Friday, April 28, 2017

My First Pedicure (But Not My Last!)

Many moons ago, when I was younger and had a credit card, I would get artificial nails with fancy designs at the salon.  Since then, I've not had a mani done and probably won't.  I don't like how my real nails get tore up in the process, and I have no doubt nail files were torture devices invented by the devil.
me with Felicia

Because I have the best Small Group gals ever, we got together last week for a mani/pedi session.  I only went for the pedicure.  Again, manicures aren't my thing.  

But now that I've had my first pedicure ever (at the age of 40 no less!) I have no doubt those will become a regular thing.  How did I not know about how glorious pedicures are before now?!
For one thing, it's like getting a massage and pedi all in one.  With the touch of a few buttons, the chair massaged my entire back.  If I hadn't of been with friends, I would've fell asleep in a New York minute.

I've got some fugly feet but wasn't afraid to show them.  The heavens parted when the pedicurist massaged, trimmed, and exfoliated.  I chose a dark green shimmery nail polish for color.

When it came to filing, I had a bit of a problem.  I had a hold of Felicia's arm till it almost went numb.  After the first foot, he had to give up on the second.  I swear, nail files will make me want to crawl a wall in no time flat.  They're pure evil, I tell ya.

I left that place feeling like I'd done been spoiled.  And I made the girls pinky swear me we'd do it again in three weeks.

This place even had the cutest little puppy.  Alaina, lover of all things animal, smothered it with love.

Have you ever had a pedicure?  If no, go get one NOW!  You'll thank me.

Blast Box - #BlastBoxChallenge Game 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.

 The creators of Wet Head have added to their collection of suspenseful fun with the introduction of Blast Box, a new exciting game with a Big Bang!

Blast Box is a fun family game, keeping kids and adults at the edge of their seat. Fill the box with balloons and use the spinner to determine how many pins to hammer into the box. If your pin pops a balloon, you are blasted out of the game.

I received the Blast Box game for review and knew it'd be right up our alley.  It's very simple and very suspenseful.  

Most of us cringe at the sound or thought of a balloon popping.  That's where the suspense comes in.  That, and not wanting to lose.

The Blast Box game includes a balloon inflator, 100 balloons, tie clips, plastic hammer, plastic pins, a spinner, and a plastic black box.

The game can be played with 2 to 4 players.  The first thing you need to do is inflate one balloon per player with the inflator.  The balloons are small, and the branded tie clips keep them from deflating.  Once you've done that, you place all the balloons under the black plastic Blast Box.  You then start the game.  Players take turns spinning the spinner to see what the indicated action will be.  For instance, if you land on a 2X spot, you will have to hammer in two plastic nails.  The spinner also includes a reverse and a skip space.

Each player will keep taking turns until there's only one balloon remaining.  The person with that last balloon is the winner.  Easy enough!  

The hammer and nails are made of plastic, and the nails do not have spiky ends.  So, there's no concern for spiking yourself or smashing a finger.  

Although I have not done so, you can download the free Blast Box app to record and share your game on social media.  The app also includes trivia questions and alternative game play.

Win It!

One person will win a Blast Box game.

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

It's National Superhero Day

When you think of superheros, who comes to mind?  The Marvel or X-Men characters - Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Thor?  Or, do you consider a superhero to be someone who is ordinary but puts their life on the line?  I could use a superhero, to  save me from....a burning building, a one-eyed, one-horned monster, insanity, having to do dishes, or even piled up laundry.  My 23 yoa daughter is a big fan of Batman and her apartment looks like a teenage boy's dorm room with all the superhero collectibles and knicknacks.

To help young fans everywhere enjoy the SUPER day, check out the special PJ Masks Official Hero Celebration Kit, featuring downloadable PJ Masks party invites, decorations, character masks, activity sheets, and more.  Get in on all of the heroic fun with Catboy, Gekko and Owlette.
Who is your favorite superhero?
If  you could have a special superhero power, what would it be?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 71

(photo credit: Unsplash)

I believe in a God that hears 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 71. 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.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wordful Wednesday - Logan's Prom

Logan's last prom for his school years was Saturday.  I took a million and one pictures but will only overload you with a few:

Logan's date for the evening was Whitney, his girlfriend.  They make such an amazing couple.  

with good friend, De'Angelo

A Dog's Purpose - #ADogsPurpose Blu-ray 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.

An uplifting and inspirational look at life through the eyes of man’s best friend warms hearts this Spring when A Dog’s Purpose arrived on Digital HD on April 18, 2017 and arrives on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand on May 2, 2017,

An empathetic and relatable drama, this sentimental film takes viewers on a powerful journey to experience the relationship between dogs and their owner – to love, protect, comfort and always find a way back home.

 A Dog’s Purpose on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD includes deleted scenes, outtakes, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, and more.

Based on the beloved bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose, from director Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, Dear John, The 100-Foot Journey), shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog (voiced by Josh Gad – Frozen, Angry Birds) who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love. A narrative with “genuine heart, humor and a real message of love” (Michael Heaton, The Plain Dealer), the family film told from the dog’s perspective also stars Britt Robertson (Tomorrowland, The Longest Ride), KJ Apa (“Riverdale”), John Ortiz (Silver Linings Playbook, American Gangster), Juliet Rylance (Sinister, “The Knick”), Luke Kirby (“The Astronaut Wives Club”), Peggy Lipton (When in Rome, Twin Peaks), Pooch Hall (“The Game,” “Ray Donovan”) and Dennis Quaid (Far From Heaven, The Rookie).


 Deleted Scenes  Outtakes  Lights, Camera, Woof! - A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film.  A Writer’s Purpose - Learn the story behind W. Bruce Cameron’s beloved best-selling novel.

The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack includes a Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD with UltraViolet™.
Win It!

One person will win A Dog's Purpose Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

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

It's National Pretzel Day

Here's a fun fact:

In Germany, 17th-century children wore pretzel necklaces to symbolize good luck and prosperity for the coming year.

I won't be going that far, but I will be heading to Auntie Anne's today to indulge in a delicious Garlic & Parmesan soft pretzel.  Admittedly, I could eat there every day.

In celebration of today, here are some establishments offering freebies:

Auntie Anne's - Download the My Pretzel Perks app before the end of the day.  You'll then be able to choose an Original or Cinnamon Sugar pretzel to redeem at stores through April 30th.

Ben’s Soft Pretzels - From 1 to 7 pm, today Ben's will give away one soft pretzel in exchange for $1 donation to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

Philly Pretzel Factory - Receive a free pretzel anytime today.

Pretzelmaker - Soft pretzels are 26 cents today.

Wetzel’s Pretzels -  Visit today to receive a free pretzel.

CedarLane's Three Layer Enchilada Pie - Review

I received products for review from CedarLane.  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.

CedarLane Natural Foods’ very first frozen product, the Three Layer Enchilada Pie, turns 20 years old this year!  This gluten-free and vegetarian enchilada pie is made up of layers of organic corn tortillas, organic black beans, organic chiles and cheese and then covered with a tasty Mexican sauce.
I'll be honest and admit I'd never heard of the Three Layer Enchilada Pie.  But I was sure willing to give it a try.

Each enchilada pie counts as one serving.  I ate one and my husband ate one during lunch hour one day.  Neither of us consider ourselves strictly vegetarian but do enjoy eating those type of meals from time to time.  The Three Layer Enchilada Pie can be cooked in one of two ways - either the microwave oven or the conventional oven.  We went with the latter.  For that, it took about 35 minutes to heat.  

As for the meal itself, it satisfied our hunger.  There was plenty in one serving to feed each of us.  I really, really liked the organic corn tortillas.  And, the beans were super plentiful.  I do wish there would have been more cheese rather than just on the top but it was still delicious.

Happy birthday to the Three Layer Enchilada Pie!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Heck Of An Easter - 2017

Shelby (AT 23 YEARS OLD!) with her Easter basket

I know I'm a few days late and I didn't do anything extravagant but here's my 2017 Easter post.  We went way low-key but I think it was one of my favorite Easter times.  Probably because it caused me no stress.  It was all "Keep Calm and Easter On".  

Juliann, Allyson, and Logan

We started Easter out by finally getting the boys' Senior pictures taken.  We had went to Easter services at church the Thursday before.  And glad we did!  Four hundred people on Thursday compared to over one thousand on Sunday.  The lesser the better for me.

Juliann, Logan, Allyson

Three days before Easter I was confronted by a couple of the kids wanting to know if I was going to get them Easter baskets.  Were they really effin' serious?!  Answer:  Yes, yes, they were.  

In fact, Shelby posted this to her Facebook - "Idc if I am going to be 23 tomorrow...when my mom told us she wasn't getting us an easter basket...those where fighting words hahahaha". 

So two days before the big day, I hopped my happy little ass to Hyvee and bought Easter baskets, beverages, and candy.  I'm either a pushover or a great parent.

We had to eat in shifts because some of the kids had to work (yep, even on Easter).  Jason made a delicious meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, and dinner rolls.  After the carb overload we sat around the back porch table and played some gin rummy.  Simple and sweet - my kind of holiday!
Logan and Juliann

How did you celebrate Easter?
At what age do you quit giving Easter baskets to your kids?

Voortman Bakery Cookies - 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.

Voortman Bakery (formerly Voortman Cookies) just underwent a total brand reimaging, including all-new recipes and updated flavors, using only real ingredients.  What you see on the new packaging is what you get in the new Voortman cookies and wafers. 

Founded in Canada in 1951 and best known for its signature Dutch “Windmill” cookies, the cookies hold a sentimental sweet spot for many moms and those who recall snacking on their wafers as a child.  I can't honestly recall having eaten Voortman's cookies, except for the festive flavors.  I didn't know they had so many varieties available.  
Voortman’s new products are rolling out at Walmart, Target, Kroger’s and over 30k retailers across the country. The bakery provides more natural snack options, they don’t have high fructose corn syrup or preservatives and are made with real ingredients like fruit, cocoa etc.  And, everything is made in an actual bakery by real bakers.

I received several packages of Voortman Bakery cookies.  I shared them with family and took them to eat at Small Group gatherings.  I've received favorable responses about the cookies and wafers.  Just because they're not made with a bunch of artificial ingredients doesn't mean they're not good.  In fact, they're quite delicious.  If you're a fan of coconut, you'd probably like the Coconut Dark Chocolate cookies baked with real shredded coconut and chocolate chunks.  If you like peanut butter, the Peanut Butter Wafers made with real peanut butter will more than likely satisfy your taste buds.  

The cookies have a crunchy, solid palate and the wafers are more light and airy.  Both kinds are delish, but I prefer the wafers.  

The new Vortman Bakery packaging is different than what you might be familiar with. The  packaging reflects the company's new promise that the confections are made with real ingredients.

Win It!

One person will win an assortment of Voortman Bakery cookies and wafers.

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

Adventure Force Hydro Storm Water Guns - 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.
T.J. with the 6-pack of water guns

Now that the weather's warmer, it's time for kids to get outside and play,  I keep plenty of outdoor toys on hand for when the young'uns come over.  If they're entertained, it's less likely they'll complain they're bored or want to be in the middle of adult conversations.

The Adventure Force Hydro Storm Water Guns are outdoor toys that are sure to keep kids active in the warm weather.  These compact water blasters offer a great value and high performance for any water battle.
This set includes six water blasters of different colors and sizes.  There's one larger gun, two medium-sized ones, and three smaller ones.  Before they can be played with, an adult will need to use scissors and patience to cut many zip ties to release the guns from the package.  

To play with the guns, you just need to fill the tops with water and then push down on the opening to secure it closed.  Then pull at the trigger to spray away!  The blasters project water up to 25 feet.  The guns are made of hard plastic and so far have been built to last.  They're a fun way to keep several kids entertained, and even cooled off on a hot day.

Three More April Winners

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

The winner of the Tingle Boots adult coloring book giveaway is #20, Edye Nicole.

The winner of the Kate Spade Pencil Pouch giveaway is #44, John Smith.

The winner of the Nonni's Biscotti giveaway is #85, dvice12.

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all who entered.  Be sure to check out and enter all current giveaways, 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.

It's National Zucchini Bread Day

My mother could cook like nobody's business.  And, a lot of times, she'd do it without a recipe.  A pinch here, a dash there.  Zucchini bread was a favorite in the family.  So much so that people would request it as a birthday gift from mom.  She rarely wrote her recipes down but I talked her into writing out her zucchini bread recipe a couple of years ago.  So glad I did.

2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup cooking oil
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk
2/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Pour mixture into bread loaf pans and bake at 325 degrees for one hour.
This will make 2-3 loaves.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Live Clean Liquid Hand Soaps - 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.
Winter may be over but we are still experiencing some cold weather.  It's important to make sure you stay healthy during any season of the year because, honestly, who has time to be sick?  One of the easiest and quickest ways to avoid getting sick is by washing your hands.  What better way to fight the sickly scaries than with Live Clean’s line of liquid hand soap!

Live Clean was created with a simple vision: to create high performance skin and haircare products that celebrate natural beauty while honoring the earth. The company believes that living clean isn’t just about what we eat, it’s also about the products and ingredients that we put in our bodies. Live Clean harnesses the power in plant-based ingredients to create gentle and effective products that are safe for you, your baby, and the environment. All Live Clean products are created with naturally based ingredients, certified organic and free of harsh chemicals.  They are also pure vegan and vegetarian, cruelty-free and biodegradable and recyclable.

Live Clean has three varieties of hand soap:

**Live Clean Argan Oil Hydrating Liquid Hand Soap**

Live Clean® Hydrating Argan Oil Hand Soap features 100% pure Argan Oil to nourish and replenish the skin for improved texture and tone, while certified organic botanicals of Grape Seed and Olive Leaf Extracts help to protect the skin’s moisture barrier.

**Live Clean Fresh Water Hydrating Liquid Hand Soap**

Live Clean® Fresh Water Hydrating Liquid Hand Soap blends Vitamin E, Panthenol, and certified organic botanicals of Rosemary and Chamomile for optimal hydration. Experience soft and smooth hands as you gently cleanse and moisturize skin.

**Live Clean Coconut Milk Moisturizing Liquid Hand Soap**

Live Clean® Coconut Milk Moisturizing Liquid Hand Soap gently cleanses, hydrates and helps to restore moisture balance and luster to dry hands. Featuring luscious Coconut Milk and Apricot Oil, this nourishing hand soap is enriched with Vitamins C, E, B to deeply care for hands and improve their natural beauty.
All three hand soaps are 17 ounces and available at Walmart for $4.99.  With my super dry skin, I need products that will bring it back to life (or at least not make it worse).  Live Clean Liquid Hand Soaps leave skin feeling clean, soft and smooth.   Me, my husband, and older kids have tried all three varieties and everyone agrees they're top-notch in the hand soap category.

The fragrances are pleasant and the hand soaps are appealing to both women and men.  I sincerely like all three but think Coconut Milk is my favorite for the scent.  Live Clean hand soaps work away dirt, leave hands smelling clean, and are cost efficient.  Because the soaps don't contain harsh chemicals or additives, anyone who comes through the house can use them to wash their hands.

Win It!

One person will win all three varieties of Live Clean Liquid Hand Soaps.

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

Zak Designs Mother's Day Specials

This post contains affiliate links.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Zak Designs makes everyday meals a little more special by creating safe, innovative and fashionable products that add a touch of color and an element of fun to tables around the world.

Flowers for Mother's Day Sweepstakes! Enter for a Chance to Win a First-Class Table Setting for Eight at 4/21/17 through 5/8/17


Mother's Day Gifts Sale--20% Off This Week

Find the perfect gift for your mother (or yourself!) to bring new life to any table. Don’t delay, this sale ends on May 1st.