Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jane Kirkpatrick books (review)

The perfect pairing of a heart retrenching tale and a real life view of a Utopian community, both set in the1800s, any fan of Jane will be sure to love! Even if you are new to Kirkpatrick’s work, you can certainly expect to be captivated and longing for more while discovering new fascinations you never knew you had. Her extraordinary experiences mixed with her rich history have given her the ability to draw you in and make you feel like you are experiencing her unique stories as they happen. This rare gift has helped her to become one of today’s best selling authors. Be prepared to be blown away by her words as you get a glimpse into an entirely new world.
A Flickering Light
Returning to her Midwest roots, award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick draws a page from her grandmother’s photo album to capture the interplay between shadow and light, temptation and faith that marks a woman’s pursuit of her dreams.
She took exquisite photographs,
but her heart was the true image exposed.

Fifteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele loves nothing more than capturing a gorgeous Minnesota landscape when the sunlight casts its most mesmerizing shadows. So when F.J. Bauer hires her in 1907 to assist in his studio and darkroom, her dreams for a career in photography appear to find root in reality.
With the infamous hazards of the explosive powder used for lighting and the toxic darkroom chemicals, photography is considered a man’s profession. Yet Jessie shows remarkable talent in both the artistry and business of running a studio. She proves less skillful, however, at managing her growing attraction to the very married Mr. Bauer.
This luminous coming-of-age tale deftly exposes the intricate shadows that play across every dream worth pursuing—and the irresistible light that beckons the dreamer on.

Aurora An American Experience in a Quilt, Community, and Craft
Wrap yourself in a fantastic journey, a remarkable commitment, and a spare and splendid story
Master storyteller Jane Kirkpatrick extols the beautiful treasures, unknown to a wider public, rediscovered in the Old Aurora Colony of Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley. The people and legacy of Aurora, a utopian community founded in the mid-1800s, will stir your imagination, hopes, and dreams; and remind you that every life matters—that our lives are the stories other people read first.
Unique and treasured quilt pattern variations

More than 100 photographs, many never-before published, from 1850 to today
Cherished stories from Aurora descendants
Rich images of fine crafts from the Aurora Colony and private collections
An introduction by renowned American artist John Houser
Aurora is about the difference every ordinary life can make—and a beautiful celebration of a time and place in which people expressed their most cherished beliefs through the work of their imagination and hands.

Jane Kirkpatrick is a best-selling, award-winning author whose previous historical novels include All Together in One Place and Christy Award finalist A Tendering in the Storm. An international keynote speaker, she has earned regional and national recognition for her stories based on the lives of actual people, including the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Hall of Fame. Jane is a Wisconsin native who since 1974 has lived in Eastern Oregon, where she and her husband, Jerry, ranch 160 rugged acres.

He is so sweet!!

Nathaniel did the sweetest, and very loving, gesture yesterday morning. He really loves his mom~ He offered to let me sleep in by getting up with Madelyn and Caleb. He tried doing this for me on Tuesday morning, but he wasn't aware that I was up at 6:20 with Cole. I had gone down into our basement with Cole, because I didn't want to disturb my other three sleeping children. Nathaniel had got up, went into Caleb's bed and laid down. His plan was going to keep Caleb occupied in his room while I slept longer. Madelyn and Caleb share a room (for now). She is in a toddler bed and Caleb is in a full size bed. Anyway, yesterday morning, Nathaniel had got up with Caleb and Madelyn. He had them in the basement watching a video while I slept. He is so sweet. I woke up at 7:30 with Cole, and didn't even notice the time. I nursed Cole, snoozed off a bit, and woke up. I looked at the clock and it was 8:00. Nathaniel still had to get ready for school, eat breakfast, and get on the bus. I think he maybe wanted to "skip" out on school that day. Who knows, there maybe some fringe benefits to home schooling him next year if we go that route. :)

10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith (book review)

Hate: (n) a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action. *
(WordNet Princeton University lexical database for the $English language)
Jason T. Berggren authors the book, "10 Things I Hate About Christianity." He is so honest, and transparent through the common, and very damaging misconceptions that Christians hold concerning their faith, prayer, brutality of hell, and the role of the church in the life of a follower of Christ. Berggren is a 20-year follower of Christ as a pastor, church planter, and founder of Stongarm~ which is one of the most influential bands in the history of Christian hardcore music.
10 Things I Hate About Christianity records the raw process of one man's faith, set against the real-life backdrop of his roles as former rocker, husband, father of three, and small business owner. Readers will examine the complicated aspects of understanding:
*Faith *Love
*Prayer *Hell
*The Bible *Answers (to difficult questions)
*Sin *Church
*Rules *Christians
Berggren believes that many are moved by the teachings of Jesus, and we want to believe and follow. He thinks we just get disconnected somewhere and can't work through it.

"10 Things I Hate About Christianity shares in the open the things we all think behind closed doors. We all reach certain impasses in our lives. This book is meant to be an encouragement and to help people get around the common roadblocks of faith." In his conversational, casual style, Berggren encourages readers to seek resolutions to the big questions of life that can ultimately lead to faith in Jesus: Why are we all here? What's it all about? Is there more to this?

Ultimately the book 10 Things I hate about Christianity is about the 10 things that author, Jason Berggren has hated about Christianity over the years. It reveals how he has worked though his frustrations. He calls it "the intersection of real life, simple faith, and raw emotion."

Be sure to check out Berggren's blog, More things I hate, which is a perfect place for believers, seekers, and skeptics to engage in the kins of discussions that fill the pages of his book. Featuring the latest non-chick movie trailer to laugh-out-loud personal reflections to commentary on current events. Berggren describes his blog as "the ongoing version of the book."

You can purchase your book at Amazon.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ten Dumb things smart christians believe (book review)

Just Because “Everyone Believes It” Doesn’t Make It True
People don’t set out to build their faith upon myths and spiritual urban legends. But somehow such falsehoods keep showing up in the way that many Christians think about life and God. These goofy ideas and beliefs are assumed by millions to be rock-solid truth . . . until life proves they’re not. The sad result is often a spiritual disaster—confusion, feelings of betrayal, a distrust of Scripture, loss of faith, anger toward both the church and God.

But it doesn’t have to be so. In this delightfully personal and practical book, respected Bible teacher Larry Osborne confronts ten widely held beliefs that are both dumb and dangerous. Beliefs like these:

• Faith can fix anything
• Christians shouldn’t judge
• Forgiving means forgetting
• Everything happens for a reason
• A godly home guarantees good kids
…and more.

You may be shocked, relieved, and inspired in the pages of Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe. Myths can get you hurt, but the truth with set you free!

You can find this book on Amazon.

Looking for medicines?

Our family was yet again hit with the cold virus. Every winter and spring we go through the rounds of sickness bugs. I was readily willing to review cold products from the Quigley Company, makers of the popular Cold-EEZE zinc lozenges.

I got Kids-EEZE Chest Relief, which is a new product from Cold-EEZE. It is a single-ingredient, allopathic expectorant with guaifenesin to help children suffering from uncomfortable chest congestion. Kids-EEZE Chest Relief is a unique soft chew, available in both strawberry and grape flavors, that offers relief of chest congestion for children six years and older. Because Kids-EEZE only contains guaifenesin (100mg), it’s a safe, effective alternative to the many multi-symptom children’s cold products that could potentially lead to overmedication. Nathaniel was dealing with coughing and chest congestions, and the Kids-EEZE chest relief helped him out. He said the taste was good, and it didn't leave any bad after taste. Each box of Kids-EEZE Chest Relief contains 12, individually-wrapped, kid-friendly “soft chews,” which is a safer way to take medicine (no chance of spillage or meds left in the medicine dispenser).

Cold-EEZE zinc lozenges (for adults) are clinically proven to safely and effectively reduce the duration and severity of the symptoms of a common cold by 42 percent (or within three to four days). Cold-EEZE, which contains zinc gluconate glycine, provides 13.3 mg of ionic zinc per lozenge. Zinc can help promote the strength of the immune system, and is required for the development and activation of T-lymphocytes that help to fight infection. Once you feel a cold coming on, start sucking one Cold-EEZE lozenge every two-to-four hours. Available in tasty flavors like new sugar-free pomegranate, strawberries and cream, cherry and honey lemon, among others, Cold-EEZE lozenges are a good way to get your zinc without a metallic aftertaste.
I had the Chocolate Mint Organix Cough and Sore Throat Drops, and I can say that it is tasty, and I think it worked well for me. For me, these are the best tasting cough drops (that are effective) out on the market! Cold-EEZE makes the Organix Cough Drops, and they are Certified USDA Organic. I like that the Organix cough drops are great for kids, too. My kids like the taste, and I know that these cough drops don't contain any harsh chemicles~but they are natural.
These great-tasting, medicated drops contain a proprietary formulation of natural menthol derived from organic peppermint oil combined with pectin to suppress coughs, cool nasal passages and soothe irritated, sore throats. Organix is available in a unique Dark Chocolate Mint flavor, as well as Purely Peppermint, Orchard Cherry and Golden Honey Lemon, and you can purchase over the counter. Even the twist wraps of each lozenge is made from fully compostable corn starch!

Cold season marks the start of antibiotic season. But for many, antibiotics are not without side effects. One out of five people suffer from antibiotic-associated diarrhea, or AAD. Florastor and Florastor Kids have been clinically proven to help prevent and treat AAD. Antibiotics are necessary to kill the bad bacteria that cause ear infections, strep throat, etc., but these medications also kill the good bacteria in our stomachs, often causing AAD. Florastor and Florastor Kids contain a yeast-based probiotic called Saccharomyces boulardii that helps repopulate your tummy with good cells that protect from AAD. Because Florastor contains a yeast probiotic, it won't be killed off by antibiotics like bacterial probiotics will be. Florastor comes in a capsule, and Florastor Kids, which is safe to use in children as young as 2 months, is a powder, so it can be mixed into formula, juice, soft foods like applesauce, etc. Fortunately, I have not needed to sample these yet. I am glad I have a product available if needed, though.

Monday, April 27, 2009

"A Quest for More": ABC conference

We live in a broken world. The evidence is everywhere—broken marriages, broken families, broken hearts, broken people. In response, more and more people in the Christian community are exploring biblical counseling. Yet this growing interest brings new questions and fresh discussions about what biblical counseling really looks like. The landscape of biblical counseling is changing, thanks in part to the work of organizations like the Association of Biblical Counselors (ABC). For anyone interested in these exciting new developments, ABC is pleased to announce the 2009 conference to be held May 14-16 in Fort Worth, Texas. The theme of this year’s event is “A Quest for More,” based on the book by keynote speaker Paul Tripp, one of the most dynamic speakers in biblical counseling today.

“I am overwhelmed with excitement over this year’s conference for several reasons,” says ABC President Jeremy Lelek. “On opening night, we are going to have four of the top scholars from various counseling ‘camps,’ including the American Association of Christian Counselors, Christian Counseling Educational Foundation, and the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors, who will discuss emerging trends in biblical counseling as well as distinctions between the various schools of thought. This is a truly groundbreaking event!” Residents of Dallas/Ft. Worth who are not attending the conference may purchase tickets to this exciting Thursday night-only event. The weekend will also include a tribute to special guest Elisabeth Elliot for her pioneering work in South America and across the world.

Lelek emphasizes that this event is not just for licensed counselors. These sessions are for counselors, pastors, and laity. Hurting people and those struggling to overcome certain issues in their lives are encouraged to attend. The conference features over twenty-five elective sessions with topics ranging from marriage and sexual addiction to spiritual warfare and crisis intervention. A sampling of titles includes:

· Living a Pure Life in a Sexualized Culture: Overcoming Lust, Understanding Your Enemy, and Living a Life of Repentance
· Soul Care: Starting a Biblical Counseling Ministry in Your Local Church
· Learning to Think Like a Christian
· The God Empowered Wife (for women only)
· Biblical Counseling with Adult Victims of Childhood Trauma
· When Suffering People Need to Know “Why?”

In addition, conference attendees will encounter opportunities to discover reliable referral services, network with like-minded believers, receive nationally approved Continuing Education Units, and be encouraged in their own lives and counseling ministries.

For more information about the conference and the many training opportunities offered through ABC, visit Christian .

Ragu's new pasta sauces

Our family loves to have pasta, meat and sauce. We tend to be creative with the combinations of those 3 main ingredients, and more often we are happy with what we created. My children eat pasta easily, too, so that helps too! I was more than happy to review to new sauces from Ragú, Ragú Old World Style pasta sauce - Sweet Tomato Basil and Margherita. The Sweet Tomato Basil is very flavorful and makes a great sauce for spaghetti and meatballs. My kids, myhusband, and I loved the taste. The Margherita is a pizza-flavored sauce, and it was very tasty, too. I made a dish with noodles, chicken bits, and sauce, and we really liked the taste! I sprinkled mozzarella cheese on the dish, too. The Margherita definitely tastes like the sauce on pizza, almost like a pepperoni cheese taste. I know I will be purchasing these sauces in the future, because they are very flavorful and delicious!
Sweet Tomato Basil and Margherita Ragu sauces come with great new recipes. is a great resource for moms to get nutritional, parenting and time-management tips. Ragu stands behind Moms feeding their kids well, and the helpful tips and healthy meal options are designed to make meal planning easier. Here is one recipe that I would like to try out:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb.)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 slices fresh or packaged mozzarella cheese (about 4 oz.)
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
2 cups Ragu Old World Style Margherita Smooth Pasta Sauce
Season chicken, if desired, with salt and black pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brown chicken, turning once, about 5 minutes.
Add Pasta Sauce and simmer covered 5 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Top chicken with cheese, then let stand until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Garnish with basil.
Serve, if desired, with hot cooked penne pasta topped with additional Pasta Sauce, heated.
Preparation time: 5 Minute(s)Cook time: 10 Minute(s)Servings: 4
Nutrition Information per serving Calories 320, Calories From Fat 130, Total Fat 14g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 90mg, Sodium 770mg, Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 6g, Protein 34g

This review opportunity was made possible from Mom Central.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm totally in love

My kids are so precious, and I am so thankful that God picked me to be their Mom! What a blessing! I am so blessed!
Silly Times!

My three sons.

Evenflo Comfort Select (DUAL) Breast Pump: REVIEW and GIVEAWAY

I love breastfeeding, and I am currently breastfeeding my 3 month old, Cole. It is such a great thing knowing that my body is made to give my son the nourishment he needs to grow. I love the fact that I can have his "meal" ready whenever he needs it: right temperature, right amount, and already ready. I like having other options available, though. I would like to be able to be more flexible with leaving Cole in the care of my parents or in-laws, so pumping breast milk is a must! I was thrilled to review the Evenflo Comfort Select (Dual) Breast pump on the Mom Central blog tour! Having milk stored up for those emergency times, or when I would like to go out on a date with my husband, is a must! I love the new Evenflo Comfort Select breast pump. It is so easy, and convenient to use! The pumps are hand-held, and you can use electricity or battery power to use them. I love that feature, because you don't always have an electrical outlet available! The Evenflo Comfort Select is made without BPA, which is such a concern now days. It makes me feel more at ease knowing the breast pump is free of harmful plastics. I really like the slim traveling storage bag that comes with this pump. Most often, I have seen breast pumps to be so bulky and large. The Comfort Select from Evenflo is a great size, in my opinion. Here is what is included in the kit: 2 hand-held pump units, 2-4 oz. bottles with 2 cap rings, 2 nipples, 2 sealing discs and 2 hoods, 2 soft horn inserts, carrying/travel bag and and AC adapter. There is also nursing pads and a Breastfeeding/instruction guide.

I think that the Evenflo Comfort Select Dual Automatic Cycling Breast pump is easy to use, and is convenient for traveling. I think that the cycle time is just right, and the vacuum is comfortable and imitates baby well. I like that this pump doesn't have a lot of cords and pieces.
I recommend this breast pump if you are currently looking for one. You can enter to win one from my site~ thanks to Mom Central and Evenflo! Here are the "rules": This contest is open to the United States. You need to go to the Evenflo website and find other products that they carry and comment here on them. They offer great products! You can do "extra credit" with tweeting this contest (leave your twitter name in a separate comment), commenting on other posts on my site(please let me know what you commented on), blogging this contest, displaying my button (found on the upper right hand side of my page), and/or subscribing to my site. LOTS of chances to enter to win! This contest also includes 2 boxes of nursing pads from Evenflo: one with Lanolin and one without. YOU MUST DO THE FIRST REQUIRED STEP TO BE ENTERED TO WIN!
Contest will end May 7th, 2009.
You can also go to the Mom Central website page where you can share breast pumping tips. Every mom that shares a tip will be entered in a giveaway to win one of three Evenflo Comfort Select Performance Breast Pumps and boxes of nursing pads!

Gardening Eden (book review)

Before the snake, the apple, and the Ten Commandments, God created a garden, placed humans in it, and told them to take care of it.
“Spiritual environmentalism” did not start out as an oxymoron—it was an invitation. Yet today, many believe God’s original job description for humankind has been replaced by other worthier pursuits. So when did this simple instruction become so controversial? How does one sort through all the mixed messages? Is making the world a healthier place for the next generation really a responsibility—or even possible?
Gardening Eden is a new understanding of how the spiritual dimensions of life can find expression and renewal through caring for our incredible planet. Empowering, simple, and never polemical, Michael Abbaté outlines the Bible’s clear spiritual benefits of caring for creation, exploring new motivations and inspired ideas, and revealing the power of our basic connection to all people and living things through the growing interest in spiritual environmentalism.
Green living is no longer a fad—simple lifestyle solutions are now available to everyone. Gardening Eden shows readers how this shift transforms not only our world, but their very souls as they’re drawn into deeper harmony with the Creator. This book invites them to discover the powerful spiritual satisfaction of heeding the call to save our world.

Author Bio:
A nationally recognized expert in “green” development strategies, Mike Abbaté is a founder of GreenWorks, an award-winning landscape architecture design firm. He frequently speaks to students and leaders about practical ways to minimize the impact of building and landscape design on natural resources. Abbaté’s work has been featured in national magazines such as Metropolis and Landscape Architecture and in many local newspapers and trade publications. He and his wife, Vicki, have two adult daughters and live near Portland, Oregon.

Win a Weber Q 100 Liquid Propane Gas Grill!!

Got a thing for Wisconsin cheese? Boston baked beans? Georgia peaches? New Mexico chiles? Fly your favorite food flag in the Steak-umm “Hometown Burger’ recipe contest, using an ingredient that is closely associated with a city or state. Who knows – maybe you’ll invent the next Philly cheesesteak!
Simply use a special local food in a dish built around Steak-umm Burgers - frozen, ready-to-cook patties available in both 1/4-pound Original and 1/3-pound Original and Sweet Onion varieties. Each entry will be judged on originality, taste, visual appeal, creative pairing of your hometown ingredient with the Steak-umm product, and the extent to which the recipe brings out the essence of the local cuisine.

The grand prize is a Weber Q 100 Liquid Propane Gas Grill – just in time for summer barbecuing. The two runners-up will receive a 10” limited-edition Steak-umm frying pan.

The contest runs from March 15 through June 15. Winners will be selected by June 25. Entries must include the name, address and telephone of the entrant, list the ‘hometown’ food used in the recipe and what city or state it represents, and be postmarked no later than June 15. Recipes can be submitted to with the subject line ‘Hometown Burger Contest’ or mailed to the attention of:
Steak-umm ‘Hometown Burger’ Recipe Contest
c/o SS/PR
Attention: Jill Schmidt
2700 Patriot Blvd., Suite 430
Glenview, IL 60026
Steak-umm Burgers are available in the frozen meat department of local grocery stores. Visit for more information.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


My mole removal appointment went well on Tuesday. I was so nervous, I was seriously shaking. I don't know why I was so scared, because the procedure was non-painful. The nurse did have to numb the 3 areas in my stomach 3 times. For some reason, the numbing medications don't work as well on me. I have the same problems when I have dental procedures...a few doses of Novocaine. Anyway, what freaked me out was the cutting of my skin. I have 8 stitches total (2 in each area). I will have another appointment on May 1 for the removal of the stitches, and to find out the results of the biopsy. As I should, I should just pray about it, and give it to God. Easier said than done...I know it will be over a week of worry.
My prayer is that every mole is benign!!
Speaking of appointments, I will have to bring Madelyn into the Dr. this afternoon (again...second week in a row). She has a bad cough, greenish/yellow discharge, high fever, and just looks/feels miserable. Poor little girl! She sounds like she kind of holds her breath, but it is hard to know if it is worse than normal. For some reason Caleb and Maddie like to hold their breath. Anyway, I hope her appointment goes well. Not that I like to medicate my kids, but I hope the Dr. can give her something to get better. I really hope it isn't something like pneumonia. Blah!
Over the last weekend, Caleb and Madelyn went to Grandma's house. Terry and I went to a train show in Menomonie, WI. That is about a 2 hour drive from our house. It was a nice drive and pretty scenery! Unfortunately, we were both up late the night before. I had Ladies Night Out, which was and is always a great time. Terry just stayed up working on paperwork and putting together our new stroller.

I just wanted to share a few adorable pictures Terry took this weekend.

Daddy and Cole. Cole was standing on the seat~ unassisted. He loves to stand.
I think this picture is so adorable! Cole is so excited and happy to be standing there all by himself. We wish we had a full body picture to give you the full effect. (love those ears!)
The sun was very bright, so Cole's eyes are kind of closed. He still is super cute!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Great Mother's Day Gift!!

I was very fortunate to review for a new jewelry online store and got myself a stunning Mother's Day bracelet! I love my new bracelet! I have each of my four kids initials on it, along with their birthstones! I have always wanted a bracelet with my children's names and birthstones on it, and Elisa Ilana made the perfect bracelet!
Elisa Ilana designs beautiful Mother's bracelet styles and customizes each one to fit your needs/wants. I love that Elisa Ilana makes their jewelry with sterling silver and 14 Karat Gold. The stones used with the jewelery are semi precious stones. The different designs on the beads are so pretty! I love the selection of them! The Emerald stones seem a bit lighter than the dark, rich color Emeralds have, but that just may be the way the stones are. I wear my bracelet almost daily, even though it looks more like something I should wear while dressed up. I just love it that much!
To make a bracelet like I have you just go to the Mother's Bracelet's section and then click on the style #237376. Then you just select how many strands you would like, type in the names/initials of your child, select their birthstones, and pick the measurement of your wrist for sizing. It was easy to pick out the selections I wanted for my bracelet. I would like to mention how quick the service was with Elisa Ilana, too!
Elisa Ilana is not only known for their custom jewelry, they are also widely known for their support of cancer research and cancer awareness through their cancer awareness collection. The Cancer Awareness Bracelet is seen in In Style, Vogue, W, Bon Appetit, Vanity Fair, Lucky, Architectural Digest and others! Elisa Ilana also offers prostate cancer, aids, American Heart Association, and breast cancer awareness jewelry!
Elisa Ilana has created and sold handcrafted jewelry since 1996, and each piece is carefully made by hand in Omaha, Nebraska. You can find them in the Mall called Westroads in Omaha, or you can see them at an art show. They use the finest metals, semi-precious stones, crystals, and lamp work beads available.
So, if you would like to create/design a special bracelet for your Mother's Day gift, or any other gift for someone special....let Elisa Ilana create your gift!

Monday, April 20, 2009


I had a great blogable moment with Caleb today....we were talking about Rain.

Caleb: Mother, we really could use some rain.
Me: Yes, we sure could! We should pray that God will bring rain.
Caleb: Mother, does rain come from God's sink?
(laughing inside) Me: I am not sure where the rain comes from exactly.\
Caleb: Maybe the rain comes from God's hands.

**He is smart!
Notice the "Mother." Caleb has been really into calling me Mother lately. I think it is super cute!

Caleb has been going through some stage right now. He is not being a very good listener, or being very attentive. I am thinking that may have to do somewhat with his age, and partly because of Cole's presence. I hope he isn't jealous...and if he is, I am really going to work on spending more quality time with him for reassurance.

Tomorrow I am headed to the clinic to have 4 moles removed. I am not looking forward to it at all! I am really rather worried about it. I know I shouldn't be worried...I should give it to God, I know. It is hard not to worry about my health, though. I have skin cancer in my family, and last year, Nathaniel's Dad was diagnosed with Melanoma (a deadly form of skin cancer). Fortunately, his dad is surviving it, and taking measures to help it from spreading. I am just praying that my moles are benign and there is no trace of cancer. I have several, no millions, of moles. I am a pasty white Scandinavian gal, and covered in moles. I have several that the Dr. is going to keep a close eye on that we will more than likely remove in the future. So, after the removal tomorrow, I wait for a week or so for the results.

Last week my hubby worked a LOT with the DNR with fire fighting. His hours at work were really slow, and there was not much work. So, fortunately he was able to work with the State. It doesn't pay that well, but it was something for pay....PLUS, it is what he loves to do~ fight fire. I know our checking account will suffer a bit, and we will have to tighten the belt with spending. I just pray that his hours at his job will really pick up. We really need some overtime pay. God will provide, I know.

Cole is officially rolling over both front to back, and back to front. Last night, I had laid Cole on Caleb's floor while I was making his bed. He was fussing and complaining. I watched him as he was really working on rolling from back to front. Low and behold, He did it!! WOO HOO!! I ran to tell Terry and Nathaniel. Terry told me, "Oh yeah, he did that this morning. He was getting upset with me when I was changing his clothes, and he flipped over. I couldn't remember which way you told me he rolled a few days ago!" Urgh...I missed the first back to tummy roll, but I saw the first tummy to back roll. It's all good! So, my little guy is going through another milestone. He is also reaching for toys, batting at them, and reaching for my face. I love all of it!! :)

Electrolux Washer & Dryer "Kelly Green" Giveaway!

Electrolux and Kelly Ripa have teamed up to introduce an eco-friendly front-load washer and dryer in a truly vibrant shade – “Kelly Green.” The new limited edition shade, an upbeat green designed to pack a visual punch, was inspired by the great outdoors and self-proclaimed eco-Mom Kelly Ripa. Here’s a quote from Kelly herself: “I love green … the color green and the act of living green,” said Ripa. “What better place to make a simple, every day difference than in the laundry room? Kelly Green is a gorgeous shade, and just by using the new Electrolux high-efficiency washer and dryer you can save energy and use less water. How green is that?” Just in time for Earth day, Electrolux kicks off its virtual flower garden campaign to drive awareness and raise funds for Global Green USA.
Starting today, when you go to Electrolux and plant a virtual flower for a friend, Electrolux will donate $1 to Global Green USA to support their healthy green schools initiatives across America. Everyone who logs on to the site and plants a virtual flower will be automatically entered for a chance to win a new eco-friendly Kelly Green front-load washer and dryer! Electrolux washers are up to 83% more energy-efficient and use 56% less water, which provides an easy way for all of us to be more green.
Mom Central is also giving away a Washer & Dryer from Electrolux in the new Kelly Green color! Go to the Mom Central site, and register! Then you can have a chance to enter twice for this great Washer/Dryer Green-set from Electrolux! Stacy DeBroff, Mom Central's author, did an interview with Kelly Ripa: SEE HERE! Go send some flowers, help raise funds for Global Green USA, and enter to win a Brand New Washer and Dryer from Electrolux!

Getting ready for graduation? (Plus a GIVEAWAY)

The time is coming upon us for Graduation! Seniors everywhere are making sure they get all their work turned in, credits completed, scholarships filled out, college applications...and Graduation Announcements? Maybe it is their parents that is getting ready for the Graduation Parties!? Tiny Prints offers a great selection of Graduation Announcements and Invitations! Tiny Prints offers 66 different announcements and invitations to choose from! You can put your son/daughter's picture on the announcement/invitation, or select one without a photo. Many of the card selections offer a few different colors to chose from, font used, and wording you choose.

There are so many different sizes, styles, and designs to choose from when shopping at Tiny Prints! It is a lot of fun making and designing your cards with the help of Tiny Prints! Their prices are affordable, too! I have a special opportunity for you to win a $50.00 certificate toward your purchase, too! How is that for a help with your Graduation needs? Here is what you need to do: Make an account at Tiny Prints. Don't worry, you aren't required to buy anything or subscribe to their newsletter (but feel free to, if you want). Pick out your favorite design of Graduation Announcement or Invitation and SAVE it to your account. Come back here and comment on your card, and the e-mail you signed up to Tiny Prints with. (The Sponsor can easily check for your e-mail). THESE ARE ALL REQUIRED to be entered into this contest! Open to those in the USA, and will end on May 4th. Feel free to do the extra credits that I have offered in my other contests (see other contest posts).

X-14~ AN AMAZING product!!

I get so frustrated with mildew! It grows so easily, especially in our shower. Our bathroom has been on our remodel list since we moved in. It is the one bathroom in our home that was built without a fan. So, as you can well imagine, mildew/mold loves to grow in there...and quickly! When Mom Central had a blog tour to review X-14 The Bathroom Expert, I clearly jumped on board to test it out! I was a bit leery, just because of products I have used in the past. I have come across one other product that works similarly as good, but the smell is so toxic and strong. X-14 is amazing~ REALLY!! I just sprayed all around the base of my shower, and let it sit on there. I let it sit about 10 minutes (while I fixed my hair) and then checked on it. The mold was almost completely gone, and I could see the color of my shower again! Seriously, I should have taken pictures, but I am a bit embarrassed of the mildew. I was very shocked at how quickly and effectively the X-14 removed the mildew/mold from our shower with the spray! All I had to do after letting it sit on there, was to rinse it off! I used this on our shower a week ago, and it is still mold free! The X-14 is safe to use on sealed grout, vinyl and plastic surfaces! What is great about the X-14 is it can help remove mold/mildew in all areas of my home, and my pontoon & boat!
I know that X-14 will be a product we will be keeping in our products to clean the house with! I love that I can still breath while using this product, too! I am anxious to try their other products for cleaning my home, too!

LemonHead Kidz hair accessories

My daughter loves getting dressed up, wearing shoes, and having her hair fixed up with "pretties." I was excited when Family Review Network teamed up with LemonHead Kidz to review their hair accessories! I couldn't wait to see what was coming in the mail for Madelyn! I got a cute flower hair clip, and an adjustable hair band. I saw the flower hair clip, and Madelyn's face lit up! Of coarse she wanted to have in in her hair right away! The flower is a nice size and is visible in her hair. I got the pink silk flower ($6.00). I like that she can wear it with anything with those colors! LemonHead Kidz offers 7 colors of the silk flowers. They also have other clipeez: felt flowers, felt butterflies, felt bows, iridescent bows, and polka dot flowers.

The Bandeez (adjustable hair band, $9.00) that I got to review was the Grosgrain Flower Power in a light pink. It is adorable! I love the pattern that LemonHeads sent me! Pink and Brown are the in colors right now. It looks really cute in Madelyn's hair. I love how it is adjustable and it is made with special Velcro techniques to keep the band in my daughter's fine hair. LemonHead Kidz offers several patterns to choose from for the Bandeez! One I know my neice would love is the Grosgrain Pink Camouflage!

LemonHead Apparel LLC, founded by Noeui Lalonde, wanted something better for their daughter's hair! With their little two-year-old taking apart the hair clips and the embellishments, the frustrations were building....not to mention the check book. Clipeez were born, and stayed in their daughter's fine hair!! The Bandeez Headbands were originally designed for their two-year-old. Their headbands are fully adjustable, and they fit infants to moms on-the-go. They're designed to not slip or slide on heads of any size. They don't use magnets or hot glue, and NOTHING squeezed out of a bottle like silicone or rubber. The premium patented GRIPSTRIP is made of a unique reliable material that is identical in every clip. LemonHead Kidz have also patented several processes to make the Clipeez and attach embelishments reliably to their Clipeez that is so secure it impresses every time.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Random thoughts and funnies

I am sorry I haven't been blogging my life stories, experiences, situations...fill in the blank.....lately. Life with four children is definitely a lot busier than life with three children~ especially since right now, I have a 3 (almost 4) year old, a newly 2 year old, and a 3 month old. My son, Nathaniel....who is 10 1/2, is very helpful, but he is in school. Plus, he has difficulties, too. He is a great kid, smart, funny, lovable, and sensitive...just a hard age and life changing age right now. We are considering home schooling him next year. He has been in the public school for the last 2 years, after being home schooled for the first 3 years of school. He has experienced what "school" is now, and he is asking to be home educated again. One of the main reasons he wanted to go to "real school," A.K.A. public school, was to ride the bus. Now, that is one of the biggest issues he has right now. He hates the school bus ride. He is very sensitive to swearing and loud yelling/screaming, and he has been in tears over the whole mess. He has also had some issues with this year's teacher. Personally, I just don't think that she really "likes" Nathaniel. As his mom, I really struggle with that. She just doesn't have that warmness and caring presence that his teacher from last year had. Some of the issues I have with her is her lack of spelling tests and some of her reasoning. Nathaniel's biggest struggle is spelling. He has actually gone backwards in his spelling this year. They don't work on it in school, so how can he start getting it? There really aren't enough hours in the day to have him come home to practice/memorize spelling words for 2 hours each day when he gets home just before 4 PM. It is really frustrating. Nathaniel excels in Math, Reading, Language, and Science...he just really struggles with spelling. So, home schooling is probably the direction we need to go. I would love to have him go to a private school, but the cost is way out of our budget. Nathaniel's Dad isn't a big supporter of home education, however, he has seen it to be successful. He knows Nathaniel's grades have decreased this year, and that he has been struggling. Also, I think if Nathaniel shares his feelings with his Dad, he will be more apt to go along with home education. So, we are praying about it. One really great thing we have been doing with Nathaniel lately is having a talk session once a week. Terry and I sit down with him, and he has the floor to say whatever is on his mind. He can tell us if he is mad at us, disagrees with something, is upset about school/bus/friends/siblings, etc.~ all as long as he is respectful. Terry and I don't share our opinions, get mad, or correct him....we just listen. Thankfully, Nathaniel has been very open with us, and he is sharing so much. I see that he is just filled with so much suppressed emotion, and it breaks my heart. He is at such an impressionable age, and I really hope we can understand where he is at and help him overcome some things. I love him so much, and he is so precious to me. I am sure it is a challenge for him to live in one home with certain rules and expectations, visit another home with his Dad, and maybe feels out of sorts. Plus, he is entering pre-teen and that has a whole bunch of feelings/emotions attached. Terry and I are making some changes so Nathaniel can be happier with his home life, and school life. We are working on his own room, more one on one time with him, more time with his Dad, and his own space.

Caleb has been in a stage that is, what I would call,~ extremely independent. He has been very testy lately, and saying, "NO!" He is almost 4 years old (end of May). I think he is feeling a lack of attention lately with Maddie and new baby brother, Cole. Terry and I have talked about making sure he has more one on one time with us soon. He has been doing great with his potty training, and keeping his underwear dry during the day. Most nights he has accidents, but he really can't wake himself up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. He has been very observant of his body parts lately, and I find it embarrassing. I know God made him with those parts, but how do you explain it isn't a toy, or something that is of common discussion with just anyone. He says things like, "just playing with my ***," like it is just a game that he is playing. I know it is normal for this age, it just has never been comfortable to work through. Caleb loves wearing shorts so much lately. On Friday, I told him to put on jeans. He got so upset and what throwing them down on the ground. After a few rounds of me telling him he was going to wear them, and him telling me no with throwing them down....he said the funniest thing.
Me: "You will wear those jeans, and you won't tell me no."
Caleb: "I don't like wearing jeans!! I love my mom and dad, but I DO NOT like wearing jeans!" It was very comical.

Madelyn's favorite words right now are, "What?" and "Why?" She is really becoming more vocal and clearer with her words. She struggles a little with her pronunciation, but she is getting better at it. She is very strong willed, and independent. She is loving to dress herself, especially if she has a zipper on anything. She loves to be barefoot no matter where she is. If we are home all day, I don't even bother putting socks on her. She finally moved into a size 4 diaper. We also just moved her from the crib to a toddler bed. Last week, Nathaniel put the whole toddler bed together by himself without directions! We were so proud of him, and you could tell he was happy with himself and the results. I set it up in Caleb's room, moved the changing table, and she loves it! It is quite funny, because she will not get out of bed in the morning or after nap. She calls for Terry or I to come, and she waits for us. It is precious, and I am glad she likes it.

Maddie and Caleb are at Grandma's for the weekend. Caleb and his other boy cousins were peeing outside today by the trees. Madelyn was standing by a tree, and just kept still. Grandma asked her what she was doing, and Maddie said, "I go potty, too!" Then, she tried to go. Poor girl! She is the only girl grandchild with 7 boy grandchildren. I know she will fair well, but it would be nice if there was another girl for her. OH well!

Cole is growing so much these days! He just rolled over from tummy to his back this week on Wednesday, I believe. He is now 3 months old. He is also reaching for toys, and putting them in his mouth~ when he makes it that far. He is such a happy-go-lucky baby! He is a great sleeper, and is great about crying when he needs the necessities: feeding, changing, sleeping. He does bite down on me sometimes, and that isn't very pleasant. He is a great breast feeder, though. I love his smile! He really lights up when he is talking or being talked to. I am totally not rushing him into his stages or milestones. I want to just enjoy his growth, and learning. He may be our last baby, so I just try to relish his moments and cuteness!

Terry has been working with the DNR this whole week. He is a smoke chaser/fire fighter. He loves fighting fire. April and May are the big fire months of the year. His full-time job has been very slow this week (not good) but he has been able to get his fire-fix with the DNR at least. He has been on some great fires this week, too! I love hearing his stories and hearing about what happened with his evening. My house has seen better days than this week, but Terry has been gone most of this week. Tuesday night he was home at 2 AM~ Wed., 9:00 PM on Wed., and 7 PM on Thurs. So, the hours are a lot longer. I was so happy to have the whole day with him today with our drive to Wisconsin for a train show. It was a beautiful day! Tonight we looked for refrigerators. Ours is dying, so we need to get a new one. It was good to go hunting around for prices, but I know that I am not much of a shopper these days.
Tomorrow I have a bridal shower to go to for my future sister-in-law. Terry is going to work with the DNR again, so we will both be busy. I am excited to go because I love showers! The shower is about an hour from my house. After the shower I will be picking up Caleb and Madelyn. I plan to head home after that, but if Terry gets called out to a fire, I may have to drive another 2 hours to pick up Nathaniel, and then an hour and half home. So, I may have a lot of drive time tomorrow. I hope you all are having a great weekend! Thanks for visiting, and reading my blog! I will try to write more about us, and visit you all more soon!

Medbasics: Review and Giveaway!

In case of an emergency for your little one, MedBasics has a great guidebook that you can keep in your diaper bag! This handy guidebook covers emergency situations for babies birth to 1 year old. MedBasics covers these topics: CPR, choking, fevers, bleeding, burns, and poisons. It is a very helpful guidebook, and one that I think all parents should have on hand!
The travel pack has a ring on the outside so you can clip it to your bag or stroller. Inside the book there is a page for your emergency contact information. That is really helpful in case something happens to the parents while away, too! The MedBasics guidebook has detailed instructions on what to do in certain situations. Every topic is color-coded for quick reference.

I know that this book is so helpful and important to have accessible. I am so thankful that I was able to review this book! Thanks to the parents who created MedBasics, Luke, MD and Tara Hermann, RN, who live in New York City with their boys. MedBasics was inspired by their son, Nicholas, who chocked at lunch and they needed to clear his airway quickly. Emergencies happen all the time, take us off guard, and we may not remember what steps to take. Thank you Luke and Tara for helping us take care of our children and keeping us informed with what to do in an emergency!
MedBasics has a Home pack ($35.00), Travel pack ($25.00), and the Combo pack (both sets, $56.00).
Would you like to win a MedBasics Travel Pack? I have one extra to giveaway to my readers. Contest open until April 29th. Open to those in the United States. Go to the MedBasics website and comment here about something you learned. You may comment on as many other posts (that I have written in the past) as you want to for an additional entry, just leave the url in your additional comment! You have many chances to enter this contest! In order to qualify, you must do what is required. You may come back each day and enter (again) after you do the first rule, just tweet about this giveaway and leave the url in your comment AND/OR Click here to see how you can earn even more extra credits to win!! Click here to see guidelines and the official rules.

More winners~

Congratulations to the winners of the recent contests here at Sassyfrazz!

New Boon Bath Toys~ and a GIVEAWAY! : CAmom04

Hot, Hot Baby!! Thermometer giveaway! CandG~Jill W

Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Big Journeys (3 winners): Staci , Momma Mango , YZgirl4

Congratulations again!

Don't forget to enter these contests currently going on!
Xeko Pals~ Giveaway!
DOLE contest!!
Idbids for Earth Day: Plus a giveaway!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Idbids for Earth Day: Plus a giveaway!

Earth Day is coming up on April 22, and it is a great time to start thinking SPRING! Spring into action making our world a nicer (and cleaner) place to live! Idabids are great little helpers to teach our children to help keep our Earth happy, healthy and green.
Waverly is a raindrop. He is a little dreamy, but loves a good laugh. He makes fun of himself by saying, "I may be all wet, but I am certainly no drip!" Waverly is concerned about protecting our water resources and keeping them clean~ oceans, seas, rivers and lakes. Scout, the Cloud, is the group leader. He looks at the "big picture" view of the Earth, more specifically air pollution. He is very concerned about the air we breath. My daughter's favorite is Lola the flower. She is pretty and her motto is "pretty is as pretty does." Her goal is to make sure that the trees, plants and flowers are well taken care of, and have what they need to survive.
Idbids are 100% organic Egyptian cotton plush characters that kids can learn from and play with. The starter set includes a plush toy, organic fabric cinch sack, storybook and Field Guide. The storybook tells the story of the idbids and what they care about. The Field Guide is fun! It is a little book that your child can complete the 10 iddy biddy steps to make a biggy big difference for our Earth. One of the steps is for your child to turn off the lights when they leave the room. Not only does this step help our Earth, it will help save on your electric bill!
Once your child has completed their Field Guide, they can go online with their parents to to tell Scout all about it! Scout will make a Certificate of Completion for your child!
Idbids have won numerous awards including Dr. Toy winner, Preferred Choice Award, and the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval! With the purchase of each kit, a child can enter a code online that will help protect the habitats of animal friends through The Nature Conservancy's Plant A Billion Trees campaign, Adopt an Acre or Rescue the Reef programs.
About Idbids (from the site):
Idbids, LLC, headquartered in Atlanta, is the creator and owner of the eco-friendly characters - Scout, Lola and Waverly. The Idbids, through toys and licensed children's products, are designed to create awareness and inspire action. The Idbids' motto is "iddy biddy steps make a biggie big difference in keeping our Earth happy, healthy and green." Idbids strives to make its products using organic, recycled and eco-friendly materials.
Wanna win an Idbid? Just go to the Idbids website, and comment here about something you learned from the site, and also which Idbit is your favorite! Contest open until April 29th. Open to those in the United States. You may comment on as many other posts (that I have written in the past) as you want to for an additional entry, just leave the url in your additional comment! You have many chances to enter this contest! In order to qualify, you must do what is required. You may come back each day and enter (again) after you do the first rule, just tweet about this giveaway and leave the url in your comment AND/OR Click here to see how you can earn even more extra credits to win!! Click here to see guidelines and the official rules.


Sickness looms it's ugly face in our household again. Madelyn is striken with the fever for two days. Poor little princess. Today she spiked up to 104.5 with the temporal artery thermometer! I took her in, and low and behold, she just has a virus~ well, that is what the Doc recommended. She is very clingy, and miserable. So, I apologize that I can't write too much for the personal posts right now. I will keep you all updated. I do have much to blog, but for now, my daughter's needs are great.
Tonight, Caleb woke up with a croupy-sounding cough. He was very irritable, and coughing uncontrollably! I brought him into the bathroom, because I feared the upheaval! A few times while he was coughing, a dribble of blood came out of his nose. I assume it is because it is dry in our house. I will keep an eye on him (and Madelyn) tonight, though. I gave him an Albuterol treatment, got the humidifier set up in their room, and got him back to sleep. So, we will see how tonight goes.
Pray that my children will be healed, and that the rest of us will be spared! Thank you so much! More tomorrow...hopefully. We will just see how my kids are fairing.

MoJo Mom: Book Review

Most pregnant women are taught what to expect about childbirth, but not about how the Mother's life will change dramatically after she comes home with her new little baby.
From the Introduction to Mojo Mom:
"What is Mojo? Mommy Mojo is the feeling you get when you are at the top of your game, juggling the many facets of your life, making sure that your own needs are included in your family's priorities. Mommy Mojo is the joyous feeling of becoming yourself and liking that person. It is the ability to speak, be heard, and make a difference in the world. It is power, it is being a force to be reckoned with. It is knowing that even if the rest of the world doesn't always realize how amazing you are, you can move through it like a secret agent, armed with the confidence that your plans will succeed on your own terms."
Becoming a mom is one of the most difficult transitions any woman can face. Especially as dirty diapers, bedtime struggles, and mommy guilt start to replace the things in a woman's life before children. In fact, as Amy Tiemann, author of the new book MOJO MOM: Nurturing Your Self While Raising A Family points out, a major question in the face of these drastic changes becomes “Who am I, now that I am a mom?” Amy’s new book (now available since April 7, 2009 $16.00) provides some answers. A mom herself, Amy has a PhD in Neurosciences from Stanford University, is a spokesperson for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and is an executive team member of Through seminars and her interactive website, she now dedicates herself to helping women not only make sense of the changes they experience as moms, but also grow and thrive in their own lives. With a focus on self-care, creativity, and leadership, Mojo Mom provides thoughtful solutions and inspiration to help all women become exactly who they want to be. By nurturing themselves and their own unique identities, all women can regain their sense of mojo – even in the face of tantrums, laundry piles, and whatever else motherhood throws our way.
Order your copy of Mojo Mom: Nurturing Your Self While Raising a Family now, available from:, Barnes&, or

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tis the season for eating ice cream!

Ok, really what season isn't a good time to indulge in some ice cream? Our family is big into having ice cream for a dessert! I have also been very careful to start reading ingredients in what I put into my mouth, as well! There are so many foods and treats that we eat that are packed with ingredients we can't read, and many times we should not be eating. I was thrilled to review the new Haagen-Dazs FIVE ice creams from the Mom Central Team!It was a big treat to have 4 surprise flavors of ice cream show up on my doorstep! Haagen-Dazs sure makes ice cream speak volumes with their flavors and ingredients! Here is what is in the ice cream from the Haagen-Dazs Five: SKIM MILK, CREAM, SUGAR, (whatever the flavor) FRUIT JUICE, and EGG YOLKS. Yes, ingredients you know, can read, and eat commonly daily. The ONLY downfall is the Haagen-Dazs ice cream isn't very Weight Watchers or "diet", I eat about a Tablespoon almost daily. That way I can enjoy the flavor and taste, yet be careful with my intake. The taste of the Haagen-Dazs Five reminds me of home-made ice cream, but creamier! I got these flavors: Passion Fruit, Mint, Ginger, and Brown Sugar. I would have to say that the Mint was my favorite of those four. My parents were over for Easter, and they got to taste the great ice cream. We had all four out and compared the flavors. We all loved the Mint the best. My Dad and Husband didn't prefer the Brown Sugar, but my Mom and I loved it. I know one Haagen-Dazs Five flavors I am on a mission to purchase: COFFEE!!
So, I tell you now....go get some Haagen-Dazs Five flavors, and you will be glad you did! The ice cream tastes amazing, and you can rest assured there are no chemicals going into your body. Thank you Haagen-Dazs for giving me ice cream to review, and ice cream that is safe for our bodies!

DOLE contest!!

Chef Ben Ford and Dole has a great contest going on right now! You have until May 8th to enter this contest! You could win a trip to Los Angeles in June to cook with Chef Ben Ford, where you would then serve up a feast together with three of your friends at his restaurant, Ford’s Filling Station, in Los Angeles if you: Enter your best essay on how DOLE Canned Fruit is a staple in your pantry!

You could also win the weekly random drawing of one of eight DOLE Gift Bags with $100 in DOLE products, or one of two drawings for a $500 Visa gift card, if you:
Keep coming back to the DOLE: Make me a Chef website to check out Ben Ford's Signature Recipes or the other delicious recipes from Dole that you can make. Each time you log on, you will be entered in the random weekly sweepstakes drawing. (Maximum of one entry per day)
Tell a friend – for each friend referred, (Maximum of 5 entries/referrals per day) you are entered again into the sweepstakes. Click here to see the weekly winners so far!

***Please comment back on my post on which recipe was your most favorite. If any of you enter an essay, repost it in my comments and you can win enough coupons to refill your pantry with DOLE Canned Fruit ($25 value).***

Win the chance to cook alongside acclaimed chef, Ben Ford. Ben has created four signature recipes with DOLE Canned Fruit and wants to share his culinary tips with you and three of your friends at his latest hot restaurant in Los Angeles. Enter your short essay and you could win a beautiful weekend in Los Angeles in June cooking and sharing a feast with Ben Ford!

Joowle: A great gift place for Mother's Day shopping!

With Mother's Day coming up, I am sure you are looking and wondering what you could give your mom, or maybe even yourself? I was recently introduced to a great jewelry store for Mothers~Joolwe! They have some great pieces of jewelry and I was fortunate to review a beautiful heart-shaped necklace with the wonderful word: MOM embedded inside of it.
The necklace is a Sterling Silver Diamond Accent Mom Heart Pendant, and it is stunning! I love how it looks on, and I am having a hard time deciding if I want to keep it, or give it to my Mother! I am not sure it is really her style, but I love my Mom so much, and I would love to give her a fine piece of jewelery like this necklace from Joolwe! It isn't a very heavy necklace, but feels light while wearing it. I think it is one that would be treasured!
Joolwe is a new online jewelry store that offers a great selection of necklaces, pendants, bracelets, earrings and rings. They offer a wide selection of metals and gemstones at an affordable prices. Joolwe also has a jewelry education blog to offer help and advice. Joolwe strives to achieve high customer service standards with offering free shipping, an easy returns/exchange policy, a best price guarantee and a monthly jewelry giveaway! This Month's Prize is: Sterling Silver Fancy Stud CZ Earring (Retail Value $69.99)
I know that I am a happy customer with the speedy shipment, and the great necklace I received! Thanks to Family Review Network, this review was possible! I recommend buying your Mother's Day gifts, or special gift for your special someone at Joolwe!

Xeko Pals~ Giveaway!

My son loves the card game Xeko! He gets to learn about endangered species, play a strategic game, and collect valuable cards gaining education while playing! I have reviewed the Xeko game a few times (see here, & here). Xeko Mission is a 2 player card game that he can learn about conservation and the environment while he plays.A new line of eco-friendly plush, the Xeko Pals, also debuted this fall. Each plush is based on the most popular characters from the Xeko eco-adventure game. The plush are made with soy and certified organic cotton “fur” and filled with soy-based stuffing. These new toys feature “mission codes” that allow kids to join the fun at, where the Xeko adventure comes to life on the web. The most popular character from Mission: China is the Giant Panda.
Xeko Pals, “Hairy,” is the newest little Xeko critter. "Hairy" is a dwarf lemur from Madagascar—the toy is life-sized (these lemurs are about the size of a softball in real life). He is so cute, and his eyes are so big! He has a really long tail, and my son loves playing with him!
As you can see, Nathaniel has a great time playing with the Xeko Pals! Not a dull moment! Each animal comes with a Mission Code, which gives unlimited play of the “Hairy the Nibbler” game at It is a fun game!
Nathaniel now has a companion to help him complete his mission while playing the Xeko game.
Xeko has offered to give you a discount on their products (games, cards, or stuffed animals):
Just go to the Xeko Store, select your items, and you can get 15% off your entire order by entering the code: gogreen
Expires: 10/31/09

Since Earth Day is quickly approaching (April 22), Xeko has offered to give a Lemur away to one of my readers! This contest is open to USA, and will end on April 22nd~ Earth Day! Go to and find out a few facts, or something you find interesting...then come back and comment on it.
You may comment on as many other posts (that I have written in the past) as you want to for an additional entry, just leave the url in your additional comment! You have many chances to enter this contest! In order to qualify, you must do what is required. You may come back each day and enter (again) after you do the first rule, just tweet about this giveaway and leave the url in your comment AND/OR Click here to see how you can earn even more extra credits to win!! Click here to see guidelines and the official rules.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Da' girls, in Da-lute!

I had a great weekend away with 5 of my dear friends! We were blessed with a whole weekend together in a hotel up in Duluth, MN. Our friend, Jody's husband does a lot of travel with his job. They had a lot of points stored up for hotel stays, and she graciously covered the hotel fees using their points~ thank you so much, Jody!! It was so much fun to go away and be Sarah for the weekend. I did bring little Cole with me, because I am nursing...and he is only 3 months old today! I still can't believe he is 3 months old already! Anyway, my husband came home at about 11 on Friday (April 3rd) and I was getting ready to go. I was the designated driver, because I am one of those cool moms who drive a mini van! ~lol. I first picked up Anna, then Lisa, next Jeannie, and finally Jody and her princess~K. It was a full van with 5 women, 2 babies (and their car seats)...not to mention all of our stuff.

I am the driver, Anna is in the passenger seat, Jeannie is behind me, and in the front of this picture you see Jody on the left and Lisa on the right. Baby K is in between them.
We all did a good job packing lightly, and I have to say I am mightily impressed!
Friday night, we had dinner at the Giant Panda (a Chinese restaurant). We all enjoy Chinese, but I think we were all a bit disappointed with this restaurant. They didn't put in fresh food, or restock what ran out, we didn't get our beverages refilled~ actually the waitress never came back, except with the bill, and their ice cream machine was broken (looks like it had been like that for a long time). I would understand if they were super busy, but that wasn't the case. At least we still had fun and great conversations. I was shocked at this lady that was there, though. She came over to us and wanted to see Cole. No biggie...but then, she squatted down to see him and was touching him over and over. I am very uncomfortable with strangers touching my kids, especially my newborns. I don't mind people admiring my cute kids, but caressing their cheeks, putting their nuk in their mouth, touching his chin and his hair....PLEASE, have some common courtesy. What do you do? Do you tell them to back off and stop touching your baby? She just talked on and on for about 10-15 minutes. I think it was a bit rude, especially since we were all there to socialize. There is something to be said about manners and etiquette.
Anyway...we were off to the Comfort Inn and Suites. We had 2 double beds and a hide-a-bed couch in the room. We also had a refrigerator and a microwave. It was just right for our girls weekend lock-in! We had to snap a few photos of us all giddy. Jeannie had a timer on her camera, so she jumped on the end of the bed to get in the photo for these.
From Left to Right: Lisa, Anna, me, Jody, and Jeannie. See our hands? Yeah, it was planned.
Time to make the kissy faces! We had this on-going teasing about the "control freak" a.k.a. Lisa, but come to think of it, I think I may have stole that role for the pictures...I kept saying, "Now lets do this...."

I love this photo best! I love how happy we look to have such a special weekend away together!
Psst...I didn't have my foot up for this photo, either. Opps, I missed that instruction! :)
This picture is of us in the van driving down the super big hill. You can see Lake Superior from this glance. The lake is of the biggest, and it is beautiful anytime of the year.
This is a photo of the back of the hotel. There are walk paths all over. Duluth is a big-time tourist city. It is a favorite city of mine living here.
The three amigos! We always have a grand time together! I think Jody should get square-shaped glasses, too!
Sweet baby Cole sleeping so soundly. I love watching him sleep! He is so snuggly~
The babies loving on each other. Cole is not going to let her go.
We had a great time, soaking our feet, painting our nails (fingers and toes), and Jody and I died our hair. I gave Jody a hair cut, too! It was fun to pamper ourselves and each other!
Me and Anna!
Miss K, Lisa and I! I love the look Miss K is giving us!
Jody and I!
Jeannie and I! Notice my hair color? This is pretty much my natural color these days. Terry didn't notice, although I really wasn't surprised. It is OK, it just isn't his thing to notice that.
Yep, we had a pillow fight on Saturday night. This was so much fun! Lisa and I had a blast! My favorite was tackling her down on the bed. We even got security to come and knock on our door from the racket! Yes!! We got in trouble!
Two on the bed, and the little one said, "Roll over, roll over...."
Sleeping so peacefully! Doesn't he look snug as a bug?? The beds were very comfortable and great to sleep on. We did get a night in the hot tub. A few of us jumped into the pool~ literally...Jeannie was happily floating a long, and Lisa and I did a cannon ball near her! It was a hoot! I wish I would have had pictures of us gals in the hot tub. None of us thought of it, though.
Here are the little ones on our trip...Cole and K. It was their first weekend in a hotel together. They were so good the whole weekend! They got along great, too! was chilly, but great to have this photo! We asked a guy who was running by, and he got a bit overwhelmed when we all handed him our cameras. He joked and even said he could go get his camera.

Then, we headed home. It was sad to end our time together...but we had a grand time! We definitely want to plan something like this again! It was so refreshing and therapeutic! This is a good portion of ladies from my monthly ladies night out that I talk about. We so much enjoy each other's company. Thank you Jody, for supplying the means to escape life for awhile, and thank you to all of you ladies for a great weekend...and lasting memories!