Thursday, May 19, 2022

Royal Trivia: Your Guide to the Modern British Royal Family - Book Review and Giveaway

Book Overview:

Test your knowledge of the British royal family—from fun facts like the names of the Queen’s corgis, to the heartbreaking story of the late Princess Diana—with this ultimate trivia book perfect for fans of The Crown or anyone royally obsessed! 

From Queen Elizabeth II to Prince George, there’s a lot of news to keep up with regarding the royal family. This fantastic compendium of fascinating facts and stories about the British monarchy will keep you in the know about your favorite modern royals. From iconic weddings, fashion moments, philanthropic events, and the birth of new royals, this book has the latest and most interesting tidbits perfect for any enthusiast. Inside you’ll find the royal scoop, including:

The official line of succession to the throne
The royal family’s favorite designers and artists
Amazing details about coronations, weddings, and other ceremonies
Jaw-dropping facts about the Crown Jewels
And much more!

Print Length: 280 pages
Publication Date: December 21, 2021

My Review:

I'll be the first to admit I'm not a fangirl of the Royal Family.  That doesn't mean I'm not interested; It means I don't know the "ins and outs" of how it all works.  This small hardcover book has enlightened me on how the system operates and who is responsible for what.  In Royal Trivia you'll learn things such as why the queen stopped wearing the Imperial State Crown in 2016, why it took so many months for Princess Diana and Prince Charles to come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce, to why Prince Harry broke tradition on his wedding day to what he wore.  The book is broke down into different parts, from The Cambridges to the Sussexes to the Queen.  Although I'm not a Royals fanatic, I found all the information to be quite interesting and informative.

Win It!

One person will win a hardcover book copy of Royal Trivia: Your Guide to the Modern British Royal Family.

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Merle's Pearls and Book Giveaway Winners

Since I have a number of giveaways going on right now and quite a few coming up, I thought I'd start posting winners again.

The winner of the Merle's Pearls giveaway is #8, Tracy R.

The winners of the Whitney Wins Everything book giveaway are:

#6  Maryann D.

#12 Meghan B.

#15 sunshinehdfan

#1  aperry

#18 Julie W.

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all who entered.  I have several giveaways coming up and a couple going on right now.  Be sure to enter to win!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

My Mark Twain Cave Visit

entrance to the gift shop 
Right behind it is where the entrance to the tour starts

On May 1st, my niece and I went to Hannibal, MO and visited several of the Mark Twain museums.  While there, we also took a tour through the Mark Twain Cave.  I've been a couple of times in the past but it'd been several years.  The times I went before, people were only allowed to take pictures in one specific spot.  This time, people were able to take as many pictures as they wanted.  So, you bet I did!

The Mark Twain Cave tour is based upon both factual history and fiction inspired Mark Twain’s famous work, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  A tour guide takes you through the hour-long walk and weaves both the fiction and non-fiction together.  There are also several interesting stops along the route.

Mark Twin Cave was discovered in 1819.  Although you can't go through the initial discovery spot, visitors can see where it is located.  This is Missouri’s oldest show cave, containing 260 passageways.  Not all passageways are accessible on the tour, but the hour-long tour still takes you on several of them.

Here's some fun facts regarding the cave:

1.  Bats used to be quite plentiful and visitors will notice blackened spots on the cave ceiling where bats used to hang out.  There are still a few here and there but you'll rarely see a bat now due to all the people that travel through.

2.  The cave is 52 degrees year-round and some of the passageways are electrically lit so visitors can see.  There is one spot during the tour where the guide turns out all the lights so you can get an idea of how dark it really is.

3.  Norman Rockwell rendered a Tom and Becky painting while actually painting in the cave. 

bat markings

4.  There are several autographs that line the cave walls.  Before the cave became a National Landmark, people would use soot or sharpened tools to put their names and dates on the walls.  Very few "autographs" are past 1972 and that's because it's now illegal to add any writing to the walls unless given special permission.

5.  Jessie James signed his name in the Mark Twain Cave which is dated September 22, 1879, sixteen days before he robbed a train in Independence.  Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) also signed his name in the cave many years ago but it was only recently discovered in 2019.  Both names have been authenticated.

6.  Joseph Nash McDowell bought the cave in 1847 and was the owner during Mark Twain’s childhood. He is infamous for putting his recently deceased daughter into a copper cylinder and placing the cylinder in the back of his cave hoping to further his theory of human petrification. When Hannibal residents learned of this act, they begged him to remove her and bury her as was deemed proper.

The red line marks the path that visitors take

The Mark Twain Cave is a stop I highly recommend.  It's visually astonishing and quite the learning experience about the cave itself and about Becky Thatcher/Tom Sawyer.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Blue's Clues and You! Let's Learn With Blue - DVD Giveaway

lue into lots of play-along learning with Blue and Josh in the brand-new DVD release, Blue’s Clues & You! Let’s Learn With Blue. Available on May 24, 2022, kids will search for Blue’s Clues while playing active skill-building games along the way to help them learn their ABCs, 123s, colors, and science in four play-to-learn episodes.

 Blue’s Clues & You! Let’s Learn With Blue will be available on DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment and Nickelodeon Home Entertainment on May 24, 2022, for the suggested retail price of $10.99.

 Blue’s Clues & You! Let’s Learn With Blue episodes:

ABCs with Blue

123s with Blue

Science with Blue

Colors Everywhere with Blue

 Blue’s Clues & You! Let’s Learn With Blue synopsis:

Join Blue, Josh, and their friends for clue-filled learning games! First, Blue will help kids learn their ABCs … and practice letter recognition and sound too. Next up, Josh is COUNTING on preschoolers to help him with his 123s as he counts Blue Dollars and figures out what Blue wants to buy at the store. By asking kids direct questions like he always does, Josh invites them to learn about science: examining the world through a magnifying glass, meeting the Sun, and learning the Planets Song too. And preschoolers will learn clue into colors and even color mixing as they help Josh and Blue paint a picture of their friends. Kids will love to learn and play the Blue’s Clues & You! way!

 Blue’s Clues & You! Blue’s Big Baking Show fast facts:

Street Date: May 24, 2022

Catalog: 19132922048 (US), 191329220498 (CN)

Running Time: 1 hr 30 min

Win It!

One person will win Blue's Clues and You! Let's Learn With Blue on DVD.

*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

Summer's Eve Active Line - Review

I don't consider myself an exercise enthusiast by any stretch of the imagination.  But, I would consider myself active.  I keep busy and am on the move quite often.  I also spend a lot of time outdoors, especially during weekends.  I don't mind being in the heat but I'm one of those gals that perspire from every pore of my body.  If the sun's out, I'll start sweating like a cow in a slaughterhouse.   That's why the Summer's Eve Active Line is perfect for me.  The products help keep me feeling fresh and cleansed.

Summer’s Eve Active Cleansing Wash elevates freshness and keeps feminine areas feeling their best. This wash features a blending of cooling oils helping to relieve you of sweat-induced discomfort.  I keep a bottle of this in my camper shower and use it after being outside for most of the day.  The wash contains a blend of eucalyptus and mint essential oils.

These individually wrapped cloths are made with Acti-Cool, a blend of eucalyptus and mint essential oils to deliver a cooling and refreshing burst of freshness.  I keep a few in my purse at all times and use them when I start to break out in a sweat.  They're quite handy and help cool my skin.

For those who experience leggings or running shorts induced chafe, you no longer have to say no to a workout due to discomfort! Summer’s Eve Active Chafe Gel goes on clear, is safe for daily use and can be used on inner thighs, bikini area, under the tatas and underarms.  This small tube of gel goes a long way and has been a saving grace at times when the underside of my jugs start to get dank from the heat.

The Summer's Eve Active Line helps me feel fresher and a whole lot less grimy and sticky from sweat.

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.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Elda's Kitchen Sauces - Review and Giveaway

Parmesan green beans with almonds and caramelized onion, smothered in Korean Style Sesame sauce

With almost every meal that we cook, we add spices and sauces.  Sometimes it's what's called for in recipes and sometimes it's just whatever we feel like adding in to give our meals extra flavor.  Our pantry has no shortage of sauces or spices and we always like to try different varieties.  

 Almost all of our meat is seasoned in some way, shape, or form when we cook.  The sauces from Elda's Kitchen that I received for review were all delicious and added extra tasty flavor to our food.

grilled chicken legs glazed with Kentucky Bourbon sauce

Elda’s Kitchen sauces are small batch, artisan-made sauces that are vegan friendly, gluten-free, verified non-GMO and contain no preservatives, msg or high fructose corn syrup, so you can grill (or cook) without the guilt!

Did you know that May is actually National Egg Month? Elda's Kitchen has a scrumptious Garlic and Herb Quiche and other great breakfast recipes…along with dozens of grilling recipes, snacks, dinners and more.  You can use Elda's Kitchen sauces for your own dishes that you create, or go to her recipe section to get inspiration and ideas.

Elda's Kitchen has over a dozen different sauces available.  All of the sauces are versatile, meaning they taste good in many eatables.  My personal favorite is Garlic & Herb, especially when it's used to marinate chicken.  My husband is very keen on the Theo's Steakhouse sauce and likes how the mesquite flavor blends well with meats.  Elda's Kitchen sauces have made the way to our dinner plates several times now and will continue to do so. 

Win It!

One person will win a variety pack of sauces from Elda's Kitchen.

*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.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

My April Amazon Prime Purchases

my mud boots

April was a busy month for Amazon.  I purchased quite a bit from there.  Here are just a few of the items I ordered:

K KomForme Women's Waterproof Rain Boots

I'm going on vacation with a friend in a couple of weeks to Arkansas.  We will be spending time hiking, exploring, and digging in dirt.  I bought these boots to wear when I'm in muddy areas.

I'm hosting a baby shower in June for my oldest son and his lady.  They own a Corgi dog that's spoiled rotten.  I purchased these bandanas as a gift to the pup.  He's gonna make a great "big brother".

Several years ago I went through 'Experiencing God' with a ladies group from church.  There's "homework" for every day in this 13-week study about knowing and doing the will of God.  My husband has participated in this study three times and just recently completed a full session. I  just purchased four more of these books.  Myself, along with my husband and two friends, are going to go through it together on Saturday mornings at camp.  You know it's a good book when Jason's willing to go through it for a fourth time!

I needed a new blanket like I need a hole in the head.  I've already got my fair share, but this one caught my eye.  It's fairly lightweight but oh-so-soft and keeps me warm.  It's my new "napping blanket".

My son, Adam, is 22 years old.  That's old enough not to need an Easter basket.  But he pointed me the other direction when he jokingly posted on FB that he was gonna call the police if he didn't get anything for Easter.  So, what's a mom to do with that "threat"?!  I made the right choice and ordered this shirt and a big bag of Easter candy for him.  I had to have it shipped to his addy in Ohio.  So he did, in fact, get something for Easter and didn't have to call the police!

I'm not 100% in love with this foundation but I've purchased it three times now, so there must be something that keeps drawing me to it.  I don't like that I can't purchase the foundation without the brush (I'm starting to get a collection of them) and the foundation itself has a somewhat dense/weighty feel on the skin.  I do like the color and how it blends with my skin tone, and it gives great coverage.

Do you recommend any Air Brush Foundation brands that work for you?

Have you gotten any fun or handy Amazon purchases lately?

Monday, May 2, 2022

My Visit To Mark Twain Museums

 I only live half an hour from Hannibal, Missouri and pass through there often.  But, I'd never visited the museums that surround the history of Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain).  My niece and I decided to take a tour of them last Sunday.  There are seven museums total, all within walking distance of each other.

Becky Thatcher's House

The seven places we visited were the Interpretive Center, Huckleberry Finn House, Mark Twain Boyhood Home, Becky Thatcher House, J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office, Grant's Drug Store, and Museum Gallery (the best out of them all).

a Tom Sawyer outfit from a representative back in the day

Some of the museums took longer than others.  A handful were just room showings and a few signs to read.  Others were more interactive.

Fun fact:  Every year middle-school kids try out for Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher.  Five of each are winners every year to represent their hometown in-state and out-of-state.  It takes an extensive interview, an essay, and a 120 question exam to be in the running.

Another fun fact: Samuel Clemens had a son who died at the age of 19 months old.  He had a bust made out of his face.

I said NO to the dress!

At the Museum Gallery, visitors can try on period clothing.  Unfortunately, it didn't fit me very well.

Ashley in a stagecoach that played a time-period showing.

I feel like the entire experience was interesting and learned a lot about Samuel Clemens.  I feel like there could've been more in each museum, to heighten the participation and exposure but am glad I went at least once.

Friday, April 29, 2022


Although the campground I frequent is now open for the season, the pool won't be open for another couple weeks.  When it does open, I know I'll be among many ready to swim and play in the water.  

As an adult I'm always excited about things that light up, so I can only imagine how young ones see the wonder in it.  Starlux Games Dive Diamonds are game pieces that light up and go underwater.  Kids (and adults) can use the Dive Diamonds to play games in the pool.  For instance, the person to find and grab all three pieces wins.  

I received a sample piece of the three Dive Diamonds.  The gems are made of hard plastic and are crafted to land upright.  I know it's a light-up water toy for younger kids, but I can see the appeal for adults as well.  It's such a simple gadget, yet so fun.  I can't wait for the kids (and myself) to play with it in the campground pool.

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.

Precious Moments: Free Mug with Purchase

There’s no time to waste! Mother's Day is nearly upon us and Precious Moments has a deal for you!  They are offering a free mug with the purchase of $25 or more. Their selection of unique Mother’s Day gifts, including figurines, garden gifts, and Disney-themed gifts, are the perfect way to celebrate and share precious moments with moms everywhere.

Promotion Details

Coupon code: FORMOM

Offer: Free Mom mug with any purchase of $25 or more

Value: $16.00

Ends: 5/8/22

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

Monday, April 25, 2022

Petmate: 20% Off Arm & Hammer Pet Products

20% Off Arm & Hammer products with code SPRING20 at 4/22-4/28/22.

20% Off Arm & Hammer with code SPRING20 (4/22-4/28) at Petmate.

Pet products to keep life fresh, including dispensers, disposable waste bags, litter boxes and pooper scoopers.

T&C's: Code SPRING20 valid for 20% off Arm & Hammer products at 4/22-4/28/2022 11:59pm CST. One use per customer only. Not valid on sale items, previous purchases or when combined with other offers.

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

Whitney Wins Everything - Children's Book Review and Giveaway

Book Overview:

From the author of the beloved children's book Milo Does Not Like Mornings comes the highly anticipated second book in the Tiny Ninja Books collection; Whitney Wins Everything.

Whitney is an athlete, a competitor, a powerhouse. Whitney loves to win and knows that everybody loves a winner. But when she isn't invited to a classmate's birthday party because she'll "win all the games," Whitney is confused. Now, Whitney wonders if her Tiny Ninja might be right, could there actually be more than one way to win?  Find out in Whitney Wins Everything.

Every book in the Tiny Ninja Books collection centers on the idea that we are each born with our own Tiny Ninja who is the very best version of us; brave, strong, compassionate and kind. Our Tiny Ninjas are always there for us, all we have to do is listen.

Product Details:

Price: $10.99
Publisher: Gatekeeper Press
Publish Date: April 05, 2022
Pages: 44

My Review:

I'm surrounded by toddlers and tikes in my family, some who are into sports.  I believe that everyone should try their best, but I also believe that playing sports and games should be fun first and foremost.  It's amazing to win, and accolades should be given.  But it's not the be all, end all.

With illustrations that are cutesy and engaging, Whitney Wins Everything tells the tale of a little girl who's a pro at everything she does.  Whitney is the best of the best and is very proud of it.  But, she thinks that everything should be a win/win situation and she accepts nothing less.  A friend doesn't want to invite her to a birthday party because she's afraid Whitney will be too competitive.

Whitney's "Tiny Ninja" (an angel on your shoulder, of sorts) lets Whitney know that winning is good, but it's not the end of the world if she loses.  Whitney plays a soccer game and ends up letting another teammate get the goal.  She's then invited to the birthday party.  In the end, Whitney learns that the world doesn't revolve around her and she can still have a good time, win or lose.

I love the message this story conveys and think it's a story with valuable points.  There's even pages where kids can interact and try to find "Tiny Ninjas" in the illustrations.

Win It!

Five winners will win a Whitney Wins Everything paperback 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.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Heck Of An Easter - 2022

our decorated eggs

 For the last couple years we've kind of gotten away with doing the traditional family meal for Easter.   Immediate and extended family get together for other holidays, but not recently with Easter.  Jason and I spent the holiday with friends at Woodyz Acres Campground in Missouri.

just me, on a Friday night

Friday night several of us adults decorated Easter eggs using the  Bunny EggMazing Egg Decorator.  I know it's geared towards children, but we had a blast with it.  So fun, and super easy.  The next day we peeled the eggs and used them for deviled eggs.  Then I lost a bunch of my quarters playing Left Center Right.

Ginny and Henry's Easter baskets, all stuff from Dollar General

Saturday started off with an Easter egg hunt for the kids.  We threw out over 1000 eggs for kids to find.  Some had candy, while others had prize slips for plush bunnies, and filled Easter baskets.  Allyson brought over Henry and Ginny to participate, then brought them to our camper to get baskets from me and Jason.

Allyson and Henry

We then gathered at our friend's camper for a large meal.  Approximately 15 of us gathered for the feast.  We had smoked ham, potato salad, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, corn casserole, strawberry fluff salad, cupcakes, bacon-wrapped asparagus, and deviled eggs.

my plate of delicious food

Later that evening, several of us spent what seemed like eternity trying to stuff plastic eggs with glow sticks.  It was definitely not the easiest thing in the world to do.  Kids then went on a hunt for the glow stick eggs.

Jessica helping fill the umpteen eggs with glow sticks

Sunday morning was cold (like the rest of the weekend) but 12 of us got together for an Easter church service put on by my husband.  It was held outdoors at the Mark Twain Amphitheater with a beautiful backdrop of nature.  (Fun Fact: The Amphitheater is now no longer in use and is owned by the campground but it used to be a thriving place for people to sit outdoors near the lake and watch a reenactment of Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher).

With that, we at leftovers with friends then went home and took a nap.

How was your Easter?

Friday, April 22, 2022

Merle Norman Merle's Pearls - Review and Giveaway

I'm by no means a beauty expert and couldn't even tell you how to create a perfect smoky eye. I could definitely use pointers on correct makeup application. I do, however, wear makeup almost every day. I've tried many, many brands and shades. I like to experiment with different colors. Although I'm not qualified to explain how to flawlessly apply makeup, I think I'm fairly well-versed in which brands are worth the buy.  I've been a fan of Merle Norman Cosmetics for a while now and was excited to try their Merle's Pearls.  

Merle's Pearls are a gorgeous, limited edition pearl collection which delivers a dreamy, translucent satin finish when dusted over any skin tone. The Gift Set includes Italian-made multicolored Powder Pearls in a jewel faceted jar and angled Powder Brush.  A magical swirl of sparkle exactly embodies the essence of Merle Norman.  Merle's Pearls are available while supplies last in Studios and on the website. SRP is $54.

Let's face it, we buy makeup for the product itself.  But, it's always a bonus if it's packaged and presented beautifully.  Merle's Pearls come in a red gift box with a red bow on top.  The packaging gives an impression of elegance and quality.

There's something about that healthy summer glow that has us feeling fabulous. But when seasons change we lose that sun kissed look and need a little boost.  Merle's Pearls deliver a translucent satin finish when dusted over any skin tone.  To apply, all you need to do is swirl the powder brush over the pearls then apply to your face.  Using Merle's Pearls gives my facial profile a nice, subtle glow.  It isn't weighty and gives my face a summery, polished look.  

Win It!

One person will win Merle Norman Merle's Pearls. (ARV $54)

*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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway