Tuesday, August 28, 2012

You've Got Mail Monday

Yes, it's Tuesday, not Monday. We're nursing a dying cat, so it's been a tough week. We'll be putting Stubby to sleep on Thursday and the entire house is sad right now.

Last week's mailbox was overflowing with goodies. I felt like it was Christmas around here. Several books arrived:

Marilyn The Wild by Jerome Charyn - gift for reviewing many of the author's books

Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye by Shari A. Brady - prize from a giveaway

Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand - free from The Voice of the Martyrs

The Deliverer by Kathi Macias - reviewing for Kathi's virtual book tour next month

What Must I Do To Be Saved by James R. Anderson - reviewing and writing press release

Autumn Winds by Charlotte Hubbard - reviewing for the author's VBT

A Step in the Write Direction by Donna Clark Goodrich - reviewing for Christian Children's Authors

The post office really mangled that last book. It looks like their machines ate the outer envelope and mauled the top right corner of the book. The envelope was retaped and part of the book was visible through the package.

I also received some neat catalogs. The first was for Mini Boden Clothing. I had never heard of them before. They carry clothes for babies, girls and boys ages 0 - 14. There was a special listed on the inside cover--Buy Any 3 Items and Get A 4th for $1 Plus Free Shipping. We finished our school shopping today, but they have adorable things. I might have to buy for now and then save the items for Christmas.

The 2012 Fall Planting catalog from Dutch Gardens arrived too. I haven't planted bulbs in years, but I'm ready to start doing it again. The deer eat my tulips all the time, so I haven't been eager to toss money out the window. I might see if I can plant some daffodils, though, since they don't like those.

The last item in my mailbox was a catalog from Costume® Express. Halloween costumes are so expensive. I'm looking for any way I can save money, especially considering the girls never fit into their costumes again. Yes, they use them for dress up from time to time, but the Lil Diva (11) isn't much into doing that these days and her costumes are usually the most expensive. We almost didn't a get a chance to use our costumes last year because this is what it was doing in October:

It happened on October 29th and the town--along with many other communities--cancelled Trick-or-Treating because of safety issues. Thankfully, we were able to go out another night in a different community that wasn't as hard hit.

The amazing thing is a couple of weeks into November, everything was green again--damaged, but green.

The Costume Express catalog had three coupons on the back: $20 OFF an order of $100 or more, $10 OFF an order of $50 or more, and one for $5 off an order of $25 or more. These are good until September 24th. Maybe by then I'll be thinking about Halloween. Right now, all I'm thinking is how I am going to pay for all the clothes I bought the past two weeks for back to school.

That's it for this week's issue of You've Got Mail Monday. Hope you're having a great week.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to School: Book Review: Mary Ingalls on Her Own by Elizabeth Kimmel Willard

Mary Ingalls has the opportunity to attend the Iowa College for the Blind, so she can learn skills to make her more independent and expand her education. It is difficult to leave her beloved family behind in Dakota Territory, but at least Ma and Pa come with her to make sure she gets settled.

The school is a large place with many helpful friends and teachers. It takes time for Mary to adjust to her new life, but she learns quickly. What she doesn't understand is why Mattie, the girl who resides in the room next to hers, hates her so much. Determined not to let Mattie's sour attitude affect her, Mary continues her studies. But one day Mattie pushes her too far, and Mary discovers Laura might not be the only feisty Ingalls sister.

Elizabeth Kimmel Willard weaves a fascinating story of the first few months Mary Ingalls spends at the Iowa College for the Blind in Mary Ingalls on Her Own. Similar in style to the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, this book places the focus on Laura's beloved sister, Mary, as she seeks a way to become more independent. This is also a story that shows Mary confronting her feelings about being blind and the loss of the plans she had made before losing her eyesight.

Willard blends historical figures, fictional characters and the everyday life at the college during the time Mary attended and comes up with a superb story that imagines what Mary's experiences might have been. Part of me wishes the author had chosen to tell the story from a solid first person point of view--since this is such a personal story--but she followed Wilder's lead and told it in third person. That caught me off guard at first because in the opening paragraph it talks about Mary's eyes being a mix of anxiety and excitement, and I kept wondering how Mary would know that. That said, I was captivated from the time I opened the book until I read the last word.

I truly enjoyed Mary Ingalls on Her Own and am thrilled to have it as part of my Little House collection.

Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (December 26, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060009055
ISBN-13: 978-0060009052

I purchased this book in 2011 to add to my personal collection. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to School: DVD Review: Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder

This highly anticipated DVD release produced by Legacy Documentaries in association with Family Friendly Productions, tells the story of the legacy that Laura Ingalls Wilder created through her writing.

Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder is an in-depth look into how Laura came to write her famous children's books and the legacy she has left behind. Through interviews with historian and author John E. Miller, author Pamela Smith Hill, and Tanya Hart, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Kansas, viewers learn not only more about the time period in which Wilder lived, but also how her books came to be published, and about her relationship with her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane.

Dean Butler (Almanzo Wilder, Little House on the Prairie, NBC) co-produced, directed and narrated this moving story of Wilder's life. As with Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura, this production includes: live reenactments, animated colored Garth Williams illustrations from the Little House books, historical photographs, original artwork, and readings from Wilder's books. Those with an interest in this time period will find information on how Wilder's work--her articles and her books--preserved this history for generations to come, and how her work brought to life the equal partnership between frontiersman and frontierswoman. What I especially enjoyed was the time spent discussing the collaboration between mother and daughter and the evolution of both women's careers.

Actress Katherine Cannon reads the excerpts from the Little House books, and the beautiful music of Jay Asher adds so much to this production. For those of us who enjoyed the music of David Rose from the Little House on the Prairie television series, Asher's work makes us feel in familiar territory. With his own unique style, Asher captures the vibrant, romantic, sometimes difficult life that Wilder lived.

Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder also includes bonus material, the best of which is the Director's Diary, where Butler takes you through the experience of shooting this documentary in various locations. Other bonus items are the trailers for Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura and the Pa's Fiddle Project.

Every Laura fan will want to own a copy of this beautifully created story of Wilder's legacy. This DVD is on sale at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, MN. Visit them online at http://www.walnutgrove.org/museum.htm or contact them toll free at 1-800-528-7280.

I purchased a copy of this DVD from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, MN to share with my family. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fun Pool Toys to Rock Out the Rest of Summer

I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to let go of summer yet. There are too many fun ways to play in the pool. From beach balls to diving rings, from squirt guns to water shooters, from Marco Polo to cannon ball jumping contests and more, spending hours in the pool is something our family enjoys. One of my favorite games to play in or out of the water is volleyball.

When it's time to cool things down, we love to lounge on floats and read or take turns pushing one another around on air mattresses.

No matter how you like to play or unwind in the pool, your local Pinch A Penny has the supplies for you. From pool toys to floats, from pool sports to diving gear, from water wings to kickboards and more, you'll find what you're looking for. No time to browse the store, then click on over to the Pinch A Penny website and place your order online.

Squeeze all the fun you can out of summer with great recreational pool products from Pinch A Penny.

This post sponsored by Pinch A Penny.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Free for All Friday: Facebook/Twitter Follower $25 Gift Card Giveaway

Back before I decided to purchase my own domain, I set up Facebook and Twitter accounts under the old name of Books, Products and More! I've since created new social media accounts and I would love to gain some followers there.

This giveaway will run for the next month. I will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card. It is mandatory to become a Facebook follower, but being a Twitter follower is an optional way to gain more entries, because I know not everyone has a Twitter account.

You can use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Available for Pre-Order: Fear Not by Carter Conlon

In these uncertain times, will we either be gripped by fear or understand how to truly live in the freedom of God’s command to “Fear not”? Pastor Carter Conlon exposes the tactics of Satan who attempts to wield his weapon of fear, as well as the destructive outcomes of a life led by fear. Then, through biblical and practical examples, Pastor Conlon reveals that God offers His people a different spirit—one of power, love, and a sound mind. This is fully realized as we choose to follow God, face our enemies in His power, and allow God’s love for us to be manifested in a love for one another. It is this perfect love that will cast out all fear.

Coming September 2012!

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Regal; 240 edition (September 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830763910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830763917

  • Pre-order now at Amazon, ChristianBook.com or at GospelLight.com!

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    Desperately Seeking: A Product to Clean High Up, Hard to Reach Places

    Desperately Seeking is a new occasional feature that I hope you'll enjoy and take part in. The blogosophere is a wealth of information, and attracting new sponsors is something I am working on. In this feature, I will discuss a product I am looking for. My hope is that any readers who know of a product that might work will comment. My other hope is that a sponsor who has a product that might fulfill my needs will be able to ship the product and allow me to review it.

    The first product I am desperately seeking is one that will allow me to clean high up, hard to reach places.

    When we built our house in 1999, we loved the floor plan that is open to the second floor on two sides. It's stunning. It is also, however, a pain in the butt to clean. I can't reach those windows above the fireplace. Now, if the thick layer of dust and cat fur wasn't visible from the balcony on the second floor, I might not care. But it is. Also, there is no way for me to clean off the ceiling fan in the center of the room. Here's a different photo, which is taken from the balcony:

    Though you can't see it in the photo below, there is a chandelier that hangs over the front entry way, opposite the staircase. I've tied rags to the end of the telescopic pole we use to change recessed light bulbs in the ceilings, but I still can't get close enough to dust the cobwebs off that thing.

    If you know of a product I could try to clean these places, speak up. If you manufacture a product that can help, please email me at ccmal(at)charter(dot)net. I'll review the product and tell the world about it if it's a success. You can check out my stats here.

    Hope you'll let me know what you think of this new feature. Thanks!

    Book Giveaway Winner!

    Congratulations goes out to Susanne D. She picked up a copy of 5 Easy Steps to Financial Freedom by Duane Harden.

    Thanks to all who entered. For anyone who would still like to own a copy of this book, visit Amazon today. I highly recommend it.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012

    Teaser Tuesdays - August 21st

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
    Grab your current read
    Open to a random page
    Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    "He felt her words like thorn, knowing he deserved the prick. She pushed her knitting back into the bag and went to rise."

    ~ pg. 133, Homefront Hero by Allie Pleiter

    Teaser Tuesdays - August 21st

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
    Grab your current read
    Open to a random page
    Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    "And then reality set in. I was a fool."

    ~ page 93, The Exceptionals by Erin Cashman

    Monday, August 20, 2012

    You've Got Mail Monday

    Has another week passed already? It's sure been a crazy one. Vacation Bible school starts tomorrow, so the girls and I spent the past week getting ready. Everything is all set. Say a prayer it all goes smoothly.

    Last week was busy in the mail department too. Items ordered on eBay came in: the case for my new cell phone and the Lil Diva's cell phone, in addition to a pillow sham I bought to match her new bedding. I'll snap a couple of photos this week to share her new look with you.

    In addition to that, our order of Happy Goats Soap came in. I love this soap and won't bathe with anything else. The Lil Diva picked out Bacon Bits the Pig with a  Sleepy Time fragrance. The Lil Princess opted for a Sea Urchin shape in lavender, and I went for an unscented bar--though I have to admit my allergies don't seem to be bothered by the fragrances of these soaps.

    For catalogs, I received three from Land's End (Kids, Women, Home), a new Gardener's Supply catalog, the fall Creative Ideas For Home and Garden catalog from Lowe's and a catalog from Chadwick's of Boston. I can't tell you how long it has been since I received one from them.

    It's back to school time right now, so I picked up clothes online for the girls. Land's End is running a 25% off everything plus FREE shipping on orders over $50. My most exciting find from their deeply discounted On the Counter section was these French Terry Ruffle Pocket Hoodies. The girls needed new sweatshirts desperately, so I'm glad I found these at such a good price and then took advantage of the additional 25% off discount.

    I also shopped Old Navy online. My favorite find there was their Printed-Waist Yoga Pants. The girls love this style of pants for dancing.

    Now, if I could just make time to find some new clothes for me.

    Have you shopped for any fall clothes yet? What is your favorite store to visit?

    Friday, August 17, 2012

    Tips on Winterizing Your Pool

    It's hard to believe, but summer is quickly coming to a close. Here in the Northeast, many of us cover our pools to avoid digging out fallen leaves. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to winterize your pool. Here are a few tips.

    • Inspect your pool cover for tears. Patch small tears using a patch kit. If the tear is too big, replace your cover.
    • Balance the water chemisty. Making sure the water is at the proper levels will reduce the time it takes to re-open your pool in the spring.
    • For above ground pools, store skimmer baskets, wall fittings, cleaners, solar blankets and ladders away in a safe place.
    • Use old towels, foam pieces, and corrugated cardboard to cover sharp corners, abrasive decking, protrusions, and rough coping edges to avoid tearing the cover.
    • Make sure your cover fits properly. Do not stretch your cover to fit over your pool. Your winter cover must rest on the pool water to protect it properly.

    For more tips on how to winterize your pool, please visit PoolGear Plus®, the one-stop shop for discount pool supplies.

    This post sponsored by PoolGear Plus.

      Book Review: Enchanted Tree by Davy Liu

      Artist, illustrator, and former Disney feature animator Davy Liu, has released the next book in his Invisible Tails series. Founder of Kendu Films, Liu has once again brought to life a well-known Bible story that will captivate young readers with its stunning artwork and moving Bible-inspired plot.

      Enchanted Tree takes place at the time of Creation, with the animals living together in harmony. The proud Phoenix boasts of a special fruit that gave her beauty and a special ability. The animals begin to crave this fruit, but none more than Octavia who doesn't feel quite as pretty as the others.

      Once a two-footed stranger and his helpmate arrive, the Phoenix changes her plans. Soon the Paradise Garden is no longer a paradise and the animals and the two-footers must wait for everything to be new again.

      This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. The animals display traits we all know as humans; traits youngsters will relate to: self-consciousness, jealousy, doubt. The reader sees the story of Creation and the fall of man through these animals' eyes. He is witness to the immense beauty of the Garden of Eden and the deep tragedy that occurred when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit--even though those names don't appear in the story.

      I've read every one of Liu's Invisible Tails books to my girls, and though they are more involved storylines than typical picture books, the girls were still able to tell me without prompting which Bible story the book is based upon. The book's unusal size (12 x 6.7 x 0.5 inches) allows it to stand out on the bookshelf, but it will never be there long.

      Highly recommended!

    • Hardcover: 64 pages
    • Publisher: Kendu Films, LLC (May 8, 2012)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0982505086
    • ISBN-13: 978-0982505083

    • SRP: $19.95

    • I received a free copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinion, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

      Free for All Friday: 5 Easy Steps to Financial Freedom by Duane Harden & $10,000 Giveaway!

      Hard to believe it's time for another Free for All Friday. Today's giveaway is for a copy of 5 Easy Steps to Financial Freedom by Duane Harden. You can read my review of this book here. Make sure you read to the bottom to see how you can enter for your chance to win in the Rags to Riches $10,000 Giveaway!

      If you hate your job and feel stuck in life, and believe that your skills, education, or lack of finances prevent you from taking a chance on something new, then you need to read 5 Easy Steps to Financial Freedom: Do What You Love & Get Rich Doing It by Duane Harden.

      Conversationally written, and peppered with humorous drawings, helpful worksheets, and key tips, 5 Easy Steps to Financial Freedom: Do What You Love & Get Rich Doing It shows you to do nothing short of changing your life. Harden helps you figure out what your passions are and how to turn them into profitable businesses. When you love what you do, he says, it isn’t work and any business then becomes a real pleasure. Because attitude is everything, Harden demonstrates how to say yes to opportunity, yes to financial freedom and no to the naysayers who would pull you down while trying to elevate themselves (he calls this a crab pot mentality). Practice the Law of Attraction, he advises, by putting up vision boards around you that have photographs of the things you want in your life. If you imagine yourself rich and happy and doing what you love, you attract those things to you. Plus, you are more likely to go out and do the concrete things you need to do to make that life a reality.

      Harden doesn’t just advise. He practices what he preaches. His 90-day action plan comes from Harden’s own reading, attending seminars, completing home-study courses, and pursuing a variety of his very own life experiences, including purchasing numerous real-estate properties. His “Life Assignments” can help you to begin to think and act differently. His “Keys” point out truths about learning to live a wealthier life style. Rich people are not afraid to take chances, he says, and those chances always pay off.

      From putting your financial house in order to discovering what really makes you tick, 5 Easy Steps to Financial Freedom will change your life and make you wealthy while doing it.

      Duane Harden just doesn’t teach you theory but rather you learn through his very own life hands-on experiences that come along with building a strong portfolio of successful businesses, including residential and commercial real estate, a restaurant, a music company, and many more. He began with no financial education, but he was determined and inspired. Today he leads a Cash Flow Club where he mentors entrepreneurs on how to start and grow their business so they, too, can become financially free.

      Visit Duane Harden’s website at http://www.duaneharden.com/.

      Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Good luck!

      a Rafflecopter giveaway

      Wednesday, August 15, 2012

      Back to School: Product Review: Rubbermaid® LunchBLOX™

      I was thrilled when I learned I was selected to review the Rubbermaid® LunchBLOX™ container. I received the sandwich kit. This includes:

      • 1 sandwich container
      • 1 side container
      • 2 snack containers
      • 1 Medium Blue Ice™

      Also included in my kit was a coupon book for $5.00 off on a variety of lunch brands.

      These handy kits are BPA-free, and are microwave, disherwasher and freezer safe. One of the nicest features of this product is that the containers stack together to keep them compact, like I have them below. You can't see the side container, but it is on the opposite side of the two snack containers in the picture below. The Blue Ice is between the sandwich container and the others, so it keeps everything cold. This is a good setup, so you don't have to worry about items like salad dressing spilling all over your lunch bag.

      As you can see by the pictures, the Rubbermaid LunchBLOX sandwich container is large enough to fit more than just sandwich size sliced bread. I was able to pack a picnic lunch and take it to the park with me to read one day. The Rubbermaid LunchBLOX helps control portion size, and therefore, I am eating more of what's right and in the correct amounts. This makes packing a simple, healthy lunch easy, and it stays cold.

      I'll be using my Rubbermaid LunchBLOX a good deal this year. It's an affordable and smart way to pack lunch on the go.

      Also available, LunchBLOX™ Lunch Bags, which are designed to work with the LunchBlox containers to make packing your lunch a breeze.

      I received a free LunchBlox Sandwich Kit from Rubbermaid in exchange for my honest opinions. I was not compensated in any way for this review.

      Mom-Approved Song Lyrics

      In the Thursday, August 2, 2012 edition of The Wall Street Journal, I read an article by Katherine Rosman titled, "Inside the Hit Factory for Kids." The article is a feature on the Kidz Bop franchise, which covers popular songs, substituting mom-approved lyrics.

      This article gets me to thinking more and more about how music and television influence our young people. The Lil Diva (now 11, then 10) danced to three numbers this year--all of which were to songs I didn't care for:  "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO, "Turn Me On" by Niki Minaj, and Enrique Iglesias's "I Like It." While I expressed my displeasure, the overall feeling was that the girls were getting older and this type of music is appropriate for their age group.

      I disagree. The version of "Party Rock Anthem" was not the vulgar one, but the other two songs were the standard radio versions. What 10-year-old should be thinking about being turned on by a guy or dancing to a song that obviously has nothing to do with dancing? The lyrics of "I Like It" are:

      Girl, please excuse me
      If I'm coming too strong
      But tonight is the night
      We can really let go

      My girlfriend's out of town
      And I'm all alone
      Your boyfriend's on vacation
      And he doesn't have to know

      No, oh, oh, oh, oh
      No one can do the things
      I'm gonna wanna do to you

      No, oh, oh, oh, oh
      Shout aloud, screaming loud
      Let me hear you go

      So, we have a guy coming onto a girl at a club, encouraging her to cheat on her boyfriend. Nice. Oh, and let's not forget no one can do the things to her that he can and there will be screaming involved. Yes, that sounds appropriate for a group of 10- and 11-year-old girls. 

      I almost flipped when I heard the Lil Diva's teacher played "I'm Sexy And I Know It" in her classroom. Many of her teachers have played music, but they've avoided the racier songs.

      I think it really hits home when a little girl like Sophia Grace Brownlee is singing "Super Bass" by Niki Minaj which talks about a nice looking guy that she wants to kiss on the lips because he's the kind of dude she's looking for. He's a hell of a guy after all and somebody better tell him who the eff she is. Now, she's on Ellen and everyone thinks it's so cute she's singing Niki's songs.

      As a writer, I appreciate freedom of speech. I'm not one of those people who is going to go after the music industry and try to get albums removed from the market. It comes down to choices--choices we as parents make for our kids. We can't always control what our children are exposed to outside of our homes, but we can control what they are exposed to inside. We can also balance what they are exposed to elsewhere by having meaningful discussions with them about why we are opposed to certain things. My girls and I often have these discussions in the car, but I like to have them here at home too, when I can provide them with my full attention.

      One of the greatest things about the Lil Diva getting older is that she can truly understand what I'm saying. She can listen to what I have to say and make her own decision. Many times she comes to a conclusion similar to mine. That might not always be the case, but the foundation is being laid for her, so she has something to build on.

      What do you think about today's lyrics? Do you monitor what music your kids listen to?

      Wordless Wednesday

      Tuesday, August 14, 2012

      Teaser Tuesdays - August 14th

      Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
      Grab your current read
      Open to a random page
      Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
      BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
      Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

      "Please God," she prayed desperately. "Just let my baby be OK."

      ~ page 99, Miracle Play by Lynn McMonigal

      Teaser Tuesdays - August 14th

      Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
      Grab your current read
      Open to a random page
      Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
      BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
      Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

      "Do you dare lie to me? Do you really expect me to swallow such a ridiculous story?"

      ~ page 53, The Map Across Time by C.S. Larkin

      Book Giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

      Title: Royal Secrets

      Author: Traci Hunter Abramson

      Blog: Linda Weaver Clarke’s A Family Friendly Blog

      Genre: Sweet Romance

      Giveaway Dates: August 13 - 20

      Open to: U.S. and Canada

      Book Spotlight: Deadly Image by Tamelia Tumlin

      Gone without a trace ...

      Lexi Yates knows she hasn’t harmed her three-year-old daughter, yet the Louisiana town of Gator Bayou seems to think she’s guilty. With her daughter missing, the evidence stacking up against her and her faith in God tested to the limit, Lexi must find a way to convince FBI agent Ace Valdez she’s innocent before she becomes the next target.

      Ace Valdez doesn’t trust easily, and he certainly knows better than to fall for a case, yet there’s something about the widowed mother that makes him want to believe she’s innocent, but evidence doesn’t lie. Or does it?

      ·         Print Length: 113 pages

      ·         Publisher: Steel Magnolia Press (July 6, 2012)

      ·         Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

      ·         Language: English

      ·         ASIN: B008IJ5FPA


      Monday, August 13, 2012

      You've Got Mail Monday

      Back to School season is in full swing. Catalogs from  Land's End, Justice, and Macy's have all made their way to my mailbox, overflowing with back to school deals. In addition, Oriental Trading sent me their birthday catalog to browse through.

      It was the Lil Diva's birthday this weekend. She turned 11. She enters the middle school this year (in only three weeks). Hard to believe that this little one,

      has become this big one:

      Thinking of back to school and the fact that the Lil Diva will have cheerleading practice twice a week and be away from home without me, we opted to buy her a cell phone. I didn't want to do it. but I feel safer if she has it on her.

      We opted for the Samsung Brightside™. Though I wasn't thrilled with the reviews I read, the Lil Diva liked it when we were in the Verizon store a couple of weeks ago. The keys on the QWERTY keyboard seem to be a bit bigger than some others, so she finds it easier to type on.

      When I stopped by Macy's on Friday, they were running this fabulous sale on bedding. My in-laws had asked me to pick up birthday presents for the Lil Diva from them too, so I chose this lovely Lauren Ralph Lauren comforter that looks fabulous in her room.

      This is a down alternative comforter, so it is fluffy and soft. I wasn't sure how she was going to like the plaid, but she loves it and it looks great. Her rug is a darker blue and her walls are a light blue. I opted to go with a dark purple set of sheets to match her lilac and white pink butterfly curtains. I also ordered a hot pink pillow sham, since this package didn't come with one. They do sell one on eBay that has a sham. I also picked up a floral rug to place in front of her bed.

      So, for back to school, the Diva's bedroom got an upgrade. She also received some new outfits from her aunt, so she and her room will be heading into this season in style.

      That's it for this week's You've Got Mail Monday. Hope you have a great week.

      Sunday, August 12, 2012

      Book Giveaway Winners!

      Congratulations goes out to Susanne D. and Elisha G. Susanne picked up a copy of Last of the Seals by Greg Messel and Elisha picked up a copy of Betrayal and Forgiveness by Linda Armstrong-Miller.

      The winners have been notified. They have 72 hours to respond before a new winner is selected.

      Thanks to all who participated. Stop by our giveaways page to see what else we are offering.

      Saturday, August 11, 2012

      Book Spotlight: Over the Edge (The Kincaid Brides) by Mary Connealy

      Seth Kincaid survived a fire in a cave, but he's never been the same. He was always a reckless youth, but now he's gone over the edge. He ran off to the Civil War and came back crazier than ever.

      After the war, nearly dead from his injuries, it appears Seth got married. Oh, he's got a lot of excuses, but his wife isn't happy to find out Seth doesn't remember her. Callie has searched, prayed, and worried. Now she's come to the Kincaid family's ranch in Colorado to find her lost husband.

      Callie isn't a long-suffering woman. Once she knows her husband is alive, she wants to kill him. She's not even close to forgiving him for abandoning her.

      Then more trouble shows up in the form of a secret Seth's pa kept for years. The Kincaid brothers might lose their ranch if they can't sort things out. It's enough to drive a man insane--but somehow it's all making Seth see things more clearly. And now that he knows what he wants, no one better stand in his way.

    • Paperback: 336 pages
    • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (August 1, 2012)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0764209132
    • ISBN-13: 978-0764209130
    • SRP: $14.99 paperback
    • Also available in electronic format


      Friday, August 10, 2012

      Wear the Purple Panty to End Women's Cancer!

      The Foundation for Women's Cancer recently announced Angle Enterprises, LLC, creator of Knock out!® Smart Panties™ is the Official Panty of the Foundation for Women's Cancer, and a sponsor of the 2012 National Race to End Women's Cancer in Washington, DC on November 4th.

      In 2004, the governors of all 50 states proclaimed September as Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. In 2011, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 21,880 women in the US diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 13,850 deaths. The majority of women are diagnosed after the cancer has spread beyond the ovaries. If ovarian cancer is discovered while confined to the ovaries, survival rates are around 90%. Once the cancer has spread, that rate drops to between 20 and 40%.

      Early detection is key. While a reliable screen testing does not exist, early symptoms can help in identifying ovarian cancer.

      Register today for the National Race to End Women's Cancer!


      Be sure to "Join" and Follow Race News on Facebook:  

      and on Twitter: GYN Cancer: #EndWomensCancer  


      This is not a sponsored post. I received an email about the race and Knock out! Smart Panties and decided to blog about it since I am at higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer because of my family history.

      Free for All Friday: Immigration and Adaptation by Haskell G. Edwards D. Min

      I have some winners to announce over the winner, but here's another chance to pick up a book for FREE! This is definitely a timely subject. Please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

      Adaptation is a must. But how does one go about doing this? It takes great planning, finances, and courage to leave one's homeland; but then finding support and comfort or anything of familiarity in a new land presents a whole new set of challenges. The stress is overwhelming. How do you gain the happiness and success you dreamed of attaining in the new land?

      Immigration and Adaptation is here to help you navigate through these challenges. With the information herein, immigrants coming to North America will be prepared to identify and resolve social, family, and personal challenges with confidence. Mr. Edwards' vast professional experience with diverse immigrant families, as well as his own personal journey and genuinely encouraging approach, not only help immigrant families adapt to new surroundings, but grow stronger together in their journey.

      This book includes:
      - A family wellness test
      - Step-by-step guidelines
      - Real-life examples
      - Inspirational stories
      - Family, parenting, and spousal exercises
      - Illustrations
      - Single-parenting advice

      Immigration and Adaptation also includes tips on: building self-confidence, resolving conflicts, tuning communication skills, networking and building social supports, budgeting, parenting, enhancing spousal relationships, helping teenagers adjust, communicating effectively, and more.

      Haskell G. Edwards, D. Min. has vast professional experience for more than forty years as pastor, administrator, family therapist, and director of a family therapy center. His extensive experience gained from working with immigrant families in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic setting, as well as his own personal journey and genuinely encouraging approach, positions him not only to help immigrant families adapt to new surroundings, but grow stronger together in their journey.

      He has successfully held immigrant seminars, workshops, and lectures throughout North America. Now a retired pastor, he continues to help immigrant families of a wide cultural heritage transition into their new homeland.

      Haskell G. Edwards, D. Min. Web Site:

      Langdon Street Press Web Site:

      Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

      Immigration and Adaptation blog tour site:

      Paperback Publisher: Langdon Street Press
      Price: $16.95
      ISBN: 9781936782239
      Pages: 272
      Release: September 15, 2011

      Amazon buy link: ($16.95)

      Barnes & Noble buy link: ($16.95)

      Books-A-Million buy link: ($16.95)

      a Rafflecopter giveaway

      Thursday, August 9, 2012

      Back to School: DVD Review: Super Why! Around the World Adventure

      One of the programs the Lil Princess (8) never missed when she was a preschooler is Super Why! This is an animated series featuring Whyatt and his friends, who live in Storybrook Village--a magical world hidden behind the bookshelves in a children's library. Whyatt, along with his friends, Red Riding Hood, Pig, the Princess, and Whyatt's canine companion, become the Super Readers and work together to solve problems.

      The Super Why!: Around the World Adventure DVD includes three adventures for kids ages 3 to 6. The title episode finds the Super Readers searching for the location of a girl they met through their classroom computer. In "Nalia and the Magic Map," the Super Readers explore ancient Eygpt to find the meaning behind the symbols on a treasure map. The third episode, "Jasper's Cowboy Wish," shows the Super Readers helping Pig learn what cowboys do.

      There are so many wonderful things to say about this DVD. First, you have the element of imagination as Whyatt and his friends transform from mere mortals into their super hero personas. They fly into books to look for the answers to the questions that will solve their problems. In addition, the show is interactive, with the characters addressing the audience and taking your child on the adventure with them. Your child will enjoy singing along and solving problems alongside the Super Readers, while learning important skills like identifying letters, spelling, and reading comprehension. As a writer, I love how Super Why! can change the story with his power to read. That helps kids realize the power of words.

      Each episode opens with a summary of what the viewer will learn, so parents can see what will be focused on and supplement their child's learning. Extra features include fun song videos, four PC games, and coloring pages.

      Super Why!: Around the World Adventure DVD is a great way to get your kids ready to read!

    • Format: Animated, Color, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
    • Studio: Pbs (Direct)
    • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2012
    • Approx. 90 minutes

    • I received a free copy of this DVD from the publicist in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.

      Outer Banks Stop #5

      Another fun place to stop if you're in the Outer Banks is Jockey's Ridge Crossing. I don't plan to shop when I'm on vacation, but this is a neat place to go if it's raining or if you want quality souvenirs.

      Jockey's Ridge Crossing is home to 8 unique Outer Banks shops. Our favorites: The Fudgery, Outer Banks Bear Factory, and Kitty Hawk Kites.

      At The Fudgery, you can get the best homemade fudge I've ever tasted. They sell it in blocks, and they run deals or have coupons in the tourist books which provide you with a free block after purchasing a certain amount (3, if I remember right). If you stop in, you can also sample their fudge for free. We always get extraordinary chocolate. This year we also took home chocolate peanut butter, cookies and cream, and chocolate marshmallow. The best thing about this fudge for travelers is that it doesn't need to be stored in a refrigerator and it won't melt. It easily made it home during the 11 1/2 hour drive and we enjoyed it once we returned--though we ate some while we were down South too. Their fudge stays good for up to four weeks. I just checked their website and you can place on order online. I might have to do that, because once a year isn't enough.

      The Outer Banks Bear Factory allows your child to create her own unique stuffed animal. They stuff it, name it, clothe it and write up a birth certificate. My girls love going there each year and selecting a new one. This year, the Lil Diva (10) opted for a moose dressed as a cheerleader. The Lil Princess (8) picked up a new bear and made sure she was prepared for the rain with a pink jacket, cap and boots. You can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Outer-Banks-Bear-Factory/209215815767498

      Don't let the name of Kitty Hawk Kites fool you. They sell way more than kites. They have experts on hand to help you with many Outer Banks adventures: Hang Gliding, Kiteboarding, Kayaking, Jet Skiing, Parasailing, Aero (bi-plane)Tours, Tandem Hang Gliding, Dolphin and Nature Tours, Sailing Cruises, Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) lessons, Wakeboarding, Segway Tours, and Corolla Wildhorse tours. They also have a large selection of gear, clothing, and souvenirs. This year, the Lil Diva bought matching bracelets for her and her best friend. I haven't been brave enough to try any of the adventures they offer, but the Lil Diva and Lil Princess would love to try their hands at hang gliding one day. The dunes over at Jockey's Ridge State Park are perfect.

      In addition to these shops, you'll find Kitty Hawk Surf Co., Scoops Ice Cream Parlor, Life on a Sandbar and Hair Wraps, Outer Banks Old Time Photos, and Salty Paws Biscuits for animal lovers. Jockey's Ridge Crossing also plans special events throughout the year.