Monday, July 22, 2019

Random Tuesday Thoughts - Lots Going On

It's been a hot minute since I've participated in Random Tuesday Thoughts, hosted by Stacy Uncorked.  Life's been busy, with lots of ups and downs.  Here's some of the randomness that's been going on in my life:


Two of my kiddos have turned another year older.  Logan turned the momentous age of 21 and Emma turned 17.  Jason and I took them out to eat at a local Mexican restaurant.  And, yes, Logan took full advantage of his new age when he went out later that night.
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I posted some time ago that I fell down my stairs and received a severe sprain on my right foot and ankle.  I sported an air splint for a while but it was a big ole' Pain the Arse.  I'm faring pretty well now and only have pain when I stand on my leg for a long time.  

Just a few days after getting back on track with my foot, I woke up to a scratched cornea.  Third time in a year and a half!  I have no idea how it's happening, except that it's during my sleep.  Couldn't see for two days.  I'm just a walking (and sleeping) accident waiting to happen!
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Some dear friends of ours have been generous with their garden goods.  Jason made some zucchini bread and I recently made garden fresh green beans and new potatoes with onion and bacon. Turned out so good.  It was my first time making the green beans meal.

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A couple weeks ago I went shopping with a friend at Goodwill in Hannibal, MO.  I'm a thrift store junkie and this was one of the best I've been to in regards to clothes.  I got a whole new wardrobe at a great price.  It was my first trip, but definitely won't be my last!
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Jason and I have made plans to go to Tennessee in the middle of August to visit my son who lives there.  We've purchased tickets to attend the Nascar Night Race at Bristol speedway.  It will be our first time attending an official Nascar race.  Have any tips for attending a Nascar event?
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We've been in our new home for almost two months now.  Things are unpacked and put away.  We live in the same town as before but we've had a ton more people come over now that we live here.  It's never a dull moment!
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How has your summer been so far?
What's your randomness for the week?

Check It Out: Savings.com #BTSwithOfficeDepot Giveaway

Win a $50 Office Depot & Office Max Gift Card!

Just in time for Back to School shopping, Savings.com is giving away $500 in gift cards from Office Depot & Office Max with the #BTSwithOffice Depot Giveaway!

Giveaway starts on Monday, July 22nd at 12:00 AM PT
Giveaway ends on Friday, August 2nd at 11:59 PM PT

Ten (10) winners will receive a $50 gift card from Office Depot & Office Max.

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

Boiled Green Beans with Parmesan Cheese - Recipe

fresh snapped green beans

I don't know the first thing about tending to a garden but it seems right now's the prime time for green beans.  Friends of ours gave us a large batch and I boiled them after snapping the ends of the beans.  After boiling, I added some ingredients for taste.


Here's a simple, yet delicious, recipe using boiled green beans:

Cook 1 lb. trimmed, fresh green beans in large pot of boiling water until tender.  The cook time for beans will be about 7 minutes.  Drain.

Return beans to pot or a large bowl and coat with avocado oil or olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then coat with parmesan cheese.  

finished product

What is your favorite way to cook and serve green beans?
Do you have a garden?  If so, what are you growing?

Sea Glass Summer - Children's Book Review and Giveaway



author: Michelle Houts
illustrator: Bagram Ibatoulline
age range:  4 yrs - 8 yrs
type/format: Picture Books / Hardback

One summer, a boy named Thomas visits his grandmother at her seaside cottage. She gives him a magnifying glass that once belonged to his grandfather, and with it Thomas explores the beach, turning grains of sand into rocks and dark clamshells into swirling mazes of black, gray, and white. When his grandmother shows him a piece of sea glass, Thomas is transfixed. That night he dreams of an old shipyard and the breaking of a bottle. Could the very piece of sea glass on his nightstand have come from that bottle? For the rest of the summer, he searches for more sea glass and hopes to have dreams that will reveal more of the sea’s secrets. A stunning ode to stories and the seaside, this picture book invites readers to imagine the ocean of possibility that lives in every small or forgotten treasure.

Author Michelle Houts and illustrator Bagram Ibatoulline explore the magic of one of the seaside’s greatest wonders and the bonds that link us through time.



My Review:

This story tells of a boy, Thomas, who stays with his grandma during the summer.  One day Thomas finds a piece of sea glass.  After being told what sea glass is and that there's usually a story behind every piece, Thomas starts to dream of the possible stories this glass holds.  Each piece of glass that he finds transports Thomas to shipyards, storm of the sea, and other possible scenarios.  One day an accident causes Thomas to lose his sea glass and grandfather's magnifying glass.  Although Thomas is sad, a young girl stumbles upon it years later and begins her own cycle of dreams.

Just like antiques and old treasures, sea glass has its own stories to tell.  Even if you don't know the full account, it's nice to think of how the items were used by people before you.  I like how this story encourages children to use their imaginations and insight.  I also like how the reader feels transported back in time to a specific event when Thomas starts dreaming about the sea glass.


Win It!

One person will win a Sea Glass Summer children's book.

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

I received book for review from Candlewick Press.  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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Help Kids Avoid Summer Slide with TurfMutt Environmental Education Program


Summer’s here and kids are enjoying some time off, but it’s important to keep their minds and bodies active. You can help your kids avoid the “summer slide” where kids lose some of their academic gains from the school year, by encouraging your child to participate in the TurfMutt environmental education and stewardship program.

To get involved, go to www.TurfMutt.com, where you will find free downloadable e-books, an online climate game, and activity sheets you can print out and use with children in grades K-8. Built on the character of a real-life rescue dog named Lucky, kids can relate to the character of a dog and his friends, while learning about our living landscapes.

While he’s cartoonized for the website and its educational materials, Lucky is a real-life dog today who has appeared on television and visited elementary school classrooms. Because dogs love to romp outside, kids of all ages can understand why having a living landscape is so important and why we should take care for them.  Lucky can also inspire kids to get outside and get moving.


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.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Walk That Didn't Work As Planned


me taking a walk on the water

About three weeks ago, my friend invited me along for a walk on a nearby trail.  It's one of the nicer places in the area to view and get lost in nature.  We came upon one of the creeks, and being the kids at heart that we are, decided to throw off our shoes and play in the water.

What's wrong, Becky? Little slippery?!

Get a grip, Becky.

I'm sure people passing by thought we'd done lost our minds.  The algae from the water made it slicker than seven eels.  We fell more than we stood.  And we laughed...a lot!  

lone shoe, waiting for its rescue

At one point, Becky lost her balance and a shoe fell out of her hand.  It took off quickly through the rushing waters.  It took a lot of maneuvers and not-so-expert skills to catch the shoe before it made it too far down the creek.



Wet from the water and sweaty from the sun...We survived!

After the stealth recovery, we decided to take the easy way and just walk along the trail.  

The next day, I purchased water socks for the both of us.  Next time we won't be so clumsy when we decide to walk the creek!

Breakthrough - Blu-ray Review

Rated: PG
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: July 16, 2019

Film Overview:

BREAKTHROUGH is based on the inspirational true story of one mother’s unfaltering love in the face of impossible odds. When Joyce Smith’s adopted son, John, falls through an icy Missouri lake, all hope seems lost. But as John lies lifeless, Joyce refuses to give up. Her steadfast belief inspires those around her to continue to pray for John’s recovery, even in the face of every case history and scientific prediction. From producer DeVon Franklin (Miracles from Heaven) and adapted for the screen by Grant Nieporte (Seven Pounds) from Joyce Smith’s own book, BREAKTHROUGH is an enthralling reminder that faith and love can create a mountain of hope, and sometimes even a miracle.


My Review:

When I first saw previews for Breakthrough playing in theaters, I made it clear I would not watch it with others in public.  I knew, almost without a doubt, that I'd be a crying mess and I didn't want complete strangers watching me snot all over myself.  Now that I've seen the movie on Blu-ray in the comfort of my home, I'm glad I watched it alone with a box of Kleenex.

Breakthrough is one of the better Christian films, in my opinion.  It tells of a couple whose adopted son falls through a lake.  Although he gets rescued, the prognosis for recovery is not good.  The parents, especially Joyce, use a strong dose of faith and a lot of prayer for their son.  It goes to show that miracles can, and do happen.  In addition to being a movie about faith in God, this is also a movie about a mother's devout devotion to being an advocate for her son.  She does not let doctors or nurses talk negatively in front of her son, even though he is unable to respond to them.  She works tirelessly to have the best care given to her son, John.

Breakthrough is a movie of inspiration, devotion, faith, and love.

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.

Summer Snacking with Slammers Snacks - Giveaway


Parents know that kids look forward to adventure and fun during the Summer months.  Kids also look foward to an endless assortment of home-baked cookies and sweets.  Although decadent treats and unhealthy foods are okay in moderation, there are options available that are healthier and fun at the same time.

Slammers Snacks are great for those all-day adventures, but even better because there's no crumbs.  Slammer Snacks are tasty, superfood greek yogurt snacks designed to fuel kids with organic fruits and vegetables.  They are a portable, healthy alternative to candy and can be enjoyed frozen, cold, or at room temperature.


Each flavor of Slammers organic snacks introduces kids to fruits such as mangos, acai, yumberries, kiwis, and pomegranates, and serves as a great source of essential vitamins.  Some of the flavors also come packed with seven grams of protein, perfect for active kids.

Slammers come in four squeezable pouches per box.  Some kids balk at fruits and veggies, but the packaging of Slammers is genius enough that kids want to try them.  The pouches have kid-friendly designs, with neat graphics on the front and pictures of the fruits and veggies on the back.  The way they work is that the caps twist off and the kids eat right out of the pouch.  I liken Slammers to having the same consistency of applesauce or pureed food.

All of the ingredients in Slammers come from certified organic farms and contain no added sugar or artificial ingredients.  I think Slammers are a clever way to get kids to eat the good stuff.


Win It!

One person will win a case of Slammers Snacks in choice of flavor.

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

I will receive products in exchange for this post.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.
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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Simple Addiction: Free Leggings with Order


I've made it quite clear that Simple Addiction is definitely an addiction!  I've purchased several of their leggings and graphic tees.  They fit true to size and are quite comfy.

Simple Addiction is a women's online clothing store that is committed to bring you the lowest prices on the hottest boutique items.  They sell much more than leggings and graphic tees; It's just that I have a particular obsession with those.
my life to a tee

Right now, you can receive a free pair of SA Exclusive Leggings with your first purchase by using my exclusive promo code.  This offer is valid until July 26, 2019.

I can't count the number of times I've ordered from Simple Addiction.  I've purchased many pieces for myself, and many as gifts.  If you browse their clearance section, you can find leggings as low as $4.97

two graphic tees I've purchased from Simple Addiction

one of several pair of leggings I own from SA

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

Five More July Winners


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

The winner of the Waiting for Chicken Smith book giveaway is #3, susan1215.

The winner of the Twist-In Treats Dog Toy giveaway is #28, Leela.

The winner of the Tropical Terry children's book giveaway is #1, aperry.

The winners of the Storm Boy Blu-ray giveaway are #17, Ken Ohl and #14, John Smith.

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

Celebrate Summer with Welch's Snacks - Review



Summer travel season is finally here!  Whether you're traveling near or far, keep the family happy with Welch's Fruit Snacks and Fruit Rolls 

Welch's Fruit Snacks are sure to delight your family with the delicious taste and quality that can only be Welch's. Even better, they are available in a varieties such as Tangy Fruits, Island Fruits, Berries N' Cherries, Mixed Fruit, Superfruit, Apple Orchard, and more ideal flavors for on-the-go snacking. (MSRP: 10ct Box with 0.9oz. Pouches / $2.99)

Unroll the fun this summer with Welch's Fruit Rolls! Featuring fruit as the first ingredient, Welch's Fruit Rolls are loved by kids and approved by mom. Flavors include Strawberry, Berry, and Tropical Punch. (MSRP: 6ct Box with 0.75oz roll / $2.99)
Calissa gettin' down on some Welch's Fruit Snacks while watching TV.

From time to time I purchase Welch's Fruit Snacks. They're convenient pre-packaged snacks that can be taken right out of the box and eaten immediately. They are fat-free, gluten-free, and preservative free.  These individually packaged snacks are convenient to take on a summer road trip or serve when kids want a tasty treat to eat. Welch's Fruit Rolls are also purchased quite a bit for my home.   Unrolling the snack and pulling it from the backing is what makes it fun.  Having a lot of family and friends with young kids come over, I've found that Welch's snacks are perfect to keep on hand.


Consider kid-friendly Welch's Fruit Snacks and Welch's Fruit Rolls for summer picnics, road trips, field trips, birthday parties, and more.

Do you have a between one or the other?  Do you prefer the Fruit Snacks or the Fruit Rolls?

JJ came over for a visit and was happy to munch on Welch's Fruit Snacks.

I received products for review from Welch's.  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.

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 179


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 179. 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.

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.
–Ephesians 5:1

Monday, July 15, 2019

FOCO Sports and Entertainment Merchandise - Review and Giveaway


I live in Central IL and, for the most part, you root for one of two baseball teams: The St. Louis Cardinals or the Chicago Cubs.  Both rivals razz each other quite often. My step-daughter, Juliann, is a BIG Cardinals fan.  She's been to several games and owns a lot of branded merchandise.  Don't bother her when the game comes on!

Imagine how stoked she was when she received two more St. Louis Cardinals branded pieces from FOCO, a leading manufacturer of sports and entertainment merchandise.  Their product line includes includes apparel, accessories, toys, collectibles, novelty items, and more. FOCO's journey began in 1998 and they've always been a community of fans with a shared goal of helping people let their inner fan shine. 


If you're a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals (or practically any other sports team), you'll find a neat variety of merchandise sporting the team's name or logo.  For instance, Juliann was super excited when she got two new bags representing her favorite baseball team.  The St Louis Cardinals Nautical Stripe Tote Bag is perfect to take on travel or to the beach.  It has plenty of room to hold several belongings and an interior metal clasp to secure the bag close.  The handles are made of white rope, and it's an officially licensed bag.


The St Louis Cardinals Printed Collection Mini Backpack is great to use when you don't have a lot to carry.  It's perfect for most venues that will let you bring in small bags, but not large ones.  The straps are adjustable and there's exterior zippered compartments.  

If sports aren't you're thing but you're into collectible figurines, FOCO has you covered in that area too.  For instance, the company carries bobbleheads and Eekeez Figurines.  All Eekeez collectibles are handcrafted and hand painted, and made to look like realistic wood carvings.



Win It!

One person will win a Pennywise IT '1990' Eekeez Figurine (ARV $15).

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

I received products for review from FOCO.  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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Baby Magic Summertime Must-haves for Baby

You’re on your summer vacation, relaxing at the beach and your baby is fussing! A red-faced, crying baby can put parents in a panic! Baby Magic wants to help parents and babies everywhere feel cool, calm and collected with the help of its brand new products- perfect for summer.

 Baby Magic’s Multi-Purpose Hydrogel Patch and 3-in-1 Wipes will clean up and cool down your baby in no time. No more fussy baby = happy and relaxed parents all summer long! Find more info on Baby Magic’s summertime must-haves below.

Multi-Purpose Hydrogel Patch:

o   Perfect for relieving discomfort from sunburn, rash, fever and overheating

o   Pouch contains two rectangle, customizable patches

o   Helps restore rough, extra-dry skin

o   Dye-free, paraben-free, & steroid-free

o   Pro-Tip: Mom (and dad!) can use to soothe adult skin woes, as well, making these patches a dual threat!

o   $3.49



3-in-1 Wipes:

o   72 Count; About 1.5x more wipes than competitors

o    For use on face, hands, and body

o    Suitable for sensitive skin

o    pH balanced

o   $3.49

I received products from Baby Magic in exchange for this post.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Cool Off This Summer With My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream - Review


Summer is here, and while the weather keeps getting hotter, you may need something to keep you cool! Enter My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream – the perfect on-the-go snack that is sure to cool you off in the hot summer heat.  From pool parties to barbeques, My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream is not only a refreshing snack, but also makes entertaining fun and easy.

Erica eating a Cookies & Cream My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream

Before receiving boxes of My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream for review, I had noticed an individual cooler filled with the ice cream snacks at a local County Market.  It looked interesting but I wasn't so sure I'd like it.  Now that I've tried it, I can say it's an affirmative that I do.

Paysli and Ryli getting ready to snack on My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream

My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream is a colorful snack made with a scoop of premium ice cream wrapped in pillowy rice dough. At just 110 calories per ball, it is the perfect poppable, portion-controlled summer snack. Offering a mix of flavors such as Cookies & Cream, Sweet Mango and Double Chocolate, as well as new innovative Triple Layer flavors like Vanilla Blueberry, Dulce de Leche and S'mores, there is something for everyone, My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream is also available in gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan flavors.

what a tray of My/Mo Mochi ice cream looks like

I've been having a lot of people over for evening dinners and bonfires quite a bit lately.  My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream is perfect to serve to guests as a dessert or treat.  Each box comes with a tray of six individual ice cream snacks.  They look almost like muffins.  The first one I tried was a new sensation to my taste buds.  I've never had ice cream wrapped with a pillow of rice dough.  It was definitely a new flavor experience.  But I really liked it!  And so have the other people who've tried them as well.  It's been a whole new experience to our palates and it's even sparked some conversation on how odd, yet how tasteful, this kind of ice cream is.  

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.

Ugly Dolls Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack - Giveaway



SING AND DANCE TOGETHER WITH THE LOVABLE CHARACTERS FROM
THE ANIMATED MUSICAL ADVENTURE OF THE YEAR
WITH THE ALL-NEW SING-ALONG EDITION!

UGLYDOLLS

SHOWCASING AN ALL-STAR CAST LED BY MUSIC SUPERSTARS KELLY CLARKSON,
NICK JONAS, JANELLE MONÁE, BLAKE SHELTON AND PITBULL

AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL JULY 16, 2019
AND ON BLU-RAY™ AND DVD JULY 30, 2019
FROM UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT


Unconventionality rules in UglyDolls, the fun and quirky animated musical debuting on Digital on July 16, 2019 and on Blu-rayTM Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand on July 30, 2019 from STXfilms and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Centered around the adorably unique town of Uglyville, the film follows Moxy and her friends as they confront what it means to be different and discover that you don’t have to be perfect to be amazing. Inspired by the global plush phenomenon and based on the UglyDoll characters created by David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim, UglyDolls is filled with colorful and adorable characters and packed with powerful messages of inclusion and empowerment. Join the fun and keep the party going with the music-filled comedy on Blu-rayTM, DVD and Digital showcasing an exclusive, all-new sing-along edition and stuffed with exciting bonus features allowing fans everywhere to dive deeper into the world of Uglyville.

Featuring a star-studded voice cast including Kelly Clarkson (The Star, “The Voice”), Nick Jonas (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), Janelle Monáe (Hidden Figures, Rio 2), Blake Shelton (The Angry Birds Movie, “The Voice”), Pitbull (“Empire,” Epic), Wanda Sykes (“Black-ish,” Bad Moms) and Gabriel Iglesias (Ferdinand), the humorous and heartwarming film comes home with vibrant bonus content such as featurettes that reveal how the talented cast brought their characters to life, hilarious games with the cast and a sneak peek of the exclusive sing-along edition’s interactive entertainment.

In Uglyville, weird is celebrated, strange is special and beauty is embraced as more than simply meets the eye. When Moxy (Clarkson) and the UglyDolls discover Perfection, a town where dolls are seen through a strict model of attractiveness, they confront what it means to be different, struggle with their desire to be loved, and ultimately discover that you don’t have to be perfect to be amazing. Directed by Kelly Asbury (Smurfs: The Lost Village, Shrek 2) and featuring original songs performed by Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton and Pitbull, UglyDolls is “a movie you’ll want to watch again, and again!” (Naz Perez, Fandango).


BONUS FEATURES on BLU-RAYTM, DVD AND DIGITAL
Sing-Along Edition
Sing Along Tease – A small taste of the big fun the Sing-Along Edition provides.
Fun with the Cast of UglyDolls – Watch the cast of UglyDolls play fun games that showcase their unique talents.
Making UglyDolls – A closer look at the music behind the film and the talented voice cast that brings these rich characters to life.
Theatrical Trailers

Win It!

One person will win an Ugly Dolls Blu-ray/ DVD Combo Pack.

*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.
a Rafflecopter giveaway