Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Jesus Calling Little Book of Prayers - Review and Giveaway


Book Overview:

Talking to God is easy! Featuring darling artwork alongside Scripture, a short message, and prayers on topics such as God’s goodness, the importance of being kind, and how God makes our hearts happy, Jesus Calling® Little Book of Prayers will help even the littlest readers discover just how much God loves to hear from them.

My Review:

I believe that reading to children is fundamental, and teaching them about Christ at a young age is just as important.  There's a ton of books out there for young children to grasp the concept of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus.  Jesus Calling Little Book of Prayers is a perfect example.

This sturdy board book is only 26 pages long, yet it packs plenty of prayer and scripture.  Each page spread contains a short scripture and a quick prayer.  It also has reminders of God's goodness, kindness, and mercy.  I think this book would be perfect to read with your child as a bedtime story or a morning devotional, where you get with your kid and go through one page spread a day at a time, reflecting in worship and what Jesus has done for us.  

Win It!

One person will win Jesus Calling Little Book of Prayers.

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

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.
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Wordful Wednesday - Monthly Iowa Trip

𝅘𝅥🎵Let me tell you bout my best friend🎵

My best friend and her family moved three hours away, to Iowa.  It's been seven months and, for each of those months, I've managed to make a trip up there at least once.  I almost missed out on February due to being sick but I came in strong at the end.  Jason and I headed up there Saturday morning and stayed overnight.

Don't try this at home!

We started out with shooting our bows in the house.  (Alaina's mom found out through Facebook and 'bout went into AFib.)  What the pictures didn't show is that we were shooting towards an open door and at a target in the garage.  It's the only way we could get an accurate 25 yards.

Beer Cheese Fries

Next we loaded up and headed to a few pubs in Cedar Rapids.  The first was Mulligan's where we ate Irish Fries, Boneless Wings, and Mozzarella Sticks.  Then we headed to The Quarter Barrel, one of the oddest mishmash eateries I've ever been to.  It's a brewery/arcade with a hipster/scrappy feel.  The food was definitely very different, but I liked what we had.  I had a large serving of the Beer Cheese Fries that are described as curly fries smothered in beer cheese featuring Leanna Irish Red Ale and topped with bacon bits.

While stuffing our faces, we also waxed nostalgic and plugged several quarters into a myriad of classic arcade games and pinball machines from our youth.  
Jason and Azra playing pinball and arcade games at The Quarter Barrel

As if that wasn't enough to clog our arteries, we then went to Beck's Taproom Grill to eat, drink and be merry.  Another couple joined us.  We started out with nachos and tenderloins, then topped it off with Death By Burger.  That monstrosity was a full pound of beef with bacon and dressing between two grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches.  I was miserably stuffed by the time we were done.

Death By Burger

When we made it back to Alaina's we crashed ourselves on the couch and watched Daddy's Home 2.  Sunday morning was spent watching church service through streaming media.  Alaina also waxed my eyebrows, and cut and colored my hair.  Since she first started doing my hair almost two years ago, she's the only gal I'll go to now.  It's worth the three hour trip.

watching church service

I hate that I can't just hop, skip and jump to see Alaina now.  But, besides the drive, I have to admit I enjoy visiting Iowa every month and exploring new places.

Wonder - #ChooseKind Film Review



The incredibly moving and heartfelt family film, Wonder is now available on Digital, Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD from Lionsgate.  And now you can make your own Astronaut helmet at home.  Just click the picture above to be taken to the link for the paper-mache helmet.

FILM SYNOPSIS:

Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jacob Tremblay star in an inspiring story of a loving family whose son, born with facial differences, enters a mainstream school for the first time.

Based on the beloved best-selling novel, WONDER follows the inspiring story of the Pullman family, whose youngest child, Auggie, is a boy born with facial differences. When Auggie enters mainstream elementary school for the first time, his extraordinary journey unites his family, his school, and his community, and proves that you can't blend in when you were born to stand out. Oscar® winner Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jacob Tremblay star in this heartwarming and uplifting film.

Special Features:

Summer of Fun: 5-part Documentary

A Child's Sense of Wonder Featurette

What A Wonderful World Featurette

Audio Commentary with Stephen Chbosky and R.J. Palacio

''Brand New Eyes'' Music Video

WONDER Soundtrack Behind-the-Scenes Featurette

Theatrical Trailers --Lionsgate

My Review:

I had seen previews for Wonder and seriously considered watching it in theater.  Thing is, I hate sobbing and sniffling in front of complete strangers.  So, I got out the Kleenex at home and watched the movie.  As expected, I went through my fair share of tissues. 

Wonder is based upon a bestselling book of the same name.  Now that I've watched the film, I'm definitely going to read the book.  It tells of a boy named Auggie who has a facial deformity.  It's not much of a big deal, until he is brought into the public eye in a mainstream school.

WONDER is told from different viewpoints throughout the film, but it's easy enough to follow along.  Viewers are presented with the trials and sufferings that a "different" person might face.  It also shows how siblings might be affected when the focus is on a child with special needs or someone that needs more care than them.  At the end of the movie, I was left feeling uplifted and inspired.  It is my hope that all people #ChooseKind, regardless of a person's physical, financial, or emotional instabilities.

Have you seen WONDER?
Have you ever been faced with bullying?
What are some things you do to show kindness?

Yodel the Yearling - Children's Book Review and Giveaway

Book Overview:

Yodel and his siblings have woken from their long winter’s nap and are ready to learn and grow. Nature photographer Mary Holland captures precious moments of this black bear family’s springtime adventures. Just like human children, the yearlings play, explore their surroundings, and then snuggle up with mom for milk. They even stay with a special “babysitter” while mom is away. Someday soon, the yearlings will be grown and go off on their own, but for now they can catch a nap under their mama bear’s watchful eye.

My Review:

I'm always excited when Arbordale Publishing releases new books each season.  The company has recently released six new books, with Yodel the Yearling being one of them.  This book tells of Yodel, a one-year old black bear, and his brother and mother after waking up from hibernation.  The pictures show the bears in their natural habitat and how they interact with each other.  Readers also get a glimpse of how the bears eat and exercise.

The 'For Creative Minds' section at the back of the book further educates on the difference between torpor and hibernation, how bears can go so long without eating, what foods bears eat, and the signs that a black bear is nearby.  This is an interesting and educational book for young children to learn about black bears.

Yodel the Yearling is a Spring 2018 release by Arbordale Publishing.

Win It!

One person will win a Yodel the Yearling children's book.

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

I received book for review from Arbordale Publishing.  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.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Pink Zebra - Home Fragrance Review

Candles and home fragrance are staples in most people’s homes, and Pink Zebra is spicing up the home with its dazzling line of wax fragrances.  The versatility and simplicity of Pink Zebra make it one of the best and most unique home fragrance companies in the U.S. Pink Zebra has an inevitable opportunity for growth thanks to its responsible, renewable and sustainable product line. 

Custom glimmer candles, simmering lights, and Sprinkles scented beads are just some of the enticing wax products that are shining a modern light on the traditional, boring candle. 

My simmer pot is upside down in this pic!  This was a mistake when taking the pic.  I actually have it positioned correctly when in operation.  

Pink Zebra allows you to personalize your fragrance through their incredible, unique product line. In addition, you can make the business “Uniquely Yours,” through parties, events, social media, and a personal website.  Pink Zebra is a direct selling company that sells its products through a field sales force of independent sales representatives.  Consultant and Executive Director Karen Esposito introduced me to Pink Zebra. 

Pink Zebra gives you the ability to create personal fragrance and decor featuring easily blendable, premium wax Sprinkles and body-safe liquid Soaks. The company offers exclusively designed tiny wax bead Sprinkles available in 55 fragrances. Sprinkles are made with Signature Soft Soy wax, a high performing ultra clean blend of soy and paraffin wax. Their Soaks are blendable too.  You can spray, squirt or soak it into the air, on your body, and on Pink Zebra's exclusive Just Add Soaks products. Soaks are made from a clean, dye-free formula that is skin-safe and environment friendly.

Naked Reeds Set with bottle of Soaks

I received a Simmer Pot, along with choice of Sprinkles.  Farm House Cider was my choice of scent but it was hard to decide because there's so many that seem like they'd make my home smell lovely.  With the simmer pot, all you have to do is plug it in and add a small amount of Sprinkles.  A red light indicates that the pot is turned on.  I love the fragrance of the Sprinkles and my living room smells so inviting.  The Energizing Ginger Sprinkles are next on my list to purchase when my current ones run out.  


The Naked Reeds reed diffuser also provides pleasant fragrance in your home, when you add choice of Soaks to it.  By pouring Soaks into the reed diffuser, you are allowing the reeds to soak up the scent and it emits a nice smell to a small area.  The Soaks can also be sprayed into the air or on your body when you put the cap on it.

I am more relaxed when my home smells good.  I don't want to worry about whether it smells like garbage, food, or pets.  Pink Zebra gives me peace of mind because their home fragrances smell great without being overpowering.  Not to mention, their products are packaged in cute pink and white zebra patterns!

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.

Final Winners for February

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

The winner of the Seriously Good Freezer Meals cookbook giveaway is #39, Debra Francis.

The winner of The Hope Deck giveaway is #20, Charlene S.

The winner of the Go Organically Fruit Snacks giveaway is #79, Jennifer T.

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

A Very Happy Easter Prayer - Children's Book Review and Giveaway

QUICK OVERVIEW:

There is so much to feel happy about! Celebrate the Easter season with A Very Happy Easter Prayer, the glittery board book designed to help children celebrate spring and Jesus’ resurrection. New from award-winning writer Bonnie Rickner Jensen.

MY REVIEW:

Easter lands on April 1st of this year.  It's a time to reflect on the resurrection of Jesus, flowers, egg hunts, and pretty dresses.  Told in rhythmic form and teeming with cute animal critters, A Very Happy Easter Prayer gives thanks to God for blooming flowers, bluebirds and their morning chatter, fluffy bunnies, and much more.  A Very Happy Easter Prayer is a perfect board book for your child's Easter basket.  This book is a great addition to the Easter and Spring season, and is suitable for children up to four years of age.



Win It!

One person will win A Very Happy Easter Prayer children's book.

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

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.

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Friday, February 23, 2018

One Heck Of A Bouquet


Between my regularly scheduled off days and sick time, I've missed work nine days in a row.  Luckily, I had the time accrued and it doesn't count against me.

Coming back in to work last night, I was greeted with a Get Well bouquet....a broccoli bouquet with baby's breath, to be exact. 

I love to eat broccoli - raw, steamed, microwaved, or otherwise.  So, the 9-1-1 gang knew just the thing to get my spirits up when they presented me with this creative sentiment. 

Chalk one up for creativity!

Celebrate National Cherry Month with Welch's Fruit Snacks - Review and Giveaway


Did you know February is National Cherry Month?  

In celebration, I'd like to introduce you to Welch's Cherry Fruit 'n Yogurt Fruit Snacks. Made with real fruit and surrounded by creamy yogurt for a melt in your mouth taste, Welch's Cherry Fruit 'n Yogurt are uniquely delicious and perfect for the whole family to enjoy while celebrating National Cherry Month.

My kids, all teens and above, are pros at raiding my pantry.  They're always on the prowl for a snack, and I keep a variety on hand.  From time to time I purchase Welch's Fruit Snacks.  And now we're excited to have recently tried Welch's Cherry Fruit 'n Yogurt fruit snacks.  They're convenient pre-packaged snacks that can be taken right out of the box and eaten immediately.  These snacks come in eight packages to a box, with approximately 20 fruit 'n yogurt bites in each pouch.  They're packed with delicious flavor and soft texture. They're perfect to pack in a lunchbox or to eat as an after-school snack.

Win It!

One person will win two boxes of Welch's Cherry Fruit 'n Yogurt Fruit Snacks.

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

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.

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 110

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 110.  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.

I'm on day ten of battling the flu and its effects.  Went back to the doctor yesterday and he said the blood work showed low levels in platelets and white blood cells, meaning an additional viral infection in addition to the flu and pneumonia.  I'm starting this year off great!  Prayers appreciated.

John 11:4 
When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

Monday, February 19, 2018

Baby Magic: Keeping Up with the Baby Boom - Giveaway


Have you been keeping up with the celebrity baby boom this year? As Kylie Jenner announced her secret pregnancy and delivery, and Chrissy Teigen, and Jessie James Decker are all expecting – Baby Magic wanted to make sure you have all the product they will be stocking their diaper bags with!

Baby Magic Original Baby Lotion – This original baby lotion has been the go-to hyper allergenic product for many years. The nourishing baby lotion is perfect for babies with sensitive skin. After all, no one enjoys a screaming baby with irritated skin!


Baby Magic Calming Baby Bath - This baby wash is perfect before bed time and nap time; This gentle baby bath product is one of the only products in the market containing pure lavender and chamomile extracts.

Baby Magic Calming Baby Lotion - Baby Magic Lavender and Chamomile Calming Baby Lotion is a rich and creamy baby lotion enhanced with Vitamins and Aloe formulated with real Lavender and Chamomile extracts to calm your baby. When bedtime is near, a tender massage with our Calming Baby Lotion will help your baby sleep while keeping skin moisturized all through the night.


Win It!

One person will win a selection of Baby Magic Baby Lotion and Baby Bath.

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

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.

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THE STAR - DVD Review

From the studio that brought you MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN & CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS comes the timeless tale about faith, friendship, and the importance of believing in yourself.

AFFIRM Films and Sony Pictures Animation’s THE STAR arrives for the first time on Digital on February 6 and on Blu-ray + DVD + Digital February 20 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The heartwarming animated comedy follows a small but brave donkey named Bo (voiced by Steven Yeun, “The Walking Dead”), who yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth (voiced by Aidy Bryant, “Saturday Night Live”), a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key, Friends From College), a dove with lofty aspirations, along with three wisecracking camels voiced by Tracy Morgan (“30 Rock”), Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey. Bo and his new friends follow the star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told.

Rounding out the all-star voice cast including Gina Rodriguez (“Jane The Virgin”) as Mary, Zachary Levi (“Chuck”) as Joseph, Grammy® Award-Winner Kelly Clarkson as Leah the horse, Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”) as Zach the goat, Ving Rhames  (Mission Impossible) as Thaddeus the dog, Gabriel Iglesias (Coco, Ferdinand) as Rufus the dog, Patricia Heaton (“The Middle”) as Edith the cow, Emmy® and Tony® Award-Winner Kristin Chenoweth as Abby the mouse, and Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World) as King Herod.


Bonus Materials Include:

 Star-aoke: Sing-Along with Bo & Friends: In this all new song, sing along with your favorite characters including Bo, Dave, Ruth and the unforgettable camels
"Life Is Good" Dance-Along: Shake your tail feathers and move your hooves in this fun dance along
Lyric Sing-Along Videos: Enjoy the eclectic and inspiring music of THE STAR with these colorful lyric videos that allow you to sing along with your favorite recording artists
“The Star” by Mariah Carey
“Can You See” by Fifth Harmony
“Children Go Where I Send You” by Kelsea Ballerini
“We Three Kings” by Kirk Franklin
“Life Is Good” by A Great Big World
Sweet and Sparkly Stars: Create star-themed cookies to be enjoyed year round
Star Mason Jar Votives: Let the light of THE STAR shine with this simple yet stunning craft
Faith All Year Round with DeVon Franklin: A children’s sermon discussing the themes of the film and how to keep the spirit of this inspiring story alive in us every day
An All-Star Cast: Meet the stars of the film and explore the exciting voice cast who bring these amazing characters to life

THE STAR has a run time of approximately 86 minutes and is rated PG: for some thematic elements.

My Review:

I watched THE STAR with my daughter and son-in-law when it was first released to theater.  And now, I own the film on DVD and watched it with my teen son last night.  To speak of the film, it's one that families can watch together to get a glimpse of Jesus' birth.  THE STAR features expressive animation of animals who follow Mary and Joseph on the journey that changed their lives.  Although the film sometimes sways from the true telling of the real story, it stays mostly on course from the beginning of Mary being told by an angel that she was pregnant to the birth of Christ in a manger.  After viewing the film on DVD, Logan and I watched a few of the lyric videos that's included as part of the bonus material.  I'd recommend THE STAR as a delightful family film that brings visualization to an epic birth.

I received DVD 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.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Short Vacay at the Hotel Hospital


Fingers (and toes) crossed, I may be on my way back to "normal". 

I had mentioned a few days ago that I had an illness and it turned out to be Influenza B (aka, The Nasty Flu Bug).  I went to the walk-in clinic on Valentine's Day and was given a cough suppressant with codeine.  My body hated it as much as the flu.

My husband purchased a lovely card and Ghiradelli chocolates as a V-Day gift for me.  I got him...nothing.  It wasn't for lack of want; It was for lack of any energy.  But, hey, I did manage to whisk him away to a walk-in clinic for about two hours and let him sit with me while I was diagnosed.  Love at its finest!

Valentine's gifts from hubby

The next day was Jason's birthday.  Again, there was very little good about it on his part.  I was still sicker than a dog.  He went to church that night and, once home, his two oldest daughters brought over pizza and cookies.  Not one to let him have time in the limelight, I started profusely vomiting and peeing all over myself.  More than once.

I managed to lay down for a few hours before waking up to start the whole process all over again.  We headed into the ER at 2:45 am and it was shortly determined that I'd be admitted.  My body had taken on pneumonia, on top of the flu.  

Jake and the Neverland Pirates room....that's how I roll

Maybe it's because I act like a kid, but I was admitted to the pediatrics unit and that's where I spent Friday and Saturday night.  Ironically enough, I had booked a suite a week ago at a local Holiday Inn for me and Jason to stay in on Friday night as part of a staycay getaway.  As I'm sure you can deduce, that didn't happen.  Kicker:  Non-refundable!  

Sooo, a couple who are friends with my sister were able to enjoy a free night at the suite, courtesy of us.  Bright lining:  At least someone got to enjoy it.
Get-well bouquet from my sister and niece

My oxygen levels kept dropping dangerously low and it was a huge concern.  I also had spots on my chest that were of some concern.  Dr. ordered a CT scan to rule out a blood clot.  That's when I had a mini meltdown.  I'd done been stuck by so many needles and drugged with so many inhalers, steroids and antibiotics that I was getting downright drained.  My husband was a beast and became my super support system.  To the rescue, once again!

The doctor wanted to keep me admitted again tonight but wasn't absolutely against me going home.  After deciding I'd feel better in my own bed, I'm now back at my abode trying to get on the mend.  I've got a whole arsenal of meds and supplies.

I'm off work for the next few days and have orders not to overexert myself.  Now my concern is Jason.  He's been coming down with an illness and I fear it's similar to what I have.  If you're the praying kind, it'd be much appreciated.

Visit from my sisters
I can't claim to be one of those people who look cutesy when they're in a hospital.  It is what it is.

I've noticed that some of you, my readers, have been down with the flu bug this year as well.  Been keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.  #ItsNoJoke

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 109

Photo by Kyler Nixon on 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 109.  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.

I would appreciate prayers for myself.  I've been down for the last four days with Influenza B (aka, the flu).  If you've had it, I'm sure I don't need to tell you how miserable it is.  I think I'm back on the upswing but I've had a reaction to the cough syrup with codeine and it's made me quite ill.  I just wanna feel normal again.  Thanks in advance.

1 Corinthians 9:23 
I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My Not-So-Expert Tips on How To Handle Your Mystery Illness

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Since I've had an illness for four days now, I'd consider myself somewhat of an expert.
Not sure exactly what's got me down but I assume this will work for influenza, scarlet fever, pneumonia, HerpaGonaSyphillAids.

1. Have lots of toilet paper on hand - For the obvious reason of course. But also for the millions of times you need to blow your nose. You'll be using so much that you don't want to go all hoity-toity with Kleenex.

2. Several pair of underwear - You're gonna pee 'em, so you're gonna need 'em.

3. Supportive family - Even though they treat you like you've got the plague, have a couple people around who will empathize and be there for ya. Even with his campy comments, Jason has been a beast in getting me through this. Logan has helped as well.

4. Your own special blanket - You're going to be coughing into it eight trillion million times, so make it your own.

5. More blankets - For those times when you need a ton of them to alleviate the chills.

6. A fan - For the hot flashes. (It's almost like a cycle of menopause).

7. A bed and a couch - Use the bed when you first fall asleep, then migrate to the couch when you're coughing and hallucinating so much that you don't want to wake your SO.

I won't even charge you for the advice.  Keep in mind, though, that I'm not a doctor and don't play one on TV.  Seek professional help if you're sick.

Monday, February 12, 2018

First Winners For February

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

The winner of the 365 Bible Answers for Curious Kids giveaway is #3, Nancy Bowers.

The winners of The Armoire paperback book giveaway are #22, Janice Crespo and #8, Ken Ohl.

The winner of The Star DVD giveaway is #17, Kelly.

The winner of the Woody Woodpecker DVD giveaway is #2, Peggy.

The winner of the String of the Art giveaway is #69, mogrill.

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all who entered.  I have a few giveaways going on now and several more coming up.  Be sure to enter.  There's no limit on how many you can enter or how many you can win.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Crossing: 2018 Night to Shine

king's crowns
king's boutonnieres 

Have you ever heard of Night to Shine?  It's an amazing event put on by the Tim Tebow Foundation (yes, the one of NFL fame!) .  During the annual event, people with special needs are treated like royalty.  The church I belong to was one of many to transform the place into a prom-like experience.  

one of the honored guests with Miss Quincy and Miss Quincy Teen

On February 9th, 2018, 537 churches nationwide and in 16 countries celebrated 90,000 kings and queens during Night to Shine.  

Our church alone had almost 300 guests and approximately 700 volunteers.  People from our church made up a big portion of the volunteers but, this year, we had tremendous help from the university's football team, softball team, and volleyball team.  We also had help from Kohl's, a boy scout troop, and a nearby school.  It was more amazing than the Loch Ness Monster taking on a modelling career with Bigfoot as the manager.  (Yep, even better than that!)

Becky worked a Coat Check station with me.

Two years ago I was a buddy to one of the special guests.  Last year I worked a Coat Check station, and did the same this year.  I was set up in one of the lobbies, giving me opportunity to watch what was going down.

People with special needs, ages 14 and up, were invited to attend and be treated like royalty.  

Once guests arrived, they were paired up with a Buddy who would be their escort for the night.  Next they were presented with crowns and boutonnieres for the kings, and tiaras and corsages for the queens.  Once that took place, they walked down a red carpet for a photo shoot and autographs.  It came complete with screaming "paparazzi" and fans.

posing with Anya, another gal pal I talked into volunteering for coat check


The dance floor rarely had empty space.  Most of the time, it was packed elbows to armholes.

Once they walked down the red carpet, it was time for the festivities.  The church auditorium and lobby was cleared out for a dance floor with DJ, shoe shine, hair and makeup station, photo booth, basketball hoop, miniature golf, and sit-down supper.  There was also a limo ride service and a station set up for wheelchairs to get some bling.

Supper was grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, rice, dinner rolls, and brownies. The end of the night concluded with the release of over 1000 balloons.

blinged out wheelchair

nail station


  It takes a small community to work before, during and after Night to Shine.  But it is absolutely well worth it.  The guests are treated like royalty and are shown they that are worth celebrating.  The volunteers may leave exhausted but they go away with wonderful memories and can't wait to do it all over again next year.


Go Organically Fruit Snacks: Unique Expressions of Love for V-Day - Giveaway


As Valentine's Day is quickly approaching, Go Organically Fruit Snacks wants to get you and your family in the spirit with some ideas for creative and unexpected expressions of love.

Can you feel cupid getting ready to draw back his bow? Valentine's Day is almost here! And while we love flowers and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate as much as the next person, we think there are so many other fun ways to celebrate the season of affection—especially with little kids around. So gather up the family and get ready to be creative this Valentine's Day with these unexpected expressions of love.


Serve Heart-Shaped Foods

Themed foods are always a big hit with kids...and let's face it, parents too! Start off the day with heart-shaped pancakes. You can either eyeball the shape yourself or place a heart-shaped cookie cutter on your griddle for a more perfectly-formed heart. Add some mini chocolate chips for a dash of indulgence, then dust with powdered sugar. For lunch, use that same cookie cutter to surprise kids with a heart-shaped sandwich in their lunchbox. And for dinner? We can't think of anything more perfect than heart-shaped pizza. Some local pizza parlors make heart-shaped pies just for Valentine's Day, so it never hurts to call! Or buy the dough yourself and shape it into a heart on your pizza pan before adding sauce, shredded cheese and your favorite toppings.

Make Semi-Homemade Valentine's Cards

Need Valentine's Day cards or treats for your child's class? We love finding that perfect middle ground between creating projects from scratch and going the store-bought route. Enter our semi-homemade Valentines! Start by picking up some standard perforated classroom cards and fill in the "to" and "from" fields. Next, staple each card to pouch of Go Organically Organic Fruit Snacks. Our yummy, kid-friendly treats are the perfect size to attach to your cards! You can even write a cheeky message to tie in with our flavors, such as:

Mixed Berry: "Have a Berry Good Valentine's Day!"
Fruit Medley: "Orange You Glad We're Friends?"
Tropical: "You're the Pineapple of My Eye!"

Put Together a Thoughtful Gift

Personalized presents are the best—especially when they come from the heart. Here are a few of our favorite tailor-made V-Day gift ideas that you can work on with the kids:

Daddy Caddy: Buy a small carrying case and fill it with a bunch of handy items for dad to take on the go—like tissues, hand sanitizer, lens wipes and a mini notebook. Add Go Organically Organic Fruit Snacks for a yummy snack dad will love.

Mama Mixtape: Put together a custom CD or digital playlist with mom's favorite songs. Bonus points if they're love-themed.

Kid Koupons: Create currency for your kiddos that can be traded in for special privileges—like breakfast in bed or a chore-free night.

Teacher Treasure Box: Decorate a desktop trinket box for your child's teacher using colorful paint and stick-on gems. Fill it with useful teacher "treasures" like sticky notes, binder clips, rubber stamps and more.

Be sure to follow Go Organically on Facebook for more kid-friendly ideas!  Made with real fruit, the gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free kids snacks are a great choice for your on-the-go life.
Win It!

One person will win three boxes of Go Organically Organic Fruit Snacks (one of each flavor).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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