Tuesday, January 29, 2013

African Mango Lean- Weight Loss Journey + Giveaway

I have mentioned on this blog several times about my struggles to lose weight. I eat really healthy for the most part, but I have a sweet tooth that gets me in trouble and I am not good about scheduling my time (I have 3 preschool aged children I stay at home with) for working out. I have been taking African Mango Lean to aide in my weight loss and have written about that journey over at Mommy's Favorite Things. Creative Bioscience wants to give another lucky person the chance to win their own 90 day supply of African Mango Lean! Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

As for me, I have lost some of the 15 pounds that I would love to see come off. I want to be at my goal weight by April so I will look fabulous and feel great at a friend's wedding! I just ordered Tony Horton's (you know, the P90X guy!!) new workout plan 10 Minute Trainer and I am hoping it will be just the extra push I need to get those last pounds off. The workouts look intense, but doable and maybe even kind of fun and 10 minutes a day should be a lot easier for me to accomplish! Here's to knowing I CAN do it and to working hard to get there!

*Disclosure- I received one or more of the above mentioned products for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions stated are 100 % my own

Monday, January 28, 2013

Purex Crystals for Baby Review + Giveaway

Not too long ago, I wrote how very impressed our family was with Purex's new liquid baby detergent. It smells so baby fresh and is gentle on all of our sensitive skin. We had previously been using Free & Clear laundry detergent because pretty much everything else makes me break out. Purex has another really cool baby and sensitive skin friendly product out, this time in the form of laundry crystals. I thought the Purex Baby Detergent smelled great, it doesn't even hold a candle to the Purex laundry crystals for baby. The scent is so strong (in a good way) I was just sniffing my little ones shirts all day the first time I used it. And just like the detergent, it is great for sensitive skin and mild enough for even our itty bittiest family members. What I really love about these crystals is that they are dye free and hypoallergenic, two very big must haves for anyone with very sensitive skin.

If you are unfamiliar with laundry crystals, you use them in addition to your regular detergent, so you could use them with Purex baby detergent for a really nice, strong scent or you could use them with a free and clear detergent and still get a wonderful amount of long lasting fresh baby scent on your clothes. It is so nice to have great smelling laundry. I definitely recommend this product to new parents or people like me with sensitive skin. It smells wonderful, works great and doesn't irritate sensitive skin!

Look for Purex Crystals for baby at your local Walmart beginning in early February.

Enter below via the Rafflecopter for your chance to win a bottle of Purex Crystals for Baby. There will be THREE winners! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure- I received one or more of the above mentioned products for free in exchange for my honest thoughts through the Purex Insiders Program. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Abel's Field DVD Review + Giveaway

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

My thoughts: I love a good drama. There is just something about a heart wrenching moving that just calls to be watched. I couldn't help but think throughout this movie that there are likely people going through the same situation as fictional character Seth in real life. I thought this was a great story about a 17 year old boy who was dealt a difficult hand in life and was definitely trying to take care of his sisters. His stubborn nature caused some strife that could have been avoided- when all he needed to do was ask for help. Still, I admire such a young guy trying to be the provider for his younger sisters. Seth also has trouble with members of the football team pushing him around which leads him to an after school job helping school janitor Abel in the field. Seth and Abel's relationship teaches them both great lessons about themselves and others. I thought it was a great movie overall. It wasn't too preachy, but it had easy to understand morals to the story. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a great inspirational drama to watch.

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Abel's Field will be released by AFFIRM Films/Provident Films on January 22, 2013

Enter below via the Rafflecopter for your chance to win a copy of Abel's Field on DVD! 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Resolutions Cravebox Review + Giveaway

As January rolls around, many of us reflect on the past year and think of ways we could improve our well being. Some of us even have New Year's Resolutions that we try to abide by to better ourselves. The first box of the year offered from Cravebox was a Resolutions themed box. And it was full of healthy goodness. I was super impressed and enjoyed most everything in it. Here is the run down of what was included in the box-

  • A sample of Celestial Seasonings Metobalance Tea + a coupon
  • a 12oz can of both A&W root beer and 7UP that are only 10 calories each!
  • a chip clip and a coupon good for a free package of Wholly Guacamole (bonus points: this is a local company to me, based out of Ft. Worth, TX and I love supporting local businesses)
  • 2 coupons for Smart Ones frozen entrees
  • a sampler of CocoaVia drink powders
  • A deluxe sized sample of Pantene Mousse
  • Mary Kay Timewise Repair Eye Cream
  • Perfectly Simple  by Zone Perfect bar
  • Several bars of  SunRype Fruit and Fruit & Grain Bars
My absolute favorite thing out of this box were the SunRype bars. They tasted almost like a thick fruit roll up, but without all of the icky ingredients I would never allow my kids to consume. These bars are made of fruit and they are super tasty. I was kind of bummed I only got to eat one because my kiddos claimed the rest. We will definitely be buying them again in the near future.

I tried the A&W and 7UP 10. We normally aren't huge soda drinkers, but I wanted to compare the difference for this review. The root beer tasted identical to traditional root beer, but I felt like the 7UP was extra sweet.

We love the Wholly company, so I was excited to see a coupon for free guac in this box. My husband and one of my boys eat avocado and guacamole like it's going out of style! I am not a guac fan, but I do love Wholly Salsa. The representative's for this company are often at my local Costco and you couldn't come across nicer people. Their products are awesome because they are comprised of all natural ingredients. I highly recommend Wholly Guacamole and  Wholly Salsa!

I was super excited to see CocoaVia samples in the Resolutions Cravebox because I have been wanting to try it for a while! I have  not got around to it just yet, but I really can't wait!!

Cravebox is a subscription box company that is run a little differently. For each box that they come out with, they will announce the theme and a drawing. If you are interested in the theme of the box, you can enter the drawing and then Cravebox randomly selects people to receive the box. There are some great themes coming up including a Book Lover's Box, A New Mom's box, a Little Ones box and there are currently two boxes that are open for entry- the Zatarain's Big Game Cravebox and the Cooking Light Cravebox. You can enter as many or as few drawings as you want. If you decide to enter a drawing, please tell Cravebox CristiMarashi (that my Cravebox user name) sent you, they have a great referral program as well!

There were a few things in the box that I can't use that I know other people would love, so I wanted to share a chance with my awesome readers to win some awesome Resolutions Cravebox goodies! 1 lucky winner will receive the 2 free coupons for Smart Ones AND the Mary Kay Timewise Eye Repair! Enter via the rafflecopter below for your chance to win!! Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen Book Review/Blog Tour + Downton Abbey Kindle Prize Pack Giveaway!!

Book Summary: Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementos?
The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems-and secrets-of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her...
When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart?

My thoughts: I have read almost every book by Julie Klassen and I have really liked every single one. If you like historical fiction, it is safe to open a Klassen book knowing that you will enjoy it. That said, I think that this has been my favorite from her by far. I really enjoyed the characters. I wasn't sure at the beginning whether I was going to like Henry or not and didn't know if I was going to root for Emma to end up with Philip or with Henry, but just a little into the book I knew that I would be disappointed if things didn't go well for Henry. I enjoyed watching these characters come to life, even if Emma did seem just a tad over dramatic to me. I loved the sense of mystery that was brought to the table as well- something new in Klassen's  bag of tricks. I hope she continues down this path. It was interesting to have a story set in a huge house with proper people revolve around a tutor and his daughter. I loved that the beginning of the book introduces us to some of the things that went on with Henry, Philip and Emma when they were students living at her father's school, so we kind of see how things were in year's prior and see why Emma is not a huge fan of Henry's and is kind of smitten with Philip as a young teenager. It is neat to watch their story unfold as adults. I would highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction. It's another great novel from Julie Klassen, I am almost bummed I read it so quickly because now I have to wait for her to write something new. I was really pleased overall with The Tutor's Daughter.

Check out what other bloggers are saying about The Tutor's Daughter.

About the author:

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Connect with Julie Klassen on Facebook
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Author's Website

Buy The Tutor's Daughter on Amazon.com

Julie is celebrating by giving away one of the new Paperwhite Kindles, Downton Abbey (season 3) and hosting a fun Author Chat Party on Facebook. (January 31st)


One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Paperwhite
  • Downton Abbey, Season 3
  • A Julie Klassen library (The Tutor’s Daughter, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 30th. Winner will be announced at "The Tutor's Daughter Author Chat Party on January 31st. Connect with Julie, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be great giveaways - gift certificates, books and season 3 of Downton Abbey!

So grab your copy of The Tutor's Daughter and join Julie on the evening of the January 31st for a chance to connect with Julie 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 31st!

Disclosure- I received a complimentary copy of the above mentioned book through the publisher via Litfuse. I was not required to render a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

No nonsense- Making Fashion Easy, Fun and affordable

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of No nonsense for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I would like to think that my fashion choices have evolved since I've grown older. I hit the big 3-0 last January (which means 31 is right around the corner! Eek!!) As a teen, I was just such a jeans and t-shirts kind of girl. That was until I discovered the wonderful world of dresses. My mom was such a tom boy the thought of dresses didn't occur to me for a while because I was just never around them. Once I bought one though, my senior year of high school, I fell in love and have had an obsession ever since.
Problem is, these days  I need something that is practical and easy, but I still want to look cute too! Having 3 kids 5 and under to chase around does not leave me much time for shopping or putting outfits together. No nonsense tights and leggings make it easy for me to add a great finishing touch to my favorite dresses. Whether I am wearing something black or neutral and want a pop of color on my legs, or I want textured tights to add another dimension to my look, No nonsense has me covered. They even have tights that help flatten my tummy and help me feel great in my own skin (not easy to a short woman who's torso was ravaged by carrying twins that weighed 6lbs 4oz and 6lbs 10oz, respectively.)
I was so excited to get to try out No nonsense tights! I was sent two pair. The first pair was a black pair of footless cotton tights meant for shaping and hiding. The Great Shapes Cotton Shaping Leggings are a great place to start with an outfit and work around it. Since I received leggings in black, I wanted the dress I wore to have a pattern, so I borrowed a fun floral dress from my little sister (it pay to have a little sister in college!) I felt like my body looked great thanks to these leggings. I even felt skinny for the first time since I had my boys (in 2009!!) You could do so much with these tights. They would also look great with a tunic or a long chunky sweater or with a skirt and cardigan. I love having such a versatile piece in my wardrobe that not only makes me feel good about how I look, but is easy on the pocket book.
The second pair of tights I received for review were my favorite! I normally don't like tights with feet, but these patterned tights are just so adorable and in one of my favorite colors- grey. I would have liked to pair them with a purple dress, but since I didn't have one, I paired them with my second favorite complimentary color to grey- dark blue. I thought the patterned tights looked super cute. The pattern is enough to wear them with a solid dress and they would still help the outfit pop. I wore them with a lace dress and I thought the contrasting fabrics worked nicely together.
I am in love with the grey patterned tights! So cute and feminine!
No nonsense already offers super cute tights and leggings, but now with a partnership with fashion guru Jill Martin, they will be offering great fashion advice. As a brand ambassador, Jill will offer women advice on the latest trends and how to wear No nonsense's colored tights as well as other on trend fashion tips. Look for Jill's advice on No nonsense's Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as videos on the brand's website.

No nonsense offers sensible fashion options at affordable prices. Best of all, they are easy to find! Look for No nonsense tights at your local drug store or mass retail stores. Looking great doesn't have to be expensive!!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I Love My Slow Cooker by Beverly LeBlanc

I don't think it  is possible for me to ever have too many recipes or too many cookbooks. I have a habit of collecting them and my pantry is getting mighty full of them. I like being able to offer my family a variety of meals and like to have plenty of recipes at my disposal. I love slow cooker recipes quite a bit, since I have three pre-school aged children and a very busy husband- it makes me a very busy mom and wife. That makes it great for me when I find ways to cut back time in the kitchen on rather busy days. I think almost every mother and wife has a love affair with her slow cooker and if she doesn't- well- she probably doesn't own a slow cooker, so she doesn't know what she's missing.

The thing that drew me to I Love My Slow Cooker by Beverly LeBlanc was that there was an entire section devoted to vegetarian fare. As the lone vegetarian in a house full of meat lovers, it is great that there is a  book that offers both meat and vegetarian options. I am lucky that my kids will eat both! After I looked into the book, I saw that there were many ethnic recipes, which is a good thing for me because my family really enjoys flavors from around the world. And of course, there is a great chapter on desserts- everyone's favorite! For the beginner who is knew to slow cooking there is an entire section at the beginning devoted to all things slow cooker related. I think this is a great book for a busy mom, a novice cook or even someone who really enjoys cooking and different flavors.

I Love My Slow Cooker on Amazon.com.

*Disclosure- I received an advanced reader's copy from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinons stated are 100% my own.

20 Mule Team Borax Review + Giveaway

I was excited to find out that I would be one of the Purex Insiders to get the chance to review Borax. I have actually already used Borax before, but I really like it and I knew that many of you, my readers, would love it as well.

What is Borax, you might be wondering? It is a 100% natural laundry booster, odor fighter and household cleaner. The main use for it is to use it in your laundry in addition to your regular detergent to fight odor and help with hard water issues. I can definitely tell a difference when I use it in my laundry and we have some hard water where I live. You will notice a difference in how clean your clothes appear when you use Borax to boost your laundry cleaning power!

I have never used Borax as a household cleaner, but since it's 100% natural and I have a box at my house, that is the next thing on my list of things to do with it. On the back of the box, there are several different uses for the product listed. You can clean your pots & pans, your dirt & your bathtubs & toilets your carpets and even your mattresses with Borax. If that weren't enough, you can also use Borax for arts and crafts! My favorite thing to make is Flubber. It's a simple recipe that you can find here and will be hours of fun for you and little ones. Little kids love slimey things, so flubber is right up there alley usually.

Now that I have told you several of the uses for Borax (there are even more than I mentioned!) enter below via the rafflecopter for your chance to win your own box. There will be three winners! a Rafflecopter giveaway *Disclosure- I received the above mentioned product for the purpose of rendering this review via the Purex Insiders program. All opinions stated are 100% my own.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

If You Have a Craving, I Have a Cure by Sheri Rose Shepherd- Review

About the book (from the back cover)-

Do you find yourself constantly thinking about what should not eat, or the things you can not do? We've all been there, and it leaves us feeling deprivedand depressed. Instead of being energized by following Christ, we waste our days feeling bored and burned-out on our faith, while battling the guilt that comes from craving food and other things we enjoy.

In If You Have a Craving, I Have a Cure, bestselling author and speaker Sheri Rose Shepard encourages you to embark on a new adventure with faith and food. She reveals the coaching tips that enabled her to lose over fifty pounds and keep them off, shares specific alternatives to common cravings, and offers fun recipes (for food and for life) in celebration of healthy meals and activities our God created for us to enjoy. It's time to let go of guilt, grab hold of grace, and recapture the life God craves for you to live!

My thoughts: 

I will admit that although I have heard of her, I have not read anything previously by Sheri Rose Shepherd. When I saw the title of this book, and then read the summary of what it was about, I knew it would have to be the first book I reviewed in 2013. Many of us want to begin the new year by trying to better ourselves in any amount of ways. I think the key to bettering ourselves in any type of way begins with examining our walk with God and improving it. I think after that, everything else we personally need to work on, will fall into place. Shepherd's book is definitely about practical ways to improve getting into the Word, improving our relationship with God and treating our body with respect by eating healthy foods and staying active. I like that she pairs these healthy things with Godly things (want that piece of chocolate? Eat it WHILE reading the word!! I would have never thought of that!) This book was meant to be read a little at a time, I think, but I could not put it down. I guess it really doesn't matter how you read it as long as it's message is clear. That faith, food and fun all go hand in hand, making all three a joyful experience. As a cookbook collector AND a health conscious eater, I also appreciate that the book is filled with over 100 healthy recipes. I can't even tell you how many pages I have dog-eared for the recipes that I can't wait to try. I would recommend this book to any woman looking for an encouraging, uplifting read and tons of fabulous new, healthy and tasty sounding recipes! I will be keeping my copy in the kitchen for easy access!

About the author:

Sheri Rose Shepherd is an award-winning author, Bible life coach, and humorist with over one million books sols help her identify with almost any woman's battle.She grew up in a broken home and was severly overweight as a teen; she also experienced depression, dyslexia, and an eating disorder. Through God's strength, Sheri Rose has become a bestselling author and popular speaker at events nationwide, including Women of Joy and Extraordinary Women. Her weekly video devotions will  be featured on Bible Gateway beginning in 2013

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Author's Website

*Disclosure- I received a complimentary copy of the above mentioned book through the publisher via the Tyndale Blog Network. I was not required to write a positive review and  all opinions states are 100% my own.