Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fun #Giveaway for 3 Gift Cards!!

Hey everyone, I wanted to tell you about a giveaway a friend is having. I know how much you all like gift cards and eating out, so I figured I should warn you all:) There will be three winners each receiving a gift card to Cafe Rio Mexican Grill. Talk about date night!! The giveaway is being hosted on their page so you need to enter over on Facebook. You cannot enter here on my page. Stop on by, post a funny pic and you are entered! Ends 4/10 so hurry and get your entry in:)

**DISCLOSURE: No compensation was given, and all thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Omega 3 Fish Oil #Review #bloggers4amazon

I recently received the Omega 3 Fish Oil softgel pills for my review purposes. These are from Dr. Tobias and many of you will remember this name as the person who is hosting the iWatch giveaway! But back to the review:) For some reason whenever I hear someone praise the advantages of a pill I am always skeptical. So I went into this with an open mind and really wanting to see why everyone suggests fish oil as a health benefit. Here is what I found out from my own personal use.

1.The Pills are Big. 
I am not real keen on pills but big ones always make me cringe. The first time I took one I wasn't sure I would be able to get it down. Needless to say that is where the softgel comes in handy. They slide right down with no gagging allowed:)

2.No Scent!
One of my major worries with the fish oil would have to be the smell. I mean I like fish but they also stink to high heaven. So why wouldn't the oil smell fishy? No need to worry about it though. These ones have almost no smell at all and whatever aroma they do have doesn't smell like fish.

3.The Benefits
I started using these about a week ago. At first I didn't notice a difference but gradually I saw a change in my hair and how I felt. My hair is shiner and stronger while my body feels good. I am not saying this is the cure-all for what ails ya:) But I am saying that for me I saw a change. I also got told from a close friend who raises dogs that the fish oil is really good for their fur coats and keeping their eyes clear. Now, I haven't personally tried this option but I will be looking into it more.

Conclusion? I will be using these more over the next few weeks and will update as need be. I like them and can tell a difference.

For those of you wanting to try out Omega 3 Fish Oil pills on your own, I have a code where you can save 20% off your order. It must be placed through the links found in this review and will only be good on the Dr Tobias bottles.
  • Save 20% with code: I45Z8VAA

**DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts are 100% mine. Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Torchlighters Christian Films for Children with #Review

Anyone who knows our family will tell you that we are pretty strict about what we watch. Even the Christian films have to get past a gauntlet of rules:) So when we find something to back, you know it is very good. And that is exactly what I have for you here today. We have been familiar with this group of animated programs for several years and have told a lot of people about them. We always encourage families to pick them up, even if their children aren't real young. They say for ages 8-12 but the whole family has seen every one of these and we still enjoy them. Believe me, some of them have been played over and over:D

For the blog tour here I received two different episodes of the program. These are basically biographies that are animated and I am telling you, children love them!! Our favorite would probably be Eric Liddell but there are so many good ones we rotate through them. The stories include William Tyndale, John Bunyan, Corrie Ten Boom, Gladys Aylward(a favorite of the 14 year old), Amy Carmichael, Samuel Morris, Richard Wurmbrand, etc. As of right now there are 12 episodes out on DVD and they have more in the works. They run about 25 minutes per episode and it has some more history once the film is over. They are funny but also educational and they definitely teach lessons. Inevitably I end up with tears in my eyes at some point throughout the movie. These are amazing films!!

Right now Vision Video is giving $10 off the 12 pack of Torchlighters films. The code will expire on June 1st, 2015. So please, buy a set for your church, your family, your library, hey, why not buy one for your neighbors! Get these out to your friends and family. You will not regret it for a moment. ou can order through the link below or you can call it in (800 523 0226) so long as you mention the code.

USE CODE tl12gal

**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.**

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Dovekeepers Premiers on CBS 3/31 and 4/1!! @TheDovekeepers

*Disclosure* I received a copy of the book and the DVD from CBS as part of The Role Mommy Writer's Network to facilitate my honest and unbiased review. All thoughts are 100% mine. 

Can I admit something to you all? Before I was invited to participate in this opportunity, I had never heard of The Dovekeepers, never read the book, etc? Since receiving this for review I have done my homework and read both the original book and this new one.

About the film:
Based on Alice Hoffman’s Bestselling Historical Novel About a Group of Extraordinary Women Whose Lives Intersect In a Fight for Survival at the Siege of Masada in 70 C.E.
The project stars Cote de Pablo, Rachel Brosnahan and Kathryn Prescott in the title dovekeeper roles, Sam Neill as first-century Jewish scholar and historian Josephus, and Diego Boneta as a star warrior of the Jewish army at Masada. The series is based on Alice Hoffman’s bestselling, critically acclaimed historical novel about a group of extraordinary women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival at the siege of Masada.

Set in ancient Israel, The Dovekeepers is based on the true events at Masada in 70 C.E. After being forced out of their home in Jerusalem by the Romans, 900 Jews were ensconced in a fortress at Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. Besieged at Masada, the Jews held out for months against the vast Roman armies. The project will recount the events from the perspective of a few extraordinary women who arrive at Masada with unique backstories, but a common bond for survival. Additionally, these women, who work together daily as dovekeepers, are all concealing substantial secrets.

I will be honest though and let you all know that my favorite is the film. Rarely do I enjoy a movie more than the book but I think the film brings the characters in the book to life in a very vivid manner. Their portrayals are so elegantly fulfilled by these actresses that when I read the book, I see each of these women's faces like they appear in the movie.

I found the story to be compelling and powerful. It is based on historical events that really happened in the early 70's AD. and that is part of the reason I enjoyed it so much. I like history and the Jewish culture so the film was dear to my heart. The show centers on four women who journey to Masada and find themselves struggling in their path. They are broken and hurting but strong in a way many will not even comprehend. The siege of Masada is told like never before! This is definitely an adult show(TV 14) but I think older teenagers will enjoy it as well.

Now, are you ready for the premier?? I am so excited for this and I hope you are too. The Dovekeepers is a four-hour limited event series from executive producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett that will be broadcast Tuesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 1, 2015 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT). Don't miss out on it!!

**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, March 27, 2015

Little Lamb Dryer Balls And Soap Nuts Review

I recently had the opportunity to try out dryer balls for my first time but I also had the chance to review the soap nuts, which is also a first for me. This review will be a short one about both items since you get both the dryer balls and a sample of the soap nuts in this option from Amazon. You can also change where you a 4 pack or a six pack of dryer balls. The pack comes with three dryer balls and a small packet of soap nuts that will last you for several months, if you use them with caution.

In our family I run laundry at least two times a day, if not more. It takes a lot of work to manage it for 8 people and the hampers are often full in the evening, even after emptying it that morning. I always thought it would help if there was a way to cut down time in the dryer as my washer is normally one about 10-15 minutes ahead of the dryer and that is where the dryer balls come in. I found myself using them in every load and it quickly became clear that they dried the load faster and more efficiently. Basically it is a small wool ball, about the size of a baseball. 

At first I wasn't sure it would do any good but after trying it a couple times I am a firm believer:) You put it in the dryer and it helps pull in the moisture so the clothing dries faster. Pretty easy, huh? It worked and I was happy with it. I also want to try putting a few drops of essential oil on it so it will scent the laundry.

The first thing I noticed with the soap nuts was the overpowering smell. It is a very strong vinegar scent. I quickly looked it up online to make sure this was normal and found out that it is usual for all natural soap nuts to smell like this. It doesn't make the clothing smell like that at all and I was happy:) So I followed directions, putting about 6 nuts into the included small cotton bag, crushed them up, rinsed the bag in hot water for about 5 seconds, and tossed it in with the laundry. There was no lingering smell, no nut pieces and my laundry came out clean. I will be using it more to see how well it works compared to my regular detergent. The only thing I didn't like was having to find the little baggie of nuts once the laundry was done and I was swapping it over to the dryer. I wish it was easier to get to. 

If anyone is interested in trying these, I have a code below that will give you a percentage off for each item. These are cheap enough but when you get more of a discount? You just have to try them!


*Disclosure* I received this product in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts are 100% mine.

**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.**

WWJD The Journey Continues + DVD #Giveaway!

*Disclosure* I received a copy of this film from Family Christian in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts are 100% mine. This post may contain affiliate links. 


Bound by a promise he made to his mother on her deathbed, a pastor seeks to lead his wayward ex-con brother to Christ as they work together to renovate a dilapidated church in WWJD: The Journey Continues. When a desperate man robs the church at gunpoint though, one brother’s sacrifice sets events into motion that lead the pastor, the gunman, and the entire community on an improbable journey of faith and redemption.

MY REVIEW-Our family loves Christian movies. We like them sweet, funny, for adults and for children, so long as they teach biblical lessons. Which sounds like a given but not always true with the ones we have viewed. So I was excited to get this one for review, WWJD: The Journey Continues. This is the sequel to WWJD and we already watched the first one but were very interested in seeing the second.

First off let me start by saying that I have read the original book, In His Steps, that the movies are loosely based on. So I can honestly say the film does not follow the book really at all. Which I understand happens a lot, especially when the book is old, and it didn't bother me at all, I just wanted to mention it. If you are wanting something that closely follows the movie, there is one by that title, In His Steps, that does a good job of this.

One of the main characters is someone from the first film who many of you might recognize. John Schneider is a well known actor who has been in many things but I love his character in this one. He is the traveling hitchhiker who "happens" upon the church and helps them spiritually. Gotta love the way he does this! The actual movie opens with a young man beside a hospital bed and you realize that the woman in the bed is his mother. She is dying of cancer and he is on his way to pick up his adopted brother who just got released from prison. The man picking up his brother is a pastor and tells his mother he will take care of his hot-headed brother.

The scenes are quick changing and a lot of things happen in this film. Robberies, churches getting broken into, teenage thieves and even murder. The ultimate lesson learned in here though would have to be forgiveness. The hitchhiker teaches lessons to each person in the church and shows them how they need to do what Jesus would do. Feeding the poor, helping others, etc. I think the film was good and we all enjoyed it. There were two parts that I kind of skipped over with the little girls because it dealt with purity of teenagers and I think it was just a bit over their heads at the time. The only other thing I will say is they put a lot in this. Almost too many side plots. But overall pretty good.

One of my readers will win their very own copy of WWJD: The Journey Continues! USA ONLY. Giveaway will end 4/18. Winner will be chosen through Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#Win This iWatch Sport #Giveaway!! #bloggers4amazon #FishOil

Hey everyone!! I wanted to let you all know about this super awesome giveaway that is being hosted by none other than... Dr. Tobias!! I will be reviewing some of the Omega 3 Fish Oil softgels later this week since I am sure you are wondering what fish oil and an iWatch have to do with each other:) This company is well worth purchasing from and I can't wait to try out the Fish Oil for myself! Wonderful health benefits as seen below.

This is what you receive:
  • Triple Strength – With 1 serving (2 capsules) you receive 1,400 mg Omega 3, which is 3-4 times more than many other products
  • Enteric coating to eliminate the unpleasant experience of fishy burps
  • Enteric coating for optimal absorption (up to 3x higher)
  • One of the best purification methods (Molecular distillation) makes sure you can feel comfortable and safe with our product
  • Third party tested and ranking in high quality category for fish oil supplements in the USA – buy with confidence
  • 180 capsules for a 90 day supply, which is your best value
  • Limited time offer: Plus free access to yoga videos, weight loss tips and more our bonus membership – value beyond the product!
If you do not eat enough (fatty) fish – you are very likely to have too little Omega 3. Your most effective way to take care of this: Optimum Omega 3. Take only two capsules a day of Omega 3 Optimum to benefit from the finest fish oil from the best sources, and to support your heart health, your brain, joints, skin, nervous system, and more.
Optimum Omega 3 is made from the finest fish oil: Wild Sardines, Herring, Makarel, and Salmon. The oil is then purified with one of the best purification methods, called Molecular Distillation.
Molecular Distillation is one of the few methods with which one can remove PCB’s, other toxins, and heavy metals to below detectable limits for human consumption. Molecular Distillation needs only 45 seconds for that, and keeps the temperature, which is important to keep the high quality of the fish oil. This also makes sure that no Trans Fats are created. The most other methods for processing the oil heat it up to 250 degrees Celsius for several hours!

I am anxiously awaiting my products from Amazon and will be posting my review here shortly. In the meantime, take a minute and check out their products on Amazon.

Not only are they on sale right now but you can get a discount of 20% off when you use the following code-I45Z8VAA

Plus, when you buy a bottle of the Fish Oil, you get the added benefit of access to a special website with health tips, yoga videos, eBooks, etc.

Sponsored by: DR TOBIAS

The winner will have a chance to win one iWatch S in the color and screen size of their choice!
Open to USA ONLY
Ends April 20, 2015
Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner will be chosen.
One person per household can enter.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Engaging New Movie, Confessions of a Prodigal @COAPSmovie

I recently had the opportunity to preview a new film coming out, Confessions of a Prodigal. I have recently seen an influx of movies based around the prodigal son and the different ways this story can be taken, modern day tales of the Biblical parable. This is one that I found to be interesting and engaging.

It opens with a young man leaving home and walking out on his pastor father.  It then quickly fast-forwards to 2 years later and he is at college living in the fast lane, drinking, girls, partying and so on. They really portray this in a vivid manner. I would urge you to be careful showing this to younger people or at least skim it first. There are a couple things said that I was hesitant over but I understand where they are coming from and what they are trying to come across with. Just some of the toeing the line about promiscuity and relationships as well as almost swearing( what in the "h", etc), may be too much for some people.

The professor in the film was almost my favorite person. Tough love that had Sean questioning his beliefs. Sean does a great job showing his conflicting emotions and someone who is running away from how he was raised. His friend I wanted to slap more than once. The girl he likes, Allie, is sweet and trying to find her way as well after her father left her and her mother. I also enjoyed seeing one of my favorite people, Kevin Sorbo, appear as Sean's father. His acting is superb as always.

There are great lessons taught in this film and I found myself wondering and examining things in my life. The stories we will make of our lives, the meaning and point behind it, etc. Overall a good and interesting movie that I enjoyed. For those of you wanting to view it yourselves, the film will be out tomorrow!! Tuesday March 24th!! Check it out on Facebook and the Confessions of a Prodigal Son website. And don't forget to purchase it tomorrow!

**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, March 20, 2015

Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher w $25 Gift Certificate #Giveaway!!

Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher

When Anna Konig first meets Bairn, the Scottish ship carpenter of the "Charming Nancy," their encounter is anything but pleasant. Anna is on the ship only to ensure the safe arrival of her loved ones to the New World. Hardened by years of living at sea, Bairn resents toting these naive farmers--dubbed "Peculiars" by deckhands--across the ocean. As delays, storms, illness, and diminishing provisions afflict crew and passengers alike, Bairn finds himself drawn to Anna's serene nature. For her part, Anna can't seem to stay below deck and far away from the aloof ship's carpenter, despite warnings. When an act of sacrifice leaves Anna in a perilous situation, Bairn discovers he may not have left his faith as firmly in the past as he thought. But has the revelation come too late? Amish fiction favorite Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her fans back to the beginning of Amish life in America with this fascinating glimpse into the first ocean crossing as seen through the eyes of a devout young woman and an irreverent man. Blending the worlds of Amish and historical fiction, Fisher is sure to delight her longtime fans even as she attracts new ones with her superb and always surprise-filled writing. 

MY REVIEW-Suzanne Fisher is known for her Amish style novels. She is an excellent writer and I liked them, even when I normally don't care for Amish books. This one here is a bit different. We see through the eye of a young woman the journey from Rotterdam to America on the ship, Charming Nancy. I still enjoyed it but not quite as much as her others.

The main characters are good and I found myself liking Anna a lot. Bairn is the carpenter on the ship and at times I found myself struggling to appreciate his character. He evens out but there were a couple instances where he almost seemed out of character. He is a Scot though so I had to like him;) I think Mrs. Fisher toned things down a little bit when dealing with the hardships as I am sure the ride over was harsher than she pictures. There are a couple things that were crude and I know why she puts them in but I still think they were unnecessary. Overall I enjoyed the novel and will be looking for the next one when it comes out. I like stories that go back to the history of how the Amish got started in America.

One of my readers will win a $25 gift certificate to Family Christian. This can be used online or in stores. Giveaway will end 4/4 and winner will be chosen through Random.org. They will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be picked. USA ONLY!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Praying For Your Prodigal by Kyle Idleman W/ #Giveaway #FCblogger

I received a product from Family Christian to facilitate this post. All thoughts are 100% mine. 

One of my favorite authors for non-fiction books would have to be this writer here. Kyle Idleman is not only an author but also a teaching pastor and I just recently learned about a film he is backing titled, The Song, based on the story of Solomon. I have read almost all of his books and thoroughly enjoy them. They are all on my keeper shelf and I have purchased others to give to friends. When I saw this new one, I was intrigued. It is a book called Praying For Your Prodigal, but this isn't a regular sized book, rather a pocket sized edition! I couldn't believe how small this was when it came in.

The book itself is small, about 96 pages long and roughly pocket size. I think that what is found inside more than makes up for its small size. I was brought to tears a couple times but Kyle Idleman often has that effect on me. He is a soulful writer and might bring some guilt but also that cleansing relief that you find through forgiveness from the Lord.

I loved how this book was put together and it really has quite a pull. For those who are struggling with a prodigal, I can't begin to tell you how much good this little book will be for you. It includes lessons and stories but also my favorite parts, the prayers. Wow! These are heartfelt and amazing. Not only thinking of the prodigal in your life but also the person praying for them. For those of you who don't have a prodigal, I would urge you to pick up this book to be ready when you have a friend in need. Maybe you know of someone who is depressed because they have a prodigal? Or a friend who is struggling with someone in their family? Snatch this book up and read it so you can be a help when they come asking.

Again, an amazing little book that pulls no punches. Don't be fooled by it's size. Definitely worth the price! And guess what? One of my readers will have the opportunity to either purchase this book or something else from Family Christian with this giveaway! You could be the winner of the $10 gift certificate. This can be used in store or online and you can buy books, music, movies, curriculum, study items, games, etc. Don't miss out on this! The giveaway will end 4/1 and winner will be chosen through Random.org. They will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. USA ONLY!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Five-Book Giveaway from Shelley Shepard Gray

The Promise of Palm Grove (Avon Inspire, January 2015)

Leona must decide: Does she follow the path set out before her? Or take a chance with only the promise of what could be to guide her?

A young Amish woman finds herself torn between the man she’s pledged to wed and the man her heart desires in this heartwarming story of chance, duty, and choice in the face of love—the first volume in the beloved New York Times bestselling author’s new Amish Brides of Pinecraft series.
Amish bride-to-be Leona is thrilled to be in Florida, on a mini-vacation in the pretty town of Pinecraft. Her girlfriends think she’s happy because she’s away from the stress of wedding planning. They have no idea that Leona’s real joy is in being away from her fiancĂ©.
Edmund is a good man, and will make a decent husband . . . just not for Leona. The more time she spends with him and his overbearing ways, the less she wants to be his wife. Her cousins are sure Edmund is the right man for her-and their certainty makes Leona begin to doubt herself. But when a chance encounter with a wayward cat brings her face-to-face with a handsome, fun-loving Amish man named Zachary Kauffman, Leona’s faced with two vastly different futures.

MY REVIEW-This genre is not my normal pick up. Often I find Amish books to be boring and settled in the same plot as all the rest. But when I read this one here, I was so very pleasantly surprised! Needless to say, the rest of the series is now on my wish list:)

Shelley Gray pens a novel that realistically makes you fell a member of the Pinecraft community. The people you meet along the way are fun but also have their troubles and heartaches. One such person is Leona(love this name by the way!), engaged to be married to Edmund but finds herself falling in love with Zachary. Leona is in town with her two best friends, Mattie and Sarah, on a last vacation before she gets married. Needless to say things get a little turned around!

There were many secondary characters and one of my favorites would have to be Beverly, the innkeeper, who also has fiance problems. Zach's little sister is adorable too. Really sweet! This is a wonderful novel filled with characters that I loved. One of the fun parts of it for me was geographically. I have been in that area, seen the communities there, etc.


Don't miss Shelley Shepard Gray's new series, Amish Brides of Pinecraft, and the first book in the series, The Promise of Palm Grove! Romantic Times said, "Vibrant descriptions and details bring the plot to life in this heartwarming tale of new beginnings and renewal." Does Leona follow the path set out before her? Or take a chance with only the promise of what could be to guide her?

Enter to win a copy of The Promise of Palm Grove—five winners will be chosen! The winners will be announced March 30 on Shelley's blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**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.**

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Celebrating #Purim and Esther #FCblogger

I recently had the joy of planning and organizing a family night. One like we have never done before. It was all about Queen Esther and Purim and I believe we all came away having learned something new. We are not Jewish, but as a Christian I have always had an interest in this subject along with the whole wonderful story of a brave Jewish young woman saving her people from a massacre. It is an amazing account and I think after participating in this night that we felt a kindred connection to these people.

The first thing I did after learning that I was to host this night was to do my research. I knew the story of Esther as I do read my Bible:) But I wanted to get more background story. How did Purim come about? Why is it called Purim? What did Esther really have to go through in her palace life? And how did this all relate to us today? Needless to say, it was an immense study. I found some helpful books at Family Christian that did wonders in my research including Ruth & Esther(part of the Life Change Series) and Finding Favor with the King by Tommy Tenney. That last one has become a part of my daily morning reading. It is an amazing book!!

I also picked up a copy of Becoming a Woman of Beauty & Strength by Elizabeth George. This is more of a study about being a woman after God's heart than a research book and I found myself going through it with my Bible and pencil. It is a great book and some things were brought up that I hadn't thought about.

The one thing I didn't find was a set on Feasts of the Bible. I was really looking forward to purchasing this as it looked amazing but I couldn't find it at either store I went to. So I had to make do with what I found online.

During the time of King Ahasuerus, one of his ministers, Haman, sought to destroy the Jews in revenge for being snubbed by the Jew Mordecai, who refused to bow down to him. With the king's authority, he draws lots (pur) to determine the fateful day, which falls on the 13th of the month of Adar.
Learning of this decree, Mordecai approaches the new queen, his cousin Esther, to intercede with the king. Esther, who has not revealed her Judaism publicly, fasts for three days in preparation for this task. At a banquet for the king and Haman, she denounces the evil Haman, who is eventually hanged. Because a royal decree cannot be rescinded--
including the decree ordering the extermination of the Jews--Mordecai must send another decree to all the provinces. This letter authorizes the Jews to protect themselves from their enemies. The days following the Jews' struggle with their enemies (the 14th and 15th of Adar) are declared days of feasting and merrymaking, today celebrated as Purim.

Purim is celebrated on the 14th day of Adar, which is usually in March. The 13th of Adar is the day that Haman chose for the extermination of the Jews, and the day that the Jews battled their enemies for their lives. On the day afterwards, the 14th, they celebrated their survival. In cities that were walled in the time of Joshua, Purim is celebrated on the 15th of the month, because the book of Esther says that in Shushan (a walled city), deliverance from the massacre was not complete until the next day. The 15th is referred to as Shushan Purim.
In leap years, when there are two months of Adar, Purim is celebrated in the second month of Adar, so it is always one month before Passover. The 14th day of the first Adar in a leap year is celebrated as a minor holiday called Purim Katan, which means "little Purim." There are no specific observances for Purim Katan; however, a person should celebrate the holiday and should not mourn or fast. Some communities also observe a "Purim Katan" on the anniversary of any day when their community was saved from a catastrophe, destruction, evil or oppression.
The word "Purim" means "lots" and refers to the lottery that Haman used to choose the date for the massacre.
The Purim holiday is preceded by a minor fast, the Fast of Esther, which commemorates Esther's three days of fasting in preparation for her meeting with the king.
The primary commandment related to Purim is to hear the reading of the book of Esther. The book of Esther is commonly known as the Megillah, which means scroll. Although there are five books of Jewish scripture that are properly referred to as megillahs (Esther, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and Lamentations), this is the one people usually mean when they speak of The Megillah. It is customary to boo, hiss, stamp feet and rattle gragers (noisemakers) whenever the name of Haman is mentioned in the service. The purpose of this custom is to "blot out the name of Haman."
We are also commanded to eat, drink and be merry. According to the Talmud, a person is required to drink until he cannot tell the difference between "cursed be Haman" and "blessed be Mordecai," though opinions differ as to exactly how drunk that is. A person certainly should not become so drunk that he might violate other commandments or get seriously ill. In addition, recovering alcoholics or others who might suffer serious harm from alcohol are exempt from this obligation.
In addition, we are commanded to send out gifts of food or drink, and to make gifts to charity. The sending of gifts of food and drink is referred to as shalach manos (lit. sending out portions). Among Ashkenazic Jews, a common treat at this time of year is hamentaschen (lit. Haman's pockets). These triangular fruit-filled cookies are supposed to represent Haman's three-cornered hat. My recipe is included below.
It is customary to hold carnival-like celebrations on Purim, to perform plays and parodies, and to hold beauty contests. I have heard that the usual prohibitions against cross-dressing are lifted during this holiday, but I am not certain about that. Americans sometimes refer to Purim as the Jewish Mardi Gras.
Purim is not subject to the sabbath-like restrictions on work that some other holidays are; however, some sources indicate that we should not go about our ordinary business on Purim out of respect for the holiday.

For our night we got together and made some cookies known as Hamantashen cookies. Basically they are like sugar cookies with jam inside. Take a look at the pictures and see how much fun we had:)

The girls loved making them, rolling out the dough and using a glass to cut out the circles. Now the embarrassing thing is that I couldn't get the tri-hat shape right! The thirteen year old had to do them and they came out looking great. Okay, not all of them:) But overall the shape was good. We used two different jams but I will definitely be trying these out again with other flavors.

We had a lot of fun throughout the night and watched a movie called Bible Stories: Esther. This is one we hadn't seen before and it had some insights in areas the other movies didn't. We have seen One Night With The king as well as the Pureflix film about Esther so I tried to find one we hadn't already viewed. My favorite aspect of this film is the look at what happened after her one night. This movie continues past that and shows a little bit of how Purim came about and the Jews continuing their life.

So, I had a totally wonderful time, as did the whole family. I felt like we maybe learned as well as had fun. It brought to mind the time we attended a Messianic Jewish Synagogue one night. It was beautiful and they had such joy. I remember well the dancing and music that accompanied their worship. It was an amazing time.

Hopefully you have enjoyed reading my post and seeing how we participated in Purim. Maybe next year you will feel called to do something as well. Thank you for reading!

I received two gift certificates for Family Christian to include products in my post but the general post is all mine. 

**DISCLOSURE: Please read my full disclosure policy HERE.**

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Poignant Story in No Longer a Slumdog With HUGE #Giveaway #NoLongerASlumdog

Every now and then a book comes along that you feel every person in the world should read. People in your community but also around the world. No Longer a Slumdog is such a book. I found myself reading it and grieving, crying, but also very thankful for this group that has made such a difference and continues to give much needed help. Take a look and see.

About the book:
139 pgs / Forward by Francis Chan 
Those with no voice—the suffering children of Asia—tell their stories. And as you listen to them, you share their anguish and rejoice in their triumphs. The whole world seems to stop as you look on.

"You girls stay here. I’m going to get something to drink.” But after a few minutes, the train started moving again, and Mom still wasn’t back! Our hearts were racing. The train kept going faster and faster. Where was Mom? 

Hope is growing in the hearts of those who never knew such a thing existed. In this truly gripping narrative, K.P. Yohannan shares their stories— stories of lives transformed, of families learning to love, of entire communities flourishing with new life. Witness as this next great wave of transformation sweeps the nations.

The book itself is small but I was riveted from start to finish. It tells the stories of families who are hurting, in pain and turmoil, but have found hope in Jesus Christ. Often through the help of Gospel for Asia. One of my favorite chapters was Winds of Change. Amazing stuff here that goes to show what a God we serve!! I personally love reading stories like these. They make me realize there are still people out there willing to go the extra mile to show Christ's love for others. An amazing book!

Readers, the Gospel For Asia group has graciously offered this enormous giveaway. Anyone who clicks through the link below will be able to receive a free copy of the book. Yes, you heard me right. Free book with free shipping. Fill out the form you find there and the book will be on its way. Even if you have already read this book, it is worth getting a copy to pass on to friends, family, your community, etc. So click through and request a copy.

**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.**

DIY Floral Arrangements with Bloominous!

Have you ever had to plan for a wedding? I haven't personally planned one myself, but I was there and helped when a lady from our church was getting married. At our church we like to do a lot of the decor by ourselves. Some people just have the knack for seeing things differently than I do:) So I usually put things together, AFTER someone had already laid everything out.

I have done some looking of my own, what gal doesn't, and when I saw this website here, I knew I had to tell you all about it.  This is a company that provides easy DIY floral arrangements kits for weddings and events. Often brides turn to DIY to save costs, but the process of researching, purchasing, and arranging florals often end up causing more stress and dollars. Believe me, I saw it first hand while helping plan the two weddings. Seeing how much assistance was needed,  Bloominous launched in 2014 to give brides an alternative option for DIY wedding arrangements.

There are three advantages of using Bloominous for a wedding / event:

1. Saving Money:
With Bloominous, brides will be able to save anywhere from 30% to 50% off their original floral budget. For many people the cost of the wedding is too much but any way you can help slash the price will help in the long run. Each piece is priced without the typical 300% markup from wedding florists, e.g. $5 boutonnieres, $40 centerpieces, and $50 bouquets

2. Easy Peasy DIY:
Most DIY floral services do not send ‘prepped’ flowers, but ours come cut-to-order, dethorned, and trimmed, so brides save time AND money. With a wedding coming up you don't want cut fingers from the thorns or callouses so this really leaves the bride-to-be and her helpers with smooth hands.

Each kit comes with step-by-step photo instructions for easy assembling within 10 to 20 minutes per piece, as well as flower care products and design tips. Anyone can follow instructions, right? Even a guy should be able to do this:)

3. Quality, Professional Design:
All collections featuring specialty flowers are created and designed by a florist with 10+ years of experience in event and floral design. It’s not just the flowers—from trends to vases to favors, we design the whole look for your inspiration, in our offerings and blog. You get the professional look that lives up to a standard. No worries about getting an arrangement that looks like it came from the flower shop down the road. If you want to impress, this is the way to go.

This 'florist-at-their-fingertips' experience is not to be missed.  Bloominous is making DIY fun, easy, and approachable for anyone who wants to try. Be sure to check out their website but also the following social media sites as well.

Bloominous on Twitter
Bloominous on Facebook
Bloominous on Pinterest

**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.**
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