Sunday, September 30, 2018

Check It Out: Domino's Social Media Giveaway

The only thing better than a chance at free pizza, is a chance at free pizza for a year! Domino’s is partnering with Quikly, a Detroit startup, for a fun giveaway designed to surprise Domino’s fans. Fans can register for the giveaway, and fans who have registered will receive a text message or email with a link to the giveaway site – the faster fans click through, the better their reward will be.

Domino’s will be giving one lucky recipient free pizza for a year! In addition, they’ll give more e-gift cards to 35,000 other fans.

Customers can share details of the giveaway with their friends through Facebook, Twitter and email for a chance to receive a “heads up” notice of when the Quikly offering will go live. The “heads up” notice will be awarded to those customers whose friends also register for the giveaway.

The promotion will go live sometime before October 6th, so get ready to move fast! Once it starts it's first come, first serve and the biggest rewards go first.

Me and other bloggers hanging out with Domino's President and CEO, Patrick Doyle, in 2014

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

My First Book of Basketball - Review and Giveaway

Book Overview:

My First Book of Basketball, the sixth book in the best-selling Rookie Book series from Sports Illustrated Kids, coaches young kids through the game of basketball with a visual retelling of a professional basketball game—from the jump ball to the game-winning basket! Dribbling, passing, traveling, shooting, dunks, and more are all explained using a fun mix of Sports Illustrated action photography, simple text, a full glossary of terms, and awesome graphics. Illustrated "Rookie" characters—a girl, Gabby, and a boy, Sprat—appear on every page, providing fun facts and simple explanations to help kids better understand the game. Perfect for emerging readers from preschool up, My First Book of Basketball is meant to be a shared reading experience between parents and their little rookies before, during, and after the game.

My Review:

A hardcover book that's being released October 9th, My First Book of Basketball explains the basics of the sport in a fascinating and understandable way.

Did you know that the game is divided into four quarters that are 12 minutes long?
Or that if one player makes too much contact with another, the referee will blow the whistle and call a foul?
Or even that anytime there’s a break in play, a new player can come onto the floor and replace a teammate?
You'll learn that and more in this book about basketball.

I confess I know a little about basketball but not all the technicalities, so I admittedly thought this book was interesting (even if it was written for the younger crowd).  The realistic pictures of people playing the game, coupled with the cartoon characters and thought bubbles, make this book engaging and interesting.  

Win It!

One person will win My First Book of Basketball.

*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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Perfect Pet Costumes at

Okay, there's some time to go before October 31st, but trust me... nothing feels better than getting that Halloween shopping done early! has a huge selection of the coolest characters, funniest puns, and pet costumes.

I have one dog (a Lab/Pit mix) and two cats.  I'm debating on which pet costumes would look best on them this Halloween.  Here are a few of my faves for the dog:

Helen is a mostly black dog so I'm not sure how well she'll be seen in this Batgirl Pet Costume but I'd almost be willing to chance it.  She'll look like the hero that she is.

I'm a fan of Halloween and horror movies, so this Dog Deadly Doll Costume is right up my alley.

I think Helen's pretty smart, so it'd be genius to dress her up in this Al-bark Einstein Pet Costume.

I could always put on one of my 9-1-1 Dispatcher work shirts and dress Helen up in the K-9 Police Car Costume.  We'd make a perfect pair.

Which of the four do you think Helen would look best in this Halloween?
Do you dress your pets up in costume?

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

All New: Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures!

“Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie” Overview

When a mischievous little rally car called Ace passes through Sodor on a race around the world, Thomas is inspired to embark on his own ambitious trip. Travelling full steam ahead across five continents, Thomas discovers magnificent new sights and experiences exciting places and cultures. Along the way, he makes friends with an inspiring and fun Kenyan engine called Nia. With so much for Thomas to learn about the world, will Nia be successful in teaching him a lesson about the true meaning of friendship? Featuring a world of wonder, curiosity and amazing animal friends, join Thomas on an epic adventure, fulfilling his dream of seeing the world!

On September 7th, Thomas the Tank Engine left behind the Island of Sodor to explore the world in his all- new movie “Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures!”  In the film, Thomas will travel further than ever before, making new international friends, learning new ideas, and discovering new cultures.

In addition to the new movie, “Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Series” made its debut on September 17th.  This all-new redeveloped series comes with exciting new features, from new locations and a gender-inclusive Steam Team, to new formatting seeing Thomas breaking the fourth wall, speaking directly to the audience and inviting kids along for the adventures! The series is also about to get serious about female empowerment as they welcome a new engine all the way from Kenya named Nia, who is the absolute equal of Thomas the Tank Engine and the other male engines populating the Island of Sodor.  She’s independent, a great problem solver and fast learner, who is also a real optimist with a great sense of fun.  Additionally, along with the revamped series comes new music and an all new theme song that little engineers are sure to love. The new music is now streaming on Spotify.

With the release of "Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures!" comes new toys.  A couple of the new Train Sets are the Twisting Tornado Set and the Mine Collapse Set.  New Engines include Thomas, James, and Spencer.  Runaway Stephen and Nia & the Elephant are part of the Greatest Moments Collection.  Railway tracks can also be purchased in sets. 

I hosted a Thomas & Friends viewing party with a few of the littler kiddos in my family.  Already being fans of Thomas the Tank Engine and all his friends, they were excited to see the new movie and a few episodes of the new series.  Already building on parts of what fans are familiar with, viewers can experience the world of Thomas & Friends with more humor and new characters.  Three new characters are Ace the Racer, a rally car from Australia and Nia, a female engine from Africa and Rebecca, an engine from Sodor.  

I received 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.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Fourteen Years Doing the 9-1-1 Thing

Earlier in the month I passed the 14 year mark as a 9-1-1 Dispatcher.  In my employment I'm responsible, among many other things, for dispatching police, fire, sheriff, and ambulance agencies.  I'm also responsible for taking calls from the public and screening them for what emergency has occurred. 

I've heard it all - crazy, insane, and mundane.  Everything from a son who's found his suicidal father dead in the garage to a guy who had his junk super glued to his leg.  Ahh, the stories I could tell....but won't.

I'm often confronted with "Bet you have a lot of crazy stories."  Yeah...and no.  There comes a point in time when a person in my profession has to detach themselves.  If I became personally involved with all the calls, I'd be bat shit crazy.  If I've heard about one bar fight, I've heard them all.  If I've dispatched one ambulance for a motor vehicle accident, I've done it a thousand times.  

Don't get me wrong, I do care.  Just not enough to make it personal.  

Of the 14 years, I've worked the midnight shift for all but two of those.  Our shift isn't the busiest, but it produces the most in-progress, high-crime calls.  At this point in the game, I have the choice to move to another shift but I'm content with being on the "dark side of the moon".  

Do I think I'll retire as a 9-1-1 Dispatcher?  I don't know.  I didn't think I'd be in it for this long.  I don't love the job, but I don't not love it.  It's a part of who I am.  An identity.  A decent paycheck.  And a way to make a difference sometimes. 

No Postage Necessary - Blu-ray Giveaway

An Uplifting Film About Second Chances at Love and Life
Coming to Blu-ray and DVD October 2, 2018
Now Available for Digital Download

Hot on the heels of its trailblazing Blockchain release, Two Roads Picture Co. have announced that indie dramedy No Postage Necessary, will be available on Blu-ray and DVD October 2, 2018. An ardent tribute to love and redemption, No Postage Necessary is “a sweet and heartfelt movie” (Mind on Movies) to which audiences can immediately relate, suggesting no one is as good nor as bad as we think and that we can chose to change our own destiny. The Blu-ray comes filled with behind the scenes bonus content, while both the DVD and Blu-ray editions feature the music video for film track “Talk About Love” -performed by No Postage Necessary star Charleene Closshey.

About the Film:

Wrong decisions seem apparent for Sam (Blagden), a convicted computer hacker, whose single, jaded and barred from using the Internet. Forced to crash on his brother's couch, he makes ends meet by working at the local Twistee Treat and stealing mail while disguised as a postal worker. Then, a single pink envelope changes everything. Handwritten by a heartsick Josie (Closshey) to her late husband and fallen Marine, the tender missive awakens something in Sam. Desperate to be worthy of such love, he conspires to meet the beautiful, young war widow, longing to become a better man. As the two grow closer, she warms to the idea of a new chance at love, but not before Sam's past comes knocking in the form of an FBI agent looking for missing bitcoins.

Win It!

One person will win No Postage Necessary on Blu-ray.

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

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I will receive product in exchange for this post.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Soft Kitty Hooded Kigurumi One Piece Pajama - @TvStoreOnline Review

TV Store Online feeds your TV and movie obsession with its classic TV and movie shirts and memorabilia. You'd be hard pressed not to find a tshirt or memorabilia featuring one of your favored shows or movies.  With Halloween coming up, be sure to check out TV Store Online for costumes.  The website is one of the largest online retailers today of Halloween costumes.  Some of their costumes have been featured on The Today Show, Live with Kelly and Ryan, Good 
Morning America, and the Ellen Show.  

Almost everyone has a TV show or movie that they spout off as their favorite. I have a list of movies and shows that I declare top choice, with The Big Bang Theory being one of them.  That's why I chose to receive the Soft Kitty Hooded Kigurumi One Piece Pajama from TV Store Online.  

Officially licensed, this pajama is fashioned after Soft Kitty.  Sing along Sheldon's lullaby sick song with me: 

"Soft kitty, Warm kitty, Little ball of fur, happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr."

Made of 100% polyester, this one piece pajama is made in the style of Japanese onesies, also known as Kigurumis.  They are made to be loose fitting.  I can wear the one piece pajama on its own, or there's plenty of room to pile on clothes underneath.  It can be worn as a pair of pajamas or as a costume.  I plan on doing both.  It is super comfortable and super cute, if I do say so myself.   

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.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Get Crafty with Craft Blocks from Hy-Lite - Review

I'll be the first to admit I'm not ultra crafty.  A project has to be somewhat simple for me to fully accomplish.  I've never tried my hand with glass blocks but have seen some beautiful decor made with them.  Acrylic craft blocks are a durable, lightweight alternative to traditional glass blocks.  Hy-Lite® offers durable acrylic block Craft Blocks for both children and adults to create imaginative, unique gifts and decorations.  The lightweight clear wave acrylic blocks are made in the U.S.A. and offer a safe, break-resistant way to create projects for all ages.

Jason stuffing flowers inside a Craft Block

 Each Craft Block comes in a standard eight-inch by eight-inch square size and is three-inches wide. The blocks are fitted with a one-and-one-half-inch sized access holes and have a reusable rubber seal, making it easy to add items inside the Craft Block.  There are many things that can be made with a Craft Block, including memory boxes and banks.  If it can fit in the access hole, it's good to go!

I went to the Dollar Tree and purchased a variety of fake flowers, along with dragonfly accessories.  I also bought purple string lights and glass pebbles.  Jason and I worked on the project for about an hour, and was able to complete it in that time.  We used a long, hard plastic straw to push the flowers in the Craft Block and position them where we wanted.  Then we added the glass pebbles, dragonfly, and lights.  When everything was in as desired, I closed the rubber seal.  Because the seal completely covered the opening, I cut a slit in the seal so the end of the lights would hang out.  That way, I can plug them in when I want.

We had a good time with the Craft Block and now have a nice piece of decor added in the living room.  The Craft Block possibilities are endless.

I received products for review from Hy-Lite.  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.

Check It Out: ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda Fright Night Fizz DIY Contest

This Halloween, ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda is both a trick and a treat! The trick? Make a fizzy Baking Soda experiment fitting for a spooky Halloween celebration. The treat? For sharing your Fright Night Fizz creation, you'll have a chance to win $2,000 for yourself and $2,000 for your child's school! Read on to learn more! 

ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda Fright Night Fizz DIY Contest

How to Enter

To enter, submit a video (up to one minute in length) or a high-quality photo of your Fright Night Fizz creation on the ARM & HAMMER website before October 14th. Be sure to include the ingredients/supplies you used and a short description of your spooky creation. 

How Do I Win? 

ARM & HAMMER will choose 10 finalists on October 19th for the public to vote on. (Make sure you get creative and follow all of the contest rules!) The creation that receives the most votes will win the grand prize of $2,000 for themselves and $2,000 for their child's school! 

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

Everlast Notebook by Rocketbook - Review and Giveaway

Everlast notebook by Rocketbook, cleaning cloth, and Pilot Frixion pen

The Everlast notebook by Rocketbook provides a classic pen and paper experience that is built for the digital age. Although it feels like a traditional notebook, the Everlast is reusable and connected to all of your favorite cloud services..  When you write using any pen from the Pilot Frixion line, your writing sticks to Everlast pages like regular paper. 

Use the Rocketbook app to scan your notes into editable documents and automatically save them to your favorite cloud services including Dropbox, Google Drive, and Evernote, to name a few.  Rocketbook allows students to document their notes and illustrations in an efficient and environmentally-friendly way.  

The Rocketbook Everlast is to be used only with a Pilot FriXion pen.  The notebook has the same size and look of a regular notebook but there are dot grid patterns are on each page.  Each page also has seven symbols on the bottom and a QR code on the side.  

Before using the Rocketbook Everlast, you need to download the free app.  Once the app is set up, you can set up your Rocket Symbols to create your own organization system for the notebook.  For example, I may create one of the symbols to be used as my "Biology" folder in Google Drive.

Logan is a sophomore in college and he's been using the Rocketbook Everlast.  I was able to try it out first, but we set it up specifically for him.  He takes the notebook to school and writes out any notes or reminders that he needs.  He then has them sent to his Google Drive and emails.  Once that info is digitally sent to where he wants it, Logan can erase the notebook pages and start all over again.  

downloading the Rocketbook app on my iPad

The pen itself writes smoothly on the pages, and is erasable to get rid of any mistakes.  The pages are erasable by dampening the microfiber towel with water and wiping the page, then drying it off with another part of the cloth.  Because the pages are erasable, Logan can use this notebook numerous times throughout college.

Win It!

One person will win a Rocketbook Everlast notebook . (ARV $34)

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

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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.

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 141

Photo by antonio ochoa 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 141.  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.

We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds.
–Psalms 75:1

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Savor Fall Flavors with Community Spiced Pumpkin Pecan Pie Coffee - Review and Giveaway

Now that Fall season is here and temperatures have dropped, snuggle up with delicious coffee from Community Coffee.  The company offers seasonal coffee blends (made exclusively with 100% Arabica beans) that are deliciously satisfying on their own and in a number of food and drink recipes.

 Community Coffee Company’s newest seasonal blend is Spiced Pumpkin Pecan Pie.  It is available in 12-ounce bags and single-serve boxes.  This blend offers hints of pumpkin spice and pecan pie.  I've been drinking a cup every night during work.  The pumpkin spice flavor is more noticeable than the pecan pie taste, but it's smooth and delicious.  This autumn-inspired blend is perfect for cool fall mornings, holiday entertaining or as an indulgent fall-flavored treat! 

I also received a box of the Signature Blend Dark Roast coffee pods.  It has a full body and a dark roast, as the name implies.  I like the taste and bold flavor.

 I'm no virtuoso when it comes to coffee.  I'm a simple layman that knows what I like and don't know much about the science behind the perfect brew or blend.  If I find a brand of coffee that suits my taste buds, I will happily dabble in trying their different varieties.  I may be no expert in knowing my coffee terms but I'm an expert in what I like to drink.  Community Coffee Company knows their stuff and I was very pleased with how each cup of roasted coffee tasted.

Win It!

One person will win two boxes of Community Coffee Company single-serve coffee pods.

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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.

JennieO Sweet Thai Chili Turkey Breast - #MakeTheSwitch Review

Holidays aren't the only time to enjoy delicious turkey.  JENNIE-O Turkey has been a recognized leader in the turkey industry for many years.  From the main course to your favorite snacks, find all your favorite JENNIE-O® Turkey products at the deli counter or in the grab-and-go sections.  

JENNIE-O's new premium turkey breasts come in a range of exciting rubs. There's Sweet Thai Chili,  Chili Pepper, Cracked Pepper, Sun-Dried Tomato, Cajun Style, and Italian Style.

Of the many flavors, I received the Sweet Thai Chili Turkey Breast.  It's a preseasoned whole turkey breast seasoned with chili pepper.  For supper one night, I prepared the turkey breast in the slow cooker.  After leaving it sit for several hours to cook, I cut up the turkey into slices and served it with vegetables.  The turkey had a little bit of a kick but was mostly sweet to taste.  I would've preferred more spice and less sweet but it was still good.  The turkey was very moist and tender, easy to slice, and the flavors complemented the other food.

I received product for review from JENNIE-O Turkey.  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, September 21, 2018

Ridin' the Heartland Trails

Jason and I took a 2-day staycation to Harpole's Heartland Lodge in Nebo, IL earlier this week.  It was our third time there, but our first for riding the trails.  Because we don't own one ourselves (yet), a friend let us borrow an Arctic Cat side by side.  If you happen to stay at this location and want to ride the trails, I highly recommend you bring your own.  ATVs and other off-road vehicles are available for rent, but it's very expensive.

I've been muddin' and ridin' before but it's always been in a truck or jeep.  This was the first in an UTV.  Must admit, I had a blast.  Jason was a pro at driving and only once did we almost roll over.  

Which trail to take - left or right?!

There are about 60 miles of trails to ride within the different parks, and we went through half of it.  A map was given, marking off the different locations.  One particular area, deemed as "dangerous",  was for very skilled drivers.  We ventured down there but didn't get too crazy.

Checking to see where the rutted trail leads

Forests, creeks, prairies, ruts, mud holes, two turtles, and the beautiful scenery of nature - 
An amazing experience!

God's country

Do you ever go on trail rides?

Shout Out to These September Winners

Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash 

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

The winner of the I Can Only Imagine for Little Ones children's book giveaway is #4, Marilyn.

The winner of the True Colors party game giveaway is #65, Nikki Davis.

The winner of the Fergus and Zeke at the Science Fair children's book giveaway is #28, Robin Abrams.

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 my blog.  There's no limit to how many you can enter or how many you can win.