrible film and nobody should watch it? Absolutely not! I enjoyed parts of it and I think the lesson brought across was good. But can I give it a 5 star review? Not in good conscience. So take a look at it before you show it to your kids, and that way you have more than just my opinion.

MY GIVEAWAY-Readers, I have been offered to host a giveaway for one copy of this film, Abel's Field. USA ONLY!!

This giveaway will end 2/8. Winner will be chosen through Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow By Olivia Newport!


The whole world is coming to Chicago. — Charlotte's whole world is coming down around her. — While the rest of Chicago focuses on the enormous spectacle of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, Charlotte Farrow's attentions are entirely on one small boy -- her boy -- whom she has kept a secret from her wealthy employers for nearly a year.


When the woman who has been caring for her son abruptly returns him to the opulent Banning home, Charlotte must decide whether to come clean and face dismissal or keep her secret while the Bannings decide the child's fate. Can she face the truth of her past and open her heart to a future of her own? Or will life's struggles determine her path?This compelling story of courage, strength, and tender romance captures the tension between the glittering wealthy class and the hardworking servants who made their lives comfortable.



MY REVIEW-I have enjoyed all of Olivia's previous books and this one was no different. She pens a tale that pulls you into the lives of these characters and makes you root for them, cheer them on, cry at their struggles and pray they get through their lives okay.

Now for those of you who have not read her other books, this is the second installment in the Avenue of Dreams. Many of you will remember Charlotte as the good friend of Lucy Banning, now Lucy Edwards. Charlotte has come through a long hard fight with her little boy and trying to keep him hidden so she keeps her job. But Lucy is leaving on her honeymoon and when trouble comes calling, Charlotte is forced to give it all she has in her struggle of what to do and what the right decision is for her little Henry.

Charlotte is someone I felt very akin to. She has a lot of fear of stepping outside the norm of what is expected of her. She almost feels threatened by Archie, who wants her to do things she never has before. I can see both their viewpoints but I think I would have been more like Charlotte:) Sarah is a newcomer and I am hoping another book is written with her story. I didn't really like her at first but after a bit you might grow to like her. I also wouldn't mind finding more out about Emmaline. Maybe a marriage in the future? Who knows:) But it is fun dreaming what happens after the pages end.

This is an excellent book that I will come back to time and time again. The only thing I thought would make more of an appearance was the Chicago World's Fair. It was a big thing back then and it is mentioned some but I kind of expected more about it. I did think the Anarchist views was a good throw in. Didn't realize they were that common in that time period. If you love a good historical novel, this is one for you. Not a stand-alone novel and I think the storyline flows better if you have read the first one, the Pursuit of Lucy Banning. Loved this book!!

Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.





**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Shaving Tips! Aftershave, Razor, Gel??


I don't know how it is for you, but I am the type of person who has to shave every week. Sometimes every couple days depending on how I feel. Many times I have heard people say they can shave once every two weeks but that doesn't cut it for me. Maybe I like to have a closer shave, I don't know:) On the other hand, one friend of mine had to have surgery the other day and she wasn't able to shave for several days in advance. She figured she would look like a hairy woman by the time she was able to shave again:D I bring all this up as I am giving some tips on shaving today. Everything from my favorite razor, gel or cream, aftershave, etc.

#1.Love That Close Shave.
I personally like a straight razor. My favorite one is a cheaper razor that doesn't have the angles and all the fancy doodads on it. I do like the ones with the moisture strips. This helps with keeping your skin nice and supple as you are shaving. Don't go out and buy the most expensive razor just because it is higher priced. Make sure you like it first!

#2.Gotta Go With the Gel!
I don't know about you, but I have to have a gel for shaving. I have used shaving cream before but my top pick would be the gel. I love the scented ones but I also have to have one for sensitive skin. I had one gel a couple years ago that my skin reacted to one time so I picked one that I know works and I like. Now I just stick with that one. I don't go buy a new one just because of a new scent, etc. Stick with one you like!

#3.Must Have Moisture:)
This one was kind of something I thought most people knew but it is amazing how many people I have met who don't use a moisturizer. Whether you use a lotion, an oil, etc. there is nothing like making sure your skin is nice and soft. It needs that extra moisture after a shave as you are cutting your hair. I like to use a lotion beforehand and then afterwards as well.

Do you have a tip for me? Maybe your favorite gel? Or a new razor that you just have to shave with? Leave a comment and let me know!



This is a sponsored post however, all the points and views are my own.



**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

CFBA Tour for Mystery of the Heart by Jillian Kent





This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Mystery of the Heart

Realms (January 8, 2013)

by

Jillian Kent


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Jillian Kent is a busy writer and the alter ego of  Jill Nutter, a full-time counselor.

Jill spent the first semester of her senior year of college at Oxford studying British Literature, where she fell in love with England. During this season, she came to appreciate the written word, the rich imagery of romantic poetry like The Highwayman, and historical novels of many types, including Jane Austen and all things Regency.

Jill received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bethany College in West Virginia, and her Masters Degree in Social Work from WVU, and she brings her fascination with different cultures and societies into her writing.

Jill has always been a romantic at heart, so readers will find a good dose of romance woven through each of her novels.  Jill, her husband Randy, and children Katie and Meghan are animal lovers. They currently own two dogs, Boo-Boo and Bandit and a menagerie of cats, Lucky, Yuma, Snow, and Holden. Critters of all assortments make their appearance in her stories.  

ABOUT THE BOOK



Lord Eden is intrigued when he discovers Lady Mercy Grayson’s secret, but how can he hope to gain her heart when he is forced to betray her?

Lady Mercy Grayson longs be a physician like her big brother, Devlin, Lord Ravensmoore. However, society would never tolerate a female physician, let alone one who is a noblewoman. So Mercy takes matters into her own hands, disguising herself as a man to get through medical school. But then a male colleague discovers her secret, which is only the beginning of Mercy’s problems that could destroy her dreams forever.

The Prince Regent is awaiting the return of Vincent St. Lyons, Lord Eden, whom he sent on a secret voyage to locate and bring back a relic that some believe possesses the power to heal. St. Lyons discovers Mercy washed up on England’s shore upon his return and agrees to give her safe passage to London aboard a ship of men practicing African Vodun. Both must face treacherous circumstances, difficult decisions, and a growing attraction to one another that could forever change the course of their lives.

As the final installment in the series, the theme of this book is God’s plans for our lives. “Whatever the hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might” (Eccles. 9:10).

If you would like to read the first chapter of Mystery of the Heart, go HERE.

MY BOOK HAS NOT BEEN RECEIVED YET SO I WILL BE POSTING MY REVIEW AFTER IT COMES IN.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pharmacy and Medicines.

Have you ever thought about buying your medicine online? I had never really thought about purchasing drugs online as I normally go to my local drugstore or pharmacy. But after browsing I found http://freeworldpharmacy.com and I realized you can purchase a lot of the stuff online, especially the harder to find drugs.

This website is a reputable online pharmacy and I was amazed at all that they sell. Everything from your simple, everyday items to the more hard to find drugs that you won't find in your normal pharmacy. And believe me, some of the prices are outstanding!! Whether you need stuff for allergies, weight loss, anxiety or blood, they have it all. So, take a minute and visit this website. They might have something you need.

I have not purchased from this website. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Van's Natural Foods Review & 2 Winner Giveaway!!

Good morning everyone! I have a review today for a company called Van's Natural Foods. I received some coupons in the mail so I could try out a couple of their foods. Needless to say the store I normally get my organic foods from only carries a few of their items. So I will be using some of these coupons as a giveaway. There will be two winners who will win several coupons!

"Here at Van’s, we believe that healthy is delicious."

I went to the store and found that they carry a few of their products. It is a somewhat small section of organic and natural foods so I was surprised to see that they carried what they did. I picked out the Blueberry Waffles and the Gluten Free Pancakes. My favorite was definitely the waffles but check out my review below.

The Blueberry Waffles are gluten free, wheat free and made with whole grain. I do not usually eat gluten free but these were the only blueberry waffles they had and I wanted to try them so bad. I really wanted to try the French Toast Sticks but this store doesn't have them. I was unsure of how these would taste but guess what? I loved them!! These were moist, delicious and no diet taste at all!!

I know these aren't really diet, but they are good for you, and believe me, I have tried enough foods that are good for you and they have a big taste difference. Not with these! The waffles are something I would eat every week if I could.

The Gluten Free Pancakes were next up. I actually tried these yesterday morning. These are not my favorite but they were okay. I first went to put them in the toaster and they came out kind of crisp. Needless to say I went back and read the instructions and they say to microwave them. That turned out much better!! These taste pretty good but I guess the whole frozen pancake thing is just not for me.

So, are any of you interested in a giveaway? I have three coupons for each winner and there will be two winners. You will get one coupon for a free Van's 6 or 8 count Waffles, Waffle Sticks, Pancake or French Toast Sticks and two coupons for a free 6 Count English Muffins. These are not available at all places so please make sure they are available in your area. The english muffins weren't available in my area at all. So that is it:) Two winners, three coupons!!

This giveaway will end 2/4. Winners will be chosen through Random.org and they will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. USA ONLY!!!
According to FTC Disclosures, I received coupons to do my review. I did not received any monetary compensation and all thoughts are 100% mine.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Waiting for Spring by Amanda Cabot!!

A new identity may protect her family--but can it protect her heart?


After the loss of her husband and the birth of her baby, Charlotte has had a long, hard year. But she can find no rest from the ghosts of the past and flees to Cheyenne to put the pieces of her life back together. 

Wealthy cattle baron and political hopeful Barrett Landry must make a sensible match if he is to be elected senator of the soon-to-be state of Wyoming. He needs someone with connections. Someone without a past. Yet he can't shake the feeling that Charlotte holds the key to his heart and his future.

Will Charlotte and Barrett find the courage to look love in the face? Or will their fears blot out any chance for happiness?

MY THOUGHTS-Have you ever fallen in love with a cover? I sure have! And this new one by Amanda Cabot is a beautiful cover that I loved from the beginning. The lady on the front looks so regal and her dress is absolutely gorgeous! But the characters and the story inside were just as good as the cover.

The main character is Charlotte and Barrett, but there are many different characters who play a big part in the whole picture. I felt like Charlotte was a kindred spirit and the strength she possessed was something I can only strive for. Barrett was a good hero. Kind, charming, handsome and quite a politician. There is a part where I didn't like him, especially after the way he treated Charlotte at one point, but you see where he was coming from and how he was trying to protect her. You will fall in love with sweet Daniel and Rose, Gwen and Miriam, and even Harrison and Richard.

I found it quite interesting at the idea of fashion back then. The whole buying a dress from Paris, paying so much for a piece of clothing, etc. Charlotte's idea of making dresses for those who can't purchase them was a good extra. I found her idea of doing something that will help people an encouragement. We can do a lot of good in a community or in a family by helping out.

This is a book that brings you back to the 1800's and you will be immersed in the time period. Get the feel of walking down a dusty street and the time of robbers, old west, and a growing town with aspiring people. A story you will love!! Excellent plot and well written characters who jump out of the page at you!!

Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I received a copy of this book for my review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation and all thoughts are 100% mine. 
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