Thursday, January 30, 2014

Britax LATCH-Are You Confused Webinar

Disclosure of Material Connection:   I was provided with the chance to win one of 2 Britax Convertible car seats or 1 Harness-2-Booster for sharing this information with my readers. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:  "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
As moms, our children's safety is our top priority. That's why selecting the right child seat and making sure it's installed properly is of utmost importance. For expert advice on choosing and installing the right child seat, check out this blog post by Sarah Tilton, Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Advocate for BRITAX. Make sure to share it with other moms you know who are looking for a convertible car seat.

With much conversation surrounding LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) and the new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, BRITAX wants to make sure all parents and caregivers are educated and confident about the safe transportation of their children. That's why they are hosting an interactive webinar to answer questions and eliminate some of the confusion surrounding the LATCH requirements and new labeling.
Webinar : LATCH- Are You Confused?
Hosted by Sarah Tilton, Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Advocate for BRITAX
Thursday, February 6, 2014 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

Click here to register for the LATCH Webinar. You will receive a confirmation via email once you register. If you do not receive one, please check to see if it got caught in your spam filter.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Beltlock is an Ingenious New Device to Keep Your Child Secured In Their Car Seat

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

Every mom and dad always (hopefully) puts safety first when it concerns their children. Seatbelts, car seats and booster seats are required by law and we all do our best to make sure our children are strapped in....but are they always?  Have you ever had seat belt not be properly secured or perhaps some rogue tiny fingers pressed the release button while you are driving? Yikes. How scary...just the thought. BeltLock was created with all of this in mind.  They share on their website that:

"Safety is of paramount concern for every parent, especially when traveling with children. The inadvertent opening of a seatbelt is dangerous for the child and distracting for the driver. As a parent you can protect your children by using Beltlock to secure their car seats in place. It fits easily over the seat belt receiver and can be removed without difficulty by an adult. Beltlock offers peace of mind as it is designed by parents, for parents."
Beltlock was designed to prevent kids from opening their seat belt that secures the car seat. Beltlock is strong, durable and easily visible in the car. It is easy to fit and simple to remove by an adult equipped with a key or narrow object.  Beltlock gives you that peace of mind no matter how crafty sweet your little one might be.
I liked that the BeltLock comes with very easy to follow instructions.  It is small, bright orange light weight device.  BeltLock gives you the confidence that little fingers have not undone your safest intentions. BeltLock is designed so that it is easily fitted to any seat belt used to secure your child seat and prevent little fingers from pressing the seat belt release button.
  • BeltLock - Stop little Fingers Releasing That Seat Belt
  • BeltLock is a device which prevents the unintentional opening of the seatbelt used to secure a child seat in any vehicle.
  • BeltLock has been designed by Parents, to give every parent peace of mind.
  • Secure Child Seat. Enhance Seat Belt Operation.
  • Protect Your Child.
  • Special Needs Friendly 
I wanted to give it a try to see for myself.  I have to say I am not the most techy momma out there but even I could see this is super easy to use. They even have step by step illustrated instructions that come with the BeltLock if you are not sure.  It is very easy to install and is definitely large enough to fit most any seat belt. You put the BeltLock on and it is a simple step to secure the child's seatbelt. It is definitely near impossible to unlock the belt without using a key or other narrow object to release the seat belt. It is a small little device and very light.  You can easily tuck it in one of those myriad compartments (at least I have them) in the vehicle. You could even pop it in your purse it is that small.  You won't have a problem finding it when you need it since it is a very bright orange color. I have several friends with children that have special needs. This was always an issue with their children trying to release the seatbelts especially when they were younger.  BeltLock would be a true lifesaver for a parent with a special needs child.
You can purchase BeltLock on Amazon.co.uk and via the BeltLock website. Don't forget to follow BeltLock on your fave social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook to keep updated on new information and developments. I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Purex Over The Mountain and Through the Woods Sweepstakes

Disclosure:  I received this information from Purex Insiders. I have the opportunity to win a giveaway for sharing this information with my readers. Regardless, I only share information that I feel would be helpful for my readers.
I don't know about you but it is just freezing here in the mid-Atlantic.  Bone chilling cold that is just unrelenting.  Boy, I could really use something to cheer me up and I just heard about it today. You can imagine how I perked up when I hard that Purex  just launched The Crystals Fresh Mountain Breeze Sweepstakes!  You can enter the Over the Mountain and Through the Woods Sweepstakes to Enter to win a mountain of cash!
I love the fresh scent of clean laundry softened and lightly scented with Purex Crystals.  I am one of those people who is always opening bottles before I buy things to make sure I like the fragrance. I really like laundry products with fragrance and one of the things I enjoy about Purex products is that there are always new scents.  The fragrances are always light and refreshing...never overpowering either.  
This new Purex Crystals Fresh Mountain Breeze scent is made from a natural formula that is safe for your family and the environment which makes me happy. I love how it keeps my sheets and clothes fresh for weeks too...just like the other Purex Crystals scents. Towels remain just as absorbent and plush as ever too! Purex Crystals are better than the standard fabric softeners out there. They really work hard to freshen your laundry. Your clothes smell great and the crystals help to eliminate odor too.  I love this new scent. It makes me feel like I am escaping the laundry room for a bit and going on a little stroll in the warm, breezy mountains.  I can almost hear the little birdies singing and see the spring flowers, can't you?  Look for Purex Crystals Fresh Mountain Breeze and let me know how you like it. 

Don't forget to enter to WIN!









Book Review: Too Much Information by David Haskell

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:  "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


I was excited to read this book, Too Much Information since it is one of my favorite genres.  I really enjoyed the way the author blended some of the elements of present day technology with a dystopian future.  I really knew I was going to like it from the first few pages which is my usual m.o. The author just has to get me into it right away and David Haskell did it. 


A little about the book:   

It is one of those high tech thriller books which has always been a favorite of mine. I love digging deep into the freaky worlds of others.  I enjoyed how it really wrapped all the high tech aspects of our life into it seamlessly.  There is a lot in the book that mimics some of the reality we are wrestling with right now between our government, our security and technology.  What can people do?  What can they see?  How much can they really access and is it a good thing or can it just go too far sometimes?  Security goes waaaayyy too far in Too Much Information and it is scary and exciting to read this novel.  It is hard to put down once you read those first few pages….you will see.
The book had excellent development of the different characters, even ones that appeared so briefly but were key to the novel.  I just got a real sense of each one of the characters quickly and that helped me to get hooked into the story.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A little more about the book from the author: 

In an era of terrorism and pandemics, with constant threats from differing but equally destructive sources, Thermo-Magnetic Imaging machines represent a seemingly perfect solution. But as privacy and health concerns grow ever more complex, this cutting edge technology delivers more than anyone had bargained for. While the forces behind the scenes fight to conceal their true agenda, the public struggles to cope with a new paradigm so invasive their innermost secrets are laid bare under its powerful lens.

Rob Folsom is a civil liberties activist, a staunch defender of privacy rights. Rosa Perez, a government agent specializing in surveillance, seems an unlikely candidate for him to represent. As Rob is pulled into her world, a world of high-tech spying, corporate intrigue, and black ops government agencies, he becomes caught in a perilous game of cat and mouse. As the target of interest switches from client to advocate, Rob has to find a way to stop them before they sabotage everything he has worked for...


You can buy his book right on Amazon and see a bit more about it as well.  You can check out David Haskell’s website and his blog too.  He has a Facebook page as well so you can follow him there.
  
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

NEW method of laser teeth whitening which does not cause anysensitivity at the Dublin Vitality Center

Disclosure:  I received this information through Dublin Vitality Center. I was compensated for sharing this information with my readers. My opinion is my own.

I recently got some wonderful information for anyone that either lives near Dublin, Ireland or who might be traveling there on vacation. I have had quite a few friends spend some lovely vacations enjoying the beauty of Ireland over the years.  Wouldn't it be just wonderful to have gorgeous, sparkling white teeth again?  You don't have to just dream about it either. If you live by Dublin Vitality Center you can zip right on over to get your teeth done in one hour!  If you are planning a vacation, you can book an appointment and return from your trip rested, relaxed and looking younger than ever with gorgeous pearly white teeth. 

Dublin Vitality center provides professional laser teeth whitening by qualified dental nurses. I didn't know that in Ireland, dental nurses train for 2 years and actually work with dental surgery procedures.  These skilled dental nurses have been providing quality laser teeth whitening in Dublin since 2008 so you can count on them.  They use the absolute most up to date mothods of laser teeth whitening too. Their specialized system will allow you to achieve 8 - 12 shades of whitening during your 60 minute treatment. They even have movies to watch during your treatment so you can truly relax and have some entertainment at the same time.  You can even bring your own DVD if you have one you have been meaning to watch. This is the perfect time to do it!

They do not use any peroxide either which means that you will not experience that horrible sensitivity issue that was common with older methods of dental whitening.  You can be confident when you go to Dublin Vitality Center because they shared that they have become Dublin's leading teeth whitening destination.  They offer reasonable pricing and patient's are thrilled with their excellent whitening results.

You can contact Laser Teeth Whitening Dublin Vitality Center by calling them at 01-8201602.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was compensated financially for sharing this information with my readers. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:  "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Valentine's Day Reads: The Marriage You've Always Wanted Book Review{Giveaway}

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. “Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Are you looking for some peace, understanding and maybe some giggles in your marriage?  This is the book for you! "The Marriage You've Always Wanted" is a super book for couples. You can see the perfect marriage in your minds eye, but you know it is a challenge with kids, jobs and all the other responsibilities. How to squeeze in the time and effort to really have a wonderful marriage?  Where do you even start?

Trusted counselor and relationship expert Dr. Gary Chapman reasons that the most sought-after ingredient in any marriage is true oneness.  In The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted, he presents expert wisdom and simple but common sense methods to establishing that true unity on emotional and practical levels. He shares the wit and insight into marriage that makes his worldwide presentations and marriage conferences so popular. 

Some of the common mistakes and pitfalls are:
  • Are you trying to change your spouse?
  • Do you know what it means to really love someone?
  • Do you feel ignored or even alone in your effort to improve your marriage?
Dr. Chapman has answers and action steps for you!  He addresses topics from expressing your emotions to managing your money.  There is a way to solve your problems and get past your issues all in a format that will have you and your spouse talking and learning with every page. 

His book is just out now from Moody Publishers. It retails for $15.99 and is an easy to read 144 pages.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: DR. GARY CHAPMAN
As anyone who has attended one of his marriage conferences knows, Dr. Gary Chapman’s expertise in marriage begins with the success and failures he and his wife Karolyn have experienced in their marriage for more than 45 years. He is just the man to turn to for help on improving or healing our most important relationships. His own life experiences, plus over thirty-five years of pastoring and marriage counseling, led him to publish his first book in the Love Language series, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Many of the millions of readers credit this continual New York Times bestseller with saving their marriages by showing them simple and practical ways to communicate love.


Since the success of his first book, Dr. Chapman has expanded his Five Love Languages series with special editions that reach out specifically to singles, men, and parents of teens and young children.  Gary Chapman is the author of numerous other books published by Moody Publishers/Northfield Publishing, including Anger, The Family You’ve Always Wanted, The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted, Desperate Marriages, God Speaks Your Love Language, How to Really Love Your Adult Child, and Hope for the Separated. With Dr. Jennifer Thomas, he co-authored The Five Languages of Apology.

Dr. Chapman speaks to thousands of couples nationwide through his weekend marriage conferences. He hosts a nationally syndicated radio program, A Love Language Minute, and a Saturday morning program,Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, both airing on more than 400 stations. Dr. Chapman and his wife have two grown children and currently live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he serves as senior associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church.

Dr. Chapman holds BA and MA degrees in anthropology from Wheaton College and Wake Forest University, respectively, MRE and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has completed postgraduate work at the University of North Carolina and Duke University.

Visit the official website here.  You can also follow him via Facebook and Twitter
They even have small group curriculum available here. 

Don't forget to enter to win your own copy of his book in my Rafflecopter giveaway below!a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Fun Day at Sahara Sam's Indoor Water Park in Berlin, New Jersey! @usfg @saharasams {Giveaway}

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:  "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

We spent today having a blast at Sahara Sam's Water Park in Berlin, NJ.  Sahara Sam's is New Jersey's largest Indoor Water Park. They totally take fun to the next level! We arrived a few minutes after they opened at about 10:20 am today on Sunday and they were open and ready for guests to enjoy the day.  We were greeted at the door by a friendly young man who provided a quick bag check for safety.  He also politely reminded customers that New Jersey state law does not permit Sahara Sam's to allow outside food and drinks inside their facility. Good to know ahead of time. They also post this information on their website.
We passed through the turnstiles and headed into the water park for an afternoon of fun! I was pretty impressed right away. Their website boasts 58,000 Sq. Ft of Splashtastic Fun, SAMAZON Adventure The WORLD'S tallest Ropes Course (an outdoor attraction), A 3,000 Sq. Ft Modern Arcade with great prizes - no admission required.  They are not kidding. This is a nice sized park but not too big...just the right size to keep track of the kids but enough space to spread out and have a ball. The kids were super excited about  the FlowRider indoor surfing simulator too. My little one had done this a few years ago down at the shore but I didn't realize that Sahara Sam's had this ride too.  If you want to do the Flow Rider or the Ropes Course I suggest you print and fill out your waivers ahead of time.  You need to sign them and fill in your driver's license at Sahara Sam's so leave those fields blank.  It will save you a few minutes and you will thank me.
The Flowrider was a popular attraction and did not disappoint. Check it out in action above! It was a chilly winter day though so the outdoor Ropes Course was not open. We are going to have to return to go on that one when it is warmer.  It looked like fun but there was plenty inside to keep us busy all day long.  Inside, Sahara Sam's had several areas to grab a bite to eat and a bar area for the adults. They also had a bright and airy full-service restaurant called the Desert Palm Cafe with lots of seating.  It had plenty of options for snacks, soft drinks and quick meals.  Nothing fancy but fun foods appropriate for a day out and about. They did have some healthy salad options if you are trying to keep it light too.

I saw as I went in that they have an annual pass and membership deal going on now which you can take advantage of online or at the door. $59.95 per person for an annual pass which means you can pop by Sahara Sam's all year long as many times as you like for essentially the price of about two visits.  That is one great deal. If you live even sort of close by that is a perfect option for the spring, summer fall and winter....keep the kids busy and you can relax with a magazine while they have fun all day long rain, shine or even snow.  Check their website for coupons and deals.  Once the weather gets warmer they have a whole outdoor Beach Club where you can even rent cabanas. They do have a a few indoor cabanas for rental as well. Tons more rides outside too so a wonderful destination year round.
ANNUAL PASS and MEMBERSHIP Sahara Sam's Oasis
I was impressed as I walked through Sahara Sams because it looked extremely well maintained. It even smelled clean...not a chlorine scent, just clean and fresh.  The floors were clean as well. I was reassured to know that they seem to keep the facility clean.  You could be sure by the afternoon it was kind of wet but, well, it is a water park and with kids around and in and out of the water some water on the floor during the day is to be expected. So, expect that. It actually looked pretty decent even by the afternoon. I saw staff out there cleaning and tidying up all day long.

I suggest flip-flops or water shoes but I always like to bring them to any pool indoors or out. Good idea for when you have to go into the restrooms as well. Just common sense. By the way, the restrooms and locker rooms were very clean too. I am such a clean freak I always notice these kinds of things. The ladies room had plenty of soap, paper towels and tp thank goodness. There were even spacious private changing rooms outside of the men's and ladies room which made it so much easier to change into or out of the bathing suits! Lockers galore too...available for a nominal rental fee.
There were plenty of open chairs and we settled in for the day. We found a spot with some chairs by the Flowrider area. Several lifeguards were set up in strategic spots to monitor the riders. The kids hopped on the Flowrider line which was almost non-existent. They waited about 4 minutes and were on. We got some great videos of their surfing safari.  I liked that the lifeguards were totally all eyes on the the Flowrider and the kids.  Extremely attentive. In fact, I noticed lifeguards were out all over the water park and there were plenty of them too. It sure made me feel more secure. I saw tons of lifeguards pacing their assigned areas by the different water attractions including the lazy river.  They were all equipped with appropriate safety equipment in a fanny pack.
The kids and all of us enjoyed the NileMile body slide. 350 feet and tons of fun. The kids went on this a bunch of times after we went on it with them. I liked that the lines were very short even as the day went on. There was a good crowd but it was very well maintained. The kids said that everyone was very nice...no pushing or poor behavior by anyone which makes for a fun day for everyone.
Hubby got roped heehee into Mount Kilimanjaro--the family slide. A quick walk up the stairs and they were there. Good exercise too! The kids and hubby reported that it was fun but be ready for a little dark and twisty turns. Not for me who gets kinda motion sick...I have to pick and choose my rides. Fun for them.  I like a straight shot so the body slide was better for me.  Everyone gets inside a big round rafts for the family slide and holds on for fun. You can get up to four people in a raft. They just LOVED it.

My friend and I enjoyed a little relaxing run on the Lazy River with the girls. It can go faster or slower depending on how many people are in the water but it is a fun way to pass a few minutes.

I liked that the park was nice and warm all day long.  We have been to other water parks in the winter and I was always so chilly. I noticed that I was very comfortable the whole day.....I think they had the thermostat set perfectly.  We brought our own towels...if you forget you can buy them there.  They do have complimentary life vests and I saw a few of the younger children wearing them.

The kids had a super fun time and got to go on all the rides they wanted. The wait times were minimal to none which made for a pleasant afternoon. A really nice bunch of guests too. We can't wait to go back and are looking forward to another fun filled day! I have a giveaway if you want to see for yourself, you can enter here to win a Family 4 Pack of tickets to Sahara Sam's.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Campbell's Dinner Sauces Hosted Party via @crowdtap #SauceItUp

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:  "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising
I was recently selected to host a Campbell's Dinner Sauces Hosted Party.  I have friends who love red meat and I have several guests who are vegetarians.  I decided to split the difference and do two different things to accommodate everyone.  Easy to do when you are using Campbell's Slow Cooker Sauces and Campbell's Skillet Sauces.  Really. It couldn't have been easier to make both the dishes.
On the left above I have my organic meat for the Campbell's Sweet Korean BBQ and on my right I have my tofu for my Thai Green Curry.
All you have to do is throw the meat into the slow cooker and empty the packet of sauce on top of it. Cook it on low for 8 hours and you are done. That is it.
I decided it would be fun to make Korean BBQ soft tacos so I picked up some napa cabbage and chopped it up and warmed up the tortillas after the BBQ had cooked for about 8 hours. 

 I love my crockpot!  There I am trying to squeeze in there. 







Meanwhile I put some rice up to cook for the Thai Green curry which was easy enough to do. Then I grilled some tofu and chopped it up. You can use chicken as well, remember I had to have some food for the vegetarians for this party.
I added the Campbell's Skillet Sauce in Thai Green Curry and mixed it in with the tofu. If you use chicken you want to make sure you cook the chicken first then empty the Skillet Sauce over the cooked chicken!
All ready for my guests!  Everyone loved the Campbell's Skillet Meals and could not believe I didn't make both of the entrees from scratch. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Purex Crystals Natural Formula Fresh Mountain Breeze {Giveaway}

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I am a member of the Purex Insiders. I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:  "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
I don't know about you but it is just freezing here in the mid-Atlantic.  Bone chilling cold that is just unrelenting.  Boy, I could really use a spring getaway, but that isn't happening anytime soon. You can imagine how I perked up when a package arrived from Purex in the mail today though!  
I found a bottle of NEW Purex Crystals Fresh Mountain Breeze along with some information about a terrific new giveaway.   That cheered me up a lot since I love the fresh scent of clean laundry softened and lightly scented with Purex Crystals.  I am one of those people who is always opening bottles before I buy things to make sure I like the fragrance. I really like laundry products with fragrance and one of the things I enjoy about Purex products is that there are always new scents.  The fragrances are always light and refreshing...never overpowering either.  I was excited to investigate this new scent.  
This new Purex Crystals Fresh Mountain Breeze scent is made from a natural formula that is safe for your family and the environment which makes me happy. I love how it keeps my sheets and clothes fresh for weeks too...just like the other Purex Crystals scents. Towels remain just as absorbent and plush as ever too! Purex Crystals are better than the standard fabric softeners out there.  They really work hard to freshen your laundry. Your clothes smell great and the crystals help to eliminate odor too.  I love this new scent. It makes me feel like I am escaping the laundry room for a bit and going on a little stroll in the warm, breezy mountains.  I can almost hear the little birdies singing and see the spring flowers, can't you?  Look for Purex Crystals Fresh Mountain Breeze and let me know how you like it.

Don't forget to enter my Rafflecopter giveaway below to win a free coupon to get your own Purex Crystals!a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Disney Side Celebration Party #DisneySide

    Disclosure:  I was given the opportunity to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration from Disney Parks and Mom Select.  I anticipate receiving complimentary products to host the party as well.  As always, my opinions are my own.
    Woohoo!!  I was selected out of tons and tons of applicants to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration Party just last week.  I am pretty excited about it.  We had so much fun on our Disney Cruise/ Disney World vacation a few years ago...we can't wait to do it again!  The Disney Magic just had us spellbound from our huge suite with the balcony and roomy bath to all the Disney characters...to the private island with magical "snow" when we arrived. We adore all the classic and new Disney movies and own a bunch of them.  We just saw Frozen in the theatre....can't wait to see it again.  My little one loves The Disney Channel shows too...great programming that I feel good about.  Daddy and I very often sit with her to watch "Good Luck Charlie" and her other faves.  
       
      Disney wants you to find your fun loving Disney Side because everyone has one. You know, the side that laughs out loud when you are watching Frozen with your kids in spite of yourself. The one that decides to get your hair braided when you are on that fun Disney Cruise with family. You know the one. Disney is going to help you find it again!

      Families like mine who were selected to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration will be holding their celebrations sometime during the last two weeks of February. All the lucky hosts get an amazing kit containing Disney themed party favors, decorations, games, activities and recipe ideas.  It is so adorable. A big suitcase filled with all kinds of craft ideas for an amazing party. All the Disney Side Hosts get the opportunity to personalize their @Home celebration and make it their own.  I am hosting a Frozen Disney @Home celebration. You can share in the fun and get some ideas for your own party by checking out the Disney Side Celebration website Disney is giving everyone the opportunity to share in the fun and happiness so get hopping and see what ideas Disney has cooked up.

      Wednesday, January 22, 2014

      Bruce Feiler’s “The Secrets of Happy Families” Kindle HDX Giveaway!

      Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:  "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

      Wow, so I know all about the basis for this new book:  the Sandwich Generation. If you have little kids still living with you or older children that flown back to your comfy nest and are also taking care of your parents...you too are part of what the Bruce Feiler and many others call the "Sandwich Generation."
       

      Feiler mentions other novel concepts that weren't around when we were kids like "Life Boating." It is the modern way to make it through life now...a totally new concept for families although challenging.  How we just jam in the lifeboat and try to stay alive paddling like crazy! Many of us have had to incorporate this changing lifestyle into the way we live day to day through no choice of our own.  Holiday celebrations are an opportunity for disagreements and lots of tension with teenagers texting and parents health issues.  Many families are falling apart more often than they used to on a regular basis. I see this with many of my friends and colleagues.  It can get so stressful!  Okay, so what was the catalyst to all this crazy dysfunction in families?  Feiler shares that all in his fascinating book.  Even more important, the author shares  what it is that makes some families effective, resilient, functioning and just, well....happy.  Isn't that what we all want in the long run?  I truly think so I just think many of us need some direction.
       

      Feiler discusses how today's parents can navigate all these new paths that are a reality now.  The big stuff like teaching discipline and negotiating screen time. Throwing some fun in there too though. He says it is really possible!  He shares how it really is possible to keep timeless values in a world that prizes instant gratification with texting and internet 24 hours a day via small and big screens. He shows you how to actually find time to be a couple and still be good parents.  Feiler discusses how you can rewrite the book of life rules and introduces some interesting but not totally novel concepts. Bruce Feiler is very open that most of the ideas he brings into play in the big are not big old secrets.  Some of his sources that he shares are the Harvard Negotiation Project, ESPN coaches, Green Berets and even Warren Buffet's banker as well as Silicon Valley game designers. Kind of wacky but it all comes together.  Coaches know alot about building teams, and bankers know how to make money work for you as in allowances for example. 


      The author has some simple ideas on how to connect as a family.  How about bringing a new vocabulary word to the dinner table each night? We are big readers (well, at least my daughter and I are!) so we liked that idea.  Even my hubby thought it was great. We thought that was very doable as we do eat dinner together most every night. If you don't that one isn't going to work for you. But you could even keep a dictionary in the car and introduce the word on the way to activities each day if you have that kind of schedule.
      The author reminds us not to forget to share our history with our children. This is a key concept in The Secrets of Happy Families. You want your children to feel like they are part of the family.  Our daughter loves to hear our stories over and over. Gramma is good about sharing too and these are classics for us. I was glad to hear about this because we have been doing this since our daughter was a toddler. She loves to hear Gramma's hurricane story from her childhood. How about my Chicken Gumbo Soup story. Yup.
      Another idea Feiler suggested was permitting your children to pick their own punishments.  I was kind of dubious about this but he says that kids tend to be harsher with themselves than we would be with them.  He goes on to say that the children feel more invested in the rules when they have a say in the consequences. I have to think about this one. Bruce Feiler also suggests weekly family meetings...I think this might be an excellent suggestion for a larger family. We have one child so we are pretty focused...perhaps when you have 4 or 5 children it is a great idea to check in with a meeting once a week so everyone is on the same page.  He mentions the life skills kids learn at these meetings from team leadership, negotiating and building winning teams.
      As a busy working mom who is very involved with her family, I would recommend giving The Secrets of Happy Families a read.  There are definitely some tidbits that are takeaways for any family with children. Not everything is going to work for every family but there are a lot of great concepts that are useful and something for every family big and small. 

      Would you just LOVE to win a Kindle HDX?  Enter here and good luck to everyone!

      Book Review Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan Plus Chat with Janette Oke and enter to win an iPad Mini!Giveaway

      Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


      Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan is a sweet book that tells the tale of Beth Thatcher.  I love these kinds of books especially in the winter. It is nice to get lost in a little romantic book.  It is an easy read that has some nice character build up.  Nothing too complicated but enough to drift into it easily.  I finished it over a weekend and really enjoyed it.

      Beth Thatcher has always lived a safe and comfortable life with her family and her friends. Daddy's wealth allowed her to have a lovely social life with no worries. Beth decides to abandon her safe life and accept a position teaching in the rustic mountains of western Canada.  She was inspired and spurred on by her favorite Aunt Elizabeth who had taken a similar round several years before. Even her father encouraged her to take this step.  Beth puts her trust in G-d to help her face this challenge and sets out to head to Coal Valley for her teaching position.  She is totally unaware how her courage and her heart will be tested over the coming months ahead of her.

      She arrives in the rugged town of Coal Valley and is completely taken aback.  The whole town is grieving after a horrible mining accident.  The children she is to teach have had almost no prior education which completely astounds her. Many of the residents don't even speak English. Schoolhouse.....you have got to be kidding. Nothing even close to resembling a proper schoolhouse.  In the midst of all this, Beth falls in love with two different Mounties.  One she has known since she was little and the other is a sweet and kind man who helps her more than a few times to get out of a jam.

      Beth forges through all the setbacks and continues to try to help the children learn in this rustic town.  Beth's sister comes for a visit and Beth is flooded with luxurious reminders of her former life.  It is so difficult because Beth knows she could leave in a flash and have her lovely life back. Should she stay and make a difference or go back to all that luxury?

      I really enjoyed this sweet book.  It was easy to read and kept me interested with all the subplots and relationships between the two men, her friends and her family back home.  I loved the setting for this book in Coal Valley.  It was really rustic and kind of historical...so very different from my suburban lifestyle that it was really refreshing and riveting to read about.  It was great to have her sister enter in after she is all settled and add a new element into the book with her family and new life mixing together and adding a sense of interest too. It was a fun read that you will definitely enjoy.

      Don't forget to head to the chat with Janette and enter to win an ipad Mini!
      Janette Oke's newest book, Where Courage Calls (co-written with her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan), is receiving rave reviews. It is the companion story to Hallmark Channel's TV series When Calls the Heart, set in the Canadian west.

      Janette and Laurel are celebrating with an iPad Mini giveaway and a Facebook author chat party on March 4th.
      couragecalls-400-click
      One winner will receive:
      Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 4th. Winner will be announced at the Where Courage Calls Facebook Party on March 4th. Connect with Janette and Laurel for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more!

      So grab your copy of Where Courage Calls and join Janette and Laurel on the evening of March 4th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

      Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN on the event page. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 4th!

      LuxLock 14k Gold Earring Replacement Backs Review

      Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:  "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
      I know it has happened to you, me and almost every other gal out there.  You know what I am talking about.  The dreaded weak earring backs that slip off...then you lose one of your favorite earrings.  I admit it...I have crawled on floors to look I have gotten that desperate. You know how it is when it is one of your very favorite pairs of earrings. So frustrating!  So you can imagine my excitement when I heard about LuxLock...a patented system that sets a new standard for the security and quality of earring backs. I was ready to check them out and see how this worked.  

      The patented LuxLock earring back replacement system uses a strong stainless steel spring within a stunning and easy-to-handle 14kt gold clutch. See how perfectly they work on my CZ stud earrings (earrings are not included with LuxLock backs) in the photo below! The earrings sit perfectly...no drooping. 

      LuxLock firmly grips for security by easily sliding onto your earrings and then just locking right into place. Perfectly and easily.  LuxLock is effective on even the most expensive earrings.  No more lopsided earrings either. See how even they look on me?  Forget those constant adjustments too.  The weight of the gold balances and centers the earring on your ear for the most elegant of presentations.  Now you can wear your most treasured earrings without worries or anxiety.  I can't wait for my next vacation...LuxLock is coming with me.  I know I will look wonderful in my earrings and feel confident even with my most treasured pieces.  You can totally replace your old earring backs with the LuxLock.  

      Now I truly love that LuxLock is manufactured 100% in the United States with high-quality gold.  I always feel good about supporting US based businesses.   LuxLock is the only luxury earring clutch available currently that combines strength, style and effortless simplicity.

      You can get more information on LuxLock by looking at their lovely products and by following them for updates on all your favorite social networks including Facebook, Youtube and Ebay.