Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Year in Recap and New Year's Resolutions


So as 2011 ends and 2012 begins I would like to share with you some of our family's highlights for 2011 and then make a few New Year's resolutions.

My son Jaedan started 2011 with a bang and joined his older brother in Cub Scouts. He made his first derby car and entered it in the pine wood derby race with style. Both Delbin and Jaedan had fun at day camp with the rest of the scout troops in the area and Delbin advanced to Boy Scouts.

I received a new sewing machine from my husband and a new to me sewing table with all the bells and whistles free from a church friend that needed more space in their home. We made new curtains for my living room and dining room with it and took down the old blinds that were looking fairly damaged from kids and pets. I also made a skirt for myself and some other things with it. I plan on sewing a whole lot more. I also got some new knitting looms and some yarn to learn knitting on.

When the weather turned good my husband and some church friends helped us put new shingles on the roof of our home and put a new skylight in above our kitchen. It took a few days to finish because of rain and we had to put tarps over our home to cover it so the roof wouldn't get damage in between fixes. With our cars, boat and trucks out front in various states of repair and a pile of shingles and old roofing on the side of our place we kinda looked very ghetto. I bet our neighbors were really glad when that project was done.

We received word from some really good friends of ours that have a farm at the edge of Rainier that the owner of a mini pony had abandoned it and wasn't making payments for it to be boarded there anymore. So since we love horses and ponies we took up the payments for it and have been feeding it and caring for him ever since. His name is Gizmo and he is a registered mini pony stallion. He has warmed up to us nicely and now that winter is here has fluffed all out like a pony puff ball, LOL! Have you seen the animated movie Despicable Me? Remember the clip where Agnes gets the unicorn toy from the carnival and says, "It's so fluffy!"...well that is what I feel like saying about our mini pony :)

My sister, Jennifer, returned from her LDS mission in Hawaii and came to visit us in May. We celebrated multiple birthdays and her return at the zoo. It was Zari's first time and when we went back to the zoo in October to celebrate Zari's first birthday Zari was even more thrilled to be there. She loved the elephants and the primates the best.

My husband, Brian's mom came to visit us and we went to Ape Caves. For about a month previous to that visit Brian was feeling not quite himself and had to take off work because he was feeling dizzy, light headed, and brain fog every time he stood up and it was getting worse. While we were at Ape Caves he had to sit down a lot and take it easy. He was finally diagnosed with what is known as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, POTS after a whole lot of persuasion from him to his regular doctor and a visit by an actual Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O. or DO). He is being treated now, is feeling better and has been back to work for a while now.

Brian has been tremendously busy with all his various projects. He has been doing a lot of house remodeling like the roof project, vehicle repair and renovation, and trying to get our business, Pony Feathers, up and running...all of this while working at the power plant and dealing with his health.

Our dog, Prince has been having fun chasing a green laser across the floor that my husband got to point at celestial bodies in the night sky for use with our homeschool astronomy lessons. He is also very spoiled with lots of hugs, petting and love from all of us. Zari's favorite word is dog and she says it every time Prince is scratching on the door to go out or in, barking, trying to nibble on Zari's food when we are not looking or she sees him or any other dog.

Teela has been loving her play food and small play kitchen. She is quite the little imaginative cook. I have been trying to have her help out in the real kitchen with food preparation and she is a wonderful helper. She also loves her dolls and rocking horses.

Zari has been growing a lot! She is walking, running, saying some words like mom, dad, dog, Delbin, Jaedan, baby, etc. She has 8 teeth all in front and some molars coming in. She loves books and enjoys music a lot. She loves giving big hugs and kisses. She absolutely adores her sister Teela and loves playing with her.

Delbin my oldest son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It has been an interesting ride so far with this and we are still trying to figure out how to manage the carbohydrates he eats in foods. We still haven't gotten quite away from prepackaged food and drink yet for him because it is easier just looking at a label for what the carbs are. For now it is really hard for me to figure out carbs for a casserole or other mixed dish I normally make for dinner but maybe we will someday get the hang of it.

We had a really great Christmas. We received unexpected gifts from Secret Santa and the Rainier Gift Giving Program this year. We had a real Christmas tree donated to us, got gifts for the kids from giving souls off the Rainier Giving Program (sorta like the angel tree) and received an unexpected knock on our door and two bright red sleds with a large bag of peanut M&Ms left at our doorstep. My oldest has been asking for a sled every winter. Our neighbors sang carols at our door too like they do every year even though they were super busy with the giving program and even though it didn't snow for Christmas it was still wonderful!

My sister, Melody welcomed her new baby girl into the world at close to the end of December. This will be her first child. She along with her husband will learn so much parenting skills and gain so much experience and knowledge by doing. I know I have.

So, my New Years resolution is to have a healthier happier home. What ever I can do to achieve this I will try my best to accomplish. I wish to make healthier meals for my family including Delbin. We bought passes to the local YMCA so that we can go swim and workout so I want to do that more, gain some more upper body strength, and maybe tighten my abs :) I would love to spend more time with my family doing things we all love to do and I am trying to live a better more eco-friendly lifestyle. All in all our 2011 was pretty good. How was yours and what are your New Year's resolutions??

Wubbzy and the Fire Engine, Putumayo Celtic Christmas, Teething Bling, SKOY & NachoMama Tees Giveaway Winners

The winner of the Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! Wubbzy and the Fire Engine DVD is #1 karenmed409! She said she would like to have the Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!: Go For Gold! DVD, he is such a lovable character and the kids love him. He always seems to teach a lesson in each episode.

The winner of the Celtic Christmas album by Putumayo World Music is #13 Lindsey! She said she would love the Latin Beat CD, too. :)

The winner of the Smart Mom Teething Bling Jewelry Gift Set is #17 The Fuzzy Fluff Addicted Momma! She said she would like the Jade and Brown gift set.

The winner of the SKOY Cleaning Cloths 4 pack is #23 coriwestphal! She said she learned that Skoy cloths are meant to last for months! That's so economical!

The winner of the NachoMama Tees $15 Gift Card to CrazyDog Tshirts is Melody! She said she would get the "Meh" t-shirt. (she was the only one that entered this giveaway)

Congrats again to all the winners! I will contact each winner by email. If you did not have your email posted please post it here so I can email you! Thanks to all those who participated and don't forget to enter in my contests/giveaways that are going on now! I will also be adding more posts and giveaways soon so stay tuned!

*All winners are chosen by my True Random Number Generator.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rainier Oregon Gift-Giving Program

My good friend and fellow homeschooling neighbor, Talina Aubian, has been tremendously busy giving her time and her love to the Rainier Gift-Giving Program with the Angel Trees that have been posted around Rainier Oregon. She and others have been making sure kids in this community don't go without this Christmas. The number of kids that have been provided for is an astounding number of over 200! Each child was selected by a member in the community that witnessed their need and the entire process is anonymous.

My family was among the ones on the receiving end of all of this selfless charity. We were not expecting this at all and want to thank whoever put our name in and whoever got gifts for our kids. They are so excited! I also want to thank Talina and whoever donated them to her for the awesome real Christmas tree for our home! I love the wonderful smell it brings. The kids loved decorating it and placing the new gifts under it! We are so very grateful and are truly blessed. God is good!

A Heart Renewed (Prescott Pioneers 2) by Karen Baney FWCT Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!








You never know when I might play a wild card on you!





Today's Wild Card author is:




and the book:


Karen Baney (April 17, 2011)



***Special thanks to Karen Baney for sending me a review copy.***




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Karen Baney, in addition to writing Christian historical fiction and contemporary novels, works as a Software Engineer. Her faith plays an important role both in her life and in her writing. Karen and her husband make their home in Gilbert, Arizona, with their two dogs. She also holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University.






Visit the author's website.






SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Headstrong. Unconventional. Until life turns upside down…



Julia Colter struggles to accept life under her controlling brother’s greed. The suitors he selects would benefit him, but are far from the ideal husband for her. When her rebellion against her brother puts her life at risk, she turns to her friend for help.



Adam Larson longs to train horses and plans to head west to the Arizona Territory to see his dreams fulfilled. When his sister’s best friend shows up in the middle of the night, he agrees to help her flee. The decision changes his life, in more ways than he expected.



Can Julia forget the pain from her past and open her heart to love?



Product Details:




List Price: $14.99

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Karen Baney (April 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983548625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983548621




AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:







Star C Ranch, Texas

July 4, 1864



“You cannot be serious, Reuben!” Julia Colter shouted, not caring that she might wake her niece and nephew from their afternoon nap. Pacing back and forth across the length of the kitchen, she stopped in front of her older brother, her temper flaring almost as hot as the stove. “He is balding and fat and twice my age!”

“You will marry who I say!” Reuben thundered. “I expect you to treat Mr. Hiram Norton with the upmost respect this evening. He has shown great interest in you and the least you can do is be civil with the man.”

“But, I could never love him!”

As Reuben shoved her violently up against the wall, Julia’s breath left her lungs in a rush. Digging his fingers into her arms, she could feel the bruises starting to form. His brown eyes darkened with unrestrained anger as he glared down at her. She swallowed in fear, stunned by his abrupt action.

“Stop, you’re hurting me,” she said, trying to break free from his vice like grip.

He raised his hand as if he meant to strike her—something he had never done before. The action startled her to silence. Instead of hitting her across the face, as she thought he might, Reuben returned his hands to her upper arms squeezing even harder.

Leaning so close the heat of his breath warmed her cheeks, he said, “You have no idea what hurt is, Julia. You are an insolent little whelp. You will paste a smile on that tart little face of yours. And you will do your best to win his affections or,” his voice menacing, “you will suffer my wrath, the likes of which you have yet to see.”

Releasing his hold, he pushed her so that she tumbled to the floor in a heap. As he turned to walk away, he added in a sinister tone, “It would be best if you get used to the idea of Hiram Norton and give up fanciful notions of love, dear sister. You will not have that luxury. The sooner you come to accept that, the better it will go for you.”

She sat in stunned silence as Reuben stalked to his office down the hall. Tears streaming down her face, Julia bolted to her feet, running out the front door of the ranch house to the nearby stables, still frightened by her brother’s brutal behavior.

The smell of hay and horse assaulted her delicate senses as she selected a gentle mare. Throwing her saddle on the horse’s back, she led her from the barn. Once under the open blue skies, she shoved one foot into the stirrup, swinging her other leg over the mare, riding astride. Nudging the mare into a full gallop, Julia fled to the one place she would always feel free—the back of a horse in the wide open pastures.

Reuben may be her guardian now, but she had only to endure a few more years of this before she would be of age and in control of her life. If only she could stop him from marrying her off before then.

At seventeen, she considered herself too young to get married, though many women her age and younger married. She wasn’t ready. She didn’t pine for the responsibilities marriage entailed. She liked her freedom. But, when she was ready to marry, she would marry for love and not because Reuben wished it.

Certainly, she would never marry Hiram Norton. The thirty-seven year old rancher was the exact opposite of what Julia wanted for a husband. His short stature and fading hairline made him look even older. He had a reputation for loving excess. When it came to food, his waistline showed the results of that love. There were other unsavory aspects to his reputation as well which included rumors that he frequented the saloon and brothel.

No, the man for Julia would be young and handsome. His character would be impeccable, his honor undeniable. Land, money, and wealth held no importance to her. She only cared that her dream man would be able to provide for her and their family.

As the wind tangled her long, sandy brown curls, she continued to press the horse for more speed—needing it to soothe her fear and anger. In the distance she saw the herd of longhorns kicking up dust. The sight sparked a memory of Will, the kinder, more honorable of the Colter brothers, sending her mind racing in another direction. So many times he’d taken Julia out to the pasture, teaching her how to rope, ride, and work with the cattle. Some thought such behavior unacceptable for a lady. She was glad to learn these skills. Should her handsome young dream man end up being a rancher, he might appreciate her ability to work the ranch by his side.

Why hasn’t Will written? The thought of Will brought fresh tears as memories of his hasty departure flooded her mind. Not only had she buried her father, but she also lost the brother she was close to—all within a few short weeks. Almost a year ago, following her father’s death, Reuben forced Will to leave the ranch when he had been deeded the house and ranch. While Will and Reuben both received half of the herd and the financial holdings, Will was left with no home or land. Unable to find anything close, Will moved to the Arizona Territory, leaving Julia behind. Alone.

The only time she heard from him was in November 1863. Will wrote that he, his men, and his cattle arrived safely and set up their new home near the Granite Creek settlement in the Arizona Territory—wherever that was. No other letters came.

Despite the thirteen year age difference between Will and Julia, they adored each other. She followed him everywhere, never far from his side even when he worked with the herd. When she needed protecting, it was Will who came to her defense.

Oh, how she could use his protection now. If he were here, he would stop Reuben from forcing her to marry that awful Hiram Norton.

But, he wasn’t here. He was in a distant territory, far from Texas, far from her aid. Her father left her in Reuben’s care—not Will’s—even though Will would have been the better choice as far as Julia was concerned.

Their father never saw the evil that clouded Reuben’s heart and he knew nothing of his manipulative ways. In her father’s eyes, Reuben was as good of a son as Will. If her father knew of Reuben’s late nights in town or of his forceful tactics for bankrupting other ranchers and taking over their lands, he turned a blind eye. She found it hard to fathom that father could have missed such thinly concealed behavior.

As the mare started to struggle for breath, sides heaving with great effort, Julia eased up the pace. She was so torn. She had thought more than once to runaway to Arizona, but was afraid Reuben would find her and drag her back. Now he wanted her to flirt with Hiram Norton and get him to marry her. She had no desire to do what Reuben was asking. Mr. Norton may be wealthy, but he was twenty years older than her. There was something indecent in that alone. Nothing about him or his character appealed to her.

Realizing she was nearing the outer pasture, Julia turned the mare around to head back to the ranch house. She did not want to risk angering Reuben further by being unprepared for their dinner guests. Lord, please don’t make me have to marry that repulsive man. Will always said you could work things together for good. I am not seeing much good right now. Please give me the strength to make it through this evening meal.

As she pulled the mare to a stop in front of the stables, she slid off the horse. One of the young cowboys, Bates, took the reins from her hand.

“Miss Colter, you best hurry,” he said, nodding toward the lane leading to the ranch house.

A cloud of dust at the far end of the lane indicated their guests were already arriving. Julia shot a quick word of thanks to the friendly cowboy before picking up her skirts and running to the house. As she threw the door open, panting for breath, she caught Reuben’s seething look.

Rushing down the hall she slammed her bedroom door shut. She splashed some water on her face, wiping away the dust from her ride.

“Where have you been?” Mary’s panicked voice preceded her entrance into Julia’s room. Reuben’s normally calm, quiet wife seemed rather anxious as she picked up the corset she laid out.

“Riding.”

“Whatever for?” came the squeaky, agitated response.

Julia tore off her day dress, tossing it over a chair. As Mary came to assist her with the corset, Julia took her last deep breath of the evening. She hated the confining contraption. Once the stays were tightened, she lifted her arms as Mary helped settle the lovely yellow silk down over her shoulders.

“You should have been in here an hour ago,” Mary lamented. “Now there is no possible way we can fashion your hair into ringlets. The other women will think you don’t care about your appearance.”

They would be correct, Julia thought. “You fret, too much,” she replied, brushing out her tangled curls. She would be content with twisting her unruly hair into a chignon, despite how much it fought against the pins.

“Go on. I’ll finish,” she instructed Mary, hoping to have a quiet moment to compose herself before entering the fray.

Mary hesitated for a brief moment before softly exiting the room. Taking as deep a breath as she could, Julia let it out in a heavy sigh. Undoubtedly, Hiram Norton was already here, waiting for her in the other room. Pasting a smile on her face, she squared her shoulders and left the solitude of her room.

“Hiram,” Reuben said as Julia approached, “I do not believe you have met my sister, Julia.”

It took every ounce of courage to hold her smile steady and extend her hand towards Mr. Norton’s rotund frame. Taking her hand, he placed a sloppy kiss on top, before asking, “Reuben, where have you been hiding this lovely filly?”

Filly? The distasteful comment sickened her.

“Mr. Norton, a pleasure to meet you,” Julia said with more decorum than she thought she possessed. As soon as his hold lifted, she discretely wiped the back of her hand on her dress.

“Miss Colter, you are absolutely stunning,” he replied, allowing his lustful gaze to rove over her neckline, down her curvy figure, making overtly inappropriate stops along the way.

She fought to tamp down her mounting abhorrence. As the guests were seated around the table, she eagerly helped Mary set out the food.

Still irritated by Mr. Norton’s uncouth comment, she decided to fight back as she took her seat. “Mr. Norton, my brother tells me you have been very successful with your ranch, despite the Union’s blockade. Tell me, how do you do it?”

Reuben’s eyes narrowed slightly, letting her know he caught her barely hidden sarcasm.

“My lovely Miss Colter, such matters are too complicated for your simple mind to understand.”

Another mark against Mr. Norton—condescension towards women, she thought, keeping the sweet smile firmly in place. Lobbing a spoonful of potatoes on her plate she waited for him to continue.

“However, I shall endeavor to enlighten you,” he said with an air of superiority, snatching the potatoes from her hand. “While the Union may have blockaded our route to drive cattle to the New Orleans market, they have made no such effort to stop us from driving to points north or west. It seems that as long as we aren’t supplying the Confederate Army, they care little where we sell our cattle. We have simply changed our route north to the railways in Missouri. While I don’t care for the Union and their imposing ways, a profit is a profit. And I have made significant gains by being one of the first Texans to sell to eastern markets by way of Missouri.”

“Mr. Norton.” As her irritation rose, Julia retorted, “If a large profit is to your liking, why not drive the cattle west towards the California market where prices are more than triple that of the eastern markets?”

Reuben shifted in his chair uncomfortably. His darkening eyes warned her to hold her tongue. Julia knew she should have heeded the warning, but she preferred being forthright. Let Mr. Norton find that out now.

Mr. Norton laughed off her question, causing her to dislike the man even more. “You are a spirited little woman, I will give you that. But your comment shows your youth and your naivety.”

Taking not one, but two large pork chops from the platter she handed him, he said, “While the prices west are much higher, so is the cost to drive the cattle such a great distance. The length of time it takes to drive the cattle to California is almost three times as long as the northern route. It is also much more dangerous. There are many more Indians and cattle thieves westward. It would simply not be profitable to drive the herd west.”

His snooty tone grated on her nerves. When she opened her mouth to speak, Reuben interrupted. “Perhaps, dear sister, you should leave the business matters to men. I’m sure you would be much more interested in knowing how Mrs. Withers’ new baby is faring.”

Mrs. Withers quickly picked up the conversation, monopolizing both Julia and Mary’s time. While Julia was surprised Reuben even knew the woman had a child, she was thankful for the opportunity to ignore Mr. Norton.

As the conversation continued, she felt something brush against her knee then move away. She kept her focus on Mrs. Withers’ overlong description of her young son and on eating the meal, until she felt the unmistakable presence of a man’s hand move above her knee. She stole a glance and confirmed Mr. Norton’s hand rested most inappropriately on her thigh. Angling her legs further away from him as discreetly as possible, Julia’s stomach churned. When Mr. Norton pressed closer, she thought she might lose her dinner. The man appeared to have no limits.

Standing abruptly, she said, “If you’ll excuse me. I’m not feeling quite myself.” Without waiting for a reply she hurried to her room.

Your browser may not support display of this image.


Reuben scowled after his sister. Her behavior had been completely unacceptable, despite his attempt earlier in the day to reason with her. This silly idea of marrying for love must have worked its way into her thinking from the stories their father told of their mother. No one married for love.

He certainly hadn’t. While Mary was pleasant looking enough and easy to control, he did not love his wife. He had married her to increase his social standing among the area ranchers—something his father never seemed to care about. Her father had been one of the wealthier men in the area and he was easy to win over. In fact, Reuben thought, most everyone he met was easy to manipulate—except Will and Julia.

It didn’t matter. Will was gone and out of the picture. He was no longer a nuisance, even though it was Will’s fault that he was in such a financial mess. The timing of Will leaving with half the herd and half the financial holdings was disastrous, leaving him unable to pay debts to some very powerful men—a situation he was desperately trying to resolve.

The last bite of his pork chop churned in his stomach as fear gained a foothold. He needed Hiram’s money from the marriage arrangement to Julia. It was his only hope of turning things around.

As his guests finished the meal, Reuben stood. “Gentlemen, shall we retire to the front porch for some refreshments and cigars?”

The men eagerly nodded, obviously wanting to be away from the women as quickly as he did. As Hiram stood, Reuben pulled him aside. Speaking loud enough for the others to hear, he said, “We’ll join you in a moment. Hiram and I have a few business matters to discuss.”

Leading Hiram back towards his office, Reuben hoped Hiram would still be amiable to the agreement they discussed several days ago at the saloon, despite Julia’s less than enthusiastic attitude this evening.

Before he offered a seat, Hiram took one, starting the conversation on his terms. “Julia is quite lovely, Reuben. You’ve been holding out on me. When you asked for such a large sum, I assumed she must be dreadful to look at.”

“So you are pleased?”

“To a point,” Hiram admitted. “While she’ll keep me entertained well, she needs to learn to control her tongue, especially in front of guests. I’m surprised you haven’t dealt with this already.”

Reuben frowned. If only Hiram knew what he was up against. With any luck, he wouldn’t find out until after his wedding day. “Well, father has only been gone a short time. He doted on her, so it will take some time to get her to properly respect a man.”

“Ah, there’s the catch. I’ll have to train her myself then.” Hiram laughed. “It will be a fun challenge—breaking her. Too bad you didn’t have more time to do the job yourself. You could get a much higher price for her, as beautiful as she is.”

The price he was asking was enough. Normally prone to greediness, when it came to selling his sister’s hand in marriage, he felt it prudent not to get too greedy. He was running out of time and needed to pay his debts soon. Once that pressure slackened, he could focus his energy on rebuilding his wealth.

A brief hint of remorse came over Reuben. Had he stooped so low that he was selling his sister for money? But, it was not as if he were selling her to a brothel. No, he was just selling her to a wealthy rancher. She would live in luxury. What could be bad about that?

He knew living with Hiram Norton would not be pleasant. The man had a reputation for being ruthless to his business associates, to his women, and even to his mother. He had no limits. He made Reuben look like a saint. Julia would undoubtedly be miserable married to him until she learned her place.

Chiding himself, he refocused his attention back to what Hiram was saying. He needed this man’s money, not a sudden case of conscience.

“After we have our cigars,” Hiram was saying, “then, I will take Julia for a walk. See if I still fancy her. When I return, we will announce our engagement. It will be short. No longer than a month.”

Reuben held back a gasp. He hadn’t expected Norton to want a short engagement. “You know what the townsfolk will say with such a hurried wedding. They will think my sister has been compromised.”

Pulling a large stack of bills from his coat pocket, Hiram slammed it down on the desk. “I don’t think you will care too much what is said about your sister’s reputation. Who knows, what they say may end up being true anyway.”

The dark look on Hiram’s face sent shivers down Reuben’s spine. Ruthless seemed rather inadequate of a word to describe the man before him. He had to make sure Julia did not ruin this deal, for he did not want the added pressure of Norton’s anger.

Your browser may not support display of this image.


Mary knocked on Julia’s door not more than ten minutes after she left the meal. Her voice was timid when she spoke, “The men have retired to the front porch for cigars. Reuben requested that you return to the parlor with the women.”

Sighing, Julia did as instructed. She listened to the gossip of the rancher’s wives and wished her friend Caroline Larson was in attendance, so she might actually be able to enjoy the evening. The Larsons owned a ranch to the east of the Star C and they had been long-time family friends. Up until last year, before father passed away, the Larsons were always invited for every social gathering—sometimes they were the only guests. Since then, Reuben saw little use for Mr. Larson’s moral ways and only included them on rare occasions to pacify her or his wife.

Not paying attention to the boring conversation, Julia missed seeing the men return from the outdoors. Mr. Norton’s hand on her forearm jolted her from her thoughts. “Miss Colter, I was hoping you might take a walk with me.”

“And who will be acting as chaperone?” she replied curtly, not wanting to be alone in his presence.

Mr. Norton laughed, a sound she was beginning to detest. “Silly girl, I am much too old for a chaperone. I assure you, your reputation will be safe with me. I simply want to stroll for a few moments with a beautiful woman on my arm.”

Julia thought a stroll might be too much for the man. He was sweating profusely and seemed to have difficulty walking the distance to the door, as his breath came in short, heavy bursts. She looked to Mary for support. She smiled and nodded her approval, oblivious to Mr. Norton’s reprehensible behavior. As Reuben stood next to Mary, his eyes narrowed with a silent warning. Heeding the unspoken message, she stood and accepted Mr. Norton’s arm.

Outside, the air barely cooled in the waning sunlight, causing Julia to grow warm in a matter of seconds. She wished she thought to grab her fan when a sour odor wafted from the man at her side. Averting her face, she tried to catch an untainted breath of air. Unsuccessful, she decided parting her lips to breathe through her mouth might be preferable.

Nearing the stables, Mr. Norton stopped abruptly, turning towards Julia. The quick motion—seemingly impossible coming from the man who seemed to struggle walking much of a distance—frightened her. Sucking in air quickly through her mouth, a slight tickle lingered in the back of her throat, almost bringing on a cough.

When he spoke, his voice took on a sinister edge. Even in the dimming light she could see the contempt in his eyes. “Miss Colter, while I admire your feisty spirit,” he said as he grabbed her wrists, “It would serve you not to embarrass me again, especially by questioning my business practices in a room full of my peers. I can make your life most unbearable if you cross me.” Without warning he pulled her close and crushed his mouth down on hers as his hands took great liberty in exploring her body.

The shock of his action took a moment to register. Once it did, Julia brought her booted heel down hard on the top center of his foot, just as Will showed her. He dropped his hold instantly, crying out in pain. As he limped toward her, she ran for the front of the house to put some distance between them. Tripping over something, she stumbled, giving Mr. Norton time to catch up. He grabbed her bruised upper arms with surprising strength.

“Do not ever do that again,” he said in a hostile tone. “Do you not know that Reuben has promised you to me? Make no mistake, Miss Colter, I am a powerful man. If you want to live a decent, peaceful life under my roof, you best lose some of your haughtiness… Or, I will take whatever measures necessary to force it out of you.”

Julia blinked, trying to absorb all that he said. Was he saying that Reuben already agreed to her marrying this loathsome man? An ominous chill swept over her as he continued his intense stare. Her heart beat rapidly within her chest as her panic rose. She could not—would not—marry this dreadful man.

Dropping his hold on her, Mr. Norton extended his arm and placed her hand in the crook. “Smile,” he commanded as he limped to open the front door.

While her smile came insincerely, his seemed quite pleased. He crossed the room slowly, still favoring his injured foot, before stopping in front of Reuben and Mary. “Reuben, it gives me great pleasure to announce that Julia has eagerly agreed to accept my offer of marriage,” he said smugly. “She was so delighted that she agreed to a short engagement. We will be married in a month.” His fingernails dug into her arm daring her to speak otherwise.

The smirk on Reuben’s face told her this had been their plan all along. Such a public announcement, even though it was completely false, would be difficult to break. Lord, help me. I cannot marry that man.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide 2011 CrazyDog Tshirts Periodic Element of Bacon Shirt Review

CrazyDog Tshirts has some great Tshirt Designs that have crazy sayings, humorous quotes and clever designs. I picked out one for my husband that I thought fit his personality well. The t-shirt is called the Periodic Element of Bacon Shirt and it reads Ba with smaller Bacon underneath and an atomic number of 121. I thought that this was awesome because of my husband's love of bacon, science, and his initials just happen to be B.A. :) He absolutely loved his gift from me. You can find this shirt in the Funny T-shirts section of the CrazyDog Tshirts website. The t-shirt is made from 100% cotton and feels soft to the touch.

These t-shirts would be great stocking stuffers or gifts to go under the Christmas tree this year. CrazyDog Tshirts has so many different ones to choose from. I am sure someone on your shopping list would be very happy with a great t-shirt from them.

BUY IT:
The Periodic Element of Bacon Shirt I received free for this review you can buy for $14.99 on the CrazyDog Tshirts website. You can also find other t-shirts from 6.99-$26.00.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to CrazyDog Tshirts for sending me a t-shirt for free. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide 2011 LUNA Bars: Chocolate Chunk and Chocolate Dipped Coconut Review

Clif Bar & Company made LUNA in 1999 to satisfy a need for whole nutrition bars for women. These are packed with calcium, folic acid, vitamin D, iron, protein and fiber. These are great when you need something to sustain you until meal time. They are made of 70% certified organic ingredients and are the perfect snack to munch on the road or while you are out and about.

LUNA just came out with 2 new flavors that I got to try out for free to review on my blog: Chocolate Chunk and Chocolate Dipped Coconut! The Chocolate Chunk is very tasty and I love the chunks of chocolate throughout. It does sort of remind me of the cookie counterpart, but more nutritious. My favorite is the Chocolate Dipped Coconut bar though. I love anything with coconut and chocolate in it and it was heavenly! I was relishing every bite and thinking to myself that I need to get me a case of these! It is definitely a deliciously decadent combination of toasted coconut and chocolate.

LUNA has now 15 different yummy kinds of bars from the Chocolate Peppermint Stick bar (that I tried free because of their free holiday newsletter offer) to Chocolate Raspberry bar (that I won a case of a while back). You will want to sign up for their newsletter because they sometimes have free offers to try out. However I noticed that their Chai Tea flavor has been taken off their list and it was one of my favorites too. So...LUNA if you are reading this please bring back that flavor!

These bars are great stocking stuffers for the holidays!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to LUNA for sending me samples of their new bars for free to review. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide 2011 A Toy Garden Multicolored Beeswax Candle Making Kit Review and Giveaway

A Toy Garden has a lovely selection of open ended, natural, creative and fun toys that are mostly Fair Trade and Made in the USA for children and their families. I love Waldorf and Montessori inspired toys and products because you can definitely see the great quality of craftsmanship and love that is put into these products. This family run webstore has beautiful products that help foster creativity, imagination, play, fun, together time, pretend play and learning.

I received the Multicolored Beeswax Candle Making Kit for free to review on my blog. This Make It Yourself Candle Kit has everything to make 12 or more beeswax candles! It includes 12 8x8 inch sheets of high quality 100% honeycombed beeswax in 12 different beautiful colors, 4 yards of cotton wick and instructions. My oldest 3 children loved making these candles. They created them using cookie cutters we had to cut shapes out of the sheets of wax and then melt them onto other sheets after they were rolled up with the wick inside. They had so much fun creating and decorating these. I helped them cut out the shapes and carefully punch them out of the cookie cutters. They used our hairdryer to slightly heat the wax so that it would roll up easier as directed and it worked very well. My children and I were very pleased with the results. These were so enjoyable to make together.

WIN IT:
Sonya at A Toy Garden is generously giving one lucky reader a chance to win another Multicolored Beeswax Candle Making Kit.

Mandatory:
Go to the A Toy Garden website and tell me what other product you love.

Additional entries:
1. Subscribe to my blog by feedburner or by email and let me know which way. (3 extra entries each)

2. Fan/Like me on facebook and write something on my wall. (1 extra entry)

3. Follow me on Google Friend Connect (GFC) on the right sidebar and/or Networked Blogs Let me know what your user name is. (2 extra entries each)

4. Blog about this giveaway on your blog and provide me with the link. Make sure you have the link to this post and A Toy Garden in your blog entry or it won't count. (2 extra entries)

5. Give me a brief POSITIVE review on Alexa and provide me with your user name. (3 extra entries)

6. Grab My Button (see sidebar to the right) AND/OR Put My Blog URL in Your Blogroll - Leave Your Link. (1 extra entry)

7. Technorati my blog and let me know your link. (1 extra entry)

8. Fave me on Momfaves. (2 extra entries)

9. List this giveaway on any giveaway listing website or blog Linky/Link-up and tell me where you listed it. (2 extra entries)

10. Write about this giveaway with a link to this post on your Facebook wall, Kirtsy, StumbleUpon, Google+ or other social media website besides Twitter. Let me know where. (2 extra entries for each)

11. Comment on my regular (not giveaway) posts. Let me know which one. (1 extra entry per post you comment on)

12. Follow me on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

13. Tweet this: @finamoon #WIN A Toy Garden Multicolored Beeswax Candle Making Kit http://bit.ly/tHmp7C (Daily Extras are Available)

14. Fan/Like A Toy Garden on Facebook. (1 extra entry)

Make sure you leave me your email in all posts so that I can contact you. Don't forget to leave a comment for each task and the correct amount of entries for each task. This contest ends on Friday January 13, 2012 at midnight (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada). This Giveaway is open to all 18 years and over in the U.S. only!!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to A Toy Garden for sending me a Multicolored Beeswax Candle Making Kit for free and another to give away for free. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide 2011 UncommonGoods Review and $50 Giveaway

UncommonGoods is a unique online store with some very unusual items (some handmade) that you don't find in every day shopping usually. Their products make great gifts for the holiday and Christmas season! They also have some really interesting facts or what they call "Uncommon Knowledge" posted around their website and feature some of the artists and designers of their handmade goods in highlights on some of the pages on their website and their print catalog. They are committed to the environment and print their catalogs on recycled paper and there is also products in their store that are made of recycled materials. In their Better to Give Program they donate a portion of each order to your choice of non-profit organizations: American Forests, AmeriCares, City Harvest, and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).

I know my husband and most other men are the hardest to shop for during the holidays, but UncommonGoods has a selection of great gifts for him on their website that he would love. They also have this great guitar pick punch that I thought was very cool for someone that plays guitar. My favorite section on their website is the gifts for kids because I love shopping for my children. This is where I found the two gifts for them that I got for free to review on my blog. I got the Periodic Table Building Blocks and the Pita Pockets Lunch.

The Periodic Table Building Blocks are awesome for homeschooling! I got them for my boys and as soon as they opened them they were looking up YouTube videos about each scientific element and learning about them. They also like taking some of the ones they know about and combining them to try and make new elements or see what would happen if combined. These are great for teaching chemistry. My younger children loved stacking them to build sky scraper towers and knocking them over. They come in a set of 20 brightly colored basswood blocks that contain the entire periodic table. The six sides contain a unique element's name, atomic number and symbol in bright blue, purple, green, red, orange or pink. Handmade in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The Pita Pockets Lunch I got for my daughter Teela because she loves to pretend play in her little fold up kitchen. I had never seen this set of play food before and was thrilled to have found it at UncommonGoods. I try to get play food for her that doesn't have fast food or unhealthy choices in it. This set is wonderful because it is all healthy. My daughter loves to mix and match the contents of the felt pita pockets stuffed with soft felt slices of lettuce and cheese, and wooden tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and green peppers!

WIN IT:
Rocky at UncommonGoods is generously giving one lucky reader a chance to win a $50 Gift Card to use in their store.

Mandatory:
Go to the UncommonGoods website and tell me which product(s) you would pick if you won.

Additional entries:
1. Tweet a link to the UncommonGoods gifts for him page, here.

2. Sign up for the UncommonGoods email list.

3. Vote on a product with the UncommonGoods voting tool ** Note – Please only post comments pertaining to the products.

4. Subscribe to my blog by feedburner or by email and let me know which way. (3 extra entries each)

5. Fan/Like me on facebook and write something on my wall. (1 extra entry)

6. Follow me on Google Friend Connect (GFC) on the right sidebar and/or Networked Blogs Let me know what your user name is. (2 extra entries each)

7. Blog about this giveaway on your blog and provide me with the link. Make sure you have the link to this post and UncommonGoods in your blog entry or it won't count. (2 extra entries)

8. Give me a brief POSITIVE review on Alexa and provide me with your user name. (3 extra entries)

9. Grab My Button (see sidebar to the right) AND/OR Put My Blog URL in Your Blogroll - Leave Your Link. (1 extra entry)

10. Technorati my blog and let me know your link. (1 extra entry)

11. Fave me on Momfaves. (2 extra entries)

12. List this giveaway on any giveaway listing website or blog Linky/Link-up and tell me where you listed it. (2 extra entries)

13. Write about this giveaway with a link to this post on your Facebook wall, Kirtsy, StumbleUpon, Google+ or other social media website besides Twitter. Let me know where. (2 extra entries for each)

14. Comment on my regular (not giveaway) posts. Let me know which one. (1 extra entry per post you comment on)

15. Follow me on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

16. Tweet this: @finamoon: @uncommongoods #WIN A UncommonGoods $50 Gift Card http://bit.ly/tP8Bm6 (Daily Extras are Available)

17. Fan/Like UncommonGoods on Facebook. (1 extra entry)

18. Follow UncommonGoods on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

Make sure you leave me your email in all posts so that I can contact you. Don't forget to leave a comment for each task and the correct amount of entries for each task. This contest ends on Friday January 13, 2012 at midnight (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada). This Giveaway is open to all 18 years and over in the U.S. only!!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to UncommonGoods for sending me products for free and a gift card to give away for free. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

On the Path with God by Erwin W. Lutzer, photography by John and Debora Scanlan FWCT Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


On the Path with God

Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR and PHOTOGRAPHERS:


Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, Senior Pastor of The Moody Church since 1980, is an award-winning author of more than 20 books including Walking with God. He’s a celebrated international conference speaker and the featured speaker on three radio programs that are heard around the world. He and his wife, Rebecca, have been married for 35 years. They live in the Chicago area and are the parents of three married children.

Visit the author's website.

John and Debora Scanlan are partners in life and in creating Scanlan Windows to the World™ Fine Art Photography. They are internationally renowned for capturing the beauty, intrigue, and romance of the world while presenting the essence of every scene. Their work is featured in galleries, special exhibitions and juried art shows, on numerous products including cards and calendars, and in their breathtaking fine art photography book Windows to the World.

Visit the photographers' website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:



Inspiring meditations from the heart of popular pastor and author Dr. Erwin Lutzer join breathtaking photographs of winding country paths and cobblestone streets and invite readers to take time to walk with God. The joy-filled promises of faith await those who treasure an enriched journey with the Creator.



Product Details:

List Price: $15.99
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736939369
ISBN-13: 978-0736939362

AND NOW...THE FIRST FEW PAGES (The images were scanned so that you may see what this delightful book looks like, but the words were placed here from these scanned images, so that you may read and be blessed.) Please click on the images to see them larger:




Why Walk with God?

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world.

Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12



A tour through a cemetery can be beneficial and educational. I like to read epitaphs because they often say something interesting about the person who is finished with this life and has gone on to the next. Maybe epitaphs should be required reading for everyone once a year. They are a reminder that life is short and that eternity is near.

Most epitaphs are serious, some are tragic, and yes, there are at least a few that are funny. I’m told that this poem is found on the tombstone of a lady named Anna Wallace in England:

The children of Israel wanted bread.

The Lord sent them manna.

Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife.

The devil sent him Anna.

Here is a poem I learned in grade school, though I doubt it is on a tombstone—it could be. It contains an important message about automobile safety:
Here lies the body of William Jay,

Who died while maintaining his right of way.

He was right, completely right as he sped along,

But he’s just as dead as if he’d been wrong!

My favorite epitaph is found in the Bible, embedded in a long list of genealogies in the fifth chapter of Genesis. To read these verses is like walking though a cemetery. The names are difficult to pronounce and we are left to guess what life was like so many centuries ago. Like the tolling of a bell, every tombstone bears the same message; six times we read the simple phrase “and he died.”



Then unexpectedly we discover that there was a man who did not die! His name was Enoch, and of him we read in verse 24, “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” Twice we are told that Enoch “walked with God.” In fact, He walked with God right into heaven!

This epitaph is perhaps one of the most beautiful phrases in the entire Bible. If it could be said of you and me that we “walked with God,” nothing more need be said. Those few words contain an eternity of meaning.

An Invitation to the Journey

Walking with God is both difficult and simple. Difficult because it takes thought, discipline, and commitment; simple because the same characteristics that apply to walking with a close friend or a loved one apply to walking with God.

Enoch walked with God in the midst of a society filled with temptations and obstacles just like those we face. He is a powerful reminder that we can be faithful to walk with God in our day as well. When we accept the invitation to begin the journey, trials and distractions need not keep us from our time with the Almighty.



Interestingly, Enoch was motivated to begin this journey after his first son Methuselah was born. Maybe he felt a new sense of responsibility as he held the baby boy in his arms. Perhaps as the child reached out to touch the stubble of his father’s beard Enoch said to himself, “I need to reorder my priorities and begin to take God more seriously.” Evidently he realized that the greatest contribution he could make in life was to guide his family on the right path.

Spend some moments reflecting on what motivates your heart to walk with the Lord today. Have you faced a trial and found yourself ready to give your sorrow to God? Do you long to leave a legacy of faith for your children? Maybe you’ve been in fellowship with the Lord for many years and you are ready for refreshment. Together we can explore how to walk with God and embrace the meaningful, remarkable, and abundant life He has planned for you. Let’s take a step forward toward the light of life.

You have declared this day that the LORD is your God

and that you will walk in his ways, that you will keep his decrees,

commands and laws, and that you will obey him.

And the LORD has declared this day that you are his people,

his treasured possession as he promised, and that

you are to keep all his commands.

Deuteronomy 26:17-18



Help for the Journey

I’ve often thought about what others might say of me after I die. I don’t mean the beautiful eulogies often given at funerals. Instead, I wonder what people will really think—what they will really remember about the impact for good or ill I have had in their lives. God of course, will give the final evaluation, but imagine our legacy if it could be said that we “walked with God.”



If an epitaph were written for you today, what would it be? Are you satisfied with that? What do you hope you will be remembered for?

Consider Jesus’ simple invitation to brothers Simon and Andrew referenced below. Think about how wonderful it feels to have Jesus call to you today in the same, simple way. What is your response to Jesus as He waves to you and says, “Come, follow me?”

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:16-17).
God provides what you need each step of the way. What worries or weaknesses do you want to give to God—need to give to God—in exchange for His hope and renewing strength?


Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:30-31
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalm 119:105

One Kings Lane Flash Sales - Get a FREE $15 For New Members!

One Kings Lane is a favorite Flash Sale site of mine. They have fabulous Home Decor, Kitchen Items, Bedding, Furniture, Rugs, Linens, Children's Toys & more at up to 70% off. New sales every day. There are so many awesome items on sale for the home at at One Kings Lane today!

Under The Kitchen section (Ends 12/18) on sale they have: Bodum French Coffee Presses and Coffee makers, cute aprons, hand blenders, knife sets, fry pans, cookware sets, pepper and salt mills, beverage dispensers, canisters, mixing bowl set, hanging pot racks, Viking mixers and toasters, kitchen scales, cookbooks, Tovolo kitchen gadgets, colanders, baking pans, stockpots, etc. They also have other sections of sales to check out that are going on now. So many awesome items to choose from!

Get a FREE $15 to spend there when you are new to sign up!!

I am eying a whole lot of kitchen stuff on sale at One Kings Lane now that is on my wish list: Tovolo 5-Pc. Measuring Cups & Spoons Set $15, Reston Lloyd Mixing Bowl Set of 5 in Aqua and Azure $25 each set, Tovolo Stainless Mixing Bowls & Lids (Set of 3) $25, Bodum 51 oz Ice Coffee Maker in Purple $19, Reston Lloyd 5 Pc. Utensil Set in Plum $12, etc.

They have such great prices from trusted brands like Tovolo, Viking, Bodum, and BIA Cordon Bleu! You can't and won't beat these sales and since they are flash sales they won't be around for long. These would be great gifts for Christmas! So don't delay!!

Get a FREE $15 to spend there when you are new to sign up!!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I wrote this blog post because I thought you might be interested in taking part of this deal. I am a fan of One Kings Lane and thought I would share the savings. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any compensation for doing this post. My affiliate links can be found in this post. Thank you for your support of this blog! *Referral credits can only be used on purchases more than $30.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide 2011 NachoMama Tees Porpoise Shirt Review and $15 Gift Card Giveaway

I love witty sayings and NachoMama Tees has some great ones on Cool t-shirts that you can wear. I love the one I picked out that says, "This shirt has a Porpoise" because I am a dolphin, whale, and porpoise fan. I have a whole bookshelf in my home dedicated to them. When I was younger I used to live in Alaska and I would collect clippings out of the newspaper about them and I met my husband online in a dolphin discussion forum called POD (Place Of Dolphins). You can find the Porpouse t-shirt in the Funny t-shirt section of the NachoMama Tee website. The t-shirt is made from soft 100% cotton and is super comfortable. I got a size small for myself because I am petite and it was a very nice fit. I love the beautiful royal blue color that this t-shirt is.

These t-shirts would be great stocking stuffers or gifts to go under the Christmas tree this year. NachoMama Tees has so many different ones to choose from. I am sure someone on your shopping list would be very happy with a great t-shirt from them.

BUY IT:
The Porpoise t-shirt I received free for this review you can buy for $16.99 $13.59 on the NachoMama Tees website. You can also find other t-shirts from 6.99-$26.00.

WIN IT:
Pete at NachoMama Tees is generously giving one lucky reader a chance to win a $15 Gift Card to CrazyDog Tshirts (You cannot have received a promotional item within the past 90 days from CrazyDog Tshirts or NachoMama Tees or own a review/giveaway blog of your own in order to win this giveaway).

Mandatory:
Go to the CrazyDog Tshirts website and tell me which t-shirt you would pick if you won.

Additional entries:
1. Subscribe to my blog by feedburner or by email and let me know which way. (3 extra entries each)

2. Fan/Like me on facebook and write something on my wall. (1 extra entry)

3. Follow me on Google Friend Connect (GFC) on the right sidebar and/or Networked Blogs Let me know what your user name is. (2 extra entries each)

4. Blog about this giveaway on your blog and provide me with the link. Make sure you have the link to this post and NachoMama Tees in your blog entry or it won't count. (2 extra entries)

5. Give me a brief POSITIVE review on Alexa and provide me with your user name. (3 extra entries)

6. Grab My Button (see sidebar to the right) AND/OR Put My Blog URL in Your Blogroll - Leave Your Link. (1 extra entry)

7. Technorati my blog and let me know your link. (1 extra entry)

8. Fave me on Momfaves. (2 extra entries)

9. List this giveaway on any giveaway listing website or blog Linky/Link-up and tell me where you listed it. (2 extra entries)

10. Write about this giveaway with a link to this post on your Facebook wall, Kirtsy, StumbleUpon, Google+ or other social media website besides Twitter. Let me know where. (2 extra entries for each)

11. Comment on my regular (not giveaway) posts. Let me know which one. (1 extra entry per post you comment on)

12. Follow me on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

13. Tweet this: @finamoon: @crazydogtshirts #WIN A CrazyDog Tshirt $15 Gift Card http://bit.ly/ua7Wzm (Daily Extras are Available)

14. Fan/Like CrazyDog on Facebook. (1 extra entry)

15. Follow CrazyDog on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

Make sure you leave me your email in all posts so that I can contact you. Don't forget to leave a comment for each task and the correct amount of entries for each task. This contest ends on Friday December 30, 2011 at midnight (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada). This Giveaway is open to all 18 years and over in the U.S. only!!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to CrazyDog Tshirts and NachoMama Tees for sending me a t-shirt for free and a gift card to give away for free. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Monday, December 12, 2011

God Gave Us Love board book, by Lisa T. Bergren FWCT Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


God Gave Us Love board book

WaterBrook Press; Brdbk edition (December 20, 2011)

***Special thanks to Laura Tucker, WaterBrook Multnomah Publicity, for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


LISA BERGREN is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than thirty books, with more than two million copies sold. A former publishing executive, she now splits her time working as a freelance editor and writer while parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of the family’s next visit to Taos.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

As Little Cub and Grampa Bear’s fishing adventure is interrupted by mischievous otters, the young polar bear begins to question why we must love others… even the seemingly unlovable.

In answering her questions, Grampa Bear gives tender explanations that teach Little Cub about the different kinds of love that is shared between families, friends, and mamas and papas. Grampa explains that all these kinds of love come from God and that it is important to love others because…

“Any time we show love, Little Cub, we’re sharing a bit of his love.”

This sweet tale will warm the hearts of young children as they learn about all the different sorts of love, while the gentle explanations of each provide a valuable opportunity to encourage children to share with others a “God-sized love.” Now in a sturdy format, ideal for the littlest hands at storytime, bedtime, or anytime. Would make a great Christmas gift!

Product Details:

List Price: $6.99
Reading level: Ages 0 and up
Board book: 22 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press; Brdbk edition (December 20, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307730271
ISBN-13: 978-0307730275

Here's an excerpt from the first book in the series: God Gave Us You (Board Book). (Click on images to see them larger):








Sunday, December 11, 2011

Delbin has Type 1 Diabetes


My oldest son Delbin, who is only 11, had been having headaches for the past couple days and we took him into the doctor on Friday. They took his blood, did some other tests and noticed he had lost 7 pounds since his last visit. They called that night to say his tests showed unusually high glucose levels (in the 700 range) so possible diabetes. They told us to take him to the ER that is at the hospital across the river from us so they could do more tests. My husband took him and I have been home with the other kids. They transferred him to the Doernbecher Children's Hospital at OHSU in Portland to get check ups with a Pediatric Endocrinologist (He actually saw one of my daughter, Tatiana's doctors.) and he has been there with my husband ever since. Late Friday night I got word from my husband, Brian. The doctors said Delbin should have been comatose with the levels he had. He wasn't really acting that sick to me, but I am glad we got it checked out when we did. They gave him saline solution through an IV and slowly his levels lowered to within the 400 range.

Saturday I got word that his glucose levels were back to normal in the 100 range. The doctors had diagnosed my son, Delbin with type 1 Diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes) and he has been getting insulin before every meal. They were taking out the IV as I was on the phone with my husband that day. I was so relieved that Delbin was OK.

I feel as if I should get an honorary nurses degree/license after all that I have been through with health issues in my family. My daughter, Tatiana, had all sorts of diagnoses because of a resected brain tumor and passed because of lobar pneumonia in April of 2010. My husband has a rare condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) that he just came down with around May of this year and is now being treated with medications for it...and now my oldest son has Type 1 Diabetes. All these things just came on so suddenly and without warning. I guess it is true that "Life Happens". My family has been through a lot, but I also feel that there is nothing that is dished out that I can't handle. Like I said in my post about my miscarriage I had August of 2009, these things only make me stronger.

At this time Delbin hasn't been released from the hospital. I am hopeful that I can learn as I did with my daughter, Tatiana, to take care of him and make sure that he gets the best care possible. This might actually be a blessing for him, because he could use more responsibility. I am hoping he sees this the same way as I do and in time prospers with the knowledge that this disease will not ever defeat him!

Do you know of anyone with this diagnoses? How are they dealing with it? Please share your experiences, thoughts, recipes for healthy Diabetes friendly foods, etc.! Thank you!