Thursday, May 31, 2018

Neema's Reason to Smile - Children's Book Review (And How It Created A Special Bond)


Book Overview:

Neema’s Reason To Smile (May 1, 2018) by Sibert-honored author Patricia Newman. 

Neema’s is full of big dreams, like becoming a scientist, an inventor, or a teacher.  Neema’s Reason to Smile is the story of Neema, a young Kenyan girl who dreams of one day being able to afford to go to school. Slowly, and with great purpose, Neema makes a plan to save money in her dream basket and make her dream come true. One day, a mysterious young girl skips down the street wearing a red skirt and white shirt. Soon, she guides Neema all the way to a new school.

My Review:

When my daughter wed last October, she took on a package deal.  Her husband, George, is a full-time father to 11 year old, Rahjae.  That made me an automatic grandma.  Because Rahjae didn't have a whole lot of time to bond with me before the marriage, we weren't really close.  I've been working on that by taking Rahjae to church every Thursday.  And that's where Neema’s Reason to Smile comes in.

During one of the first times I picked her up for church, Rahjae noticed the hardback book in my vehicle.  She picked it up and started reading aloud.  Since then, it's become ritual for Rahjae to read me parts of the book on the way to and from church.  Then we talk about the story.  That in itself makes this a special book to me.

Neema's Reason to Smile tells of a Kenyan girl who has a strong desire to go to school.  But it costs more money than her family has.  Neema uses her dream basket to do various tasks that create income.  A couple of situations occur where Neema has to take her coins and use them on things other than saving for school.  But, with perseverance and the appearance of another girl, Neema is finally able to achieve her dream.

The story within this hardcover book shows the grit and hard labors of a young child.  It also gives insight on a different culture and how not everyone has the luxury of attending school.  Mostly, it exemplifies how one should not give up on their dreams.


I received book for review from Lightswitch Learning.  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.

Really Woolly I Love You, Little One - Children's Book Review and Giveaway


Book Overview:

The immensely popular Really Woolly® brand celebrates the love you have for your children and the love God has for us all. Really Woolly I Love You, Little One, with its popular fluffy lamb and friends, shares this important message through sweet poems and prayers and adorable illustrations.

My Review:

A board book with a soft padded cover, Really Woolly I Love You, Little One is a collection of rhythmic poems that specifies the many reasons we love our kids and the many ways God loves them too.  "I Love You to Love Others" and "I Love You When Stars Are Shining" are just a couple of the sonnets.  Each page includes a Bible verse and a prayer.  Each prayer is short and sweet, easy for children to say aloud and memorize.

A lamb and a rabbit are the main characters shown in the book, with their woodland friends joining in.  This book is ideal to read with children at anytime that you want to provoke conversation about love and prayer that is understandable on their level.


Win It!

One person will win a Really Woolly I Love You, Little One children's board 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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Sock Panda: Celebrating Dad's and Grads Everywhere - Save 15% at Checkout



Sock Panda is Celebrating Dad's and Grads everywhere.  Use Code BestGift15 and save 15% at checkout.

Sock Panda offers high-quality socks sent to your home every month. Their socks have unique designs that are not available in stores.

Sock Panda offers a popular gift program that allows users to send gifts with a hand-written thank-you note. Choose from different types of fun socks for every personality type such as bold and conservative, and designed for men, women, and kids.



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

Final Winners for May

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

The winner of the Go Organically Fruit Snacks giveaway is #1, Peggy.

The winners of the Splat 1 Wash Temporary Hair Color giveaway are:
#36 MichelleCat
#51 nickieisis3
#37 kdrae

The winner of the Macadamia Professional giveaway is #32, Angela Saver.

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 124


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 124.  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.

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
–2 Corinthians 1:4

Glove-A-Bubbles - Review and Giveaway


Perfect as an outdoor party activity, birthday present or just for a play day in the sun, Glove-A-Bubbles are bursting with fun!  With a simple wave of the hand, kids can churn out loads of bubbles.

You really can't go wrong with bubbles, especially when there's lots of them involved.  I received three of the Glove-A-Bubbles characters and took them to Iowa with me where I knew they'd be well received by Azra and TJ.  What I didn't know at the time is how well the adults liked them too!


Glove-A-Bubbles are available in eight different animal themes.  How it works is that you pour one of the two bubble solution packs into the included pouch, dip the glove into the solution, and start making bubbles by waving your glove back and forth.



The amount of solution for each Glove-A-Bubbles is sufficient and ensures plenty of bubble makin' fun.  The bag that the bubble solution is to go in works okay but it's kind of small, meaning that you have to bend the glove when dipping it in the bag.  To make things easier, we poured the bubble solution into a round flat plastic dish.  Doing that, we were able to get more bubble solution onto the glove. 



Alaina, the "big kid", making bubbles

There are several holes atop the character's head on the glove, making sure you make lots of bubbles of different sizes.  Glove-A-Bubbles are a fun outdoor activity that provided us with lots of entertainment.

Win It!

One person will win a Glove-A-Bubbles with the monkey design.

*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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Wordful Wednesday - Memorial Day Weekend

Alaina and Todd with TJ and Azra

I'm not lost on the fact that Memorial Day is to honor those who have died in active military service.  It's definitely worth remembering.

A lot of people, including myself, also celebrate during the long weekend.

Me and Alaina listening to Junk Funk, a talented group that uses cans, buckets, dishes, and other oddities as instruments

I kept pretty busy visiting friends.  Jason and I made a trip to Iowa to visit my bestie and her family.  We went to the Chrome Horse Saloon and ate till we were sick.  Then we watched a Motley Crue hair band play.  They were on track with the vocals but I was almost certain the lead singer was going to keel over dead.  He had some obvious issues going on, so we left before the potential of having to witness it all.

crashing the pool party

Saturday we walked through Cedar Rapids Downtown Market.  I highly recommend going if you're ever in the area.  Bring your walking shoes and your money!  There are over 200 vendors selling everything from food and flowers to jewelry and signs.  I purchased some strawberry rhubarb wine, Amish bread, bacon queso, and peanut butter.  (Notice it all involved food or drink!)

The next day we visited one of Alaina's neighbors and hung out at her pool before heading home.


Vic cooking dogs on the grill

We slept in our own beds Saturday night but did the "friend" thing all over again Sunday when we visited with Vic and Ali.  The guys fished while us girls gabbed.  After some food and adult beverages, we called it a night.  Monday, Vic cooked up the fish that they caught.

And that is how we spent Memorial Day weekend 2018!

fried Crappie and Catfish

How did you spend Memorial Day weekend?

Zing Metaltek Balls - Review

Zing is ready to celebrate the summer heat, BBQs and being outside with their new Metaltek Balls! Perfect as an outdoor party activity, birthday present or just for a play day in the sun, Metaltek Balls are bursting with fun.

Made with Zing’s Metaltek, these balls bounce up to 50 feet in the air.  The balls are available in black, silver, blue and red.

My kids are too old to play with most toys but Logan really likes the silver Metaltek Ball we received.  It mostly has to do with the fact that it's not designed in "babyish" patterns and it's a "cool enough" ball to play with friends.  I think it's great for kids of most any age, but can see how it'd be more appealing to older kids because of the bright, shiny colors.  Zing Metaltek Balls are 4" round and do, indeed, bounce very high!

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.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Random Tuesday Thoughts - Bridge the Gap and Bowflex

You know the drill.  Head over to Stacy Uncorked and link up for your thoughts of randomness.
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Every time you see Chippy, you can almost guarantee I've made my monthly trip to Iowa.  I think he's ugly as sin but can't help taking his pics.  

So, yeah, I made it up North to see my bestie.  I'll post more pictures tomorrow.  The three hour one-way trip is always worth it.  We have such a blast together.

Me and Alaina - Jeep ride
Her and that darn duck face!
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Somehow Spring made a fleeting appearance.  Then Summer took over and brought with it the power of a thousand suns.  It's been hotter than Hades.  I went complaining about one season to complaining about another.
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We got quite a deal from a Facebook group page.  We purchased an almost new Bowflex for only $50.  For those not in the know, it's one of those outlandishly expensive exercise machines that regularly airs on TV commercials.  It's actually pretty neat and allows for quite a few exercise variations.  Only problem is, you have to place cables and cords in different places each time you want to do a different exercise.
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Logan ran our local Bridge the Gap 5K race.  Several hundred runners participate each year.  Big props to him on placing 3rd in the Men's Division AND 3rd overall.  That's quite an accomplishment.


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A meme that explains me to a T !
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What's your randomness for the week?
Excited that school's out?

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 123


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 123.  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.

God paid a high price for you, so don't be enslaved by the world.
–1 Corinthians 7:23

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

ZeroWater 7-cup Ready-Pour™ Pitcher - Review and Giveaway


College-bound kids get all sorts of things but why not give them something they will actually use!  Start their college years off right with clean water for healthy minds.  ZeroWater's 7-Cup Ready Pour has a sealed lid and reservoir, making it possible to pour water that has already been filtered without spilling water that is still filtering.  That way there is still some water in the pitcher even if your roommate takes the last drip. The pitcher even fits in a dorm fridge!  With a MSRP of $21.99, it makes an affordable graduation gift.  


I'll raise my hand up, I'm guilty of purchasing bottled water and not always drinking it out of the tap at home. That's because water from the tap has a metallic taste to it. I try my best to recycle plastic water bottles but it still gets expensive buying them all the time. 

Using an exclusive 5-stage Ion Exchange Filter to provide water that is 000 -- free of ANY contaminants.  ZeroWater has given my son, Logan, a solution to purifying tap water and reducing the purchase of bottled water.  Although he goes to college, he still lives at home.  Par for the look of  "dorm room" decor, he has a mini fridge and has been keeping the ZeroWater 7-cup Ready-Pour™ pitcher in it.

Enjoy pure-tasting water with the latest filter pitcher technology in just minutes. The ZeroWater filtration system combines sophisticated technologies that work together to remove virtually all dissolved solids from your tap water, delivering you great tasting water. This 7-cup pitcher comes with one Ion Exchange filter and a laboratory-grade water testing meter.

ZeroWater’s primary layer of filtration, activated carbon and oxidation reduction alloy, removes the chlorine taste you are accustom to with tap water. The Ion Exchange stage removes virtually all dissolved solids that may be left over from public water systems or even leached into your water from piping such as Aluminum, Lead, Zinc, Nitrate and more. Another three stages are included to ensure your water receives the appropriate amount of treatment time to deliver a “000ppm” reading on your laboratory-grade Total Dissolved Solids meter.

ZEROWATER READY-POUR™
BENEFITS: 

NSF Certified to REDUCE LEAD
Removes 99.6% of all dissolved solids
Purest tasting drinking water

ZEROWATER READY-POUR™
FEATURES: 

7-cup capacity = 6 cup pitcher + 1 cup in reservoir
Immediate pouring ability
Slim, space-saving design
Lightweight

ZEROWATER 5-STAGE
DUAL ION-EXCHANGE 
FILTER FEATURES: 
Certified to reduce Lead, Chromium, & Mercury
Premium 5-Stage Dual-Ion Exchange filtration system
Ion-Exchange system that removes virtually all dissolved solids in your water.
The FDA requires the TDS level in PURIFIED bottled water to reach 000-010ppm. ZeroWater is the only filter in its class to achieve this level.

Before using the ZeroWater Pitcher, there are a few prep and assembly steps. The first is to remove the lid and water reservoir from top of pitcher and remove filter from packaging. The pitcher, lid and reservoir then need to be hand washed and rinsed thoroughly with water. This is important to do because soap residue and leftover water may affect TDS meter readings. 

After you've twisted the filter into bottom of reservoir and filled it with cold tap water, you have to wait for all the water to pass through the filter before filling again. Once the reservoir has been emptied, you can pour the filtered water into a cup or glass. By using the TDS meter, you can ensure a 000 reading. At the point in time when the TDS meter measures around 006, it's important to change your filter.  You will need to purchase additional filters online or at Walmart.
the tap water reading of 146

Me and Jason tested the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) level of our tap water before using the ZeroWater Pitcher and was kind of scared to see the results were 146. Although it's not an absolutely horrible reading, it's still more than I'd like it to be. Most water in the USA falls into the 051-200 grouping, and that's where our number stands. Oh, and just for kicks and grins, we also tested the TDS level of a brand name bottled water. The reading was at 16.
Perfect reading of 000

After pouring water into the ZeroWater Pitcher and allowing it to filter, we tested the TDS level again. The proof was right in front of our eyes; The reading was 000! That's certainly an improvement in water quality! 

To say that we are impressed with the ZeroWater Pitcher is an understatement.  The TDS meter clearly proves that our water is now free of impurities.  I can confidently drink my tap water from the ZeroWater Pitcher and know that the only thing I'm drinking is H2O.  The pitcher itself is slim in design and has a pretty blue color to it.  The only downside we encountered is that it takes some time for the tap water to filter through.  It's a somewhat slow process filling the pitcher and waiting for the water to filter through.  After seeing the results of what the ZeroWater Pitcher can do, I can live with that downside. 

Like I mentioned, Logan's been keeping this pitcher in his dorm-size mini-fridge.  He drinks water quite often and is amazed with how well the ZeroWater 7-cup Ready-Pour™ filters impurities.  Luckily, he's nice enough to let me raid his fridge when I'm wanting some good ole' H2O.

Discount:  Receive 20% off a ZeroWater 7-cup Ready-Pour pitcher by using coupon code MC30 when making a ZeroWater purchase online.

Win It!

One person will win a ZeroWater 7-cup Ready-Pour™ pitcher.

*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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Daphne & Velma - Blu-ray Review #spon

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray.  The opinions I share are my own.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.  


Jinkies! Your favorite mystery solving teenagers are back in an all-new, live-action feature length movie!

State of the art robots and high-tech gadgets are common sights at Ridge Valley High, an innovative center of learning for some of the brightest minds in the country, including new transfer student, the bright & optimistic Daphne Blake (Sarah Jeffery) who is excited to finally go to school with her online bestie, the whip-smart & analytical Velma Dinkley (Sarah Gilman). But not everything is as innocent as it seems as mysterious disappearances begin to plague the top-performing students on campus. Once cheery and full of life, kids now appear in a “zombiefied” state - lifeless and shells of themselves. Can Daphne and Velma learn to work together and save the students or will they become the next victims? Get ready for thrills and laughs as we follow the first adventures of Mystery Inc.’s fierce female duo.

Daphne & Velma is available now on  on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD on May 22, 2018.  The film stars Sarah Jeffery (Disney's "Descendants: Wicked World") and Sarah Gilman (ABC's “Last Man Standing”), and is produced by Ashley Tisdale and Jennifer Tisdale’s Blondie Girl Productions. Daphne & Velma carries a suggested retail price of $19.98 for the DVD and $24.98 for the Blu-ray.


My Review:

Daphne and Velma became friends before they became part of the Scooby-Doo gang.  This film shows how the two met and became pals.  Daphne becomes more than an online friend when she starts her education at the same school as Velma.  The school itself is very futuristic and boasts very bright students.  Weird things begin to happen, beginning with male student Spencer.  Soon, many of the pupils are acting strangely.  Daphne and Velma take it upon themselves to solve the mystery.

I enjoyed the acting skills of the two actresses who play Daphne and Velma.  The pair turn out to be a strong duo and show they can fend for themselves.  I think it would have been neat to see cameos or references of the other Scooby Doo gang members but this was still a delightful movie.  Although Daphne and Velma become involved in solving paranormal activity and strange happenings, the scenes aren't overly scary.  I think kids ages 9 to 15 would be most interested in this film.

Sale: Diamond Accent Stud Earrings - Only $24.99


Zales has been helping couples say 'I love you' for more than 85 years. As a leader in the jewelry industry, Zales provides fine jewelry and gifts at affordable prices.

Act quick to purchase a pair of Diamond Accent Stud Earrings in Sterling Silver for only $24.99 (regular $119).  That's a savings of over $90!

Details:  You'll adore the petite touch of shimmer these dainty fashion studs add to your attire. Crafted in sterling silver, each earring features a diamond accent artfully set to enhance size and sparkle. Concentric circles of beading around the centerpiece catch and reflect light for a dazzling look. Polished to a bright shine, these post earrings secure comfortably with friction backs.

Act quick!  Offer expires May 24, 2018.  Use code ZAFFDIASTUDS at checkout to receive this special price offer.

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

Check It Out: Rock Salt Prints Star Wars Competition


Rock Salt Prints has set up an amazing competition. You can WIN three framed 16”x20” Star Wars artworks from their online collection.  Giveaway ends July 1, 2018. 

As an added bonus, by entering this competition, you will also have the chance to collect extra entry points and earn rewards along the way.

 You can earn the following REWARDS:

1. 15% OFF Discount Code

2. 30% OFF Discount Code

3. FREE A3 Print of your choice

4. FREE Star Wars T-shirt of your choice

Will you be entering the giveaway?
Who's your favorite Star Wars character?

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

Wordful Wednesday - Juliann's Graduation

walking toward the stage

Five of our six kids have officially graduated high school.  This year it was Juliann.  That means we only have one left, and that event will be in two years.  It's so cliche to say that time flies, but it's the ever lovin' truth. 

Juliann attended her four years of high school at a private Catholic institution.  She's held down part-time jobs through it all.  She will be taking classes in the Fall at the local community college to become an EMT, then a paramedic.
Jason with Allyson and Emma at graduation

Juliann's graduation party is the first time in sixteen years that the two families have come together in one house to celebrate, rather than hold the events separately.  You learn after a while to put the crap aside and do what you can to make life better for the kids.  (It didn't take us 16 years to realize that but it took longer than it should've.)  Juliann's mom hosted the party at her home.



Emma, Jason, Juliann, me, Allyson

Can I just put this out there.....  Graduations are boring.  My kids alone have made up a fair share of them so I can say that.  They're always about memories, journeys, and life chapters.

BUT, I'll keep going to them as long as my kids keep on having them.  Because it means they've made another great achievement towards this process called life.


Four More May Winners


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

The winner of the Welch's Fruit Rolls giveaway is #44, Kim Avery.

The winner of the GIANTmicrobes Heartfelt Box giveaway is #35, Judy Mitchell.

The winner of the Welch's Fruit Snacks giveaway is #23, Maryann D.

The winner of the I Can Only Imagine children's book giveaway is #20, Darlene.

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all who entered.  Be sure to enter the currently active giveaways, 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.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

YogaClub Clothing Subscription Box - 20% Off



YogaClub is your personal stylist for the yoga-inspired life. Delivering high quality, brand name yoga apparel at an affordable price, they are committed to empowering women to be active, confident and mindful in everything they take on — from yoga classes to traveling the world. All of YogaClub’s monthly subscription boxes are hand-curated and styled based on the member’s personal preferences including favorite colors, patterns, and workouts. Every box delivered donates a yoga class to a child in need.

The Guru ($79/month) — 3-Piece Outfit
The Karma ($69/month) — 2-Piece Outfit
The Mantra ($45/month)— 1 Pair of Leggings

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