Monday, March 31, 2014

God's Amazing World! ~~ Book Review & GIVEAWAY

Yay!  Another amazing children's book from Ideal Books!  Gosh, I just love the books they share with us.  This new book, God's Amazing World!, has the brilliant writing of author, Eileen Spinelli, and the whimsical illustrations of Melanie Florian. 

This gorgeous hard cover book is for ages 4 to 8.  Take a journey of imagination with Gracie and her cousin, Bo, as they explore the seven days of Creation right in Gracie's backyard! As Gracie tells the story of how God made the world, she and Bo discover God's work right there around them. When they get to Day 2, the day God created the sky, they take a moment to cloud watch. Day 3 leads them to play in the water, and on Day 6, they imitate the cows and pigs and lions God made.



This story is a fun way to share the days of Creation with your child.  It is filled with excitement and discovery and I found it so lovely to see Gracie teaching her cousin, Bo, about God in such a creative way.  This is a cuddle on the couch kind of book.  It is a sit on the floor while a bunch of little ones in Sunday school crowd around you to listen kind of book.  It is a give as a gift to the expectant Mom kind of book.  What kind of book will it be for you?

God's Amazing World! is available on the Ideals Books website.  Just click HERE. It is only $15.99 and they offer free shipping for orders over $25.  Yippee!  Get in the chat at Facebook by clicking HERE.  Tweet away with this #ShareAMoment


"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.



One lucky winner will receive a copy of their own book, God's Amazing World!.  All entries must be received by midnight EST on Saturday, April 12, 2013.  Entrants must be 18 or older to enter. Due to international sweepstakes laws, this giveaway is for US entries only.  This giveaway is not connected to any social media site.  The winner will be contacted via e-mail and have 48 hours to respond.  If I don't hear back from you then I'll pick another winner, so mark your calendar and keep an eye out!  Get started now on Rafflecopter...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 2, 2014

What's For Dinner? Stuffed Sirloin Burgers with Arugula Apple Almond Salad

Welcome to my new life.  Healthy. 

Yes, as you browse my blog you will find delightful recipes, but most are not in the healthy category.  But, recently, I went.....

PALEO!!!

So, it is likely that from now on you will seeing my unbelievably delicious, flavorful, colorful, mouth watering Paleo-friendly recipes.  For you gluten-free peeps, that will include you, too.

I had taken 2 lbs of ground sirloin of of the freezer earlier today, but I didn't really have plans for it.  Seriously, I whipped this meal together in 1/2 an hour from start to finish.  Now, THAT has got to peak your interest at least!

Let's get started making the Stuffed Sirloin Burgers.  Gather your ingredients!

ground sirloin - 1 lb per 3 burgers
fresh spinach, chopped - 1/2 cup per lb of meat
sweet peppers - any color - minced - 2 small ones per lb of meat
green onions, minced (green and all) - 3 per lb of meat
fresh pressed garlic - 2 per lb of meat
ground pepper - to taste
sea salt - to taste
chili powder - to taste
parsley - to taste
egg, beaten- 1 per lb of meat

provolone cheese - this is not Paleo, so skip it if you are a "strictoid" - 3 slice per lb of meat

Here is what you will need for the Arugula Apple Almond Salad.

arugula - 1 1/2 cups per person
apple, sliced thin - 1/2 per person
almond slices - 2 Tbsp per person
parmesan shavings - this is not Paleo, so skip this too if you are a "strictoid" - 1 Tbsp per person
lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon is enough for 2 people
olive oil - 2 Tbsp is enough for 2 people

OK, so normally I post a picture of all the ingredients laid out.  But, this all happened so fast that I didn't.  Yeah,  I was wingin' it, baby!

1.  Mix together the spinach, peppers, and onion.  Add the egg and mix.  Add the meat on top and pour on all the seasonings....garlic, salt, pepper, chili powder, and parsley.  Mix it all together until well blended.

2.  Make patties by hand or use a handy dandy burger press like mine!  Start with half of what you will need to make one burger, then lay a slice of the cheese on top.  Like this...


3.  Add the remaining 1/2 of the portion of your burger on top of the cheese and press well to seal.  Looking good!


4.  Fire up the grill!  Cook as you would any burger to the temperature you prefer.

5.  While the burgers are cooking, let's make the salad!  Mix arugula, sliced apples, and almonds in a bowl.  To make the dressing, mix the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 2 Tbsp of EVOO.  That dressing mix will be enough for two salads.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to blend.  Top with the parm shavings, if you like.

6.  It's time to serve it up!!


I know, right?!  I am so glad I made 3 extra burgers because that is what we are having tomorrow for lunch or dinner.  We all ate every morsel.  Of course, my carb eating husband and son had theirs on a bun.  But, I did not miss the bread one bit.  This burger and salad was so full of flavor and texture that I was 100% satisfied! 

The pairing of the savory flavors of the burger with the sweet and tart of the salad was a perfect marriage.  Yup, this is going in my favorite recipes file!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hello Fresh ~ Review & Coupon Code

Well, Helloooooo!

When I was asked to do this review for Hello Fresh, it took me days to get the image and sound of Mrs. Doubtfire out of my head.  Well, Helloooooo!

Yes, indeed!  Hello Fresh!  Welcome to my home!

Hello Fresh is a company that provides fresh, delicious, complete meals right to your door for you to cook yourself.  Here's how it goes...



Yes, it is that simple.  Each week, you select which meals your would like to prepare.  You could choose the Classic Box, which includes meat and/or fish.  Or, you can choose the Veggie Box.  You can order the 3 for either 2 or 4 people.

I ordered the Classic Box of 3 meals for 2 people.  I was offered 5 meals in which to choose my three.  I chose:
  • Sauteed Chicken with Garlic Parsnips and Carrots
  • Classic Beef Stew with Chickpeas and Green Beans
  • Yogurt Marinated Shrimp over Arugala Salad

Now, before I get into the yumminess of the food, let me chat about the company a bit more.   It is a treasure these days to find a company that delivers not only an excellent product, but excellent customer service.  After I placed my order, a representative from Hello Fresh sent me an e-mail thanking me.  A couple of days before my order was to arrive, a representative from Hello Fresh called me at my home to let me know it was on the way and to welcome me to the Hello Fresh family.  She didn't need to do that....I had already gotten an e-mail from them with the tracking number.  I appreciated the personal touch.

Hello Fresh sources their ingredients weekly to ensure the best quality.  The meals offer a variety of vegetables and spices, so you can't get bored.  The meats and fish are sealed for freshness and not frozen.  Each item is packaged for safety and seasonings are in sealed packets.

Let me take you on my Hello Fresh journey.

BEHOLD!!!!  THE BOX!!!



My box arrived in the afternoon on a Wednesday.  That's when everyone gets their Hello Fresh box!  It's like all the lucky people of the world get to open a present on the same day.  This is not your ordinary shipping box.  No.  After cutting off the plastic security tabs, all I had to do was lift the lid.  It was like a portable ice chest.

Yes, I oohed and aahed when I opened it.  Hey!  Wouldn't you?  Now, remember when I said that I received my box in the afternoon?  Well, I live in Florida and, although it is December, each day the temperature has been in the mid-80's.  Check out how well this box is insulated!  Everything was still refrigerator cold and it had been in the shipping process for two days.  I carefully removed all of the food.  Here is the empty box with three large ice packs that kept things cold.  Yes, those went straight into my freezer for me to use again and again....thank you, Hello Fresh!

Each meal was packaged neatly and clearly labelled.  Here is a picture of the ingredients I would use for the Classic Beef Stew.

Each meal included a beautiful double sided recipe card that showed ingredients, description of the meal, nutrition content, step by step instructions and full color pictures.  Check it out!

I let my 13 yo son pick which meal to make first.  He chose the Sauteed Chicken with Ginger Parsnips and Carrots.  He was so excited to get started!  Here he is preparing the veggies...
 And then sauteing the ginger...


It was wonderful to have him involved and excited about preparing the meal!  The instructions were simple and he did most of the work.  Here was our finished product...


Sauteed Chicken 
with Ginger Parsnips and Carrots






 The next night we made the

Classic Beef Stew
Then, on Saturday, we made the

Yogurt Marinated Shrimp over Arugala Salad






What an absolute treat it was to be a part of this review!  Now, let's talk shop.  I know you are asking yourself...how much does this cost?

The Classic Box of 3 meals for 2 people is $69
The Classic Box of 3 meals for 4 people is $129
The Veggie Box of 3 meals for 2 people is $59
The Veggie Box of 3 meals for 4 people is $109

Click HERE to go to the website, find out more, and place your order. Set your subscription on your own terms.  Have weekly delivery, once a month delivery, etc.  Just visit the calendar and click on when you want your box.  Or, just order for a special occasion!

What's the bottom line for me?  Well, Hello Fresh asked me to do this review and provide my honest opinion.  So, here it goes....
  • We loved receiving our box.  It was like early Christmas.  All of the ingredients were fresh and well organized.
  • The recipes were unique and we were able to try new foods that we have never had - like parsnips and chick peas!
  • The recipes were easy to follow and I liked that they did not take more than 30 minutes from start to finish.  In the end, we had beautiful, gourmet meals.
  • The price is not within my budget.  Boo-hoo.  I wish it was.  But, we are a family on a tight budget and my food shopping for the month is about the amount of one box for four people.  So, we won't be ordering again.  But, if my budget ever changed I would be all over this!
I encourage you to give this a try.  It is fun and you will love the food!  Make it a family event....bring everyone together.  Or, try it out for a special dinner guest.  Now, that's a way to impress someone with a gourmet meal!

Use this COUPON CODE when ordering:   PWVB3Y to get $20 off your first box.  And, hey, I'll get $20 off too just for giving you the coupon code!  Woohoo!

Check out what my peeps over at Mosaic Reviews had to say.  There were many different meals ordered, so you are likely to see some delicious pictures!  Click HERE to take a peek. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Udderly Smooth Cream ~ Review

 Udder-ific
Udder-fied
Udder-tastic

Yes, the "udder" jokes have been flying around my house for the past couple of weeks.  I was thrilled when I received my generous box of "pamper me" products from Udderly Smooth.  Wouldn't you be excited to dive into this?
TWO Hand Creams....Foot Cream....Body Cream

I'm about to get Udder-fied!

First, I dove into the hand cream.  I have eczema and tend to be cautious about lotions, but I have heard of Udderly Smooth before and I know they are a trusted name.  Sha-Smooth!  It was light weight and non-greasy.  It absorbed well and had only a light natural fragrance.  It did not cause me any inflammation.  The small one now lives happily in my purse and the larger one is content to be on my desk where I work. 

The next day was my "shave the legs" day.  Don't judge.  It's winter and this is only a 3 day per week event now.  For me, shaving brings dryness.  It's time to smooth on my Udderly Smooth body cream.  The texture was thicker than the hand cream, but not goopy (is that even a word?).  I prefer my creams from a tube or pump, but this comes in a jar.  I would suggest taking some out of the jar using a mini beauty spatula in order to avoid contamination in the jar.  This probably doesn't even need to be mentioned, but, at least wash your hands well first.  Anyhoo....back to the body cream.  It absorbed well.  I actually re-applied it because I felt I needed more.  I'm not sure if this was my dry, dry skin or the product.  Regardless, I sure didn't mind.  It felt nice.  Again...yippee.....no eczema issues!

OK, now is where I'm going to get a little TMI for some of you.  The foot cream.  This also comes in a jar.  Other foot creams I have used were much thicker.  This was not.  By the look of it, I expected it to be but it was not.  I think I would have preferred it to be a little thicker.  OK, back to my feet.  My feet are not pretty.  I live in Florida and rarely wear socks, so my feet take a weathered beating.  Plus, I take karate and I am barefoot whenever I am in class or practicing and I'm sure you can imagine what that can do to a lady's feet.  Enough said.  I thought I would conduct an experiment and use the foot cream on only one of my feet.  I only used the Udderly Smooth Foot Cream.  I did not use a pumice stone or any other galmourfying tool (again, is that even a word?).  The foot on the left is the Udderfied foot and the foot on the right is the, ahem, not Udderfied. 

This was after only THREE days of applying the foot cream in the morning and at night.  Amazing, right?  Yes!  I took one for the team and shared my scaly foot with you all....*ShUDDER*.  But, I thought it would be the best way for you all to see this great product in action.  To top it off, this picture was taken several hours after applying the cream and after wearing my sandals all day.

Don't just take my word for it.  Included in my box of review goodies were several sample packets of the body cream.  I decided to share these with some friends of mine and asked that they give me their honest opinion.  Here are their two cents....

"I udderly love it! I used it on my legs after shaving and they were soft all day!" ~ Danyel

"I really like the fragrance and how smooth the lotion feels. It was a bit greasy, for my lotion taste, but after washing and drying my hands once, it left my hands very soft. I would probably use it for a night time moisturizer on my hands and feet." ~ Brenna

"Loved it!  It wasn't greasy and it smelled nice.  I have to get some." ~ Liz

You can also check out what my peeps on the Mosaic Reviews team said about Udderly Smooth.  Click HERE for that udderific tidbit.

Udderly Smooth products are easy to find.  Click HERE to visit their website and get a complete list of retailers that offer it.  Prices will vary with each location.  Click HERE to see all of the Udderly Smooth products and a list of ingredients.

You can also get in on the scoop by checking out their Facebook page or on Twitter.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

The First Christmas Night ~ Book Review & Giveaway

It's time to cuddle on the couch in your jammies and read about the beautiful story of the birth of Christ!  I grew up hearing "The Night Before Christmas", starring Santa.  Now, your child can hear the true story of Christmas, set to the same rhythm and rhyme.

The First Christmas Night by Keith Christopher, brings us this timeless story of that joyous time in Bethlehem.  Keith's background as composer, arranger, orchestrator, and educator rings through in this story.  The words flow like a melody and it brought a grin to my face as I imagined that time so long ago.

The rich, acrylic illustrations are by Christine Kornachi.  You will find Christine's work in The Sparkle Box, as well.  I was so impressed by the details and use of light!  I thought the characters were more mid-western looking than middle-eastern looking, but that was not a breaking factor for me in loving this book.

You can get this treasured 32 page, hard covered book for only $16.99 at the Ideals Books website by clicking HERE.

Get connected with these links:

Ideals Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/IdealsBooks Buy! Ideals Websitehttp://www.idealsbooks.com/First-Christmas-Night-Keith-Christopher/dp/0824956532

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

One lucky winner will receive a copy of their own book, The First Christmas Night.  All entries must be received by midnight EST on Saturday, December 7, 2013.  Entrants must be 18 or older to enter. Due to international sweepstakes laws, this giveaway is for US entries only.  This giveaway is not connected to any social media site.  The winner will be contacted via e-mail and have 48 hours to respond.  If I don't hear back from you then I'll pick another winner, so mark your calendar and keep an eye out!  Get started now on Rafflecopter... 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Sparkle Box ~ Book Review & GIVEAWAY

'Tis the season for all things beautiful!

Giving

Blessing

Loving

The Sparkle Box, by Jill Hardie, is a book to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas.  It gathers the family together for a meaningful way of sharing blessings, loving one another, and reflecting on the gifts we all have to share.

Sam is so excited about Christmas! He's thinking about his Christmas list, looking forward to holiday parties, and puzzling over one very mysterious gift: a sparkly box sitting on the mantel. In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family's good deeds. Sam's mom explains that the things that they've been doing are, in fact, a gift for Jesus, for Jesus said that whatever we do for those in need, we do for Him.

My son (age 13) and I traveled to visit my sister's family this past week.  We were excited to share this book with my nephews, age 10 and 6, and my great-niece, age 2.  They all gathered on the couch to hear the story.  Matthew read it to them with such fun animation!  They all enjoyed the story and the beautiful illustrations by Christine Kornachi.

The children were so inspired by the story that they quickly went to work decorating their own Sparkle Box that came safely tucked in a pocket at the end of the book.

Markers, stickers, cuts of paper, and love went into their project!  They shared ideas of how they could give and bless this season and fill their Sparkle Box with lots of treasures for Jesus' birthday.

The finished creation was as unique as each of them and was safely placed on their mantle.  A wonderful family tradition had just begun!

What will  you do this season to add sparkle to the world?  How can your family be a blessing to someone?

You can purchase your own The Sparkle Box for only $19.99 by clicking HERE.

Get connected with these links:
  
Website: http://www.idealsbooks.com/The-Sparkle-Box-Jill-Hardie/dp/0824956478
Book Trailer: https://vimeo.com/49762666 
Author Video: https://vimeo.com/49763494 
#TheSparkleBox
  "Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

One lucky winner will receive a copy of their own book, The Sparkle Box.  All entries must be received by midnight EST on Monday, December 2, 2013.  Entrants must be 18 or older to enter. Due to international sweepstakes laws, this giveaway is for US entries only.  This giveaway is not connected to any social media site.  The winner will be contacted via e-mail and have 48 hours to respond.  If I don't hear back from you then I'll pick another winner, so mark your calendar and keep an eye out!  Get started now on Rafflecopter...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

King's Faith ~ DVD Review & GIVEAWAY





Eighteen Foster Homes

Nine Arrests

One Life-Changing Moment



King's Faith delivers a powerful message of hope, faith, love, and courage.  It is a story of second chances, overcoming one's past, and a forgiveness that everyone needs.

After Brendan King’s life spiraled to rock bottom, the teen found hope in a new relationship with Christ while serving time in a juvenile penitentiary. Recently released from prison, Brendan finds solace in the foster home of a couple struggling with suppressed grief.
As the city-bred teen enrolls at a suburban high school, he finds support from a group of believers. Yet the bonds of his old way of life—and the gang that wants to know where he hid their stash on a long-ago night—are strong. In his darkest moment, Brendan found faith. Now he must decide if it’s worth the price to hold on to it.

 This movie is PG-13 for violence, drug content, and thematic events.  I agree with this rating.  I watched it with my (almost) 14 year old and it was fine for him.  The movie does start out right away with a flash back scene that involves a drug raid and graphic imagery.  The story returns to that scene, briefly, a couple more times throughout the movie.  This is an excellent movie for teens and adults.  It is power packed with excellent acting, a gripping plot, and a message that will change you.

Check out the trailer....



I'm certain that has peaked your interest!  Get connected with these links...

Visit the official website www.kingsfaith.com
You can get this DVD by clicking HERE to find several online resources selling it.  Prices start at $9.99.  It is worth every penny.

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

One lucky winner will receive a copy of their own DVD, King's Faith.  All entries must be received by midnight EST on Monday, November 18, 2013.  Entrants must be 18 or older to enter. Due to international sweepstakes laws, this giveaway is for US entries only.  This giveaway is not connected to any social media site.  The winner will be contacted via e-mail and have 48 hours to respond.  If I don't hear back from you then I'll pick another winner, so mark your calendar and keep an eye out!  Get started now on Rafflecopter...

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway