Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lazy Summer Reads Giveaway Hop (ends 6/8) WW

Welcome to Lazy Summer Reads Hop

Hosted by eReading on the Cheap and Midwestern Moms.

The blog hop runs from June 1 - 8 at 11:59 EST .

I really wanted to do something a little different with this book hop.  Yes, I know we always like the gift certificates and book depository, but I have something really different this time.  

In the past, I have done mystery book giveaways, and this is a variation on this.  I want you to pick an author that you have perhaps heard about but have not read anything by him/her.  My preference would be that you also do not own any books by this author.  (If you do, we can discuss that if you are the winner.)  If you are the winner (this is open internationally), I will choose a book by this author and send it to you.  

I will give you an example.  I have heard about Marcia Lynn McClure, but I have never read any of her books.  I do not own one.  I would put her down as my choice, and if I were the winner, I would receive a book in my choice of format.  And yes, you can pick more than one if you like (but you will only receive one book!).

So what are you waiting for?  Enter the rafflecopter form below by June 8 at 9 P.M. Pacific time, and don't forget to hop on to the other blogs for more chances!

(If I do happen to get over 1000 verified entries, I will add a winner.)

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My Favorite Reads Giveaway Hop (Ends 6/6) WW

My Favorite Reads Giveaway Hop
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Rachelle's Writing Spot
June 1st - 6th

I am very pleased to be a part of this giveaway hop, but choosing my favorite reads is so tough.  So here is what I am going to do.  I am going to list the link to the books I have read on goodreads, and as long as the book has a rating of 4 or 5, it would be available for you to choose.

Here is the link to "my read" shelf on goodreads.  Hopefully there will be something on the list!  I just finished the Hunger Games series, so that is my current favorite.  

This giveaway is open worldwide.  I am open to e-books or physical copies.  If the book is outrageously priced, there is a good chance you will need to pick something else.  If you are international, I will ship through Book Depository.  If you are U.S., I will ship through whatever is cheapest--including possible good used copies.  

Make sure you enter the rafflecopter form below.  Be sure to enter by 9:00 P.M. Pacific time by June 6.  And don't forget to hop on to the other blogs for more chances to win!

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This Day in History May 31, 1859

Today's feature concerns a place where I have visited in person.  It was on this date in 1859 that the clock tower which houses Big Ben began ticking.  Yes, I know that Big Ben is what the clock tower is often called, but that is wrong.  Big Ben is actually the hour bell that chimes.  The building is called the clock tower.

I had the privilege of spending 6 weeks in England a few years back, and when we were in London, we saw this firsthand.  It is a beautiful structure, and it is one of London's many landmarks that are well worth seeing.

For more information, check out:

#EclosBeauty Skin Care Review and Giveaway (Ends 6/15) U.S.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of éclos Skin Care for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


As I have gotten older, skin care has become increasingly important to me.  I don't want to look my age--what woman does--and I look for products that can help me preserve the youth in my skin. I have been blessed with good skin--thank you, Mom!  But I know in time that will change.  Age does have a way of catching up with you!

éclos Skin Care

I was so pleased to get the opportunity to try Eclos Anti-Aging Skin Care Starter Kit. This product is different from other anti-aging products I have used in the past.  The active ingredient is Apple Stem Cells that are extracted from a rare Swiss apple.  These stem cells have been shown  to stimulate skin stem cells to encourage those cells to behave like younger skin. To these stem cells,  plant extracts, vitamins and anti-oxidants have been added to minimize fine lines, wrinkles, and even tired skin. 

It used to be that this kind of product was cost-prohibitive and only available on a limited basis.  The average person did not have access to this technology.  Eclos is the first brand to make this fantastic product available to the general public at a price that everyone can afford.

I had the supreme joy of reviewing this kit that contained the following items:

  • Facial Cleanser Skin Prep
  • Cellular Activator Face Serum
  • Moisture Therapy Regenerative Cream
  • Restorative Eye Cream
  • Instant Radiance Facial Scrub
  • Skin Renewal Clay Mask
  • éclos Terry Cloth Head Band

Each of these products working together help the problem areas in your facial skin.  The skin prep was always a nice beginning--it cleansed all the outer dirt and impurities from my skin thus making my skin ready to receive the rest of the products.  Then I would follow it up with the facial scrub which was only to be used every other day.  With my sensitive skin, I was glad I followed this advice.  After using the scrub, I always felt that my face had been cleansed from dead skin cells and impurities that could not be removed by the skin prep.  About once or twice a week, the clay mask was something that I used to get a deep-down cleansing that restored my skin.  And then came the fantastic moisturizers.  The face serum always made my face feel rejuvenated, and the skin around my eyes always appreciated the eye cream.  I tend to get wrinkles and puffiness around my eyes, and this instantly cured that.  And the regenerative cream was always a nice ending to this face regimen, making my face feel soft and smooth.  All dryness was gone.  And, yes, I enjoyed the terry cloth headband because it kept my hair out of the way!

The thing that really amazed me about these products was that I often felt a warmth on my face--especially when I first started using them--that told me something was really happening to my skin.  it was as though the ingredients were working right then and there to restore the worn-out cells in my skin.  I really noticed this with the scrub and eye cream.

I realize that once you start to use ingredients such as these, you may not notice an immediate change.  I can feel the change more than see it. In fact, when I first started using the products, my skin actually had a mild breakout--which is natural for my skin as the impurities are cleaned out.  So don't expect a dramatic difference, but here is a picture of me before I started using the products.

You probably can notice some mild redness in my skin.  You probably don't really notice the fine lines around my eyes, but they are there, I can assure you.  Now here is a picture of me after using the products for a couple of weeks.

In this picture, you might be able to see absence of some redness and some of the wrinkles under my eyes. Not always the easiest thing to see in pictures, but I can at least say that my skin feels healthier and more moisturized.

I am excited to announce that the sponsor has authorized me to give away one of these éclos Anti-Aging Skin Care Starter Kits to one of my U.S. readers.  Be sure to fill out the form below by June 13 9:00 P.M. Pacific time.  Best of wishes to you!  And don't forget about the mandatory entry--be sure to leave a blog comment on this post saying which product you are looking more forward to trying.  Entries will be verified.




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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Honey Bunches of Oats Coupon Giveaway--5 winners! (Ends 6/13) U.S.

About a month or so ago, I was sent a fantastic product to review--Honey Bunches of Oats cereal. I was sent a full-sized box, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it!  Cereals are something I tend to be really picky about.  I like my cereal to be filling and tasty.  I don't want it to be high in sugar, and I prefer a low-calorie cereal.

This is the exact flavor I tried.  When I eat cereal, I don't use milk--I use Greek Yogurt.  I mix them together, and this is the perfect kind of cereal to mix with yogurt.

So what about the nutrition content?  No fat or cholesterol.  It has 10 grams of whole grain.  And it has the same amount of calories as Special K cereal! Not bad.  All that, and I can assure you it tastes good!

So the people over at Post have decided to give away 5 coupons for a free box of cereal.  I will look up the expiration date--I have to find them, and I will update this.  You have until June 13 9:00 P.M. Pacific time to enter for a chance at these coupons.  Just fill out the the rafflecopter form below.  Sorry, U.S. only.  Best of wishes!

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Karma Media Presents 2K Fan Celebration--$25 Paypal Cash Giveaway! (Ends 6/1) WW

Karma Media is celebrating their 2k fan milestone on Facebook, and we're having a flash cash giveaway just for you! We love having fans, and we want you to know how much we appreciate each and everyone of you. Of course we would love to be able to give something to each and every one of our followers, but with new and exciting campaigns coming in, we hope you continue to follow us here at Karma Media as well as the hard working team behind it. Our team thought long, and hard, to find the perfect prize for our followers. In the end, only cold hard cash would do. After all who can't use some extra cash, so please join us in this celebration where we are giving one lucky fan $25 USD Paypal cash. We have opened the giveaway internationally so all are welcome to enter! Don't delay, this giveaway will be over in a flash, so be sure to enter today!

This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Paypal, nor Facebook. Winner will have 48 hours to confirm their Paypal address so that funds can be transferred. Failure to confirm will result in forfeit of prize, and a new winner will be chosen. Prize will be supplied by Karma Media, where we make you shine!

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Bead For Life Review--Shea Butter Lip Balm and Soap

I am so pleased to be reviewing something yet again from Bead for Life.  Last time, I reviewed a bracelet.  When I had the opportunity to work with them again, I jumped at the chance.

Bead for Life is a nonprofit organization that works to erase poverty and empower women in Uganda.  Shea butter in Uganda is known as "Women's Gold." They sell products made with their exquisite Shea butter in order to meet their critical needs.  There are currently 760 women who are attempting to rebuild their lives through the BeadForLife Shea Project.  It makes me feel so good to work with a company that helps women and their families get out from under the burden of poverty.

Pictured above are two of the products I was privileged to review.  First, I reviewd the Shea Butter Lip Balm, and I used it at the ideal time.  My lips were really feeling chapped and dry--our weather has been crazy lately. And the moment I put this on, my lips felt fantastic!  I am not one who likes lip balm.  I only ever found one other brand I liked, but this is now one brand that I will come back to again and again!  I may just have to get it for everyone this Christmas!

Then I reviewed the Shea Butter soap.  Well, what can I say?  I am not a big soap fan, but I decided that I would use it in my shower.  I prefer shower gel, and I rarely use soap.  I was immediately taken with the little bits of rough parts in the soap.  And the smell was heavenly!  The soap lathered well, and I think I would have no problem with using this soap regularly in place of my shower gel.  It was amazing.  I even used it after I shaved my legs, and it was a fantastic moisturizer for my legs.

In conclusion, I can highly recommend the Bead for Life products (and company, for that matter),  It feels good to support an organization like this, and it is great to be able to let my readers know that their products are very high quality.

This review was brought to you by Charisma Media. To learn more about services and membership please visit

I was sent a sample of the products mentioned in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine..

This Day in History May 30, 1416

Jerome Prague was born in modern day Czech Republic (Bohemia) in 1379.  He was a prominent philosopher, theologian, and university professor who became a church reformer.  His teachings emphasized that the teachings of God were directly accessible to Christians without a church leader's aid.  This was contrary to the teachings of the Catholic church.  He was a supporter of Wycliff and Hus (martyrs), but his physical ailments did cause him to denounce them and recant his contrary views.

Huss (Jerome's mentor) was eventually burned at the stake.  Jerome denounced the church yet again, and on this date in 1416, he was burned at the stake.  His final words from the throes of the fire were:

"O Lord God, Father Almighty, have mercy upon me, and be merciful unto mine offences, for thou knowest how sincerely I have loved thy truth."

Whenever I read of martyrs such as this, I am reminded of what freedoms I have in this country and at this point in history.  I can only hope and pray that those freedoms will not be taken from me.

For more information, please check out these sites:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"The Joy of Melt and Pour Soap Crafting" by Lisa Maliga Book Review

THE JOY OF MELT AND POUR SOAP CRAFTING is written by someone who learned how to work with crafting glycerin melt & pour soap the hard way -- with only a single page of instructions to follow! From 2004-2009 the author ran an online business, Everything Shea Aromatic Creations, selling 85+ varieties of soap. If you've always wanted to make your own soap, here's an opportunity to learn just how easy it really is! Check out the REVIEWS and the Crafts & Recipes pages.   

The Joy of Melt and Pour Soap CraftingThe Joy of Melt and Pour Soap Crafting by Lisa Maliga
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I began reading this book, I was completely unfamiliar with soap making in general.  I had thought about doing it before, but there was little motivation or interest.  I almost reluctantly accepted this review thinking I may not enjoy it.  I figured I would be reading a technical book with little application.

All I can say is--wow, was I ever wrong!  This is one of the most practical craft books I have ever had the pleasure to read.  This author knows her topic, and she does not hold back on her secrets and methods.  I do not think there is a topic in melt and pour soap making that she does not cover.  In fact, I can say that I am interested in doing this with my daughter this summer as a result of reading this book.

I loved the fact that she covered absolutely everything possible (maybe she left some things out, but if she did, it wasn't much)that you could mix into the soap.  She explained the benefits and pitfalls of each of these items.  She pointed out mistakes to avoid.  And her recipes and pictures were phenomenal.  Adding wine to soap?  I have never heard of that, and she was the one to have great success with this.

So if you have interest in melt and pour soap making (or even if you do not), be sure to check out this book. Anyone can make soaps, and she will tell you how to do it!

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

View all my reviews

About the AuthorEver since making my first batch of soap back in 1998, I discovered a way to create soaps in my favorite scents and colors. I learned that adding shea butter increased the luxuriousness of the lather. After that, I experimented with adding other ingredients which you will soon read about here. I've written two books about bath & body products and have more in the works! THE JOY OF MELT AND POUR SOAP CRAFTING and 12 EASY MELT AND POUR SOAP RECIPES are my latest eBooks.

Follow her on twitter, pinterest, her blog, and her website.

"Excuse Me Your Soul Mate is Waiting" by Marla Martenson Book Review

Summary from goodreadsThis is a fun, concrete, and practical approach to finding Mr. or Ms. Right. Martenson combines practical advice, self-tests for the reader, and amusing anecdotes in this delightful how-to book.

About the Author:

Hello, and welcome to my blog! I am glad you stopped by. I have been a professional matchmaker working in Los Angeles since 2001, helping countless couples connect with their soul mates and go on to marriage. I am also a certified life/dating coach, author and motivational speaker. I have  appeared on the Today Show, WGN Chicago Morning News, San Diego Living, KUSI San Diego Morning, Better TV, Urban Rush and over 40 radio shows including Coast to Coast AM and The Cooper Lawrence Show. I am passionate about helping others find that special someone to go through life with, someone that makes life sparkle.
I am often asked if I have met my soul mate. The answer is yes, I met my Adolfo though a mutual friend in 2001 and got married in his home town, Mexico City in October 2002.
For information on matchmaking go to my website,
Follow her on pinterest, google+, facebook, twitter, and youtube.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ready for a dating book with a little different viewpoint?  Marla Martenson has written a book that is readable, timely, and can certainly change your point of view.  She also writes with a good deal of humor and understanding.  She has been on both sides of the issue, and she definitely knows what she is writing about.

I love the fact that she takes a positive outlook when it comes to finding your soul mate.  She says to think about what you want rather than what you don't want.  Don't give up and settle.  In fact, your mindset should be that your soul mate is already there.  Know what you want, and go for it!

As a divorcee myself, I know what it is like to have a relationship go sour.  I was certain that I did everything right.  The only thing I did wrong was to not know who I really was when I got married.  Had I taken the time to discover the real me and given myself the needed time and space, I don't think I would have married when and whom I did.  I settled, but I did not realize it.  I also know what it means to jump into a relationship quickly when one ends.  My "engagement" was something that should never have happened, but thankfully, I did what I needed to.  I think Marla would have approved.

Probably the only criticism I can give is that Marla's positive outlook sometimes paints this topic a little too roseate.  There are circumstances that can keep one from finding his/her soul mate that cannot be controlled.  And there are even circumstances that will cause your soul mate to walk away from you.  The future can be uncertain, and you can only hope and pray that when you find your soul mate, it will be for a lifetime.

In conclusion, I think that much of the advice in this book applies to dating and even life in general.  While I am convinced that I am not ready (and may never be again) to enter the dating scene again, if you are, I recommend this book highly.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are 100 percent mine, and I was not financially compensated.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins Book Review

My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead.

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains--except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay--no matter what the personal cost. (from goodreads)

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am in shock.  I have finally reached the end of a series that I never thought I would read.  This third and final book in the saga is easily the most violent, the most emotional, and the most fast-paced of the bunch.  There were twists and turns that I never saw coming, and I can say as others have that the book ended the way it needed to.  I know some have complained about the ending, but I felt as though I had closure after finishing the epilogue.

This entire series is something that everyone is talking about, and I do not want to give away anything.  I would say that the author has given each character their proper voice and told a tale that will give one pause to think about the future.  Could it happen?  I do not know, but I can hope and pray this book is not prophetic.  All I can say is it is not improbable.

One of the sweetest points in the whole series was that of Buttercup, the cat.  I was quite touched with this part of the story though it was a small s,ene.

If you have not read this series, I can recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone over the age of 12.

View all my reviews

Yes, I have finished the Hunger Games series.  What took me so long?  I had so many other books I had to review, and I was glad to finally finish this today.  It was interesting.  I finished the series while subbing at a middle school, and it prompted some interesting discussion.  One read the series, and one had not.  Oh, and my mom read the series.  She finished it before I did, and she really liked them!

Whimsical Wednesday Karma Media 5/30

Welcome to Whimsical Wednesday!
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  • You don't have to post the button, but it would help to spread the word about this hop.

This Day in History May 29, 1941

Today we celebrate the birthday of Doug Scott (1941), one of the first Britons to climb Mt. Everett.  He was born in Nottingham, England, and he began climbing mountains at the age of 12.  He not only is known for climbing this mountain, but he is a fantastic photographer.
Here's a bit of trivia about him.  In 1976, he broke both of his legs while climbing a mountain, and he took and 8-day crawl back to camp.  No thank you!  Not for me.  It is good to point out that most of his time now is taken up with Community Action Nepal, a charity that works to provide health, education, and clean water to this area.  Nepal is where you find Mt. Everett, for those who may not know.

Although I would never be a mountaineer, I have to tip my hat to him for his charity work and for his dedication to climbing.  More power to him!

For more information, please check out:

Meal Plan Tuesday--a Day late, I know (May 30-June 2) Pinterest Again

I decided that I found so many great recipes on pinterest that I decided to plan my meals with its help again today.  So here goes.

Meal 1:
Corn Dog Muffins

I am going to add the pineapple roasted veggies along with this.

Meal 2:
Chicken Crescent Roll Casserole 

I will add some vegetables to this.

Meal 3:
No Bread BLT's

Skinny Texas Fries

Meal 4:
Turkey Wrap with Cucumber Cheese

Dessert:  Peanut Butter Quinoa Cookies

Monday, May 28, 2012

Phish Net Stalkings by Denise Robbins Book Review

I have finally finished the book I promoted in this post.

Phish NET StalkingsPhish NET Stalkings by Denise Robbins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In truth, I have to give this book some very mixed reviews.  Denise Robbins is a fantastic, readable author.  The story she has crafted is full of strong characters, humor, suspense, and more.  I was instantly drawn into the story, and I cannot tell you how many times I was asked to explain what I was reading.  The cover itself lends itself to much discussion.

There are two things that really inhibited my true enjoyment of this book.  First of all, while mild profanity is never my wish, I can generally handle it if certain words are dropped here and there.  But I feel as though this book crossed the line on occasion.  I sometimes got to the point where I was dreading the next page in case I would come across one of those words again.  I believe in realism, but I prefer to have less profanity.

I love romance scenes, and I can handle mild bedroom scenes.  I don't even mind getting a glimpse into the bedroom if the people are married.  It bothers me when I read two or three pages of hot and heavy bedroom scenes--especially when the people are not married.  While the bedroom scenes are not X-rated, I would still prefer less detail.

I know this sounds like a negative review, and I honestly don't intend it to.  Denise Robbins filled the pages with well-rounded characters and little twists that kept my interest.  I found that my enjoyment of the novel went up and down.  In fact, sometimes I was reading the book just to get through it, and then the author would throw in another twist that would keep me up past midnight.

So, in conclusion, my rating would be 3.5.  I would be open to reading more of Denise Robbins' books although I hope she goes easy on the language and sex.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.  I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

View all my reviews

This Day in History May 28, 1863

I am pleased to bring you a feature today in honor of Memorial Day.  It was on this date in 1863 that the 54th Regiment Volunteer Infantry left their camp.  This was a unique regiment as it was the first official regiment to be comprised of freed blacks.  These brave men were recruited by white abolitionists, and they were authorized by the governor of Massachusetts.

Their best known efforts in the Civil War was on July 18, 1863, as they led an assault on Fort Wagner near Charleston, South Carolina.  This was a costly assault since they lost their commander and half of their men.  But their bravery earned them much respect and replaced the earlier skepticism this unit had received.

As we remember Memorial Day today, let us remember this brave regiment who in spite of racism, prejudice, and broken promises served their country in a fearless manner.  Not only should we remember and reflect on this regiment, but let us remember and thank every man and woman who has served their country with unwavering loyalty even when it cost his or her own life.

For more information about this legendary regiment, please check out:

Cruising for Giveaways Hop (5/27) Charisma Media

Welcome to Cruising for Giveaways Hop! This hop is brought to you by Charisma Media Network!
Cruising for Giveaways

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Things I Need to Stop Doing to Myself (Post Inspiration From Another Blog)

As I was stumbling around this afternoon (I needed a break!), I happened upon a post that I felt that I needed to write about.  I don't usually do this, but I was inspired by this post.  And it is clear from the amount of comments (353!) this post has received, I am not the only one who was inspired.

The name of the blog post is "30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself," and I plan to comment on the ones that pertain to me.

1.  Stop spending time with the wrong people.  I actually don't associate with many people, but there are those who do bring me down.  My former best friend (Martin) has brought me down quite a bit, to be perfectly honest.  I find that I don't associate with him nearly as much as I used to because as the blog says, life is too short to associate with people who zap the happiness from you!

2.  Stop running from your problems.  This is something I do not do. I'm not saying I am perfect, but I believe, as Maria says on The Sound of Music, "You can't use school {or anything}to run from your problems.  You have to face them!"  Problems don't tend to go away on their own.

3.  Stop lying to yourself.  What I have a tendency to do is run myself down when I get upset or things don't go right.  I tend to tell myself a bunch of lies about who and what I am.  And sadly, if I keep it up, I tend to believe it.  This is a good reminder because I still occasionally do this.  But I am better than I used to be.

4.  Stop putting your own needs on the back burner.  I believe this is very important.  As mothers, we tend to put our children's needs first.  I know I am always wanting to put my daughter before me.  While there are times it is appropriate to do this, if we don't give ourselves the permission to fulfill some our own needs, we may lose ourselves.  It took me a long time to discover who I was, and when I put away my own needs, I feel like I am giving up my own self.  This is a good reminder!

5.  Stop trying to be someone you're not.  Yep, I have tried to do this before, and it nearly destroyed me.  There is almost nothing worse for me than putting on a persona that is not me.  Acting is fine, but when you can't be who you really are with those you care about (and even those you don't), this will really make you feel like you are betraying yourself.  And it is hard to live with a traitor--especially when that person shares your body!

6.  Stop trying to hold onto the past.  This is what my dad is really good at!  He lives in the past and can't stand facing the reality of the present.  Maybe there were good things in the past, but don't let the past keep you from enjoying the present!

7.  Stop being scared to make a mistake.  Yep, this is one I have struggled with all my life.  I have come a long ways in this department.  I used to think that making a mistake was the end of the world.  I used to beat myself up over and over again.  While I still struggle with it, with God's help, I don't do this nearly as much as I used to.

8.  Stop berating yourself for old mistakes.  This was something God taught me during my divorce. I remember going down all the wrong roads.  I shouldn't have gotten married.  I shouldn't have let this happen. I shouldn't have met Martin.  And on, and on, and on.  God taught me that indeed all things do work together for good. Maybe I won't understand this while I am on this earth, but I can trust God.

9.  Stop trying to buy happiness.  I used to be an emotional spender.  When things didn't go right, I went online and made a purchase.  I am still paying off my debts in this area.  But it is true--happiness cannot be bought.  It can deter you for a time and postpone the sadness, but in the end, you won't be any happier.

10. Stop exclusively looking to other for happiness.  It is up to me to be happy.  No one has the responsibility to make me happy.  I am pretty good about this because I had to entertain myself as I grew up.

11.  Stop being idle. I have learned about risk.  I must take the risk.  Yes, I believe on waiting for God's will, but God can't do anything if I stay put and do nothing.

12. Stop thinking you're not ready.  I have been there indeed.  I find myself being placed in situations (even in blogging) where I do not feel comfortable.  And I decide to go ahead and give it a try.  The worst thing that could happen is that I make a mistake.  And I can then try again.  I am willing to get in and try anything.  But I wasn't always that way.

13. Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons.  Been there, done that, wore that t-shirt.  When I got a divorce and was subsequently rejected by my best friend (long story), I was on the rebound.  And I got involved with something I never should have.  I actually got engaged.  So I learned this one the hard way.

14. Stop rejecting relationships just because the old ones didn't work out.  I agree, but I am not ready for this one.  I am honestly done with men.  Maybe that will change in time, but right now I don't want to be involved.  I am not against having friends, but I need some time away from men!

15. Stop trying to compete against everyone.  I did this when I was growing up, and my daughter is following in my footsteps.  I do not have to be the best, and I can recognize others who are better than I!  I have learned that in exercise, beating my own records are the best things I can do.  I prefer competing with myself!

16. Stop being jealous of others.  I learned this lesson in college.  There was a girl who had won a competition in which I had done well but not won.  Wouldn't you know it that she ended up at the same college as me.  I was so jealous, and I prayed for her and for God to change me.  As time went on, she was the one who dropped out of college.  Before she did, she and I had a good talk where she said she wished she were more like me.  Imagine!  I always wondered what happened to her.

17. Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself.  My father is a master at this.  I do my best not to complain.  I am a positive person, and I believe that looking at the good is always better than focusing on the bad.

18. Stop holding grudges.  My dad and my friend in England are champions at this.  This has never been my problem--honestly.  Life is too short for grudges.

19. Stop letting others bring you down to their level.  Easier said than done.  Usually no problem, but once in a while...

20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others.  I do not owe anyone an explanation for why I do what I do. It is my business, not theirs.  As long as I am not harming myself or others, people need to accept me as I am.  If they can't, they are not worth my time.

21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break.  That is why I am doing this.  I needed a break from blogging and entering giveaways.  Nice break.  I am good about taking breaks.

22. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments.  My daughter reminds me to look for rainbows.  And living in the country does remind me of what is really important in life.

23.  Stop trying to make things perfect.  It will never happen anyway.  Why waste your time?  Take it from a recovering perfectionist!

24. Stop following the path of least resistance.  I agree.  I believe that taking the road less traveled is a wise decision.  Don't settle for mediocre.  Reach for the stars!

25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn't.  Okay, that does not mean you have to share your deepest, darkest secrets with every passing stranger.  But it is okay to be real with how you feel.  Don't stuff it.  Deal with the emotions.  And that is something I do well.  I don't hide my feelings well.  It is a positive and negative thing.

26. Stop blaming others for your problems.  This is the way our society is.  People do not like to take responsibility for their actions.  It bugs me to no end.  This has not ever been a struggle of mine.

27. Stop trying to be everything to everyone.  You can't do it anyway.  So stop trying.  You'll only kill yourself!  This is not a problem for me either.

28. Stop worrying so much.  Guilty as charged.  I am a natural-born worrier.  I am trying to do better in this area by trusting God.  He tells us to cast our cares on Him because He cares for us.  I have not arrived, but I do try.  I used to live from one worry to the next.  At least worries do not consume me as they once did.

29. Stop focusing on what you don't want to happen.  That is my daughter to a tee.  I thought I tended to run on ahead.  She is to the extreme.  I can't tell you how many times she asks me what if this happens or that.  And in so doing, she overlooks the good things happening today.  Live in the present.  It is a lesson I am still learning.

30. Stop being ungrateful.  Gratitude is a natural part of my life.  I am sure I have been ungrateful, but mostly I do well in this area.

According to the bottom of the post, they also have the counterpart to this post--30 Things to Start Doing For Yourself.  I will have to look at that some time.  If you would like to read the original post, check it out here.

This Day in History May 27, 1933

Well, on this date in 1933, Walt Disney released Three Little Pigs in technicolor.  And, of course, the big hit was Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?  Considering the Depression, this became a big theme song for people of the time.  The audiences absolutely loved this film.  I have always loved the story, and the music is just classic!  There seems to be some censorship issues relating to a Jewish wolf and a Muslim issue as well, but I won't spend my time talking about that.  Instead, watch the entire film below!

And for more information, check out:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cook'n Recipe Organizer is Celebrating Their 20th Birthday--3 Winners (Ends 6/6) U.S.

Cook'n Recipe Organizer is Celebrating their 20th Birthday!

 To celebrate they are giving away over $385 in prizes to 


Prize #1-Valued at $130!
(Cook'n Software and $50 Walmart Gift Card)

Prize #2-Valued at $130
(Cook'n Software, Cook'n Binder, and Recipe Cards)

Prize # 3-Valued at $125!
(Cook'n Software, Old fashioned popcorn maker, & latest edition of Cook'n Magazine!)

Cook'n, Give Oh Giveaway, Raking in the Savings, Mamal Diane, Capri's Coupons, and My Devotional Thoughts (that's my blog, if you didn't know) have teamed up with some other great bloggers to share this awesome giveaway with you! 

What exactly is Cook'n?

Cook'n is the #1 selling recipe organizer software with over 3 million copies sold! 

Some of the awesome features include: (hint: click the link to see the feature in action)
"Capture" recipes from the internet- My favorite feature!

Calculate the nutrition of the recipe-Helps you live a healthy lifestyle!

Enter your family's favorite recipes easily- There is an quick fill in feature!

Print your own cookbook- This would make a great gift!

Generate grocery list by aisle- An organized shopping list and cost of meal estimate!

MORE great features here-There are so many cool things this software can do, it really is amazing!

After seeing all of these cool features, you know you want a copy of Cook'n, don't you?  You can buy it here or try to win it on here first!  This giveaway starts now and will end June 6th at 9:00 P.M. Pacific time.  Sorry that this is a U.S. only giveaway.  To enter all you have to do is answer the following question on the rafflecopter form below--What is your favorite feature of Cook'n?  I know it's hard to pick one, but I have faith in you!

Of course you will have plenty of extra entries to submit too! For this giveaway each participating blogger is listed individually. Choose to like the ones that might interest you and submit those entries. Or better yet, like them all, get every possible entry in for the great prizes.  Remember you can fill out as many or as few extra entries as you want on the Rafflecopter form! The winner will be emailed and have 24 hours to respond. GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I did not receive any monetary compensation for sharing this giveaway. I just like to share great giveaways!  The comments made above are honest opinions generated by Cj from Give oh Giveaway. 

Karma Media Review--Fantastic Way to Improve Your Blog!

Karma Media

I have been blogging for almost two years--I really had no idea I would stay with it so long!  I only ever started blogging because I figured I could do it as well as the blogs I was reading.  And I do enjoy writing.

It wasn't long after I started blogging that I realized that I had to have some giveaways to drive traffic to my blog.  I loved writing great content, but if no one was around to read it, what good was it?  When you are just starting out, it can be pretty tough to find companies to sponsor giveaways.  I remember writing reviews, pitching companies, and only hearing "no" or nothing at all.  It was disappointing.  So I knew I had to begin to sponsor my own giveaways--I had no other choice.

My blog began to grow, and I was pretty excited.  A few companies began to sponsor reviews/giveaways, but people began to come to my blog only for giveaways.  And I would get very few comments on any other posts.  I hated to keep spending my own money, but I knew I had to.

My blog was doing well, and then I began to join giveaway hops, and I decided I was willing to pay.  Yes, I saw big jumps in my numbers, but I still struggled to find enough companies to sponsor me.  My blog was not big enough.  My reach was not large enough.  I didn't have the right kind of blog.

I realized that it was taking lots of time finding companies to sponsor my giveaways.  There had to be an easier way!  And indeed there was!  I happened to click on a link to Karma Media, and I decided to give them a try.  After paying the nominal fee, they added me to the facebook group, and I began to interact with them.  I wasn't sure what I would find, but let me explain.

First of all, they do all the work of pitching companies.  They combine all of the blogger stats in the group together and contact companies to sponsor reviews and giveaways.  I have gotten to review magazines, food, books, and more.  And I have only been a member for a couple of months.  They always send out documents with the information, and the companies get to pick the blogs they want to work with.  This means that small blogs and big blogs get the same chance to review certain blogs.  And the giveaways?  Karma Media sets up the giveaways for you in regard to these products.  You post them on your blog, and you watch your blog numbers increase.

While reviewing products and having giveaways on your blog are great, there is much more to them than this.  They have free blog hops each week to increase traffic to your blog--pinterest, facebook, etc.  They have special giveaway opportunities for their members (and sometimes for non-members such as their current Bringing in Summer giveaway hop). They also allow you to give input as to what companies you want them to pitch and what kinds of things you would like to see in the group.

For me, Karma Media has been an awesome group.  I have never been active in a facebook group until them.  Now they are one of the first ones I check--and I check several times a day.  One time when I had a product issue concerning a review I was doing, I felt so much better after I posted it to them.  They were so nice to sympathize and offer any help they could.  And whenever I have a blog question, I ask it, and I am sure to get a response.  In fact, they actually give the right response!  If they do not know, they will work to find the answer.

All I can say is that my life has become crazier, and my blog has become busier.  But my blog's traffic has increased, and Karma Media is part of the reason--a big part of the reason.  If you want to improve your blog, I invite you to check them out.  Big, small, international, U.S., it makes no difference.  They can help you meet your blogging goals.  I don't know if I will ever have to pitch a company again! (Okay, I probably will, but it is so nice to sit back and let the wonderful leaders of the team do the hard work!)

Don't forget to follow them on facebook and twitter!

Free Blogger Opportunity: Madame Deals Presents Coach Purse and Wallet Giveaway--Sign Up Now!

Madame Deals Free Events

I know you bloggers out there want to sign up for this giveaway opportunity.  It is free, and it is big.  You can sign up for this fantastic opportunity--June 14-June 30.  You fill out a form, promote it, post it, and watch the followers come to you!!  And when you do sign up, please say My Devotional Thoughts referred you!

"Seeds" by David Ankrah Book Review

I finally have my review of the book I promoted earlier this week.  (My daughter reviewed it for me!)

"Seeds" by David Ankrah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was reviewed by my almost 9-year-old daughter.
"This was a really good book.  It was a very easy-to-read book, and I got the lesson completely.  It is not a good idea to go out and be greedy.  The seeds are like money, so don't go out and spend all of your money (seeds) so you don't have enough left to buy food.  And don't let people trick you out of your seeds!  I think that kids ages 5-7 would really understand this book and would be able to read it on their own (for the most part, at least)."

My thoughts:  My daughter took the initiative to read the book--I planned on reviewing it.  But she decided to read it before I could.  The fact that she sat down, read it, understood it, and rated it five stars honestly means something!

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

View all my reviews

Chapel Chronicles Review and Giveaway (Ends 6/5) U.S./Canada

I am so pleased for my daughter to have the chance to review the Chapel Chronicles by Emma T. Capps.  I picked this up to review today, and my daughter confiscated it.  And she immediately began reading it after announcing that it was written by a kid. She read it and enjoyed it so much!  She couldn't put it down!  My daughter is almost nine years old, by the way, and rarely does she ever read a comic book or strip.  She absolutely loved it!  And as I read through it, I loved it, too.  This is definitely five-star rated, and I would highly recommend it to everyone.  Children and adults alike would enjoy this--it transcends age.

Here is the product description:  

The Chapel Chronicles is a 44 page book of hand drawn, full-color comics, a weekly web comic, and a collection of greeting cards and collectibles. The Chapel Chronicles follows the adventures of an 11-year old girl named Chapel Smith as she navigates tween life with her own quirky brand of humor. Whether it’s clashes with her babysitter, struggles with household chores, finding a love of pop music, or an unexpected prickly companion, each comic delivers something delightfully unexpected. Chapel’s spunky and sweet wit make her a character appealing to fans at any stage of life. Chapel’s voice is also an authentic inside perspective of tween life because its author is also a teen, 15 year-old Emma T Capps, an award-winning artist, author, and cartoonist.

You can read Chapel comics at or at The Chapel Chronicles has been reviewed in a variety of national publications. Press reviews and high res downloadable images are available at Chapel Collectibles, including the comic book, greeting cards, charms, earrings, prints, and more are available for sale at

The thing that makes this so different from other books and comic strips is that it was written by a teenager.  So often we read things written for children but are written by adults.  It is unique to have a young person writing something for her fellow young people.  And you will definitely read the difference.

I was very pleased at the professionalism of this young artist/author.  She sent me a well-organized notebook with everything I would need.  And every contact with her has been a delight.  She appears to be mature beyond her years!

And our fantastic comic creator has agreed to give away the following prize package to one of my blog readers from the U.S. or Canada.

The Chapel Chronicles Collectibles Giveaway. Designed by Emma T Capps, 15 year-old award-winning artist, author, and cartoonist. This giveaway includes a copy of The Chapel Chronicles, Volume One, a 44 page all-ages comic book (hand-drawn and in color) consisting of the first 31 four-panel comic strips in the webcomic series entitled The Chapel Chronicles at In addition, 10 Thank You postcards, 10 Happy Birthday postcards, and 10 Bon Voyage postcards. You can see these items at Value: $50

By the way, I did receive a sample of one of her cards, and when she says high-resolution, she means it!  They are beautiful!

So how can you enter?  Check out the rafflecopter below and enter by June 5 at 9:00 P.M. Pacific time.

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