Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Good Morning with Hormel Compleats - #HormelFamily

I received products as part of the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger program.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.


My mother has been living with me for almost a month now and will be for some time to come. Every weekday, her schedule is filled with doctor appointments. As soon as I get off work every morning and before I can go to bed, I have to get her ready for the upcoming day. That includes making her breakfast. There are times when I have to go with a quick and easy meal for her, and Hormel® Compleats® Good Mornings are a convenient, hassle-free way to prepare breakfast.

There are four microwaveable dishes available in the Hormel® Compleats® Good Mornings line: Sausage Breakfast Scramble, Bacon Breakfast Scramble, Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal, and Sausage Gravy & Roasted Potatoes. It takes just a little over a minute to prepare them in the microwave, and the end result is a flavorsome fare.

Have you tried Hormel Compleats from the Good Mornings line?  Which one is your favorite?


Saturday, November 29, 2014

I Can Change The World! - #ShareYourSmile Personalized Book Giveaway

I received no product or compensation 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.

Just in time for the holiday season, personalized children’s book publisher I See Me! has launched the #ShareYourSmile social movement. In hopes of spreading acts of kindness, and inspired by the new “I Can Change the World” personalized storybook, #ShareYourSmile empowers kids to believe in themselves and their ability to affect change in those around them. I See Me! will donate $1 for every photo with hashtag #ShareYourSmile shared (up to $5,000) to help feed those in need this holiday.
Share your good deeds and your smile, and watch it get shared from mile to mile.
Win It!
 
One person will win an I Can Change The World! Personalized Book.
 
*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be Generous and Make An Impact - #GivingTuesday

I received products in exchange for this post.  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.

Take a break from the retail frenzy following Thanksgiving and join with World Vision and Thirty-One Gifts to celebrate generosity during the third annual #GivingTuesday on Dec. 2, 2014. For the first 3,100 donations made by phone (1-888-511-6588) or online (Worldvision.org) to World Vision on Giving Tuesday, Thirty-One Gifts – a direct-selling company focused on personalized totes, purses, home organization solutions and more – will donate a Hope Kit tote filled with hygiene supplies to a woman or girl in need in the U.S.

On #GivingTuesday every donation made to the Christian humanitarian agency World Vision will make twice the impact by combatting poverty in one of the 100 countries where World Vision works and helping a woman or girl in need in the U.S. get back on her feet with a Hope Kit. Each kit is filled with essential hygiene supplies such as a toothbrush, shampoo, hairbrush soap and a special note of encouragement.
As you can see from the picture above, the Hope Kit is filled with a fabulous supply of personal hygiene items that will benefit girls and women in need.  There's shampoo, body lotion, a comb, a brush, toothpaste, toothbrush, washcloth, razor, deodorant, Tampax, and bar soap.  They may seem like basics to us, but there are ladies the world over that would be grateful to receive such a bag. 
 
I urge you to join forces on December 2nd and show your generosity this holiday season.

Heck Of A Thanksgiving

Although Thanksgiving was Thursday, we actually celebrated the Sunday before with the family.  I hosted it at my house and had about 30 people over.  I have a fairly large home but it sure seems small when that many people are in it at once.  Other than bumping elbows, we all had a good time.
My great-nieces came over a couple hours early to help cook.  Our menu (which I failed to get pictures of) consisted of turkey, green bean casserole, corn casserole, scalloped corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin spice bars, pumpkin pies, zucchini bread, rolls, broccoli casserole, summer sausage and cheese.  It was a food coma waiting to happen.
 
My husband cooked 26 pounds of turkey, one in the oven and one on the smoker.  We all ate like our lives depended on it.  The leftovers were sparse.
My step-daughters, Juliann and Emma

My great-niece, MaKynzee

Nephew's wife holding my great-niece with my daughter at their side

Kids' table
 
The younger kids were kept busy with coloring books while the older kids played cards.

My girls - Juliann, Allyson and Shelby

One of these things is not like the other; one of these things is just not the same!
 
I made several attempts to get group pics of my kids but my brother couldn't resist photo bombing them.

Five of our six kids
 
My mother and husband couldn't resist showing their silly sides.  It was one of the rare days that my mom was feeling decent; I enjoyed seeing her smile.
 
Tons of food with tons of loved ones made it an amazing Thanksgiving.
 
How did you celebrate Thanksgiving?  Hope it was wonderful.

Datevitation - Love Coupon Book Review and Giveaway

I received product 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.
 
 
I know it's cliché, but I have the best husband in the world.  I struck the jackpot when I got with him.  He's always doing things for me and usually puts my wants before his.  In return, I like to shower him with praise and kind words.  I also like to do little things for him.
 
I was recently able to present Jason with a love coupon book as a gesture of my love.  It came from Datevitation, the web's first online platform to feature custom love coupon books.  Unlike the pre-packaged love coupon books on the market, you pick the dates and can customize the text to your liking.  Once you are done customizing the text in  your book, Datevitation will print it out and ship it to you.
The Datevitation library contains over 500 date ideas ranging from skydiving to stargazing to steamy adult-only activities.  They also have over 100 book cover options.  The new Add Your Faces feature allows you to add photos of your own faces to the illustrations.
 
I created a book for Jason using a Christmas book cover.  I then went through the library of date ideas to find which ones would be perfect for him.  To help narrow down what you are looking for, the library of ideas is grouped into themes.  I created five pages of coupons, all with different date ideas.  One was for Jason to redeem for a day of fishing, while another was a little more risqué.  The whole process was effortless.  Stick figures involved in scenarios make up the illustrations while catchy words make up what it is the recipient can redeem the coupon for.  Although there's the Add Your Faces feature, I opted out of doing that.

The love coupon book arrived in a timely manner.  It came in a rectangular brown envelope.  The coupon book itself is cute and makes a great gift for any occasion.  I like that there's no need to tear the actual coupons out of the book.  There are perforated stubs on the end of each coupon that can be taken off when the recipient is ready to redeem that particular coupon.  That allows the actual book itself to be kept in tact. 
 
Datevitation isn't only for spouses or significant others.  They can also be created for kids, parents and friends. 
 
Exclusive Discount Code:
 
Books normally start at $25 but if you use the code HECKOFABUNCH during checkout, you can receive $10 off your purchase plus free shipping (for a savings of $13.50).  The expiration date for the code is December 31, 2014 and the order cut-off date for guaranteed delivery by Christmas is December 13th.
 
Win It!
 
One person will win a code for free Datevitation Love Coupon Book.
 
*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.  The promo code is good for $28.50 which entitles winner to a free book with five custom date pages and free general shipping.  Tax will be applied to books shipped to California.*
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sourcebooks Christmas Picture Books - Giveaway

I received no product or compensation 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.
Join Sourcebooks in celebrating the Holidays this year with picture books. These books are perfect for kids from one to ninety-two, or any mom looking for a great holiday story time pick.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on Sesame Street! By Lillian Jaine

It’s the night before Christmas, and Cookie Monster is dozing peacefully, until a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer land on Sesame Street.

Cookie Monster is delighted to have a visit from Santa, but there’s just one problem: he’s already eaten all of Santa’s cookies! Luckily, Elmo and the rest of the Sesame Street friends are ready to help!

Santa is Coming to My House by Steve Smallman

It’s Christmas Eve, Have you been good? Santa’s packed up all the presents and is headed your way! With the help of a certain red-nosed reindeer, Santa will fly south from his home in the North Pole, over the ice and the snow, above North America, right over your town... all the way to your house. Do you hear footsteps on the roof...?

Part of a nationwide series, each Santa is Coming book features art and text creating for a specific city, state, or region.
Win It!
 
 
*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*
 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Beauty Buys

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the thought of enduring the craziness of Black Friday shopping could seem unimaginable. Instead of waiting in lines this year, score great beauty buys online for everyone on your list during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. From the comfort of your couch, grab your computer and check out these beautiful deals!


Get the hair you deserve for the holiday season and beyond with 30% off orders of $50 or more on Black Friday and 40% off orders of $50 or more on Cyber Monday!

Code: BLACKFRIDAY30
Offer Available: Black Friday

Code: CYBERMONDAY40
Offer Available: Cyber Monday
http://keranique.com/

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Pump up the volume and get glamourous, holiday hair with 60% off Fat Hair products site wide!

Code: CYBERMON
Offer Available: Cyber Monday
http://www.fathairstore.com/
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Let your color shine through well beyond the holidays with 50% off Bigen haircare and hair color products site wide.

Code: “CYBERMON”
Offer Available: Cyber Monday
http://www.bigenusastore.com/

I received no product or compensation 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.

Holiday Checklist: Bluebee Pals - #BlueBeePals

It’s that time of year where kids are making their holiday wish lists and moms are searching for unique gift ideas. While shopping, be sure to check out Bluebeel Pals, a new revolutionary toy that will receive a seal of approval from moms and kids! Bluebee Pals is a new Interactive Bluetooth® Enabled Plush Companion and Learning Tool from Kayle Concepts.

Bluebee Pals is a huggable plush toy that sings, reads and answers phone calls. The advanced technology includes lip synchronization allowing the animal’s “mouth” to move while singing and reading your child’s favorite storybooks or learning apps. You can even surprise and entertain your family and friends when you use your Bluebee Pal as a wireless speaker phone! Bluebee Pals are available in five adorable characters: Leo the Lion, Lily the Lamb, Winston the Puppy, Riley the Zebra and Sammy the Bear. You can find Winston the Puppy at Toys ‘R Us this holiday season and the whole gang is available on www.bluebeepals.com.

You can also win a $250 Toys ‘R Us directly from Bluebee Pals! Check out the details on the Bluebee Pals Facebook page but all you have to do is email a picture of you and your Bluebee Pal together to media@bluebeepals.com. They will be selecting a weekly winner until December 20th.

In exchange for this post, I am entered to win a gift card. Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services. Your opinions and results may differ.

Bodycology Assorted Bath and Body Gift Set - Review

I received product 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.

I have four girls between the ages of 12 and 20. I usually purchase gift sets for them as Christmas gifts.

Bodycology is a fragrance and aromatherapy company that sells pretty packaged gift sets that would be wonderful for the ladies in your life. For instance, the Bodycology Assorted Bath and Body Gift Set is two body creams, two fragrance mists, and a pouf all put together in a clear bucket with handle. There are three scent combinations available, with Cherish the Moment/Scarlett Kiss being the combo I received.

With an affordable price point, this gift set is full of good stuff that leaves your skin feeling soft and smelling detectably fragrant.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Empower Kids and #ShareYourSmile

I received no product or compensation 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.

Just in time for Thanksgiving and the holiday season, personalized children’s book publisher I See Me! has launched the #ShareYourSmile social movement. In hopes of spreading acts of kindness, and inspired by the new “I Can Change the World” personalized storybook, #ShareYourSmile empowers kids to believe in themselves and their ability to affect change in those around them.

I See Me! will donate $1 for every photo with hashtag #ShareYourSmile shared (up to $5,000) to help feed those in need this Thanksgiving.  So go help empower kids and share your smile now!

Celebrate the Holidays with Avon's Exclusive Deals - #AvonHoliday

I received no product or compensation 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.

This holiday season, Avon and mark. have all of your shopping needs covered with fabulous finds that will be sure to wow whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for a friend, loved one or even yourself.

To get holiday shopping off on the right foot, Avon has two exclusive deals not to be missed:

· On #BlackFriday receive FREE shipping on all orders and 30% off any purchase of $30 or more on Avon.com

· On #CyberMonday score a limited edition beauty bundle featuring six of Avon’s most loved products and an exclusive tote, in addition to free shipping and 30% off orders for $30 or more on Avon.com

To learn more about the Avon and mark.’s holiday gifts, visit Avon.com or meetmark.com.

God Bless Our Christmas - Children's Book Review and Giveaway

I received book for review from Tommy Nelson. 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.

This sweet rhyming story will help your little ones focus on all the blessings of Christmas with family, including decorating cookies and trees, singing favorite carols, giving gifts, and celebrating Jesus!

God Bless Our Christmas has a unique black, white, blue, and red color palette that highlights the winter world of our adorable snow-animal families. The penguins, polar bears, arctic hares, snow owls, and their neighbors are each enjoying a different Christmas blessing or tradition. In the end, all of the animals gather around the tree, thankful for Jesus—the brightest part of the season.

My Review:

This padded hardcover book is a delightful way to open children's eyes to the blessings around them. It showcases animals as they participate in different Christmas activities, and how they're thankful for what they have or are doing. In the end, the animals are shown giving thanks for the real reason of the season, Jesus. Children will be all smiles as they look at the cute animals and hear good things about Christmas.

Win It!

One person will win a book copy of God Bless Our Christmas.

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cheeky Home Announces Line of Tableware Products That Give Back‏ - Review

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.

When I am having a gathering in my home or hosting a party elsewhere, I tend to bring paper plates and cups, and plastic utensils. That way it all can just be thrown away and a bunch of dishes aren't piled up.

Cheeky is a new line of tableware to hit shelves. It's a line of fun, colorful tableware that marries style and design with social responsibility. Its products includes plates, bowls, napkins, cold cups, hot cups and cutlery.

Cheeky launched in U.S. Target stores nationwide. What makes their company different than other tableware companies (other than the fresh, bright colors) is that Cheeky aims to provide 10 million meals to Americans facing hunger by the end of 2015. They are doing this in partnership with Feeding America, the nation's leading hunger-relief organization. The way it works is simple. For every Cheeky item purchased at Target, Cheeky will donate the monetary equivalent of a meal to Feeding America. The Feeding America network of food banks then provides food to adults, children and seniors across the country. It's a win-win situation!

We held our Thanksgiving feast a few days early and I used Cheeky as my tableware. Coffee was one of the drink options and I used Cheeky hot cups for that. Included with the striped cups was white lids and pink sleeves. The sleeves didn't stay securely on the cups every time but the cups were durable and the lids snapped in place without struggle. Dinner plates, dessert plates, plastic cups, and bowls were set out for each guest's use. Rather than serving guests food on plain white tableware, each Cheeky piece had pops of color to them. Better yet, the tableware was unyielding and wasn't flimsy. There was no worry of food spillage. Although the plastic cups are meant to be disposable, I've washed and reused them. They are well-made enough to be used more than once.

Unfortunately, the nearest Target location from my home is over two hours so I won't be able to purchase Cheeky at one of those retailers. Hopefully Cheeky will be available in other stores soon because I'd love to purchase the brand that has functional products and helps serve those in need.

Harvest Snaps - #HarvestSnapsFan Review

This post was created in partnership with Harvest Snaps. I have been compensated for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.



Harvest Snaps is a healthy snack company that uses all-natural peas and lentils to create airy, crunchy tasty treats. Their Snapea Crisps are made with all-natural peas - 70% to be exact - and the Lentil Snaps come packed with 65% authentic lentils. It's a great way to feel satisfied without feeling sluggish. Their non-GMO crops are grown and harvested in rich North American soils.


I received all six flavors of Harvest Snaps. There's Wasabi Ranch, Caesar, Onion Thyme, Tomato Basil, Black Pepper, and Lightly Salted. The snacks are long and thin in shape. They have a crunchy texture that's light and airy.

Harvest Snaps were recently served at a family gathering and they went over quite well. Because they have a light crunch, even the younger children were able to eat them. I've also taken Harvest Snaps to work and consumed them when I'm craving a guilt-free snack. Although I like all six flavors, my favorites are Wasabi Ranch and Caesar.

Which flavor of Harvest Snaps would be your favorite?

Ranch Bacon and Cheddar Dip - #HormelFamily Recipe

I received products as a member of the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger Program. 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.


Just the other day I crafted a dip for the first time. My entire family loved the flavor combinations and soon consumed it all. It's an easy recipe that includes Hormel Real Bacon Pieces and one I'll definitely be making again soon.


Ingredients

1 16-oz. container sour cream
1 1 oz. packet dry ranch dip mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup Hormel Real Bacon Pieces
freshly cut vegetables, corn or potato chips

Directions

In a bowl, add the sour cream and dip mix and stir until well blended. Fold in the cheese and bacon bits. Chill covered for 1 hour before serving.
Serve with vegetable or chips.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Limited Edition Softsoap Brand Body Washes - Review and Giveaway

I received products for review from Colgate-Palmolive. 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.


I've used Softsoap's liquid hand soaps and body washes several times. I like the fragrances and the way my skin gets clean. Softsoap now has available, until December 2014, limited edition body washes. The three scents - Alpine Mint Frost, Parisian Berry Bliss, and Venetian Vanilla Spice - will wrap you in the holiday spirit with their moisture rich formulas.

Softsoap brand Alpine Mint Frost - Its revitalizing scent of Cool Winter Mint will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth all winter long.

Softsoap brand Parisian Berry Bliss - This moisturizing formula leaves skin feeling soft and smooth, while the festive scent of red winter berries leaves you ready to enjoy winter.

Softsoap brand Venetian Vanilla Spice - Let the invigorating scent of Sweet Vanilla & Spices infuse your shower to leave you with soft and smoother skin all winter long.

All three scents are available at Walmart for a limited time. When using Softsoap Limited Edition Body Washes, I am enveloped with scents that remind me of the holidays. The scents are true to what the bottles indicate. The flip-top lids are easy to open, and the body wash lathers up nicely. My family likes Softsoap because it doesn't irritate our skin and it gives our bodies a nice, clean feeling.

Be sure to pick up your Softsoap Limited Edition Body Washes before time runs out!
Win It!

One person will win all three scents of the Softsoap Limited Edition Body Washes.

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Ex Kitchen Knife Set - Review

I received product 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.


Walk into my home and you might be confused. For the most part, it's decorated with homey and cozy pieces. It's the things you'd see in most everyday households. But, in some corners, I've got quirky and off-the-wall items. I like conversation starters. I like to throw things in that might make a person stop and question my sanity. I call it being eclectic diversified.

I was quite elated when I received The Ex Kitchen Knife Set. It's one of those things that I immediately took a picture of and posted to Facebook. After all, it's not everyday that you see a knife holder of a blue body being stabbed by knives.

There are two versions of The Ex Kitchen Knife Set. One is a plastic model and the other is solid metal. I received a blue plastic set.

The Ex arrived in two pieces, one being the base. The knives were separately boxed within the package. There is easy assembly in putting it together. By screwing the base to the main piece, it holds together.

There are five knives to the set. The Chinese steel knives include an 8″ Chef knife, an 8″ Slicer, an 8″ Bread knife, a 4 1/4″ Utility Knife and a 3 1/4″ Parer.


Each of the five slits on the plastic body are specific to each knife. Fear not, there are plastic sheaths behind each place where the knives go so no one gets hurt or impaled. I've found that you do have to be careful when pulling the knives out or putting them into their designated slots because you can otherwise easily leave scratch marks on the plastic body part. The knives themselves work well for the most part as far as cutting and slicing goes.

The Ex Kitchen Knife Set is a great tongue-in-cheek conversation piece that would make a great gift for anyone who likes off-the-wall items. All products are designed in Italy by Raffaele Iannello. The products are sold worldwide. They are manufactured, and distributed by RICSB, a New York based company that specializes in designer products of all kinds.
Who would you gift The Ex to? Is this a kitchen knife set that you'd use?

Give the Gift of Spongebob Squarepants - Review

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.

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

If you know the answer to that question, chances are you're familiar with Spongebob Squarepants. The popular Nickelodeon series has had a strong running since 1999.

I personally am a fan of the square talking sponge. If you or someone you know is too, consider purchasing Spongebob Squarpants merchandise for the holidays.
For wee ones, there's the Spongebob Squarepants Newborn Onesie. Available at Walmart, the two-piece set includes a pair of pants and onesie. The onesie itself is yellow with gray trim and has the face of Spongebob on front. The pants are dark blue with gray stripes on the side. Snaps on the bottom of the onesie allow for easy access.

Show of your Spongebob fandom with the SpongeBob SquarePants Fiber Bath/Wash Set. It includes a large bath towl and large washcloth. The graphics are colorful and each one features images of Spongebob Squarepants. It makes bathtime more fun!

Are you a Spongebob Squarepants fan? Which character is your favorite?