Wednesday, August 31, 2011


For all information on our son and our loss, please visit:

Circle Of Catholic Women

Circle Of Catholic Women by Karen Pavlicin

About The Book:
Circle of Catholic Women is a journal series tailored to Catholic women seeking deeper spiritual connections and life balance. Through personal journaling and group sharing, women explore prayer, rituals and traditions, relationships, spiritual role models, their values and beliefs, discernment, and more. Each journal in the series includes: *sections on prayer, traditions, relationships, role models, values, discernment, and life balance *Bible verses and references to Catholic documents and teachings *journaling prompts to encourage deeper personal reflection and application to daily life *group discussion questions and suggestions for group leaders *separate facilitator guide for added guidance and ideas for program leaders The series is nonsequential so participants may begin with any journal in the series. Journal One topics include: *personal prayer practices *family traditions for Catholic holidays *seeing Jesus in relationships *spiritual role models Mary and Mother Teresa *money and wealth *God's call over life's milestones; and mind-body-spirit connections.

My Thoughts:
This is a great resource for women who want to get closer to their faith and discover new things about themselves and their everyday lives. I like how the journal is put together, and the sections that allow you to reflect on thoughts about the chapter, and the provoking questions to get you really thinking. I don't think you necessarily have to be of Catholic denomination to use this journal. I think this would be beneficial to any Christian woman.

About The Author:
Karen created the Circle of Catholic Women journal series in response to the desire of women in her church community to reflect on their faith in their daily lives and share their faith journey with other women. She loves photography, a colorful sky, and the challenge and blessings of her new blended family life in Minnesota.

You can purchase this book from Military Family Books.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Elva Resa PR. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Deployment Journal For Kids

Deployment Journal For Kids by Rachel Robertson

About The Book:
Deployments are hard! Deployment Journal for Kids is a great way to express how you feel when someone you love is deployed. Created especially for military kids, this journal is a special place for you to record your feelings and events during a loved one's deployment. Contains calendar pages, writing ideas, interesting facts about common deployment locations, military definitions, and a pocket to keep mementos.

My Thoughts:
Journals like these are amazing for kids who are going through the deployment of a parent. It is like something personal between them and their parent, because when writing in it the child can feel connected to their loved one. I like the section on ideas for letters and packages to send to your loved one, because you always want to send something special. This is just a great resource for military kids!

About The Author:
An author and educator focused on child development, Rachel Robertson combined her professional training and personal experience supporting herself and her two children through her husband’s military deployments to create a series of journals for families during deployment: Deployment Journal for Kids, Deployment Journal for Spouses, and Deployment Journal for Parents.

Purchase this book from Military Family Books.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Elva Resa PR. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Some posts are scheduled, so you might be getting giveaway posts and stuff. Please keep entering. It just may be awhile before I announce winners.

Also any authors and anyone expecting Book-Tober.....I will get to it, I will keep my commitments, but it just may not be in a timely fashion.

If you would like to keep up with our Caring Bridge, please visit:

Back to School Shopping

It's that time of the year again, huh? Whether you're shopping for a young grade schooler or an older college student, this time of the year can get rather hectic and expensive. Fortunately, there are many ways you can save time and money during the back to school shopping season. With some proper planning you can make this a worthwhile experience for you and your family.

Start Early
Don't wait until the week before the shopping season to start listing down the things your kids need for school. If you wait until the last minute, you'll most likely miss out on the best deals on school supplies and you'll probably end up with the leftovers - ugly colors, lower quality products, and whatnot. Obviously, you don't want to disappoint your kids. Once you have your list prepared, you can start looking through the weekly flyers in your newspaper for deals or you can even turn to the internet for some of the best deals around.

Coupon and Deals Sites
If you handle this shopping season ahead of time, then you can buy items for your back to schoolers online and still have time to wait for your items to ship. Take advantage of some of the limited deals available on sites like and You need to watch these sites daily just in case something awesome comes up. If you do see a deal that tickles your fancy, then you need to act then and there as these deals don't last long. These sites usually give shoppers instructions on how to snag the best deals, which tend to include a combination of coupon codes and cash back. Deal tippers will give everyone a step-by-step of how to get the best bang for your buck.

Don't Buy Books from the School's Bookstore
For students in high school and college, you might need to buy some textbooks from the school's bookstore. However, these tend to be overpriced, even their used copies. What you need to do is check out sites like,, and There are instances where you might be able to pickup brand new copies of your assigned textbooks for cheaper than used copies from the school bookstore. Crazy, huh? That's why it pays to take the time to plan things out and shop smart.

Enjoy This Time with Your Kids
As tiring and frustrating this back to school shopping season can be, don't let the little things get to you. Try to enjoy this time with your kids, especially if they're heading off to college for the first time. You won't have them around all the time, so this is a great opportunity to spend time together before that first day on campus.

Enter At Your Own Risk

Enter At Your Own Risk by Stacy Tornio

About The Book:
When Henry’s homerun ball lands in Creepy Cathy’s yard, he and his buddy Andy go after it, despite their friends’ warnings they might not come out. The boys search through Cathy’s animal garden, discovering that things aren’t always what they seem. Kids love finding the hidden animals throughout this vibrant picture book. An included flower guide and planting zone map give children tools to create their own animal gardens. - Entertaining plot Introduces children to many different kinds of plants. - Included flower guide and planting zone map make it easy for kids to create their own animal gardens. - Animals hidden throughout illustrations keep kids' attention. - Expertise: Author is editor of Birds & Blooms magazine and a certified Master Gardener.

My Thoughts:
I adore this book. It is unique and I've never seen a children's book like it. I like the fear of the kids entering the garden, which adds a bit of suspense, but in the end it's like "ah ha!" and all is well. I love the references for the flowers at the end of the book and the map of where such plants and flowers grow. The illustration is amazing, and really makes the story come alive. My kids enjoyed reading this book with me....over, and over, and over....

About The Author & Illustrator:
Stacy Tornio's love of gardening and the fun of plants named after animals inspired her story Cathy's Animal Garden: Enter at your own risk. Stacy lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband and two children. She is originally from Oklahoma, where she did a lot of vegetable gardening growing up. She and her brother even had a little veggie stand at the local farmer’s market when she was about 10, but they ended up spending most of their profits on other goodies at the market! Stacy now grows lots of flowers and vegetables. Her favorite plants to grow include sunflowers, purple coneflowers, and cucumbers. Stacy is the editor of Birds & Blooms magazine and is also a Master Gardener, one of North America’s most respected and recognized gardening honors.
Samantha Bell enjoys country living in South Carolina with her husband, four children, and lots of animals. She loves being outdoors, but she has to work on her illustrations inside so the animals don’t get in the paint! Samantha has taught art to children for more than fourteen years. In addition to drawing and illustrating, she enjoys writing, especially for children. Her articles, stories, and poems have appeared online and in magazines and devotionals. For inspiration, she turns to her family - there's always a story to tell!

You can purchase this book at Military Family Books.

I recieved a complimentary review copy of this book from Elva Resa PR. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

SunRidge Farms

"SunRidge Farms is a true innovator in organic and natural bulk and packaged nuts & seeds, dried fruit, candies, and snack & trail mixes. Our commitment to natural ingredient development means nutritional products that are free of unhealthy refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, artificial colorings, and preservatives. Within each of our snack categories we offer a wide variety of naturally flavorful ingredients to satisfy every taste."

We got to try two of the new mixes. SunRidge’s new Milk Chocolate Rainbow Drops - An industry first, all natural Milk Chocolate Rainbow Drops are packed in SunRidge Farms solar powered facility, the new addition features natural premium quality chocolate with real vanilla in a cane sugar shell. Rainbow drops come in seven colors each derived from vegetable juice, rather than food dye and titanium dioxide, which are commonly artificial and potentially carcinogenic. Great for kids with food dye allergies! Also, SunRidge Farms Berries and Chocolate Antioxidant Trail Mix- Packed with protein, fiber, and a hearty helping of the immune system boosting antioxidants Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, lycopene, and beta carotene, Berries and Chocolate Antioxidant Mix is non-GMO and 100 percent vegetarian. All natural, without artificial flavorings and preservatives, the mix includes a hand-selected blend of sun-ripened blueberries, dark chocolate stars, freshly roasted almonds, walnuts, cranberries, cherries, cashews and peanuts. Both amazing and delicious!

National Trail Mix Day is on August 31st. So stock up and get some yum! SunRidge Farms!

I recieved products from SunRidge Farms in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Perch, Mrs. Sackets, And Crow's Nest

Perch, Mrs. Sackets, And Crow's Nest by Karen Pavlicin

About The Book:
When 10-year-old Andy Parker reluctantly goes to Grandma's house for the summer, all he can think about is how much he misses his dad in heaven and his best friend Anthony, who moved away. What will he do in this sleepy small town for the entire summer? But it turns out even cow dung can be interesting and something wonderful can come from rotten apples. From the back cover: Mom called this my Summer of Courage. She said that when you need courage the most is when you realize what's happened in your life and you decide to get up the next morning anyway. Mom and I did our best to keep going, to have courage. We prayed a lot. Sometimes I wondered if God ever listened. I prayed real hard for my dad to get better, but he died. I prayed that Anthony would be my best friend forever, but that was going to be harder now that we didn't live next door to each other. And I prayed that Mom would learn to cook something besides hot dogs and jelly sandwiches. I closed my eyes and prayed for God to send me a sign. Any sign he was listening. He sent me perch, Mrs. Sackets, and crow's nest. 

My Thoughts:
This is a great read. It may be for kids, but I enjoyed it immensely as well. This is a sort of a coming of age story, and Andy learns a lot about himself and the world around him. This book flows so well and is just easy and mellow. This is a great book for kids whose parents don't want them reading about science fiction, fantasy, violence, or make believe. This book is real and down to earth and gives me the warm and fuzzies for remembering things from my own childhood that are reflected in this book.

About The Author:
Perch, Mrs. Sackets, and Crow’s Nest is Karen Pavlicin's first children’s novel. Karen grew up in rural upstate New York, where the story takes place, and now lives in Minnesota with her son. They have an apple tree in their backyard and a cow dung clock in their kitchen.

You can purchase this book at Military Family Books.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Elva Resa PR. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Simple Gifts By Sharen Pearson

As a mother of five and now grandmother of seven, I’ve planned my share of birthday events. I am a creative person, so my problem is “going over the top.” My expectations supersede those of the birthday child. So, I have to step back and say, “Whose birthday is it anyway?” And, therein lies the key to a successful birthday party.

I recently assisted with my grandson, Waylon’s party. He was reaching that big-boy age of 5 years. He knew what theme he wanted: Herbie the Love Bug. He wanted a backyard campfire and a cake with Herbie on it. Simple—Herbie, campfire, cake. Got it! My daughter complied. She invited a few families from church that Waylon knew well and was comfortable around. Since entire families were represented, parents were there to help with crowd control. Bowls of chips and dip provided a place to gather around as people arrived. Children scattered to play in the back yard, parents grouped to watch and chat. Easy, huh? Daddy lit a small fire in the campfire ring in the yard. More talk, more easy playing. The cake was a simple giant chocolate chip cookie with a frosting “Herbie.” Waylon thought it was wonderful.

Mommy announced that it was gift-opening time and everyone pulled up lawn chairs and sat in family groups. Waylon sat in the middle of the circle on the grass and guests watched as he opened each gift and thanked the giver. He received many nice gifts, but to everyone’s delight, a small, inexpensive VW bug toy car was his favorite. He opened it, raised it above his head as if it were a trophy and yelled in delight. Waylon slept with his “Herbie;” woke up and greeted it; placed it on the edge of the tub so he could see it. He had the birthday he wanted. Simple party, simple gift, simple fun!

Some suggestions to consider when planning your party:
If your child is old enough to have input, allow it.
For ages 1-5 years, simple is best. Simple decorations, simple food, simple games.
Invite only one party guest per age of the child. Young children are very intimidated by many children of the same age. Remember, “Whose birthday is it?”
If guests include family/friends with older children, add activities especially for them.
Home is the best place for children ages 5 and under. Big party venues are confusing, scary and do not position the “birthday child” as the center of attention as he should be.

Some traps that parents fall into:
Making the party so complicated that you, as the parent, no longer enjoy it. (Been there, done that.)
Allowing young party guests to get close to and grab for gifts as as the birthday child is opening them. (Admit it, you’ve seen this haven’t you?)
Spending too much money. (Guilty as charged.)
Preparing food for adults and not age-appropriate to the guests. (The only thing to show off today is your wonderful child)
Engaging in sleepover parties before the age of 9 years. (Children younger than 9 or 10 years often find sleeping at someone else’s home frightening and uncomfortable.)

Sharen Pearson’s Goof & Giggle classes and materials continue to provide a quality Mom/Tot interaction. Widely popular, Goof & Giggle’s child-focused play plans are offered in various Arizona communities. She’s also created a variety of Goof Juice DVDs and filmed episodes of Baby D.I.Y. and written workbooks for BabyFirstTV. Arizona Midday (NBC) tapes monthly segments with Sharen to provide their audience with a variety of original and creative “easy to do” activities for babies and preschoolers. Sharen’s creativity reaches a combined audience over 200 million viewers worldwide. Goof & Giggle classes and products encourage green living, repurposing materials from around the house into affordable objects for play and learning. Learn more at:

Dry As Rain

Dry As Rain by Gina Holmes

About The Book:
From the bestselling author of Crossing Oceans comes a powerfully moving story that tests the limits of love’s forgiveness. Like many marriages, Eric and Kyra Yoshida’s has fallen apart slowly, one lost dream and misunderstanding at a time, until the ultimate betrayal finally pushes them beyond reconciliation. Just when it looks like forgive and forget is no longer an option, a car accident gives Eric the second chance of a lifetime. A concussion causes his wife to forget details of her life, including the chasm between them. No one knows when - or if - Kyra’s memory will return, but Eric seizes the opportunity to win back the woman he’s never stopped loving. The book releases in September.

My Thoughts:
This is an amazing story. At first, you really dislike seems he is going to deceive his wife twice! But when you get more and more into it, you realize how much he loves Kyra and wants things to work out. The author is a brilliant storyteller and an excellent writer. I read this book very quickly, because I enjoyed it so much! Lovely story.

About The Author:
Gina Holmes is the author of the bestselling and award-winning debut novel Crossing Oceans. In 1998, Gina began her career penning articles and short stories. In 2005, she founded the influential literary blog Novel Journey. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her husband and children in southern Virginia. To learn more about her, visit or

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Very Sick Little Boy

My baby Mason has had an awful accident and is on life-support. Here is the link to his CaringBridge page, please visit for updates, and pray!

Please forgive any blogging absences on my part.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Good Fire Helmet

The Good Fire Helmet by Tim Hoppey

About The Book:
The Good Fire Helmet is a story about being brave in everyday life and believing in yourself. Ten-year-old Tommy and six-year-old Christian treasure the firefighter's helmet that once belonged to their dad. The chaplain had told the boys, "If you just touch your fingers to this fire helmet, its courage can be given to you. A good fire helmet has been known to do that." Christian believes the helmet makes him brave when he gets a shot at the doctor's office and wards off scary shadows at night, but his big brother isn't so sure. Tommy's real test of courage comes the day Christian falls into the creek and is swept downstream, along with the helmet. Tommy draws on memories of his dad - and the courage he finds inside himself - to rescue his brother.

My Thoughts:
This is such a touching and heartwarming story. It is about a brother's love, bravery, and courage. It's about remembering a parent. It's about believing. The story is told so well for children and the illustrations is amazing. My children loved this book. But I think this book would be especially useful for any child who has lost a parent, for any reason.

About The Author & Illustrator:
For the past twenty-five years, Tim Hoppey has worked as a New York City firefighter stationed in Spanish Harlem. When he's not fighting fires, he runs summer rafting trips on the Delaware River for inner city boys. A lacrosse player, he enjoys throwing the ball around with his three adult children. Tim is the author of several children's books. He lives with his wife, Ellen, on Long Island.
An award-winning illustrator, Lori McElrath-Eslick has illustrated many children's books and her work has also appeared in magazines, including Highlights for Children, Ladybug, and National Wildlife. She lives with her family in Michigan, where she enjoys painting, camping, swimming, and cross-country skiing.

You can purchase this book at Military Family Books.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Elva Resa PR. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Surviving Deployment

Surviving Deployment by Karen Pavlicin

About The Book:
As part of today's active duty or reserve forces, your loved one may be called to war, peacekeeping missions, anti-terrorism campaigns, field exercises, disaster relief, and many other duties far from home - and you. Surviving Deployment is your personal guide to turning an otherwise lonely and challenging situation into a positive experience. Learn what to expect, how to prepare, and how to personally grow as individuals and families. Your survival gear will range from a sturdy toilet plunger to the fine art of letter writing. You'll manage financial changes, help children express their feelings, and discover a renewed appreciation for everyday life. Solid information. Practical checklists. Personal stories from hundreds of families.

My Thoughts:
I think this is an excellent book and I wish I would have known about it for my many separations from my husband while in the Army. This book is a great book for all branches of the military. It is chock full of information and an excellent reference for when you need to find out information on something. This book is a wealth of advice as well, and the personal stories from people who have been there are a great added bonus. It helps you know that you are not alone!

About The Author:
Karen Pavlicin is an award-winning writer known for her practicality, inspirational insight, and sense of humor. An accomplished business leader, hall of fame athlete, and singer-songwriter, she is a sought-after keynote speaker on a variety of topics.

Buy this book on Military Family Books.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Elva Resa Pr. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Finish This Book Review & *Giveaway*

Finish This Book by Keri Smith

About The Book:
Dear Reader,
One dark and stormy night, author Keri Smith found some strange scattered pages abandoned in a park. She collected and assembled them, trying to solve the mystery of this unexpected discovery, and now, she's passing the task on to you, her readers. I collected and assembled them, trying to solve the mystery of this unexpected discovery, and am now passing the task on to you. Your mission is to become the new author of this work. You will continue the research and provide the content. In order to complete the task, you will have to undergo some secret intelligence training, which is included in this volume. Since no one knows what lies ahead, please proceed with caution, but know...this book does not exist without you.
Yours truly,
Keri Smith

My Thoughts:
I love these kinds of books. Just really fun books to doodle in and be creative with. I've always loved Keri Smith since her Wreck This Journal. This book could be for a teen or for an adult. If I were you, I would hide it in a secret spot so no one could steal it. Keri Smith books are much loved. And this one is no exception. Bring out the secret sleuth in you with this book. It's yours to do what you will with it! Enjoy! Pre-order this book on Amazon now. The book releases September 6th!

About The Author:
Keri Smith is the author of Mess, Wreck This Journal, How to Be an Explorer of the World, and This is Not a Book, among others. 

Want to win a copy of this book? I know you do! Here's how:

1. Follow this blog via GFC, the newsletter, or Networked Blogs.
3. Promote this giveaway!
4. Visit Keri's website and submit a "right in front of you" online drawing.

Giveaway ends September 7th. US only, sorry. Good luck!

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Penguin. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Wishing Tree

The Wishing Tree by Mary Redman

About The Book:
Amanda understands her dad is making the world a better place, but it doesn't make his deployment any easier. After mulling over ways she can support her dad, Amanda creates a small wishing tree in her room, writing her hopes and prayers on yellow ribbons that she ties onto the branches. As Amanda wishes for her dad to enjoy good meals, make new friends, and return safely, the little tree comes to life with yellow ribbons of hope. 

My Thoughts:
I love this book! I wish I would have thought to make a wishing tree for my husband while he was at NTC for the Army and I was pregnant with our first son. He would have loved it. The story in this book is great, and the illustrations are amazing. I think this is a book that all military children would enjoy and cherish.

About The Author & Illustrator:
Mary Redman has experienced many joys and challenges as a military wife and mother over the past 20 years. She has managed pack-outs, given birth, visited emergency rooms, heralded holidays, bid farewell to grandparents, and attended numerous school events while her husband was deployed. Military life gave Mary many unexpected opportunities, from attending the running of the bulls in Spain to teaching English in Japan and exploring American history with her family in Virginia. She lives on Long Island with her husband and three boys, where she spends much of her time attending soccer games. 
Born overseas to multicultural parents, Christina Rodriquez grew up as an Air Force brat, moving from place to place. Christina loved to draw and paint. She was awarded a generous scholarship to the Rhode Island School of Design where she earned a fine arts degree in illustration. Christina is an award-winning children's book illustrator and in her spare time enjoys cooking authentic Mexican cuisine, volunteering, hula-hooping, and being outdoors. She and her husband live with their dog in historic Stillwater, Minnesota. 

You can purchase this book from Military Family Books.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Elva Resa PR. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When You Don't Like Your Child's Teacher

You're hoping, praying and crossing your fingers that your child gets Mrs. Smith for 2nd grade. You've heard so many wonderful things about her and you just know that is the best teacher for your child.

However the notice comes home that next year your child is assigned to Mr. Jones' class. Ugh! That's not what you wanted. You just don't think your child will be as happy in that class. Before you decide that second grade will be a horrid experience, let's examine your feelings toward your child's new teacher.

Is it that you really don't like your child's new teacher? Or is it that you like the other teacher better? Do you have any first hand knowledge or experience with either teacher? Sometimes it's easy to be fond of one particular teacher, either because of the good things you've heard or because your older child had that teacher. But is that fair to the new teacher?

Did you have a bad experience with the new teacher? Or did some of the other mothers just gossip about how strange that particular teacher is. Consider this: there are an abundance of teachers out of work. If your school had a teacher that was as horrible as the rumors state, don't you think that teacher would be let go? Sure there's tenure and all that, but there are too many unemployed good teachers, for a system to hang onto a bad apple.

Or perhaps that new teacher actually did something you don't agree with. Keep in mind that there is no perfect teacher. Unless you feel that the teacher made a decision that is grossly misaligned with your beliefs, is it something you can live with? If not, make an immediate appointment with the teacher to discuss it. If you still are not satisfied, go to the principal.

All I'm saying is give the teacher a chance. Give him a chance to prove your preconceived notions false. Give him a chance to discuss the situation (which caused your dislike). Most schools will be reasonable with you if you are reasonable with them. Make sure you have data as to why you would like a different teacher for your child. "Because you like Mrs. Smith better" is unlikely to get your child switched into a different classroom.

Lastly, keep in mind that if you prayed that your child would be assigned the teacher best suited for him, then likely that is the teacher your child will have. 

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Ladybug Jane Lip Balms

I love lip balm. I'm a balm-a-holic. I probably have collected more lip balm than I will ever need, but when I saw the lip balms from Ladybug Jane, I just had to have some!

"Ladybug Jane offers a new perspective, a "bugs perspective", to helping us make more informed choices about our health and the health of the planet. Ladybug Jane is all about having fun, spreading joy, and making a difference one step a time. Ladybug Bug Jane wants to help you and the planet stay balanced and healthy. Make the Choice, Take the Step, Be the change. Ladybug Jane is here to connect us to nature's magic, brilliance, beauty, and wonder! Flavor balms are better than any other lip balm you have ever tired. The flavors are amazing. Are you ready for the yummiest funniest way to moisturize, and protect your lips? Not to mention they are free from petrochemical, beeswax, and nuts. They are 100% vegan, and made with only the finest natural and organic ingredients."
There are six yum-a-licious flavors to choose from: Bursting Berry, Crazy Coconut, Groovy Grape, Sweet Strawberry, Vanilla Cupcake, and Wacky Watermelon. I tried the Berry and Watermelon, and am in love with both. So yummy. What is another word besides yummy? Well, I just don't know. Yummy is what these lip balms are! Go check them out at Ladybug Jane!

I received products from Ladybug Jane in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Little Bit Of Faith CD

Little Bit of Faith sung by Karen Pavlicin is about love, loss, hope, and grace. This 12-song lyrical collection blends blues, folk, and jazz influences with pure vocals for true inspiration. The label, Andermax Records, donates 100% of profits from this CD to cancer research. 

The songs are very soulful and mellow, and it is easy listening. I really enjoyed this music and even Callan just kind of sat there and bobbed his head slowly to the beat. You can listen to clips of some of the twelve songs at Little Bit Of Faith. This is not a religious CD, though you get the same type of inspiration and hope from these songs as you might a Christian CD. To learn more about the singer, whom is also an author and public speaker, please visit her website at Karen Pavlicin.

I received a complimentary review copy of this CD from Elva Resa PR. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Bully Proof Your Student

It probably started in preschool when your son was playing with the truck and a big mean four and a half year old just came over and stole that dump truck right out of your sweet innocent little man's precious little hands. How dare he?!

The fact is, kids can be mean. Shoot, adults can be mean too. Why do you think someone created the bumper sticker, "Mean people suck"? You can't be with your child 24/7 to protect him from the school bully. You can't control what other children do; but you can control how your child reacts. Or at least hopefully you can bully proof your student.

For starters you want to ensure your precious baby isn't on the giving end of the bullying. Not only is it rude and wrong, it could land your assertive child a suspension. (Assertive sounds so much better than aggressive, don't you agree?)

You would do well to explain the psychology of a school bully before your child is faced with a situation where he (or she) is the one being bullied. The "do unto others rule' is a good place to start. You can also explain that often children act like a bully to mask other feelings (anger, disappointment etc.) If your student isn't doing anything intentional to egg on the rough and tough, the odds are in his favor he may not be a target.

Only you know whether or not your child is mature enough to understand what makes a bully act in a certain manner. If you still have "a situation" even after you've thoroughly and repeatedly discussed how to play nice and how to avoid instigating any negative playground behavior, it's time for Plan B.

Make sure that your child's teacher is aware of the situation. That's not considered tattling; it's your responsibility. Often school can and should put an end to it once they become aware. Ok, so you tried all that and it still didn't stop? Assuming you already had the discussions about defending, not offending; using words not violence, then as a last resort your child should feel free to defend himself. While most parents teach their child that fighting is bad, getting the snot kicked out of you is bad too.

If you personally don't have the knowledge to equip your child, then enroll him in a martial arts class. There is absolutely no correlation between children becoming violent after attending a few self defense lessons. Don't you want to bully proof your student?

With all that said, remind your child that the easiest way to remedy the situation may be to befriend the bully. 

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Byron Bay Cookies

"At Byron Bay Cookie Company, cookies are our life. We would love to hear your cookie moments, favorite cookie flavors or new flavor ideas. We hope you continue to enjoy our cookies as much as we love baking them for you. We bake a range of award winning delightfully decadent, deliciously different cookies (including Gluten Free varieties) in Byron Bay, Australia."

We recieved some crispbread and some of the cookie bites. The kids demolished that box of crispbread in one day. I would venture to guess they liked it! And I love that, because it is not a cookie or a chip. It is something more healthy for them, and they loved it! Yay! As far as the cookies, well those were mine, and only mine! Hee hee. They were so smooth and delicious, and not too sweet or decadent. Just the perfect little bite of cookie to satisfy that sweetness need! Very delicious!

Byron Bay Cookies have a variety of products and gifts, not just crispbreads and cookies. Check out all of their products at Byron Bay Cookies. Don't forget to like Byron Bay Cookies on Facebook, and follow Byron Bay Cookies on Twitter.

I received products from Byron Bay Cookies and The Burrell Group in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Making It Work - The Mix

Being in the military, coming in as a soldier's new wife and beginning a dramatically new lifestyle. I had left my home state of Minnesota, and loaded mine and Jason's worldly possessions into semi-trucks and watched as they drove their trucks to my new home in Killeen, Texas, about 5 minutes from the Army Base. Jason and I drove ourselves and made it there in record time. First thing we did was check out my new home. It was perfect. But our belongings were not there yet, so it would be awhile before I could put anything away and do some decorating.  The first day of arriving in Texas I met another Army family Blane and Lucie Karter. Jason had had the option of meeting them before, since he went to BCT with Pv Blane Karter. I agreed that they seemed like a great couple. And so Lucie became on of my closest friends and confidants.

There are, of course, plenty other military familes we have encounter during our time living at Fort Hood. I think it would be an excellent fun thig to do if one person could take one family, and the person writes nibblets of their lives and how each charahcrter acts. I will provide the names - which of course have be hidden so as to protect the real people. I will add quirks about each persons, some history etc, and then you can choose the family to write about. Then you would add a comment saying the post was on your blog.

If you're interested this, let me know. I think it will be loads of fun.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Stop To Smell The Roses

Snot Your Average Kid

If your kiddo is between 2 and 10 and is amazing and has positively impacted someone's life or your community, then enter them in the Snot Your Average Kid contest, and let the world know! Your kiddo's picture will end up on the new 90-count tub of Boogie Wipes!

Go enter the contest, and write why your kid is snot average, and share a photo, and maybe a YouTube video! You can get all the official rules HERE. This contest ends on December 31st. Visit Boogie Wipes on Facebook to learn more!

A Stress Free Morning Routine for Back to School

Let's go! Let's go! Come on … you're going to miss the bus! I don't know where your favorite jeans are; it's not my responsibility. What do you mean you still have homework? Did you brush your teeth yet? Let's go! I'm leaving… NOW!

Oh I hope your mornings don't sound like that above. If it does, it's not too late to turn that ship around. The key to having a stress free morning routine is to have a smooth bedtime routine. Remember, a routine is something that is followed regularly, standard procedures. Without the consistency you will have an uphill battle.

Here are some tips to a stress free morning routine:
• No yelling. Raising your voice, albeit frustrated, is only going to escalate matters.
• Early to bed, early to rise. That one is simple.
• Showers and baths should be taken at night. You think you'll have time in the morning, but you rarely do.
• Look over all homework for completeness before bed; don't assume it's finished.
• Before bed ensure lunches are made, backpack is packed and there are no surprise "Oh I need xxx today!"
• Give singular instructions. Don't say, "I want you to finish your homework, eat breakfast, get dressed, comb your hair, brush your teeth and be in the car by 8:15." To a child, that sounds like "blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah." One instruction at a time works wonders.
• Provide instructions once. If you're doing this, stop: "Johnny, it's time to get dressed." Two minutes later, "Johnny, we're going to be late if you don't get dressed now." Two more minutes later, "Johnny, honey, I told you to get dressed." "Johnny, Mommy is going to be late, now go get dressed." To a child that sounds like "Oh mom is good for asking about five more times before she really goes ballistic!" Repeated requests only send the message that junior doesn't really have to do it now.
• Set consequences and stick to your guns. If you tell your child the car is leaving at 8:15 sharp, make it happen. Clearly you can't leave your child behind, so leaving without her isn't an option. Tell her you will be leaving whether she is ready or not. Sending a 10 year old to school with uncombed hair, pajamas and an empty belly might be just the catalyst for change.

You are the parent; you set the tone for the morning routine. You need to be actively involved in the morning routine. Follow the steps above and I guarantee 'joy will come in the morning!' 

Article shared from

Softy Soakers Review & *Giveaway*

Aurora Gifts has so many great products. You can find a little something for every kid - or kid at heart - from Aurora. "Aurora World, Inc., celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2011, is a leading manufacturer and supplier of high quality, competitively priced plush toys and gifts. Aurora's name reflects its extensive product lines and growing influence in the worldwide marketplace, as well as its international manufacturing, R&D and distribution resources. Founded in 1981, the Korean company with headquarters in the United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Germany, has ascended quickly to become a respected leader in the world's toy and gift character and contents industry. Aurora created the international plush toy phenomenon - YooHoo & Friends™ - and its corresponding free, interactive web site (, appealing to young children and tweens alike. The company sells its products via a wide variety of retailers including major zoos, high-end toy stores such as Learning Express, top gift chains such as Hallmark and Claire's as well as hospital gift shops, fine florists, candy stores and gift/stationery stores worldwide."

From Aurora, we recieved a really cool toy from their Softy Soakers line! The Softy Soakers "Fanta Sea" collection includes a sea horse, octopus, hammerhead shark, dolphin, sea turtle and alligator. "All you have to do is fill a bowl with water and drop in the Softy Soaker. We suggest massaging it for speedy water absorption. Then after 40 seconds, grab a towel, "rub-a-dub-dub" it dry and you're ready for some fun." We recieved the sea horse, and my kids went ga-ga for it! They loved it. They played with it in the bathtub to first get it to "grow", and then we dried it off and now Callan carries it everywhere, like it is his pet. Very cool, simple toys that my kids love, and I think others will as well!

One lucky reader will receive a random Softy Soaker of their own! Here's how to win:

1. Follow this blog via GFC, the newsletter, or Networked Blogs.
3. Promote this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Giveaway ends September 7th. Good luck!

I received a product from Aurora World Inc. in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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