Saturday, August 31, 2013

All You Magazine Back To School Special Issue Review

We received a product free from Crowdtap and All You Magazine to facilitate this review.

All You Magazine has put out a special Back to School issue that you can find in the magazine stand at your local Walmart. I really have enjoyed reading this special issue of All You magazine. This issue is dedicated to getting the school year off to a great start. Its special focus is encouraging kids to read. The contents are organized into relevant categories that you can find things easier with. The categories include: Be prepared, Living healthy, Eating well, Learn together, and Also in the issue.

It has great tips and offers for back to school and home. The recipes for tasty lunches, after school treats, and easy 20-minute meals look yummy. I will certainly have to try the Mushroom Ragout with Polenta! I also love the section about kitchen gadgets and building a book nook.  If you have a new kindergartener, 7th grader or 9th grader going to public school then the article titled "Soothe your child's back-to-school worries is a great read. I loved "End Morning Madness" because really mastering the art of getting everyone out the door without any drama is a special skill that does require some advance planning and they have some good tips to do so. Kellogg's, Scholastic and Walmart has partnered up with All You to give readers the opportunity to get a free Scholastic book when you buy specially marked packages of Kellogg's products at Walmart. It also has valuable manufacturer coupons inside that are good til the end of October.

This magazine has so much great information inside! I enjoyed it from cover to cover. I highly recommend this magazine to other parents.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received product for free to facilitate this 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.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Safeway Fresh and Local Produce Tour with Ron Rivers Pear Orchards and Duckwall Fruit

Me at the Pear Orchard (photo
credit: Safeway)
This free trip was sponsored by Safeway. I also received free swag for going, but I was not obligated to write up this post. 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 posting.

On August 22nd I was whisked away to a gorgeous pear orchard nestled in the Hood River Oregon Valley. This is one of many farms and orchards that supplies Safeway stores with fresh produce locally. This particular pear orchard is owned by a 5th generation grower and farmer named Ron Rivers and Duckwall Fruit. They have been producing and perfecting pears since 1919.

I carpooled with a local blogger, Maryann Collier and her colleague Dawn from Coupon Savvy. We headed to Portland to meet the other bloggers, media and Safeway representatives, etc. at the Hawthorne Boulevard Safeway. When we arrived we were greeted warmly by the Safeway representatives and put on a very large tour/shuttle bus complete with its own bathroom for the journey to Hood River. They also had made us each a large gift basket filled with goodies to sit next to. I felt very spoiled ;)

When we got to the Hood River Safeway we picked up some other Safeway representatives along with Fred Duckwall (President of Duckwall Fruit), Ed Weathers (VP and Sales Manager of Duckwall Fruit) and Scott Bradley (VP of Safeway produce). They answered some of our questions as we were transported to the farm. When we got to the orchard we all got out, took in the gorgeous scenery and had a lesson on pears from the experts. We met Farmer Ron Rivers and his wife. They told us the ins and outs of having a pear orchard.

Ron Rivers has over 200 acres of pear orchard located in the foothills of Mt. Hood outside of Parkdale Oregon. We learned that because of the micro-climate and fertile soil that is rich with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from the volcano, Hood River Valley is one of the best places to grow pears and other fruit. A single pear tree can produce pears for over 100 years and some of the trees we saw while we were there were over 50 years old! When frosts threaten the crop they turn on large fans and heaters called smudge pots to help the orchard warm up and create a smoke blanket to protect the fruit trees from radiative cooling. A pears skin is fairly delicate so the really cold moisture can damage it or the blossoms before fruition. On the Ron Rivers farm they have about 55 employees that work 10 months out of the year to prune the trees, thin the fruit, and hand pick the fruit. Hand picked fruit is in better condition with less bruising than fruit picked by machine. Duckwall Fruit gets over 2.5 million cartons (7000 bins) filled with pears annually that were picked in the 60 day long picking process. The pears are transferred from the farm to a ambient air cold storage or controlled atmosphere storage (CA) facility at Duckwall Fruit to be further hand sorted and graded. The CA storage suspends the normal ripening process and allows the fruit to be held up to eight months after harvest. You can read the complete process at Duckwall's website.

I told Mr. Rivers that I had a farm with a couple of pear trees on it and he told me that he would love to visit sometime and give me pointers on my small orchard. I thought that would be fantastic and told him I would like that very much. We then rode the tour bus to the next area where they had set up a yummy looking spread of food and some tables and chairs for us to sit at all under a canopy tent. We were welcomed at the entrance by a Safeway banner that said, "Welcome Have fun and enjoy the farm!" It started raining and we could hear thunder and see lightning in the distance. We hurried with our cameras and other blogging devices to the closest shelter. Mr. Rivers saw me trying to get photographs of the canopy with Mount Hood in the background and he personally invited me up to his covered upper deck that overlooked the valley. It was a breathtaking view!

Chef Ben from the Celilo Restaurant and Bar in Hood River prepared a feast that incorporated pears into everything we ate and drank. For the drink we had Sparkling Pear Soda with Honey Drinking Vinegar. It wasn't overly sweet with the honey and minced pear and it had mint or basil to bring out the flavor. Next on the table was Phyllo Wrapped Pears and Curry Butter. These were really good and I loved the interesting combination of sweet and spicy. Next was Pear Endive Spears with Walnut Vinaigrette. These were one of my favorites. They had a great crunch with the endive spears and the pear that was paired with the nuts and tangyness of the dressing was perfect. Next was Pear Jam and Crackers. I love the Open Nature Multi-Grain Cracker Crisps they picked for spreading the jam onto. I am definitely going to have to seek out a box of them at Safeway. The Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Pears were so good with the salty and the sweet! I also loved the smokey flavor of the Cedar Planked Pears that were grilled to perfection. Then there was the Grilled Pear, Turkey, and Brie Sandwiches with Roasted Garlic Aioli. These were actually two sandwiches skewered together and since I love brie and garlic this was delicious!

Me dishing up the yummy food. (photo credit: Safeway)
I was getting a bit full when they brought out the desserts! There was a Thai Sweet Chili Glazed Pear Tartin which was something I wouldn't have thought of to put together, but it was really good and there was Roasted Pear Pie Butterscotch and Caramel Parfait which was, in my honest opinion, too sweet. I wanted to finish the parfait, but I just couldn't. While we ate under the canopy we listened to the rain and thunder. Wow so much yummy food! They also gave us some pears and large bags to bring home some extra food if we wanted to. How could I pass that up!?

Once the rain cleared we had pictures taken of everyone and headed back on the bus.

We stopped off at the Hood River Safeway again and got a first hand look at the display for the Duckwall Fruit pears with Ron Rivers' picture hanging over it. We then wrapped up the day with our last questions, headed back to Portland and then back home with our swag. Safeway is an awesome host! This was a very fun and productive day. I learned a whole lot and wouldn't mind visiting the pear orchard and Mr. Rivers and his wife again if they would have me.

You can go to Safeway's Website and see other fresh produce that is in season and in their stores now. You can also read and watch video clips about other farmers that harvest fresh produce for Safeway.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I went to this event because I was invited. I wanted to let you, my readers, know of the awesome farmers behind the scenes of Safeway's produce so I wrote this post. Thanks to Safeway and their representatives, Ron Rivers and family, and Duckwell Fruit for providing me with the information and inviting me to this event. I received free swag for attending. 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 posting.

Monday, August 26, 2013

TheLAShop 20ft Aluminum Telescoping Flag Pole Kit with Eagle Finial Review

We received a product free from TheLAShop to facilitate this review.

TheLAShop is a online shop where you can find a unique menagerie of hard to find items. Of the items they have, they offer a wonderful selection. They have flag pole kits, gazebo canopy covers, outdoor shades, patio umbrellas, telescoping ladders, reel manual push behind mowers, privacy screen fence, decorative lighting, grow lights, trampoline parts, mini trampolines, inflatable bouncers, kitchen appliances, musical instruments, photography equipment, outdoor recreation items, and more.

I found there shop easy to navigate. Some of the more interesting and unique items I found in their shop was: tattoo kits, unicycles, electric bicycle motors, airbrush kits and accessories, ice shavers, mini popcorn machine, cotton candy machine, chocolate and drink fountains. etc. There was definitely things in their shop online that I might be in the market for. For example I am thinking about getting my kids a large trampoline to bounce on at the farm and TheLAShop happens to have a lot of parts for it if we needed to replace anything. I was also eying their poultry coops since I now own a farm.

I was given a dollar figure to work with and pick something from their website for free to review. I picked the 20 ft Aluminum Telescoping Flag Pole Kit with Eagle Finial II because we wanted to be patriotic at our farm. When we bought the property it had a flag pole that was very bent with a very sad looking flag all in tatters blowing in the wind and we wanted to retire that one and get a new one set up. I was very happy to find this one to replace it.

The Flag Pole Kit we got had a very distinguished plastic gold painted eagle and a metal gold copper painted ball that you could interchange if you wanted to. Since it doesn't have ropes or pulleys the flags that are flown will not wrap around the pole in a really blustery day. The majestic eagle finial really does make this flagpole look more prestigious. The flag it comes with, in my opinion, was not very fancy and a bit see through, but does still look nice blowing in the wind...and who can argue with the price of it, free with the kit! We actually didn't use the PVC sleeve because we never set the pole in the ground with concrete. We instead attached the bottom of the pole with brackets (Simpson Strong Tie Pipe Rail Tie x2) to one of our fence posts shown in the picture above. When we did this the brackets that held the pole squeezed the pole a little tightly so that it didn't lower as far as it should have, but we were still happy with the result. This is a fairly sturdy very nice looking flag pole.

Package Includes:
  • 1x 20' Rust-free Aluminum Flag Pole
  • 1x Gold Painted Plastic Eagle Finial
  • 1x Gold Ball Finial (free gift)
  • 1x 3' x 5' American National Flag (free gift)
  • 1x PVC Sleeve for setting pole in ground (16" height) *concrete not included
  • 1x Instruction
  • Can fly two flags at once (1st and 2nd section brackets can hold up to a 3' flag each).
  • 4 rotating wind-directed plastic brackets with steel hook
  • 5 sectioned pole extends up to 20' and lowers to 5-1/2' easily with rotating lock between each section.
*18" diameter x 16" height concrete required to secure into ground.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received product for free to facilitate my 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.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Awakened Love (Amish of Webster County #3) by Laura V. Hilton 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:

Whitaker House (September 2, 2013)

***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling for sending me a review copy.***


Laura V. Hilton, of Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas, is a pastor’s wife, mother of five, author and book lover. Her Amish fiction series books have sold thousands of copies and garnered praise from readers and critics for originality and authenticity. This is thanks, in part, to Laura’s Amish grandmother from whom she learned Amish ways, and her husband Steve’s family ties in Webster County, Missouri, who served as invaluable resources in her research. Laura’s previous Whitaker House books include The Amish of Seymour series: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another; and The Amish of Webster County: Healing Love and Surrendered Love. Awakened Love is the final book in the series. Laura is also a homeschooling mother, breast cancer survivor and avid blogger who posts reviews at:


Katie Detweiler is excited when she’s hired to bake for a local bed-and-breakfast, especially because the shy young Amish woman will be able to work alone in the kitchen doing a job she loves. Circumstances change, however, and the job requires she also wait on customers, including a private investigator who tells her she is adopted and has a biological sister in need of a bone marrow transplant. She also meets 22-year-old Abram Hilty, an Amish man who has fled the drama of his community in Shipshewana, Indiana, for Seymour, Missouri, where he’s staying with his cousin Micah Graber. Abram is immediately attracted to Katie, but pursuing a relationship with her would be complicated because he’s come to the Amish of Webster County to hide from a girl he no longer cares about—and also from a cold-blooded killer.

Product Details:
List Price: $12.99
Series: Amish of Webster County (Book 3)
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (September 2, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603745084
ISBN-13: 978-1603745086


“Today I met the bu I’m gonna marry….” Patsy Swartz’s singsongy voice was too chipper. Bracing herself for an afternoon with the bubbly girl, Katie Detweiler climbed out of her daed’s buggy and turned to lift the cooler from the back. Her not-exactly-a-friend bounced up beside her, still singing away.

Katie’s heart ached with a stab of envy.

Would she ever marry?

Daed snorted, in apparent disbelief. “Bye, Katie-girl. Have fun at the frolic.” He clicked at the horse and then pulled the buggy around the circle drive.

“The new bu in town!” Patsy squealed, as if Katie had asked. “He is sooooo cute! I’m going to marry him. I’m thinking Valentine’s Day. Will you stand up with me? I’m asking Mandy, too.”

Marriage? The new bu in town? Why was she the last to know these things? Katie hadn’t even known that Patsy had a beau. Wait—she didn’t. Just yesterday, she was bemoaning the lack of interesting men in her life.

Katie shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts. “Stand up with you? On Valentine’s Day? Jah, I can do that. What new bu in town?”

Patsy huffed. “Where have you been, Katie? There is a world outside that bed-and-breakfast, ain’t so?”

“When did you two meet? You didn’t mention him yesterday.” She adjusted her grip on the cooler handles and started toward the haus.

“He’s visiting the Grabers…a cousin or something. He’s here, right over—ach, I see Mandy! I’ll tell you about him later.” She turned away and glanced over her shoulder. “You’re still standing up with me. Valentine’s Day. Write that down, Katie.”

Patsy ran across the driveway to where Mandy Hershberger stood by the open barn doors.

Valentine’s Day? Was Patsy serious? Most weddings happened between November and January—never February, when the fields need to be prepared for planting. And wouldn’t the bishop have some reservations about Patsy’s marrying a man she’d known for, what, half an hour?

Valentine’s Day was still a long ways off. It was only August. And Patsy probably would’ve moved on three times by then.

But he was here, this mystery man Patsy planned to wed? Katie turned around and scanned the buwe playing volleyball, looking for a face she didn’t recognize. She didn’t see anyone new. Or maybe he just didn’t stand out. Patsy? Getting married? If Katie knew her at all, she’d be promised to this new bu in a short time. What Patsy wanted, she usually got. Even if they ended up calling it quits several weeks into the relationship.

Katie sighed. It’d be nice if someone noticed her. And wanted her as a permanent part of his future.

She headed for the haus to deliver the food. A long row of tables was set up inside the kitchen, already piled full. Katie set the cooler down next to the door, opened the lid, and took out a plate of chocolate chip cookies. She carried them to the table and set them down among the other desserts, then stepped back and surveyed the array of cookies and fried pies. Maybe she should’ve made something else besides cookies. But Daed wouldn’t mind if she brought the entire plateful back home again.

“Hi, Katie.” Micah Graber’s mamm, Lizzie, came into the room. “Glad you made it. Micah’s playing volleyball, if you want to join in. His cousin Abram is visiting from Indiana.” She smiled. “I’m sure you’ll want an introduction.”

Katie wasn’t so sure, except maybe to see what Patsy found so special about this mystery man. It was probably nothing more than that she hadn’t yet been courted by him, since she had gone with almost every other bu in the district.

Oops. That was unkind. Katie found a smile. “Danki. I’ll find Micah.” Later. Their paths would probably cross sometime that afternoon. He usually made a point to say hi to her.

Katie went to get the rest of the food out of her cooler when the door burst open. She gazed into knock-’em-dead blue eyes belonging to the most handsome someone she’d never seen. She stared at the stranger, her mouth open.

He raked his fingers through his brown hair, dislodging his straw hat, and backed up. “Micah sent me to get the coolers and the big picnic jugs.”

Lizzie Graber laughed. “Ach, you walked right past them. They’re out on the porch.”

His eyes met Katie’s again, and he nodded in greeting. Her heart pounded so loud, she worried he’d hear it. “Sorry, Aenti Lizzie. Don’t know what I was thinking.” He shook his head and backed out of the room, his gaze still locked on Katie, then turned and shut the door.

Lizzie laughed again. “Those buwe are all the same. They see a pretty girl and have to kum check her out.”

Pretty? Lizzie believed he’d kum inside because he thought she was pretty? But he hadn’t stayed long enough to say hi. Or to ask her name. Not that it mattered. She probably would’ve been tongue-tied, anyway. Katie straightened, willing her heart rate to return to normal. A gut-looking bu she didn’t know. Micah’s cousin. He must be Patsy’s…whatever she’d call him. Maybe “her intended,” since she’d said she wanted to marry him. So, why did it matter what he thought?

It didn’t.

Her insides deflated like a popped balloon.

Katie studied the dessert selection again. Disappointingly, other than the chips in her cookies, there wasn’t any chocolate in sight—unless some of the fried pies were filled with the delicious comfort.


Abram Hilty shut the door behind him and took a deep breath to calm his pulse. He hadn’t even talked to the girl in the kitchen, didn’t know the sound of her voice, but there was something about her that his heart had recognized.

“She’s pretty, jah?” Micah hoisted a cooler in his arms and started down the steps.

“Very.” Abram lifted one of the big yellow picnic jugs and fell into step beside him. “And you can’t get her to pay attention to you?”

Micah shook his head. “Nein. Not at all. But her best friend, Janna Kauffman, told me Katie’s really shy. Maybe I’ll offer to drive her home tonight. Her daed dropped her off.”

Abram chuckled. “You do that. I’ll ask her out, too, and tell her how wunderbaar you are. Between the two of us, we’ll get her talking.” That would at least give him an opportunity to spend time with her.

Micah raised his eyebrows. “You’d do that for me?”

“That, and I’m currently between girls.” Abram winked. “I told Marianna I want a break.” Sort of. He did owe her some sort of explanation for his silence. After all, they’d been practically engaged—and he’d essentially stood her up.

Of course, he hadn’t revealed where he’d gone. Instead, he’d left a vague note: “Need some time off. Sorry.”

In hindsight, Ouch. But she’d been hounding him to make a commitment, dropping hints he couldn’t help but get. He could do worse, he’d supposed. And yet he’d fled. He needed to think. And that was impossible with her bringing him lunch every day, staying to eat with him, and getting into his buggy after every singing and frolic—without his even asking.

He shook his head. What else could he have done?

“What if she falls in love with you, not me?” Micah’s forehead creased as his eyebrows drew together. “I mean, talking me up is kind of cliché.” He snickered. “And it usually works in reverse.”

Abram shrugged. He wouldn’t complain if it did. “How could she not fall in love with you, with me singing your praises?” Of course, he’d try hard not to sing his own. Not that he had much to sing about. He frowned. How long before he was found out?

Micah set the cooler on the ground next to a table with some stacks of paper cups, then straightened. “I’ll go say hi to her, then, while you get the other picnic jug.”

“Works for me.” Abram set the picnic jug down on the table, then reached for a cup, held it under the spigot, and pressed the handle for a splash of iced tea.

“Hi, Abram,” cooed a feminine voice.

Abram cringed. Not another pushy female. He looked up at not one but two girls—a redhead he’d seen earlier that day, who beamed at him, and another with reddish-brown hair. He preferred Katie and her dark blonde hair.

“Welkum to Missouri!” said the redhead. “I’m Patsy Swartz, and this is Mandy Hershberger.”

He found a smile. “Nice to meet you. If you’ll excuse me, I need to get the other—”

Micah punched his arm. “I’ll get it, after I greet Katie. You stay here and talk.”

“Danki, cousin”—Abram hoped the girls wouldn’t pick up on his sarcastic tone—“but I’ll get the jug myself.”


“May I borrow a pair of tongs?” Katie asked Lizzie Graber. “I need to mix up the taco salad I brought.”

“Of course.” Lizzie slid a pan of brownies into the oven and then retrieved the utensil from a drawer.


Lizzie opened the refrigerator, took out a can of 7-Up, and popped the top. “I need to go check on Emily. She isn’t feeling well.” She poured the fizzy liquid into a glass.

“Sorry to hear that.” She liked Micah’s little sister.

“When the brownies are done, would you take them out, please?”


“Danki.” Lizzie left the room.

Katie looked around. Maybe she could find some other way to assist. Helping would give her an excuse not to socialize. An alternative to standing beside the barn, ignored.

At this point of her life, she was part of the scenery, the part no one looked at. Patsy said it was because she was too quiet. Because she wouldn’t cross the room to talk to any of the buwe; she waited for them to kum talk to her. And they wouldn’t. They had enough girls willing to chase them that they didn’t need to pursue the quiet ones.

If that was the case, she’d be alone forever. A painful thought.

But her best friend, Janna, had said that if a bu really liked her, it would be obvious, because he’d be hanging around. Janna should know. Her beau, Troy Troyer, hung around her plenty, and he’d even started baptism classes, so he could join the church—for her.

Abram’s handsome face flashed in her mind. His heart-stopping grin. His easy confidence.

Nein. She wouldn’t think of this—of him. It meant nothing. He was in Patsy’s sights.

Katie opened her cooler and lifted out the salad bowl and a big bag of Fritos. She always waited to add the chips so that they wouldn’t get soggy before the salad was served.

Katie set the bowl down on the table and tugged on the top of the Frito bag to open it. A warm breath tickled her ear. Abram? Her heart jumped, and her hands jerked in opposite directions, ripping the bag and sending Fritos high in the air. A few of the chips landed where they were supposed to, in the taco salad, but most of them now decorated the floor and the savory dishes nearby, including the egg salad sandwiches Patsy always brought.

Katie’s face burned. She spun around, the almost-empty bag clasped in her hands.

“I didn’t mean to scare you,” Micah said. He stood too close. Why couldn’t it have been Abram breathing in her ear? Admittedly, the end result would’ve been the same.

A chatter of voices neared outside, and feet tromped on the porch. The latch clicked on the door, and the hinges squeaked. Katie resisted the urge to run from the room. It seemed everyone was coming inside to witness her humiliation. Abram entered, followed by Patsy and Mandy and a dozen or so others. Everyone looked at her.

“I was hoping you’d be here,” Micah continued.

There was someone who’d wanted to see her? Some member of the male species? Katie stared at him in shock.

Patsy came over to the table and started picking Fritos off of her sandwiches. The hard kick to the shin she gave Katie was all it took to find her voice.

“Ach, I scare easy. It’s okay, really.”

She had spoken to a bu. Using multisyllabic words. Would miracles never cease?

Patsy shook her head, evidently disappointed in her attempt at conversation. If only she would step in and speak on her behalf. But nein luck. With another shake of her head, Patsy dumped the Fritos in the trash and joined the group of females huddled around Abram. His harem.

Katie frowned. She didn’t want to compete with so many for the minute possibility of a relationship with a man. Maybe it’d be better to find someone steady who paid attention to her alone. She glanced at Micah. He stared at her as if she’d sprouted antlers. Okay, maybe that wasn’t the kind of attention she wanted.

“Janna told me you’re shy. She told me not to give up on you. I’d like to get to know you better. Are you seeing someone?” He lowered his voice. “Maybe I could give you a ride home today. We could stop for a milkshake.”

A milkshake? Was he kidding? Katie glanced at the table, laden with the usual assortment of cookies and fried pies. Brownies still baked in the oven. With all these treats, who in his right mind would offer that incentive?

He hadn’t given her a chance to answer the courting question before asking her out. Maybe he figured that someone as tongue-tied as she couldn’t possibly have a beau.

Still, Katie didn’t know how to answer his questions. Would it be easier to talk just one-on-one? Daed would encourage her to accept a ride from him. If that meant downing a milkshake, too, then so be it. She swallowed. “A milkshake sounds gut.”

He grinned. “I’ll look for you afterward. Sorry about your chips. I hope I didn’t ruin your”—he glanced at the bowl—“salad.” He turned away and started talking to Natalie Wagler. At least she could carry on her side of the conversation.

Katie frowned. Were there books available for this disorder? She needed to check at the library. See if they had a section called “Basic Communication with the Opposite Sex.”

A buggy ride with a man who wasn’t Daed…. Sighing, she glanced at Abram. His attention seemed to be focused on Patsy, whose hand rested on his upper arm. Katie swallowed and turned away. Micah wasn’t the Mr. Right of her imagination. But maybe he was the Mr. Right of her reality.

Her very first date. Excitement washed over her.

Maybe her life was about to change.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

People Towels are Perfect for Back To School and Eco-Lunchboxes Review and #Giveaway

This is a sponsored post, promotion, and giveaway.

People Towels are Perfect for Back-to-School and Eco-Lunchboxes!
Back to school is quickly approaching in my neck of the woods. Regardless of whether it is still approaching or already here for you, we as parents want our kids to be prepared. With all the school supplies one needs for school, sometimes there are things that are overlooked. I am glad to know there are Eco-friendly alternatives out there for Back to school items. I love to find things that will help in the classroom or at home if you homeschool and also are better for the environment as well.

People Towels are an on-the-go or at home alternative to paper towels. We use them here in my home and on-the-go because I homeschool. We end up using them a lot and we love to have them on hand to clean up small spills or wipe up messes. They are great for sticky fingers and messy faces and hold up better than a regular paper towel. They are also Earth friendly because they can be used over and over again.

They come in so many different designs that are printed with eco-friendly dyes. You can also create your own custom design. They also have convenient hang tags that let you attach them to loops or clips on your backpack, bag, belt buckle or purse. They are made of 100% certified organic Fair Trade cotton. The light-weight fabric is absorbent, yet dries quickly. They are machine washable and will last for years. They do fade slightly and soften after repeated washings.

People Towels are great for packing for car rides or trips and are especially nice to have with a packed lunch or picnic. If you send your kids to public school and pack lunches for them these are wonderful to use instead of a napkin or paper towel. These personal hand towels are reusable and save trees, reduce landfill waste, cut CO2 emissions and conserve water. 

 So make a sustainable lifestyle change and reduce your carbon footprint with PeopleTowels!

Follow them on Social Media:
Fan PeopleTowels on Facebook
Follow PeopleTowels on Twitter

Now through August 30, 2013 you can get a 25% discount on all PeopleTowels purchased online for Back-To-School. Use promo code: BTS13

Prize: One lucky winner will win a free 3-pack of PeopleTowels! Open to US and Canada.

I am trying out Rafflecopter on my blog. Please click on this post link if you do not see the script for it below. Also, if there is anything that is wrong with it let me know by emailing me: finamoon AT gmail DOT com I will try my best at fixing it. Thanks for being awesome readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I am a People4PeopleTowels Ambassador and since I spread the word about the promotion I am going to be sent a free 7-pack of PeopleTowels. I also have the opportunity to give a free 3-pack of PeopleTowels away to 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 posting about this promotion and giveaway.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

ModCloth Home Decor to Beautify Your Apartment or Home

This is a sponsored affiliate post. Thank you for supporting my blog!

I love ModCloth because of their unique variety of decor and clothing that you might not find anywhere else. I recently bought a fun book from there called  Raising Unicorns because we have a farm and wanted to have this book on our shelf beside our books on raising bunnies and horses for an extra laugh...and to see if anyone noticed it there.

ModCloth is launching a magical new line of home decor items for you to beautify your apartment or home. Take a look at some of the new items here: ModCloth Retro & Cute Apartment Decor! Shop Now!. They have the cutest kitchen and bathroom items to make your home playful and elegant, all at an affordable price too. And they offer free shipping on all orders over $50, so don't be shy when you find a few things you love at ModCloth! Come back and let me know what you buy!!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Mod Cloth provided this information to me to share with you. This is a sponsored post. The links in this post are affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Court Yard Hounds Amelita CD Review #CYHAmelita

I participated in this campaign for One2One Network. I received a free copy of the CD to facilitate my review. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. All opinions stated are my own.

I love the musical talent of the Dixie Chicks and when I heard that two of the band members and real life sisters, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire had broke off and made their own band called Court Yard Hounds I had to jump on the bandwagon and get one of their albums.
Containing 11 new tracks, Robison and Maguire took a different approach with their second album, Amelita than their debut album in 2010. This album contains a new perspective, which is due in part to time passed since Robison’s divorce. “I’ve been freed of all of those time-heals-everything kind of things,” says Robison. “Now, I’ve opened up to other ideas and ways of looking at life and the world. I think it’s not only a more hopeful album, but it’s more… well fun."
"I love this band...the way we explore new aspects of ourselves and what we can expect from each other, both musically and as people," says Martie. "We are close. Plus, being on the road and being in the studio is like my spa from the everyday challenges of just being a mom.”
Amelita does not disappoint! With great country and folk rhythms, wonderful instruments and all the swinging, strumming and fiddlin' sounds these girls can muster, you can sure rock out to this! The beat just gets you going and makes you wanna dance. I love the violin and banjo parts the most and the vocals are amazing. I love the sweet fiddle sounds and tambourine in Phoebe and the righteous guitar in The Road You Take. These ladies have evolved well in their musical careers. Their music is both familiar and defining, but definitely noticeably better with age. I highly recommend this album!

Media Links:
CYH on Twitter
CYH on Facebook
Emily Robison on Twitter
Martie McGuire on Twitter 

  1. Sunshine
  2. Amelita
  3. The World Smiles
  4. Aimless Upward
  5. A Guy Like You
  6. Rock All Night
  7. Phoebe
  8. Divided
  9. Gets You Down
  10. Watch Your Step
  11. The Road You Take 
DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to One2One Network for sending me a free CD to listen to and review and the information to share with my readers. My post is also eligible for a gift card via random drawing by One2One Network. 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.

Tea Collection Back to School Savings

This is a sponsored affiliate post. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Get it while it's discounted! From Thursday, August 15th through Sunday, August 18th, Tea Collection is rewarding you with more savings when you buy more during the Back to School Savings event. Save 10% off your purchase of 3 items with promo code BACKPACK3. Get 15% off if you buy 4 pieces with promo code PENCIL4. Keep a whopping 20% from your purchase of 5 items with promo code RULER5! Get your kids ready with shirts, pants, dresses, or entire outfits. The sale only applies to full-priced items, and excludes Patagonia. When it comes to Back-to-School shopping, this is your chance to get a lot for a little! Happy shopping =)!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Tea Collection provided this information to me to share with you. This is a sponsored post. The links in this post are affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Make A Plate Art Project Kit Savings Offer

US Family Guide provided me with this promotional offer information to share with my readers. This is a sponsored post.

I’ve just been given the opportunity to review the Make A Plate Art Project and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you. If you want to follow along, my readers save 30% on their Prepaid Art Plate Kit (that’s a savings of over $5!) - USE PROMO CODE: USFAMILY at

Makit has been in business for over 40 years. Make A Plate kits allow children to let their creativity soar in crafting a lasting gift for Mom, Dad, Grandparent or teacher. All Make A Plates are nontoxic, BPA-Free, dishwasher safe and proudly made in the USA.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Because I am posting about the Make A Plate Art Project I am getting a FREE KIT with FREE PROCESSING for up to 3 plates. Thanks to for providing me this promotion information and free product. 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 posting this promo.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Days of Messiah (Volume 1 The Healer's Touch) by Amber Schamel 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:

Helping Hands Press (July 24, 2013)

***Special thanks to Amber Schamel for sending me a review copy.***


Amber Schamel was born in Littleton, CO and has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and the Holy Land. She was raised in a family of 11 children, homeschooled through education and currently works with their 10 family businesses as bookkeeper and marketing director. She volunteers half of the summer at a non-profit Christian Family Bootcamp in rural MO helping and ministering to young girls and Christian families. Amber loves history, culture, reading and music. She has a musical ministry and travels throughout the United States ministering thru song. During her spare time she enjoys crafting Christ-honoring stories that will inspire and encourage her readers. Amber currently lives with her family outside of Colorado Springs, CO.

Visit the author's website.


Aaliyah's last chance at winning her husband's love is destroyed when she is banished from her home as an 'unclean' sinner. Her husband has branded her as an adulteress and threatens to kill her if she comes near the town. Struggling to survive amidst the fear, grief and bitterness of living in a leper colony, she would give anything just to see her son again. Is God really punishing her with this disease? When rumors of a Healer from Nazareth reach the colony, Aaliyah wonders if this man could really heal her, or if He would despise her like the rest of her people. It is now that Aaliyah must make the most difficult decision of her life: risk her life to appear in public, or die a leper.

Product Details:
List Price: $7.59
Paperback: 76 pages
Publisher: Helping Hands Press (July 24, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1622084004
ISBN-13: 978-1622084005


Circa 20 A.D.

The spring sun rose warm and clear over the Sea of Galilee. Aaliyah bustled about in the kitchen. She had already been up for several hours preparing for the Passover meal for that evening. Footsteps sounded as her husband shuffled sleepily into the kitchen. He lifted his hands above his head, stretching his tall frame.

"Good morning, husband." She smiled at him, suppressing her urge of mischief. "Did the sun sneak up on you today?"

"I didn't sleep well," he grumbled as he dipped his hands into the bucket and splashed water on his face.

Aaliyah scraped some breakfast onto a plate for him. "You tossed and turned all night; I dodged several blows from you." She offered him his plate, but when he reached out, she held it back. "Tell me, Tyrus, have you taken to beating your good wife in your sleep?"

"Perhaps if I did, she would behave during the day." Tyrus smiled softly and jerked the plate out of her grasp.

Aaliyah laughed under her breath. "Perhaps."

Picking up the bowl of dough she was mixing, she followed him into the dining room and sat across from Tyrus. As he ate, she studied him with a fond eye. He was still as handsome as the day she'd first seen him. His hair and full beard were dark as the midnight sky and his skin was tanned as evidence of his work ethic. His brown eyes were lively and ambitious; looking into them gave her the feeling that there were exciting new worlds he was waiting to conquer. His tall frame looked cramped sitting at the little table with his legs folded beneath him. Redness dabbed the nostrils of his distinct nose, the tell-tale sign, he was tired.

"What disturbed your sleep, my husband?"

Tyrus glanced up at her before replying. "Dreams."

Aaliyah's brow furrowed. "Dreams? What kind of dreams?"

He shoved his empty plate towards her and stood. "Never mind them now. Passover is tonight, and we've much work to do. The caravan I sent to Jerusalem is returning today, and I must inventory the merchandise before my patrons show up to buy them all. I'll bring our lamb

in later." He turned and left the room before she could ask more. She heard the courtyard gate close behind him. Tyrus was gone for the day.

Aaliyah bit her lip. His reservation seemed odd. Why would he not tell her of his dreams? Something about his manner gave her an uneasy feeling.

Sounds from the next room distracted her thoughts. The closing of the gate awoke their son, and the quick pitter-patter of feet sounded upon the tiled floor. Aaliyah crept through the courtyard and peeked into his room. Malon was sitting on the floor attempting to lace his sandals. His little pink tongue poked out as his chubby hands concentrated on the laces. Her heart warmed with a deep happiness as she watched him.

"Good morning, my son."

Malon's concentration was unbroken, and he continued fumbling with the laces until he managed to put his shoes on. He jumped up, but when he did, the knot he had formed around his calf came undone and the laces fell down around his ankles.

"Aww. Mama, I just can't do it right."

"It's okay; I'll help you," Aaliyah giggled.

She winked at him as she knelt to tie the laces. He returned her gesture with a hard blink.

When his shoes were fitly tied, Malon jumped up and bounded across the courtyard, headed for the gate. He stood on his tip-toes, reaching for the latch.

"Where are you going, Malon?"

"With Papa."

"Don't you want some breakfast first?"

Malon’s eyes swept around the kitchen as if searching for a hidden trap that would keep him away from his father. "Can I go with Papa after?"

"Yes, after breakfast you can go to the shop with Papa."

Malon plopped down on an overturned bucket and gobbled down his breakfast. Aaliyah ran her hand through his thick, dark hair.

"Don't eat too quickly. You don't want to choke on your food."

Malon's stubby hands extended the plate as his big brown eyes pleaded with her. "I'm finished now," he managed through a mouthful of food. "Can I go with Papa?"

Setting down the plate, Aaliyah took him by the hand, and together they walked across the courtyard and out into the street. The streets of Capernaum were busy with people rushing from

shop to shop gathering the needed supplies for Passover. They crossed the street into the market and waved to their long-time friends, Simon and Andrew, as the brothers brought in the night's catch. The bleating of the lambs just herded into the marketplace added to the bustle and noise.

Aaliyah and Malon approached their family's shop. Kish, Tyrus' apprentice, was bent over stocking one of the displays.

"Shalom, Kish. Where's Papa?" Malon grinned.

"Aw, he's over paying the tribute for the shipment that just came in. Help me sort these figs and he'll be over just as soon as he's finished. We've got lots of work to do today."

"No! Have mercy! Please husband, mercy!"

A commotion from a nearby house drew Aaliyah's attention. A man was dragging a woman, apparently his wife, out of the house and down the street towards the synagogue.

"Silence you insolent whore. How dare you...and in my own house! No, woman! You deserve what is coming to you."

The woman struggled trying to free herself of his iron grasp and her screeching faded as they disappeared down the street.

Out of the corner of her eye, Aaliyah noticed Tyrus standing beside her. His jaw was clenched and his eyes narrow.

"You look a little pale, Aaliyah. Does this scene--" he turned and looked intently at her. "--bother you?"

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Puffs Fresh Faces Review and FREE Sample

We received products free from Boogie Wipes and Puffs to facilitate this review.

Our family of 6 used to go through a tremendous amount of tissues. Every time we had colds or allergy issues which was quite often we would blow our noses until they hurt. Most of the tissues we used were not forgiving at all.

Enter Boogie Wipes for kids (well I admit, I used them too). These saline moistened wipes are great for icky snot and not irritating noses. Now there is something more grown up for me and my allergies too, Puffs Fresh Faces products.

About Puffs Fresh Faces from the Sponsor:
Little Busy Bodies, the makers of your favorite saline nose wipe for kids ­ Boogie Wipes, has teamed up with Puffs to introduce a new generation of facial tissue. Saline has been used for centuries for both beauty and medicinal purposes, and Puffs® has captured its power in all new Puffs Fresh Faces, the first moist facial tissue designed for everything your face has to face each day.
Saline can be used to clean and soothe nasal cavities, dissolve mucus, refresh and moisturize skin, and reduce puffiness. Patented and uniquely formulated with saline, aloe and Vitamin E, Puffs Fresh Faces are designed to help you clean up anything the day can throw at your face. Whether you need to freshen up after a hard workout, remove runny makeup in the heat of the afternoon or soothe your allergy riddled nose, Puffs Fresh Faces in lavender, menthol and unscented get the job done better than a dry tissue.

Our Review:
We were given a Puffs Fresh Faces gift box full of product and things with the logo on them. It included a:
  • water bottle
  • tote bag
  • headband
  • pedometer
  • compact mirror
  • Puffs Fresh Faces (in Vicks, fresh scent, light lavender, and fragrance free)
I thought the Vicks and fragrance free ones were the best smelling. Of the floral scents I liked the lavender the best. Fresh scent was too over powering and made me sneeze...which sorta defeated the purpose of these in my opinion. The Vicks ones helped open my airways which was nice. I love that these are similar to Boogie Wipes in that they have natural saline infused in them so that they won't rub and irritate your nose. These are not only nose wipes, but are great at getting makeup and dirt off your face. They are to soothe, refresh, clean and comfort.

You can get FREE Puffs Fresh Faces samples to try these out yourself when you fill out the form and don't forget to check the box for getting some FREE Boogie Wipes samples too!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received products for free to facilitate my 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 and promo.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Boogie Wipes and Pampers Kandoo Sale and Giveaway

This is a sponsored post, promotion, and giveaway.

Toys “R” Us is offering a buy two get one free coupon on Boogie Wipes saline nose wipes (Ends 9/5/2013), currently available in three different scents grape, fresh, and unscented.

In addition, Pampers Kandoo has a buy one get one free coupon (Ends 8/3/2013) available at Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us for any product in the Pampers Kandoo product line; ranging from wipes to bubble bath to suit all your bathroom needs.

Both deals are available in store without a coupon.

Here are my old Boogie Wipes review and my old Pampers Kandoo review so you can get to know the products a little more.

Prize: One lucky winner will win a Boogie Wipes and a Pampers Kandoo Prize Pack! Boogie Wipes: 1 pack of 30 count wipes, samples and coupons AND Pampers Kandoo: 1 pack of 42 count wipes, 1 full size hand soap OR sanitizer, coupons. Open to US.

I am trying out Rafflecopter on my blog. Please click on this post link if you do not see the script for it below. Also, if there is anything that is wrong with it let me know by emailing me: finamoon AT gmail DOT com I will try my best at fixing it. Thanks for being awesome readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Since I spread the word about the promotion I was sent some free Boogie Wipes and Pampers Kandoo products, samples and coupons. Thanks to Boogie Wipes for providing me this promotion information and free product. I also have the opportunity to give another gift pack away to 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 posting about this promotion and giveaway.