Sunday, September 16, 2018

Love the Q: Veterans Home - #ForQuincy

 About a month ago I created a post about Love the Q, and event where over 600 volunteers from our church went out into the community and worked at 45 locations.  My first post talked about the Equestrian Team and what they did.  Now almost a month later (I'm a little slow on the uptake) I'd like to talk about how our team helped at the Illinois Veterans Home.
two members of the ROOTS team washing off park benches

Jason and I were site supervisors for IVH.  It was our responsibility to make sure everyone had needed supplies and knew their positions.  We actually put some physical labor in too.

Illinois Veterans home was in need of grounds maintenance with pulling weeds, tilling dirt, putting down mulch, and other "gardeny" stuff.

Kids got involved too!

People gathered rakes, hoes, shovels and other "gardeny" stuff (yep, said it again!) and got right to work.  There was a lot of ground to cover but it only took a few hours with the amount of people willing to help.

Kevin and Billy. 
Kevin took the role of golf cart passenger very seriously.

Later in the day the ROOTS team showed up.  ROOTS (Reaching Out for Opportunities To Serve) is a program spearheaded by the church.  It pairs volunteers up with the special needs population and has them come together for activities.  This was my third time working with ROOTS. 

Church Volunteers and ROOTS Team coming together to make a difference in the community

With some adult supervision, the ROOTS team went around the Illinois Vets Home and washed down the park benches and picnic tables.  As always, I had an absolute blast hanging out with them.  To finish off the day, we ate lunch with the ROOTS group with Walking Tacos.

Illinois Veterans Home is a large state facility that houses female and male veterans.  It was such a good feeling being able to help out and show that we care.  I went home that day high on life.
The Norton family pulling weeds

I'm posting about Love the Q for a few reasons.  For one, I want to remember it all.  For two, it left a huge impact on our community.  Thirdly, it might give you an idea or two of something you can do to help your neighbors.

In Between Things - Children's Book Review and Giveaway

Book Overview:

By Priscilla Tey

9780763689834 | May 2018 | Ages 4-8 | 40 pages

Look over there — the cat is between a table and a chair with a tear. But now look again: the cat is on top of the dog, who’s between the floor and the cat (and not too happy about that!). As you wander through the delightfully detailed illustrations, the more you look, the more you’ll see — including colors made from a mix of two others, hybrid implements such as a spork, warm nooks that are neither too cold nor too hot, even a cross of a zebra and cow that makes a . . . zebrow? In an engaging and utterly stylish debut, rising star Priscilla Tey leads readers on an addictive exploration of the in-between, a surprisingly far-reaching and everywhere concept.

My Review:

A hardback book with lots of visuals through color and illustrations, In Between Things explains the meaning of the word "between" with whimsical rhythmic words.  A black cat and a brown dog are shown going between all sorts of things.  For instance, take this excerpt from the book:

"An in-between thing can separate two things, which is sometimes a helpful and necessary thing.
The glass in between keeps fish wet and us dry. It separates the cat from the tasty-looking guy."

For a book to explain a word in a way that's so entertaining and catchy, In Between Things is a definite favorite of all the children books I've ever reviewed.  It's a book that I wouldn't mind reading over and over to a young child.  Note to the author:  Please make more books like this!

Win It!

One person will win a hardback book copy of In Between Things.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

I received book for review from Candlewick Press.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cook Your Meals in a Single Pan with MasterPan - Review

Three years ago, MasterPan launched their very first divided skillet with their MasterPan 5-section pan.  After receiving feedback from fans of the original 5-section MasterPan, its creator are launching the smaller, convenient and versatile 2- and 3-section MasterPan through a Kickstarter campaign. These skillets allow users to prepare full meals with the use of a single pan, like a full breakfast of eggs, pancakes and sausage, burgers with bacon for lunch, and grilled chicken and veggies for dinner. Cooking with the MasterPan can also help users with preparing the right amounts of food, helping to control portion sizes and minimize food waste

If I have to cook for my entire family, I'd need to use more than one MasterPan or a different pan altogether.  But if I want to cook for one or two people, a MasterPan divided skillet is ideal.  

  I've used the MasterPan skillets several times since receiving them.  The deep grill line sections on the pans create beautiful grill marks, which I'm a big fan of.  The skillets are made of cast aluminum and two layers of non-stick coating.  They are very sturdy and the high quality construction of these skillets is visible.  

Being able to cook three strips of bacon and a couple eggs for breakfast without using more than one pan is quite convenient.  The same goes for cooking vegetables on one side and meat strips on another.  An induction base on the bottom of each skillet ensures that heat distributes evenly.
Each skillet has a detachable handle.  By removing the handle, you can put the skillet in the oven to keep food warm.

Because the grill lines on the skillets are high, the fat and grease from the food is trapped in between the grill marks.  That means you will have very little fat or grease on your food when it's fully cooked.

bottom view of MasterPan

If you are interested in MasterPan but you aren't quite sure you want the skillets to have divided sections, a MasterPan Deep Grill is available.  It's a large skillet with no dividers but, otherwise, it's made the same way as the other skillets.  

MasterPan has a square glass lid that fits all their skillets.  You don't have to try to pair a lid up with a skillet because the lid will fit on any of them.  The lid has a steam vent and a silicone rim.  

It's indicated that these skillets are dishwasher safe.  I can't personally vouch for that, but cleaning them via hand is easy.  I don't have to scrub and scrub.  

To keep food from going from one section to another, I use a small spatula if I need to stir or flip whatever I'm cooking.  

Consider me a fan of MasterPan!

I received products for review.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Annual Hannibal Steampunk Festival

I don't know a lot about the world of steampunk but I'm fascinated by it.  The attire and creativity that goes into steampunk is quite interesting.  Jason and I attended the annual Steampunk Festival in Hannibal, Missouri for the first time over Labor Day weekend.

The festival takes place over three days.  There are several free things to do, as well as events you can pay for.  Jason and I just looked around at all the booths set up and saw several people in costume.  

Professor Phobizer's Whimsical Weapons

Jason wasn't too excited about the whole thing so I'll be going again next year, without him.  I want to pay for some of the premium events, like the burlesque shows and the tea times.  Who knows, I may even dress up in steampunk attire!

Have you ever attended a steampunk festival?
Does the world of steampunk fascinate you?

Join 20/20 Panel: A Survey Site that Rewards You

What seems like many moons ago, when I first started browsing the World Wide Web, I was a member of several survey sites.  Some I've let go by the wayside due to lack of interest or lack of rewards, but one that I've kept up with is 20/20 Panel.

20/20 Panel is a survey site that's simple to join and easy to earn cash.  The research company has been in business since 1986.  By joining, emails will be sent to you and you will have the opportunity to tell companies what you think. Membership is free and you will receive money for each qualified survey you take. If you'd like to receive a little extra money just for giving your opinion, I'd recommend signing up with 20/20 Panel.  You may join if you are from the USA or Canada.  Please use my email of as the referral.

This post contains a referral link.  The opinions within this post are of my own.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Restaurants Needed For A Makeover Show

Photo by Aneta Pawlik on Unsplash

A major cable network is casting immediately for a restaurant makeover show with a renowned celebrity chef. Have you been trying to make money, but can’t manage to break even? Is your location great and d├ęcor in good shape but business is still brisk?

Email if interested.


Please include: Your name, contact info, name of restaurant, where you are located, type of cuisine, how many seats you have, how long you have been open, photos or website if available, and why you need help.

I received no compensation or product for this post.  This post is in partnership with PR firm.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Tips on Choosing After-School Activities - Go Organically Fruit Snacks Giveaway

With back-to-school season in full swing means after-school activities are as well. Are your kids involved?! If not, Go Organically Fruit Snacks wants to help you find the best extracurricular programs for your kids to participate in this school year.

Choosing After-School Activities

School’s back in session—and so are after-school activities! From soccer to singing to scouting, there’s certainly no shortage of kid-centric extracurricular programs where you can spend your time and hard-earned cash. But how do you know which ones are right for your kid? Go Organically Fruit Snacks is here to help you find out!

Gauge Their Interests

The best activity for your kid is the one they’re interested in. Older kids are likely to be drawn to what their friends are trying. Toddlers and younger kids may have trouble articulating what they want to try, but there are sure to be clues to look out for. Are they constantly running around? Maybe soccer would be a good fit. Do they like to bop along to the radio in the car? Perhaps they’d appreciate a music class.

 Consider Their Personality

Have a shy kid who hides behind mama when meeting new people? An acting class probably isn’t the best idea. As tempting as it can be to use activities to help break kids out of their shell, it’s best to stick with classes that align with a kid’s authentic spirit. The more comfortable they are, the more confident they’ll be—which will hopefully lead to a willingness to try new things later on.

Individual Activities
Independent-minded kids tend to enjoy individual sports, such as gymnastics, tennis, dance or martial arts. Non-sport options could include private lessons in music or art. Benefits of these types of activities include building self-esteem, motor skills and attention/focus.

Group Activities
Socially-minded kids often prefer the camaraderie of team sports, such as soccer, basketball or hockey. Non-sport options could include scouting troops or theater arts. These types of activities emphasize teamwork, communication and discipline.

Take Advantage of Free Trial Classes

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, see if you can “try before you buy” with a free trial class. Many program facilitators understand that kids can be finicky creatures, with a passion for tap one day and taekwondo the next. And it’s a good idea to decide as a family before the program starts whether you’ll let your kiddo quit before the session is over if they don’t enjoy it or ask them to stick it out to the end to honor their commitment.

Think About Your Schedule

How many activities are too many? Well, that depends on the family and the child. Some kids have the interest and energy to take a bunch of different classes while others may feel overscheduled and stressed. Budget and work timetables can also be a factor. Only you can know what’s right for your family, so trust your gut and enjoy the ride!

When shuttling kids around to activities, be sure to take along Go Organically Organic Fruit Snacks. Made with real fruit and no artificial colors, Go Organically gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free kids snacks are individually packaged for on-the-go convenience. Be sure to follow Go Organically on Facebook for kid-friendly ideas and inspiration!

Win It!

One person will win two boxes of Go Organically Fruit Snacks.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

I received no compensation or product for this post.  This post is in partnership with PR firm.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

a Rafflecopter giveaway