Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mark Beauty Bash (August 1-20) Raise Money for the Wounded Warrior Project

Hi everyone! I am getting the word out about a very special Online Beauty Bash. The Beauty Bash will run from August 1st - August 20th. My blogger friend, Jenn, will be making a Personal Donation of 30% of my earnings from this Online Beauty Bash to the Wounded Warrior Project in the hopes of bringing more attention to this wonderful organization. Please join her at the party Shop the Party.

Now, I don't know about you, but this is something I am going to check out.  I am posting it for my blogger friend, and I am thinking Christmas, birthdays, and much more.  I plan to shop, and I encourage you to do so, too. After all, when it comes to the Wounded Warrior Project and the military, that strikes a cord with me.  So be sure to check it out!

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with and this is not endorsed by The Wounded Warrior Project. This will be an individual, personal donation made in Jennifer's name to the organization.

Overview of the Wounded Warrior Project:

Their Mission:

To honor & empower wounded warriors.

Their Vision:

To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation's history.

Their Purpose:

To raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members.

To help injured service members aid and assist each other.

To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

Programs offered:


Combat Stress Recovery

Project Odyssey

Restore Warriors

Family Support

Family Support Retreats


Physical health & Wellness

Soldier Ride

WWP Packs

Economic Empowerment:

Campus Services


Transition Training Academy

Warriors at Work




Benefits Service

International SupportI

Peer Mentoring

Policy & Government Affairs

WWP Resource Center

The WWP has helped numerous soldiers and I encourage you to visit Wounded Warrior Project to see for yourself the difference they are making.

 I would like to personally send out a message to the brave men & women of the Armed Forces both past and present. Thank you for the sacrifices you have made for us. We Salute you. God Bless.

A personal thank you to the following blogs for sharing this post:

Made.By.Jess , I Don't Get Sundays , Southern Stay at Home Momma , Picking Up The Pennies , Everyday Ramblings Of My Life , Giveaway Maven , My Devotional Thoughts , Coupon Blessings Now , Tegan's Library , Southern Belle , Divas Fashion Vault , The Ordinary Housewife & Sassy Pants Momma

Eylure Lashes--3 pairs (Ends 8/18) U.S.

Award Winning Eylure is known all over the globe for their innovative false lashes designs. All of their lashes include glue in the package or are self adhesive saving you the cost of having to purchase glue separately. Every strip of lashes are 100% natural and they can be reused. There are no worries if you are a contact lens wearer, Eylure lashes are suitable for you, too. Eylure continues to be a top choice of professional make up artists and have been worn by iconic beauties like Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman and Marlene Dietrich.

Famous Singer and Songwriter, Katy Perry, chose "Pretty" for it's natural look and subtle appearance. They are self adhesive and come with an extra glue strip for multiple use. Katy Perry Lashes by Eylure Retail for $6.99 and are available at ULTA, CVS and Claire’s.
Eylure recently added new styles to their ever popular Naturalites line. Each package includes glue for multiple uses. Style #083 is for those who love super full lashes. They are ultra lightweight and add fullness as well as length. Style #032 provides a more natural look. They are also ultra lightweight and provide a subtle, natural volume. These Eylure Naturalite styles Retail for $5.99 each and can be found in ULTA stores or via ULTA.com.

My favorite part of this is that they are safe for contact lens wearers!  I am always concerned about these kinds of things since I indeed do!  This is an awesome giveaway and a chance to give you a stunning look for free!

One Lucky Reader will receive (1) pair each of Eylure Naturalites #032 & #083 Lashes and (1) pair of Katy Perry "Pretty" Lashes. You may enter using the Rafflecopter Below.

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    Terms and Conditions:
  • This Contest is Open to U.S. Residents Only.
  • This Giveaway is being brought you in association with Pinterest Fanatic. The participating bloggers cannot be held responsible for the delivery of this item, as that is the responsibility of the sponsor.
  • Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own.

Back to School Scramble Giveaway (Ends 8/6) U.S.

It's back to school time and we all know what a scramble it is to get everything your kids need for going back to school. Well, a few bloggers have decided to get together to make your life a little easier, We bring you the Back to School Scramble Blog hop! Created by Holly at Savey Spender. Get what you need to go back to school in style!

Okay, my giveaway is going to be a little bit different.  It is $25 worth (at least) of various back-to-school items for mom and kids.  It may include books, DVD's, and some odds and ends of school stuff.  I love doing surprise giveaways because I can have fun and find all sorts of neat things for my readers.  And it is all up to me!

This giveaway will only be open to the U.S., and it will end very quickly--August 6.  So get your entries into the rafflecopter now by 9:00 P.M. Pacific time August 6th.  And then be sure to hop on to the other blogs participating to win more prizes!

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Back to School Blast (Ends 8/14) U.S. #BtBlast

back to school blast

Welcome to the Back To School Blast hosted by This Flourishing Life, Tailor Made Momma, and Generations Of Savings. This event features items for all of your back to school needs. Each blog participating is giving away a prize or prize pack with a minimum value of $25, and the hosts are giving away prize packs with a total value of $1000!

Grand Prize:
This Flourishing Life, Generations Of Savings, and Tailor Made Momma are all hosting the grand prizes on their blogs. They are featuring prizes totaling $1000 in back to school gear for all ages. Head on over to their sites to enter!

As far as I am concerned, nothing says back-to school like peanut butter.  I grew up loving peanut butter and jelly and peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  They were a staple of my diet.  And I cannot say that they still are not a part of diet.  I love peanut butter, but I have found myself drawn to the old-fashioned and all-natural peanut butters as of late.

I was quite privileged awhile back to win a giveaway of Krema peanut butter.  Any time I can win peanut butter, it is a good day.  I was pleased to see that the ingredients were simple: peanuts!  I was so impressed with this peanut butter that I decided to contact the company and tell them about it.  Therefore, I get to now bring this fantastic giveaway to my readers.

Krema is a company that was established back in 1898.  They only use the finest peanuts, and they still make  their peanut butter the old-fashioned way.  They are one of the oldest peanut butter companies in the U.S., and their customers are very loyal (myself included!).  I must try their almond and cashew butter next!

I was sent two kinds of Krema Peanut Butter and two kinds of Crazy Richard Peanut butter.
You can see them featured above. creamy and crunchy in both.  And I absolutely love them!  Crunchy peanut butter has always been a favorite of mine, but their creamy is pretty hard to beat as well.  I have never tasted a peanut butter that tastes so natural.  I love the fact they add no sugar or salt.  And this stuff does not need it.

I can imagine what you might be thinking.  If you know my weight loss journey at all (and what the health nuts say about peanuts and peanut butter), you may think I am crazy for eating peanut butter at all.  After all, it is high in calories and fat.  Guilty as charged.  Just because I said their peanut butter tastes good and has not sugar or salt does not mean you get to take a tablespoon and start eating it out of the container (not that I wouldn't!).  Peanut butter can be a healthy addition to your diet, but you have to make sure you limit your intake of this fabulous product.  At least if you eat this natural peanut butter, you are not putting additional sweeteners and other garbage that you do not need into your body.

When it comes to eating this fantastic peanut butter, I love it on graham crackers, English muffins, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and I will even cook with it.  And just so you know, it is good for hiccups, too.  Not joking.  I heard on the O'Reilly Factor that if you get hiccups, take a spoonful of peanut butter.  I tried it with Krema Peanut butter, and it works!

Well, the good news is that two of my U.S. readers will get two jars of peanut butter.  All you will need to do is fill out the rafflecopter below by 9:00 P.M. Pacific time on August 14, and you are in to win.  And just to fill things up a bit, I will also give those lucky winners a book, CD, or DVD of their choice $10 or under.  This can be  for you, your child, or anyone.  

Best of wishes, and when you are done entering my giveaway, please hop on to the other blogs in the linky so you have the chance to win even more giveaways!

Disclaimer: Please note that the Back To School Blast hosts and participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prize, but we will make every effort to help the winner in obtaining it.

Fall Into Beauty Giveaway Hop--2 winners (Ends 8/18) WW


This Hop is brought to you by Charisma Media Network! Charisma is your go-to for book tours, product giveaways, & great reviews. Visit us at www.charismamedianetwork.com!

Charisma Media is offering a $15 Bath & Body Works Giftcard. Each of the blogs listed on the hop are also offering their own beauty-related prize. If you are a blogger looking for a place to share ideas, participate, and of course, have a little fun while getting support from other bloggers, we hope you'll stop by the website & give us a chance.

Charisma Media Network

I don't know if you have ever heard of the Qstick.  I never had until I happened to try it this year.  I saw it offered on a deal site, and I was able to buy two for the price of one.  I honestly knew nothing about it, but I can tell you about it now.  And by the way, these are not sponsored reviews or anything like that.  The company does not even know I am doing this.

As I have gotten older, I have had more problems with facial hair.  I have begun to grow a "mustache," and my chin hair has gotten coarser and darker.  I have tweezers and an electric shaver, but I found that the area above my lip was too sensitive to pull hair with my tweezers.  I also struggled to see it!

When I read about the Qstick, I was somewhat turned off when it came to threading.  I had read about eyebrow threading, and I was not terribly impressed.  But when students remarked about my "mustache," I knew I had to do something.  So I figured I would give it a try.

I will admit--it hurt at first.  It was easy to use.  You just bend the stick and rub it over the problem areas.  It took a few days for my upper lip to toughen up, but it did.  And now I wouldn't be without it!  It does not work as well on my chin, and you do not use it on your eyebrows, but it works!  When I saw how clean my upper lip was, I knew this was an item I absolutely must use every day.  

So, how did I get the extra ones?  I got two for the price of one, and I tell you, these things don't wear out!  And then I was able to get one for free by following the company on google plus.  I just had to pay a minimal shipping fee.

So, two of my readers will win their very own Qstick.  And I plan to also add a little something extra to this.  Nothing major, just a few samples or something else beauty-related.

This giveaway is open internationally (yes, it is small, so the shipping will be minimal).  So please enter the rafflecopter below by 9 P.M. Pacific time on August 18, and you are entered to win.  And don't forget to hop on to the other blogs for more chances to win!

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Beautiful Feet Global Outreach Giveaway (Ends 8/7) U.S.

Beautiful Feet Global Outreach has a mission that speaks volumes: To minister the love and hope of Christ into the hearts of orphans worldwide by providing basic needs and creating educational platforms from which opportunities abound.

Beautiful Feet Global Outreach, Inc. is a Christian based charitable organization focused on improving the lives of orphans worldwide.

BFGO offers many programs designed to enhance the lives of children who have been orphaned. We would love to tell you about a few:

The adoption grant fund:

BFGO is designing an application that will award an adoption grant once per year to one family in need of financial assistance for the adoption process. The amount of the grant may vary from year to year, depending on the amount in the grant fund. As this fund grows, more grants will be awarded to more families. BFGO believes that adoption should be every child's right and every family's privilege. BFGO is looking forward to celebrating with many families for years to come, and most importantly, BFGO is already praying for them.

Because BFGO has a soft spot for children with Down syndrome, they will always be promoting and advocating for one child (at a time) with Reece's Rainbow, a non-profit which specializes in helping children with special needs find adoptive families. These are the discarded, forgotten children of the world. For their hope, BFGO vows to be a constant voice.

Please consider making a donation to this cause or supporting the efforts of BFGO buy purchasing a lovely, handmade jasper necklace. To see the jewelry available visit BFGO on facebook.

For your chance to win a handmade Jasper necklace, please enbter the rafflecopter below.  This giveaway runs from 8/1 to 8/7 2012.

This giveaway was brought to you by the Sublime Media Connection. The participating bloggers cannot be held responsible for the delivery of this item, as that is the responsibility of the sponsor. If you have any questions regarding the delivery of the prize please email pr@sublimemediaconnection.info.

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Coachilicious Giveaway (ends 8/22) U.S./Canada

Mom Powered Media, connecting companies to consumers the super mom way!

Services offered include (but are not limited to)
What Mom Powered Media Can Do For You
  • Blogger Outreach – Need to get your product in the hands of bloggers to form reviews and reach a new level of consumer views? Let the team at Mom Powered Media ~ gather data, screen applicants, propose review contacts, provide shipping information, links and winner details for you.
  • Reviews – Our team has an open door policy and welcomes all types of reviews. Email teri@mompoweredmedia.com with your interest in submitting a new product for review.
  • Giveaways and Giveaway Events – Reach 10s of thousands of consumers in a single giveaway event.
  • Sponsored Publications
  • Twitter Parties and Social Media Blasts
For the Blogger
  • Review Opportunities – Get on our list of available bloggers and be notified when review opportunities arise.
  • Giveaway Events – Be the first to hear about a big event and get your blog at the top of the list.

Coach Madison Op Art Sateen Handbag

One of Coach's favorite silhouettes, updated in lustrous sateen with an intricate Op Art pattern: tailored on the outside, beautifully organized on the inside. Heritage hardware and our horse-and-carriage logo plaque lend it a classic Coach look, while a slender strap keeps it squarely on the shoulder.
  • Op Art multi print fabric with leather trim
  • Inside multifunction pocket
  • Zip-top closure, fabric lining
  • Handles with 7" drop
  • 9 1/2" (L) x 7 1/2" (H) x 3 1/2" (W)
Big thank you to Mom Powered Media owners: Mom to Bed by 8, Powered By Mom and Real Mom Reviews for organizing this coachlicious fashion event.
As well as our fantastic co-hosting blogs Freebie Spot, There's a Contest for That and Keeping Your Cents.

You know that these bags are something that every fashionable woman wants, so this is something you want to enter, right, ladies?  Imagine having this fashionable new bag the next time you go out, and you can feel good because you got it for free!

Moving On Up Giveaway Event (Ends 8/25) U.S.

Welcome to the "Moving On Up" Housewarming Event hosted by Mizz Review Lady - Mommy Reviews and J's Reviews and Giveaways and Co-hosted by Barbara's BeatMama's MissionSweet Pea Savings, and Andie's Adventures.

Thanks to all of the sponsors for participating in this exciting event and the bloggers that participated!  One lucky winner is going to receive a huge prize pack full of lots of fun stuff for "Moving On Up".  As some of you may know, Mizz Review Lady -Mommy Reviews will soon be moving to a three bedroom and have some really great reviews planned on her blog (Mizz Review Lady - Mommy Reviews),  during the giveaway event, so be sure to visit my blog often!  

PRIZES INCLUDES: Audiovox Portable DVD Player, 2 Smart Silk Pillows, Ozari Desk Fan, Smoky Mountain Candle Company Candle, Toilet Tree 3-in-1 Bamboo Bathroom Accesory Kit, EatSmart Get Fit Body fat Scale, Group Book Photo Book, Jetaime Fragrances 18 oz. Soy Candle (Caramel Cinnamon Latte), Sweet Sally's Thank You Tower, Easy Canvas Prints, Group Book Coffee Table Photo Book, Easy Canvas Prints "8x10" Personalized Canvas, Shoes For Crews(winners choice of any one pair of shoes), Konvine Foldable Flats (winners choice), Affresh Cleaning products(their entire line), and Jody's Popcorn Sample Packs of four fun flavors! The photo above only represents nine out of the fourteen prizes. 

Can I just say "Wow!"?  This is an awesome prize pack, and I know anyone would be blessed to have these prizes.  These prizes are worth over $500!

GIVEAWAY DATES: August 1 - August 25, 2012

RULES: Giveaway open to US residents only, excluding Alaska and Hawaii.  Sponsors are in charge of prize fulfillment and I am in no way responsible. Winner's entries will be verified and if they cannot be confirmed will be counted as void and a new winner will be selected in your place.  The winner will have 72 hours to respond or your prizes will be forfeited and a new winner will be selected in your place, no exceptions!  

*Disclaimer - I have not received any form of compensation for this post or review items. The participating blogs are not responsible if sponsor fails to provide prize. 

Summer Giveaway Hop--2 winners! (8/7) WW

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Summer Giveaway Hop
Co-Hosted by Mary from BookHounds & Forever Young (adult).

It was so funny to realize that these are exactly the same dates as last year.  And last year was such a different time in this blog's life.  I want to thank my wonderful followers.  And you are wonderful followers!  I am going to make this easy--no jumping through hoops.  I still have three other giveaways to post tonight!  

So, this is an international giveaway where at least one person will win a book of choice $15 and under.  If I get 800 entries (it is possible folks!), I will add another winner.

Update--well, guys, you did it!  Over 800 entries.  So now there will be two winners!

Best of wishes.  This giveaway is open from now until August 8 at 9 P.M. Pacific Time.  And when you are done entering the rafflecopter below, don't forget to hop on to the other blogs for even more chances to win books!

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Stockpiling Supplies: What Should I Stockpile? (Guest Post)

Food for the supermarkets

Here is the promised guest post from April.  Be sure to visit her blog via her button below.

Don't you hate it when you go to make something and you are missing one or two ingredients then you have to run to the store or make something else with what you already have.
Wouldn't it be nice to have what you need on hand and not pay full price.
Stockpiling is a great way to save your family money and always have what you need on hand. The best part is you won't pay full price either.
Create a list of the products your family uses on a regular basis. If your family uses a menu look at the past menus and that will help you figure out some of the item you use regularly.
When the items go on sale, use coupons and get the items at great prices. Don't just buy one or two buy three or four of the item. Make sure you keep in mind expiration dates, only buy enough items you can use before it expires. You can always donate to your local food pantry or homeless shelters.
Some great items to stockpile
Home Items  
toilet paper
paper towels
cleaning supplies
canned foods
Personal Items
I'm sure if you have ever watched Extreme Couponing you see the huge stockpiles that take up almost their whole house and you definitely don't have to do that to save money and help your family.
You can start small. If you are on a budget even if you just add $5 to your grocery budget every week just for items you want to stockpile this will still help you a lot in the future.
Once you start to build a stockpile you will start to notice your grocery bill going down and you can even shop out of your own stockpile. You won't need to run to the store at the last minute to get one or two ingredients.
If you want so see some pictures of my stockpile. Here is a post with some pictures of my health and beauty stockpile.
It will take a while to build up a nice stockpile and you will figure out as you go what items your family uses and just start an ongoing list.
Have fun stockpiling and saving your family money.


This Day in History July 31, 1984

1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, Gold Medal, Gymnastics Team

I can still remember this date.  In fact, they were just talking about this last night on the Olympics coverage.  The last time the USA men's gymnastics team won gold was on this date in 1984.  It was the Olympics that was held in Los Angeles (I remember thinking it was strange that the Olympics were held in the U.S.--I thought they only held the Olympics in other countries!).  I thought it was the normal thing for the men's gymnastic team to win gold!  I actually thought we were the best in the gymnastics--period.  After all, I had watched and fallen in love with Mary Lou Renton.

Until I was reading about this, I had forgotten that the Soviet Union boycotted this Olympics (since the U.S. had boycotted the 1980 Moscow Games).  This was the first time in history that the U.S. men's gymnastics team had won gold.  The team was comprised of Tim Daggett, Bart Connor, Mitch Gaylord, James Hartung, Scott Johnson and Peter Vidmar.

For more information, please check out:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sublime Media Connection: Getting To Know You Campaign

I have a really special project with one of my groups/blogs called Getting to Know You.  It is in conjunction with Sublime Media Connection (I post on that blog once a week--The Review Spotlight).  We were assigned another blogger to interview, and feature, and this is who was chosen for me:
April and her family

Her blog is Saving For My Family.  She will doing a guest post here some time in the near future.  I will post our "interview" here, and I will also post her blog button.  Be sure you go over and visit her!  She is a great lady and blogger.

Please tell me about your family.

My husband is an actuary at an insurance company here in Cedar Rapids,Iowa. My daughter Alba is 2 and is so adorable and cuddly. My son Adam is 5  and is starting Kindergarten next month. He is so smart and full of energy. I have been a stay at home mom for 4 years but before that worked at an insurance company for 10 years. I have an associates degree in Office Administration.

Why did you begin blogging, and how long have you been blogging?  What are your blogging goals?

I started my blog because I started couponing and was saving a lot of money and was posting all of the deals to my personal page on facebook and my friends told me I should really teach other people how to coupon and at that time I was following some coupon blogs already. So that is where I got the idea of starting a blog. I have been blogging for about 3 years. My blogging goals are to post daily and to help my readers save their family money.

Do you consider yourself religious?  If so, please share.  If not, share any feeling you have regarding religion. 

I am a Christian. I grew up going to church. My husband is a pastor's son he grew up going to a Baptist church. So we go a Baptist church here in Cedar Rapids.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

When I was growing up I wanted to be a cosmetologist because I loved makeup and hair. For a little while I wanted to be a teacher.

If money were no object, what would you do or where would you go?

If money were no object I would live in Hawaii it is the most beautiful place I have ever been to but it is very expensive to live there. We went there on our honeymoon and I loved it there.

What is your favorite food? movie? song? singer? color? TV show?
My favorite food is italian food I love pizza and chicken parmasean. My favorite movie, that is hard I absolutely love 80's movies. I would say Footloose and Say Anything. My favorite song is by Peter Gabriel In Your Eyes it was in the movie Say Anything. My favorite color is brown. My favorite TV show is Young and the Restless I never miss it if I am not home I record it. I have watched it for so long I don't remember not watching it.

If you could have dinner with three people living or dead, who would you choose and why? 

I have never thought of who I would eat dinner with alive or dead. That is a really good question. I would say my Grandma and uncle because they have been gone for so long and I miss them so much. I could catch up with them and tell them everything going on in my life.
Tell me one thing that most people don't know about you.

I like to be by myself and read books. It relaxes me so much.

Any pets?

I have an 11 year old Siamese cat named Tigger.

Where do live, and what are the three top places one must visit if we ever go to where you live?

I live in Cedar Rapids,Iowa. There isnt much to do here at all. I love to shop a lot so I would say Williamsburg Outlet Mall, Amanas, and Coralville Mall.


And while you're at it, be sure to go over and check out where I was interviewed!  

Blog Tour: "American Spaz The Novel" by Greg Kieser Book Review

"American Spaz The Novel" is a coming-of-age story with girls and love and death - fists and knives and guns. After going through double tragedies as a child Henry Kreiser grows into a teenager he does not want to be. 

It starts in 1978 in a suburb of Philadelphia and continues on the farms of a rural boarding school for disadvantaged children. It ends on the tough streets of Trenton, New Jersey in 1988. American Spaz is auto-biographical fiction by Greg Kieser and chronicles a decade of his life - from 7 to 17 years old - during which time he lost both parents, moved from place to place, and did whatever he needed to do to survive. As the youngest of six children he had many opportunities, during that decade, to rely on, and sometimes reject, the love of family. 
A newspaper article about Kieser's late father speaks to "The Truth" behind the fiction. And, in the short film "How I Became a Spaz (and you can too)" Kieser himself attempts to explain his unique approach to achieving social and financial success, while summarizing the steps others can take. An interview with the author further allows him to elaborate on these subjects and share his outlook on storytelling. All three - the article, the film and the interview - can be found at americanspaz.com

Buy Links:

He tossed and turned throughout the night. Doors opened and closed several times in the adjacent rooms. He was half awake when he sensed somebody watching. He sat up in bed and looked to the hallway where he saw a teenage black girl in a white tube dress with a fat, white man in slacks and a button down shirt. The odd couple moved down the hallway before Henry could make sense of anything. He fell back asleep. A bit later, he woke to the sound of grunting and moaning—the fat man. There was a steady pounding on a wall. The noises crescendoed and then stopped suddenly.
“Get off me,” he heard the girl demand.
Doors opened and closed again. Then a sweet smell of burning rubber reached Henry’s nose. He slept again. Henry slept for no more than an hour when a truck moving on the street outside woke him. He popped up. His head spun and his mouth and throat were parched and scratchy. Out in the hallway he snuck down to the next room, where the door was ajar. He saw the girl sprawled across the bed, with the tube dress bunched around her waist. She was fully exposed from the waist down except for one knee which had a sheet lying across it. A makeshift pipe of tinfoil lay on the floor next to a lighter. Henry pulled the door shut and went downstairs. Willy was asleep on the mattress in the middle room when Henry snuck past and escaped out the back door.
The sunrise was just arriving and a dawn breeze blew trash around a wild patch of grass in a broken sidewalk. He walked from Tyler Street down to the train station. Inside, working men in blue shirts drank coffee and watched the arrivals and departures board—rushing off for a train when Henry arrived. He went to the bathroom and washed his face. He took his bandanna off and tucked the gold chain into his shirt.
Outside of the station he stood at a railing, looking into a wooded area that sat between the railroad tracks and a row of homes. He was tired and nervous and the sound of a car passing on the road nearby startled him. How could I ever?, he thought. How could I ever be a father? He saw a path into the wooded area strewn with beer bottles and trash. Again, a car driving on the road nearby startled him, so he jumped over the railing, onto the path and into the woods. It was cool, damp and dark on the path. A train passed on the tracks nearby—its brakes scraping and hissing. Then something, or someone, moved suddenly in the underbrush, so Henry ran away quickly. He emerged from the wooded area onto Greenwood Avenue, and then passed in front of the huge, empty Trenton Central High School. The roads were filling up with cars and trucks. When he got onto Hamilton Avenue his pace increased. He went directly to Esther’s house.
Henry pulled his keys out and was about to enter the apartment, when he heard somebody call him from a block away. He saw Willy running up the street. “Kreiser! Where you goin’?”
“I’m goin’ in to talk to my girl!”
“What!?” Willy arrived quickly.
“You heard me.”
Willy shoved Henry back from the door. “You told me you was gonna take me to the west side.”
“No I didn’t!” Henry motioned as if he was going to shove Willy back but he stopped, and instead he searched through his keys and approached the door again.
Willy grabbed Henry’s arm and pulled him violently away. “Let’s go Kreiser. Don’t let your brotha down right now. I need to get over there in thirty minutes or I’m fucked. They waitin’ on me.”
Henry shook off Willy’s tight grip. “Willy! Would you stop this fuckin’ shit?”
Willy stood back.
 Henry approached him. “I told you,” he said with a hushed tone. “I don’t want to have anything to do with it.”
“But, Kreiser, you said you would take me. Now, I’m gonna lose a major opportunity.”
“When did I say I would take you?”
“Last night, when you started drinkin’ the rum.”
Henry thought to himself for a moment. “I said I would take you?”
“Yeah man. And I depended on you. I would have taken another ride over there.”
“I always feel like you’re trying to manipulate me Willy.”
“Well, you’re wrong about that, man. I just wanted to give you an opportunity. You make your own fuckin’ decisions. Right? And last night you made your own decision when you told me you would take me over there. So, I canceled the other ride I had setup. Now you gotta take me. It’s the only right thing to do.”
Henry let out a long sigh.
“Come on.” Willy knocked his shoulder into Henry’s. “You’ll be back before Esther even wakes up.”
Henry searched his eyes. “What do I gotta do?”
“Just take me to the west side. I run in and make the pick-up and we leave. You ain’t even gonna be there when the deal goes down. Then I give you two hundred dollars.”
Henry shrugged and shook his head. They approached his car and got in.

 About the author

GREG KIESER was born in Langhorne, Pennsylvania in 1970. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York and works with the Robin Hood Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting poverty in NY. AMERICAN SPAZ THE NOVEL, his first published work, is auto-biographical fiction and chronicles a decade of his life - from 7 to 17 years old - during which time he lost both parents, moved from place to place, and did whatever he needed to do to survive.  As the youngest of six children he had many opportunities, during that decade, to rely on, and sometimes reject, the love of family.

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Send a Flying Card Review

All right, is there anyone out there who still sends regular cards through the mail?  Just wondering.  I have to admit that most of the time, I do not.  And when I do, I often figure it will be a waste of time.  After all, they will read it and just throw it away.  You might get an acknowledgement, or you might not.  It seems like a waste of time.

What if I told you that you could send a card that would be completely memorable?  They would not throw it away, and they could even "play" with the card.  I am talking about none other than Send a Flying Card.  Imagine sending a card that "flies" to the recipient with a very special customized message.

If you look at the picture of the card at the top of the post, you will notice that they customized it with my logo.  How nice to have a flying disc with my logo!  I like the fact that they put it on a gold disc.  I haven't let my daughter or dog play with this yet--too neat!  This one of those things that I would like to keep for a while.

You might wonder how a company like this got started.  It is a family-owned business whose headquarters are in New York.  As I read the story of the beginning of their company, I found myself smiling.  Imagine buying a plastic flying disc and asking in the post office if it could be sent like that (without a box or packaging).  And the response was a somewhat reluctant affirmative.

So the next time you have any kind of special event (or no event at all), check out Send a Flying Card.  And be sure to follow them on facebook, twitter, youtube, and pinterest.

I received the above products through Sublime Media Connection in exchange for an honest review. In no way was I asked to give a positive review.

K5 Learning Review

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to tell you about a wonderful online children's program called K5 Learning.  It is an online software program created in 2010 for students in grades K through 5.  It was developed by parents to challenge students in the areas of reading and math when outside of school.  And I love the fact that this company is targeting parents rather than schools with educational software.  I am a teacher, after all, and I know that while good learning is indeed done at school, learning must be reinforced and often extended at home.

Since it is the summer now, my daughter is practically living on the computer.  When I introduced this program to her, I thought she might be resistant.  After all, it was asking her to do schoolwork during summer.  She jumped in and had so much fun.  She has been spending most of her time on the really easy lessons, and she has done quite well.  Her favorite part, she says, is that once you have worked through a certain amount of lessons, you get to play a game or watch a short online video.

My daughter is going into the fourth grade, and she is on a pretty high level when it comes to reading.  In fact, she is past the levels that are covered in this software. For math, she is right on as far as grade level goes.  The company contacted me to help me customize my daughter's lessons, and I was pleased with our interactions.  The representative I contacted has a child just like mine, so she was very familiar with how to structure the lessons.  I was glad that she told me that K5 learning would soon be adding Grade 6 to the lessons--that is really good news!

I absolutely love the Parent Dashboard section.

This is where I have been spending my time.  I can see what lessons she has done, and I can add spelling words!  I had a lot of fun doing this.  Martha won her spelling bee this past school year, and I just added some words to her list.  I went through and assigned her some math and reading.  She struggles with reading comprehension, and I was glad to see many lessons based around that.  Math was pretty straightforward since she is basically on target.

The thing that really impressed me about this was when my daughter came to me and asked to get on K5 Learning!  She doesn't ever ask to play educational games, so I was pretty happy.  I get tired of her mindless game-playing online.  And I don't want her to lose what she has learned through the school year.

Another thing you,as the parent, can do is request an assessment.  I have just gotten to a point where I requested one for my daughter.  So I am awaiting that now, but I think it will push my daughter on to where she needs to be.

Still not ready to sign up?  With K5 Learning, they give you a free 2-week trial.  There is no obligation, so I highly suggest you check that out.  You may find something that you and your child just cannot live without!

Be sure to keep up with K5 learning on facebook and twitter.

And be sure to check out what other reviewers in my group had to say:

As a member of Karma Media I received this product from (insert company name) in hopes of obtaining a review. All opinions are my own.

Book Tour: "The Green" by Karly Kirkpatrick Book Review/Giveaway (ends 8/25) WW


TITLE: The Green
AUTHOR: Karly Kirkpatrick
GENRE: Young Adult

Book Description:

How far would you go to save your dream?

Seventeen-year-old Ariceli Pisa is a senior at the prestigious Cambridge High School and has her sights set on Northwestern University. She's a cheerleader, a member of the National Honor Society...and a drug dealer. That's not the only secret she has to keep from her best friend Naomi--she’s also madly in love with Naomi’s ex-boyfriend, James Bartlett. Trying to balance her life at Cambridge High with her new demanding job keeps her teetering on the edge of disaster.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Until I reached the end of this book, I was quite willing to give it a rating of a four, but I have to admit that the ending disturbed me in some ways.  I will get to that momentarily.  Let me speak of the positives first.

I was very pleased with the fact that Ari was a "poor" Latino student who was trying to make something of herself.  She was an "A" student, a cheerleader, and she had applied to a prestigious university.  She even had a hot boyfriend.

Unfortunately, Ari turned to the "dark side" to try to get some extra money for her mom and for things she needed.  Her brother had gotten involved in drugs, and Ari felt she had no other alternatives but to become a drug dealer.  It was fast, easy money, and she was able to cover her tracks fairly easily.  No one knew.

On New Year's Eve, everything changed.  I won't give away the details, but this is the part of the book when things really picked up for me.  I knew that Ari was going to have to face the music pretty soon.  And, yes, there were a couple bad things that happened to her and to her family.  And Ari finally made some good decisions.

I did grow tired of the profanity in the book, but it was not as rampant as other books I had read.  Thankfully, there were no bedroom scenes.  All these were things that did not impact the story much--just side notes.

The reason I decided to give this a rating of a three (even though the book was expertly written and the story was gripping) was that the ending left me feeling hollow.  I know we all like happy endings, but I feel that an opportunity to give an important message to teens about drug use and drug dealing was missed.  I am grateful that Ari finally made the right decision (and I never was involved in the drug scene, but I have seen firsthand what it can do), but I think there should have been some stronger consequences for Ari.  It seems that everything happened in such a good way for her, and I think that gives the wrong message to teens.  It is not easy to get out of the drug culture, and I believe there are lasting consequences even when one can go on and accomplish great things in life.  This was what bothered me most about the book.  I think something could have even been stated like that in the epilogue, but it was not either.  Again, this is just my opinion, but I probably have a view that is different than a lot of people when it comes to young adult books.

While I would recommend this book for the most part, I believe that this book's themes do need to be discussed on various levels in order to make this a read that will impact teens in the right way.  I am grateful that at least Ari made the right decision even though the decision appeared to be too easy for her.  And she did have to suffer, so maybe that in itself is enough to get the message across.

I was sent 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

About the Author:

I've loved books as long as I can remember and I've been writing silly things (like notes, letters, diary entries, lame teen-angsty poems and a ga-gillion story ideas) since I learned to use a pencil.  I decided one fine summer day that maybe I should give one of my many story ideas a chance.  I wrote my first YA novel in 2007-2008 and have since added a picture book, screenplay for a short film, more YA novels, and a plethora of flash fiction (short stories).

I recently attended DePaul University and took grad classes in Writing and Publishing. I'll be starting screenwriting classes at the UCLA Extension Writer's Program this summer. I'm also a member of DarkSide and the Indelibles. I teach German and French at a high school or two in the suburbs of Chicago when I'm not writing. A lot of my characters come straight out of my everyday life. I live with my awesome teacher/law student husband, amazing daughter, and two occasionally stinky Shih Tzus in beautiful Elgin, Illinois.

Check out her blog, follow her on facebook, and check her out on twitter.

I am hosting an e-book giveaway of this book, and it will end on August 25 at 9:00 P.M. Pacific time.  Because it is an e-book, it is open worldwide.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was sent a copy of this book in conjunction with Charisma Media Network, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.  I was not financially compensated.

Let Your Kids Learn Something Valuable This Summer--Guest Post

money and savings

It is very important that you teach your teen how to manage their money. This is their age to learn to be responsible with finances because this is what they will practice for the rest of their lives when it comes to money management. As a parent, it is your duty to teach them and this summer is probably the best time to do so. Did you ask “why summer”? Well, summer is the time when many teenagers get part-time jobs doing odd jobs and get paid for it. With so many jobs around the corner, summer is probably the best time that you can pick to teach your kids the value of money.

How to teach kids the importance of money

Handling money does not have to be grave and dull. You could think of various ways to teach kids the value of money without stressing them out too much.Let us take a look at the various ways by which your kids can learn how to manage their money and secure their future when it is the time:

  1. Let them have fun: Imagine how bored you were when you were lectured into something although it was a valuable lesson. You do not have to do the same thing with your teenagers. You could be an innovative parent and make learning fun. Teaching them about money management must help them realize that they will have the finances to support their summertime fun activities. Engage their attention instead of distracting them by being boring. You could search online for different fun ways to teach your teenage kids without stressing them out.
  2. Be ready for celebrations: By developing different methods you could help your teens in saving some money. Give them short goals to achieve and when they do achieve those goals do not forget a little celebration for the success that they have made. This will not only make them feel good about themselves but will also inspire them to achieve financial goals in the future. Find out what they would really appreciate if they achieve their financial goals and make sure they get it.
  3. Teach them about free entertainment: Remember the times when you were kids and when there were no gizmos or gadgets but you still had a lot of fun? Yes, teach your kids that they can still have fun even when they are not paying money for expensive video games or playing online on their computers all the time. Again, if they have to play games online make them pay for it and chances are that they may like to make different choices.
  4. Being generous: This could be a very important lesson for your teenagers. Earning money for themselves and spending it only on themselves is something different. Teach your kids to show signs of generosity and this will surely teach them to be simple and responsible too.
  5. Create a savings account: Help them create a savings account and teach them to strictly set aside some money in their account no matter what. This will not only teach them to be financially responsible but will also help them make important life decisions. Explain to them how interests work and how they could impact their money.
  6. Cash management: Kids may not be ready to use credit cards yet and hence you must teach them to manage finances using cash alone. Using cash will teach them management but credit will not. They may lose control on their finances if they are made to handle credit.
  7. Budget for them: Make them get on a budget to make them control their spending habits.

Short Description: Teenagers are young and can be taught the value of money because their minds are receptive. Easyfinance.com will help you create financial awareness.

Author’s bio: Jonny is a financial writer, whose articles on teenage finance management topics have helped several parents as well as teenagers become aware of financial responsibilities.

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