Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Conscious Box Free Natural Cleaning Kit With Any New Subscriptions Or Gift

Conscious Box just announced a new promotion today! If you start a new subscription and enter the coupon code FREEKIT at checkout you will receive a Free Natural Cleaning Kit ($20 value) You can choose from a classic box, vegan box or gluten free box and there are also options for how long you want your subscription to be. Conscious Box would make an excellent Mother's Day gift and you can keep the cleaning kit for yourself so definitely a good buy! 

Hurry! There are less than 7 days left to order the May Conscious Box of your choice!

Ivanka Trump Perfume Review

*Thank you to People Style Watch for the complimentary perfume. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are 100% my own. 

I was so excited to be one of the first to try Ivanka Trump's new perfume. I know a lot of people like to have one signature scent, but I like to mix things up and have several to choose from. Besides, there are some scents that are better suited for a night out and then there are some that are more suited to daily use. I think Ivanka Trump's new fragrance is definitely an every day wear kind of perfume. It is light, but full of fantastic notes. The strongest notes are floral including jasmine, rose and peach blossom. This boquet of florals pairs nicely with Italian bergamot, lush apple and pink peppercorn. To top things off there is just a spicy hint of golden amber, patchouli, smooth cedarwood and vanilla brings it all together. I love that it is a nice floral scent, but that some of the more exotic notes add just a little bit of spice, lending to the perfume not being overly sweet, making it truly a floral oriental fragrance. Ivanka Trump is the perfect scent for daily wear, especially for spring and the upcoming summer season!

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Ivanka Trump Fragrance Website

Ivanka Trump's new fragrance is available at Macy's and Nordstrom.

Live Below The Line Challenge

Last year I learned about the Live Below The Line Campaign via Bzzagent. I am always looking for ways to help and I think that the world wide hunger crisis really needs our attention. A few dollars really can go a long way! Last year, I attempted to raise money and didn't get a single sponsor. This year I am committed to try again and hopefully have a few people donate and help me and my cousin meet our goal and contribute to Unicef- The United States Fund. The reason we chose this charity to "play" for is we wanted to see the funds we raised be put to use right here in the United States. There are 1.2 billion people worldwide who live below the poverty level and may not know when their next meal will be. Please consider donating, even if it's just $5, every cent counts! My cousin and I set a goal of $250. If we get 25 people to donate just $10 we will have met our goal and helped feed thousands of people. Be a part of this remarkable campaign by donating below. Thanks to anyone who considers doing so!!

As part of the campaign, we are taking somewhat of a walk in poverty stricken people's shoes. We were allotted $7.50 to spend to buy 5 days worth of groceries. That's for breakfast lunch and dinner. I ended up getting oatmeal, ramen noodles, a bag of oranges, a couple of pudding cups and a dozen eggs. It was not an easy shopping trip for me and it has not been an easy week eating. I am on day two and I am definitely feeling hungry a good majority of the day. I have been drinking a lot of tap water to try and fill up a little bit. I know that one week is no big thing in the grand scheme of things. There are people that have to live like this every week. Let's help see to it that less of them have to do so.

I will be writing daily in my diary if you are interested in keeping up with my journey.

If you feel led to donate, you can do so at my team's Live Below The Line page.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Amish Cooks Across America by Kevin Williams and Lovina Eicher Book Review

*Disclosure- Thanks to NetGalley & Andrews McMeel Publishing for the Advanced Reader's Copy. I was not required to render a positive review and all opinions are 100% my own. 

There is just something about the Amish culture that fascinates me. Sometimes I think I was born into the wrong era in time and I long for less electronic addiction surrounding me (and including me), more walking and less car riding, more time with family and friends and more of a feeling of community. On the other hand, I couldn't be writing this blog without technology, still had I not known it existed surely I could live without it. The Amish have continually lived a simple life even in these modern times and I think we can learn a lot from them about community, family and...of course...great cooking.

I have been reading Amish fiction for quite a long time and I have been in search of a great Amish cookbook for a while because I love creating recipes at home from scratch. This is one area that I guess a few Amish have given in to modern conveniences because several of the cook books I have looked through use ingredients like Velveeta or cream of whatever soup, which was disappointing to me. Amish Cooks Across America by Kevin Williams and Lovina Eicher is exactly what I have been searching for in an Amish cookbook. It is full of the from scratch recipes my heart so desires. Not only that, I was kind of schooled in the Amish culture. Naively, I thought that most Amish people settled in Pennsylvania and that they all shared the same types of recipes. Not so on either account. Amish Cooks Across America is not only full of great recipes, it is full of wonderful insight about many different Amish settlements, all the way from Maine, to the deep south of Texas (I mean deep, like almost Mexico deep) and even in places outside of the US like Canada & Central America.. It ties together the places of settlement to the types of food that are popular with the Amish in each different region. This book points out that the Amish are the original Locavores, as evidenced by their menus reflecting where they live. In addition to the wonderful insight the book provides, there are also some beautiful pictures.  If you are interested in Amish culture or love to get in the kitchen and create some wonderful recipes, this is definitely the book for you!

This book points out that the Amish are the original Locavores, as evidenced by their menus reflecting where they live.

Some recipes highlights:
  • Blueberry-Lemon Buttermilk Muffins
  • Potato Chowder
  • Homemade Baking Mix
  • Apple Bread
  • Hot Fudge Sundae Cake
  • Delicious Green Beans
  • Fresh Green Chili Salsa
  • Breakfast Casserole
  • South Texas Rice
  • Homemade Yogurt
  • Sweet Potato Surprise Cake
  • Homemade Barbecue Sauce
Amish Cooks Across America will be available for purchase on May 28th, but can be pre-ordered now at Amazon.com. Fellow home cooks, this is a must have for your cookbook library!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau Book Review

About the book:

 It's graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can thinka bout-hope for-is whether she'll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become the possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings ("Cia, trust no one"), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from her friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance-and sheer terror-await.

 My thoughts:

 The first dystopian fantasty series that I read was The Giver quartet. I read The Giver many eons ago (12 or so years ago now, I've lost track really of how long it's been!) And since that most recent book in the series only came out last year, I just finished it. I don't know what it is about such a sad genre, but there is something that draws me in. As a fan of The Giver Quartet and of The Hunger Games Trilogy, After reading the plot description for The Testing, I knew I just HAD to read it. I am glad that I did. The book is kind of slow going at the beginning, but I can tell that this series is going to be a great one. Cia and 4 other students from her colony are chosen for The Testing after a years long dry spell has plagued the colony from sending any candidates for The Testing to enter the University. At first, Cia is excited. It is everyone's dream to go to the University. Before Cia is to leave for The Testing, her father confides in her that he has nightmares about what happened when he went through The Testing, but that they are vague dreams and he can not remember exactly what happens. He also warns her to keep her guard up and not trust anyone. This is advice Cia mostly takes to heart on this journey. Along the way, there are people, adults involved in The Testing, that seem to want to help Cia, but are they just another part of The Testing or do they truly want to make sure she gets out of the process alive? The Testing consists of 4 tests. The 4th and final test is the most brutal and brings out everyone's true colors. The Testing is almost like a cross between The Giver (the memory erasing drugs) and The Hunger Games (The brutal part 4 of the test is do or die.) Although I found the first book in The Testing series to be slow, it was still engaging and did a great job of setting up book two, which will be out this fall. I have a feeling that book two is going to be a fast and easy read and I can not wait to see how things turn out for Cia. I also could not stop imagining this book as a movie. That's how good at storytelling this author is and how good of a story The Testing is as well. I can only hope that some day that might happen. I would love to see this novel come alive on the big screen! I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dystopian fantasy or young adult novels.

The Testing (#1) will be making it's big debut on June 04, 2013. You can pre-order the book on Amazon.com. In the meantime, you can download The Testing Guide, the FREE prequel for to The Testing Trilogy!

About the author:

Joelle Charbonneau began telling stories as an Opera singer, but these days finds her voice through writing. She lives near Chicago with her husband and son and when she isn't writing, works as an acting and vocal coach.

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Disclosure- I was provided an advance e-copy of The Testing via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

Book & Beauty Cravebox Giveaway

A while back I reviewed the Book & Beauty Box and once again sang Cravebox's praises. It has definitely been one of my favorite boxes from them to date. Now, I am thrilled to offer you the opportunity to win one of these fabulous boxes! Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win The Book & Beauty Cravebox!!

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Conscious Box for the Cost of Shipping!

Today is Earth Day so I can't think of a better company to post about than one of my favorite subscription boxes, Conscious Box. Conscious Box is a a great monthly box filled with wonderful eco-friendly products. You can choose from three different subscription types- The Classic Box, The Vegan Box or the Gluten Free box. The great guys behind Conscious Box want to give you the opportunity to try the box of your choice by allowing you to get the first box of your choice by just paying the shipping cost. For &7.95 you can sample tons of eco-friendly goodies. And when I say tons, I mean these boxes are always packed full! I can not tell you how many wonderful new companies I have discovered that I love in each of these great boxes! Discover for yourself by entering the code: SECRETCODE at check out. It is never to late to jump on the eco-conscious train. The Earth and your body will thank you!

Crayola's Big Colorful Birthday Adventure

The original 8 Crayola colors are turning 110 years old this year! Can you believe Crayola has been around that long? They are older than my great grandmother! To celebrate this huge birthday Crayola is unveiling the all new "Crayola Experience" in Easton, Pennsylvania on May 24, 2013. The Crayola Experience is four floors worth of interactive experience and one of a kind attractions. Crayola wants to give one lucky family the opportunity to be one of the first to check out this awesome new Crayola Attraction. Enter on the Crayola Facebook page for your chance to win a trip to check it out! While you are there, learn a little more about the 8 original Crayola crayons including their favorite food, favorite quote. their perfect day and more. You can even follow each individual color! Head on over to the Crayola Facebook page to find out more!

*Disclosure- I was provided the above information about the promotion via Crayola. I was not compensated for this post, but will receive a limited edition 110th pack of Crayola Crayons. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Delicious Vegetarian Main Dishes By Jennifer S. Larson Cookook Review

One sure fire way to get kids more interested in a wide variety of food is by allowing them to join you in making meals or baking desserts in the kitchen. Cooking as a family can teach such valuable skills like math, reading and maybe even a little problem solving. Cookbooks aimed at kids are a lot of fun because they take care to make sure that these recipes will be ones that kids will enjoy. One of the things I really liked about Delicious Vegetarian Cooking is that it stepped outside the usual realm of kid far and offers some tasty meals that they will still love.

This book is definitely aimed at older children who can read well, but I think that it can be used with younger ones who are just beginning to learn to read, since they will have an adult helping them create these meals. The beginning of the book offers a section dedicated to explaining different tools you will need in your kitchen, which I thought was particularly great. Before that, there is a section called "before you start" which says to make sure you have an adult helper and to always ask permission before you begin. I like that this cookbook is full of easy meals that kids can help create, but I also love that it is full of great kitchen behavioral tips as well, another great lesson disguised in the form of kitchen fun.

There are some great recipes in this book including an egg bake, tofu sticks, curried potatoes & rice and roll up lasagna. The only complaint I have about this book is that it is short on recipes. The recipes included sound great, but I would have liked to see twice as many as are offered. I definitely plan to get in the kitchen with my littles to make some of these recipes very soon!

Connect with Jennifer S. Larson on Goodreads

*Disclosure- I received a free e-copy of the book via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

Fix-it and Forget-it Vegetarian Main Dishes by Phyllis Pellman Good Cookbook Review

I can never get enough of cookbooks. I have kind of an addiction to buying them and no matter how many I get, it is never enough! I chalk it up to my mom's rotation of the same 6 meals, with at least half coming from boxes, and the boredom of food choices I had growing up for my obsession with all things cooking.

The latest obsession for me, of course, is anything and everything vegan and vegetarian. I don't eat meat anymore, but everyone else in the house still does, so it is important to me to find recipes they will actually eat. I do try to limit their meat intake and only serve red meats every once in a blue moon. Anyway, when I see Fix-It and Forget-It, I automatically think of slow cooking. And there are definitely plenty of slow cooker recipes in this book, but there are also other meal options that cook a little quicker, but still don't take a lot of effort to throw together.

Some of the recipes I particularly enjoyed or look forward to trying are:

  • vegetable enchiladas
  • mushroom manicotti
  • spinach lasagna
  • vegetarian pasta sauce
  • tasty lentil tacos (as a new vegetarian, I can't get enough lentils!)
  • wild rice and mushrooms (I am lucky to have a house full of mushroom lovers!)
  • herbed risotto
  • Thai veggie curry
  • crustless spinach quiche

I love that there is a good mix of recipes featuring different pastas, grains, beans and legumes. There are recipes that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy and then there are a few that will satisfy those of us who like to be adventurous in what we eat and have a wide variety of options to choose from. Even if you are not a vegetarian, a vegetarian cookbook like this deserves a place in your kitchen. Cutting down on meat consumption is definitely a good thing for your health, and this would make a great "Meatless Monday" go to book. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to eat meat free, once to have a few meatless options or who really doesn't have time to cook, but wants to have nice home cooked meals that are ready before you know it without much effort from the cook.

*Disclosure- I received a complimentary e-copy of this book via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions stated are 100% my own. 

Hosting With Style by Beretta Fleur Review

I've always wanted to be one of those people who throws parties and backyard barbecues and other fun get togethers for friends in my home. I am decent at party planning, but maybe not creative as I could be. That's where Beretta Fleur comes in. She has a new book called Hosting With Style. Not only is it all about creating wonderful parties, but it also gives tips for efficient homemaking. While I didn't get to read the entire book, I was offered a glimpse inside and I like what I saw. There are recipes for homemade cleaners that every stay at home person should have in their arsenal  Not only do they save you tons of money, they are better for the environment and for you to be breathing in.

I was more excited for the party ideas. I love that the book includes recipes for everyone, including the most traditional meat eating kind of person all the way to gluten free vegan options. I really enjoyed the drink recipes and can't wait to try of few of them out. My absolute favorite section of the book that I read was the different idea for party themes. I found myself thinking, "yup, I definitely need to throw a party like that!" several different times!

You can explore Beretta Fleur's website, which is also full of great party ideas, recipes and tips. There are sections devoted to party menus and holidays, as well as other fun things like weddings & showers and even a section devoted to diy and crafts. And of course there are recipes galore. Anyone who likes to entertain in their home or even someone who just enjoys being crafty would love Beretta's website and her new book.

Connect with Beretta Fleur on Twitter
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Buy Hosting With Style at Lulu.com

*Disclosure- I received a complimentary sample copy of the book. I was not requried to render a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Stress Test by Richard Mabry Book Review + Win a Nook HD!

About the book:

They may not have enough evidence to convict him, but they have enough to ruin his life.
Dr. Matt Newman thought he was leaving his life in private practice for a better one in academic medicine. But the kidnappers who attacked him as he left his last shift in the ER have no such plans-they just want him dead. Bound and in the trunk of his car, Matt's only thought is escape. He does so, but at a price: a head injury that lands him in the ICU . . . where he awakens to discover he's being charged with murder.
Sandra Murray is a fiery, redheaded lawyer who swore she was done with doctors. But when Matt calls, she knows she can't walk away from defending someone who is truly innocent.
Matt's career is going down the drain. His freedom and perhaps his life may be next. But with the police convinced he's a murderer and the kidnappers still trying to finish what they started, finding the truth-and the faith to keep going-will be the toughest stress test Matt has ever endured.

*Disclosure- I received a complimentary copy of the book for being part of the blog tour for Stress Test and contributing my review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

My thoughts:

One of the main genres that really grabbed my attention when I was a young reader was the suspense genre. I was always delighted when a new John Grisham novel come out and had to read it right away! I loved the build up and anticipation that this genre is known for and I also though that the lawyer spin Grisham added to his novels was quite interesting, like stepping into that world of law and learning more about it. I couldn't get enough!

When I heard the plot synopsis for Stress Test by Ricard L. Mabry, M.D., I was beyon excited! I have not come across a medical suspense novel and this one sounded like it would be a fun ride. Dr. Matt Newman has just finished up his final day at his private practice and is looking forward to beginning a career teaching medicine, but then he is kidnapped and beaten by people who seem to want him dead. He manages to escape, but the kidnapping is only the beginning of his nightmare.

This was a real page turner. My husband and I happened to be on a road trip when I read Stress Test, which is a good thing because it allowed me to read this book in one sitting. I enjoyed following along as Matt tried to figure out exactly what was going on, why he was kidnapped, if the girl he that was "the one" truly is and why he is being framed for murder. I love that this is a suspense novel, but is also faith based. I thought it all tied together rather nicely. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading through a great suspense novel. I look forward to reading more from Richard Mabry...perhaps he will be my "new" John Grisham!

About Richard L. Mabry, M.D.

A retired physician, Dr. RichardMabry is the author of four critically acclaimed novels of medical suspense. His previous works have been finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times Reader's Choice Award, and have won the Selah Award. He is a past Vice-President of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the International Thriller Writers. He and his wife live in North Texas.

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Richard Mabry's Website

Buy Stress Test on Amazon.com

Enter to win a Nook HD! (details below!)

Richard Mabry is celebrating the release of Stress Test with a Nook HD Giveaway! Enter today.

One winner will receive:
  • A brand new Nook HD
  • A $15 gift certificate to BarnesandNoble.com
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 27th. Winner will be announced on 4/29/13 at Richard's blog.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What A Son Needs From His Mom by Cheri Fuller Book Review

From the back of the book:

Ever Feel like your son is from a different planet? Don't worry, Mom. There's a good reason why your son perplexes you. He's the opposite sex! Boys really do think, communicate, and process the world differently than girls. But no matter your son's age, he needs you, and he needs you in not-so-apparent ways.

Drawing from her own experiences, as well as those from moms and sons around the country, Cheri Fuller shares what makes boys and young men tick and how to become a more welcome influence at every stage in their lives. She answers all the top questions including:

  • How can I help my son (and me!) deal with his emotions in a healthy way?
  • School is such a struggle, how can I help him?
  • Our personalities are SO different, how can we get on the same page?
  • My son hardly says a thing. What can I do?
  • What are the best ways to instill good values?
  • How can I encourage a lasting faith in God?
With page after page of use- it-today advice and encouraging stories, this book will help you steer your son toward becoming a caring, confident young man.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers. While I received a complimentary copy of the book, I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

My thoughts:

I have wanted to be a mom since...well for as long as I can remember and those dreams always included having a little boy. My husband and I were blessed beyond belief in 2009 when we found out we were having twin boys to add to the one little girl we already had. While having baby boys was always something I wished for, I never thought beyond that stage in their lives until recently. They are 3 years old and I have been thinking that I really should find some parenting books that deal specifically with boys, since they think and act so differently than we as women might think they should. I hit the jackpot when I found Cheri Fuller's What a Son Needs From His Mom. I am happy that we are still in a stage where my boys are snuggle bugs and mommy's little guys, but I know that all too soon, they will grow more into their little personalities and when that day comes, I want to be prepared. Fuller's book is full of insight from the earliest times in little boys' lives all the way up to letting them go as they evolve into young men. I think that including chapters about how to prepare them to be out on their own is something that is very important. I love that this book is broken down to kind of answer all of the questions our minds as mother's might consider pondering about little boys (and growing boys...and grown boys!) That this book answers questions about growing into their own skin, adolescence and all of the hormones that come with it and preparing to leave the nest makes it a book worth having on any mother's book shelf...or in arm's reach on her night stand. I especially enjoyed the unique perspective offered by men throughout the chapters on what their mom's did to raise them that was meaningful to them or what their mom's could have done differently. I know that I will re-read this book plenty of times in the span of my boys' childhood and will likely include it in baby shower gifts for moms of little boys from now on. You can never start too early!

About the author:

Cheri Fuller is a gifted speaker and award-winning author of more than forty books, including the bestselling When Mother's Pray. A former Oklahoma Mother of the Year, Cheri has worked with kids of all ages and is the executive director of the nonprofit organization Redeeming the Family. She and her husband, Holmes, live in Oklahoma and have three grown children (two boys and a girl) and six grandchildren.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

This Is Our Time Movie Review + Giveaway

From the back of the DVD: 

Ethan, Luke, Ale, Ryder and Catherine are five friends connected by their strong faith. After graduation, they each set out to make a difference in the world for God. Their ambitions are high, their passions are strong but will they have the courage to fullfill their calling regardless of what comes their way? The sacrifice they are asked to pay may be just too high. Through Godly wisdom from an outside source, the group realized that this is not their time after all, it's all His!

"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."

My thoughts:

Bring a box of tissues with you to the couch for this one ya'll. The movie starts off with 5 close friends that have just freshly graduated from college, with each trying to find their way to the calling they feel God has for them. Newly married couple Luke & Ale find theirs right away as they are invited to be a part of Embarace a Village, an outreach in India devoted to preventing and treating leprosy  as well as sharing the Christian faith with the people they are interacting with. Ryder and Catherine both find jobs right out of college as well. The only one that seems to be struggling is Ale's older brother Ethan, who already took an extra year to finish college and didn't get into any of the graduate schools he applied for. He feels like he is on the sidelines while all of his friends are in the game. He wants to do what God calls him to do, but he just doesn't know what that is. The movie is narrated by Ethan and tells of the five friends' journey after the first year of college. When tragedy strikes, they all re-evaluate what they are doing.

I really enjoyed watching this movie. I thought it had a great subject, because who hasn't struggled to figure out what they are called by God to be on this Earth for? It is interesting to see these five friends take on the world as they try to support each other in the process. They have a great adviser in a professor (portrayed by Eric Roberts) that they clearly grew close to in college. He helps nudge them, especially Ethan, to figure things out and to see that the place that you are, even if it happens to be a waiter at your dad's cafe, is the place you are meant to be at the exact moment you are there. Ethan definitely comes to see that by the end of the movie and figures out exactly why he was there. God has a purpose for everything, sometimes we just don't see it until later. Something else I really enjoyed about this movie was that although it is a fictitious account, the non profit in India that two of the characters join, Embrace a Village, is actually a real charity and they even used some of the people they have helped in the film. It adds a bit of authenticity to the movie and there is also a little special feature to explain more about what Embrace a Village is all about.

This is a great movie to watch no matter what your age or place in life is. It definitely makes you think about what you are called to do. I know that God called me to help people, but like Ethan in the film, I feel a bit sidelined right now while I have 3 preschool aged kids at home. I know I meant to help people on a more personal level, on a bigger scale, but for now, my job is to take care of my kids and teach them the same compassion and to help where I can whether it be a friend who needs an encouraging word, donating food or clothes to those in need or offering my help in whatever way someone may need it that I can do while my kids are little. This movie definitely got me thinking about how I can utilize the gifts God gave me in this season of my life and that it is okay that it isn't as big as my heart aches for it to be just yet. All in His good time.

I absolutely recommend this dvd to anyone who feels a bit lost about their direction or even someone who thinks they have it figured out. Beyond that, it is a tear jerker and if you are like me and enjoy a good movie that will make you think and cry, This Is Our Time is a great pick.

This is our Time will be released on DVD on April 16, 2013. You can pre-order it at ChristianCinema.com

Enter below via the Rafflecopter form to win a copy of This Is Our Time!
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Monday, April 8, 2013

Come to the Table by Neta Jackson Book Review

About the book: 
Kat Davies is suddenly wondering if her good deed was a bad idea.
Kat may be new in her faith, but she’s embraced the more radical implications of Christianity with reckless abandon. She invited Rochelle—a homeless mother—and her son to move in the apartment she shares with two other housemates. And she’s finally found a practical way to channel her passion for healthy eating by starting a food pantry at the church.
Her feelings for Nick are getting harder to ignore. The fact that he’s the interning pastor at SouledOut Community Church and one of her housemates makes it complicated enough. But with Rochelle showing interest in Nick as a father-figure for her son, their apartment is feeling way too small.
But not everyone thinks the food pantry is a good idea. When the woman she thought would be her biggest supporter just wants to “pray about it,” Kat is forced to look deeper at her own motives. Only when she begins to look past the surface does she see people who are hungry and thirsty for more than just food and drink and realizes the deeper significance of inviting them to “come to the table.”

My thoughts:
What initially drew me to this novel was that the main character, Kat Davies, wanted to begin a food pantry. I thought that sounded like something that would interest me and it is also a plot different from any other I have come across. I realized  after I began the book that this is the second book in a series, but I feel like this book stands alone just fine without having read the first one. At the beginning of the book, maybe even still toward the middle, I was annoyed by Kat's character. She seemed immature, selfish, maybe a little naive and judgemental, but then we all have our own character flaws so I pushed through the novel. I am glad I did. It makes sense that Kat would be struggling as a new Christian to kind of feel things out, figured out where God is leading her and mature in the process. I felt by the end of the book, which concluded in a predictable but lovely way, she had grown on me and that I want to continue to follow her journey in subsequent books. I really enjoyed the character that was her love interest, Nick, he seemed to really bring out the best in her. I did feel that their relationship was somewhat drug out, but since Kat was very immature at the beginning of the novel, it only makes sense for this relationship to have been thought out and brought up slowly. I thought this was a good read. Anyone who enjoys being uplifted or even just to have relate-able characters to read about would enjoy this book. I plan to go back and read the novel that came before this one in the series, Stand By Me, to learn more about Kat and friends and look forward to the next in the series as well!
Neta Jackson's Website

*Disclosure- I received a copy of Come to the Table from the publisher via Book Sneeze in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lead Your Family Like Jesus Book Review & Blog Tour + Chance to win an iPad!

About the book:

Does your family need an event planner to get organized? A psychologist to calm the drama? A playground monitor to halththe hair-pulling? When it comes to family leadership, what your children really need is...you, acting like Jesus.

Sound scary? Let Ken Blanchard, best-selling author of The One Minute Manager and Lead Like Jesus, show how to become more like your ultimate role model, the Son of God. Joined by veteran parents and authors Phil Hodges and Tricia Goyer, legendary mentor Blanchard explains how every family member benefits when parents taket he reins as servant-leaders. 

Lead Your Family Like Jesus reveals twelve priceless parenting principles based on the Savior's life and teachings- from "Say Yes to the Best and No to the Rest" to "Know the Difference Between a Crisis and a Bump in the Road." You'll discover how your heart, head, hands and habits work together as you serve your way to a truly Christ-centered family.

What would Jesus Do? Found out by gaining strength and joy in following His example at home.

My thoughts:

There are books on parenting that have great ideas and that offer a few good principles to take and make your own, but I have never picked up a book on parenting that has spoken too me as much as Lead Your Family Like Jesus. That makes sense, of course, as Jesus and how He lived His life is the way we should all strive to live our own lives and raise our kids to do the same. I had a hard time putting this book down and, highlighter in hand, I managed to highlight at least over half of what the book had to offer. Lead Your Family Like Jesus touches on everything from comparing yourself to other parents (and maybe missing out on some great friendships in the process!) to over-scheduling and not spending enough time on our families and everything in between. The book is divided into four sections: The Heart, The Head, The Hands, and The Habits. In each of the four sections the 3 authors (and veteran parents) offer their perspectives, as well as offer little snippits of parents and situations and "a ha" moments they have had. Having more than one perspective in the book, coupled with Biblical principles and the Pause and Reflect questions at the end of each chapter, really brought it together for me. While I found that all 3 authors points were things that I could resonate with, I felt like, as a mother, Trisha Goyer's sections of the book spoke to me the most. I like that there was both a male and female point of view, making this a great book for both moms and dads alike. I have been applying principles from the book with my three little ones since I began reading it and I can definitely feel a huge difference in our house. Where things were once tense a lot of the time (with my very spirited 5 year old) things are now a lot calmer. I have a long way to go, but I am so happy to have such a good guide book to help me a long the way as a mom. I know I will be reaching for this book often and for years to come.

*Disclosure- I received a free copy of Lead Your Family Like Jesus for being part of the Litfuse Blog Tour. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are 100% my own. 

About The Authors:

Ken Blanchard Leadership expert and author of over 50 books, including the New York Times bestseller, The One-Minute Manager; cofounder of Lead Like Jesus; and coauthor of Lead Like Jesus; Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time.

To learn more about Ken visit www.kenblanchard.com

Phil Hodges A human resource and industrial relations manager in corporate America for 36 years with Xerox Corporation and U.S. Steel, co- founder of Lead Like Jesus; co-author of five books, including The Servant Leader and Leadership by the Book with Bill Hybels.

To learn more about Phil visit www.leadlikejesus.com

Tricia Goyer Bestselling author of more than 30 novels, nine nonfiction books, and more than three hundred articles for national publications; 2003 "Writer of the Year" at the Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference; popular blog writer, speaker, and radio host 
To learn more about Tricia visit www.triciagoyer.com

Lead Your Family Like Jesus is available for purchase on Amazon.com

Your Chance to Win an iPad!

Celebrate the release of Lead Your Family Like Jesus with Tricia by entering her iPad Mini Giveaway and RSVPing for the Lead, Momma Lead LIVE Webcast Event (with MomLife Today's Tracey Eyster) on April 16th.


  One winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • A Tricia Goyer library 
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 15th. Winner will be announced at the "Lead, Momma Lead" Live Webcast Event on April 16th. Connect with authors and everyday moms, Tricia Goyer and Tracey Eyster, for an evening of sharing and perspective-changing encouragement for leading your family. Tricia and Tracey will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books and fun gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Lead Your Family Like Jesus and join Tricia and Tracey on the evening of April 16th 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 16th!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pure Madness Chocolate Review

I have been a Bzzagent for around 3 years now. If you haven't heard of Bzzagent, you are missing out. They send you FREE full size products in exchange for your opinion. I have been a part of some very cool campaigns and have fell in love with countless products that I have got to try, but nothing can get me quite as excited as high quality chocolate! When the Pure Madness Campaign was announced I crossed my fingers (and toes) that I would get to try it and was so thrilled when I saw the invite to participate in this campaign! I couldn't wait for my chocolate to arrive!

*Disclosure- I received free products that are mentioned in this blog post. I was not required to write a review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

When my Bzzkit containing the True Madness Truffles and Smoked Almond Chocolate bar arrived, I had to contain myself and wait for my entire family to be home so everyone could give it a try. I did take a peak in the box and The truffles looked so decadent and pretty. I read the description of the different types of chocolates included. There were your run of the mill milk and dark chocolate and hazelnut and then there were several innovative flavors like rum raisin and chili lime. I thought about which ones I HAD to try and when the whole family was together we opened the box and shared them. They only lasted a few short minutes. My kids got the more traditional flavors to try, my husband had the espresso truffle and we shared the chili lime. It was an interesting confection, unlike any I had tasted before. When you first bite into it, you can taste the fruitiness of the lime, but the chili part does not kick in until after you swallow it. It was a neat and welcome aftertaste! I really enjoyed the rum raisin, that was probably my favorite that I got to try. For the smoky almond milk chocolate bar, we all had a little section of it so we could all give it a taste. It is not your typical almond chocolate bar. The smoked almonds add an entire new depth to the taste of the bar. I loved it. I let it melt in my mouth just so it would last longer!

The Pure Madness chocolate come packaged in gorgeous hot pink and black boxes. This chocolate is made by chocolate lovers for chocolate lovers. I think any chocolate lover would appreciate these chocolates! I definitely plan to buy some truffles as a gift for my chocolate loving in laws for the next gift giving occasion! These chocolates are presented beautifully and would make wonderful gifts!