Monday, September 30, 2013

ExceptionalSheets.com Giveaway: Enter to win 900 Gram Towels, Terry Cloth Robe, 5-Star Mattress Pad Topper & 600 Gram Towels

ExceptionalSheets.Com
Luxury Egyptian Cotton Linens


Company Overview: ExceptionalSheets.com is an American owned company operated out of Evansville, Indiana. Countless hours of time, effort, and a little luck has helped ExceptionalSheets.com become one of the Internets most trusted and successful specialty linen providers.

Product Descriptions

5 Star Hotel Mattress Pad: The Regency mattress pad adds an extra layer of comfort to any bed. Found on over 125,000 Marriott beds across the U.S. and Canada, this cover uses unique polyester fiber clusters to provide an extraordinary level of comfort.

The fiber is gathered into small bundles which create a soft and comforting feel without lumping together. This exclusive and extraordinary fiber technology gives you the look and feel of down only better, and makes the cover 100% hypoallergenic and 100% washable. The expandable skirt allows the cover to fit any thicker pillow top mattress with ease.

900 Gram 6 Piece Towel Set Egyptian Cotton Towels: Superior 100-percent Egyptian cotton, absorbent 900 Grams per Square Meter towels. They are a beautiful update to ANY bathroom, and will not fade in the washing machine! Available in multiple colors and sizes.
6-Piece Towel Set Includes:
    Two bath towels (30" x 55")
    Two hand towels (20" x 30")
    Two wash cloths (13" x 13")

*My thoughts on the 900 Gram Egyptian Towel Set:

I recently had the opportunity to try the 900 gram sheets and let me tell you, they are the best towels I have ever had to opportunity to own. These are big towels. They make standard sized towels look like little baby sized towels. I got my towels in "plume" and the vibrant purple color matched my bathroom rugs perfectly. The towel really soaks in all of the water, it is really absorbent and didn't even feel like it had just been used. This set is luxurious, but affordable and would make a great wedding gift or a good set to send to someone beginning college. Or you know, as a gift for yourself. :) I will probably buy a second set for my guest bathroom downstairs.

*Disclosure- I received free or discounted products in exchange for my honest review. Regardless, all opinions are 100% my own.


600 Gram 6 Piece Towel Set Egyptian Cotton Towels: Superior 100-percent Egyptian cotton absorbent 600 GSM towels. Beautiful update to any bathroom decor. Towels are available in various matching sets and available in 12 solid colors. Towels will not fade in wash
6-Piece Towel Set Includes:
    Two bath towels (30" x 55")
    Two hand towels (20" x 30")
    Two wash cloths (13" x 13")

Egyptian Cotton Terry Cloth Robe by ExceptionalSheets:  Terry Bath Robe Robe is crafted from soft, durable 100% Egyptian Cotton. Robe features terry belt, two front patch pockets, and fold back style sleeve. Available in a wide range of colors and sizes, these robes are sure to match your style while giving you the comfort of a spa at your own home!
UniSex Design
SIZES:
Small: 50" long x 52" wide - Belt 71"
Medium: 51" long x 53" wide - Belt: 71"
Large: 52" long x 55" wide - Belt: 72"
X-Large: 55" long x 63" wide - Belt: 72"



GIVEAWAY TIME!!
Enter Below To Win
Open World Wide
10/1 - 11/1
Be sure to Like ExceptionalSheets.Com on Facebook and Follow  @ExcptnalSheets on Twitter to stay up to date on current promotions and special offers!!
*Bloggers participating in this giveaway are not responsible for distribution or shipment of sponsored prize(s) Please read all terms and conditions of the giveaway. All opinions expressed belong to the individual blogger on each blog this giveaway is being hosted on.

 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pomegranates & Pine Nuts by Bethany Kehdy (Cookbook Review)

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

Successful food blogger Bethany Kehdy’s debut book offers up the enticing world of Middle Eastern and North African cooking in a stunning collection of over 100 delicious and evocative recipes.


Bethany Kehdy is renowned for the contemporary Middle Eastern and North African recipes that she publishes on her blog (dirtykitchensecrets.com). Born and brought up in Lebanon, she spent countless hours learning to cook with her perfectionist teta (grandmother), her vivacious dad and her spirited aunts. Her recipes are a harmonious balance of classic and contemporary, as she draws upon her childhood roots whilst adding her own personal twist.
The cuisines from the Middle East and North Africa share many diverse influences and gorgeous key ingredients and spices, such as pomegranates, figs, pine nuts, saffron and sumac. Passionate about food and her heritage, this former Miss Lebanon showcases the sheer brilliance of the dishes that these regions have to offer. With chapters divided into mezze, poultry, meat, seafood and vegetarian and dessert dishes, there is a wide variety of delicious recipes to suit every occasion. Some of these beautiful dishes can be thrown together from scratch in a matter of minutes, while more ambitious dishes are made easy with clear instructions and clever cooking techniques. From Whipped Hummus with Lamb to fragrant Slow-braised Spiced Squid and Chicken with Preserved Lemon Tagine to Vine Leaves with Bulgur, Figs and Nuts, there really is something for everyone. All the cuisines of the regions are covered, including Egyptian, Palestinian, Syrian, Turkish, Iraqi and Jordanian, and all the recipes are easy to make. You’ll find yourself drawn into a whole new world and a whole new way of cooking.
Bethany Kehdy is an unrivalled chef of today’s new Middle Eastern generation. Born in Houston and brought up in Lebanon, she is currently taking the internet by storm with her notable food blog, www.dirtykitchensecrets.com, which receives over 100,000 unique visitors a year, plus a growing following on Twitter and Facebook, Bethany works as a recipe developer, freelance food and travel writer and food photographer. She also leads culinary tours across Lebanon and organizes Food Blogger Connect, a conference for food bloggers.

My thoughts:

My husband's parents are from Iran and my step-dad is from Pakistan, so it's a good thing I like Middle Eastern food. The interesting thing about cuisine from the Middle East is that each region's food is completely different, although some dishes have a few similarities. When I saw the cover to Pomegranates & Pine Nuts, it immediately made me think of my husband's Persian culture and then I read the small print and saw that it not only featured Iranian dishes, but recipes from Lebanon and Morocco as well.  The colorful book cover drew me in, but what was inside impressed me more. As I have already eluded to, I am pretty familiar with Persian recipes, although it never hurts to have some sitting at home waiting to be cooked. I found that the Iranian recipes included in the book were definitely recipes my in-laws would approve of and that I can't wait to test out in my kitchen. As far as Lebanon and Morocco, these are not cultures or cuisine that I have been around. I definitely see some similarities in the recipes as compared to some Middle Eastern foods I have eaten or cooked, but they definitely each have their own flair that make them all their own. This book is packed full of recipes galore. In keeping with Middle Eastern tradition there are tons of recipes for meat dishes, breads and rice dishes. There is also an entire vegetarian section, which as someone who prefers not to meat often, I can certainly appreciate. I thought it was interesting that Morocco has similar dishes to Middle Eastern countries like Iran and Lebanon, but it didn't shock me since there is a somewhat large Muslim presence in parts of Africa that would bring that influence to the area with them.  Some stand out recipes of the book include:

Ground lamb and onion crescents
Spinach and sumac turnovers
Jeweled rice
Fattoush salad
Baked kafta
Lamb & herb stew
Fava beans with yogurt tahdeeg
Chickpea flour quiche
Sumac chicken casserole
Mansaf risotto
Egyptian spice bread pudding
Cardamom scented profiteroles
Thin flatbread

This is but a short list of many wonderful recipes that are included in this wonderful offering from Kehdy, who does a great job describing each dish, where it is popular or originated from and many times including the proper name of the dish from the country it hails from. I really enjoyed this cookbook and I think anyone who likes cooking outside of their comfort zone, enjoys learning about other cultures and cuisines or just really loves Middle Eastern food, would love having this cookbook in their kitchen.

Connect with Bethany Kehdy on Facebook
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Connect with Bethany Kehdy on Goodreads
Bethany Kehdy's Blog- Dirty Kitchen Secrets

Pomegranates & Pine Nuts is available on Amazon.com



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Escape From Eden by Elisa Nader Book Review and Blog Tour + Win A Prize Pack

*Disclosure- I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

Advanced praise for Escape From Eden:

"Nader has done something amazing: written a really original novel, one full of characters you’ll care about; smart, witty dialog; and plenty of shocks and thrills. A wonderful balance of light and dark." —Michael Grant, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Gone Series  

Summary from Goodreads: 

Since the age of ten, Mia has lived under the iron fist of the fundamentalist preacher who lured her mother away to join his fanatical family of followers. In Edenton, a supposed “Garden of Eden” deep in the South American jungle, everyone follows the Reverend’s strict but arbitrary rules—even the mandate of whom they can marry. Now sixteen, Mia dreams of slipping away from the armed guards who keep the faithful in, and the curious out. When the rebellious and sexy Gabriel, a new boy, arrives with his family, Mia sees a chance to escape.

But the scandalous secrets the two discover beyond the compound’s fa├žade are more shocking than anything they ever imagined. While Gabriel has his own terrible secrets, he and Mia bond together, more than friends and freedom fighters. But is there time to think of each other as they race to stop the Reverend’s paranoid plan to free his flock from the corrupt world? Can two teenagers crush a criminal mastermind? And who will die in the fight to save the ones they love from a madman who’s only concerned about his own secrets?

My thoughts: 

I wanted to read this story because I thought the premise was different from most other young adult novels. I expected there to be plenty of action and suspense and I was not disappointed. Immediately at the beginning of the novel it is apparent that 16 year old Mia does not feel like she belongs in the cult that her mother has brought she and her 6 year old brother Max into. Mia does not even know any of the terrible things that are truly going on with the "Reverend" and his associates, but the horrible reality of what is really happening is about to be revealed to Mia. She and the mysterious new older new guy Gabriel who wants to leave Edenton from the second he arrives, have to fight hard as they try to escape and as they discover the evil surrounding them, they have to make some tough decisions. I enjoyed the action packed into this book and was eagerly turning page after page to find out what would happen to Mia and Gabriel. This was an interesting take on cults disguised as "utopia" while just controlling everyone. It is heartbreaking to think that, while this is fiction, there are places and people like this that truly do exist. Some of the scenes were gory, there was quite a bit of violence and there was some suggestive dialog between Mia and Gabriel, so I would not recommend this book to the faint of heart. I think the mature subject matter is best suited to actual adults than young adults and I would say consider reading it yourself if your have a teen that might be interesting in reading it so you could have a discussion. I would recommend this book to someone who enjoys a good, suspenseful novel.

About the author: Escape From Eden is Elise Nader's first novel.

Connect with Elisa Nader on Facebook
Connect with Elisa Nader on Twitter
Connect with Elisa Nader on Goodreads
Connect with Elisa Nader on Pinterest
Elisa Nader's Blog 

Buy the book on Amazon.com.

Enter to win an Escape From Eden Prize Pack! The winner will receive 2 Sets of Moleskine Sketchbook, set of Le Pen colored fine tip pens, a copy of Otherkin and Othermoon by Elisa’s crit partner Nina Berry, and a personalized copy of Escape from Eden! Enter to win below via the Rafflecopter!

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Escape Monthly Review (Oregon Escape)

*Disclosure- This blog post contains affiliate links.

I. LOVED. THIS. BOX! The only thing that could have made it better was if I had won the escape to Oregon. I love that pretty much every item in the box was a local product from Oregon and that the box was packed so full, I had a hard time getting everything in the picture to the left.


Here is what was in the box:

Moon Oregon Travel Guide- I am hoping that since there was a Moon Travel Guide in the last box for Napa that this will be a continuing trend in the box. I definitely have Oregon on my radar for a getaway, so it is nice to receive a travel guide for future use to help plan that trip. I liked getting the Napa Guide last month too because it helped me learn about a place I might not have seeked out learning about on my own. $21.99 retail value

Doug's Nuts- These were SO good. I have ever intention of ordering more. My kids asked me for these for days after we ran out and we all enjoyed them while they were here. $5.95 retail value

Metolius Tea and Apothecary- This tea comes in such a beautiful little tin. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds like an interesting blend. $10.00 retail value

Molly Muriel Volcanic Bliss- This bar of soap is pretty awesome! One of my favorite items in this box. I will definitely be searching for Molly Muriel when I have the opportunity to travel to Portland. $6.00 retail value

Oregon Orchard- Okay, this was hands down my favorite item. It was also my kids' favorite item so I only got to eat a couple. These were chocolate cherry covered hazelnuts. They were so delicious. I can't wait to try more varieties of these delicious hazelnuts. retail value $3.29

Oregon Rain Soap- Portland Rain Lotion-  I have been using this lotion like it's going out of style. It smells so wonderful. Every time I wear it, I get compliments on how great I smell. This is a true winner. Smells like the famous roses of Oregon. I love that this lotion is free of nasty chemicals, goes on super smooth, feels great and smells awesome. This is another company I will absolutely seek out while in Oregon, maybe before then. retail value $8.99

Portland Bee Balm- this is a nice little beeswax lip balm. Nothing out of the ordinary, but you can never have too much chapstick. I like the little kick the peppermint oil adds to it. $2.75 retail value

Primitive Lights Beeswax Cinnamon Roll Votive- This cute little candle truly smells like a cinnamon roll, I love that it is made out of sustainable beeswax. $4.00 retail value

Grounds for Change- I am not a coffee drinker, but I was ecstatic to see this bag of coffee beans included because my husband is a coffee addict and it meant I had something to share with that would be all his own. He is excited to try this coffee when he runs out of his current coffee. And to keep with the recurring theme of this box and the spirit of Oregon in general, this coffee is fair trade and they donate 1% of sales to charities that support the environment. $10.45 retail value

Bonus item- Wooden Pumice Brush- this was a nice little extra. Another item that I will give to my husband since he works on his feet all day, he needs items like this. $5.99 retail value

Total retail value- almost $75!

As you can see, this box was packed full of wonderful things reminicint of a trip to Oregon. I enjoyed my little Escape and I am so excited that next month's escape is to Hawaii! Crossing my fingers to win that trip next month!!

 Sign up for Escape Monthly to receive your own escape in a box! Every month, one lucky person win's a trip to wherever the escape of the month is to, so that is just icing on the cake.



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Happy Women Live Better by Valorie Burton (Book Review)

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

About the book:

Fresh from the success of her bestselling Successful Women Think Differently and Your 5-Minute Personal Coach comes a breakout new release from media sensation and certified personal coach Valorie Burton. Drawing from compelling new research and the wisdom of Scripture, Valorie shows women how to become unstuck and unstoppable in reclaiming a life of joy and purpose.
Like sitting down with a trusted mentor, Valorie’s warmth and encouragement will resonate with her followers old and new, inspiring them to take hold of the abundant life God has in store. With a focus on relationships, career, finances, and physical and spiritual health, Valorie gently coaches readers through the steps to find the happiness they desire.

My thoughts:

I was excited to see a book written about happiness. I am sure there are others, but this is the first one I have come across. I think every woman *wants* to be happy, but if they are like me, they may have trouble fitting that into their already overwhelmed schedule. We have kids to raise, meals to make, houses to clean, jobs to do well at. We have a lot on our plates. I found this book VERY encouraging. I like that Burton helps us look at how you can achieve happiness or being happier by looking at several different components of our lives and breaks down how we can change how we will feel. I felt there was some great advice in this book and I specifically enjoyed the happiness quiz.  The quiz gauges what things you do that bring you the most happiness. I wasn't surprised at all at my results, but it was good to see it there in writing so that I can make a conscious effort to do the things that bring me the most joy. I found that I also love the quiz because I can have the people around me take it and find out what it is that brings THEM happiness. I think this is a wonderful book that every woman should read. You will get through this book quickly since it's an easy read and when you finish it will leave you feeling uplifted and ready to pursue happiness.

Facing the Music and Living to Talk About It by Nick Carter (Book Review)

About the book:

This book is Nick Carter’s autobiography and self-help hybrid in which he chronicles his struggles with a dysfunctional family and the unimaginable rigors of becoming an internationally successful pop-star at the age of 12. From his battle with addiction to serious health complications and the pain of his younger sister’s tragic death, Nick leaves nothing to the imagination and offers true and heartfelt advice to help readers overcome obstacles in their own lives.

My thoughts:

I was a teenager in the late 90's when boy bands were all the rage. At the time, the Backstreet Boys were at the top of their game. Nick Carter started out in the band at 12 years old. For some reason, I thought he was a little bit older than that, but being thrust into the spotlight would be difficult to deal with for anyone reaching an age where they are about to go through puberty. I knew that Carter and several of his siblings have struggled through some hard addictions, so I wanted to read his book, mostly to see how he is doing now. The book is touted as an autobiography and self-help hybrid. I found that to be true, but I did feel like it was more an attempt at self-help than at an autobiography. Don't get me wrong, Carter is open about the tumultuous family life he had to deal with growing up, about his time with the Backstreet Boys and even about his relationships with his siblings, but that is mostly sprinkled through the book amongst the advice he doles out so that others may choose not to make the same bad decisions he did. As you read the pages filled with heartbreaking revelations about was going on with Nick in his later teen years and on, it is obvious that Carter truly wants to reach out and help anyone who may be going through the same thing. The stories about Carter's parents and the responsibilities they regulated to him at an early age when he should have been carefree and the mentions of his relationship with his siblings and their ups and downs are absolutely heartbreaking. I think writing this book was part therapy for Carter for dealing with his problems and his sister's death from overdose and the other part trying to help anyone he can from going through the same trials as he and his siblings have. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a Backstreet Boys fan, anyone who enjoys autobiographies of celebrities and anyone who has suffered through addiction problems.

Facing the Music and Living to Talk About It is now available on Amazon.com

Monday, September 16, 2013

Waiting for Dusk by Nancy Pennick Blog Tour and Book Review + Win an E-copy of the Book


*Disclosure- I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

Summary from Goodreads:
 
Read a book.
Fall asleep.
Meet a boy.
Is it real or just a dream?
Katie’s everyday life suddenly turns exciting when she travels back in time and meets the boy of her dreams. Thinking of nothing else, willing to leave the real world behind, she’s determined to find out if it’s all a dream or not. Returning again and again, Katie almost has her answers until one day her precious book goes missing.
My thoughts:

Time travel books are so fascinating to me. I want to be in this one. These characters are easy to relate to and who wouldn't want to travel to another time period? The interactions of several different characters in both time periods is interesting. There are even some characters in the present that are actually from the past! I especially enjoyed the parts in the past when Katie is interacting with her own family members, making good friends and, of course, falling in love. I would have loved to see Katie and Drew interact more in the book because I really enjoyed their relationship and felt like I didn't get enough of it. I would have been happy to have more scenes in the past with any of the characters really. I love how Pennick tied the past to the present through a friend Katie made that she happens to come across in her present day as well. Although I really liked this book, I do have to say that I found the scenes with Ty rather grating. I felt bad for the character because he started out as a nice guy and then the author turned him into a terrible, terrible person and the progression into that didn't make any sense to me other than that the author wanted us to root for Drew. I am pretty sure we would have all been rooting for Katie to be with Drew anyway. I enjoyed this book and love that the whole idea behind it leaves it open for sequels which I certainly hope happen. I was not ready to leave behind these characters and would love to see other characters introduced in subsequent stories as well. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a light-hearted romance or to anyone intersted in time travel or just different time periods in general.

See what other bloggers are saying about Waiting for Dusk

Enter below via the Rafflecopter for your chance to win an e-copy of this book!

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Viva Labs Social Media Launch & Essential Prize Pack Giveaway

 Something I am super passionate about is health and wellness. I believe that we need to be selective about what we put into our bodies to make sure that we are taking the best possible care of ourselves. Something that I do and recommend others do as well, is supplement where I am lacking. Not all supplements are created equal. Some are so full of synthetic ingredients that there really is no point to taking them. You want to make sure what you are getting are high quality, all natural supplements.

Viva Labs was founded in 2011 by a team of doctors, homeopaths and nutritionists, so you can be confident that what you are getting in these supplements is of the highest quality. The team at Viva Labs wants optimal health to be available to everyone, so they have worked hard to make their products as affordable as possible. These holistic supplements are FDA approved and go through rigorous testing to verify purity, quality and full potency.

In celebration of recently launching their social media pages, Viva Labs wants to offer one of my readers an Essential Prize Pack that includes several of their products. The prize pack will include a full sized bottles of our Krill Oil, Astaxanthin, and Optimal Greens.

Krill Oil- is an omega-3 supplement with maximum absorptive capacity. Krill oil supports heart, brain, skin, hormone, eye and nervous system health. One of the greatest things about this supplement is that it doesn't have the fishy aftertaste that pretty much every other fish oil does. It is sustainable, sourced from the Antarctic and free of toxins, heavy metals and PCBs making it a great choice for our health.

Astaxanthin- Is a powerful carotenoid and antioxidant. It promotes healthy, radiant skin, healthy eyesight and supports faster post-workout recovery. It is nearly 600 times more potent than vitamin E as an antioxidant!! 


Optimal Greens- Viva Labs proprietary blend of micro-greens, sea vegetables, antioxidants and probiotics can be added to water, juice or smoothies. This is an easy and delicious way for you to add a dose of greens to your diet for overall health.

Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win this amazing prize pack below! 

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

VeggieTales Announces New Movie: Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas Featuring Si Robertson!

Awesome news for fans of VeggieTales! Today it was announced that a new movie will be released just in time for the Holidays! Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas will feature Si Robertson of Duck Commander as Silas, a wise okra janitor who narrates the movie. Larry the Cucumber stars as Head Elf at a mall who is on a quest to help a compassionate little girl who wants to help her neighbor in need for Christmas. Bob the Tomato stars as Phillip Fleagle, who takes some time to reflect on there being more to Christmas than material gifts and light displays. This feature will help little ones understand what the true meaning of Christmas is and what a joy it can be to give to others, especially those in need. In addition to Robertson starring as the new okra character Silas, Owl City and TobyMac team up for the theme song of the movie "Light of Christmas".

There are several special features that will be included on the dvd including a lyric video for "Light of Christmas", a behind the scenes look at the creation of the character Silas with Si Robertson, a new silly song with Larry called "Wrapped Myself Up for Christmas", and information regarding VeggieTales collaboration this holiday season with Operation Christmas Child, a global children's project of Samaritan's Purse, who collect donated shoe boxes filled with gifts for children in need around the globe.

New character Silas the Okra, portrayed by Si Robertson!


I am so excited about this new VeggieTales movie. I try to teach my kids about giving throughout the year, but there is never a better time than during the Christmas season to really teach about loving others through giving to those who need it most and the VeggieTales movies are always so good at making learning important lessons super fun through these unique and vibrant characters. The movie looks like it will be a really cute Christmas movie we can watch year after year. Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas is set to launch at Christian retailers on October 19, followed by a more broad release to other retailers on October 22!

Head over to VeggiesTales.com to watch the trailer for Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas or to pre-order the movie!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Robin Take 5 Cookbook for Busy Families by Robin Miller (Cookbook Review)

About the Book:

You can’t create a truly useful cookbook for busy families unless you’re actually living the life. And Robin Miller lives the life! Her boys and husband keep her busy, plus Robin’s a chef, nutritionist, cookbook author, and TV personality. Like you, she faces mealtime dilemmas every day, from morning until night. Thankfully, Robin shares her secrets for creating delectable food in minimal time with few ingredients. How does this sound? Jump-start your day with Flapjacks with Cheddar and Bacon or Huevos Rancheros on English Muffins. Let the kids enjoy the Almond Coffee Cake while you pack Chicken Caesar Pita Pockets in their lunch boxes and spoon Lemony Sweet Pea Risotto or Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Corn and Cilantro into a container for you. Afternoon snacks are a breeze with Roasted Corn Guacamole with Baked Tortilla Chips or Warm Spinach Dip with Sundried Tomatoes and Pepper Jack. For dinner, wow the crowd with Toasted Tortellini with Bread Crumbs and Tomato Sauce, Turkey Meatball Sliders, or Cheddar Fondue with Shrimp and Apples. Think you don’t have time for dessert? There’s always time for White Chocolate Truffles with Raspberry Sauce and Crispy Sugared Wonton Ice Cream Sandwiches. The biggest secret of all? Each recipe has just 5 ingredients or less.

From morning until night, Robin’s got you covered with an assortment of family-friendly main dishes, snacks, side dishes, and desserts. You’ll soon discover that The Robin Takes 5 Cookbook for Busy Families is a book that will forever live on your kitchen counter.

My thoughts:

I absolutely love to cook from scratch. For me, it is a stress reliever. For many other people though, especially busy moms, cooking elaborate meals are more of a stress inducer. Still, I think most parents want the absolute healthiest meals possible for their kids most of them time and I think The Robin Take 5 Cookbook for Busy Families is a a good way to get there. Miller, a food writer and nutritionist, has written this book with the busy family in mind. Each recipe has 5 ingredients or less and most are healthy options that I wouldn't mind serving my kiddos. Even though I do enjoy cooking from scratch, I am a busy mom of three as well and I love that there is a cookbook out there like this one that gives me some quick options for busy days or days I just really don't feel like being in the kitchen for hours. My family really enjoyed the french bread pizza, chicken pot pie, Parmesan and pecan crusted chicken, turkey meatball sliders and chicken mozzarella with buttered spaghetti. We look forward to trying many more recipes from this book. As far as the recipes being kid friendly, I absolutely concur that they are. This cookbook would be a great addition to any busy household looking for great foods to eat at home that are fast to make, do not use a lot of processed ingredients and that kids and adults alike will both love. I would even go as far as to recommend it to busy couples without kids. There are plenty of recipes in The Robin Take 5 Cookbook for Busy Families for everyone to enjoy!

Advance Praise for The Robin Take 5 Cookbook for Busy Families:

“Robin brings her real-life experiences to the page. Her book is not only full of her best busy-family recipes, but also tips and stories to remind us that we are not alone in trying to get a nutritious and delicious dinner on the table for a busy (and hungry!) family.”-Melissa d’Arabian, host of Food Network’s Ten Dollar Dinners and author of Ten Dollar Dinners

 “This book is loaded with fun, easy, kid-friendly recipes that can take the stress out of feeding your family well, and make it completely doable even when life is at its most hectic. Kudos to Robin for covering all the busy-family bases!”
—Ellie Krieger, RD, host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite and author of Comfort Food Fix

Connect with Robin Miller on Facebook
Connect with Robin Miller on Food Network

The Robin Take 5 Cookbook for Busy Families is now available on Amazon.com.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Bash and the Pirate Pig (Book Review) + Giveaway!

*Disclosure- I received a free copy of the book from the publisher via Flyby Promotions 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:
Bash and the Pirate Pig, by Burton Cole, is the story of a cranky city kid named Raymond "Beamer" Boxby who must spend summer vacation at his younger cousin, Bash's, farm. 

Beamer prefers air conditioning and video games. He can't see what good can come of this so-called country fun that includes riding cows, river rafting with a pig, or playing with skunks. 

But hang tight, Beamer, because Bash's zany adventures with his "Fishin' and Farmin' book" (The Bible) just might lead to the coolest discovery of all.


My thoughts:

Raymond is what I would call a typical kid these days. His idea of a good time is being indoors, doing something mindless like playing video games. His parents decide to send him off to his aunt and uncle's house for summer vacation. This means he has to spend his summer with his younger cousin. On a farm. He is less than thrilled, but once he gets there and goes on some adventures with younger cousin Bash, he actually finds that he enjoys himself on the farm and in the presence of his cousin. He also learns some pretty valuable lessons through Bash and even comes to make a really important decision in his life.

Overall, I thought this was a cute book. I like the Biblical lessons presented through adventurous Bash who refers to it as "The Farmin' & Fishin' Book", a cute way for a little guy to think of the Bible. I liked seeing Raymond begin to like where he was and who he was with after being so against it in the beginning. I did cringe almost every time the word "stupid" showed up in the book. I felt like it was overdone, but I do think that it can be a teaching moment for us parents to our kids about having a good attitude and using appropriate language. A really neat feature of this book is the discussion questions in the back of the book called "Parent Connection" meant to get parents and kids talking with one another about the book and about the Bible. This is a good way to open up a discussion with your child and see their thoughts on the book on what they might have learned in the process of reading it. I also really enjoyed the playful and animated illustrations by the very talented Tom Bancroft. I would recommend this book to middle to upper grade elementary age kids, who I think would enjoy it the most.


About the Author:
Burton Cole is a Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist with thirty years of experience and more than fifty humor writing awards to his credit. He grew up on a farm in northeast Ohio and attended a small-town church with a slew of cousins and buddies. That same boyhood inspires his colorful stories today. 

About the Illustrator: 

Tom Bancroft has more than twenty years of experience in the animation and illustration industry and worked with Disney on films including Beauty and the BeastThe Lion King, and Aladdin. Other clients have included DC Comics and Big Idea Productions.

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Website: B&H Kids

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

DNA Serum (Temple Viper Venom Anti-Wrinkle Eye Serum) + Elite Serum RX Review + Giveaway

*Disclosure- I received complimentary products from SkinPro in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

I have never really given much thought to the state of my eyes until after I had three children...really close together. The second two at the same time...

Having three kids within 22 months of each other, I had many sleepless nights and many days where I couldn't get in the shower until the end of the night and barely had the time to put a bush through my hair some days. Now those kids are at an age where they can do more on their own and I have more time to focus on myself. I also hit 30 almost two years ago and for some reason I feel like that is the magic number of beginning to notice our faces aging a bit more than we would like, especially around the eyes. There is only so much over the counter firming creams can do, if anything at all. Many women turn to collagen injections, but most of us don't have the money or the time to devote to those. SkinPro labs has come up with a wonderful solution for us all- DNASerum Lab Formulated Temple Viper Venom- a revolutionary way to treat fine lines, wrinkles, dark circles and smooth and firm skin. The active ingredients in DNA Serum include a high concentration of Syn-Ake, known for it's anti-wrinkle fighting properties and Argireline which has been said to mimic the efficacy of Botulinum Toxin A without the risks, injections or the high price tag. Elite Serum is another serum for the treatment of wrinkles, lines, dark circles and puffiness. With over 50,000 active Facebook fans, Elite Serum™ is the most talked about anti-aging eye serum in the world. This serum is specifically designed to be applied to delicate skin around your eyes. It works beyond what a regular eye cream or even injections can do for your eyes.

I have been using both the DNA Serum and Elite Serum for a little over a week and I can already tell a difference. I have already noted a difference in puffiness under my eyes and the beginning of crows feet are not as noticable. I like how easy and mess free it is to use these products. Both are in the same tube. There is a little white ball on the tip of the syringe that you remove when you are ready to dispense your product. On the end of the syringe is how you unlock the product (remember to place the product back into the locked position once you are finished using it). You turn it to the side to take it out of the locked position, then you push the bottom and it dispenses exactly the amount of serum you need. The serum goes on really easy and doesn't feel drying to the skin. Using these two products in combination is a great way to tackle the signs of aging around your eyes.  On the websites for both serums, there are before and after pictures of people who have used them for around 30 days, so I imagine that I will have even greater results by then, but I started seeing small results after just a few days. I look forward to seeing even better results in a few weeks time.

For more information on the revolutionary anti-aging eye serums see DNASerum.com & EliteSerum.com

Want to see how great these products work for yourself? I have both DNA Serum and Elite Serum to giveaway. 2 winners will each receive one of these great products! Enter via the two Rafflecopter forms below for your chance to win!

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CAMP (Movie Review)

*Disclosure- I received a screener of Camp from Edify media in order to put together this review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.
 
About the movie:

Eli's life is a nightmare. His mother is a drug addict who neglects his care, and his transient father floats in and out of his life. Eli is filled with rage from the physical abuse he has received from his father but he longs for his love and approval. On his 10th birthday Eli is taken to the hospital by police who respond to a domestic disturbance call. Eli is removed from his home and is placed in Locustwood, a facility little better than a youth prison. In this environment Eli spirals downward, becoming an angry and scared creature.

Meanwhile, to impress a potential new client, investment adviser Ken Matthews signs up to be a camp counselor and gets paired with Eli. When the kids arrive at camp, the chaos begins. Ken and Eli bunk in a cabin with counselor Samuel, back from his second tour of duty in the army, and Redford, a kid who thinks he is an alien. Determined to hate camp, Eli is way more than Ken can handle.
Over the course of camp, Ken’s heart is broken as he learns about Eli's dark past. Eli slowly opens up to Ken as he starts to love Eli unconditionally. Eli begins to have hope.

An unauthorized visit from Eli’s father to camp sends everything spiraling out of control. Now Ken must decide what he is willing to sacrifice so Eli will understand the meaning of unconditional love.


My thoughts:

I knew when I read the plot description to this movie that it would be an emotional watch. The beginning scenes of Eli with both his mom and dad are heart wrenching, but necessary to understand the hardness that he has about him when he shows up at camp. The are also scenes of Ken Matthews, trying to further his business financially, signs up to be a counselor at this camp not knowing what he is getting himself into. At the beginning of camp, I can't stand Ken at all, it's like he has no understanding at all of how to deal with children let alone a child who has been severely abused and neglected. Eli is mean and angry and I can understand why that would be difficult not knowing his entire back story, so I try to have an open mind about Ken. At first, he seems to have a hard time relating to Eli at all, but as the movie continues on, you can tell that Ken's being at camp out of obligation to business slowly turns into him really caring about Eli and wanting to get him to like camp and have a good time while there. By the end of the movie I think Ken has learned more than Eli at camp. I don't want to ruin the end to the movie, but I will say I thought it was wonderful and it was nice to have a happy ending after many tears throughout the movie (on my part) feeling sad or angry for certain characters, especially the kids at camp. This movie is inspired by the work of Royal Family KIDS, an organization that aims to give abused and neglected kids the opportunity for a week of positive experiences and encouragement and unconditional love from caring adults. in their local communities. I think anyone who has a heart for children will enjoy this movie and may even be inspired to get involved with Royal Family Kids. For more information on this organization see the Royal Family KIDS website.


CAMP is now available on Blu-RAY and DVD

CAMP movie Website

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Watch a preview for Camp below: