Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kraft Delicious Days

Visit Kraft Delicious Days for daily tips, ideas and expert advice on food, travel and family activities. Delicious Days is Kraft’s headquarters for all things seasonal. Watch featured videos to learn new recipes that really take advantage of spring's picnics, summer's fresh ingredients and grilling, fall's unique vegetables, and winter's dishes guaranteed to warm you up! The site also features wonderful content the whole family will love. Check out fun games, vacation-planning tips, budgeting ideas, and party planning tips. Depending upon the season they will have ideas for a back-to-school lunchbox, holiday recipes, and fall fashion tips.

You’ll find their videos simple to follow too. Here are some samples from their site:

How long can I keep this ground beef in the fridge? How long will it last in the freezer? Is it okay to marinate chicken before I freeze it? How do you buy the tastiest fish? These questions and more are answered in this next video about buying, storing and freezing seafood, chicken, and meat:

Here is one that features recipes for delectable appetizers and sides including cranberry pineapple minis, potatoes au gratin and ham and cheese spirals:

While you’re at http://www.KraftDeliciousDays.com/ don’t forget to enter their Delicious New Year’s Sweepstakes for a chance to win $2,500! I did!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I was told about this through an email and thought my readers would also like this website. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. No monetary exchange took place.

Friday, January 28, 2011

First-Ever Virtual Cooking School On TheMotherhood.com

Cooking Connections is an 8-week series of live blogging classes and conversations and will feature one unique cooking and kitchen-related session every week from January 28 through March 16. Sessions are hosted by nearly 100 food bloggers you know and love who will lead discussions, prepare recipes and show us their best kitchen tips and tricks. Designed to help moms and dads return to the simple, joyful, social art of cooking, Cooking Connections is served up by TheMotherhood and ConAgra .

Register now and mark your calendars!! It's free, it's online at TheMotherhood and going to be TONS of fun! For participating in classes you will receive a badges while learning and completing them.

I have signed up for the whole series! I can't wait to see it all! It is going to be super fun!

Watch this to find out more...


DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I signed up for this myself and thought my readers would like the chance also. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. No monetary exchange took place.

Meijer's Win Seventh Generation Diapers & Baby Wipes for a Year Sweepstakes

Enter for your chance to win Seventh Generation Diapers & Baby Wipes for a Year from Meijer grocery stores. Sweepstakes begins at 12:01 A.M. EST on 1/28/11 and ends at 11:59 P.M. EST on 2/28/11. The GRAND PRIZE consists of twenty-four (24) Value Packs of Seventh Generation Diapers and two (2) sets of Seventh Generation Baby Wipes, ARV: $1,035.74. Check out the sweepstakes details, rules and regulations before entering.

Also, since it is Baby & Toddler Week at Meijer you can get free shipping on all diapers and wipes and savings of 10-70% on OVER 900 baby items!

I personally have tried, and love Seventh Generation diapers and wipes. They are eco-friendly, non-toxic, chlorine free, and hypoallergenic. They are also a wonderful alternative to cloth diapers and wipes and are especially great while on trips.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I entered this sweepstakes myself and thought my readers would like the chance also. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. No monetary exchange took place.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mimijumi Review

I admit that I am usually not a bottle fan at all. I dislike that most bottles out there are a breastfeeding Mama's worst nightmare when it comes to nipple confusion. Usually after a baby is given an ordinary bottle and then goes back to the breast the baby tries to use the bottle-feeding technique on the breast and has difficulty latching-on and sucking. Baby gets very frustrated, and so does mother. Nipple confusion can sometimes even lead to baby refusing the breast. This only pushes the mother even further to give up breastfeeding her baby and go to the unnatural act of formula feeding.

The Mimijumi Very Hungry Baby Bottle is so different from all others I have seen. I think it is the best yet. The Mimijumi company is made up of a team of designers, mothers, nurses, physicians and lactation specialists. The Mimijumi Very Hungry Baby Bottle is designed to mimic the look and feel of a mother's breast. The one-piece nipple screws on easily and is slightly angled on the bottle to make feeding easier and less formation of air bubbles. It also has a venting system to prevent colic. The snap-off cap it comes with protects the nipple from germs and dirt and leakage. The no-skid bottom helps make it possible to prepare the bottle with just one hand. The wide mouth makes it easy to fill...so less spillage of your precious "liquid gold". The nipple is made with the safest food and medical grade silicone and plastic. Both bottle and nipple are bisphenol-a (bpa) and latex free. They can be cleaned easily and sterilized using any traditional sterilizing method. You can sterilize by boiling them, using microwave sterilizing devices or alternatively they can be put on the top rack of the dishwasher.

I love that this bottle helps the baby to not have nipple confusion and when I do pump and use my Medela Breastmilk Labeling & Storage System to give my girls a break, this bottle filled with my breastmilk is the next best thing. However; this boob imposter will not take the place of my breasts anytime soon because I have the luxury of being a stay at home mom. Breastfeeding is best for my baby anyway!

Very Hungry Baby Bottle Set includes:
* 8 oz. (240 ml) bottle
* 1 cap - 1 nipple (slow flow rate, stage 1 for 0-3 months)
* 1 bottle care and use guide (instructions)
* 1 no-skid bottom

BUY IT:
Purchase one today for $18 plus S&H at Uncommongoods. You can find other places to buy this product here... http://mimijumi.com/storelocator
Additional nipple refill sets of two slow, two medium and two fast flow nipples sold separately.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to ChicExecs, a company which was created to promote small business campaigns, I was able to let you know about this product. Mimijumi provided me with the Very Hungry Baby Bottle Set for free to try and 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.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Daniel Fast Made Delicious: The simple fruit and vegetable fast that will nourish you by John and Ann Marie Cavazos 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 authors are:


and the book:


The Daniel Fast Made Delicious: The simple fruit and vegetable fast that will nourish you

Siloam (January 4, 2011)

***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Book Group | Strang Communications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

John and Ann Marie Cavazos created these recipes while serving on the staff of their Central Florida church when they realized that people were simply starving on carrot sticks every time the church held a Daniel Fast, instead of enjoying the variety of delicious, healthy foods that were originally intended to be part of this ancient eating plan.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A cookbook on the topic of fasting may sound like an oxymoron, but this eating plan modeled in the biblical account of the life of Daniel, often called a Daniel Fast, is actually loaded with fresh, delicious, health-promoting foods. The Daniel Fast Made Delicious includes more than 175 recipes, many of which are 100 percent gluten free and dairy free. Filled with easy instructions, simple steps, spiritual inspirations, and interesting food facts and figures, these Daniel Fast recipes are as nourishing to the soul as they are to the body.

Product Details:

List Price: $17.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Siloam (January 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616381809
ISBN-13: 978-1616381806

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Introduction



Dear fellow Daniel Fasters:


This recipe book is not like anything else you’ve seen before. A recipe book for a fast—seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? I mean, isn’t the point of a fast not to eat? Well, in this case the Daniel fast is about what you can eat. The Daniel fast is a unique fast—taken from the biblical account in Daniel 1:8–21 where Daniel and his three Hebrew friends ate only vegetables and drank water for ten days. Our favorite part is verse 8, which reads, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies…” This is indicative of the kind of man Daniel was—a man of purpose!


Our goal here is not to talk about fasting, per se, or give you tons of supporting scriptures. If you have prepared and purposed to fast, then you probably already know these things or have read about them in books far more poignant than ours. Rather, this book seeks to give you options, and more of them, as you embark on this unique fast known as the Daniel fast.


The incarnation of this recipe book began in response to our congregation complaining that they didn’t know what else to eat besides lettuce and carrots when embarking on a Daniel fast. This told us that, number one, people didn’t know much about vegetables, and number two, they probably didn’t eat many vegetables! In addition, we found them spending more time bored with the lack of variety of food and less time focusing on why they were fasting. We decided to present recipes that would help them spend less time concerning themselves with what they shouldn’t eat and more time deciding what they could prepare for their families. Thus, The Daniel Fast Made Delicious was birthed!


Back in 2004, during one of our Daniel fasts, we felt frustrated because we really wanted to see people enjoy the fast and benefit from eating fruits and vegetables. We were walking around a lake near our home when the Lord popped an idea into Ann Marie’s spirit. She heard the word “Pumpkin Lasagna.” She had no idea what that was, but the Lord told her He would show her how to prepare that and other healthy dishes using only vegetables and fruits.


A journey of learning began where we educated ourselves about vegetables— we shopped and prepared and ate things we never dreamed we would eat. We did a lot of experimenting—sometimes hit, sometimes miss—and we loved it, our kids loved it, and what’s more, our family and friends loved it! We began preparing healthy dishes made only with vegetables and inviting our family and friends over to share in the fun. It quickly became apparent our signature dish would be Annie’s Pumpkin Lasagna (chapter 2), since everyone loved it. The rest is history!


Now, the idea is not for you to eat more—you’re on a fast, so you’re supposed to eat less. Use these recipes to make the most of the food you are eating during your fast, but turn your plate down for one or two meals as you feel God leads—

and only if your health permits. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.


The idea behind this recipe book is simply to educate you and to give you more healthy choices for you and your family as you embark on the Daniel fast. Those of you with spouses or family members who are not joining you on the fast will find this book invaluable. For those of you with children who are not fasting or who are picky eaters, there are some wonderful recipes in this book that will allow you to keep to the fast and also feed your family and not skip a beat when it comes to flavor! All of the Daniel fast recipes in Section 1 are wheat, gluten, and dairy free as well as vegan! In addition, the ingredients used in all of these recipes are organic—we encourage you to use organic whenever possible. If this is not possible, we encourage you to use a fruit and vegetable

wash on all nonporous fruits and vegetables. Additionally, with all of these recipes we use cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil because studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (good) levels. For further information, see www .healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/olive-oil.htm. Why cold pressed? Cold-pressed oil is produced with the use of a low heat technique, which keeps the flavor, nutritional value, and color of the oil. Although it is more expensive it is also of higher quality. For further information, see www.wisegeek.com/what-is -cold-pressed-oil.htm. One last comment: we like a lot of garlic and cilantro in our food, and our recipes reflect this. Feel free to adjust the amount of garlic or cilantro in any of the recipes in this book to suit your family’s tastes.


People tend to think that to eat healthy means to eat yucky—not so. The secret is in how you season and prepare your food. These healthy recipes will not only show you different kinds of foods you might not have thought about before, but they also give you some great ideas on how to season and prepare your meals. It’s all about choices, and the more informed you are, the more choices you’ll have. After the fast is over, don’t run out and get fast food! In Section 2 we have included dozens of healthy recipes so you can transition from the Daniel fast to making healthy eating a lifestyle! In addition, the pasta dishes are wheat and gluten free.


Medical studies now confirm that a large percentage of the health problems in America are digestive related. According to the website Digestive System Disorders, digestive issues for the most part cause a number of diseases, such as colon, rectal, and stomach cancer; diarrhea; diverticular disease; digestive tract gas; heartburn; hepatitis; inflammatory bowel disease; irritable bowel syndrome; lactose intolerance; and stomach and duodenal ulcers. According to a recent article written on digestive disorders:


The function of the digestive system is to take the food and liquids that we put into our mouths and then either turn these foods and liquids into nutrients or energy needed by the cells of our body, or alternatively turn them into waste products that are then expelled

by our body as bowel movements. When something goes wrong with this everyday process and some part of the process doesn’t work properly, the end result is one kind or another of a digestive system disorder. There are many common digestive system disorders.

In fact, almost any natural health practitioner will tell you that food, good or bad, plays a definitive part in your health. The Daniel fast is a wonderful way to begin a life of good eating and good health. When we started doing the Daniel fast many years ago in our church, we started at the beginning of the year, around January 7, and for the next twenty-one days we consumed vegetables, fruit, and water—only! We did the fast for a number of reasons. First of all, turning your plate down and using that time to spend with the Lord is always a good thing. Second, after the holidays, most of us had abused food so much with all the celebrating we had done that we actually looked forward to the fast. Third, after a few years, a number of our members began to experience the benefit of the fast, because not only did we lose weight but also we felt better. Symptoms our bodies had manifested—such as heartburn, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome—began to disappear. (NOTE: These recipes should never be used in place of physician-prescribed medications or medical procedures prescribed by your doctor for any and all medical conditions.)


Back in 1999, after we had moved from New York to Florida, our girls, who were six and eight at the time, seemed to always be getting colds, runny noses, ear infections—something anyone with children knows something about. I grew tired of taking them to the doctor every so often just to have the doctor give them another antibiotic. I was sharing my frustrations about this with our dear friend Ruth Chironna. She asked me if I gave our girls cow’s milk. “Of course,” I replied. “What else is there to give them?” She told me to get them off of it and introduce them to rice milk. I immediately began introducing a little bit of rice milk mixed in with cow’s milk until I had weaned them off of dairy altogether. That was over a decade ago, and I can count on one hand the number of times in the last decade when they’ve been really sick or had really bad colds—and they never had another ear infection. They are now eighteen and twenty and are for the most part extremely healthy! This extended into our food, and before we knew it, we were eating better and going to the doctor a lot less. Do we ever cheat and have that slice of pizza or a burger? Sure! But everything in moderation! Changing our diet to include more vegetables, fruit, no sodas, and more water has significantly altered our lives. We trust that as you employ these changes, starting with the Daniel fast recipes, you will experience the kind of health that God intended for us to enjoy!


Whether you begin the Daniel fast at the beginning of the New Year or want to start it right now, we believe that The Daniel Fast Made Delicious is going to change the way you look at food, the way you prepare food, and the way you feel about food. Get started today! You’re going to love these recipes!


What more can we say but…


Bon app├ętit!

Buen provecho!

Guten appetit!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pear Tree Greetings Kids Valentine’s Day Cards Review and Giveaway

I am so glad to introduce you to Valentine's cards that are so much better than than the usual store bought Valentine's cards because you can personalize them more and in my opinion they are better than ones everyone else is giving away. I am sure your child will be unique at school or with his friends with the Pear Tree Greetings Valentine’s Day collection.

I received free samples of the Pear Tree Greetings Valentine’s Day collection. This collection includes brand new Kids Valentine’s Day Cards! In my sample pack was included their great Queen Photo card, which allows your child's photos to become part of the design. Also, brand new and included was a kids coloring card for your child to add a personal touch when sharing the cards to their friends at school or other places. And, of course, they have dragons, ninjas, hearts and trains everyone is sure to enjoy. My favorites are the Bold Butterfly -- Candy Valentine Card and the Flowered to Perfection -- Kids Valentine's Day Card.

Check out Pear Tree Greetings and you will see that under Valentine’s Day they added two brand new categories, Kids Valentine’s Day Variety Packs and Valentine Stickers. Their Variety Packs offer three different designs for a discounted price and their stickers are great for placing on the outside of the envelopes or decorating other things with!

Do you have a senior in high school graduating this year? Now is also the time to start thinking about the graduation party! Pear Tree Greetings is launching a new collection of Graduation Announcements mid January. They have the invitation to the profile card to the thank you card to the address label. Pear Tree has all you need to make this unforgettable milestone a success!

They also have a great new collection of Wedding Save the Date Cards for someone you know who is planning on getting married!

Shop the Pear Tree Promo Code page for the latest discounts and promotions on everything from Valentine's Day Cards, Baby Announcements and even a code valid on ANY purchase! Happy shopping!

WIN IT:
Christy from Pear Tree Greetings has generously offered 24 free Kids Valentine’s Day Cards of the winners choosing for one of my readers to win.

Mandatory:
1. Go to the Pear Tree Greetings website and tell me by commenting on this post which 24 free Kids Valentine’s Day Cards you would love to get.

Additional entries:
1. Subscribe to my blog by feedburner or by email and let me know which way. (2 extra entries each)

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

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

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

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

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

7. List this giveaway on any giveaway listing website or blog giveaway linky and tell me where you listed it. (2 extra entries)

8. Post this on your Facebook wall, Kirtsy, and/or StumbleUpon. (2 extra entries for each)

9. Comment on one of my regular (not giveaway) posts. (1 extra entry per post you comment on)

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

11. Tweet this: @finamoon: @peartreegrtngs WIN Pear Tree Greetings 24 free Kids Valentine’s Day Cards #giveaway http://bit.ly/iiZTGp (Daily Extras are Available)

12. Fan/Like Pear Tree Greetings on Facebook. (1 extra entry)

13. Follow Pear Tree Greetings on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

Make sure you leave me your email in all posts so that I can contact you. If you subscribed, blogged about this, listed it, commented on another post, or faved me on Momfaves leave 2 entries saying you did. This contest ends on Friday February 04, 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 Pear Tree Greetings for providing me this giveaway and the samples free. 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 posting review or giveaway.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Farm Rich Review

I received a free coupon for a Farm Rich product and my husband picked up the Cheese Sticks from the store. These were really tasty! They were so much better than others I have tried and the mozzarella just melts in your mouth. They are made with 100% real mozzarella cheese that is breaded. They are a very good source of calcium and protein and have 0g trans fats per serving. Their 2 lb. bag that my husband got is resealable for easy storage...but believe me you probably won't need the zipper pack because they will disappear so quickly....they did at my house! It also comes in a convenient club-size pack (4.5 lb.). I made them in my oven, but you can also use the toaster oven, convection oven or you can deep fry them although they were perfectly fine without being deep fried so I wouldn't spoil them with fat. These are wonderful as a snack or an appetizer and are also fun to dip.

You can locate a store near you that carries these or other Farm Rich products HERE. They are also on Facebook and Twitter.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Farm Rich for sending me a coupon for a free product to test  and review and the information to share with my readers. 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, January 13, 2011

Babies 'R Us Sweepstakes Sponsored By Baby Brezza

Are you expecting a new baby? If so enter the Babies 'R Us sweepstakes, sponsored by Baby Brezza, the makers of the Baby Brezza™ One Step Baby Food Maker!

From January 13th until February 13th, you have the chance to win your entire Babies 'R Us registry (Up to $3,500), just by adding the Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker to your registry. That's right, one lucky mom-to-be will win her entire wish-list, including the Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker! And trust us, this is one must-have that you'll want to add to your list anyway, since it's the only homemade baby food maker that steams and blends in one simple step. Click HERE to enter.

To be eligible you must have a due date of 01/13/2011 or later. Since Zari was born before this date we are disqualified from this sweepstakes, but maybe with some luck I will win the MomSelect prize for posting this instead! Read all rules before entering to see if you are eligible and good luck!!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Since I am a member of MomSelect, I was entered for a chance to win a $100 Babies 'R Us gift card and the Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker in exchange for this post. No monetary exchange took place.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday Teela's Beco Baby Doll Carrier

If you are participating in Wordless Wednesdays, click on the Mister Linky image, enter your name and URL in the form, and press Enter. Please also leave comments on this post! I love reading them!

Caroline’s Choice by Martha Rogers FIRST Wild Card Tour 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:


Caroline’s Choice

Realms (January 4, 2011)

***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Book Group | Strang Communications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Martha Rogers is a former schoolteacher and English instructor whose first book in the Winds Across the Prairie series, Becoming Lucy, became an immediate best seller. Morning for Dove (May 2010) is the second book in this series, with Finding Becky (book 3) releasing Fall 2010. Rogers lives with her husband in Houston, Texas.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (January 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616381930
ISBN-13: 978-1616381936

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Oklahoma Territory, September 1907


Caroline Frankston’s hands clinched into fists, her breath coming in short spurts. Through the parlor window, she watched life go on in a normal, orderly fashion, but here in

this room her world lay fragmented like shards of broken glass. Each piece cut into her soul, causing pain that she no longer wanted to bear. The bleeding had to stop. “If I don’t leave this town, I’ll never get married.” Caroline Frankston spun around to face her mother. “Barton Creek has no men who interest me, so I would like to move to Oklahoma

City and start a new life there.”


Her mother’s blue eyes flashed with anger. “You’ll do no such thing. You haveresponsibilities here.”


Caroline’s jaw tightened. Mother’s demands only caused more determination. “What responsibilities? Going to luncheons and meetings with you and sitting around listening to you decide what people should do?”


The rigid set of Mother’s mouth warned Caroline to be careful with her next words. Now was the time to stand firm and not back down. “I know you want what’s best for me, and

right now a move seems to be it.”


Mother remained silent, a vein in her neck throbbing in response to the tension in her jaw. A mixture of anger and disbelief sparked from her eyes. She stood tall, with her back

ramrod straight. Mother wouldn’t back down.


Envy for her brother’s freedom gnawed at Caroline. Being male, Rob could pick and choose what he wanted to do, and he’d proved it with his law office and his marriage to Becky last year despite Mother’s disapproval.


Without waiting for a response, Caroline headed for the door, but not without one last comment. “I’m sorry. I’ll be twenty-seven soon, and if I don’t do something now, I never

will. I don’t want to be stuck here as spinster with time on her hands and no purpose in life.”


She darted from the room and up the stairs before her mother could react and spew forth a torrent of words to thwart Caroline’s plan. Recently a college friend had written to her of the job openings at the new Carnegie library in Oklahoma City and invited her to come live with her in her town house with another roommate. Caroline had just told her mother she wanted to apply for the job and move to the city. This evening she would break the news to her father.


Standing in front of the mirror on her bureau, Caroline picked up a stylish blue hat and pinned it on her upswept hair. Although she did love the hat, it had been chosen by her mother, as had most of the clothes in Caroline’s wardrobe. In Oklahoma City she could set her own standards and not be dictated to by her mother.


Some of Mother’s ideas and beliefs about fashions and social protocol left Caroline with the feeling that no one could measure up to what the mayor’s wife expected, not even her

own daughter. Being the daughter of the mayor had its advantages, but now they hindered her and kept her from pursuing other avenues of interest.


She gathered up her reticule. Time had come for a visit with her sister-in-law to seek her advice. After all, Becky had once pursued a newspaper career without thought of marriage. She could tell Caroline what it was like to be a single, working-woman on her own.


But deep in her heart the real reason she wanted to see Becky lay hidden. Maybe Becky would have some insight into why her brother, Matt, had been so distant the past year. Of course Mother was delighted with that turn of events, but Caroline was deeply hurt and at a loss as to how to reach out to her old friend.


She glanced around the room that had been hers since her family’s arrival in Barton Creek seventeen years ago. She’d miss it, but the idea of being on her own filled her with excitement. She raced down the stairs and headed for the front door to avoid another confrontation with her mother. When her voice called out from the parlor, Caroline pretended not to hear and closed the door behind her.


She walked toward town, her feet disturbing the fallen leaves and making them swirl about her feet. Late September should bring cooler air to match the changing of the colors in the trees, but not this year. Caroline wished she’d worn a lighter weight shirtwaist and a less heavy skirt, but Mother had insisted on storing all summer clothes away for the fall season. At the next corner she turned onto Main Street, thankful she lived such a short distance from town.


A few more motorcars dotted the streets, which were now completely bricked. As mayor, her father planned to replace the boardwalks where people now strolled in front of business establishments with real sidewalks. She walked past the post office, the jail, and several other stores and shops before reaching the newspaper offices.


The odor of printer’s ink greeted her nose as Caroline stepped through the doorway of the Barton Creek newspaper building. The bell over the door jangled and caused everyone but Becky to look up to see who had come in. The staff on the paper had certainly grown since Mr. Lansdowne made the paper available seven days a week. Becky sat at her desk behind the railing separating the office space from the entryway, staring at whatever was in the typewriter before her.


One of the young men jumped up from his chair. “How can I help you, Miss Frankston?” Caroline smiled and nodded toward Becky. “I’m here to see Mrs. Frankston.”


Becky glanced up then. “Oh, my, I was so engrossed in my story that I didn’t hear the bell.” She strode over to the gate in the railing. “What brings you here today?”


“I wanted to talk with you if you have time, but I can see you’re busy, so I’ll come back later.”


Becky pushed through the gate. “No, no, it’s fine. I think I’m in need of a break about now.” She turned to the young woman across the room. “Amy, would you tell Mr. Lansdowne I’m taking a break and will be back shortly? I’ll stop at the bakery and bring back pastries. He’ll like that.”


“Of course, Rebecca. Have a nice visit.” The young clerk returned to the business on her desk.


Caroline admired Becky’s attire. She wore the plainest of skirts and shirtwaists but made them come alive with fashion even though the signs of her coming motherhood were evident. Caroline would have been called a “Plain Jane” if she wore the same. Something about her sister-in-law gave life to whatever she touched or wore, one trait Caroline sorely envied.


Becky linked arms with Caroline. “Now, let’s head to Peterson’s for tea and cookies.”


When they stepped out onto the boardwalk, Becky breathed deeply. “Isn’t it a beautiful day? Although it’s too warm for me, I love this time of year.”


“I like it too,” Caroline responded, although at the moment all she could sense was the stench of horse droppings and the fine layer of dust and dirt over everything. She glanced at the woman beside her. “So, you’re still going by Rebecca at the office?”


“Yes. That’s my byline on all my articles, so they all call me Rebecca.” Besides reporting on town events, Becky wrote a column for women in the Barton Creek Chronicle each week to inform them of the opportunities and advantages of voting for their government leaders.


Caroline laughed. “But you’ll always be Becky to the rest of us.”


Becky returned the laugh, but hers had a musical quality that had earned the friendship of most of the people here in her hometown. “I don’t mind it at all now. Rob convinced me I could be both, and he was right.” She glanced up toward the windows of her husband’s law offices.


At least Becky and Rob had rediscovered the love they’d had for each other as youths, and now they were as happy as any married couple Caroline had seen. Mother hadn’t been too pleased with her son marrying a Haynes, and even now that Ben Haynes headed one of the wealthiest ranches in the area, her attitude hadn’t changed, especially since Becky chose to continue her job at the newspaper after learning a child was on the way. To Mother, Becky would always be a cowgirl.


When they had entered the bakery and ordered their tea and pastry, Caroline chose a table away from the window so they would have more privacy.


“So what is it that you want to talk with me about?” Becky unwrapped her pastry and pinched off a small piece.


Caroline stirred her tea and grinned. “I’m moving to Oklahoma City. My roommate at college, Madeline Barrows, has invited me to come live with her, and I have a good chance at a job at a library there.”


Becky dropped her pastry, spreading crumbs in its wake. She grabbed a napkin and wiped the bits off the table. “You’re doing what? Leaving Barton Creek? But what does your family say?”


“Mother is completely against it, and by now she’s probably let Father know, and I don’t know what he’ll say. It really doesn’t matter because my mind is made up.”


“But what about Matt? Have you told him?”


Caroline dipped her head and concentrated on stirring her tea. “You know how much I care about Matt, but over the last few years his interest in me has dimmed. He’s barely spoken to me since we ate together at the July Fourth celebration. I don’t know what else to do.”


Becky leaned forward. “I can’t tell you much since I don’t see him very often anymore. He’s been quiet and withdrawn the Sundays we go out to the ranch for the family dinner. When we were younger, we enjoyed doing lots of things together, but that changed when I came home from college. And since I’ve married Rob, he’s been much less open with me.”


They sat in silence for a moment. Caroline’s heart ached with the image of Matt sitting astride his great stallion and riding across the range. She bit her lip and leaned toward Becky. “I–I can’t bear the thought of being a spinster, and there’s no one here in Barton Creek except Matt I would consider as a husband. More opportunities to meet young men are available in the city. Many of my college friends stayed in the city, and I’ve been writing to several of them, and with Madeline’s invita tion, the time seems right. Although I care for Matt, I can’t wait for him forever.”


Becky blinked and shook her head. “I used to think my brother was working hard to establish himself before he took on the responsibilities of a wife and a family. But now that the ranch is doing so well, I don’t understand is why he hasn’t been more willing to call on you. I remember how you two were always together for every social event that came along before you went off to school. I guess I always thought you’d be his wife when he finally made up his mind it was time to marry.”


“That’s just it. I did too, but I’ve waited a long time for him to make up his mind.” And they had been the longest years of her life. Now the time had come to look to the future and her life ahead before it passed her by completely. She turned to Becky and sat up straighter. “Now, tell me everything you know about going out on your own as a working woman!”


Matt removed his hat and wiped sweat from his brow with a bandanna. Fall may have been the season, but the air definitely spoke of summer. Late September usually brought cooler temperatures, but not this year. He stuffed the kerchief in his pocket and jammed the hat back on his head. Time to round up a few more strays.


He waved to Hank and headed toward the west pasture. The ranch hand rode up to join him. “You think some of the herd made their way out to Dawson land?”


“Yeah, they’ve done it before. Good thing those fences are around the oil rigs.” Ever since the wells started producing, the noise of the pumps attracted whatever livestock meandered that way. He usually found around half a dozen or so head lined up at the fence staring at the work going on.


Hank tilted his hat back on his head. “I know that parcel of land wasn’t any good for farming and such, but rigs sure are ugly despite the oil they’re pumping.”


“That’s what worried Pa the most, but since it’s away from everything and can’t be seen from the house, he decided it was better to go ahead with Geoff’s recommendations. So far that’s been a good decision.” Geoff Kensington had kept his word, and Barstow’s Oil did everything Pa had requested. The first money from the oil deposits had surprised even Pa and Sam Morris. The two had put the money into a trust for the future after sending the original landowner his share.


“Your pa is a good businessman. I’ve admired him for many years. Remember how he took me in along with Jake and treated us like part of the family?”


“Yes, that’s the way Pa was and still is.” Matt loved his father even more for his treatment of other folks. If he hadn’t believed in Jake, the young man would never have become a Christian and found out that the killing he’d been involved with in Texas was ruled self-defense. That cowboy might still be running from the law instead marrying Lucy and owning his own ranch.


Hank slowed his horse. “You know, I’ve been thinking. I’m not getting any younger, and the idea of settling down with a wife has its appeal. That young woman, Amy, who works with Becky agreed to let me be her escort for the church singing next week. You ought to ask Miss Caroline to it.”


Matt cast a sideways glance at his partner. “You’re a lucky man. Amy Garson is a pretty young woman.”


Hank laughed and shook his head. “Matt Haynes, you’re stalling me. What about Miss Caroline?”


Matt didn’t respond, but his mind filled with the image of Caroline Frankston. He did love her at one time, but she had chosen a life far different from his. Just as he was about to ask her to be his wife, she’d announced she was going off to college. He remembered the day like it was yesterday. She’d been so excited when she showed him the brochures with all the information. She planned to major in fine arts and languages. Those were two things he knew nothing about.


“Matt, you hafta talk to her and let her know how you feel. I seen your eyes when we’re in town and she’s around. You can’t look nowhere else.”


“She’s busy with her own life. Attending luncheons and meetings with her ma and doing all those things on committees and such. She has no time for me or for life on a ranch.” Besides, the more he thought about it, the more he realized one Haynes married to a Frankston was almost one too many. Becky could handle the mayor’s wife, but the idea of Charlotte Frankston as a mother-in-law didn’t appeal to him at all. And if Caroline

really cared, she wouldn’t have run off to college when she did.


As though reading his mind, Hank offered his opinion. “It’s that Mrs. Frankston, isn’t it? She is rather formidable, but if you married Caroline and brought her out here to the ranch, you wouldn’t have to deal with her mother that much.”


Matt narrowed his eyes and worked his mouth. It wasn’t anybody’s business what he thought of Mrs. Frankston. He may be considered a coward for not facing up to her, but it was his decision to make.


“Matt, I think you’re missing out on what life has for you if you let one woman ruin your feelings for another. If you really love Caroline, her mother wouldn’t make any difference.”


“That’s easy for you to say. Have you forgotten how Mrs. Frankston treated Ma and Aunt Clara when everyone thought Jake was a murderer? Then look at how she hurt Emily Morris and Dove. That woman is rude and has no respect for anyone not of her own standing, but she’s not the only reason, and it’s best to keep your opinion to yourself.”


“I understand, and I do remember those days, but I also remember Mrs. Anderson and how her heart changed. She was as mean as Mrs. Frankston toward Mrs. Morris and Dove until that prairie fire almost destroyed us all.”


“True, but I don’t see anything like that in the future to change Mrs. Frankston.” Matt flicked his reins and spurred his horse. “Let’s go hunt for strays. That’s why we’re out here.”


His love life was nobody else’s business but his. And as much as he was attracted to Caroline, he didn’t care to saddle himself for the rest of his life with a cantankerous mother-in-law like Charlotte Frankston.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Magic Lamp for Nasal Nasties

I have what I call a miracle worker for my sinuses. It looks like a small tea pot or one of those magical lamps Genies come out of when you rub them. This wonderful device is used for irrigating the nasal passages with saline. The origins of nasal irrigation are understood to be in the ancient Hindu practice of Ayurveda and Yoga whose roots are traced to the Vedas and Yogis. The device used is called the neti pot. Neti pots can be made from clay, glass, various metals, plastic, or ceramic.

Mine happens to be a plastic version I received a while back for free as part of a promotion. This promotion happens to be going on now again for a limited time. You can sign up to receive the exact same version, the NASAFLO Neti Pot, I have for free on Facebook. All you have to do is go NeilMed Neti Pot on Facebook then click on the tab that says FREE Neti Pot and follow the instructions.

My neti pot has helped me tremendously! My sinus headaches have been alleviated and my nasal cavities feel great! If you have sinus problems, nasal allergies, asthma, or colds this natural remedy is definitely worth a try.

Here is a How-To:



DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this blog post is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional (for instance, a qualified doctor/physician, nurse, pharmacist/chemist, and so on). I am not a medical professional, just a mom with a opinion. The neti pot is not supposed to "cure" anyone's ailments and I am not suggesting or claiming that it does. I am only suggesting that you should try it for yourself and see if helps you. People are all different and outcomes could vary drastically.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Flight Plan by Lee Burns and Braxton Brady FIRST Wild Card Tour 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:


Flight Plan

PDS Publishing (2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:


Lee Burns is the headmaster at Presbyterian Day School, an independent school serving over 630 boys in grades PK-6 in Memphis. In addition, Burns is vice-president and on the executive committee of the Elementary School Headmasters Association (a group of approximately 200 headmasters around the country) and is a member of the Country Day School Headmasters Association and the Visionary Heads Group. He served as a task force member to help the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) develop Principles of Good Practice for Middle School Educators. In addition, he has been a presenter at annual conferences of the National Association of Independent Schools, the International Boys' School Coalition, and the Elementary School Headmasters Association.

Burns plays tennis and enjoys squash and most any sport, as well as reading and writing. Lee is married to Sarah, and they have three children. They are members of Second Presbyterian Church, where he serves as a deacon.


Braxton Brady is the chaplain of Presbyterian Day School (PDS) in Memphis, TN. Before coming to PDS, he worked as Bible teacher, athletic director, and assistant principal at Central Day School in Collierville, Tennessee. Brady has served on the boards of various inner city ministries in Memphis. He is a graduate of the Emerging Leaders Program, a program that helps disciple and develop spiritual leaders in the city of Memphis, and founder of Strategic Dads, a ministry that seeks to provide fathers with practical ways to disciple their sons and lead their families.

Brady enjoys spending time with his family, serving in the inner city, and playing golf. He is currently completing his master's degree in theological studies from Covenant Theological Seminary. Brady and his wife, Carrie, have three children.


Visit the book website.




Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Perfect Paperback: 196 pages
Publisher: PDS Publishing (2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615380611
ISBN-13: 978-0615380612

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Buckle Up


“Roger, liftoff, and the clock is started.”

- Alan B. Shepard Jr., Astronaut


“It was my fear that made me learn everything I could about my airplane and my emergency equipment, and kept me flying respectful of my machine and always alert in the cockpit.”

- Chuck Yeager, General


The engines roar so loudly you can feel your whole body shake as the fighter jet accelerates down the short runway on the aircraft carrier in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. You can smell the burning fuel. Standing on the deck of the carrier, you can’t even see the fighter pilot inside because his plane is racing by at such an incredible speed. You can, though, sense the power of the great plane and the intensity of the takeoff. Just seconds before, the jet was calmly stationed at the end of the carrier, along with a few other ones. But now, just seconds later, amidst burning fuel and an awesome display of speed, it’s at the end of the runway and quickly airborne, racing up into the blue sky.


But where is the plane going?


Like the fighter jet, you are also about to accelerate down a short runway and take off on a great adventure with many possible missions and destinations. During your childhood, your life has probably been pretty steady and stable for the last few years. Sure, there have been ups and downs and you’ve changed and grown as a boy, but boyhood is usually marked by very slow and gradual development compared to the upcoming season in your life. But soon, instead of just hanging out at the end of the runway with the other fighter jets, instead of slowly taxiing back and forth on the runway, your life is about to accelerate in a very intense and rapid period called adolescence. And at the end of adolescence, you will take off into the sky for an even greater adventure: manhood.


Any fighter pilot will probably tell you that good preparation before the flight is essential to a successful mission. He has spent thousands of hours learning to fly. He has considered problems he could encounter and maneuvers he could use in those dangerous situations. He has tested and serviced the plane. He has filled it up with fuel. He has studied the specific flight plan, considered the weather, and learned the goal and details of the mission. The takeoff is but a few seconds; the mission is but a few hours; but the preparation is years in the making.


You are a man in the making. Before you race down that runway and head up into the sky, it’s important and wise to make sure you are well prepared and equipped for the flight. You’d better make sure you know how to fly the plane and that it has fuel in it. You’d better know what you’re going to do when you come under enemy attack. And, most importantly, you’d better know what the mission is and where you’re going. It’s easy to get lost in the vast sky without a plan.


Manhood is the same way. You’ll be there before you know it, and if you haven’t done your preparations in advance, you can make a lot of unnecessary mistakes as you’re racing down the runway of adolescence. Not only will you make more mistakes without good preparation now, but you can cause yourself—and others—a lot of harm and heartache as well. You can crash on the runway or take off in the wrong direction, and you might never grow into the sort of man God designed you to be. We don’t want you to crash or fly to the wrong destination or get lost in the sky.


This book is designed to give you a mission and flight plan:


We’ll tell you what your purpose is as a man. We’ll tell you what it means to be a man: what your destination is.


We’ll tell you how to accelerate properly and safely down the short runway of adolescence you are about to begin.


We’ll tell you about some problems you are likely to encounter and how you can defeat them before they make you crash or change your flight plan.


We’ll encourage you to get some good co-pilots and flight instructors and technical staff, both your age and older men, who will support and help you on your journey.


So buckle up! The next few years of your life will be a great adventure. Changes like these are on the way:


Your mind, body, emotions and relationships will be changing in ways that you can’t fully understand until you have experienced them.


You will feel new and more intense passions and desires.


You will think about girls, your friends and your parents differently than you do now, and you will relate to them in new ways.


You will think about yourself differently.


You will long for more independence and new challenges.


You will dream new dreams and develop your own identity.


Every adventure also has its share of difficulties and dangers. Self-esteem often dips during your teenage years (though many boys try to hide that on the outside). While you will enjoy and appreciate the increasing freedoms, they will bring temptations that can be hard to resist, and the consequences for a poor decision can be costly. While your body will grow in size and strength, it can be an awkward process with aches and acne. Girls can make your heart race and your heart break. All in all, adolescence can be like riding a roller coaster with many ups and downs.


In this book, we’ll give you as complete and honest of a look at the journey ahead as we can. We want this to be authentic and cover the real issues and temptations that you will likely encounter in the upcoming months and years. We are addressing the topics that boys tell us are on their minds and that teenage boys say they are struggling with. While some of these topics can be embarrassing or difficult, we believe that it is better to know on the front end what you will probably face, and we want to help equip and prepare you for facing them.


But it’s not just the next few years that we care about. We want you to have a vision for the sort of man God wants you to be when you have passed through the adolescent years. That’s our ultimate goal. If you will set your eyes on the final goal—the sort of man you should become—then that will direct you in how you navigate the teenage years. Approaching challenges with the end result in mind is always the best way to begin. Great coaches begin the season talking about where they want the team to be at the end of the season. They talk about conference championships and bowl games and final rankings.


Coaches give their players a playbook to instruct them on how they want the game to be played. God has given you His playbook to help you navigate through the issues that you will be facing in the next few years. Boys are often surprised to hear that the Bible speaks on so many topics. Drinking, peer pressure, friendships, families, girls, even puberty and sex—the Bible gives us perspective and instruction in these matters. It speaks to the role and responsibilities of men. It tells you the sort of man, husband and father you should be one day. It tells all of us how to approach our work and worship and the girls and women in our lives. It talks about our self-worth, our successes, and the stuff we own, use and want to have. It covers difficulties and failures. It tells us about the forgiveness you can experience for all of our mistakes, including ones you may have already committed. We’ll cover all of these topics in this book.


But even more than covering these topics, the Bible describes God’s love for you. Rather than primarily advice and rules, the Bible, most importantly, is the true story of the good news of how much God loves us and how He is seeking to save us. It’s the good news of what He has done for us rather than what we can do for Him. It’s about what we can receive rather than what we must achieve.


We hope that by helping to develop your thinking about these teenage topics and understanding God’s love, grace and pursuit of us, you will grow in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. Our desire is that one day you will become a better man, husband and father, and we hope that you will, long before then, deepen your faith and walk with the Lord Jesus Christ; we hope you at least begin to explore questions in your mind and heart about who this God of the Bible is and what He means when He says in Jeremiah 29:11 that He has plans to grow and prosper you.


Questions for Reflection and Discussion


1. What are some of the issues that you think will be difficult for you in the next few years?


2. Does the idea of becoming a man scare you or make you nervous? Why or why not?


3. If you could have one question answered about the road ahead for you, what would it be?


4. Is your dad available to talk with you about adolescence and the journey to manhood? If he is not

available, who could you talk to about this important topic?


5. What do you hope to accomplish by reading and studying this book?


6. What is the best piece of advice your dad, mom, adult leader, coach, or mentor has given you so far?


7. How would you define manhood?


8. Do you view the upcoming years of your life as an adventure or just a regular part of your life? Why or why not?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Zoey's Closet Review

Zoey's Closet is a wonderful shop on Etsy that I love! I keep tabs on Zoey's Closet on Facebook because I find fabulous sales on her wonderful items there. She has made homemade delivery gowns, mommy wrap baby carriers, swaddle blankets, quilts, pillowcase dresses, booties, pillowcases, hair clips, nursing covers, tutus, car seat covers and matching car seat canopies, appliqued onesies, shopping cart covers, burp cloths, reusable nursing pads, wipes cases, diaper bags, etc. to sell in her store. Right now they have homemade delivery gowns, mommy wrap baby carriers, and some swaddle blankets for sale on Etsy.

I also heard on Facebook that the owner, Kendra, is also gearing up to introduce some new things to her store soon. I can't wait! I love being one of her loyal customers. I bought a lovely 18-24mo pillowcase dress for my daughter, Teela, with adorable deers on it that came with a sweet ribbon hair clip. It is even wonderful in the cold months layered with a long sleeved shirt and leggings. I also purchased a gorgeous 35 x 36" soft minky and flannel quilt for my baby daughter, Zari. She loves it and it is the perfect size to throw over her car seat in the cold weather when she is being transferred in and out of the van. Both homemade items are fabulous!

I was also eying her Mommy wraps and saw one that I fell in love with because I love the color and pattern so much. Kendra said I could have it in exchange for publicity and a review on my blog. I love this Mommy Wrap baby carrier! It is so easy to wrap around to carry baby with. It also folds up well to take in the diaper bag so I can have it with me when I need to have my hands free other places other than my home. I took it with me to my mom's house for a after Christmas gathering. It was so great to have! I love babywearing and Zari loves being held close to me.

All of the prices at Zoey's Closet are so affordable and so very worth it for their adorable items! Don't forget to Fan/Like their Facebook page for exclusive sales and discounts.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Zoey's Closet for sending me a free Purple Mommy Wrap to test to and review and the information to share with my readers. 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.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday Holiday Dress

If you are participating in Wordless Wednesdays, click on the Mister Linky image, enter your name and URL in the form, and press Enter. Please also leave comments on this post! I love reading them!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

BabyCenter and HunBaba Giveaway Winners


The winner of the BabyCenter prize package is #26 karenmed409! She said there is so much Mom info on the website, I love that it is a one stop site to get advice and answers to any question you may have.

The winner of the HunBaba Mei Tai Baby Carrier is #58 Ashley! She said she loves the wonder deer embroidery HunBaba!

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.