Saturday, October 27, 2012

At the Feet of Jesus by Joanna Weaver Book Review & Blog Tour + Enter to win an iPad!

About At The Feet of Jesus:

You were made for more than serving God: you were made to know Him.

Intimacy with God-to know Him and be known by Him. It is what our hearts desperately needs, but somehowlife conspires to keepusbusy and distracted.

For anyone who struggles when it comes to daily devotions, At the Feet of Jesus extends an irresistable invitation to set aside your duties and find the amazing peace and incredible joy that come from Him. Drawn from Joanna Weaver's beloved Bethany trilogy, each reading in this 365 day devotional includes a Bible reading passage and relection question. All-new material and "Going Deeper" sidebars are also woven throughout.

Discover for yourself the riches that come from spending a portion of each day alone with God. At the feet or Jesus-where true life begins!

My thoughts: I will admit that I am one of those people that does have a hard time with daily devotions. I've never really been able to find a devotional book that spoke to me enough to open more than one time. There are usually the same thoughts just rehashed in different forms, but with the same  meaning. I want to go deeper and maybe that is why I have a hard time. At the Feet of Jesus definitely is the right devotional for me. It is set up that there is a devotion for every single day of the year starting with January 1, so I just opened it to begin on the day in October it was when I first got it and went from there. I can't even tell you how many times in just a few short weeks I felt like the devotion I was reading was speaking directly to me! I love that in addition to a thought provoking question at the end of each devotion, there is also a cordinating Bible verse to further extend the study and get you in your Bible daily. There is also a wonderful guide in the back for reading entire Bible in the year, once again you can start from which date you begin reading it, so it doesn't necessarily have to be started on January 1st. I have really enjoyed these devotions so far and I will continue using this as my daily devotion book. It will also go on my list of great gifts to give other women.I would highly recommend this book to  anyone wanting to find a way to really get themselves in the Word daily and to really raise some thoughtful questions about  their walk with God.

What other bloggers are saying about At the Feet of Jesus!

Buy the book on

About the Joanna Weaver:

Joanna Weaver is known the world over for her transparent and life-changing books, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World and Having a Mary Spirit. Joanna has aide variety of nationally syndicated radio and television broadcasts. She is also a highly sought after speaker and shares her message at intimate gatheringsand several high profile events each year.But Joanna's greaetest joy in found in being a wife and mother and her role as a pastor's wife.

Find out more about Joanna at

Celebrate the release of At the Feet of Jesus with Joanna Weaver by entering to win an iPad and RSVPing for the "True Life" Webcast Event on 11/8!

One blessed winner will receive:
  • An iPad
  • The Year in Bethany Trilogy (Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, Having a Mary Spirit and Lazarus Awakening 
  • At the Feet of Jesus for YOU and Five of your friends.
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 7th. Winner will be announced at the "True Life" Live Webcast Event on November 8th. Connect with author Joanna Weaver and her special guest for an evening of encouragement, laughter and a Q&A! There will also be gift certificates and books given away to participants.

So grab your copy of At the Feet of Jesus (or one of Joanna's other books) and join Joanna on evening of November 8th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 8th!

*Disclosure- I received a complimentary copy of At the Feet of Jesus for the purpose of rending this review. I was not required to post a positive review and all opinions are 100% my own.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie Book Review + Giveaway

I think most parents want a way to teach their kids the spirit of giving. When they are especially young, the best thing we can do is lead by example. I think that the holiday season is a great time to teach kids about giving. There are just so many opportunities big and small to make a difference in someone's life. There are food pantries that need food, Christmas trees with Angels on them that need help getting presents under the tree, soup kitchens that need volunteers, tossing change in the Salvation Army containers or maybe even something as simple as taking a cup of hot cocoa to a lonely neighbor. There are opportunities all around to be compassionate, to give. The Sparkle Box introduces a fun way to celebrate giving during the holiday season. There is a box included with the book, that you can put under your tree. The idea is every time someone in your house helps someone in need, you add a piece of paper to the box saying what you did. Then on Christmas, you open the box and read them aloud. The Sparkle Box contents are your gift to Jesus. What an adorable lesson in giving and how wonderful to celebrate the true sense of Christmas in addition to all of the hustle and bustle and gifts that come along with the holiday.

The book explains how the box works in plain terms so that young children can understand what they are to do. My 5 year old daughter and I have already read the book several times and she already wants to put our Sparkle Box out. There is a part in the book when the main character, a little boy, has bought candy with his own money and since he has been learning about giving he notices a man that looks hungry and gives it to him. It makes me tear up every time I read it. I am tearing up now just thinking of it! I think this book is a great teaching tool for adults and children alike and I think that putting out a Sparkle Box to fill up each year is a wonderful idea. I know our family will definitely be adding this tradition to our Christmas celebration each year!

THE SPARKLE BOX - Official Book Trailer from Ideals Books on Vimeo.

About the author:

Author Jill Hardie and her family began placing a gift for Jesus under their Christmas tree as a way of bringing more meaning to the holiday. The first time they opened His gift, the commercialism of the season melted away and they felt profound joy and peace. Jill hopes that the Sparkle Box will spark a new Christmas tradition, bringing light into thousands of lives.

Interview with Jill

About the illustrator:

At a very early age, Christine Kornacki developed a  love for painting and bringing stories to life. After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dream of illustrating children's books began to take shape. She spends her days painting in her studio, which ajoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut.

Ideas for your Sparkle Box! Remember, these things don't necessarily have to cost money! Even a kind  gesture is sure to brighten someones day and help them out!

Enter below via the Rafflecopter to win your own copy of the book & get started on a new family tradition this Christmas!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure- I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hopes that I would mention it on my blog. However, I only recommend products or services that I use personally that I think will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Comission 16, CFR part 255: "Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertisements.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Memory Jar by Tricia Goyer Book Review/Blog Tour

About The Memory Jar:

Book One in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series

Every year, 30-40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive "resident" status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides! Sarah Shelter has lived in West Kootenai for the last ten years and wonders if she will ever fall in love. Since the tragic death of her best friend, she carries her memories in a jar along with the small items connected to them. For just as long, she's also been carrying around her emotions instead of allowing them to penetrate deep in her heart. Now she's met a kind and gentle man who may be able to break down the wall. But can Sarah risk her heart to finally achieve her dreams?

My Thoughts:

This novel started off with the death of Sarah's best friend Patty in an accident that Sarah watched happen right before her eyes. It causes her to close herself off from everyone and it especially seems to make her shut down where finding a husband is involved. That all changes when she meets Jathan. I loved watching their story unfold and kept wondering as obstacles got in their way how things might turn out in the end for them. I thought this was a unique novel in the Amish genre and I really enjoyed reading something different. Sarah's habit of picking up little things and putting them into her jar to have memories of special days made me wish I had thought of something that cool when I was younger. Oh, the things I would have saved. I may start my own memory jar! It's just such a clever idea. Anyway, I really enjoyed the book and that it wasn't all roses. We see Sarah struggle with her grief over losing Patty, we also see that her relationship with Jathan although strong from the beginning suffer a few set backs. I was rooting for the two of them throughout the story and couldn't wait to see what would become of them at the end. I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys Amish fiction or a good love story!

Meet Tricia: 

Tricia Goyer is the award-winning author of over 30 books including Beside Still Waters, Remembering You, and the mommy memoir Like Blue Play Dough. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences and is the host of Living Inspired. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry FamilyLife.

Find out more about Tricia on her Website
Connect with Tricia on Facebook
Connect with Tricia on Twitter
Buy The Memory Jar on

Celebrate with Tricia by entering her Amish Kindle Gift Pack Giveaway and RSVPing to her Facebook party on November 7th. (And be sure to catch the fun video trailer or try your hand at one of the simple, keepsake crafts Tricia has put together on her website.)


One fortunate winners will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • Custom-made Memory Jar Kindle Cover
  • Amish-made decorative items {Wall hanging, horse/buggy and Amish houses}
  • The Memory Jar {Be swept away by this captivating series.}
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 6th. Winner will be announced at the ”Memory Jar Author Chat Party on 11/7. Connect with Tricia for an evening of book chat, Amish trivia, and a live video chat! There will also be a chance to win gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!

So grab your copy of The Memory Jar and join Tricia on the evening of the November 7th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 7th!

*Disclosure- I received a copy of The Memory Jar for the purpose of rendering this review. I was not compensated and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Squatchi at Home Shoe Sizer & Growth Chart Review + Giveaway!

Anyone that has a toddler or preschoolers knows all too well how frustrating shoe shopping can be. Those little feet grow so fast and I have 3 little pairs of them to keep up with! Shoe shopping can be an ordeal with 3 preschoolers, so it is nice that there is now a tool I can use at home to measure their feet BEFORE heading to the store. This mama likes anything that saves time, especially something that will cut down on my time in a retail store with my 3 little ones! That's where Squatchi comes in! Squatchi is an at home shoe sizer for children. It was invented by a mom, who like most of us moms, was always short on time and was looking for a time saver where shopping where her children were involved. Squatchi is not only simple to use and comes in several kid friendly colors, it can also be used as a keepsake. Simply mark what size your kid's foot is with a sharpie each time you measure their feet, you could even add the date and you will have a record of how quickly their little feet became big feet!

I found Squatchi simple to use and very quick. All 3 of my kids (ages 5 and 3) cooperated when I asked them to put their foot on it and it took seconds to figure out what all of their shoe sizes were (12, 9 and 9, respectively). This is something I wish I would have had when they were much younger. I think Squatchi would make an excellent baby shower gift or even a first birthday gift since it can be used as a keepsake. I will definitely be utilizing mine from now on!

One lucky winner will receive a Squatchi of their very own. You can enter to win this invaluable tool via the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure- I received a free Squatchi foot sizer for the purpose of putting together this review.
All opinions stated are 100% my own. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

How I Came to Sparkle Again by Kaya McLaren Book Review

When Cravebox announced that they would be having a Limited Edition Book Lover's box, I was so excited and really hoping that I would be one of the lucky ones chosen for it. We would not be told what book that would be included, but several people speculated it would be Kaya McLaren's How I Came to Sparkle Again and they were right! I am always up for a book that will make me both laugh and cry and this one did both more times than I can count.

The book is about 3 people trying to cope with different losses they have dealt with and to try and live their lives again. One is a little girl Cassie, who has lost her mom to cancer, another is her father Mike who has lost his wife and the last is a woman named Jill who has had several things happen that have made her leave her home in Austin, Texas to go back to her childhood home of the small ski town of Sparkle, Colorado.

The heaviness of the three trying to cope with their losses is broken up by the comic relief of Jill's best friend Lisa's crazy ski bum neighbors who live in a trailer they dub "The Kennel" and by the profound, although usually confusing thoughts of Jill's uncle Howard.

There is a lot going on in this story, there are many little side stories going on, but not in a way that makes the novel confusing. In fact, one of those little stories- the relationship between Lisa and Kennel member Tom- was probably the most interesting thing to me in the book. I really enjoyed wondering and following along to find out where things would go to with those two.

The only complaint I would have is that there is some really harsh language, so some of my more conservative readers might want to stay away due to that and blunt talk about sexual situations might also keep some from reading. However, I really enjoyed the story and it wasn't so bad most of the time that it would bother me to the point that I needed to stop reading the book.

I would recommend How I Came to Sparkle Again to anyone who enjoys a good romance, likes to laugh a lot and doesn't mind crying a little (or maybe more than a little.)

Connect with Kaya McLaren on her Website
Connect with Kaya McLaren on Facebook
Connect with Kaya McLarenn on Twitter
Connect with Kaya McLaren on Goodreads

*Disclosure- I did not receive any compensation or free products for this review. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Penelope's Rainy Day Adventures by Janelle Rogers- Book Review & Giveaway

I can definitely remember some of my favorite books from my childhood- pretty much anything by Beverly Cleary (people often told me I looked like Ramona Quimby, so I just went with it), Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See? by Marc Brown and when I was a little older Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. I know that these great books are what started me off on a lifelong love of reading and I love watching my kids begin to discover what their favorite books are.

I learned that a very sweet woman whom I grew up with had her very first children's book published. I knew right away I would want to buy her book for my kids. Janelle Rogers debut children's book is called Penelope's Rainy Day Adventures and as you can see from the picture above, it is full of cute, animated pictures. Inspired by her daughter, Rogers wanted to write a book they could enjoy together.

I couldn't wait to see how her first book turned out and I would say she did a rather good job. The book is all about using your imagination. It's not so long that little ones can not enjoy the whole book without getting squirmy and not so short that it's not worth the effort to pick up. I think this book is best suited for 2-6 year olds. All of my kids enjoy hearing all about where Penelope's imagination takes her when it is too rainy outside to play.

One of the coolest things about purchasing this book, is that Rogers donates 10% from the sale of each book to Children's Hospital. She also recently held a sell a thon of Penelope's Rainy Day Adventures where 100% of proceeds went to Kidd's Kids, a charity that sends terminally ill children and their families to Disneyland. This talented author also has a big heart.

Janelle Rogers is currently working on the second book in the Penelope Series.

I want to share Penelope's Rainy Day Adventures with you! One lucky reader will receive their own copy of the book. Enter below via the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*disclosure- I was in no way compensated for this review nor did I receive any free products. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

The Genealogist's Internet by Peter Christian- Book Review

I have always been super interested in the past, in my roots, in where my family came from. This can be attributed either to the fact that I don't know my biological father or his side of the family or my paternal grandpa or his side of the family OR it may be that I feel so deeply rooted in the history of my Great Grandmother's German family, that I ache to know where else I came from. After my Great Grandma passed away 6 years ago, my interest in genealogy grew and I started on an adventure to finding out things from time periods I would have never imagined being able to dig up!

I recently had the opportunity to check out The Genealogist's Internet by Peter Christian. This book is written for British people looking to get started in Genealogy, so I wasn't sure if it would apply to me at all since I am in the United States (although I do have British roots! :)) but I was pleasantly surprised to see tons of resources that could be of use to us here in the United States as well. In the book, there are many resources listed, both free and those that you have to pay for. The best way to start is with the free resources and work your way up from there.  Although this book is a great resource for those just beginning their family history searches, it is also a great resource for those of us who have been researching for a while, as it contains accurate links to the newest resources available on the web. It discusses everything from how to find military records and census records to local history and geography. The book also explains how to use search engines to optimize your searches and get the best results for what you are looking for. This is probably the most comprehensive book on Genealogy that I have come across. I highly recommend The Genealogist's internet to anyone interested in finding out about their family history and roots.

*Disclosure- I received a free copy of The Genealogist's Internet via NetGalley. I was not required to render a positive review. All opinions stated are 100% my own. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Discounts on My Gym + Enter to win a free year long membership!

If you have been around this blog for long, you know that I find health and fitness to be some of the things at the top of my priority list. It isn't always possible to get that work out in at the gym, but My Gym wants to make that just a little bit easier...

Voting in the presidential election is is voting for your family's fitness. Exercise your child's right for fun-filled activities, gymnastics, sports and more. Take advantage of one of these amazing offers and you'll be entered to win My Gym free for a year!!

  • Enroll for 2 months get the 3rd month FREE
  • Enroll for 4 months get the 5th month FREE plus Free Lifetime Membership
  • Enroll for 6 months get 2 more months FREE plus Free Lifetime Membership
  • Enroll for 9 months get 3 more months FREE plus Free Lifetime Membership

*disclosure- I received no monetary compensation for this post, however I will receive a gift pack from My Gym for helping get the word out about this campaign. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Boogie Wipes Review + Giveaway

As the weather gets cooler, the colds become more prominent. I know my little guys have been fighting a cold for the last week and a half, but we were ready to fight it with Boogie Wipes. Before I used Boogie Wipes, I had wondered how comfortable a wipe wet with saline could be for a little nose. The answer is MUCH more comfortable than a tissue. We will never go back. My twin boys, who are 3, have been much more willing to have their noses wiped with the Boogie Wipes. They even ask to have their noses wiped! I am one of those weird moms that tries everything I use on my kids and learned that I too prefer the Boogie Wipes to tissue. They come in two great scents- Grape and Fresh Scent. My kids don't seem to prefer one scent over the other, but I like the fresh scent the best. Not only do the Boogie Wipes not dry out the nose, they make wiping little noses much easier, since the saline helps get those tough dry boogers off of little noses.

Learn More about Boogie Wipes
Connect with Boogie Wipes on Facebook
Connect with Boogie Wipes on Twitter

One lucky reader will win the prize pack pictured above which includes a package of grape boogie wipes, samples of fresh scent boogie wipes which also includes coupons and Kandoo hand sanatizer. Enter below via the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure- I am a Saline Ambassador and have received free samples to use myself and to give to others as well. All opinions stated are 100% my own. 

Keurig Vue Giveaway!

Mom Powered Media presents a Keurig Vue V700 Giveaway!

Prize Sponsored by American Family

The perfect way to warm you up just in time for the cold weather to come!

US Only - Ends October 29, 2012 @ 11:59pm EST

It’s free to join American Family and if you sign up to join them through this event you will also receive a free e-book filled with Fall Harvest recipes to complement your coffee with your new Keurig! One can never have enough recipes for fall! 

EARN BONUS POINTS FOR THE GIVEAWAY just for signing up for the the awesome e-book!

About the Keurig Vue V700 {$229 Retail Value}

The Keurig® Vue® V700 Brewing System gives you total control to brew your way: stronger, bigger, hotter and with more choices than ever before. With an interactive Touchscreen and revolutionary new Custom Brew Technology™ Vue® ensures every beverage is brewed to perfection, giving you perfect results – every cup, every time. 8 brew sizes, removable 74oz water reservoir and your choices are nearly limitless. In addition to coffee, tea, hot cocoa and iced beverages, Vue® brews delicious café and specialty beverages as well. This product is BPA free. Now you can fully customize your cup of coffee, tea, hot cocoa, iced beverage, specialty or café beverage to brew what you love, the way you love it – every time! Now for the fun go and enter the giveaway on the rafflecopter below for this awesome Keurig Vue V700 brewing system for the chance to enjoy some warm and toasty moments compliments of this prize. Remember you can earn more points if you sign up for the American Family Harvest Recipes E-book! Please remember to only claim the entries you’ve actually followed through on as we will verify entries. Anyone who claims entries they did not follow through on will have all entries disqualified and may be disqualified from future events. Thanks for keeping it fair for everyone! Open to US residents 18 years of age and over only.

Who wouldn't LOVE to have a Keurig? This is such a neat coffee brewing system and so easy and convenient to use!

Now go & enter and GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure- I received no compensation for this publication and all opinions are 100% my own and my differ from those of your own. Cristi's Reviews is not responsible for a sponsor who does not fulfill prize shipments.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hear Me by Kyle Sherman Review & Giveaway

There is nothing more uplifting than a worship cd.  I was excited to learn of an opportunity to not only review Kyle Sherman's new worship CD Hear Me, but to also be able to give one away to one lucky reader as well!

I really have enjoyed this cd. It is very mellow and Sherman has a lovely, soothing voice- something I very much enjoy in worship music especially. This cd would be a great album to put on when you need to clear your head, want to listen to something uplifting or even on the way to church to get you in the groove of things! I think Kyle Sherman is very talented and I love that he is a fellow Texan. I particularly liked track number 5 All Things New (Hallelujah) and track number 8 One True Friend, although I would listen again to any song on Hear Me again.

Album Bio:

Fort Worth-based songer-songwriter Kyle Sherman recently signed on as the flagship artist to brand new label RayLynn Records, an opportunity that presented itself during a time period when a record deal wasn't even on his radar.

"It's crazy how God works," Kyle says. "Five years ago, I pushed pretty hard to do my own thing as a singer-songwriter, but every well I approached would dry up. It clearly wasn't the right time." So Kyle continued on a path of leading worship, taking a full-time role as worship leader at Lifechurch.TV's Forth Worth campus under the leadership of renowned pastor/author Craig Groeschel.

Just 3 years later Kyle made it back to Nashville, pouring his heart into a microphone at Sony studio with veteran producer and country singer-songwriter Mark Collie making his first album. God is faithful. Hear Me, the result of those sessions, is an eclectic and authentic mix of rootsy, southern soul.

Hear Me will be released on October 9.

For my information on Kyle Sherman or Hear Me check out his website and Youtube channel
Enter below via the Rafflecopter for your chance to win a copy of the CD!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer- I received a complimentary copy of the cd mentioned above in hopes that I might mention it on my blog. All opinions stated are 100% my own. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Book Lovers Limited Edition Cravebox Review

When Cravebox first mentioned that they would be doing limited edition boxes, I really hoped that they would do a box that somehow involved a novel! I was so happy to see recently that there was going to be a book lover's box and I was ecstatic to discover that I would be one of the lucky ones to receive one. I was unsure of what they might include in the box, even though they post hints for the boxes on both Twitter and Facebook where I follow them, so this one was definitely a complete surprise to me! The novel included was How I Came to Sparkle by Kaya McLaren. I have never heard of the book or the author, but the cover and the plot synopsis definitely intrigued me. I have already read a little bit of it and it seems like a really good, albeit kind of heart wrenching story. Of course, the book retails for $13.73 (on so already the box is worth more than the cost ($11 in this case)

There were a few other things included in the box- A bag Crum Creek's soy nut trail mix, a full size bag of Natural Vine's red licorice- which I MUST say is the BEST licorice I have ever tasted and I am usually not a fan. The taste was just so sweet yet tangy and I love that it has all natural ingredients! My kids enjoyed them with me. My poor husband, who is the biggest licorice fan in the house, did not get a single one, they were gone by the time he got home, something that often happens when you have 3 kids and one bag of treats! haha! There was also a neat bracelet included in the bag. The point of the bracelet  which has the word gratitude spelled out on it in beads, is that each day you take the time to be greatful for 10 things. I think it is an awesome idea. Another cool thing is that they suggest you use the packaging for a bookmark, which has come in handy to keep my place in How I Came to Sparkle Again!

I think this was a great box overall. I would love to see Cravebox include more book lovers boxes in the future!

*Disclaimer- I was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions stated are 100% my own. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Glade Expressions Collection Review

My Pineapple & Mangosteen Oil Diffuser
in the guest bathroom
There is just something so inviting about a nice smelling house. I love having people over for parties and get togethers and I want them to feel like my house is warm, cozy and inviting. I always have some kind of scented something going at all times in my house. That's why I was excited to get an invite from Bzzagent to try the new Glade Expressions fragrance mists and oil diffusers. I knew right away that I would want to try the Fuji Apple and Cardamom Spice scent, it just sounded like the perfect scent for fall. Unfortunately for me, it seems everyone else thought so as well and got to them first! I couldn't find that scent anywhere anywhere. I settled for Cotton & Italian Mandarin for the fragrance mist and Pineapple & Mangosteen for the oil diffuser and if I am being honest, I was a little weary that I wouldn't like either one. My husband also thought they sounded like odd combos. I got home and sprayed the Cotton & Italian Mandarin Spray immediately and fell in love. It is a scent like any other spray I have ever had and believe me, I have had quite a few! I love that it has a clean smell (which makes me feel more motivated to actually clean the house! haha) but it also has that small touch of citrus that gives it a unique flair. This will most likely be my go to scent in this collection- although I do still want to try the apple and cardamom if I can ever find it!! I put the oil diffuser in my downstairs bathroom and really liked the way it ended up smelling too. I look the wood like appearance of this particular diffuser holder and loved the tropical feel of it. It is definitely strong on the pineapple, so you would probably would need to be a fan of the smell of pineapple to appreciate this one. The scent in these diffusers is awesome, it is strong, but not overpowering. I have had mine going for about 3 weeks now and the scent is just now starting to give out (they are meant to last 30 days and I say that is pretty spot on.) I loved the diffuser so much, I went back and bought another one for my kids bathroom upstairs. I got Lavender & Juniper Berry. It is also another great scent. I don't think there is a bad scent in this collection! I will definitely continue to use Glade Expressions! Best of all, they are completely affordable! I have not seen the oil diffuser cost more than $8 and have seen it on sale several different times at Target. The sprays are just a few bucks and go a long way, so both products are definitely the price you pay for them. I would highly recommend Glade Expressions to anyone who likes their home to smell amazing!!

*Disclaimer- I received complimentary products for Glade Expressions via Bzzagent in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to render a positive review. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury- Cookbook review

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has received a lot of attention in the last few years. People that want to add more healthy grains to their diet, or just have a different sort of flavor definitely want to try quinoa. It is known as one of nature's superfood powerhouses! I first discovered it on the shelf at my local Sprouts. By far the coolest thing about quinoa is it's versatility. You can use it for nearly anything from a replacement for rice to a gluten free flour for baked goods. It's flavor is a bit on the nutty side and it comes in several different forms- seeds, flakes or flour. Quinoa is a fantastic grain for vegans, vegetarian, flexitarians and anyone affected by a gluten intolerance.

Quinoa is popular for it's massive amounts of protein- it includes all of the essential amino acids humans need. It is also naturally gluten free, which makes it a great option for people with Celiac Disease or gluten or wheat sensitivities. Something that I find really interesting about quinoa is that it is being hailed as a food of the future- because of it's hardiness and high yield, it is being considered a possible relief crop for battling famine and malnutrition. This coupled along with the fact that it can be grown in almost any condition makes me think that it definitely might be a future key player in fighting hunger.

I have been using quinoa pretty regularly for the past year or so, but was getting kind of bored with my stand by recipes, so I was super excited to come across Camilla V Saulsbury's 500 Best Quinoa Recipes. There are recipes in every category imaginable and it is a great cookbook for quinoa lovers or novices alike. The beginning of the book is devoted to teaching about the different forms of quinoa and different things you can do with it. I love that this book came with some instruction because although quinoa has been a staple in my house for a while, I am always looking for new things to do in the kitchen, so the more I learn about quinoa's versatility the better for my family and the more variety that is in our menu.

We have tried several recipes out of this book over the past few weeks and have enjoyed most everything we have had! Here are some of our families favorites:

Andean Hash
Quinoa Cashew Power Balls
Quinoa Pilaf
Black Bean Quinoa Chipotle Chili
Cinnamon Raisin Cookies
Quinoa Almond Butter Blondies (although I used peanut butter...they were still delicious!)

Here are a few recipes from the book:

Black Bean Quinoa Chipotle Chili (page 184)

No one will ask, “Where’s the beef?” when sampling this incredibly delicious vegetarian dish. Simmering hearty black beans and quinoa with onions, garlic, herbs and spices creates a wonderfully complex chili that’s finished with fresh lime and topped off with tangy yogurt and an assortment of fresh flourishes.

If using the larger 19-oz (540 mL) cans of beans, you may want to add up to 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) vegetable broth or water to thin the chili.

Storage Tip
Store the cooled chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave using the Defrost function. Warm chili in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat.

2 tsp vegetable oil 10 mL
2 cups chopped onions 500 mL
4 cloves garlic, minced 4
3 tbsp chili powder 45 mL
11⁄2 tbsp ground cumin 22 mL
2 tsp dried oregano 10 mL
11⁄2 tsp chipotle chile powder 7 mL
3 cans (each 14 to 19 oz/398 to 540 mL) 3
black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup quinoa, rinsed 250 mL
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) crushed tomatoes 1
3 cups ready-to-use reduced-sodium vegetable 750 mL
or chicken broth (GF, if needed)
1 tbsp finely grated lime zest 15 mL
1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice 60 mL
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup plain Greek yogurt 250 mL
Suggested Accompaniments:
Fresh cilantro leaves
Chopped green onions
Chopped radishes
Crumbled queso fresco

1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, for 6 to 8 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano and chipotle chile powder; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
2. In a small bowl, coarsely mash one-third of the beans with a potato masher or fork. Stir mashed beans, whole beans, quinoa, tomatoes and broth into the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for about 30 minutes to blend the flavors. Stir in lime zest and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with yogurt and any of the suggested accompaniments, as desired.

Makes 8 servings

Excerpted from 500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. Photos by Colin Erricson. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

My twin 3 year old boys were asking for second helpings of the chili. It was a big hit at our house. It was also very filling, like the description above says, you won't even miss the meat!

Quinoa Almond Butter Blondies (page 482)

The brownie has legions of loyal fans, but the blondie has equally steadfast enthusiasts. The reasons are clearer than ever with this quinoa interpretation: a chewy, nutty butterscotch bar, enriched with cashew butter and highly transportable to boot.

Other natural nut or seed butters, such as peanut, almond or sunflower, or tahini, may be used in place of the cashew butter.

Storage Tip
Store the cooled blondies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

• Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
• 8-inch (20 cm) square metal baking pan, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray

11⁄4 cups quinoa flour 300 mL
1 tsp baking powder (GF, if needed) 5 mL
1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt 2 mL
1⁄2 cup unsweetened natural almond butter 125 mL
1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, softened 60 mL
1 cup natural cane sugar or packed light brown 250 mL
1⁄2 cup brown rice syrup or pure maple syrup 125 mL
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (GF, if needed) 5 mL

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa flour, baking powder and salt.
2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat almond butter and butter until fluffy. Beat in sugar and brown rice syrup until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla until smooth. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just blended.
3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 28 to 32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.

Makes 16 blondies

Excerpted from 500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. Photos by Colin Erricson. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. These were so delicious. I love the fact that I can have dessert that isn't too terrible for me and it still tastes really good!!

About the Author: Camilla Saulsbury is a food writer, recipe developer, cooking instructor and fitness trainer! She has been featured on the Food Network, in the New York Times, and on Today and QVC and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She also holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Indian University with a specialization in food studies.
Purchase your own copy of 500 Best Quinoa Recipes!

*Disclaimer- I received a complimentary copy of this book via Robert Rose Publishing. I was not required to render a positive review. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson- Book Review/Blog Tour

About the book:

When pampered Jacqueline Abington plans to secretly marry the family gardener, she asks his sister to take her place on the much anticipated maiden voyage of the Titanic. Tessa Bowen hails from a poor corner of London but has been granted the opportunity of a lifetime- a ticket to sail to America aboard a famed vessel. But there's a catch: she must assume Jaqueline's identity. For the first time in her life, Tessa stays in luxurious quarters, dresses in elegant gowns, and dines with prestigious people. Then a wealthy American man takes an interest in her, and Tessa struggles to keep up the ruse as she begins falling for him. When tragedy strikes, the game is up, and the two women's lives are changed forever.

My thoughts: When I read the plot synopsis above, I KNEW I would have to take part in the Queen of the Waves tour. I have never read a fictional novel that took place aboard the Titanic and this one sounded quite intriguing to me. I love that we got to know the characters pretty well before they even stepped foot on the ship, it made me feel like I really knew these people who were aboard this magnificent ship. What I really loved about this novel were Thompson's great descriptions of the people on the Titanic and the descriptive words used to describe the ship itself. I could easily imagine it in my head and almost felt like I was there myself. I found that there were several interesting relationships to follow in this story which is mostly what held my attention and I also was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen to all of these characters I had come to love when the disaster did finally strike. I read this novel in two days. I could not put it down. I would recommend it to anyone even the least bit interested in historical romance, you will not be disappointed!

See what other bloggers are saying about Queen of the Waves!

Get your own copy of Queen of the Waves!

About the author:

Award-winning author Janice Thompson, who also writes under the name Janice Hanna, has published nearly eighty books for the Christian market, crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historicals, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children's books and more.

She formerly served as vice president of the Christian Authors Network and was named the 2008 Mentor of the Year by the American Christian Fiction Writers. Thompson lives in Spring, Texas, near her for grown daughters and grandchildren. She leads a rich life with her family, a host of writing friends and two mischievous dachshunds.

Celebrate with Janice by entering to win a Kindle Fire!

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Where the Trail Ends by Melanie Dobson
  • Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 17th. Winner will be announced at the American Tapestries Author Chat Facebook Party on 10/18. Connect with authors Janice Thompson and Melanie Dobson for an evening of book chat, trivia and fun! There will also be gift certificates, books, and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Queen of the Waves and Where the Trail Ends and join Janice Thompson and Melanie Dobson on the evening of the October 18th for a chance to connect with the authors and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the books – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!

*Disclaimer- I received a complimentary copy of the book in order to conduct this review, however all opinions stated are 100% my own

Monday, October 1, 2012

September KLUTCHclub Review

I always look forward to getting a KLUTCHclub box in the mail. It is always packed full of so many awesome goodies and I love the that they are geared toward health and wellness. For September's box, they veered more on the wellness side of things with a spa theme. My favorite thing abotu KLUTCHclub that you don't get in other subscription boxes is that they tell you every single item you will be getting for the month before the box ships! I saw right away that Dream Water was going to be one of the items and I knew I would need this box because I have been wanting to try that and there were several other things in the box that I was interested in as well!

Soothing Music CD from Sequoia Records

Zenify Drink

Natural Vitality's Natural Calm Magnesium Powder

Dream Water Sleep Aid & Natural Relaxer. WORKS

Cremo Company's Women's shaving crea,

E-boost natural energy drink powder

Taylor's of Harrogate Tea

EcoTrak Fitness Whole Food Bar. Umm, I think I
could eat one of these every day. YUM!

Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Lip Gloss in Winterberry

Anatomy Naturals Dead Sea Mud Mask

$50 gift card to

There was also a $50 gift card to, but there were so many things in this box, I somehow managed to miss getting a picture of it!

As you can see from even just the 2 gift cards, this box is worth WELL over the actual $16 you pay for it. The very cool thing about KLUTCHclub is that the boxes are consistently worth over $100 and there is usually a good amount of full sized products. I always find at least a few new things that I love in my KLUTCHclub box!

Since today is October 1, a new box is available and it looks ridiculously awesome. The theme for this month's box is "Surviving the Holidays" and looks like another home run! If you are not a KLUTCHclub member yet, you are truly missing out! You can choose to buy your boxes 1 month at a time for $18 per month, buy a subscription for 3 months for $17 per month or join for a year's worth of boxes for $16 per month!

If you are a guy reading this thinking "okay, but some of this stuff is kinda girlie!" Good news! Last month KLUTCHclub introduced a KLUTCHclub Man box, designed specifically with you in mind!

Head on over the KLUTCHclub today and start receiving your boxes, always filled to the top, always with new, great products to try!

Disclaimer- I was not compensated in any way for this review nor did I receive any free products. All opinions stated are 100% my own.