Thursday, June 30, 2016

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 31


I believe in a God that hears my prayers and answers them. I've witnessed the miraculous gift of answered prayer. And, I want to pray for you. I've started weekly Power of Prayer post every Thursday. We are now on week 31. If you are needing prayer in an area of your life, please leave a comment and I'll commit to pray for your need or request. You can be as general or as specific as you like. Whether it be for healing, salvation, finances, emotions, or another area of life, I'd like to lift it up in prayer.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Biographie - Jewelry Discount, Review, and Giveaway

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.


With the exception of earrings, I love to wear jewelry.  Whether it be loud and bold or simple and dainty, I believe that quality jewelry can make an outfit complete.  I was recently introduced to Biographie, a jewelry company.  Biographie jewelry is a collection of "fashion fine jewelry" - fashion jewelry intended to be worn every day, but made with the quality materials of fine jewelry; precious metals and genuine gems. 
The one of a kind and limited edition nature of the designs ensures that nobody else is wearing the same jewelry.  The company specializes in rare and unusual gems, and they are especially known for their Opal jewelry.  Other gemstone pieces they specialize in range from blue topaz and pearl to ametrine and moonstone.

I received an Opal Cluster Necklace from Biographie.  This exquisite statement piece is dainty, yet pretty.   Because Biographie creates one-of-a-kind pieces, this particular necklace can't be found for sale.  Three opal charms are individually set, and cluster together on the chain when worn.  The three charms are attached to a beautiful short sterling silver chain.  It arrived arranged in a black jewelry box.  I love the aesthetic of this necklace and how it works well with several of my outfits.  

I also received a Fire Opal Ring.  Because it is being used for giveaway purposes, I have not worn it.  What I can say is that it is equally as beautiful as the necklace and is elegantly crafted.

Biographie jewelry has been featured in several magazines, on TV shows, and on Hollywood's red carpet.  The pieces are beautifully made and noticeable.  The prices on Biographie's jewelry are a little higher than what you'd pay at a mass merchandiser, but the pieces are original and high-end.

Exclusive Discount Code:  Use the discount code HECK at checkout to receive 30% off your entire order.  Code expires 12/15/16.

Win It!

Enter to win a Fire Opal Ring in size 7 from Biographie.

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

H2OGO! Color Wave Pool - Review

I received product for review from Bestway, Inc.  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.

stock photo

After revolutionizing backyard water fun last summer with the launch of the first and only water slide with a built-in inflatable speed ramp, Bestway, Inc. returns in 2016 with an even more exciting line-up of H2OGO! outdoor water toys, with one of them being the H2OGO! Color Wave Pool.  

The summer heat has been a scorcher, so it's always welcoming when we can cool off in the water.  What makes the H2OGO! Color Wave Pool different than other inflatable pools is that it has built-in LED lights that illuminate the walls of the pool in an array of five different neon colors.

For the lights to work, 4 "C" batteries and a small Phillips screwdriver are required.  There's a square section on the pool to insert the batteries and to turn the lights on.  Although you can see the lights during the day, they are not as well-lit as they are during the night.  

It took me close to 20 minutes to inflate the pool with a manual pump.  There are two sections that require inflation.  A built-in drain valve is included for easy tear down when pool is not in use.

This pool has definitely gotten its fair share of use.  I had a group of friends and family over not too long ago and all the little ones wanted in.  The pool safely fit seven small children.  They weren't able to swim, but they were able to kick and splash and relax in the water with ample room.  I was impressed with its stability and how well it stood under pressure with all the kids playing around in it at once.  As for adults, I'd say it safely fits two to three at a time.

Although the pool is fun for daytime use, I really dig how it looks at night.  By pushing the power button, the lights come on and it's quite the light show.  The five colors rotate in cycle and illuminate the pool and surrounding area.  I actually have a waterproof speaker that also lights up at night.  It, paired with the pool, are quite the sight at night!

Monday, June 27, 2016

National Dairy Month: How to Make Anything Taste Better With Butter and Cheese - #finlandiacheese Review and Giveaway

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.



June is a special month.  It marks graduation, the start of summer, weddings, vacation season.  But did you know that June is also National Dairy Month?  While we fire up our grills in preparation for the summer cooking season, June is the perfect time to incorporate a food group that tastes great and is great for us:  dairy.

Many of us (myself included) eat butter and cheese almost everyday.  But we often forget to consider that many butters contain additives (such as growth hormones, preservatives, and dyes) that can be harmful to us and our families.  What if I told you there was a way to sidestep those potentially dangerous chemicals, embrace all-natural great taste, and take your baking and cooking game to the next level in honor of National Dairy Month? 

 I recently discovered Finlandia Cheese [https://www.finlandiacheese.com/]—a brand that has been crafting some of the highest quality cheese and butter for over a century—and was so inspired that I decided to share a few secrets to help you create some of the best-tasting food you and your family have ever eaten. 
Grilled cheese ingredients using Finlandia Cheese and Butter

SECRET #1:  USE ONLY HIGH-QUALITY INGREDIENTS 
Great dishes are a sum of their parts.  Those parts should be delicious alone AND in your culinary creation.  When I tried Finlandia for the first time, I was blown away.  Not only are their cheeses and butter all-natural and hormone-free, but they taste incredible.  Imported from Finland using milk produced by well-cared-for cows, Finlandia Butter is rich and creamy.  It's nothing like any butter you've ever tasted.  And you could eat Finlandia Cheese straight from the package—no crackers needed.


 SECRET #2:  CARE ABOUT THE SOURCE OF YOUR FOOD
Life moves fast, and most of us don't have time to research every single product we consume.  However, when it comes to products like cheese and butter, which we eat almost everyday, it makes a big difference to be aware of what we're putting into our bodies.  Finlandia Butter is made from pure, hormone-free milk, which comes from happy cows that live on family-owned farms in Finland—the greenest country on Earth.  No hidden chemicals, no factory farms—just pure, creamy goodness.

SECRET #3:  GET THE WHOLE FAMILY INVOLVED
Getting your family involved in the kitchen can help create lasting memories and start an important conversation around nutrition and health.  Baking sheet cookies?  Get out the cookie cutters and let your kids create the shapes.  Cooking a grilled cheese?  Let your significant other butter the bread.  If you're in need of some culinary inspiration, check out the Finlandia Cheese Facebook page [https://www.facebook.com/FinlandiaCheese]. 
Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Finlandia Cheese and Butter

I created tasty and delicious Grilled Cheese sandwiches for supper the other night, using Finlandia  Swiss Cheese and Butter.  I spread Finlandia Imported Butter on one side of two slices of bread.  On the other side I daubed cream cheese spread, real bacon bits, and chopped red onion pieces.  Then I slathered deli meat and Finlandia Swiss Cheese in the middle.  I cooked the sandwiches up like you would any other Grilled Cheese sandwich.  They turned out oh-so-good, and the entire family enjoyed their meal.  It was the first time we'd used Finlandia food products in our food and we were quite satisfied. 
  
Use the product locator to find where Finlandia products are sold near you.

Win It!

One person will win a Finlandia prize pack that includes:
A tasty selection of sliced Finlandia Cheese
A baker's supply of imported Finlandia Butter
Finlandia Cheese branded lunchbox

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Eddie the Eagle Bingo Night - #EddieInsiders

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.
Inspired by true events, Eddie the Eagle is sure to warm your heart and cool down your summer! Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards - an unlikely but courageous British ski-jumper, enlists the help of a rebellious and charismatic coach to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming an Olympian. This heart-warming tale starring Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman is available on Digital HD, Blu-ray™ and DVD.  
To celebrate the release of the film, I had some friends and family over for an Eddie the Eagle Bingo Night.  It was good ole' fashion fun.  We first watched the movie in its entirety, with no interruptions.  This gave us the chance to see this uplifting, heartwarming story.  The plot took us back to the late 80s, during the Winter Olympics.  It revolves around a guy with a determined heart whose mission was to be involved in the Olympics, and later decides it's going to be ski jumping.  With an unlikely coach who is rough around the edges, Eddie accomplishes his goal. 
Gary, aka the Mum

After we watched the film, we went a second go-round with it.  Only this time we watched it while playing Bingo, searching for picture clues that are in the movie.  We amped it up by wearing "I'm Mum" and "I'm Dad" tshirts and sipping on hot chocolate in themed mugs.  As you can tell from the pictures, the guys were more apt to be the "Mums" for the night. 

Logan intently focused on getting a Bingo

We used chocolate candy pieces to mark the Bingo cards as we spotted the pics from the movie.  As it was, the guys got more Bingos than the girls. 

The movie itself was endearing to watch but we had a great time as a group, sitting back and enjoying each other's company while we laughed and heartily competed.

Logan gloating as being a Bingo winner

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Finding Dory Fun on the Go - Activity Set Review and Giveaway

I received product for review from Calendars.com.  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.
Finding Dory is one of the summer's biggest movie blockbusters.  It was released to theater just a few days ago and it's already a hit.  With the film being so popular, companies are either making or selling merchandise that fit with the Finding Dory theme.  Calendars.com is one of those companies.

When you first hear of the site Calendars.com I can almost bet you thought the same thing I did. They sell calendars! And, of course, that is true. But wait, there's more! Puzzles, books, games, toys and gifts are also sold on their site.
Finding Dory Fun on the Go is an activity set that will keep kids entertained, especially when they are travelling or waiting for time to pass.  The plastic case with Finding Dory characters opens up to reveal pre-printed activity pages, sticker sheets and mini markers.  The portfolio is about the size of a pencil case, and has a snap closure.  There's a section on the left that holds the markers in place when not in use.  Marker colors include green, orange, blue and yellow.  The two sheets of stickers include characters from the popular movie and underwater life in general.  The activity sheets include mazes, drawing prompts, and more.  When kids are done with one of the activity sheets, they can easily tear it from the clips at top and reveal another one.  It's enough to keep a kid happily entertained for a while. 



Win It!

One person will win a Finding Dory Fun on the Go activity set.

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ColoringNotebook: Paper Notebook with Coloring Pages for Adults - 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.

Adult coloring books are all the rage.  I jumped on that bandwagon last year and love it.  I find coloring to be therapeutic and relaxing. 

Now you can find an assortment of merchandise for adult coloring.  There's canvases, wallpaper, notebooks and more. 
I recently received the ColoringNotebook for review, and love how it incorporates my hobby of coloring in a unique way.  ColoringNotebook is a compact paper notebook filled with more than fifty original coloring pages. It is put together real well and isn't some run-of-the mill notebook. 
The ColoringNotebook is a thread-bound, 176-page notebook, featuring a back cover pocket.  

The book has a hard cover with rounded corners, an elastic closure and an expandable inner pocket. It also includes a yellow ribbon bookmark.
You can order the ColoringNotebook in one of three types of paper - ruled, dot grid, or blank.  I received the one with ruled pages.  The coloring designs are very detailed and pretty.  There's an assorted selection of scenes to color.  For instance, there's a page of buttons, one of fruit in jars, and another of cats in a library.  There's even a few where the scenes span two pages.  A lot of detail and creativity have went in to the pages to be colored.  All of the pages I've started on are "Works in Progress" and I haven't actually completed a whole picture yet but it's been fun taking some downtime to color in the pages.  
The Japanese paper is acid-free and thicker than regular notebook paper.  The pages are not perforated.  Colored pencils have worked best for me when coloring in the notebook.  Markers tend to bleed through. 

The ColoringNotebook is well-made and finely developed.  I hope the company comes out with more of them, expanding upon an already great idea.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

All About Baby Chalkboard - Review

I received product for review from Pearhead.  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.
My kids are long past the baby stage but I can get my fix for little ones through my nieces and nephews.  The newest in our family is my great-nephew, Harley. 

Harley's mom has been great about keeping up-to-date on his growth and progress.  She's been using the All About Baby Chalkboard from Pearhead, a company dedicated to providing products for the special moments in your life.

Harley posing next to the chalkboard

The All About Baby Chalkboard allows parents the opportunity to keep track of their child's changes.  On the chalkboard are blank spots to record child's age, likes and dislikes, name, and stats.  Parents write in the information with chalk.  The board can be used over and over again by easily erasing the previous info that was written in chalk.  The chalkboard has a black background with white lettering, and is approximately 1.5 feet tall.  Taking a picture of baby next to the chalkboard creates timeless memories that can be shared and looked back upon. 

stock photo

Thursday, June 23, 2016

My Life Lately - Flowers and Glamping

It's been crazy over here in my part of the world.  Between packing to move and a ton of summer activities, there's not much downtime.  Here's some of the latest:
I won a Momtrends Mother's Day giveaway in May and recently received this beautiful bouquet from Teleflora.  Flowers always make me happy.  Of course, they didn't last more than a week.  What with the hot weather and my lack of watering them.
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Mom's tombstone came in and has been placed at her grave.  Makes it a little too final for me.  I know it's been a little over two months but it's still quite hard to accept that she's passed.

My son and I went into Dairy Queen the other day to have some ice cream.  Thought I was fine.  One minute I'm talking to Logan, chit-chatting about nothing in particular.  The next minute I went into panic attack mode.  During the time of talking with Logan, it hit me how many times I'd
sat in that same exact booth with my mom and boys, eating ice cream sundaes.  And how many times I won't get that opportunity again.
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Becky, Jacob, and Adam

Me and Adam went with a friend and her son to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor the other day.  It was hotter than the seventh level of Hell but a good time otherwise.  I refused to stand in line a long time for anything so we pretty much hung out at the Lazy River and Wave Pool. 

We ended up going into the main park at Six Flags towards the end of the evening so the boys could get on a couple of rides.  I was bushwhacked by then so I was just happy to sit and hang.  Adam and Jacob came in to the park just in time to have a Meet and Greet with Bugs and Babs Bunny.
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Jason on the left, marrying Mike and Dawn

Although he's not officially ordained, my husband was able to marry a couple the other day.  It was all a surprise, done under the guise of a housewarming party.  Very informal and casual. 

Jason read the vows and signed the certificate but had to bring an official preacher along with him to do all the legalities.
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Last weekend Jason attended an overnight Men's Conference at the church.  Almost 700 men got together to worship God.  Which is totally awesome in and of itself.  But, admittedly, I was a little jelly.  There were tents and hammocks set up in a large field.  Bonfires were roaring.  Meat of all forms was being cooked.  Volleyball and Bags were being played.  It was my idea of a good time.  Only I'm not a guy.

friend, Rhonda, getting all craftsy and stuff

Soooo....Saturday night I got together with a couple of my gal pals and went Glamping (glamourized form of camping).  We had our own bonfire and junk food.  We went swimming and stayed up almost to the butt crack of dawn talking and laughing.  When it was time to crash we stayed in Alaina's camper, which happened to be set up in her back yard.

I'm not artsy by any means, but we even made crafts for our guys for Father's Day.  The first was a bunch of tile coasters.  We used modge podge and made sure the pics stayed stuck.

We also took blank canvases and used paint to create our own Van Goughs. I'm lucky to make a decent looking stick figure so I just dipped my fingers in the paint and went to town with it. Didn't turn out too bad. Jason seemed pretty happy with his gifts, and that's all the approval I needed.
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Emma had ten inches of her hair cut off the other day. Donated it to Wigs For Kids.
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Well, that's enough deets about my life.  What's new with you?

Three More June Winners

Three of my giveaways have ended and the winners have been randomly drawn.

The winner of the Sara Lee giveaway is #11, Christopher Sorel.

The winner of the Deadpool Comic Playing Cards giveaway is #38, chickie717.

The winner of the Young and Beardless book giveaway is #14, Alexandra Oller.

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all who entered.  Be sure to check out and enter the current active giveaways, all listed at the top left hand side of my blog.  There's no limit to how many you can enter or how many you can win.

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 30


I believe in a God that hears my prayers and answers them. I've witnessed the miraculous gift of answered prayer. And, I want to pray for you. I've started weekly Power of Prayer post every Thursday. We are now on week 30. If you are needing prayer in an area of your life, please leave a comment and I'll commit to pray for your need or request. You can be as general or as specific as you like. Whether it be for healing, salvation, finances, emotions, or another area of life, I'd like to lift it up in prayer.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

National Dairy Month with Minerva Dairy - 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.
 
Among other noteworthy mentions, June is National Dairy Month. Many American families are concerned about finding high-quality foods to put on their dinner tables. 5th generation family-owned Minerva Dairy’s Amish Roll butter comes from local Ohio farms that raise pasture-raised cows that are hormone and antibiotic free.

Each product produced at Minerva Dairy is defined by attention to detail. From the ingredients to the production process and from the taste to the texture, supreme quality sets the fifth generation-run company apart. Honoring the time-tested process that gives Amish Roll Butter its rich flavor and supreme quality, each product boasts qualities that define excellence for Minerva Dairy. The company features small-batch churned, rBST free, antibiotic-free, vegetarian and gluten free butter with 84% butterfat, a standard that set its Amish Roll Butter apart from commodity butter. The Amish Roll Butter reflects the company’s passion for bringing consumers the very best dairy available from healthy, grass-fed, pasture-raised cows.

Minerva Dairy will celebrate National Dairy Month with a “Get Buttered Up” campaign that aims to inspire and enlighten. With a full year of weekly affirmations meant to “butter you up,” Minerva Dairy will share positive and inspirational messages with consumers who sign up via email. Upon signing up, they will also have the opportunity to win a Minerva Dairy prize pack complete with a robust supply of product, cookware courtesy of Swiss Diamond and a cash prize of $250. Minerva Dairy will also “butter up” the company’s local food pantry with a generous contribution. Participants can receive weekly affirmations and enter to win by visiting Minerva Dairy online during the month of June.

The “Get Buttered Up” campaign, hosted during National Dairy Month in June, is the ideal opportunity to celebrate Minerva Dairy as a fifth generation-owned dairy while offering consumers 52 weeks of positive affirmations and a friendly competition that ultimately benefits the Minerva community. Once they sign up for the weekly affirmations, consumers will be entered to win the grand prize. Awarded to one consumer chosen at random at the conclusion of National Dairy Month on June 30, it will include one $250 gift card and a robust supply of Minerva Dairy’s signature Amish Roll Butter plus a collection of premium Swiss Diamond cookware. Five additional gift packages, featuring Minerva Dairy product and Minerva Dairy swag, will be distributed among the runner-ups. To further support the community, Minerva Dairy will also donate their Amish Roll Butter to Minerva’s local food bank.
Win It!

One person will win a selection of Minerva Dairy’s Amish Roll butter in assorted flavors.

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

Kung Fu Panda 3 Party- #KFP3BlockParty

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.
My family and I enjoy watching movies, and we're always excited when we get the chance to review them.  The excitement went to a whole new level when I was able to review a film with many more by hosting a Kung Fu Panda 3 Movie Party.
 
KUNG FU PANDA 3 AWESOME EDITION is now available on Digital HD, and will be available on Blu-ray™ and DVD June 28th.  I received a screener copy and watched the family-friendly film with several of my family and friends at my home.  I've watched the first two Kung Fu Panda movies and the third one is just as great. 

Logan wearing a Po foam mask and holding a Po plush.  Logan was a winner in one of several games we played.
 
Kung Fu Panda 3 takes Po to a secret village after being reunited with his long-lost father.  He befriends several while he is there.  But Kai, the villain, challenges all the Kung Fu masters across China and it's up to Po to train other pandas to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas. 
 
party favor bags filled with goodies
 
Although there are scenes of fighting in this movie, it is mild and didn't scare any of the younger children.  The plot centers around mastering the art of chi, otherwise known as a life force or energy.  It also centers around Po learning that he must be himself and believe that he can become a great Dragon Warrior.  The animation is superb and the character interaction is fun to watch.  There were some moments of humor that found us laughing out loud.  I liked Kung Fu Panda 3 as well as the first two films and, from the audience's reaction, everyone else seemed to like it too.

Before the party started, guests were given goody bags with favors that included glow sticks, foam masks, character keychains, popcorn, and cookies.  While we waited around for everyone to arrive, kids were able to draw and color on Kung Fu Panda activity sheets.

Gia doing a connect-the-dot activity sheet
 
We also played several games that were centered around the film.  The kids enjoyed playing Bingo, trivia, and more for the chance to win prizes. 

We had close to 40 people of all ages in attendance and everyone had a blast.  It was a fun and entertaining way to spend a summer evening.