Monday, October 28, 2013

An Untamed Heart by Lauraine Snelling (Book Review)

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book:

Twenty-year-old Ingeborg Strand is certain she is destined to be an old maid. It's not that she's lacked suitors, but now she no longer can have the one she loved.

With the future looking bleak,  her mother suggests that she leave Norway and start fresh in America, as so many others have done before her. But how will she accomplish that with little money and no one to accompany her?

Roald Bjorkland is  a widower who has been planning to go to America, lured by the promise of free land. He's a good man, a hard-working man-with a young son  who desperately needs a mother. Ingebor can tell Roald is interested in her, but what about love? This isn't how she's always imagined it.

Ingeborg Strand has a heartrending decision to make...

My thoughts:

I hadn't read any of the Red River of the North series that An Untamed Heart is a prequel to, but the plot sounded interesting so I thought I would give it a try. I thought that the back cover plot synopsis sounded intriguing which is why I picked up this book in the first place, but as I got into the book, I forgot what was to happen (Ingeborg losing her true love) and I got very attached to a character that we had to say goodbye to. Nils was a mess at the beginning of the book, but through the fate of meeting Ingeborg he grew as a person and I grew to love him quite a bit. A good portion of the book is about Ingeborg and Nils, which probably wouldn't be difficult for someone who has perhaps read some of the books in the Red River of the North series, but for me it was. Roald doesn't really come into the picture until the very end of the book, but that does make me want to read the series to see what becomes of him and of Ingeborg. I was excited to see that the first book in the series An Untamed Land is currently free on so I downloaded it to continue following Ingeborg's story. I think many people can relate to having loved and lost and Ingeborg is a great character, someone you grow attached to quite easily which makes wanting to read other books in the series very desirable. Overall, I really liked this book. I enjoyed learning about Ingeborg's life in Norway and I look forward to following her adventures and life in America. I would recommend An Untamed Heart to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

About the author:

Lauraine Snellings has published over 70 books. Her Norwegian heritage lead her to pen An Untamed Land. She and her husband Wayne have 2 grown sons and a Basset Hound named Winston.

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An Untamed Heart is now available on

Friday, October 25, 2013

MASH Up Conditioning- Tempo Workout DVD Review

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the Tempo Workout DVD in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

I was so excited to be offered the opportunity to review one of MASH Up Conditioning's workout videos because I am a huge fan of high intensity interval training. If you don't know what HIIT is, it's basically working out at a big level for a shorter amount of time. The idea is that if you work out all of your muscle groups at one time, the impact of the workout will be greater. I have been a fan of HIIT workouts since I discovered them and they are truly the most effective thing for me as far as losing weight and toning up. MASH Up Conditioning's high intensity workouts are great because as the trainers go through the exercises on the video, they tell you exactly what it is you are working on and why. I love that these videos are geared toward anybody who wants to exercise. There is even a beginner level that pregnant women can continue to do through their pregnancy. I know a lot of mine friends are always searching for exercises they can do while expecting, so to me, that is a pretty cool feature. (Always check with your doctor before beginning a new work out routine!) There is also a person doing intermediate versions of the exercises and of course someone doing the advanced version. They are all 3 doing the workouts at the same time, which is cool because you can kind of switch back and forth between the routines. If something is too hard for you in the intermediate level, you can step down to the beginner for that exercise or if something is easy peasy you can give the advanced exercise a try. These workouts are 15 minutes long. Since there are several videos to choose from, you could combine them for a longer workout if you wanted or you could do one in the morning and one in the evening. The way the M A SH Up dvd is set up, you can truly adjust working out to fit into your unique schedule.

I found the exercises to be both fun and doable. I also found that they worked my body out well. I could definitely feel the burn and worked up a good sweet. The only thing you need- and they are optional really- are hand weights. You can start out with lighter weights and work your way up to something heavier as your body begins to get used to the workouts. Another thing I really liked that was included with the workout dvd was an eating guide. It is definitely helpful to have a list of the great "clean" foods you can eat to best optimize your workouts...and your health in general. Finally, the thing that made me most excited about MASH Up is that it was started by two moms (north Texans might I add!) that understand that we as moms sometimes do not have a ton of time to fit extra things into our schedules and created this fitness company with that in mind.

I really enjoyed the Tempo workout and I know I will be utilizing it for my workout routine quite often. MASH Up Conditioning also offers three other work outs that are taught by MASH Up Conditioning certified instructors at gyms. They have been featured in Dr. Mercola's newsletters and will be guest author for an article that will be coming out in the next week or so. If you don't know who Dr. Mercola is, he is one of the big leaders in natural medicine and is a huge advocate of health and wellness, so to even be mentioned by him is a huge deal!

If you are interested in Mash Up Conditioning dvds, you can get them at the Mash Up Conditioning website. You can also mention these awesome workouts to your favorite instructor at your gym to see about making these classes available at your gym!

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About the trainers:

Jamie Zacharias

Registered Nurse, MSN, Nurse Practitioner, Cooper Certified Instructor & Personal Trainer, Collegiate Athlete & Marathon Runner

Jamie has been in the health and fitness industry for 11 years and is a proud mother of 2 and devoted wife. She has been involved with personal training and group exercise at numerous facilities. As a Nurse Practitioner, she has worked in medical weight loss and chronic disease, and has served in academia. She is passionate about helping others achieve and maintain optimal wellness improving their health and be able to better serve where they are called to in life.

Stacy Redwine

BS Exercise Phyisiology & Pre Physical Therapy, MA Missiology, ACE Certified Instructor & Personal Trainer, Collegiate Athlete & Marathon Runner
Stacy has been personal training and lead fitness classes all over the country for 15 years and is a proud mother of 5 and devoted wife. She has owned her own fitness studio and has authored several fitness DVD’s. She is passionate about showing others how to fit physical activity into every lifestyle, helping others look and feel their best because healthy living is a vital part of their life, spiritual well-being and stewardship of God’s amazing gift to us, our physical bodies.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Can't-Wait Willow by Christy Ziglar Book Review + Giveaway

*Disclosure- I was provided a copy of the book from the publisher via Flyby Promotions in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to render a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book:

Willow is so excited that the Over-the-Top Circus has finally come to town! The only problem is, that when left to her own devices, she can’t say “no” to some good things. On the way to the show, she is distracted by enticing treats and fun that she just can’t turn down. Willow arrives late and is sad to find that, not only has she has run out of time, but money, and she won’t be able to enjoy the pink cotton candy she’s been dreaming of. Willow is given valuable advice and a second chance and is ultimately taught the lesson that sometimes in life you have to say “no” to good things to end up with something great!

My thoughts: 

I was immediately excited about the book because the pictures are so cute! I know for my 3 little ones that what draws them to the book is great illustrations. And of course what keeps them drawn in is a great story and Can't-Wait Willow definitely has both wonderful pictures and a great story. I like that there is a purpose to this story, that it teaches a lesson in patience by highlighting a young girl's journey to the circus and all of the things that she encounters along the way. This book is written in a way that it can speak clearly to young children about making choices and show them why even though something might seem like a good decision in a moment, maybe something better will happen if we practice patience. We've had Can't-Wait Willow in our house for a little over a week and my kids have asked for it as their bed time story pretty much every night since it arrived. What I love most about this book is that it is the first in a series of book brought to you by Shine Bright Kids. This series will teach life skills and character traits such using good judgment, taking responsibility, self-control, having a positive attitude, and demonstrating perseverance. Check out the Shine Bright Kids website for free reward charts, activities and other parenting resources. I would recommend this book and checking out the Shine Bright series to parents of toddlers, pre-schoolers and young elementary age children.

About the author:

Christy Ziglar, financial planner, mother of twins and niece of legendary motivator and the world’s original optimist, Zig Ziglar, is bringing the same timeless wisdom and ageless advice to an entirely new, younger audience through her new Shine Bright Kids picture book series. 

About the illustrator:

Luanne Marten has been drawing, painting and sketching since she was Willow's age. For this book, she especially loved depicting Willow's changing emotions through her expressions and body language. Luanne holds a BFA in illustration and graphic design from the University of Kansas and has illustrated dozens of children's books. The mother of four grown sons, Luanne lives in the Kansas City area and enjoys reading, sewing, and playing the piano. Like Willow, she loves cotton candy.

Can't Wait Willow is now available at

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Warner Bros. Spook-Tacular App + Win a Spook-Tacular DVD

*Disclosure of material connection- I am working with Warner Bros. to bring you this promotion. Giveaway prize will be provided by them.

Halloween is such a fun holiday, especially after you have kids. I know I enjoy helping my kids pick out their costumes, get ready to go trick or treating and we love finding as many Fall festivals to go to as we can the weekend before or after Halloween to get the most out of our costumes! Warner Bros. has a great assortment of Spook-Tacular Halloween movies for you and your family to enjoy together. Titles available include:

• Scooby-Doo! 13 Spooky Tales: Run for your Rife!
• Regular Show – Fright Pack (V4)
• It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Deluxe Edition
• Tom and Jerry: Tricks and Treats
• Bugs Bunny’s Howl-oween
• Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King
• Tom and Jerry: Halloween Hijinks
• Sesame Street: Elmo Says Boo!
• Adventure Time – Jake the Dad (V5)

Check out the Warner Bros. Spook-Tacular App below. Find out which spooky family you are (are you all about the pumpkins like me? or something else?). After you take the fun quiz, download the Spook-Tacular Story Time PDF and write a spooky story of your own and don't forget to pick up copies of your favorite Warner Bros. Spooky movies because, really, what's Halloween without "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown"?

Enter Below via the Rafflecopter for your chance to win a copy of one of the awesome Spook-Tacular dvd's from Warner Bros. mentioned above!

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Better Homes & Gardens Baking (Cookbook Review)

*Disclosure- I received a complimentary copy of the book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book:

This all-new and gorgeous edition of Better Homes and Gardens Baking (the first major all-purpose BH&G baking title published since 1998) is a compendium of irresistible cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, cobblers, pastries, and breads—from everyday sweets to special-occasion show-stoppers. It has everything you need to bake fuss-free and with delicious results for bake sales, cookie swaps, birthday parties, holiday tables, or just because you’re in the mood to bake. You'll find:
More than 400 recipes for luscious baked goods such as Cinnamon Rolls (with four fun shape variations), Raspberry French Silk Pie Bars, and Herbed Boule More than 250 photos showcase the recipes and clarify techniques Chapter-opener features with classic recipes that teach secrets to baking success Make-It-Mine recipes with choices to help you adapt to your taste, convenience, and occasion Make-It-Mini guides to help bakers turn out scrumptious sweets in smaller sizes This will surely be the go-to baking reference and inspiration for years to come.

My thoughts:

There is pretty much nothing I would rather be doing in my free time than baking, so an entire book from Better Homes & Gardens devoted to just that was right up my alley. I love to bake anything- cookies, pies, cakes, breads or whatever else- I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen and this book is full of any kind of baking recipe you could possibly think of. Not only does it contain endless recipes for desserts and other baked goods, there are also tips and techniques offered to help you make the best of your time baking. I am sure we have all been there- a sheet of cookies are flat when they are supposed to be round and chewy or something didn't rise the way it should have- Better Homes & Gardens Baking offers advice on why you need to do what with each ingredient needed and how to bake at your very best. I love that the very first chapter breaks down everything about baking and how to get the results you want with what you've set out to accomplish in the kitchen. The following chapters are very well organized with fourteen different chapters included everything from your run of the mill cookies, cakes, and cupcakes to down home favorites like pies and tarts and specialty categories such as breads and holiday baking. Something I always find helpful in cookbooks is pictures so I know what the final product should look like and this cookbook definitely does not disappoint in that arena. Not only are their pictures of the final products of the recipes, but there are pictures in the techniques chapter to break down exactly what you need to do and how.

Standout recipes include (but are certainly not limited to):

  • Make-it-mine Oatmeal Cookies
  • Salted-Chocolate Caramel Rounds
  • Lime Zingers
  • Coconut Macaroons
  • Dulce de Leche Fluff Brownies
  • Fudge Ripple Pecan Brownies
  • Cherry Kuchen Bars
  • Classic Pumpkin Pie
  • Key Lime Tart
  • Saucy Apple Dumplings
  • Make-it-mine Cobbler
  • Opera Cake
  • Butterscotch Marble Cake
  • Make-it-mine Whoopie Pies

I can not sing the praises of this cookbook enough. This would make a perfect addition to anyone's kitchen- from the beginning baker to the more advanced experimentalist. This is one I will definitely get a hard copy of for my own cookbook collection.

Better Homes & Gardens Baking is now available on

Sunday, October 13, 2013

GattiTown Frisco Kicks of Daily Specials Beginning October 14!

*Disclosure- I will receive complimentary buffets for my family from GattiTown for sharing this promotion with my readers, however all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

I had never been to a GattiTown until we moved almost two years ago and now there happens to be one right down the road from our house. The first thing I thought was that I wish I had known about this place sooner! There are interesting games to play, there is even a little bowling lane that my kids enjoy and we enjoy playing with them and there is a fun boat ride- kind of a tame indoor version of the Conquistador at Six Flags, that is perfect for little ones. There are also many video games, an air hockey table, bumper cars, a carousel and several other family friendly games to choose from at the Midway. There is really a ton to do at GattiTown and I love that there is a buffet instead of having to order pizzas, it really does save some money for us. The buffet includes many kinds of baked pastas, pizzas, a full salad bar, freshly baked desserts and a variety of beverages! Best of all, it is all hot and ready to be eaten by you the second you and your family walk into the door! Beginning October 14 (tomorrow!) GattiTown Frisco will offer even more savings for family's visiting their facility with some wonderful daily specials.

  • Mondays: Moms Eat FREE with the purchase of a kid's buffer (10 & under)
  • Tuesdays: 1/2 Priced Games
  • Wednesdays: Kids Eat Free with the purchase of an adult buffet
If Monday-Wednesday aren't good days for you to visit, no worries, my readers receive one adult meal, one kid's meal, and one $10 game card for $16.99 + tax anytime when using this printable coupon! (not valid with any other special offer) That's less than $20 for two meals and $10 worth of games!

GattiTown is more than just great pizza and food, it's fun for the whole family!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pizza, Bread & More- Delicious Recipes for More Than 100 Italian Recipes (Cookbook Review)

*Disclosure- I received a free copy of the book from Taunton Press via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book:

Direct from Italy’s best chefs, here are authentic recipes from every province of the countryside, all featuring easy-to-follow cooking instructions. Traditional bakery favorites such as rolls, focaccia, and flatbreads are all included, with tried-and-true techniques for great results—even if this is your first try at making bread. There are also recipes for a mouthwatering range of calzones, and pizzas of every shape and size: Savor the fresh flavors of the Buffalo Mozzarella-topped Pizza, sample the light, tangy Arugula and Parmigiano-Reggiano Pizza, or revel in recipes for such classics as Four-Cheese, Pepperoni, and Neapolitan-style pizza. Each recipe is developed and tested in the test kitchens of the Academia Barilla’s own cooking institute, and each wonderful dish is bursting with the rich, sunny flavors of Italy.

My thoughts:

If you like cooking from scratch, you will absolutely love this cookbook. I have always wanted to create pizzas from scratch and there are several bread and other dough recipes that I also don't mind having around. This book is set up nicely. The first chapter is full of tons of pizzas, pretty much any pizza you can think of is included- and if it isn't, you could easily adapt any most of these recipes. Stand outs in this chapter include onion pizza, four cheese pizza, ham and mushroom pizza and four seasons pizza. These are but a glimpse of the many recipes to be found here. The second chapter is devoted to flatbreads and focaccia. I am a huge flatbread fan and there is not a bad recipe to be found here. I will be trying each and every one. The next section contains recipes for bread and rolls. There are loves and rolls and many things in between. There are also several recipes here for crackers and breadsticks, and not just your run of the mill fare. Several of the cracker recipes are bursting with flavor such as the orange, sage and pistachio crackers, the oregano crackers or the wine crackers. There are also a few gluten free roll recipes included, which I really appreciated. The final chapter of the book focuses on specialty recipes. Some of the recipes I found the most interesting were fried dough, saffron croissants and several fruit brioche recipes. Pizza, Bread & More is a book for both beginners and more advanced cook. There are some basic recipes and then there are some that could be considered a little intimidating that you will need to work your way up to. I would recommend this cookbook to anyone who is a fan of cooking from scratch or just enjoys being in the kitchen trying something new.

Pizza, Breads & More is now available on

Friday, October 11, 2013

Audrey Bunny by Angie Smith- Book Review & Giveaway!

*Disclosure- I received a complimentary copy of the book from B&H Publishing via Flyby Promotions. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book:

From best-selling women’s author Angie Smith (I Will Carry You, Mended) comes this sweet children’s book about a stuffed animal named Audrey Bunny who fears her imperfections make her unworthy of a little girl’s love. She'll learn the truth soon enough, and young readers will learn that everyone is special and wonderfully made by God.
My thoughts:

The first thing I noticed about this book was the darling illustrations. This is probably the cutest book I have ever seen. I especially enjoyed the sketches at the beginning and end of the book. Breezy Brookshire is extremely talented and I will certainly look up more of work! Audrey Bunny is the sweet tale of a stuffed bunny who feels like no one will ever take her home because she is different than the other stuffed animals and feels like she will stay at the bottom of the toy barrel in the toy store forever. Audrey is surprised when a little girl named Caroline picks her out to take home for her birthday. Audrey Bunny thinks it is because Caroline didn't notice her difference and tries to hide it throughout the entire book, only to find out in the end that Caroline picked her out for the very reason she was afraid she wouldn't. I thought this was a sweet little story and I think it is very important to teach our kids that everyone is different. Audrey Bunny has a little mark over her chest that she is afraid she is going to be judged because of. This book is a great way to introduce the concept of accepting and celebrating the differences of others, that we are all different, but all unique and special in our own ways. The book also includes the Parent Connection page at the end that gives Bible verses to tie into the lesson and discussion questions to open up a conversation with your kids. My 5 year old daughter loved this book and I know it is one that we will read often.

About the author:

Angie Smith is the wife of Todd Smith (lead singer of award-winning group Selah) best-selling autor of Mended, I Will Carry You and What Women Fear, and one of the most popular speakers and blog writers in the country. She holds a Master's degree in Developmental Psychology from Vanderbilt University and lives with her husband and daughters in Nashville, Tennessee. Check out Angie's blog at

About the illustrator: 

 Breezy Brookshire is the illustrator behind Clementine Pattern Co., Noble Rose Press, and The Breezy Tulip Studio. She shares a home studio with her sister Emily Rose, and lives wit her family in Marion, Indiana.

Stay Connected:

Audrey Bunny Book Trailer
B&H Publishing Group on Facebook
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B&H Publishing Group on Pinterest

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Little Book of Great Dates by Dr. Greg & Erin Smalley (Book Review)

Disclosure- I received a free copy of the book from Tyndale House Publishers via the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

I think that anyone in a relationship, especially in a marriage, knows how important it is to give each other our time. When we add kids into the mix, that becomes super hard and sometimes gets put to the side. Our children need to see us have a good relationship with our spouse, and I think it is particularly important that they see us try to have time as husband and wife without the kids in tow. Working on our relationship with our spouse should be a good example to them of how a marriage should work and important part of a marriage is keeping connected with one another.

Sometimes it is hard carving out the time to just be together with your spouse one on one. Sometimes it is just mundane doing the same old dinner and movies date, so I was super excited to have the opportunity to read the Little Book of Great Dates by Dr. Greg & Erin Smalley. I thought it was appropriate that this was written by a husband and wife team, since it is meant to bring couples together. This little book (it's a pocket sized little treasure you could certainly keep on the nightstand) is packed with 52 creative date night ideas. Some are more creative than others, but all are designed to get husband and wife talking, reminiscing, planning for the future, enjoying each other's company and learning new things about one another. My husband and I do not have the means to have a date night every week at this moment, but some of these could easily be done at home and if not, I have dog eared many pages of the dates I found to be the most interesting. I plan to have my husband go through it as well and tell me which ones he would like to do the most! The book is intended to start at the beginning of the year with the first date idea and progress until you have come to the end of that year. I am excited to begin these dates with my husband, so I will probably start with the ones I am most interested in and then begin again with the first one in the book in January. I would highly recommend this little book full of great dates to any married couple seeking to stay connected and enjoy each other's company to the full extent. I don't want to give away the date nights here, so you will be surprised when you read the book yourself! I have to say with the holidays coming up, that this little book is the perfect size to fit in your spouse's stocking. :)

You can purchase a copy of Little Book of Great Dates on

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Riunite Ultimate Chili Challenge- Win a Trip to the Super Bowl!

Football season is in full swing. I live in Texas so that means there are always huge crowds gathered at someone's house on Sunday afternoons screaming at the tv passionately and of course eating great game day food. Texas is known as the birth place of chili (shout out to San Antonio!) which kind of goes hand and hand with football gatherings! Of course, the popularity of chili spread like wild fire (well, I am assuming that really, but I believe it to be so) all over the country. Pretty much everyone has their own special chili recipes or what they believe to be the perfect chili. How about a chance to prove your chili truly is THE BEST?

Riunite wines is running a nation wide chili cook-off contest. The competition will take place in cities across the United States including Detroit, Baltimore, Pheonix, Boston & Tampa with the national finals to be held in Dallas, TX. The first stop in Detroit, Michigan will be on Sunday, October 27th and the last stop before the national finals in Texas will be on November 17 in Tampa, Florida. Those who's chili wins in their region will compete in the final on December 15th at the awesome AT&T Stadium, home of America's Team- The Dallas Cowboys. (As a north Texan, I have to mention our boys!) The winner will not only receive bragging rights about their chili, they will also receive a trip for 4 to the Big Game in February to New York City! The grand prize includes:

  • 4 Nights at a deluxe hotel in New York City (2 rooms)
  • Round trip economy-class airfare to NYC
  • Tickets to the big game on Feb 2, 2014
  • Pre-game hospitality
  • Interactive fan zone tickets
  • a $250 pre-paid gift card
  • Deluxe gift bags

Think you have what it takes? Register to participate in the Ultimate Chili Challenge here!

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Friday, October 4, 2013

A Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer Book Review & Blog Tour + Win a Kindle HDX for You AND a Friend!!

*Disclosure- I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Litfuse Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book:

Rose turned her back on the man she loves after he assisted the Englisch during World War II---only to discover she's an Englischer herself. Born in the midst of the hardships of The Great Depression, Rose grew up in Berlin, Ohio, in the arms of a loving Amish family. But she is overwhelmed by self-doubt when she learns that she was born Englisch and abandoned when her family moved West in search of work. Was she meant to be Amish or would she have been better off growing up with her own
kind---Englischers? When the man she loves leaves her behind, Rose is certain he left for good. Yet Rose discovers sometimes our greatest gifts are the ones we fear.

My thoughts:

This was the first Amish fiction novel I have read that wasn't set in the present day and I thought one of the coolest things about this story was- it didn't matter. It read the same. The Amish are the same now as they were then. While this was not a surprise, I still found it refreshing that a group of people could remain largely unchanged generations later. As usual, we could certainly learn a thing or two from the Amish. A Christmas Gift for Rose was an interesting story altogether. Through a confession or her mother's Rose learns that she is actually adopted and not Amish by birth which causes her some huge struggles. Is she even truly Amish since she wasn't born that way? Did she have any right to judge her former beau Jonathan chose to go off to war (even though he didn't fight or break any of his Amish beliefs while there)? I really liked this story. It brought to mind something I would have never thought of- how would the surrounding Englishers feel when the Amish chose not to participate in a war? I liked following Rose's story and how she grows in just a short amount of time after her mom drops the adoption bombshell on her. It was also interesting to follow Jonathan's thought process and how he felt he needed to do one thing, but was able to stay true to his beliefs while doing so. I think Jonathan is probably more a character I would relate to more than Rose because he feels like he needs to do what he knows in his heart is right, regardless of what might be thought of him. I find the Great Depression time period to be an interesting one, so it was neat to think of it from the prospective of the Amish, something I have never considered when thinking about this time period. I also really enjoyed the protective relationship Rose is on the receiving end of when it comes to her brother, just a few years older than she. It was sweet to see where that began and how it never really stopped. I really enjoyed this novella. It is a great, quick little holiday read. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction or a love story set during Christmastime.

About Tricia Goyer:

USA Today best-selling author Tricia Goyer is the author of over 35 books, including the three-book Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series and "Lead Your Family Like Jesus," (co-written with Ken Blanchard). She has written over 500 articles for national publications and blogs for high traffic sites like and She is the host of Living Inspired, a weekly radio show. Tricia and family live in Little Rock, Arkansas. They have six children.

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A Christmas Gift for Rose is now available for purchase on

                                **********Win a Kindle HDX for you & a friend!**********

Tricia Goyer is celebrating the release of her first Christmas novella, A Christmas Gift for Rosewith a Christmas Gift giveaway! 

Enter to win a NEW Kindle Fire HDX for you AND one for a friend!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX and one to give away to a friend!
  • A Christmas Gift for Rose, by Tricia Goyer for you and your friend!
Four second place winners will receive:
  • A Christmas Gift for Rose Christmas pack (includes a recipe card, bookmark, a signed book plate, discussion questions, and a Gathering & Giving handout!)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. All winners will be announced October 21st at Tricia's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Tricia's blog on the 21st to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Influenster's Good Life VoxBox- Great Products to Get Your Healthy Living On

*Disclosure- I received the Good Life VoxBox in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to render a positive review. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

The Good Life VoxBox

I have received several VoxBoxes from Influester in the few years that I have been a member of their website and I have to say- this one has been one of my favorites- second only to the Mary Kay VoxBox, which will be super hard to top. I am kind of a health nut, so I love discovering new products to enhance that part of my life. The Good Life VoxBox was full of some great health related products, several of which I had never even heard of. Here is what was in the box:

Zone Perfect Greek Yogurt Bars-

Meal replacement bars have been around for a while, but the Greek yogurt craze is a fairly new phenomenon. Zone Perfect took tasty "health" food- Greek yogurt- and coated what may have otherwise been a so-so tasting meal replacement bar with it. The one I received was pretty tasty. Definitely a bar that I would eat again.

Nonni's Thin Addictives-

I loved these! Nonni's Thin Addictives were really tasty biscotti. I thought the texture was perfect and the taste was spot on. This is the kind of healthy snack that you don't mind eating because it almost feels like an indulgence.


I hadn't heard of UrgentRx until I received this box from Influenster. It is a really novel idea. These are effervescent drinks that treat specific ailments- got a headache? There's an UrgentRx for that. Allergies? They have you covered! They also have drink powders for heart burn, critical care and stomach upset. This is definitely a more natural way to treat your ailments. I will definitely be using these more.

New Skin Liquid Band-Aid

I was so excited about this product because my kids and I are constantly getting little cuts and scrapes outside. I happened to have cut my foot the day this box arrived, so I took out the liquid band-aid to try. I put it on right after the cut and boy did it burn when I sprayed it on, but other than that, I was impressed. It kept my wound protected and I forgot all about it. In fact I wondered why there was a little part of my foot that looked so slimy and then I remembered that I had sprayed that on! Next time, I will just wait a little bit before spraying it on so hopefully it won't burn as much, but I really liked the New Skin Liquid Band-Aid.

Vitamin Shoppe Garcinia Cambogia- 

I am usually not a weight loss aid type of person, but Garcinia Cambogia is a natural product and I have heard about it on the Dr. Oz show so I was excited to try it. You take two capsules before each meal. I have definitely noticed a bit of appetite suppression and that this is a great aid to keep the digestive system working well. I even lost a few pounds. I bought a second bottle I liked it so much, so hopefully I will be able to lose a few more.

There was not a product in the Good Life VoxBox that I didn't like. I would recommend any of these products to anyone trying to lead a healthier lifestyle or just is curious about health related products.