Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This Day in History December 1, 1824

Political PartyPresidential Nom.VP Nom.#%#%
Democratic-RepublicanAndrew Jackson9937.90
Democratic-RepublicanJohn Quincy Adams8432.20
Democratic-RepublicanWilliam H. Crawford4115.70
Democratic-RepublicanHenry Clay3714.20

What I have put above is some very unusual election results from the election of 1824.  As you can see, no one won the majority.  At least as far as percentage goes.  And while it was Jackson and Adams who had the most electoral votes, Crawford and Clay complicated things.  No candidate had the 50% of the electoral votes needed to win.

So on this date in 1824, Congress was called in to decide the election.  This was according to the 12th amendment.  And the decision had to be made between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson--two candidates who were on opposite sides of the poles.

It was Speaker Henry Clay who convinced Congress to go with Adams.  And it should come as no surprise that Adams chose Clay for his Secretary of State.  Jackson became rather irate, and he united the fragmented Democratic party, and in four years, Jackson easily beat Adams.

I have heard before that presidents can be elected without a majority of the vote.  I now see that this did happen.  I probably learned about it in history, but I don't always remember everything.  To be perfectly honest, I am not a fan of Jackson, and Quincy Adams was not really exciting.  But between the two, I am glad that Adams won.  It was Jackson's policies that began to lead to the Civil War.

For more information on this, check out:

Twelve Days of Christmas Day One One-Time Donation to Charity of Choice (Ends 12/14) WW

Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas hop with a new giveaway for the next 12 days!  And the really neat thing is that while today I offer one prize, tomorrow I offer two, and so on and so forth!  To make it even better, this is  blog hop, so you have an incredible chance to win and win lots of great prizes!

For today's giveaway, I have something really different, but I think it truly keeps with the Christmas season of giving theme.  The winner of today's giveaway will be able to pick one charity where I will give a one-time donation of $10 in the winner's name (as long as it is possible). I stole this idea from another blogger, and I thought this would be a neat way to get things started.

This giveaway is open worldwide, and it will end at 9 P.M. Pacific Time on December 14.  Just place your entries in the rafflecopter form below!

Well-Spoken Wednesday--Finding the Upside of the Down Times by Dr. Robert Pennington Guest Post

Summary from goodreads:  

Psychologist Survives Shooting, Firing, IRS Audit and Death of Spouse to Challenge Others to 'Find the Upside of the Down Times'. Rob Pennington, PhD, shares his own very personal and honest account of some of the biggest challenges life can throw at anyone. He empowers readers with true stories, inspiring insights and practical tools to help turn their own negative experiences into positive opportunities.

Stepping beyond the initial shock and emotional roller coaster of each trial he faced, Dr. Pennington credits faith and support from others. “I discovered strengths I did not know I had and might not have found, had it not been for the challenge,” says Dr. Pennington. “I learned how to turn the worst things that happen to me into the best opportunities I have.”
This book is not about theory, but the very real blessings that can be found by anyone in the difficulties of day-to-day life. At the end of each chapter, Dr. Pennington shares specific activities he learned that can assist readers to turn their own struggles into stepping-stones that can lead to an upside of personal and professional growth.
With wit and tenderness, with vulnerability and candor, the reader is taken on a journey through many aspects of life, from career and finances to relationships, education, and health. And when tragedy strikes, Dr. Pennington demonstrates through his own humanity that even though we all have difficult times, we also have the ability to rise above them.
When the times start to drag you down ... Rob’s real world examples show that you can still:
• Turn your worries into positive action plans
• Turn your fears into opportunities for hope and for help
• Turn your life into something better than you thought possible Look Inside available at: Praise from Experts available at:
THE AUTHOR Dr. Rob Pennington completed his doctorate at The University of Texas at Austin in educational psychology in 1976. In addition to his career in counseling and executive coaching, Dr. Pennington was a professor at three universities, a four-time recipient of the Mental Health Association’s Outstanding Speaker Award and one of Meeting Professional International’s original Platinum Presenters. Since 1982 he has received the highest trainer evaluations each year from Fortune 100 employees for his trainings, “Successfully Managing the Stress of Change” and “Successful Work Relationships.” Dr. Pennington’s intensive academic understanding paired with profound personal experience helps him make complex issues understandable in a delightfully common-sense manner. For the first time in book form, Dr. Pennington provides insights he has presented in trainings and keynotes worldwide on a range of professional and personal development topics.

Find The Upside of the Down TimesFind The Upside of the Down Times by Dr. Robert E Pennington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book has to be the best self-help book I have ever read--or at least read in years.  I honestly don't know where to begin to sing its praises, and I doubt my review will do it justice.  But I will attempt to review this phenomenal, potentially life-changing book.

First of all, I believe that Dr. Pennington's style is very easy to read.  And his advice is very practical and real.  It is really nice to read a book by a psychologist that makes sense.  I like the fact that he doesn't just say "Smile and everything will be all right."  I also like the fact that he doesn't write above the common person's style.  He uses common, everyday language that makes sense.

When I compare the struggles that I face, I know that I have not suffered like he has!  My struggles don't even compare with his.  And if he can look at his struggles in a positive light, it gives me hope that I can as well.

I appreciate the most his view on relationships. Over the years, I have read a lot of relationship books over the years, but Dr. Pennington offered real advice.  In fact, I have been following what he mentioned concerning what one requires in a relationship and what one prefers.

At the end of each short chapter (and they really are short but powerful), he has ideas for you to apply and practice what he has taught you.  I did not actually sit down and do every single project, but this book is one that I will not only read one time.  It is a book I know I will come back to and refer to again and again.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  I do not think anyone would find anything offensive in the book--unless you would rather wallow in your negativism!

This book was provided to me for free by the author in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated in any other way, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

View all my reviews

Being Devoted: A journey of discovering the upside in the down times.

When Clair and I were married, part of our marriage vows stated that through our union we were joining ourselves with God, and we committed ourselves to seeking and serving God through the way we treat one another. By devoting ourselves to one another, we were devoting ourselves to God. This was easier said than done.

Clair was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three months after we fell in love, a year and a half before we were married. Although her limitations progressed year after year, her need for serious care increased in her last ten years.

Many people have asked about the many years I spent as her primary caregiver every evening and weekend. They seem to feel sad for me or confused about how I could give myself so fully to another person in need. They seem awed or impressed, and perhaps even afraid, imagining how they might feel faced with the same challenge.

It seems difficult for most people to imagine that there could be any upside to such a profound down time. But Clair and I did share many amazing experiences. I believe a key was our devotion to promoting, as best we each could with the tools and abilities at our disposal, one another’s highest good.

“Love at first sight” wasn’t just a cute saying for us. We loved each other from the moment we met. On the other hand, maintaining our ability to feel and experience that love was a very difficult journey that required more of us than we ever realized it would. As Katharine Hepburn said, “Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get—only with what you are expecting to give—which is everything.”

During our wedding ceremony the minister echoed this sentiment when he spoke of commitment by saying, “We do not expect you to know all that means now; but we do expect that you are pledging your will, so that whatever turns are in the road ahead, we may depend on your being there for her, supporting her with your very life.”

Although I said, “I do,” I did not know what that meant.

At first I think my devotion to Clair was probably a romantic high that came from the feeling of “being in love.” But the reality of our relationship was that during our years together Clair and I wrestled with fears about abandonment, rejection, and loss. We stumbled over issues of self-esteem, competition, jealousy and envy. We needed all the help we received from family, friends, therapists, physicians and spiritual teachers. In the middle of these struggles it was difficult to feel the romance. It took years for us to learn the difference between our preferences and our fundamental requirements (You can watch a video and learn more about this concept at
: Don’t Go To War Over A Preference!).

As Clair’s multiple sclerosis progressed her abilities decreased, so my responsibilities increased. I had to clean and cook and do things for her I won’t even write here! The more I did for her the more Clair resisted because she felt I was restricting her, and taking her power and options away.  She thought that meant I didn’t love her. It was very confusing.

But after each emotional incident we would come back with love, affection, and appreciation. It was like falling in love all over again. I started to realize that as soon as things started to get rough I could already begin looking forward to that feeling of falling in love again. That meant to me that the love was always there, but sometimes the logistics of life distracted our attention. I started to realize that I don’t have to prove my love and devotion; I just need do the next thing that needs to be done. I only have to clean the toilet because it needs to be cleaned. I only have to clean one spilled cup of coffee instead of all the messes that have ever happened. And in the meantime, remember the love is already there.

We gave each other so many ‘I love you’ cards over our decades together. I keep some cards today as a testament to the fact that we kept falling in love again and again until falling in love became as constant as giving one another romantic cards.

I learned I could not get everything done, and now three years after her death I’m still cleaning up messes I didn’t have the time or energy to address. But you have to make choices in such circumstances, and it helps if you can feel good about yourself in the process. I learned to be devoted to myself and to take responsibility for own my needs as well.

By devoting myself to caring for Clair I found that I could be the kind of person I really wanted to be. You could say that by caring for her I found myself! So, in a way, I really did all this for myself as much for her. I just didn’t realize what I would have to go through on the journey in order to get here!

Now that she has passed, I can be that person for my parents as they age by sharing devotion without all the pain and emotional effort. What a wonderful blessing for us all.

About the Author:  Dr. Rob Pennington
Shot, fired, audited, divorced and caring for a critically ill spouse until her death, psychologist Dr. Rob Pennington shares his personal challenges, lessons he learned and activities to help readers save themselves time and pain in his awarding winning book: Find The Upside Of The Down TImes: How To Turn Your Worst Experiences Into Your Best Opportunities!
Available on Amazon, Kindle and iTunes.  

Forever Taken by Danyale Nees Review

Summary:  Embark on an adventure with Veronica. She is raised in a small town in North Carolina. Explore with her to California, to follow her dreams in acting and romance. 

She will embark on a journey into learning love, passion, heartbreak, and how life really works. She will have to choose between a guy who she thinks is her prince charming and one who is not. 

Who will Veronica choose? What's her destined path? Will she have realized the right guy for her before its too late, or will his heart be closed forever. 

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
First and foremost, let me say that I wish with all my heart that I could give this a higher rating. If you look at the picture on the front, it is quite promising.  And even the summary sounds like something you might wish to read.  But, unfortunately, things are not always what they seem.

My first complaint with this book was the numerous grammatical errors.  I know that generally these kinds of things are to be overlooked, and when it is an ARC with minimal errors,I am not bothered.  But this book was filled with grammatical errors on practically every page--punctuation, capitalization, and even outright spelling errors.  Even confusion between words that sound similar and are spelled differently.  Not all of those are even homonyms.

Secondly, I really struggled with the change in form the author used.  Sometimes it was written as a novel, but sometimes it was written as a play.  It is meant to be written in first-person prose and present tense verbs, but it often gets quite muddled.

As for the story, most of the story is very juvenile--I cannot say that even most young adults would enjoy the story.  It is very unrealistic, and the sexual references really seem to be out of place.  Thankfully profanity and explicit sexual references are minimal.  That is always good news in a book.  I love happy endings, but I do not enjoy sugary-sweet stories that almost make you lose your lunch.  I hate to be so blunt, but this is honestly how I felt at the end of the story.

There is a redeeming portion of the book (which explains why it received two stars rather than one). If the author could have focused on the character of the ex-wife and her story, I really think she could have had a better story.  Or maybe if she had developed the entire story the way she did this story, she may have had really had a good debut novel.  I can only hope that the experiences and reviews that she has received on this novel will help her write a better novel next time.

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated in any way, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

Follow the author's blog here.
Follow her on facebook here.
Follow her on twitter here.

Buy the book here.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Well-Spoken Wednesday--Becoming the Happiest Human Being on the Planet by Thach Hoang Review

Summary from goodreads:
A fresh, bold approach, unlike any other book written on the subject of happiness. The most upbeat journal you could ever write to brighten your day. Words of empowerment to inspire you to take complete control of your happiness. The most practical ways to optimize your outlook and spark your participation in creating vital energy to be happy in any situation. This timeless book is certain to increase your joy, peace, love and freedom with brilliant suggestions on becoming as happy as the happiest human being you can imagine.

Becoming the Happiest Human Being on the Planet: Living the Joy, Peace, Love and Freedom Driven LifeBecoming the Happiest Human Being on the Planet: Living the Joy, Peace, Love and 
Freedom Driven Life by Thach Hoang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I began to read this book, I was unsure of what I would think of it.  Being quite honest, the first two chapters were some of the most boring I had ever read, and if I had not been reviewing the book, I may have given up.  But as the rest of the review will attest, I am glad I persevered!

This book is possibly one of the most unique books I have ever read. It is divided into various sections, and each section is loaded with positive words.  There is so much positive that you may find it overwhelming at first.  I think this book is better read in short spurts rather than all at once.  There is no way you can take in all the positive in one reading.  This should become a reference guide for you to turn to when you are down or feeling especially negative about things.  Find the chapter which discusses the area where you are sensing despair, and you are sure to find an affirmation or two or ten that will help you out of that mindset.

Coming from a Christian perspective, I appreciated all the things the author said about God and religion.  I did feel that at times the author emphasized humanism and the power of the human spirit and will a little more than I would have, but I can read a book like this with a grain of salt.  Everyone believes a little differently, and bottom line, no matter what you believe, there is still human responsibility involved in this life.  We are not spiritual robots.

I would recommend this book to anyone who needs to be reminded to have a positive outlook on life.  I was given a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  All opinions are 100 percent mine.

View all my reviews

For more information on the author and his work, check out his site.

This Day in History November 30, 1887

This is a picture from this date (Thanksgiving) in 1887 when the first ever softball game was played.  It happened in Chicago where a group of about 20 men gathered in a gymnasium to hear the outcome of the Harvard-Yale football game.  Following Yale's victory, one of the men (a Yale alumnus) picked up a boxing glove and threw it at someone (a Harvard supporter) who hit it with a pole.  George Hancock (considered the inventor of softball) called out "Play ball!" and the rest is history.  This first game was played with a tightened boxing glove as a ball and a broomstick for a bat.

This new game was called "indoor," "indoor outdoor," or "indoor baseball," and was later renamed softball by Walter Hakanson  in 1926.  Other names throughout the years have been "kitten ball," " pumpkin ball," "diamond ball," and " mush ball."  I am not a sports enthusiast, so I apologize if I am not overly excited about this fact in history, but I did find the evolution of the sport quite interesting.  Softball tends to be something that women play (so I thought), and here is was developed by a group of men.  Go figure!

For a lot more information, check out:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Twinkle Tuesday--Tropical Traditions Lavender Skin Exfoliator Review and Giveaway (Ends 12/15) U.S. and Canada

For about a month now, I have been using a fantastic product from Tropical Traditions--Lavender Skin Exfoliator.  Throughout my years with various facial cleansers, I have tried various exfoliants and facial scrubbers.  I have two problems.  One, the exfoliators do not clean my skin.  Even though they are abrasive, I am not able to get all the residue off my face.  And secondly, the exfoliators dry out my skin.

I did not quickly review this product because I wanted to truly monitor how well this worked on my face.  I was glad to discover that it did not damage nor overly dry out my skin.  That was good news.  Especially since you have to scrub your face for about a minute.

I am also pleased at how well this cleans my skin.  The make-up residue is almost eradicated with this product.  I still have a few blemishes, but my skin feels so much cleaner.  I am also pleased to report that it is possible to use this exfoliator on sensitive skin.  My skin tends to be dry and sometimes becomes irritated by abrasive skin cleansers.  I am pleased to report that with this product, none of that occurs.  I think I may have finally found a product that will get my face clean!  This product is also able to be used on other parts of the body like face, skin, and any place with rough skin.  I have not had the opportunity to use this product elsewhere, but I certainly would like to one day.

And on a side note,. another problem I have when cleansing my face is getting the cleanser in my mouth.  Usually, the flavor is horrid.  I will admit that this product is not as awful as I thought it would be, and if you get it in your mouth (like I generally do each time I use it), there is no cause for concern.  It is organic and nautral.

Now as you can see by the title, this is also a giveaway.  One of my U.S./Canadian followers will win the same product I had the chance to review.  All you need to do is fill out the rafflecopter form below. The giveaway will end December 15 at 9 P.M. Pacific time.  Best of wishes to you!

Monday, November 28, 2011

This Day in History November 29, 1975

Crack in Hilina Pali road, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Peter Lipman, U.S. Geological Survey

This is really a scary picture for me.  On this date in 1975, the largest local earthquake to hit Hawaii since 1868--aptly called Kalapana Earthquake of 1975(since this was the area in which the quake was located--Hawaii's southeastern coast). At 3:35 A.M. a 5.57 magnitude quake hit.  Aftershocks continued for several months afterwards.  A second, more powerful shock occurred about and hour later and measure 7.2.

Shortly after the earthquake, a tsunami reached 14.6 meters in height. Two campers died as a result.  Amazingly, these were the only two fatalities, and 28 other people were injured.  Because population density was so low in the area where it hit, damage was relatively minimal--about $4 million worth of damages (at least $13 million by today's standards, probably more).

The major disruption from the earthquakes/tsunami came due to displacement of the earth's crust, as evidenced by the opening picture.  I won't go into all the details--check out the links below.  It is actually that picture that looks scary to me.  Whenever I look at a significant crack in the earth's surface, I always think of the dissenters in Moses' time who were swallowed by the earth. It must be quite frightening to see the earth open up like that!  I am surprised at the low casualty rate.  I am also quite grateful for that because it seems like whenever a natural disaster occurs, there is a large number of deaths and property damage.  But it must have been scary all the same!

For more information, check out the following links:, Island of Hawaii, 1975

Music Monday: Slugs & Bugs Under Where? CD Review and Giveaway (ends 12/10) U.S (closed).

My daughter got the supreme honor of reviewing the children's music CD Slugs & Bugs Under Where? 

Randall Goodgame continually tours all around the country with his live show.  For social media purposes, Slugs & Bugs has a you tube channel (includes clips from live shows), parenting blog, facebook , and twitter .  People may be able to relate  Slugs & Bugs with the popular children's music and videos of Veggie Tales, which Randall Goodgame has written songs for.  And of course, the new Slugs & Bugs album titled Slugs & Bugs Under Where?  can be purchased at and at any Family Christian Store.

My daughter's review:

"When I first got the CD, I totally thought it was going to be about slugs and bugs.  But it was not!  There was only two songs that talked about them! I have gotten to listen to the CD now every night as I drift off to sleep for the past week.  There really is not a theme for the CD in my opinion, but it definitely talks about God and Christianity.  The CD features an adult singing and sometimes children join him.

My favorite songs are as follows:

Lightning Bug--this is the only one that really talks about bugs
Food--it just talks about food, food, food, food (get the idea?)
Mexican Rhapsody--I think this song is mistitled because it is sort of a "rap," and the adult tries to sound Mexican but is not.  
The Wagon--In the middle and end parts of the song, there is a guy who comes on the CD who wants to try out some ideas that are really funny--they crack me up!
Ninja--super fast song, and I don't know the words very well--but it is still fun!
Under Where?--confusion about the two different kinds of "under where" and "underwear"--very funny!
Pajama Drama--the boy in the song is so freaked about not having pajamas in his top drawer and he is going to call his mama and Obama--again, very funny!

There is one song that I don't mind even though it is not my favorite--There's a Hole in My Sock.  It's not a fast song, and I really like fast songs.  But it does have a good rhythm.

I don't know what the song Dizzy is really talking about, so I cannot say I really care for that song.  I'm Adopted is another song I don't really care for (even though I have memorized most of the song!). 

This CD definitely receives a 5-star rating from me!"

Now onto the really exciting part.  The company has agreed to give away a CD to one of my U.S. readers!  This giveaway will end at 9 P.M. Pacific Time on December 10.  What a perfect gift for the child in your life! And this company is awesome.  They got the CD out to me very quickly, and I am sure they will do the same for my winner!  Just place your entries in the rafflectoper form below!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

This Day in History November 28, 1859

It probably seems morbid to mark the passing of someone on a this day in history segment, but then I don't think it is all that terrible.  I really don't even know much about the person who died on this date in 1859, but his picture is above.  Anyone recognize him?

I am sure most of us have heard of the stories he wrote:  The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle amongst others.  Yes, it is Washington Irving.

He was born April 3, 1873 in New York City to wealthy Scottish-English immigrants.  As you might have guessed, he was named for George Washington (who met him and gave him his blessing in 1879).  He was the eleventh child in the family, and though he was often sickly, he was mischievous and often dreaming of far-off places (fueled by his love of Robinson Crusoe).  His parents were very charitable people, and he did study law (but he did not ultimately practice it).

He was an easygoing person who enjoyed several trips abroad throughout his lifetime. And, of course, that helped him to become one of the first American author to earn a literary reputation in Europe.  I had not realized that he actually wrote under a pseudonym--Geoffrey Crayon.  I would like to know what his thinking was behind that.  But I guess when you look at the time period, pseudonyms were the "in" thing, i.e,, Mark Twain, George Eliot, etc.  Kind of like it used to be the thing to take a stage name if one became an actor or a singer.

Interestingly enough, his first work was in 1802, Morning Chronicle, which was written under another pseudonym--Jonathan Oldstyle.  I think he must have enjoyed making up names.  These are not your normal pen names, I do not believe.  I even find this one somewhat humorous.  And I love this pen name:  Deidrich Knickerbacker.  I would say this man had quite a sense of humor!

I really am trying to keep this brief, but as I was scanning the biography, I discovered that he popularized the term "Gotham" for New York City!   He is also credited with coining the phrase "the Almighty dollar."  He also served as  Minster to Spain from 1842-1848. He did die on this date in 1859 in Tarrytown, New York--he was 76.

There is even more information on these sites if you are interested:

Solution Sunday--Natural Vitality Energy 28 Review

I recently had the great privilege of reviewing a product from Natural Vitality called Energy 28.  I am one who is always looking for natural forms of energy--otherwise, I practically live on coffee.  I never seem to get enough sleep, and I am a workaholic when it comes to many things in my life.

Here is the website's description of the product:

Energy begins with a balanced diet, with the body assimilating life-giving nutrients from the soil, processed into edible forms by plants. Because our diets are generally lacking in high-quality nutrition, we often turn to sugar and caffeine for quick energy at the expense of the health and sustained energy we could obtain from true nutrients. When the body is well nourished, a person is less likely to be depressed and more likely to have adequate energy levels. Energy28 was created to deliver supplemental natural energy from whole-food and natural sources

I will admit that when I first tried this product, I was somewhat skeptical.  I have found that "natural energy drinks" just don't do the job they say they do. And I was worried about the flavor.  But I followed the instructions, and added it to my water along with some Splenda.  I have to admit that I noticed no difference.

Since the product failed to work the way I thought it should the first time, I decided to give up on it.  And then I got a mild cold, and I figured that using this product wouldn't help during times of illness.  I knew I would have to try it again, but I have to admit that I was not looking forward to it.

A couple days later, my mom gave me a call and asked if she could try the product.  She read the instructions on the back, and I discovered through our conversation that I had only taken about half of the suggested amount. I told her to go ahead and try it and let me know what she thought.  And quite quickly, she became a believer.  I think she used it every day for several days in a row, and she discovered she was not nearly as tired.  I was still recovering from my cold, so I thought I would wait until I was past my cold.

Today, I was absolutely exhausted.  The afternoon hit, and I had two choices--maybe three, come to think of it.  I could take a nap (out of the question), drink some coffee (that was an idea), or try Energy 28 again.  I decided to give the energy drink another try.  I made sure to use the correct dosage, and I have to admit that I did not like the flavor (I know it would be better in fruit juice or a smoothie), but it was quickly gone.  And almost immediately, my tiredness dissipated.  I have to admit that this Energy 28 carried me through several hours this afternoon without the horrible crash that sometimes comes from coffee or soda pop.

My favorite thing about Energy 28 is that contains natural ingredients including lots of vegetables.  While I may not always like the flavor, I know that if I decided to make a smoothie and use this as one of the ingredients, I would not even be able to taste it.  My mom is also sold on this drink (she has used 5 hour energy and other such drinks with mixed reviews), and she has already said that we need to buy this product to keep on hand.  

Right now, there are not a lot of places that sell Natural Vitality Products.  You can check out the list here.  However, we are so committed to these products that we are going to search them out and ask retailers to order Energy 28 if necessary.

In short, if you are one who is in need of an afternoon pick-me-up (or you just need a little bit of energy), I encourage you to buy Energy 28!  You will find, as I certainly did, that this natural product will give you all of the energy you need with no "crash" later on.

Per FTC guidelines, I was sent a free product to review in exchange for my honest opinion.  I was not financially compensated in any other way, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

This Day in History November 27, 1911

President Taft
Ready for something a little lighter from this day in history?  Read on!

Elizabeth Jaffray
This woman was President Taft's housekeeper, and she evidently kept quite a diary about the happenings in the presidential household.  And it was on this date in 1911 that she wrote about a conversation she had with the president and his wife about the president's "expanding waistline."

President Taft had a serious weight problem and would, by today's standards, been obese.  He was 5'11", and throughout his lifetime he wavered between 270 and 340 pounds.  He realized he had a weight problem, but he did not often do anything about it.  He often ate two oranges, a twelve-ounce beefsteak, several pieces of toast with butter, and a large quantity of coffee with cream and sugar for breakfast alone.  He reportedly had to have a valet tie his shoes and often got stuck in the White House bathtub.  He even split his pants while getting out of a carriage according to the czar of Russia.

I found it interesting to note that even back during these times weight and overeating was an issue.  We sometimes tend to think that people were always much healthier in the "olden days."  I also find it interesting that a housekeeper was not fired for expressing this concern to the president of the United States.  I actually wonder if this happened today, would the housekeeper have lost her job?  We have to be so careful about what is said in this day and age.

Here are some links to more information in case you are interested:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Satisfied Saturday--Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly (11/28-12/3)

This is the book I chose for this week.  The good news is that I am not on jury duty!  I am so grateful to God for that!  I chose these recipes because they are healthy and easy to make.  While I cannot list the recipes themselves, I will refer to the page number and title of the recipe.

Meal 1:  Chicken Dinner p. 26

Meal 2:  Pot Roast p. 53


Meal 3:  Beef Barley Stew p. 66

Meal 4:  Some kind of marinated meat
              Four Zesy Beans p. 104

I am not planning any desserts because I have not made any in the past few weeks--even though I have intended to.

Stand-out recipes from last week?  No special recipes.

Bourbon Vanilla Bean Review and Rodelle Baking Challenge

I had the opportunity to review something a little different--Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean.  (According to my English friend (Martin), that is a misnomer--it should be vanilla pod.  The beans are inside the pod.)  I had never cut open one of these before, so I began by watching this video:

I discovered that it was easier than I thought.  So I proceeded to split it down the middle, and I took out the seeds--which were more like powder.  I did not get very much out of one of them, but I decided to put it in my coffee.  I am happy to report that it gave a very mild vanilla flavor.  My only complaint is that it does not actually mix in with the coffee.  It looks like coffee grounds, but it does not taste horrible.  My hands still smell like vanilla--very nice!

I put the pod in with what was left of my Splenda.  I decided that there was no point in putting it in sugar--I don't generally use sugar.  So I figured I would give it a try with Splenda.  I have to wait a couple days before I use it, but I have high hopes.

I do not plan to participate in the Rodelle Baking Challenge, but in case you are interested, all the information is below.  It is still going on, so if you are an avid baker, you just may wish to take a look.
Bakers to Win a KitchenAid® and Year-Long Supply of Baking Essentials

Rodelle, the highly regarded brand of premier baking essentials, has announced its second annual ‘Rodelle Challenge’ to inspire consumers to make the most of their inner baker this holiday season. Rodelle celebrates the passion and experience of baking by inviting people to share their best, worst or funniest baking moment.  

[About the Rodelle Challenge]  
Bakers share their baking moment on the Rodelle Facebook page…the most creative posts with photos or videos are more likely to stand out. The winners are selected by the Rodelle team and with a variety of criteria. Everything from creativity to sentimentality is taken into consideration. Rodelle is sweetening the pot this year by adding a KitchenAid® Mixer to the three grand prizes, which include a yearlong supply of premium Rodelle baking essentials: vanilla beans, baking cocoa, pure vanilla extract, almond/lemon/anise extracts and vanilla sugar. Three runners up will win a yearlong supply of pure vanilla extract, vanilla beans, and rich dark baking cocoa. People are invited to upload entries from October 1 throughDecember 25, 2011. Winners will be announced New Year’s Day, 2012.

 “At Rodelle, we are all about the finest ingredients bringing holiday magic to baking,” says Joe Basta. “Our goal is to inspire families to take their baking to a new level– using Rodelle really does make a difference,” he adds. 

[About Rodelle]
Responsibly sourced from premier growing regions, Rodelle has been delivering the finest in baking essentials for 75 years. Its pure vanilla, superior extracts and remarkable spice blends have been unrivaled in flavor and quality since 1936. Rodelle’s exclusive collection takes culinary adventure from good to grand. The company believes that choosing premier ingredients is the way for avid chefs to make a difference in their recipes year round. 

Rodelle’s Baking Essentials are available at grocery stores nationwide. To learn more about where to buy, or for additional information, visit: 

For more details on the Rodelle Challenge, visit:

For information surrounding media coverage, samples or imagery, please contact:  


About Rodelle:
Rodelle has created premier baking and cooking essentials since 1936. Originating from the south of France, the Rodelle family revolutionized the standard for gourmet flavors when they came to the states, bringing with them, their passion and expertise for the flavor industry. In 1984, Rodelle became part of Custom Blending Inc. where a relentless commitment to high quality continues. Today, Rodelle provides home bakers and culinary professionals alike with the finest ingredients on the market. From MadagascarBourbon vanilla beans to Dutch-processed baking cocoa and Herbs de Provence, quality comes first. The company is wind powered and has consistently given a portion of sales back to its growing regions.

I received a free product sample in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated in any other way, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

Qwik Shower Big Wet Wipes Review and Giveaway (Ends 12/9) U.S. (closed)

Product Description:
QwikShower Gym Class Wipes have been a big hit on the internet.  Now, for a broader appeal, we've developed QwikShower Big Wet Wipes that will be available everywhere.  Freshen up after a walk, a workout a bike ride or a fishing trip.  Lunch after morning yoga is better after a QwikShower.  These are individually wrapped 10x12 thick moist wipes with a fresh scent and cleaning power.  Keep them in your purse, locker car and gym bag to use anytime.  These are not little tiny pop up wipes!  They're big and thick like a wash cloth.

I have probably mentioned before (I know I have) that I have a tomboy for a daughter.  She is eight, and she hates to take a shower.  It was this year that I had her start using deodorant--she sweats a lot when she is active.  

This kid hates to take showers.  And I often don't have the energy to make sure she gets one.  So this year I invested in some shower wipes for her.  They worked well.  They were nice and big.  I was pretty excited to try these Qwik Shower Wipes, and I feel they worked at least as well as the other brand I had gotten.  In fact, my only complaint is that while they are big, I would prefer an even larger size.  While these worked really well for my daughter, I do not believe they would be big enough for me.  I hope the company continues to offer even more choices for families at reasonable prices.  

As an update, I did use one today after working out, and they were ample for the top part of my body.  They instantly cooled me down, and they got rid of my sweaty feeling and smell.  I would say these are good for using after working out or exercising, but they would not work for a complete, all-over body shower.   But I honestly don't need my entire body washed after exercising.  So I would say these are perfect for a quick "freshening up," and they are very portable.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Now on to the really good news.  One of my U.S. readers will get the opportunity to win the same sample pack of Qwik Shower Wipes that I received.  What a perfect time of year to try these out.  I don't know about you, but I don't like taking showers when it is really cold out.  This is a great option for when you need to freshen up but don't feel like or want to take the time to take a shower.  All you need to do is fill out the rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway will end December 12 at 9 P.M. Pacific Time.  If you would rather not wait to win these, you can find out where to purchase them here.

World's Best Cat Litter Review

I have told you about my cats before.  We have 14 cats, and three are basically indoor.  We have two litter boxes, and you can imagine how much litter we go through.  The stench can sometimes be sickening.  And we have tried everything from litter deodorizer to air fresheners spayed outside the litter box.

I was quite interested to try World's Best Cat Litter.  I had heard of it before, but I had never had a chance to try it.  I chose to try the Scented Multiple Cat Formula.  There were lots of benefits to this litter.  It is the only litter made out of whole kernel corn.  A seven pound bag can last one cat up to 30 days.  It clumps well, and it is "green."  I really like all these features, but as you can imagine, smell is the major thing!

I am happy to report that this litter is named very appropriately.  Even this morning as I was writing this review, a cat used the box.  I could smell that the cat was using it, but immediately afterwards, there was not scent!  That is cause to celebrate.  I can put up with many, many things, but odor control is king.  And this stuff fits the bill!

If you are a family who has an indoor cat that uses a litter box, this is the only litter you will ever need!  If interested, you can go to their site and find out where to buy it.  I was glad to discover that this litter can be purchased somewhat nearby.  Maybe one day I will be able to buy it in the city where I live, but I am used to having to drive to shop anyway.  Part of living in the country!

You can also like them on facebook, follow them on twitter, and check out their blog.

I was provided with a free sample in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated in any other way, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
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