Thursday, March 21, 2019

Everything But The Bagel Spice Mix - Review and Giveaway

Spices, seasonings and sauces are used quite often when Jason and I cook.  I think it's because we like to add a variety of flavors to our food. For example, pork chops can be enjoyed in a variety of ways if you dress them up with different tastes and flavor textures.   Pereg, the leading purveyor of all-natural exotic spices, has shaken up the standard salt and pepper routine with its new Everything But The Bagel Spice Mix.

What's great about this spice mix is that it can be sprinkled on just about any food.  It’s fresh, 100% natural, gluten-free, vegan, and OU and CRC kosher-certified, with no MSG, additives or preservatives. A 5.3 oz jar retails for $5.50.

I love that I'm able to recognize all the ingredients.  This spice mix is made up of Garlic, Onion, Black Sesame Seeds, White Sesame Seeds, Poppy Seeds, and Salt.  It's an optimal merge of flavors.  We've been using this spice mix quite frequently.  It's become a "go-to" when we want both flavor and texture. There's a dual flip-top lid, with one side having little holes for just a small amount of the spice mix to be poured out and the other side having larger holes for more.  Vegetables, meats, breads, and other foods have an even more delicious flavor with Everything But The Bagel Spice Mix.

Win It!

One person will win a jar of Everything But The Bagel Spice Mix.

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

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.
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My Recent Stint in the Psych Unit: Part 1

river view scenery near where I reside

“Don't blame your challenge but get up and look it as a bridge to your success.” 
― Bruce Mbanzabugabo

My life hasn't made much sense lately so it's likely this post won't either.  I'm not going to take the time to make everything cohesive.  It's a story of my recent journey into depression.

I'm not doing this for any pity or self-gratitude.  This is a part of my life and my blog is where I document my life.  

First of all, depression isn't new to me.  I was diagnosed with it several years ago.  Staying in the psych unit isn't new to me either.  Seventeen years ago, I was in there for three weeks.  Turned 25 years old in there.  Um, happy birthday, I think.  After about a year of being on meds, I weaned myself off and did quite well.  

Then my world was turned upside down when my mom died almost three years ago.  I'm not a stranger to death, but I was a stranger to losing my best friend.  My confidante.  That set me into a spiral of anger and hatred towards anyone and everyone, except God.  A good friend and supervisor noticed the change in my behavior and walked with me to get the help I needed, through a doctor.  And again, things were going good.  

I can't necessarily pinpoint why I spiraled out of control again.  My life is pretty darn good.  I have a strong support system.  I think it's a culmination of little things.  The fact that my mother's death date anniversary is coming up (April 13).  The fact that my son is moving 11 hours away.  The fact that I'm having a spiritual battle telling me I'm not good enough to be a pastor's wife.  Who knows.

All I know is that last Friday morning, in the very wee hours of the morning, I was done with it all.  DONE.  I didn't want to kill myself (my faith is too strong for that) and I didn't want to harm anyone else.  But, damn it, I wanted to die.  I REALLY wanted to die.  The urge was a strong current in my mind and I was spiraling down a rabbit hole.

I lost my shit and called my work for someone to come pick me up and take me to the hospital.  (I work as a 9-1-1 Dispatcher.  When I called, I gave no cares if they'd judge me or not.)  An officer ended up responding and took me to the hospital for admittance.  It was while I was walking in that the officer asked if I knew I was wearing two different shoes.  Nope, sure didn't!  It was a dress shoe on the left and an athletic shoe on the right.  I also didn't know how I got a black eye.  Or how I caused bruising on my left shoulder.  Or how I cut open my left knee.  Still don't know.
Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

As soon as I was sequestered in the hospital, I was stripped of most rights.  I voluntarily admitted myself but they were in charge from then on.  For my one phone call, I got a hold of my oldest daughter.  She and her husband came immediately after.  According to them, I was a blubbering mess.  I barely remember what all was asked of me or done to me.

Here's the real kicker, people:  My husband had no idea!  He was in bed asleep.  He didn't know until my daughter text to tell where I was.  And, even with that information, he wasn't allowed to visit or make contact at that time.  Looking back, that's my biggest regret.  He would have willingly listened to me and dealt with me.  He would have supported me and helped me through it all.  But I didn't want to be a "burden".  (Rather, I burdened him by blindsiding him.)  

Since this post has went on long enough, I will create another in a few days to talk about my experience as an inpatient for Behavioral Medical Services.  Stay tuned for Part 2....
Photo by Thư Anh on Unsplash

*Disclaimer:  If you're someone I personally know who is here to get the down-low, it better be nothing but support that I receive.  I've run my course of self-embarrassment and shame.  I refuse to let this define me.  And I refuse to allow someone to define me by this experience*

Marvel Fans: Apply for Marvel Movie Marathon Experience wants to pay you to partake in a Marvel movie marathon! The team is looking to pay one comic-loving couch potato $1,000 to watch all 20 Marvel films back-to-back before the Avengers: End Game's big debut on April 26th. Application are open now, and the most qualified candidate will be selected to take on this nerdy dream job next month.

Who: is a professional television provider comparison + informative tech "how-to" website.

Where: You can find more information along with the application form here:

Why: The goal is to hire a Marvel-crazed fan who can help generate excitement over the releases of the new Marvel movies this year, as well as give new perspectives and opinions on the series, thus far, with their comic insights and expertise.

What: They're hiring a professional Marvel nerd to watch all 20 Marvel Cinematic Universe films for $1,000. This means you can make some fast, fun cash while hangin' on your couch rewatching your favorite series (and taking some notes along the way). For the candidate selected for this role, they'll be sending a care package with every Marvel Cinematic Universe film on Blu-Ray along with an array of other fun Marvel-themed gear.

Closing date for entry is April 15, 2019.

I received no compensation for this post.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Random Tuesday Thoughts - Trips and Wins

Chippy, my best friend's dog who thinks he's a bad a**
He loves no one but his mother but actually let me pet him for a long time, for the first time.
We've finally decided we like each other.

It's been a short bit since I've done a Random Tuesday Thoughts post, so be warned I've got a lot of randomness.  If you have stuff to say that's neither here nor there, link up at Stacy Uncorked.

I've been on a fairly lucky streak with wins lately.  My name was drawn as a grand prize winner of a US Cellular promotion.  My win included a new Apple iWatch (Jason took it), Apple iPad (I'm using it), and free service for one year. 

Then I won a local FB giveaway for one free box of Halo Pops.  I darn near pooped myself when I saw that a six-pack retails for almost $7.  Unless they go on a major sale, I will only be eating them when I win them.

A couple weekends ago my husband went to a Pheasants Forever banquet in Iowa and won a gun.  I can't remember what brand it is but it retails for almost $600.  I'm pretty sure he spent at least half that amount at the banquet that night, but it's all good.

me and Alaina

While Jason was blowing money and winning guns at the banquet, I hung out with my bestie.  It had been a few months since I'd seen her.  Saturday she and I went to some random mani/pedi place.  Alaina got her nails done and I went for the paraffin wax pedicure. It was sweet, sweet heaven to my feet.  That is, until the nail file came out.  Those things make me want to crawl out of my skin.  It's a personal form of Hell.  I let the nice little lady know she could skip that step and move on to the next one. Are there any feelings or sounds that drive you mad?
Me, Alaina, Steve, Sandy, Kerri

Saturday night Alaina and I went to the local pubs.  There's no restaurants in her little town, so you gotta go to one of the two pubs to eat out.  I love bar food so that's no biggie to me.  I ate so much fried food my arteries were begging for a break.

If I've said it once, I'll say it again: I love Iowa.  I've never had a bad experience there and everyone I come across becomes an instant friend.

When Todd and Jason got back in town from the banquet, they hung out a while and listened to a couple guys playing music.  Todd even joined in on the lyrics.
Todd adding vocals to the music

Speaking of taking short trips, I took one to the psych ward late last week.  Got a full room and board for a few days.  I done boarded the Crazy Train and went on full mental breakdown.  I wasn't out to hurt myself or anyone else but I sure wanted to die.  But that's a blog post all for itself.

In a few days I will be joining Adam to help him move to the state of Virginia.  Shelby, my oldest daughter, will be going as well.  It's a 11 hour trip one-way so I'm not looking forward to the ride.  But I'm looking forward to spending time with Adam before he moves so darn far away.

What's your randomness for the week?
It's the first day of Spring!  Are you as excited as I am?

Second Act - Blu-ray Review and Giveaway


Jennifer Lopez (Maid in Manhattan, “Shades of Blue”) returns to the big screen and proves it’s never too late to pursue your dreams in the hilarious and relatable romantic comedy, Second Act, available on Digital and coming to Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand on March 26, 2019 from STXfilms and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. From the director of 50 First Dates and Get Smart, Second Act is a heartfelt comedy that will inspire and empower audiences of all ages to reach for their biggest dreams. With an honest and moving performance from Jennifer Lopez, the film also features Lopez’s latest single “Limitless” and  stars an incredible supporting cast including Leah Remini (“The King of Queens,” “Kevin Can Wait”), Vanessa Hudgens (The Princess Switch, High School Musical franchise) and Milo Ventimiglia (“This is Us,” “Gilmore Girls”).

Maya (Lopez) is a 40-year-old woman struggling with frustrations of not having achieved more in life. As an experienced, quick-witted, perceptive employee, she is passed over for a promotion solely because she doesn’t have a college degree. Until, that is, she gets the chance to prove that street smarts are as valuable as book smarts, and that it is never too late for a Second Act.


Connecting with Milo Ventimiglia – See how Jennifer Lopez and Milo Ventimiglia connected on and off screen in this behind-the-scenes piece.

The Empowering Women of Second Act – Get an inside look at how the women of Second Act empowered and supported each other.

Friendship On and Off Screen – See how real life best friends Jennifer Lopez and Leah Remini had fun on set and how their real chemistry played on screen.

Working with the Ones You Love – Get a behind-the-scenes look at how the whole cast had fun while filming Second Act.

My Review:

I won't go into a whole rant about my personal feelings regarding higher education.  But I will say I think that too much emphasis is sometimes placed on a person's "learning" score rather than the "life skills" score.  In some fields a person can do well with a career, without having all the credentials.  That's the case in point with Second Act.

Jennifer Lopez plays Maya, an employee in a discount chain store.  She comes up with strong ideas with how to make the store more marketable but gets passed on a promotion to someone that has a higher education.  With the help of her friends (who are also co-workers) Maya puts on a fake persona and starts work as a consultant for cosmetics.  She has to prove she has what it takes to make it to the top, all while hiding the fact she doesn't have the actual qualifications to be in the position.

This is a good movie to watch at home when you're ready to enjoy a couple of hours of diversion, or to watch with your gal pals for "girl power" inspiration.  Jennifer played the role of Maya quite well, and I loved watching Leah Remini play a mother in unconventional parenting fashion.  The side story line of adoption not only tugged at my heartstrings, but was a welcome piece to show the powerful feelings of adoption and how it affects people.

Win It!

One person will win Second Act Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

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

I received product for review.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.
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Join #ChildrensHospitalsWeek to Change Kids' Health

This week, March 18 to 24th, is Children's Hospitals Week.  This week is about shining a spotlight on the 24-7, around-the-clock charitable needs of children’s hospitals,” said CMN Hospitals president and CEO John Lauck. “Without additional funding, children’s hospitals do not have the resources they need to care for the more 10 million kids treated each year. We need to do more to fill this gap in pediatric health care funding.”

To raise more funds for children’s hospitals, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN Hospitals) and its community of supporters are activating during #ChildrensHospitalsWeek.

Join the movement:

Watch and give during the annual #ChildrensHospitalsWeek Live-athon at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 20. Similar to CMN Hospitals’ trademark telethons, this live fundraiser, hosted by Allison Holker and Stephen ‘tWitch” Boss, features inspiring patients, celebrity supporters and corporate guests. Watch live on Facebook and Twitch.

Create a Facebook fundraiser. A simple how-to can be found here.

Join Dairy Queen® Free Cone Day on March 20 at participating non-mall Dairy Queen® and DQ Grill & Chill® locations.

Eat pancakes at IHOP to support children’s hospitals. One dollar from every purchase of OREO® Oh My Goodness pancakes will support local children’s hospitals.

Round-up your change on purchases made at Love’s Travel Stops to support local children’s hospitals.

Donate to your local children’s hospital.
I received products in exchange for this post.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Darn Good Yarn: BOGO Silk Medley Scarves


Dress boldly and colorfully with one of Darn Good Yarn's silk medley scarves.  Handmade with 7 strips of bright sari silk, each one of these scarves is unique.  If you have favorite colors be sure to let them know in the notes section at checkout.  

Each scarf is regularly priced at $59.99 but, right now, you can receive two for the price of one!  Just click on the link to receive the offer.

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

Today is Free Cone Day at DQ

Free Cone Day is here at DQ, today March 20th.  Get a taste of happy on the first day of spring with one free small vanilla cone.

*Free small vanilla cone at participating non-mall U.S. locations. Not valid in Canada. All day, limit one per person. Store hours may vary. While supplies last.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Mary Poppins Returns - Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Giveaway

Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” the irresistible, timeless sequel based upon the Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers, has audiences dancing in their seats and critics singing its praises, earning Academy Award®nominations for best original song, best original score, best costume design and best production design will be available on Digital 4K Ultra HD™ 3/12 and on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray™ 3/19!

“Mary Poppins Returns,” Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) — just a child when Mary Poppins first visited 17 Cherry Tree Lane — is now a grown man raising his children Annabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) with help from his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer). Times are tough in Depression-era London but the winds begin to change and the enigmatic governess, whose unique magical skills can turn any ordinary task into a fantastic adventure, enters the lives of the Banks family once again, having not aged a single day. Teaming up with an old friend, Jack, they take the Banks children on a series of whimsical adventures, encountering colorful characters like Mary’s eccentric Cousin Topsy (Streep), Jack’s lovable band of leeries and bank executives William Weatherall Wilkins (Colin Firth) and Mr. Dawes Jr. (Van Dyke) — bringing life, love and laughter back into the home. Mary Poppins Returns is a delightful movie read my full Mary Poppins Return review.

“Mary Poppins Returns” will be packaged and released in several different formats, giving families the flexibility to watch it on a variety of different devices. Viewers can instantly watch the film in Digital UHD, HD, and SD, and bring home a physical copy of the film as the Ultimate Collector’s Edition (4K UHD, Blu-ray and Digital Code), Multi-Screen Edition (Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Code), a single DVD or a Digital Bundle with both “Mary Poppins Returns” and the 1964 classic “Mary Poppins.”

Win It!

One person will win:
Mary Poppins Returns Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
Mary Poppins Compact Mirror with digital messaging

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

I received no 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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My Recent Prime Time with Amazon

It seems a fairly new topic for bloggers to write about is what they've recently purchased on Amazon Prime. I don't purchase products real often but here is my most recent haul:

I bought this hair color hoping my locks would turn out as bright red as they are on the box model.  Although I like this color okay, it wasn't exactly what I wanted.  Have any recommendations for a bright red hair color that is bold but doesn't scream "fire engine"?

I needed a pair of nice shoes to wear with dresses in February.  I don't do high heels.  I can't say enough great things about these flats.  They are super comfortable and I didn't have to break them in before wear.  I'm seriously considering getting another pair in a different color.

I purchased this as a gift for my husband when he became ordained.  Now he has something he can carry his Bible and other paperwork.

I did not necessarily need a new oil diffuser but I liked the looks of this one.  It does not come with any oils but has some cool features:

Shuts off automatically as soon as the tank is running out of water.
Enjoy 5 stunning LED colors with amazing breathing lighting.
Up to 8 hours working time with 120ml Capacity
Have a good rest with silent operation, no beep sound.
Choose between the continuous mode and intermittent mode.

my oil diffuser

When I buy eyeliner, I want one that makes my eyes pop.  I also don't want to look like a hungover raccoon within a couple of hours.  This eyeliner hasn't failed me yet!

Would you purchase any of these items from Amazon Prime? 
What Amazon Prime purchases have you gotten lately?

Three More March Winners

Photo by __ drz __ on Unsplash

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

The winner of the When Do I Love You? children's book giveaway is #29, Brittany Carter.

The winner of The Marriage Knot book giveaway is #15, Brittany Steuart.

The winner of the ICB Sequin Sparkle and Change Bible giveaway is #2, Heather Panjon.

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all who entered.  Be sure to keep an eye out and enter the active giveaways I have going on.  They're always 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 164

Photo by Carolyn V 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 164.  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.

Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ — the Son of the Father — will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.
–2 John 1:3

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wordful Wednesday - Night to Shine 2019: Main Event

corsages made for the ladies

Last week's Wordful Wednesday I delved a little bit about the volunteers for Night to Shine.  Now I'd like to give you a glimpse of the actual event.  Night to Shine is 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.  This was the fourth time out of five years that I've volunteered.

crowns worn by the men

On February 8th, 2019, over 500 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. The entire event was more amazing than the Loch Ness Monster taking on a modelling career with Bigfoot as the manager.  (Yep, even better than that!)

me with guest, Donna

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.

one side of the room, eating a meal

These two brothers always take center stage.  They command an audience and have killer karaoke skill.

one of the guests with her service dog

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 Hummer Limo giving rides.

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

Nail polish 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.  Sadly, this will be the last year for our church to participate in this event.  Not gonna lie, this is an event I look forward to every year and I hate to see it end.

Timmy with his girlfriend
Every time he gets a chance to see her, he proposes.  And she always says yes.

Fetch Rewards: Scan Receipts to Earn Rewards

Since the middle of last year I have been using Fetch Rewards, a mobile app that turns grocery receipts into savings.  It is so easy to use and it doesn't take long at all to earn points for rewards. 

Check out Fetch Rewards, and turn any grocery receipt into savings. You'll save on thousands of products every time they're on your receipt. Enter my referral code BR2FH at the sign-up screen and start earning Fetch Points!  When you sign up and submit your first receipt, you'll automatically get 2,000 points in your account.

There's several reasons why Fetch Rewards is one of my favorite Savings Apps, and here are just a few of those reasons:

1.  It works good on ANY grocery receipt.  From the big box store to the locally-owned corner shop in your neighborhood, you have an opportunity to save.  You get points anytime a receipt is uploaded.

2.  Bonus Point Offers are extended several times with may brands, so you receive bonus points if you purchase a specific brand. Those offers are always listed on the app.

3.  It keeps track of how much you've spent.  It lets me know how much in total I've spent for 2019 so far and compares it from month to month.  This gives me an indication of how much I'm spending with all the receipts I've uploaded.

4.  The rewards are pretty awesome and it doesn't take long to acquire points.

Seriously, I could go on and on about this app.  But don't just take my word for it;  Check it out yourself!

This post contains referral links.  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.

You Are Never Alone - Children's Book Review and Giveaway

Book Overview:

April 15, 2019
32 Pages
Ages 4+

From the creators of You Are Stardust and Wild Ideas comes a new picture book that explores how humans are inextricably connected to nature. This book draws examples from the clouds and the cosmos, the seafloor and the surface of our skin, to show how we are never alone: we are always surrounded and supported by nature. Whether it’s gravity holding us tight; our lungs breathing oxygen synthesized by plants; the countless microorganisms that build our immunity; or the whales whose waste fertilizes the plankton that feed the fish we eat: nature touches every aspect of how we live.

Using lyrical text grounded in current science alongside detailed diorama art, this informational picture book presents the idea that we thrive through connections to the land and sea and sky, and togetherness is key to nature. It encourages inquiry-based learning, inviting readers to wonder, ask questions, observe the natural world, and engage with big ideas. An author’s note at the end offers more insight into the research behind the text.

About the Author & Illustrator

ELIN KELSEY, PhD, is an award-winning author and a leading spokesperson for hope and the environment. In 2014, she co-created #OceanOptimism, a Twitter campaign to crowd-source and share ocean conservation successes which has reached 90 million users to date. She frequently works on projects with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Stanford University and the University of Victoria and is passionate about engaging kids in hopeful, science-based, environmental solutions.

SOYEON KIM is a Toronto-based, Korean-born artist who specializes in fine sketching and painting techniques to create three-dimensional dioramas. She is a graduate of the Visual Arts and Education programs at York University.

My Review:

With whimsical illustrations of children interacting with nature, You Are Never Alone describes how the planet showers us with gifts.  To demonstrate these points, readers learn many interesting facts about nature.  For instance, ocean algae thicken the ice cream you lick and armies of microorganisms snuggle against your skin, keeping germs at bay.

A 'Note from the Author' explains the reasoning for this book is that she wants children to know that there's power and resilience in the ecosystems all over the planet.  This book is a nudge for children to open their eyes to the wonders of the beauty that surrounds them.

Earth Day falls on April 22nd of this year, and You Are Never Alone is a marvelous book to put a positive spin on the vast greatness of our Earth.  Discussions can be made about science, biology, and ecosystems.

Win It!

One person will win a You Are Never Alone children's book.

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

I received book 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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