Thursday, April 29, 2010

Huephoria ~ Review & Giveaway


Are you looking for a cute Mother's Day gift that is fun and practical, but a break from the norm? Well I found the cutest little salt and pepper shakers from Huephoria. I got to choose a set and I chose the (actually the boys did) Flo Flamingo shakers. They are so brightly colored and cute. They are a small set that is perfect for taking out to the patio table for our summer meals on the deck!



Now isn't that a fun, cute and practical gift that your mom might actually be able to use instead of flowers that are just going to die or yet another potted or hanging plant? Not that there's anything wrong with those, but hey, switch it up a little!

They have several different designs to choose from that are so darn cute, like these...





They also have really cute wine and martini glasses. Now, I don't drink, but wouldn't it be fun even just to sip yummy summer drinks out of these? I'll take a Shirley Temple as I lounge in my chair on the deck, please.





I just think that Huephoria's products are a great break from the Mother's Day gift norm or for anytime, really. My aunt loves flamingos, so I'll have to watch and make sure she doesn't try to slip my salt and pepper shakers in her purse the next time she comes over. Oh wait, that gave me a great idea, I'll tell my cousins to get her some for Mother's Day! See how that works?! LOL

So get over to Huephoria and check out all the great products they have to offer (they have ornaments too!) and see if you can't find a cute gift for your mom too!

Notice you can enter to win a free Huephoria glass while you're there too!

OH WAIT!!! Did I mention that they would like to give one of my readers a set of Salt and Pepper Shakers in your choice of design? Well, they would, so get your entries in now!


BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE ENTRY DIRECTIONS EXACTLY FOR YOUR ENTRIES TO COUNT!!!!

This contest will be open until 11:59 PM on May 13th. At that time I will use random.org to determine the winner. The winner will then be emailed and have 24 hours to respond, otherwise I will choose a new winner. This contest is open to U.S. residents.

LEAVE SEPARATE COMMENTS FOR EACH ENTRY AND LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THIS FORM - Jane (at) yahoo (dot) com


MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit and tell me the style of Salt 'N Peppas you would choose if you win. (1 entry)

Extra Entries:

Follow my blog (publicly via google friend connect, located on the top sidebar) - You can use this as an entry whether you are a new follower or a current follower. (1 entry)

Subscribe to my blog via the sign-up found on the right sidebar of my blog to be sure to never miss a great giveaway! (1 entry)

Follow my blog via Networked Blogs, located on the right sidebar under google friend connect. (1 entry)

Become a fan of my Facebook page, located on the right sidebar. (1 entry)

Place my Finally Finding Me...I Think button on your blog and leave me a comment saying you did. The button is found on the right sidebar of my blog.
(1 entry)

Blog about this giveaway with a link to my blog and leave me the link to your post. (1 entry)

Become a fan of Huephoria's Facebook page. (1 entry)

Sign up for Huephoria emails to start receiving specials! (1 entry)
That's 9 chances to win! Good luck!




Disclosure: I received these products for free for review purposes. My opinions expressed in this review were honest and genuine and I was in no way persuaded by the company involved.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Please Vote For Me!


I am a finalist in the "Name That Bling" contest over at Chunky Bling and I need you to vote for my submission so that I can win a watch band! Please go and vote for my submission: Cruella De Vil (Danielle)! Thank you so much! You guys are the best!!!

Winners!!!

Ok, I know I'm a little behind, but we had an insanely busy weekend and I wasn't able to get on the computer until today. So, without further ado, here are the winners...


The winner of any item $35.00 or under from Fantasy Jewelry Box is...
Comment #14 - clenna


The winner of the Tea Party Gift Set from Ann Clark Ltd. is...
Comment #6 - Shelley


Congratulations, winners!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Reunion Island Coffee Review




I was lucky enough to receive some great products from Reunion Island Coffee to review. If you know me at all, you know I am a serious coffee drinker, so this was really exciting to me!

I was sent a 12oz whole bean package of their Colombia Las Hermosas™ coffee which is a medium roast (my favorite) and a great travel mug that is red (my favorite color) and has the Reunion Island logo on it.



The coffee, let me tell ya... opening the bag and smelling it was pure bliss. Call me weird, but I think fresh coffee has one of the best smells there are and this coffee has an exceptionally good smell. Coffee is coffee you say? Um, then you aren't a big coffee drinker because there is definitely a difference in flavors of coffee and this is a great one!

I'm loving my new travel mug too and have used it every day this week when I take the kids to school in the morning. Brian is jealous, but I won't let him use it because he takes them to work and they never seem to make their way back home. So the mug is mine... all mine!!! Ok, so maybe that's a little dramatic, but I really like the mug.


Here is a little about their company (taken from their website)...

"Reunion Island is a wholesale specialty roaster featuring gourmet coffee, espresso and tea, including organic and Fair Trade products. Our specialty is roasting 'perfect' whole bean coffee that looks as good as it tastes, however, we are also leading the industry in developing new formats like single cup coffee pods. We are a proud supplier to many of the finest caf├ęs and restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and throughout Canada and the United States.

Reunion Island blends and roasts gourmet Arabica beans handpicked from the world’s finest growing regions. Our specialty coffees are imported from over 20 countries and offered as single origins or combined to create our signature blends, including Italian-style espresso. As a wholesale foodservice distributor, Reunion Island offers the coffee, tea and allied products that coffeehouses need to meet growing demand for Fair Trade, organic and other sustainable coffees. We are also the exclusive Canadian distributor for Victoria Arduino handmade Italian espresso machines."


So, if you like coffee, you should definitely get over and check out Reunion Island Coffee. Do you have a mom that loves coffee? Check out all the great roasts and delicious sounding flavored coffees they have to offer. Mother's Day is coming up, you know!


Disclosure: I received these products for free for review purposes. My opinions expressed in this review were honest and genuine and I was in no way persuaded by the company involved.

Charm Factory Winner!

The winner of the charm bracelet from Charm Factory is...


Comment #27 - Shelley


Congratulations, Shelley!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Half Tees Winner!

The winner of the Half Tees giveaway is...


Comment #24 - Jodi


Congratulations, Jodi!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dav Rain Boots Winner!

The winner of the Dav Rain Boots is...


Comment #52 - Kat



Congratulations, Kat!

Bluegala ~ Review & Giveaway



I found a company with tons of beautiful cocktail dresses that I would love to have. I'm obviously past prom age, but I go to plenty of weddings and things where I need nice dresses to wear and the selection at Bluegala is incredible. I really like their more casual dresses as well.

I was sent a simple, white cotton dress to review that I just adore. I walked out it in to show my husband and my middle son said "Oh Mom, you look pretty." That worked for me! I really do love it though. I can't wait to wear it with cute sandals, my pretty turquoise necklace and a nice tan. Perfect.

Here are some of their other dresses that I think are fantastic!

This Grey Chiffon Embroidered Dress is only $39.00. Can't beat that!


I love the bright yellow and interesting design detail of this Center Strap Bandeau Prom Dress. It's $158.00, but if you've ever shopped for prom dresses, you'll know that's not a bad price.


I'm of course, far too short to ever wear this, but I think this Criss Cross Back Print Prom Gown for $198.00 is beautiful!



They also have many designer gowns to choose from that are beautiful. What a great place to look for unique prom or formal dresses. You'll be sure to be wearing something that no one else will have and that everyone will love!

Would you like to win something from Bluegala? They would like to offer one of my readers a top or dress of their choosing in your size. See below for how to gain entries to win!


BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE ENTRY DIRECTIONS EXACTLY FOR YOUR ENTRIES TO COUNT!!!!

This contest will be open until 11:59 PM on May 21st. At that time I will use random.org to determine the winner. The winner will then be emailed and have 24 hours to respond, otherwise I will choose a new winner. This contest is open to U.S. residents.

LEAVE SEPARATE COMMENTS FOR EACH ENTRY AND LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THIS FORM - Jane (at) yahoo (dot) com


MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Bluegala and sign up for their email list where you will also be automatically entered to win a $500 shopping spree from Bluegala!. (1 entry) THIS ENTRY MUST BE DONE IN ORDER FOR ANY OTHER ENTRIES TO QUALIFY!

Extra Entries:

Follow my blog (publicly via google friend connect, located on the top sidebar) - You can use this as an entry whether you are a new follower or a current follower. (1 entry)

Subscribe to my blog via the sign-up found on the right sidebar of my blog to be sure to never miss a great giveaway! (1 entry)

Follow my blog via Networked Blogs, located on the right sidebar under google friend connect. (1 entry)

Become a fan of my Facebook page, located on the right sidebar. (1 entry)

Place my Finally Finding Me...I Think button on your blog and leave me a comment saying you did. The button is found on the right sidebar of my blog.
(1 entry)

Blog about this giveaway with a link to my blog and leave me the link to your post. (1 entry)

Become a fan of Bluegala on facebook. (1 entry)

That's 8 chances to win! Good luck!




Disclosure: I received these products for free for review purposes. My opinions expressed in this review were honest and genuine and I was in no way persuaded by the company involved.

A Corpse at St. Andrew’s Chapel by Mel Starr

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


A Corpse at St. Andrew’s Chapel

Monarch Books (February 19, 2010)

***Special thanks to Cat Hoort - Trade Marketing Manager - Kregel Publications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Melvin R. Starr has spent many years teaching history, and has studied medieval surgery and medieval English. He lives in Michigan.



Visit the author's website.


Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Monarch Books (February 19, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1854249541
ISBN-13: 978-1854249548

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


I awoke at dawn the ninth day of April, 1365. Unlike French Malmsey, the day did not improve with age.

There have been many days I awoke at dawn but remembered not the circumstances three weeks hence. I remember this day not because of when I awoke, but why, and what I was compelled to do after. Odd, is it not, how one extraordinary event will burn even the mundane surrounding it into a man’s memory.

I have seen other memorable days in my twenty-five years. I recall the day my brother Henry died of plague. I was a child, but I remember well Father Aymer administering extreme unction. Father Aymer wore a spice bag about his neck to protect him from the malady. It did not, and he also succumbed within a fortnight. I can see the pouch yet, in my mind’s eye, swinging from the priest’s neck on a hempen cord as he bent over my stricken brother.

I remember clearly the day in 1361 when William of Garstang died. William and I and two others shared a room on St. Michael’s Street, Oxford, while we studied at Baliol College. I comforted William as the returning plague covered his body with erupting buboes. For my small service he gave me, with his last breaths, his three books. One of these volumes was, Surgery, by Henry de Mondeville. How William came by this clumes I know not. But I see now in this gift the hand of God, for I read de Mondeville’s work and changed my vocation.

Was it then God’s will that William die a miserable death so that I might find God’s vision for my life? This I cannot accept, for I saw William’s body covered with oozing pustules. I will not believe such a death is God’s choice for any man. Here I must admit a disagreement with Master Wyclif, who believes that all is foreordained. But out of evil God may draw good, as I believe He did when he introduced me to the practice of surgery. Perhaps the good I have done with my skills balances the torment William suffered in his death. But not for William.

I remember well the day I met Lord Gilbert Talbot. I stitched him up after his leg was opened by a kick from a groom’s horse on Oxford High Street. This needlework opened my life to service to Lord Gilbert and the townsmen of Bampton, and brought me also the post of bailiff on Lord Gilbert’s manor at Bampton.

Other days return to my mind with less pleasure. I will not soon forget Christmas Day, 1363, and the feast that day at Lord Gilbert’s Goodrich Castle hall. I had traveled there from Bampton to attend Lord Gilbert’s sister, the Lady Joan. The fair Joan had broken a wrist in a fall from a horse. I was summoned to set the break. It was foolish of me to think I might win this lady, but love has hoped more foolishness than that. A few days before Christmas a guest, Sir Thomas de Burgh, arrived at Goodrich. Lord Gilbert invited him knowing well he might be a thief. Indeed, he stole Lady Joan’s heart. Between the second and third removes of the Christmas feast he stood and for all in the hall to see offered Lady Joan a clove-studded pear. She took the fruit and with a smile delicately drew a clove from the pear with her teeth. They married in September, a few days before Michealmas, last year.

But I digress.


I awoke at dawn to thumping on my chamber door. I blinked sleep from my eyes, crawled from my bed, and stumbled to the door. I opened it as William the porter was about to rap on it again.

“It’s Alan . . . . the beadle. He’s found.”

Alan had left his home to seek those who would violate curfew two days earlier. He never returned. His young wife came to me in alarm the morning of the next day. I sent John Holcutt, the reeve, to gather a party of searchers, but they found no trace of the man. John was not pleased to lose a day of work from six men. Plowing of fallow fields was not yet finished. Before I retired Wednesday evening John sought me out and begged not to resume the search next day. I agreed. If Alan could not be found with the entire town aware of his absence another day of poking into haymows and barns seemed likely also to be fruitless. It was not necessary.

“Has he come home?” I asked..

“Nay. An’ not likely to, but on a hurdle.”

“He’s dead?”

“Aye.”

“Where was he found?”

“Aside t’way near to St. Andrew’s Chapel.”

It was no wonder the searchers had not found him. St. Andrew’s Chapel was near half a mile to the east. What, I wondered, drew him away from the town on his duties?

“Hubert Shillside has been told. He would have you accompany him to the place.”

“Send word I will see him straightaway.”

I suppose I was suspicious already that this death was not natural. I believe it to be a character flaw if a man be too mistrustful. But there are occasions in my professions – surgery and bailiff – when it is good to doubt a first impression. Alan was not yet thirty years old. He had a half-yardland of Lord Gilbert Talbot and was so well thought of that despite his youth Lord Gilbert’s tenants had at hallmote chosen him beadle these three years. He worked diligently, and bragged all winter that his four acres of oats had brought him nearly five bushels for every bushel of seed. A remarkable accomplishment, for his land was no better than any other surrounding Bampton. This success brought also some envy, I think, and perhaps there were wives who contrasted his achievement to the work of their husbands. But this, I thought, was no reason to kill a man.

I suppose a man may have enemies which even his friends know not of. I did consider Alan a friend, as did most others of the town. On my walk from Bampton Castle to Hubert Shillside’s shop and house on Church View Street I persuaded myself that this must be a natural death. Of course, when a corpse is found in open country, the hue and cry must be raised even if the body be stiff and cold. So Hubert, the town coroner, and I, bailiff and surgeon, must do our work.

Alan was found but a few minutes from the town. Down Rosemary Lane to the High Street, then left on Bushey Row to the path to St. Andrew’s Chapel. We saw – Hubert and I, and John Holcutt, who came also – where the body lay while we were yet far off. As we passed the last house on the lane east from Bampton to the chapel we saw a group of men standing in the track at a place where last year’s fallow was being plowed for spring planting. They saw us approach, and stepped back respectfully as we reached them.

A hedgerow had grown up among rocks between the lane and the field. New leaves of pale green decorated stalks of nettles, thistles, and wild roses. Had the foliage matured for another fortnight Alan might have gone undiscovered. But two plowmen, getting an early start on their day’s labor, found the corpse as they turned the oxen at the end of their first furrow. It had been barely light enough to see the white foot protruding from the hedgerow. The plowman who goaded the team saw it as he prodded the lead beasts to turn them.

Alan’s body was invisible from the road, but by pushing back nettles and thorns – carefully – we could see him curled as if asleep amongst the brambles. I directed two onlookers to retrieve the body. Rank has its privileges. Better they be nettle-stung than we. A few minutes later Alan the beadle lay stretched out on the path.

Laying in the open, on the road, the beadle did not seem so at peace as in the hedgerow. Deep scratches lacerated his face, hands, and forearms. His clothes were torn, and a great wound bloodied his neck where flesh had been torn away. The coroner bent to examine this injury more closely.

“Some beast has done this, I think,” he muttered as he stood. “See how his surcoat is torn at the arms, as if he tried to defend himself from fangs.

I knelt on the opposite side of the corpse to view in my turn the wound which took the life of Alan the beadle. It seemed as Hubert Shillside said. Puncture wounds spread across neck and arms, and rips on surcoat and flesh indicated where claws and fangs had made their mark. I sent the reeve back to the Bampton Castle for a horse on which to transport Alan back to the town and to his wife. The others who stood in the path began to drift away. The plowmen who found him returned to their team. Soon only the coroner and I remained to guard the corpse. It needed guarding. Already a vulture floated high above the path.

I could not put my unease into words, so spoke nothing of my suspicion to Shillside. But I was not satisfied that some wild beast had done this thing. I believe the coroner was apprehensive of his explanation as well, for it was he who broke the silence.

“There have been no wolves hereabouts in my lifetime,” he mused, “nor wild dogs, I think.”

“I have heard,” I replied, “Lord Gilbert speak of wolves near Goodrich. And Pembroke. Those castles are near to the Forest of Dean and the Welsh mountains. But even there in such wild country they are seldom seen.”

Shillside was silent again as we studied the body at our feet. My eyes wandered to the path where Alan lay. When I did not find what I sought I walked a few paces toward the town, then reversed my path and inspected the track in the direction of St. Andrew’s Chapel. My search was fruitless.

Hubert watched my movements with growing interest. “What do you seek?” He finally asked. It was clear to him I looked for something in the road.

“Tracks. If an animal did this there should be some sign, I think. The mud is soft.”

“Perhaps,” the coroner replied. “But we and many others have stood about near an hour. Any marks a beast might have made have surely been trampled underfoot.”

I agreed that might be. But another thought also troubled me. “There should be much blood,” I said, “but I see little.”

“Why so?” Shillside asked.

“When a man’s neck is torn as Alan’s is there is much blood lost. It is the cause of death. Do you see much blood hereabouts?”

“Perhaps the ground absorbed it?”

“Perhaps . . . . let us look in the hedgerow, where we found him.”

We did, carefully prying the nettles apart. The foliage was depressed where Alan lay, but only a trace of blood could be seen on the occasional new leaf or rock or blade of grass.

“There is blood here,” I announced, “but not much. Not enough.”

“Enough for what?” the coroner asked with furrowed brow.

“Enough that the loss of blood would kill a man.”

Shillside was silent for a moment. “Your words trouble me,” he said finally. “If this wound,” he looked to Alan’s neck, “did not kill him, what did?”

“T’is a puzzle,” I agreed.

“And see how we found him amongst the nettles. Perhaps he dragged himself there to escape the beasts, if more than one set upon him.”

“Or perhaps the animal dragged him there,” I added. But I did not believe this for reasons I could not explain.

It was the coroner’s turn to cast his eyes about. “His staff,” Shillside mused, “I wonder where it might be?”

I remembered the staff. Whenever the beadle went out of an evening to watch and warn he carried with him a yew pole taller than himself and thick as a man’s forearm. I spoke to him of this weapon once. A whack from it, he said, would convince the most unruly drunk to leave the streets and seek his bed.

“He was proud of that cudgel,” Hubert remarked as we combed the hedgerow in search of it. “He carved an ‘A’ on it so all would know t’was his.”

“I didn’t know he could write.”

“Oh . . . . he could not,” Shillside explained. “Father Thomas showed him the mark and Alan inscribed it. Right proud of it, he was.”

We found the staff far off the path, where some waste land verged on to a wood just behind St. Andrew’s Chapel. It lay thirty paces or more from the place where Alan’s body had lain in the hedgerow.

“How did it come to be here?” Shillside asked. As if I would know. He examined the club; “there is his mark . . . . see.” He pointed to the “A” inscribed with some artistry into the tough wood.

As the coroner held the staff before me I inspected it closely and was troubled. Shillside saw my frown.

“What perplexes you, Hugh?”

“The staff is unmarked. Were I carrying such a weapon and a wolf set upon me I would flail it about to defend myself; perhaps hold it before me so the beast caught it in his teeth rather than my arm.”

Shillside peered at the pole and turned it to view all sides. Its surface was smooth and unmarred. “Perhaps,” he said thoughtfully, “Alan swung it at the beast and lost his grip. See how polished smooth it is . . . . and it flew from his grasp to land here.”

“That might be how it was,” I agreed, for I had no better explanation.

As we returned to the path we saw the reeve approach with Bruce, the old horse who saw me about the countryside when I found it necessary to travel. He would be a calm and dignified platform on which to transport a corpse.

We bent to lift Alan to Bruce’s back, John at the feet and Shillside and me at the shoulders. As we swung him up Alan’s head fell back. So much of his neck was shredded that it provided little support. I reached out a hand to steady the head and felt a thing which made my hackles rise.

“Wait,” I said, rather sharply, for my companions started and gazed in wonder at me. “Set him back on the road.”

I turned the beadle’s head and felt the place on the skull which had startled me. There was a soft lump on the skull, just behind Alan’s right ear. This swelling was invisible for the thick shock of hair which covered it. I spread the thatch and inspected Alan’s scalp, then showed my discovery to reeve and coroner.

John Holcutt was silent, but Shillside, after running his fingers across the swelling looked at me and asked, “How could a wolf do this?”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Summit Camping Gear


As you may know, my family and I LOVE camping. My husband and I both grew up in families that camped and we both love it and couldn't imagine not doing the same with our boys. Well, luckily they love it too and we look forward all winter long, to the arrival of spring and summer and our camping trips starting up.

One of our absolute favorite places to camp is a campground right along a river where we like to go tubing and just hang out. We have had several great camping trips there with my siblings, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins and it's a trip we plan annually. On some of our camping trips, we borrow my husband's aunt's motorhome, but on this trip and many others, we love to sleep in a tent.

If you camp, you know that having the right camping tents and camping gear makes all the difference in the comfort of your trip. For instance, if you have a larger family or are going to be somewhere for an extended length of time, you definitely want a tent with adequate space to move around in, not just to sleep in. You want something that your family can hang out in comfortably if you experience rain and need to be inside. You also want to make sure you have warm sleeping bags for those occasional nights that get chilly. Camping stoves are also great for ease of cooking meals. Oh, and definitely don't forget flashlights and lanterns. Having a lantern to light up the tent at night makes changing into jammies and getting everyone tucked in much easier. Not to mention, if it's a rainy night and you have to head in early instead of sitting by the campfire, you can play games or read in the tent.

We are due for some new camping supplies and Summit Camping Gear seems to have everything we could ever need, all in one place. I'm all about convenience and not having to search several different places for what I need, so I am excited about the service that they offer.

If you're getting ready to gear up for some upcoming camping trips or if your family is just getting into the idea of camping, be sure to check out Summit Camping Gear to make sure you'll have everything your family will need.


Disclosure: I am receiving monetary compensation for this sponsored blog post. However, the opinions are my own and were not persuaded by the company involved.

We Have Winners!!!

Winners of the Joy Apparel Gift Certificates are...

Comment #4 - Jodi

Comment #23 - Michiganmommyx4

Comment #22 - skipthelaundry




Winner of the pair of Delicious Agape heels from ZooShoo is...

Comment #96 - Gina



CONGRATULATIONS, Winners!

U*neaks ~ Review & Giveaway



Asher is all about fun shoes, so when I saw U*neaks shoes (and socks) I knew he would love them! I was lucky enough to receive a pair of shoes and 4 pairs of socks of my choosing and I was right, Asher thinks they're the coolest!

U*neaks are a unique style of shoe with a clear "window" on the side that allows you to see the sock through. Their great selection of designed socks allows you to change the look of your shoes, simply by changing your socks! Not only that, but each pair of socks has 2 different designs on the sides, so it's like 2 pairs of socks in one!

I chose the Gray/Yellow Boomerang Shoes and the Madagascar - Marty Crew Socks, Madagascar - Chimps Crew Socks, Madagascar - Melman Crew Socks and the Graffiti - Checkers Crew Socks. Asher was so excited when he opened the box and started looking through everything. He loves the Madagascar movies, so he was especially excited about those ones. I thought they were really cute too. I'm not much of one for "character" clothing, but the socks were really cute and the part that peeks out the "window" of the shoes is really cute too.









U*neaks offers 3 styles of shoes and several sock designs for boys, as well as 6 styles of shoes and several sock designs for girls. There are so many design combinations you can do that your child will be able to personalize the look of their shoes, simply with the socks they wear! I think that's so cool and so does Asher. Even his older brother, Riley, thought that was cool (and I think he was kind of disappointed that he didn't get them). Yes, they're that cool. ;-)

Want to buy a pair? You can receive free shipping, free returns and a 10% discount on U*neaks by simply clicking on this link www.shoebuy.com/uneaks or entering the coupon code UNEAKS at checkout.

Would you like to win a pair of U*neaks and some socks for your child? Well the people at U*neaks would like to offer just that to one of my readers! See below for how to enter!

BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE ENTRY DIRECTIONS EXACTLY FOR YOUR ENTRIES TO COUNT!!!!

This contest will be open until 11:59 PM on May 4th. At that time I will use random.org to determine the winner. The winner will then be emailed and have 24 hours to respond, otherwise I will choose a new winner. This contest is open to U.S. residents.

LEAVE SEPARATE COMMENTS FOR EACH ENTRY AND LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THIS FORM - Jane (at) yahoo (dot) com


MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit U*neaks and tell me the style of shoe you would choose if you win. (1 entry)

Extra Entries:

Follow my blog (publicly via google friend connect, located on the top sidebar) - You can use this as an entry whether you are a new follower or a current follower. (1 entry)

Subscribe to my blog via the sign-up found on the right sidebar of my blog to be sure to never miss a great giveaway! (1 entry)

Follow my blog via Networked Blogs, located on the right sidebar under google friend connect. (1 entry)

Become a fan of my Facebook page, located on the right sidebar. (1 entry)

Place my Finally Finding Me...I Think button on your blog and leave me a comment saying you did. The button is found on the right sidebar of my blog.
(1 entry)

Blog about this giveaway with a link to my blog and leave me the link to your post. (1 entry)


That's 7 chances to win! Good luck!




Disclosure: I received these products for free for review purposes. My opinions expressed in this review were honest and genuine and I was in no way persuaded by the company involved.

One Million Arrows: Raising Your Children To Change The World by Julie Ferwerda

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


One Million Arrows: Raising Your Children to Change the World

Winepress Publishing (September 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Julie Ferwerda for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Julie Ferwerda is recognized for making the Bible exciting and relevant to everyday life through her writing and speaking. Her articles are featured in many Christian magazines and websites for both adults and teens, and she frequently volunteers her time and talents to international orphan ministry.

Visit the author's website.
Visit the book's website.



Product Details:

List Price: $13.95
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Winepress Publishing (September 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606150111
ISBN-13: 978-1606150115

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Chapter 1: Determine Your Course
And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children...Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5–9

_______________________________

Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. –William Jennings Bryan1

_______________________________

What were you doing on 9/11?

I’d just cranked up the tunes and hopped on my Nordic Track as part of my normal morning routine, when my husband called from work to tell me to turn on the TV. Watching the events unfold, I don’t think I’ve ever felt as helpless or as horrified as I did that day. The world no longer seemed like the safe, secure place I thought it was only one day before. In the worst way, I wanted to keep my two girls, ages seven and ten, out of school that day to protect them and reassure them until the danger had passed.

For the rest of that day, and many more to come, the surreal sights on TV haunted me. The planes striking the buildings; massive explosions; the sudden, momentary collapse—twice—of 110 floors of elaborately constructed concrete, steel, and glass that took years to erect; and the mountains of debris that smoked and smoldered for many days. But nothing shook me as much as the unforgettable images of human bodies spilling out of the buildings like grains of rice. Neither those who lived through it, nor those of us who watched the shocking events unfold on TV will ever forget.

One young man I read about, Cary Sheih, a technical consultant from New York, barely made it out alive. Working on a project for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at his 72nd floor desk, he’d just finished his usual mid-morning PB&J, when he heard an explosion, followed by tremendous building sways and vibrations. At first, he thought it might be an earthquake, so he dashed to the stairwell, where a quick, but calm, evacuation was underway. As people made their way down, some received messages on their cell phones that an airplane had accidentally crashed into the building, but there was no mention of a terrorist attack.

With the heavy, choking stench of jet fuel, descending the tower proved difficult. But if it was difficult for him, he couldn’t imagine how difficult it was for the rescue crews he passed, huffing their way up an endless corkscrew of stairs and then hurrying back down, carrying badly injured and burned victims. He recalls, “Sometime around the 30th or 40th floor, we passed the first firefighters coming up the stairs. They reassured people that we were safe and that we would all get out fine. By this point, they were absolutely breathless, but still pushing upward, slowly and unyieldingly, one step at a time. I could only imagine how tired they were, carrying their axes, hoses, and heavy outfits, climbing up all those stairs. Young men started offering [to help] the firemen to carry up their gear for a few flights, but they all refused. Each and every one of them.”2

As Cary neared the bottom, the building began to shake and sway again, the lights flickered out, and eerie sounds of buckling steel accompanied screams of people falling down the stairwell. After being assisted by firemen through darkness to a different stairwell, a panicked Cary somehow made it down the last few flights to safety, where his wildest imagination couldn’t have prepared him for what he encountered. The burning trees, wreckage, fireballs, and dust resembled a war zone.

While reading through this and other accounts concerning 9/11, I noticed an inspiring, recurrent theme. While there were many, many heroes and selfless individuals working tirelessly to assist throughout this tragic period, it was the firemen who undoubtedly made some of the greatest sacrifices of all, and whose ultimate acts of bravery impacted lives worldwide. While most everyone else scrambled for the exit signs to save themselves (which I’m positive I would have done, too), these rescue workers fearlessly headed up into the towering infernos that day, many likely aware that they might not make it out alive.

Most kids see firefighters as larger than life heroes, which is probably why many of them want to be one when they grow up. Who wouldn’t want to be thought of as a hero, especially one that saved lives? I came across a touching book report that was written about 9/11 by three kids: “The firefighters of 9/11 are heroes because they have saved the lives of hundreds of people, while they knew the building could collapse. While you go up a burning, 110-story building you would be very scared, because you’ll think of your own life. When you are a firefighter you mustn’t think too much about your own life or you may not be able to save lives. Being a hero means saving lives. That’s the difference between being a celebrity and being a hero. Why would a celebrity be important to you? It is just someone with a well-paying job. You’ll be someone’s hero if you help him with his or her life.”3

As I think about what these insightful kids have so magnificently articulated about the qualities of firemen, particularly the 9/11 firemen, I’m deeply moved with admiration and respect. In an emergency, firemen are:

First responders, well-trained, and ready to save lives, even at the expense of their own.
Purposeful and deliberate, aware that lives are at stake and time is short.
Doggedly determined, knowing that the more lives they can save the better.
Regarded in both life and death as the heroes of this world.
No one involved in 9/11 could disagree with this assessment. Remembering the expressions of both courage and fear etched on rescue workers’ faces as they spoke reassuringly to guide many people to safety, Cary Sheih said, “I am so grateful for the courage of the firemen and policemen who gave up their lives to help us down the burning tower. As I relive this moment over and over in my mind, I can’t help but think that these courageous firemen already knew in their minds that they would not make it out of the building alive, and that they didn’t want to endanger any more civilians or prevent one less person from making it to safety.”4

While they will undoubtedly go down in history as larger than life heroes, we can’t forget how human and vulnerable they were, too. I have looked through their pictures online. Most of them were young family men, with their whole lives ahead of them—men who kissed their own babies goodnight on Monday for the last time so that those they helped to safety could kiss their kids goodnight many more nights to come. They unknowingly said final goodbyes to their own families Tuesday morning so that many others could come home to their families that night.

In the moment of the realization of the grave danger, it had to be a dilemma for the firemen, choosing between lion-hearted courage and paralyzing, self-protective fear. How were they able to do it? Was it because it was their job? Because their buddies were doing it? Because their captain told them to do it? What exactly is it that leads a person to choose a profession where courage must prevail when all pretenses and rewards are stripped away in the face of death?

More than a job identity or a paycheck, more than an obligation or a hope of any kind of recognition, firemen are willing to risk their lives and to face their fears because they are motivated by something far greater than fear.

The Bible refers to this motivating force as love! Authentic, selfless love drives away fear (1 John 4:18). And it was the love—not the duty—of those firemen and emergency workers that truly made them heroes of the day, both the ones who died and the ones who worked doggedly through the wreckage, many suffering permanent damage to their lungs and bodies. And that kind of sacrifice, according to Jesus Christ, is love at its very best. “I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And here is how to measure it—the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends” (John 15:12–13, emphasis mine).

Firemen of Life

So what does all this talk about 9/11 and firemen have to do with parenting? If you’re a follower of Christ and you want to raise children who are also followers of Christ, quite a lot. And if you want to entertain the possibility of raising children who will change the world around them, and even the world at large, everything!

It’s no secret that every day on this earth, countless lives are at stake. People are dying every day who do not know Jesus, and almost just as bad, people are living every day who do not know Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I cannot imagine struggling through the hardships, losses, disappointments, and sorrows of this world without the comfort and peace of knowing Jesus and His love. And we know that someday soon, this world, with all its carefully planned designs and elaborate structures, along with all the people who have not put their faith in Christ, will collapse in a catastrophic fire (Zephaniah 1:18).

In other words, time is running out.

The seriousness of that reality raises some questions: What is my family here for? As believers, is parenting a more significant and eternity-impacting role than we’ve given it credit for? Are we satisfied with happy, well-adjusted, even ambitious kids who happen to love God, or is there something more? When we consider the possibilities, we find that we’ve been given an invitation into a divine story—into His-story. As this story unfolds throughout the space of our lives, which role will our family accept in this cosmic emergency? Hopefully not the victims. Hopefully not the ones running scared to save ourselves (and I am absolutely not criticizing those who made it out on 9/11—this is for spiritual application only). Hopefully not uninvolved bystanders who are disinterested, unable, or ill equipped to do anything but watch.

I’ve realized that, in the grand scheme of life, more than just raising my kids to “keep the faith,” I want to raise my kids to save lives. I want to raise firemen. Not necessarily the earthly fire-fighting kind, but the heavenly fire-fighting kind. Kids who are well-trained and ready to help save as many lives as possible. Kids who grow up, remembering at the forefront of everything they do, that time is short and lives are at stake, and who will one day be seen as spiritual heroes for helping many to safety.

I want to raise kids who love like Jesus.

Just think what it would be like to have kids who grow up in this self-destructing world with brave faces and hope in their voices, carrying within their hearts the ambition of bringing as many people as possible safely into the Kingdom. I believe that this kind of holy ambition is the secret to life at its best, and I want my kids to experience this kind of life. Jesus said, “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life” (Matthew 16:25). And therein, we hear the invitation: Will you raise your kids to be firemen? Will you be a fireman for God’s sake? We may never be called to die for Jesus like so many others in our world today, but we are still called to a holy rescue mission—to live sacrificially for God so that others will be led to safety through our loving assistance.

I recently met two brothers, both firemen of the Kingdom variety, who understand about saving lives by choosing to deliberately head into burning buildings. For them, the rescue mission all started with a small idea and a heart to snatch their fellow teens from a dangerous culture.

At age sixteen, twins Alex and Brett Harris decided to start a little blog in their spare time over the summer called TheRebelution.com, with the intent of starting a teenage rebellion. “The word ‘rebelution’ is a combination of the words ‘rebellion’ and ‘revolution,’” explains Brett. “So it carries a sense of an uprising against social norms. But in this case, it’s not a rebellion against God-established authority, but against the low expectations of our society. It’s a refusal to be defined by our ungodly, rebellious culture.” To their astonishment, within a couple years, their site had received over 14 million hits, becoming the most popular Christian teen blog on the web.

As a follow up, they decided to write a book for teens called Do Hard Things, exhorting young people not to take the easy way out, but to do those things that seem harder now but have a bigger payoff in the end (as in “delayed gratification”). Since then, God has opened doors for them to speak to thousands of teens nationwide through conferences that are planned, organized, and run primarily by youth.

More than just a website, The Rebelution is both a mindset and a movement. “Our goal,” according to the brothers, “is to create a community of young people where thinking deeply is the norm, and where achieving excellence is ‘cool.’ History says young people can be doing big things right now! Don’t let the culture’s expectations toward teenagers dictate what you think is possible. The teen years are not a vacation from responsibility. They are the training ground of future leaders who dare to be responsible now.”5

Whether from media, parents, authority figures, or peers, low expectations have become the rule for this generation, rather than the exception. Not only are kids expected not to possess admirable character or useful competence, but also they are expected to do the opposite. The Rebelution defies this kind of thinking by calling out youth to return to biblical and historical levels of character and competence as exhorted by Paul in 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

Their message, based on their belief that God is raising up their generation for global change, is a passionate call back to excellence, purpose, and significance for young people. It’s not about doing more things, or inflicting oneself with toilsome chores; it’s about lifestyle choices that will often take you out of your comfort zone and into places where you are focused on using your abilities and resources to encourage and benefit others…ultimately to save lives.

“Brett and I firmly believe we are living in historic times,” Alex says. “We further believe that God is raising up a generation of young people who will one day assume positions of leadership in all spheres of life: social, political, and spiritual. This is not a call for the complacent or the lackadaisical. This is not a call to those who are willing to lower their standards to meet the expectations of their culture. This is a call to the rebelutionary.”

Initially I wondered how two kids could possibly have achieved so many bold and bright accomplishments, not to mention how they’ve acquired more wisdom than many adults. Was it handed to them? Do they harbor a special gene pool (their parents might agree with that notion)? Did they turn out like this by chance?

Actually, Alex and Brett would probably be ordinary kids, except for one thing. They had parents who believed in making the sacrifices necessary to raise their kids to make a difference. Kids who, in turn, learned to make sacrifices in order to serve others. They had parents who devoted themselves to raising firemen. Keeping this at the forefront of their parenting strategy, Mom and Dad Harris raised kids who understood and accepted the fact that it was going to take a lot of hard work for everyone in order to succeed in this goal. As a result of this mentality, these young men have literally started a Rebelution across our nation…and our world.

There are actually two other grown children from the Harris home. One of them, Joshua, became a best-selling author at the age of twenty, with the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye (Multnomah 1997). He went on to write more bestsellers, developed purity seminars for young people, and toured as a national conference speaker in front of hundreds of thousands of young people, calling them out of their culture to a lifestyle of purity. At age twenty-seven, he became the senior pastor of a large church, where he still serves today.

In 2002, another brother, Joel, launched the Northwest Academy of Worship Music to help raise up worship leaders and worship teams for local churches in the Portland area, where over 150 students of all ages have been successfully trained. Since 2007, he’s also been using his music skills to lead worship for The Rebelution Tour.

As I got to know the Harris family, I saw that “chance” and “opportunity” had nothing to do with their parenting success. “If our teen years have been different than most,” says Alex, “it’s not because we are somehow better than other teens, but because we’ve been motivated by that simple but very big idea filtering down from our parents’ example and training: Do hard things.”

With four out of four grown children serving the Lord and significantly impacting their world, it’s obvious that the Harrises are doing something right. And I’ve discovered that this “something” is available to all parents. Throughout this book, we’re going to visit with more parents like these to find out exactly what they are doing to shape godly kids who are ready and able to help save lives, no matter what their limitations or circumstances. Turning out kids like these is not just possible—it’s possible for you and your family with just a few moderate but important lifestyle changes.

Parenting is, really, at the heart of Jesus’ command for discipleship. It’s teaching our kids to live with Jesus and to love like Jesus. It does require a cost, as anything worthwhile does, but that cost will be far outweighed by the benefits and rewards. God has created our kids with unique abilities, gifts, and desires for a very special purpose. All they need now is to be trained and ready, available for divinely appointed opportunities.

So now it’s time to ask: Do we truly want to give our kids the best of everything we have to offer in the short time we have to impact their lives? Do we want our kids to live—and someday die—the spiritual heroes of this world? If we have answered “yes,” then it’s time to learn about a vision for our families that’s so amazing; it will change the course of history.

My discovery all started on a little trip I took to northwest India.




My thoughts on this book: I cannot say enough good things about this book. My eyes and my heart were opened wider than they ever have been to just exactly what our children could grow up to be and do for the Lord someday and I was so incredibly inspired by all of the amazing true stories. My husband didn't read the book, but I have been telling him about it all the way through and we are going to be using it as a way to teach our children and as an opportunity for our family to help raise up other "arrows" that we may never meet until Heaven, but what a glorious day that will be! I don't know if I've ever felt more strongly about the impact that a book could make (besides the Bible, of course). Whether you have children or not, you should definitely get this book and get started on helping raise up "arrows" for the kingdom. This book has changed me and I think it will change you too! God is so amazing!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bonus Entry For ZooShoo Delicious Agape Heels!!!!


The giveaway for the Delicious Agape heels from ZooShoo ends tonight! Head on over to the giveaway post here and leave me a comment telling me your favorite style of shoe to wear (heels, flats, sandals, etc.) for a bonus entry!

Please be sure to click on "here" that is highlighted with the link to the giveaway post and leave your comment there for it to count. Thank you!

Sunglass Warehouse ~ Review & Giveaway



It's that time of year (or at least beginning to be) when the sun is shining and... giving you headaches from squinting so much. Ok, well at least that's what happens to me. Well, I think every girl (and guy too) deserves to look good while keeping the sun out of their eyes, without having to spend a fortune on great looking sunglasses. Well, that's easy to do if you shop at Sunglass Warehouse. I chose the SW Fashion Style #9908 Black and Rainbow Frame to review. They arrived really fast and they are so cute! I love them! They are a great fit (if you like the bigger size sunglasses that are popular right now) and the rainbow design on the side is really cute. I'm very happy with them and ready to rock them!




Are you looking for a great new pair of sunglasses? Well one of you will win your choice of any pair that Sunglass Warehouse has to offer! What are you waiting for? Get those entries in!!!

BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE ENTRY DIRECTIONS EXACTLY FOR YOUR ENTRIES TO COUNT!!!!

This contest will be open until 11:59 PM on May 3rd. At that time I will use random.org to determine the winner. The winner will then be emailed and have 24 hours to respond, otherwise I will choose a new winner. This contest is open to U.S. residents.

LEAVE SEPARATE COMMENTS FOR EACH ENTRY AND LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THIS FORM - Jane (at) yahoo (dot) com


MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Sunglass Warehouse and tell me your favorite pair of sunglasses they offer. (1 entry)Follow my blog (publicly via google friend connect, located on the top sidebar) - You can use this as an entry whether you are a new follower or a current follower. (1 entry)

Subscribe to my blog via the sign-up found on the right sidebar of my blog to be sure to never miss a great giveaway! (1 entry)

Follow my blog via Networked Blogs, located on the right sidebar under google friend connect. (1 entry)

Become a fan of my Facebook page, located on the right sidebar. (1 entry)

Place my Finally Finding Me...I Think button on your blog and leave me a comment saying you did. The button is found on the right sidebar of my blog.
(1 entry)

Blog about this giveaway with a link to my blog and leave me the link to your post. (1 entry)

Become a fan of (1 entryScroll down all the way to the bottom of the page and sign up for their newsletter to follow them. (1 entryThat's 9 chances to win! Good luck!




Disclosure: I received these products for free for review purposes. My opinions expressed in this review were honest and genuine and I was in no way persuaded by the company involved.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

ShaToBu Winner

The winner of the ShaToBu giveaway is...


Comment #16 - jules p


CONGRATULATIONS!

My Blog Is Being Featured Today!

My blog is being featured today over at Simply Stacie. She has an awesome blog with tons of great giveaways and she's a total sweetheart. Go here to check out where I'm featured and while you're there, be sure to look around at all the great stuff her blog has to offer!

Barefoot Books - The Animal Boogie


You may remember the review I did before of Barefoot Books (if you don't, you can check it out here). I was very impressed with the books I received from them then and I'm equally impressed with the latest book I was able to review from them.

The Animal Boogie is a fun book and CD set that Asher just loves. The first thing I noticed about it was how it has the same sound as some of the songs I remember the other boys singing in Kindergarten. I must admit, it's a catchy sound that I find myself walking around singing. The illustrations in the book are colorful and fun to look at. What's really unique about this book though, is that it speaks to kids with disabilities. I think that's really cool and not something you see in a lot of books unless they are specifically geared toward that topic. I love that they have done that. They also frequently use the book and song in Asia to teach English to children!

Not only do Asher and I like to listen to the CD and read the book, but they also have a great video of The Animal Boogie that he loves to sit at the computer and watch and giggle about. How fun is that?

Please check out Barefoot Books and all they have to offer, because they really do have an amazing selection of children's books that your family is sure to love. Ours definitely does!


Here's that great Animal Boogie video for you to check out.



Disclosure: I received these products for free for review purposes. My opinions expressed in this review were honest and genuine and I was in no way persuaded by the company involved.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Serif Digital Scrapbook artist 2 ~ Review & Giveaway



I've never sat and taken the time to do scrapbooking, although I think it's amazing what some people do. However, I still want to be able to put my favorite pictures in a format that I could put in an album, where they would still be interesting to look at. I was so excited when I found Serif and their Digital Scrapbook Artist 2!

As soon as I received the product for review, I started dreaming up ideas of what I could do with it. Well, once I really started delving into the program, I realized I could do much more than I had even dreamed of!

Not only can you use the layouts, backgrounds and embellishments that they give you, but there are also craft tools like scissors and stencils to really make it your own. They also have photo editing software that allows you to do some seriously cool effects on your photos. The program is super easy to use and there is just so much to it! I have had so much fun creating the things I have so far and I know this is going to be one of my absolute favorite craft tools for a long time to come!

Here are a few of the projects I have done with it so far...
(You can click on each picture to see it larger.)

This is a page with the names of all of the people in our family who have birthdays at the end of March and the beginning of April, that we celebrated on our family's annual Easter camping trip. I just made it and hung it up on the sliding glass door of the trailer as a cute little reminder of everyone's birthdays.


This is a page I made representing how fast time goes. I just celebrated my 32nd birthday and it seems so strange to me that I could be that old already.


Brian's grandma turned 94 on Wednesday! What a blessing she is to our family!


This is just a cute one of Riley and Asher being their silly selves. They decided it would be fun to lay on the kitchen counter one day.



You can see from this small sampling of pages that I did that there are tons of possibilities!

Not only can you make scrapbook pages, but you can also make cards and other things too. You can also upload your finished products to their daisytrail website so you can share them with others!

I am absolutely thrilled with this product and having so much fun with it and I know you would too.

Wait, you want this? Well, of course you do! Today is your lucky day then, because Serif has decided to offer one of my readers your very own copy of the Digital Scrapbook Artist 2 program! Yes, that is incredibly awesome, I know! See below for how to enter.


BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE ENTRY DIRECTIONS EXACTLY FOR YOUR ENTRIES TO COUNT!!!!

This contest will be open until 11:59 PM on April 29th. At that time I will use random.org to determine the winner. The winner will then be emailed and have 24 hours to respond, otherwise I will choose a new winner. This contest is open to U.S. residents.

LEAVE SEPARATE COMMENTS FOR EACH ENTRY AND LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THIS FORM - Jane (at) yahoo (dot) com


MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Serif and tell me another one of their products that you would like to have. (1 entry)

Extra Entries:

Follow my blog (publicly via google friend connect, located on the top sidebar) - You can use this as an entry whether you are a new follower or a current follower. (1 entry)

Subscribe to my blog via the sign-up found on the right sidebar of my blog to be sure to never miss a great giveaway! (1 entry)

Follow my blog via Networked Blogs, located on the right sidebar under google friend connect. (1 entry)

Become a fan of my Facebook page, located on the right sidebar. (1 entry)

Place my Finally Finding Me...I Think button on your blog and leave me a comment saying you did. The button is found on the right sidebar of my blog.
(1 entry)

Blog about this giveaway with a link to my blog and leave me the link to your post. (1 entry)


That's 7 chances to win! Good luck!




Disclosure: I received these products for free for review purposes. My opinions expressed in this review were honest and genuine and I was in no way persuaded by the company involved.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring Cleaning - Children's Rooms Part 2


Join in the fun at Beautiful2God.


Well, I'm happy to say that I accomplished everything I wanted to in Asher's room this week. He's a happy kid now that he can actually find the toys he likes the most and that his room is rid of all the clutter. I'm happy too because the closet and dresser are organized and everything just looks much more neat!


View into Asher's room. (BEFORE)


View into Asher's room. (AFTER)




View toward Asher's bed. (BEFORE)


View toward Asher's bed. (AFTER)




View of Asher's toybox and bookshelf. (BEFORE)


View of Asher's toybox and bookshelf. (AFTER)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rock 'N Learn ~ Review & Giveaway


I'm back to tell you about another great product from Rock 'N Learn!

Coming out in May are the Phonics Volume 1 and Phonics Volume 2 DVDs. I had the privilege to review the Phonics Volume 1 DVD before it is available to the public and I'm so happy that I was given that chance!



Asher is gearing up for Kindergarten in the fall and he is loving his new Phonics DVD. He walks around singing the little songs and since he loves rhyming, he's really having fun with that aspect of the DVD. I like how they show the mouth saying the words so that he can see the correct way to form the sounds of the letters and words. They have the delayed answer feature like they do on many of their other DVDs that allows him the time to say the answer before they do. He gets so excited when he gets it right. They cover everything from letter sounds to vowels and consonants to blending to silent e practice and on and on! There's stories and even a bonus section "Reading for Fluency". They cover it all!

To go along with the DVDs, you can go to free-phonics-worksheets.com for printable resources that you can use right along with the Phonics programs. Isn't that great?!

I highly recommend purchasing these DVDs when they become available. If you would like to be contacted by email when they are released, you can email Cindy Burleson at cindy@rocknlearn.com and she will notify you!

As I've said several times before, I am a HUGE fan of Rock 'N Learn and the great learning resources they provide. I'd love to have their entire collection of resources in fact!

Well, those awesome people over at Rock 'N Learn want to offer 2 of my readers the DVD or CD of your choice. So what are you waiting for? Get over there and pick out what you'd like to win!


BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE ENTRY DIRECTIONS EXACTLY FOR YOUR ENTRIES TO COUNT!!!!

This contest will be open until 11:59 PM on April 29th. At that time I will use random.org to determine the winner. The winner will then be emailed and have 24 hours to respond, otherwise I will choose a new winner. This contest is open to U.S. residents.

LEAVE SEPARATE COMMENTS FOR EACH ENTRY AND LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THIS FORM - Jane (at) yahoo (dot) com


MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Rock 'N Learn and tell me what DVD or CD you would choose if you are the winner. (1 entry)

Extra Entries:

Follow my blog (publicly via google friend connect, located on the top sidebar) - You can use this as an entry whether you are a new follower or a current follower. (1 entry)

Subscribe to my blog via the sign-up found on the right sidebar of my blog to be sure to never miss a great giveaway! (1 entry)

Follow my blog via Networked Blogs, located on the right sidebar under google friend connect. (1 entry)

Become a fan of my Facebook page, located on the right sidebar. (1 entry)

Place my Finally Finding Me...I Think button on your blog and leave me a comment saying you did. The button is found on the right sidebar of my blog.
(1 entry)

Blog about this giveaway with a link to my blog and leave me the link to your post. (1 entry)


That's 7 chances to win! Good luck!




Disclosure: I received these products for free for review purposes. My opinions expressed in this review were honest and genuine and I was in no way persuaded by the company involved.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

MySims Agents for Wii ~ Review


We got a Wii for Christmas and while there are a few games we have that I really like, my taste is not really in line with what the boys like. I've always loved the Sims PC games, so when I had the opportunity to review MySims Agents, I was really excited.

In this game, you become a special agent and go to different places where you have to find clues using the different tools you have and you do puzzle type things for picking locks, analyzing things and fixing things. That is what makes this my kind of game. I love when there are games inside of a game, so the different puzzle type activities sold me. They get progressively harder as you go, only making it more challenging and more fun (in my opinion). The boys absolutely love the game too and while I have to help them out with some of the more difficult puzzles, it's still a lot of fun to them.

We only buy games that are rated E, so MySims Agents is a perfect fit for us. Even Asher plays it a little (he's 4). He doesn't really get it, but he likes to run around the town and go in the buildings and stuff. He mostly likes to create his Sim and keep changing it's clothes, so that makes it fun for him.

I have to admit, I played this game for 4 days in a row for more hours than I'm willing to admit. I ended up finishing all the missions, yet I can still keep playing! There are still dispatch missions to send my recruits on, as well as some mini games I can play, so it's not over once you've completed the main missions. They also left it wide open for a MySims Agents 2, so I'm hoping they'll come out with that in the near future.

Overall, I think it's a great game that our whole family enjoys and that is appropriate and fun. We love it!

So, get on over to EA Games and check it out!


Thank you to EA Games for this review opportunity!



Disclosure: I received these products for free for review purposes. My opinions expressed in this review were honest and genuine and I was in no way persuaded by the company involved.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Storytime Friends ~ Review & Giveaway


Here's something that I know your kids will love!

My Storytime Friends is a great way to get your kids excited about reading, or to just continue to nurture their love for reading.

I was sent one of their boxed sets that includes a bear stuffed animal (I chose the coffee bear, real shocker, huh?) and a book called A Winning Dream. They also let me choose an outfit for the bear and I chose the blue striped pajamas with cap. So cute! Asher absolutely loves it and has added him to his collection of stuffed animals on his bed that he likes to cuddle with.



What's really cool about it all is that you can register your "friend" on their website and then use the great features their website has to offer. Like, The Library where you can find all your online books in several different formats (did I mention that you get a new online book every month and that you can even get it in hardcover book form, mailed to you for just the cost of shipping and handling?) They also have an Activity Corner where you can find flash cards, reward certificates and more. There's several other features too!

What a cute gift idea or just as something special for your kids. Reading is such a great thing and I like anything that helps to encourage it and develop a love for it, so I think My Storytime Friends is great.

The nice people over at Storytime Friends would like to offer one of my readers the Coffee Bear and Book Boxed Set that I received, as well as the pajamas set for the bear. Please see below for how to gain entries to win!

BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE ENTRY DIRECTIONS EXACTLY FOR YOUR ENTRIES TO COUNT!!!!

This contest will be open until 11:59 PM on April 26th. At that time I will use random.org to determine the winner. The winner will then be emailed and have 24 hours to respond, otherwise I will choose a new winner. This contest is open to U.S. residents.

LEAVE SEPARATE COMMENTS FOR EACH ENTRY AND LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THIS FORM - Jane (at) yahoo (dot) com


MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit My Storytime Friends and tell me one of the outfits or accessories that you think is cute for the bears they offer. (1 entry)

Extra Entries:

Follow my blog (publicly via google friend connect, located on the top sidebar) - You can use this as an entry whether you are a new follower or a current follower. (1 entry)

Subscribe to my blog via the sign-up found on the right sidebar of my blog to be sure to never miss a great giveaway! (1 entry)

Follow my blog via Networked Blogs, located on the right sidebar under google friend connect. (1 entry)

Become a fan of my Facebook page, located on the right sidebar. (1 entry)

Place my Finally Finding Me...I Think button on your blog and leave me a comment saying you did. The button is found on the right sidebar of my blog.
(1 entry)

Blog about this giveaway with a link to my blog and leave me the link to your post. (1 entry)


That's 7 chances to win! Good luck!




Disclosure: I received these products for free for review purposes. My opinions expressed in this review were honest and genuine and I was in no way persuaded by the company involved.