Saturday, May 31, 2014

Influenster GoVoxBox Review (Health & Wellness Products)

Disclosure- I received one or more of the products mentioned below from Influenster in exchange for my honest thoughts. All opinions stated are 100% my own. 

I love when Influenster sends me a VoxBox! These are themed boxes with several full sized products to try out. The theme of the #GoVoxBox is health and wellness, so these are all products to help you achieve your health and wellness goals. This is a very important aspect of my life, so I was super excited to give these products a try and found several that I really love! Here is what was included in the box-

These almonds from Blue Diamond are covered with a blueberry powder sweetened with stevia. Not my cup of tea, but
that is because I am not a blueberry fan. My kids devoured them. I want to try the strawberry ones!

There was a coupon for a free container of Muller Yogurt.
I tried the lemon flavored one. It was delicious!

Our periods show up no matter how active we want to be, I love that this
Playtex Sport Fresh Balance tampon allows us to be as active as we want without worry!

This little pedi-rock from ProFoot is great on the feet after a hard run or jog
or just being on your feet all day. It helps keep feet and heels
soft & smooth!

I have not had the chance to use my Pro-foot orthotics yet, but I have a tendency to have low
back pain, so I am looking forward to trying them out! 

Aqua Spa Lavender + Chamomile was one of my favorite things
included in this VoxBox. This is truly the best smelling lotion I
have ever come across and I love that it is free of parabens.
Lavender is great for relaxing so I use it every evening
 before I lay down to go to sleep for the night.

Next Step Fit N' Full Shake from the Vitamin Shoppe was my absolute
favorite thing includedin the #GoVoxBox. There was a sample each of
swiss chocolate, vanillaand mixed berries. The mixed berries
I didn't like, the vanilla was pretty goodbut the chocolate was fantastic.
I have bought a couple of containers of this already and have
 been using it as a replacement for breakfast as I try to shed some pounds.
Love that it contains fiber and fat blocker in addition to the traditional protein.
Definitely keeps me full and tastes great, my husband has started using this
protein drink as well! We are impressed with this product!

Overall, I really enjoyed this VoxBox. All of these products are great options for taking steps in the right direction to get healthier and more fit. I am glad I had the opportunity to try them all out and discover some new favorites!

Friday, May 30, 2014

InstaNatural 100% Pure & Natural For Face, Skin & Hair Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

My in-laws are from Iran and my step-dad is from Pakistan so I am not stranger to rose water as a food ingredient, but not one of them told my I could use it as a beauty aid! I don't know why I didn't think of it on my own, but I started to read about using rose water as a toner online. I was happy to discover InstaNatural Rose Water on Tomoson and was even more excited to be able to try it out. There are so many uses for rose water, I didn't even know where to begin, so I decided to go simple and add it to some bath water for a relaxing bath before bed. I became addicted to that little ritual very quickly and have been having baths with rose water as often as I get the chance! It's relaxing, it smells fantastic, and it will really help soften the skin.

After I tried the bath with rose water, I knew the next venture would have to be using it as a toner before I applied my makeup. I have tried tons and tons of cleansers, toners and other facial products, this one is by far the most moisturizing, it just made my face feel so hydrated and clean. It is a nice way to begin my makeup routine, to begin with a clean face and tone the skin in the process. I also like using this to clean my face at the end of the night. My next move is to add some to my shampoo and see how it softens up my hair. Plus, the smell of roses is great, so I know my hair will smell awesome when I do!

In just a few weeks, I am already down to half a bottle. I absolutely recommend this to anyone looking for a do it all skin product and I would especially suggest it to be used as a toner to be applied at the beginning of the day before make up. This product is inexpensive, especially compared to other toners moisturizers or cleansers you might buy and this one is 100% pure rose water, which is much better than the products you might be using that who knows what are in the ingredients. I think anyone looking to use natural products on their face (especially someone who has extremely sensitive skin like me) would be impressed with InstaNatural's rose water.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Gluten-Free Family Favorites by Kelli Bronski and Peter Bronski (Cookbook Review)

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts I was not required to right a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

I am constantly on the look out for recipe books with a focus on gluten free dishes. We have been experimenting with a gluten free diet this year because my daughter seems to have a sensitivity to it linked with some behavioral issues. She is a totally different kid when she has not had anything containing gluten and when she accidentally gets a hold of something, man, I remember why we started down this road. Some gluten free cookbooks are full of specialty ingredients and while I have some on hand and don't mind getting a few here and there, I do not want to have to totally overhaul everything. One of the nice things about this book is that it doesn't call for many specialty ingredients, making it a more doable cookbook for most people to work with what. The main thing I liked about this book is that even those these are kid friendly recipes, they all sound pretty fantastic. We have tried several and have not been disappointed yet. This is not all chicken nuggets and hamburgers, but there is a good mix of lots of different types of recipes, which is great for my family, we love to experiment with new dishes, but for those who like to stick to the same rotation of meals, there are some in here that you could definitely add to your meal plan (chicken fried rice or turkey burgers anyone?) There are great recipes for every meal of the day as well as some awesome recipes for snacks that I can not wait to try out, especially since the summer months are upon us and my kids will be home and hungry in the middle of the day.

Besides tasty, easy to make recipes, I really like this cookbook because each recipe also suggests things that children can do to help prepare the meal. My kids all like to be in the kitchen and help prepare dinner and I think it is a great way to get them involved and more excited about what we are going to eat.

Even if you don't eat gluten free, I would still suggest checking out this book for some fantastic, healthy recipes!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Survive Monthly (Subscription Box) Giveaway!

*Disclosure of material connection- I will receive a free Survive Monthly box for helping spread the word about the launch of the subscription service.

I am always excited when there is a new subscription box coming out! These boxes are so much fun. There is a new one about to debut that is unlike any other, Survive Monthly. This subscription service will be all about disaster preparedness and emergency stock piling. There will be a new box every month, each containing 7-10 products directly related to being prepared in an emergency situation.

According to the website-

"Each box will feature a revolving assortment of the best products for survival and emergency preparation. Anything from long-term food kits, to non-battery flashlight radios, to solar blankets. Your box will be full of the most perfect gear for any situation."

To celebrate the launch of the subscription service, Survive Monthly wants to give one of my readers the chance to win a 3 month subscription! Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Younique 3d Fiber Lashes Review + Giveaway!

*Disclosure of material connection- Younique Presenter Jessily King generously provided the product for the giveaway.

 If you have been poking around this blog for any amount of time, you know that I love makeup and what I love even more is makeup without any awful, chemical ingredients. I have been hearing about Younique 3d fiber lashes since the beginning of this year, but I didn't know anyone personally that sold them and didn't have all of the information I needed. Then my friend decided to be a presenter and invited me to her first online party and she posted pictures of herself wearing the fiber lashes and I could see a dramatic difference. I knew I had to try them, so I ordered the May Kudos set (it came with eye pigments and lip gloss for a lower price than buying them all separately and I wanted to try them all, so I jumped at the deal!) and I am so glad I did.

When the lashes arrived, I saw that their were two tubes and a little instruction booklet and I was afraid it might be a process to put them on, but it was really easy. You put on the transplanting gel, then the fiber lashes, then seal it with the transplanting gel. You can start with a layer of mascara if you want, but I find that I like to go with just the lashes. The whole process took maybe 30 seconds longer than just applying regular mascara and looks 1,000 times better! Here are some pictures so you can see the difference-

My bare eyelashes.

Right eye- bare, Left eye- 3d fiber lashes.

One coat of 3d fiber lashes on both eyes.

Closed eyes with one coat of 3d fiber lashes.

2 coats of 3d fiber lashes, innocent eye pigment on my eyelids
and empowered eye pigment used as eye liner. LOVED the
way it turned out!

As you can see, the 3d fiber lashes alone will dramatically change the way your eyes look. If you add several coats, you can create a super dramatic look. I have never used a mascara that could make my eyes look as fantastic as they do in the last picture above! Younique 3d fiber lashes not only make your lashes look tons better than mascara, they contain better ingredients as well. Check out the difference between mascara vs. 3d fiber lash ingredients in the info-graphic to the left of this text. Did you know all of those chemicals were lurking in your mascara? And that there was an alternative that looks much better anyway? Younique 3d fiber lashes are awesome! I  recommend this product to absolutely anyone who likes to use makeup! I will never go back to regular mascara!

My awesome friend who I buy my Younique products from wants to give one of my lucky readers the chance to win FREE Younique 3d fiber lashes! Enter below via the Rafflecopter for your chance to win! Whoever wins this is really going to enjoy it!

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Friday, May 23, 2014

When Calls The Heart Episode 3- "A Telling Silence" Review

It was recently announced that When Calls the Heart has been picked up for a second season by the Hallmark Channel! This does not come as a shock to me because it is a great show that will send you through a huge range of emotion every episode and it is faith based and family friendly. I have said before when I reviewed previous episodes of When Calls the Heart that one of the biggest things I enjoy about this show is that I can watch it with my six year old daughter without any concern that I might have to change the channel or that the plot will get to be something that I wouldn't allow her to watch. I am glad to hear that there will be a second season, it is a great show!

I was excited to be offered the opportunity via Edify Media to review the 3rd dvd release for When Calls the Heart. The 3rd episode is called "A Telling Silence" and you can watch the trailer for it below. The DVD also includes the 4th episode as well It is entitled "Secrets and Lies".

Aren't they so cute? :)
"A Telling Silence" was a super intense episode. I must commend the acting skills of the little girl that plays Rosaleen, she did a wonderful job portraying his little girl who has gone mute since the mining accident who turns up missing after her teacher Elizabeth was called away from her momentarily. The whole town searches for this little girl and as night falls they still haven't found her. They continue their search well into the night. I do not want to give away the plot, but there were some very intense scenes and I definitely shed some tears. There was, as I already said, some great acting portrayed among the cast. Meanwhile constable Jack discovers evidence that Cat Montgomery might have been involved in a suspicious church fire. Elizabeth stands up for her friend not believing that she would be capable of committing such a crime and Jack has no choice but to do some digging to see where his evidence leads him. Cat's kids are beside themselves. The episode revolves mostly around trying to figure out what really happened and if Cat is involved. Elizabeth sets out to prove her friend innocent and finds out the truth. The very ending scene is of Jack and Elizabeth and the scenes these two have together are always my favorite because these actors have some stellar chemistry...but this last scene was super romantic! Innocent, but romantic. It makes me want to catch up on all of the episodes I haven't seen yet to see what happens between Elizabeth and Jack because it is clear that something special is happening!

When Calls the Heart is inspired by a series of novels by Janette Oke. You can find these novels on

You can watch When Calls the Heart on Hallmark Channel, purchase episodes on or buy the dvds at Mardel or other Christian retailers nationwide.
Watch the trailer for "A Telling Silence" below-

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Nightingale Girls by Donna Douglas (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 
About the book-
Three very different girls sign up as student nurses in 1936, while England is still mourning the death of George V. Dora is a tough East Ender, driven by ambition, but also desperate to escape her squalid, overcrowded home and her abusive stepfather. Helen is the quiet one, a mystery to her fellow nurses, avoiding fun, gossip and the limelight. In fact she is in the formidable shadow of her overbearing mother, who dominates every aspect of her life. Can a nursing career free Helen at last? The third of our heroines is naughty, rebellious Millie an aristocrat on the run from her conventional upper class life. She is doomed to clash over and over again with terrifying Sister Hyde and to get into scrape after scrape especially where men are concerned.
This utterly delightful novel brings a London pre-war hospital vividly to life.

My thoughts-
I immediately got lost in the world of the Nightingale school. From the very first pages, I was hooked. I had a difficult time wanting to put this book down because there are so many characters that I came to care about and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I liked that The Nightingale Girls introduces us to several characters, particularly the three main characters- Dora, Millie and Helen. These girls are all very different. They come from different backgrounds, but end up being roommates at The Nightingale. I enjoyed reading about each girl. They each could have filled up a novel on their own, but I really liked that this book was about several students and not just one girl. It gave the opportunity to see how three different lives in the 1930's could have been. Millie, a lady, wanting to do something on her own, despite the objections of her grandmother, the dowager countess, who would rather Millie get married and provide an heir to her father's estate. Dora, a poor girl who wants to do better for herself and needs the escape from a terrible thing that is happening in her life at home. And then there is Helen, her own mother a nurse and dictator- Helen is never allowed to make decisions on her own. An unlikely friendship is forged among the three and we are able to see how their year of training is going at The Nightingale. Of course no story would be complete without a love story, and this novel is great for those of us that love that point of a plot because there are several romances to follow here. I loved this book and I was sorely disappointed when I had come to the end of it, but the great thing is it is the first book in a series and the other two are already out and available to purchase. I will definitely be reading them both soon...hopefully VERY soon! I will warn some of my more sensitive readers that there are some thematic elements that might be difficult to get through that are a pretty prominent part of the book, but for everyone else I say this was a wonderful book, an easy read and one of my favorite novels in a long while! I would recommend The Nightingale Girls to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, love stories or novels that are part of a series.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Homesick Texan's Family Table by Lisa Fain

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the 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- 

From beloved food blogger Lisa Fain, aka the Homesick Texan, comes this follow-up to her wildly popular debut cookbook, featuring more than 125 recipes for wonderfully comforting, ingredient-driven Lone Star classics that the whole family will love.
There are few things finer than a delicious, homemade meal shared with family and friends. Take it from Lisa Fain, a seventh-generation Texan who loves to cook and serve up the best dishes her home state has to offer—even though she now lives half a country away.
     The Homesick Texan’s Family Table showcases more than 100 of Lisa’s best and most-loved recipes, ranging from down-home standards (think cheesy nachos, comforting chicken and dumplings, and fiery wings) to contemporary riffs on the classics (who knew adding Mexican spices to a German chocolate cake would taste so good?).
     All of Lisa’s recipes are made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, yet still packed with real Texas flavor that will make your grandmother smile. Whether you’re looking for a party-friendly snack like Pigs in JalapeƱo Blankets, a Mustard Coleslaw to bring as a side to your next potluck, a weeknight- and family-friendly meal like Steak Fingers with Cream Gravy, or a mouthwatering dessert like Ruby Red Grapefruit and Pecan Sheet Cake, The Homesick Texan’s Family Table has you covered. After all, with some mighty fine food and mighty fine people to enjoy it, any meal can be cause for celebration.

My thoughts-

It was so cool to see a book devoted to Texan cooking, I could not help myself, I had to check it out! I have sort of an addiction to cookbooks...I have a ton sitting on their own special row in my pantry, but I usually find that I only like some of the recipes in these books. Maybe it is because the author of this cookbook is from Texas or that all of the recipes are of things I have been eating all of my life and absolutely love, but there are only a handful of recipes in this book that I wouldn't want to try. If you are a southerner or love southern food, you will absolutely love the recipes in The Homesick Texan's Family Table. There is definitely a huge focus on Tex-Mex, but that is what we love around here! There are some great recipes for different types of tacos, enchiladas and refried beans, as well as more traditional foods with a Tex-Mex twist. I love that in addition to the traditional offerings of a cookbook (appetizers, main dishes, desserts, ect.) there were also recipes for salsas, sauces, dressings and instructions on how to can. I have been wanting to learn how to can for a long time, so I thought it was cool that it was part of this cookbook. My absolute favorite part of pretty much any cookbook is the dessert section and this one did not disappoint. I was born and raised in Texas and I have lived here my whole life...I am also part of a very large family with some fantastic bakers, so my mouth watered when I saw some familiar favorites in the dessert chapter...strawberry shortcake, banana pudding, lemon pie, pecan pie, divinity....I wish I could have a tiny piece of each right at this very second! I know that I will get some great use out of this awesome cookbook, the only problem is deciding on which recipes to try first! I definitely recommend this book to any cookbook enthusiast or lover of southern cooking!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Daisies Are Forever by Liz Tolsma Blog Tour & Book Review + Kindle HDX

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Litfuse Group 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-

Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country.
Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin.
However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch's identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her "marriage."
Their journey to Gisela's mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella's daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances.
In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever.

Purchase a copy: 

My thoughts

Since the very first time I picked up Number the Stars by Lois Lowery when I was 8 years old, I have always been drawn to works of fiction that are set in the WWII era. There is just something so fascinating to me about this heartbreaking time in history. I think it is because I can not possibly fathom how anyone made it through such an awful war. I reviewed Liz Tolsma's first book Snow on the Tulips last year and I thought it was a very interesting look into both sides of what innocent people would be going through during the war...the Jewish people who were being targeted and the German people who made the significant risk to hide them away. I knew that when she wrote another novel about WWII I would have to read it. Daisies Are Forever didn't disappoint. It was certainly a page turner. The story is of a group of people trying to head out of the danger zone and into Berlin for safety. Gisela is the main character and she has a lot on her shoulders feeling like she is responsible for other people's safety and well being. She is thoughtful and scared out of her mind. On her way to fleeing to safety, she meets Mitch Edwards, who is a British soldier that escaped from a POW. This leads to her having to lie about his identity to make sure he stays safe as well. I found Gisela and Mitch both very likeable and my heart broke for both of them and everyone with them for what they were going through. I found Kurt to be kind of a creep and I could have done without him, but he was definitely an obstacle for Gisela and Mitch, or at least he was trying to be. The description used in the novel is vivid and really brings the story to life. You can almost feel the pain and fear that the characters feel. I read Daisies Are Forever in just a few short days and I could even see myself reading it a second time (I am not usually a repeat reader). I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or has a specific interest in WWII.

About the author-

New York Times best-selling author Liz Tolsma is the author of Daisies areForeverSnow on the Tulips, and the contributing author of A Log Cabin Christmas. When not busy putting words to paper, Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children, all adopted internationally.

Connect with Liz Tolsma on Faceobok
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Liz Tolsma's Website

***************Enter to win a Kindle HDX***************

Liz Tolsma's latest WWII historical fiction novel, Daisies are Forever, is getting rave reviews. 

". . . compelling and fast-paced tale about the atrocities and tremendous losses. . . ." —Library Journal

"Excellent storytelling, accurate historical reporting and gritty, persevering characters make this WWII-era novel a must-read." —CBA Retailers + Resources

Liz celebrating the release with a Kindle HDX giveaway!
One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 31st. Winner will be announced June 2nd on Liz's website.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Liz's website on June 2nd to see if you won.

Monday, May 19, 2014

TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C + E + Hyaluronic Acid Serum Review + Giveaway

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. 

I love natural skin care products. Even if I wasn't aware of all of the chemicals that other skin care products contain, I have very sensitive skin so I can not just put anything on it, especially my incredibly sensitive face. I definitely believe that, especially as we get older, we really need to take care of our skin, especially our faces. We are exposed to so much sun and have probably worn a ton of makeup, so some extra vitamins are definitely helpful. TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C serum can be used after a toner or on it's own. I have tried it both ways and I think it stands alone very well, but toner beforehand takes this product to another level. I used rose water as my toner. I love how soft and hydrated the vitamin c serum makes my face feel and that there is no slimy or oil residue left behind. This oil feels great on the face and makes my skin feel very pampered. You end this facial care regimen by applying the moisturizer of your choice. I really feel like this is a simple routine to make sure your face retains a youthful appearance. I have been very impressed with this serum and will continue to use it in my regimen.

TruSkin Naturals Professional Vitamin C Serum is alcohol and paraben free and does not test on animals. You can purchase the vitamin c serum on

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Plain Faith by Ora-Jay & Irene Eash with Tricia Goyer (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Book Look in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book- 

This is the true story of Ora-Jay and Irene Eash, Amish farmers from northwest Montana whose lives changed in an instant when a semi-truck struck the family buggy, killing their two young daughters.
After the accident, the couple turned to their Amish community for comfort, but they remained haunted by the thought that they might not see their girls again in heaven. Would their deeds be good enough? Eventually Ora-Jay and Irene learned that grace—not works—was enough to ensure their place in eternity. But with that knowledge came the realization that they could no longer live in an Amish community that didn’t share this precious belief. Could they sever their connection to the Amish family they loved?
This is the story of their journey to the hope that is heaven, a hope stronger than the loss of children, family, and a way of life. Fans of Amish fiction will appreciate such a real-life look into the Amish community, co-written by bestselling author Tricia Goyer, and readers of all kinds will resonate with this tale of courage, resilience, and the redemption found in the grace of Jesus.
My thoughts-
I read a lot of Amish fiction and I am pretty interested in the Amish lifestyle and beliefs, so I was interested the minute I heard about this book. A good majority of the Amish fiction I read is written by the wonderful Mrs. Tricia Goyer, so with her name attached, I knew it would be a high quality book. This story is heartbreaking. With each page read, I would feel angrier and angrier for Irene and Ora-Jay and all that they had to go through, but I had to remind myself that their friends and family reacted the way they did because they were raised to react that way. It is difficult enough that the Eashs' lost their daughters, but then to have pretty much no one comforting them the way they needed- I couldn't imagine. The story goes on to tell the story of how they ultimately left the Amish and all they dealt with in the process. I could not put this book down. It is pretty rare for that to happen for me with a non-fiction book, but this I read in two days. I just find it fascinating the way that the Amish react to their own when they don't follow the ways anymore. It is heartbreaking. I think the Amish have a great thing going with their huge sense of community, family and unity. We could certainly learn a lot from them in this regard and I wish we would. There would probably be a whole lot less depression going on. But to me, their downfall is the way they shun and silence members of their church who they feel are going astray From what I read in this book, it seems that Amish people are discouraged from reading the Bible among themselves and I think this is a big part of the problem. They are only allowed to believe what is preached to them and it seems like a good portion of the Bible is left out of these sermons. My heart broke for Ora-Jay and Irene when they struggled so much and had to make a decision between a personal relationship with Jesus or living in the only way they had ever known. The ultimate message in Plain Faith is that Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice and that even the biggest sacrifice you may have to make is absolutely worth it. There is nothing better. The Eashs' know that and I am glad that they found hope in Him. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Amish, or learning about lifestyles or religions different then their own. 

Plain Faith is available at and Christian retailers nationwide. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Cook N Home Non-Stick Ceramic Cookware Review

I am on a never ending quest to make our home as healthy as possible in all possible ways. That started originally in 2007 when I was pregnant with my first baby and learned about all of the crazy chemicals that lurk in things we use on a daily basis, like bottles and tupperware. I found out shortly after that there are all kinds of chemicals that leach out of non-stick pots and pans. The biggest (but not only) chemical problems in these very popular pots and pans are PTFE, PFOA and some cases there is even lead. It is bad enough that these awful, known carcinogenic chemicals can be used in things we have to utilize on a daily basis, but what is even worse is that these chemicals leach into your food every time you heat up that pot or pan....

I moved on to stainless steel and just did not personally care for that style of pan. Next, I bought some cast iron and I actually really like cast iron, but it does have some downfalls. It is extremely heavy, so it can be kind of a chore to lift these types of pans to put on the stove and they can be kind of hard to clean and keep in tip top shape. I enjoy my cast iron pans because you can just not get that same taste on food in any other type of pans, but I just can not use them daily. I wish I could though!

Recently, I came across ceramic coated non-stick pans. To me, this seemed like the best option, so I bought a set. The only draw back to these, I thought, is that they have to be hand washed, but since I got them a few days ago, I have used them more than a few times (since I love to cook and try to make most meals at home), they are just the easiest pans to wash. The ceramic coating is the best non-stick surface I have ever seen. Making meals actually requires very little oil in the pan and everything washes out with just a sponge and a little bit of water and soap. They look brand new after each use. I am in love. I just wanted to share my experience in case anyone happens to be looking for new pots and pans or is unaware of the bad chemicals in regular non-stick pans. This set is PTFE, PFOA, cadmium and lead free. I HIGHLY recommend this pots and pans.

I bought these on last week and they were $39.99 at that time. I checked today and they were up to $50 something...that is still better than the normal $89.99 price tag, but I say to keep your eye on them over the next week or two since Amazon is notorious for price fluctuations. This set is worth the original price, but I am glad I got them for such a low price!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Garcinia Cambogia & Slender Cleanse Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I am always looking for something to help boost the last pounds I need to lose, especially since I have a wedding to attend in June. I am looking for a jump start, but I do not like to take just any pills. It has to be something that is derived naturally. I like the idea of garcinia cambogia because of that and the slender cleanse included in this duo of products also falls in line within the perimeters of expectations. I have been taking these two products for around two weeks. When taking a new supplement, it is always important to read the bottle for instructions and warnings and since Slender Cleanse is a laxative formula, it is recommended not to take it more than 7 days in a row. So I have been taking that along with the garcinia cambogia 5 days in a row, followed by a few days of just the garcinia cambogia and then the pair together again. The first two days of taking the pills, I saw a significant weight drop off of 4-5 pounds, but things have tapered off since then. I have noticed I don't lose much at all without the help of the slender cleanse on the days I am resting from taking that, so to me, it seems like Slender Cleanse is more helpful as a weight loss aide than Garcinia Cambogia, but I have not taken them separately, so I can not say for sure. I do have about half of the bottles left to take, so hopefully I will see another drop in weight at some point. Supplements work different for different people, so it is possible that these two products would work better for other people. I would still recommend giving them a try since you pay the price you would for a bottle of just one for both products and it is worth buying for the slender cleanse alone.

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

OvenArt Silicone Muffin Pan Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I have been wanting to switch all of my bakeware over to silicone for quite some time now. There are all kinds of chemicals lurking in non-stick pans that will leech into our foods without us even knowing it. Silicone has the non-stick element without the terrible chemical problems. I was so excited to run across OvenArt's Silicone bakeware on Tomoson and was elated to be able to review this product. So far, I have made banana chocolate chip muffins and corn muffins. The pan is really easy to use. The first time, I didn't think about the fact that it would be a little flimsy and I stuck it straight in the oven. I was able to get it out without running the muffins, but it was no easy feat. The second go round, I remembered that it said right on the packaging to put the silicone pan on top of something more sturdy like a cookie pan, and that made it super easy to get it in and out of the oven. I sprayed a little cooking spray in the muffin pan before each use and what I found was the OvenArt's silicone pan performs better than the non-stick pans I have been using. All of the muffins cooked well and evenly and by just barely pushing on the bottom of the muffin cups, the baked goods pop cleanly out of the pan. I took a picture of myself pushing on one of the cupcakes to try and illustrate just how clean the muffins come out of the pan:

I don't know about you, but I have had plenty of baked goods stick in my so called "non-stick" muffin tins. I was quite impressed with how OvenArt's silicone muffin pan performed. Bonus points for the pans because they are oven safe, dishwasher safe AND microwave safe. When it was time for me to clean the pan, it only took a quick rinse...easiest clean up ever. I liked this pan so much, I have already bought a second one and plan to throw out my old non-stick pans. It's the first step in going all silicone with my baking pans. I definitely recommend giving these a try. You will never want to use a non-stick pan again!

You can find OvenArt's Silicone Baking Pans on

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Alone Yet Not Alone by Tracy Leininger Craven Book Review + Giveaway

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my thoughts opinion. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

The Leininger family settled deep within America's new frontier in the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania. A sudden Indian raid changed their lives forever. This story retells the heroic and daring escape of Barbara Leininger, and the touching reunion with her sister, Regina, after nine years. It also gives us an endearing portrayal of the love between family members and the strength of childhood memories. Father and Mother Leininger's commitment to "hide" God's Word in the hearts of their children yielded the fruit of an enduring faith in their Savior. Barbara and Regina held firmly to the belief that they were never alone, even in their darkest hour.

My thoughts-

I love fictionalized versions of real life stories because there is just something special about being let in to someone else's story. This young adult book is a story special to the author, as it is a story from her very own family told to her by her grandmother, who discovered the story of their relatives Barbara and Regina while researching her family's genealogy. I think it is awesome that Tracy Leninger Craven wrote her first version of this story at nine years old and she was able to see it come to light and share it with other people. Although this is a totally different time and type of historical fiction, Alone Yet Alone brought me back to my elementary school days and reminded me of reading Number the Stars by Lois Lowery. I think it is wonderful for elementary age children to have the opportunity to read novels that will teach them a bit about history. I know I always enjoyed books like that as a child.

This book is written well. The story of what happened to Barbara and her sister Regina flows well and keep's the reader's attention. It also makes one wonder what they might do being put in the same situation as these girls, kidnapped and forced to be a part of a tribe that is so different from what they are used to being around. The escape was exciting and suspenseful and absolutely loved the conclusion of the book. If you enjoy early reader historical fiction, you will love this book. If you have young elementary aged children, you might read it together and have a family book club meeting. After that, you can go see the movie that is based on the book together. It comes out June 12, 2014. Find out how you can bring the Alone Yet Not Alone movie to your city!

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