Monday, August 31, 2015

FineNaturals Cocoa Powder

** I received a discounted product in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own. **

I am a chocoholic and a hardcore foodie so, when this opportunity popped up to review FineNaturals Cocoa Powder, I applied and crossed my fingers! I use a lot of chocolate in recipes and since I live right by Hershey, PA, I have always opted for Hershey products when it came to baking. (and candy of course!)

We are fairly organic, all natural, green living, etc etc, at our house, so the first pro about this product was that is is organic and unprocessed. I also like the price. A little goes a long way and when I realized this, I started figuring out the math in my head. It actually saves me money to purchase this brand as compared to other brands, It is a full pound bag which will last me a few months. Even when used for cleansing grains, chocolate mousse, brownies, cookies and anything else we can mix up!

Cocoa is very good for your skin (and your belly!) I make whipped body butters with cocoa as well as facial creams and cleansing grains. I made a batch of body butter with cocoa butter and Finenaturals Cocoa Powder and a cleansing grain meant to help fight puffiness. Cocoa is rich in antioxidants and can help slow down the aging process.

I am very pleased with this ingredient in my personal homemade skin care and body products and for products I make for friends and family. (I am including a cleansing grain recipe if you would like to try it out! )

I am also delighted with the rich, smooth, gourmet taste! I make a quick and easy chocolate mousse, (just because we love mousse so much.) and it tastes like I bought the fanciest, most expensive, mousse around! Really, I just add 1 cup of whipping cream, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 1/4 cup of FineNaturals cocoa powder and 1 tsp of vanilla extract and beat until desired consistency. YUM!!

I won't be changing back to my regular cocoa powder so, I will be back to buy more when I'm low! 

To make some fabulous cleansing grains, 100% natural, just blend the following ingredients together and place in a metal tin or glass jar and mix some with distilled water, yogurt, fruit juice or whatever your heart desires! Organic coffee, organic cocoa powder, goats mlk, bentonite clay, grapefrut oil and cornsilk. (It feels and smells scrumptious!)

Snuggle Bear's Summer Adventures

** We received a Snuggle Bear in return for our post and social media shares. (and for taking Snuggle Bear on a few fun adventures this summer!) **

Deegan, (our youngest) was just the happiest boy in the world the day that Snuggle Bear arrived! He immediately claimed him as his own and decided that he would never let him go. I couldn't say no to the cutie pies. Even his sister and brother were ok with it! We couldn't say no to those big dimples and the little bottom lip face.

I am a member of the Snuggle Bear Den and one of our missions was to have a #SnuggleSummer and document some summer fun with the famous Snuggle Bear himself! We haven't gone on vacation just yet but, we will be going to Cedar Point next month for Bloggy Con 15 and Snuggle will be right there with us. I don't think he is tall enough for any of the roller coasters, so, he will probably have to stick with the kiddie rides.

Since we stayed at home and had some outdoor activities and day trips, Deegan and his bff came along, everywhere we went. (It's at the point when I need to buy a few of these just in case he gets lost. I can't begin to imagine the tears so, I must have backup!)

We made sure Snuggle Bear was safe during rides in the truck. He fits right in with Deegan in his booster seat. Safety first! He had a lot of fun going to eat pizza, shopping at the mall, playing in the park, he even went for ice cream.

Most of his days have been spent having some cereal for breakfast, watching a few cartoons and then it's off into the yard for some army guy adventures!

He is a good partner and even has his own camo gloves that Deegan's big sister made for him. That way, he can match his best friend, Deegan, when they are trying to hide from the enemy. (The enemy is usually Deegan's brother and sister and sometimes our dogs!) 

After they play for an hour or 4, it's time to head inside to play Legos, Lincoln Logs, have some snacks, (Snuggle loves homemade fruit roll ups, homemade granola bars, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch without milk.) 

Since Deegan and Snuggle are a little bit to big to take naps, they just sit down and have quiet time for about 30 minutes and read some books. After that quick resting time, they are both full of energy and ready for another round of Call of Duty, cops, or army guys and then dinner. 

Princess Genevive even found a cute little pj set for Snuggle to wear to bed and he also loves to play with his friend, Stripey the Lion, Deegan's Necknapperz pal. See how happy the best friend crew is? 

This is the look (looks) we get when we ask, "Do you guys want to go for ice cream?" or "Get some shoes on! Daddy is taking you to the park!" 
2 HUGE smiles :)

After a long, hard day playing, reading, eating, playing some more, watching Tom and Jerry, (Snuggle Bear and Deegan think this is the most hilarious show! I have to record every episode for them,), making new friends, having a fun trip to the park, and eating some more, it's time for bedtime! (I know, you would think they would look a little more exhausted, right?) 

I am on my way to order a few backups because I keep having nightmares about the day that we can't find Snuggle. I hope this doesn't happen but if it does, I will never be able to break this little boy's heart. 

Did you have a Snuggle Bear when you were a kid? Where was your favorite place to take him? 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Azure naturals Review AND Win Your Own Set

** I received free products in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own. **

I am a total all natural junkie, green living, organic food, all natural beauty product addict, so when this opportunity popped up to review this brand's all natural skin care line, I jumped right at it. Yes please!! I am always on the lookout for new skin care products, body care, make up, anything that will help me or my kids or pre teen with healthier skin care.

I was anxious to try this cleanser after reading all of the good reviews and the ingredients, so as soon as my package arrived, I tore the box open and immediately started opening everything so I could check consistency and scent. This was the first product I opened and tried, naturally, since it's the cleanser and we all know, this is your first step in the whole process! I think the scent is just lovely but could possibly be slightly overpowering for those who prefer a much lighter scent or even unscented. It is not lingering however and it does not smell fake, full of alcohol or anything icky. Just a very nice, fresh, clean scent. The lavender is what will hit your senses first and although that isn't one of my favorite scents, I know some absolutely love it. Plus, lavender is exceptionally good for your skin in many ways. (The fact that you can smell the lavender and it smells real and like true lavender, tells me that this brand uses pure oils and pure ingredients!)

Rosemary, aloe, grapefruit seed, lavender, calendula, all of it is in this bottle and then some. I am happy with all of the ingredients and think they are all the ingredients needed to create a top notch cleanser! The ingredient list also tells me that this cleanser would be great for all skin types and help with skin conditions ranging from acne prone to aging to dark spots to dullness and roughness. So, that also added to my 4 star review.

Why then did I make this a 4 star review? I love suds and lather and I do realize that maybe not everybody does. (Which is why I am explaining my 4 star review here!) This could be somebody's 5 star review. Now, it does lather but, it isn't as much as I would have liked it to be or would have expected it to be. It does make my skin feel clean but I do think that if there were more suds, it would possibly feel cleaner.

I did not break out or have any adverse affects from this cleanser and I did have noticeably softer skin, immediately after the first use. Alone, I can't tell you if it would help with any skin concerns, since I did use this product with 3 other Azure naturals products and together, they are superb! While they may not be my all time favorite, they sure are on my list to replenish when I am close to being out.

Before I go further, here is some text I copied and pasted from Azure Naturals on Amazon. Just to give you a better idea :
OCEAN MINERALS WORK! When properly layered, all Azure Naturals products are specially formulated to maximize the anti-aging benefits of one another. Age spots diminish, blemished fade, fine line fill in, collagen is boosted, and your skin glows. Plus anti-radiation properties found in these seaweeds protect skin from daily and long term sun damage and aging.
HOW DOES IT WORK? The secret is the Phytochemicals, Polysaccharides and Bioavailable oceanic minerals and micro minerals working together to activate enzyme promoting skin cell repair & renewal and encourage collagen production to restore firmness & elasticity to help prevent premature aging of skin, giving you repaired, nourished and more youthful looking skin. Azure Naturals ocean mineral skin care is a truly restorative skin care line for all skin types.
HOW DO YOU RECEIVE OPTIMAL RESULTS? Start using products with anti-aging benefits in your late twenties or early thirties. Use this wonderful deep hydration seaweed mask daily to enjoy its gentle, deep cleansing benefits for a more even skin tone and smoother complexion.
BUY WITH CONFIDENCE! Our 100% natural seaweed is sustainably, ocean-friendly harvested. Made in the USA With The Highest Quality Natural and Organic Ingredients Available: free of additives, fillers or any other unnecessary ingredients. Cruelty Free and Never Tested On Animals! ONE YEAR MONEY BACK GUARANTEE: We are so confident that we have created the best Natural and Organic skin care products available we back all of our products by a 365-day, 100% Hassle-Free, Money Back Guarantee. If you don't absolutely love any of our products we will give you a full refund, including shipping as long as you purchase from Azure Naturals!
** end of copied text. **

I must say, when I layer all 4 of their products that I received, it really feels like a refreshing, expensive, spa experience. I am all for pampering myself and wish I had more time to do so. I also am very content with how soft my skin is since using these products. While I may not have had any massive changes just yet, to be fair, I have only been using this line for about 4 weeks. Have I noticed a change in fine lines, uneven skin tone, smaller pores? No. But, I do see an improvement in brightness and healthier looking skin. That's enough for me to say that I recommend this line for anybody who wants to escape and can't spend the money or the time at a luxurious spa resort.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wild Oats Virtual Meetup #AffordableOrganics

** I received compensation in return for sharing, promoting and helping to manage this Wild Oats Virtual Meetup Group **

I'm sure most of you are familiar with one of the newer organic kids on the block, Wild Oats. If you aren't, it's time to meet them and learn everything you always wanted to know about organic food. Oh, I almost forgot the best part! AFFORDABLE organic food!

You can find Wild Oats in Walmart stores near you.

Wild Oats has a list of banned ingredients so you know that every effort is made to develop products with the shortest and most simple ingredients for our families. What's not to like?

Everything from applesauce to dressings to granola bars to pasta to frozen fruits and vegetables and everything in between can be organic and CAN be affordable!

#AffordableOrganics Now is your chance to chat with Wild Oats and ask them any questions you would like! Remember to share your favorite Wild Oats products and why affordable organics are important to you. Tweet 5 questions this week, tag @wildoats and hashtag #affordableorganics and you will be eligible to win a Wild oats prize pack! (Prize value $50)

There will be 2 winners at the end of the week. That's right! A week long Twitter party with 2 lucky winners! RSVP by adding your Twitter handle in the linky below. (Type your Twitter handle in the name space and the url to your Twitter profile in the link space.) Follow @wildoats and don't forget to use the hashtag #affordableorganics. The most active Virtual Meetup members in the group will win! Wild Oats would love to hear your stories and will be there all week to chat so think of your best questions and Tweet! If you need help through the week, please ask! I will be on Twitter most of the week and will be available if you need help with RSVP's and to ask Wild oats my own 5 questions! You can find me and Tweet me @busymommylist

If you haven't already entered the #WildOats4SchoolContest, you still have a little time. But, hurry and share your best Wild Oats back to school recipe ideas, after school snacks, whatever you create using Wild Oats products for back to school and you could be one of 3 lucky winners.
3 winners will receive a $100 Walmart gift card and $100 worth of Wild Oats products!
If you haven't already entered your most creative, back to school photo, enter here! 

You can also find Wild Oats on Facebook
Google +
and on Twitter!

The Newest And Cutest Product From Hylands

** I received a free product in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own. **

We're a Hylands family, so, naturally, we are head over heels in love with their new product! Hylands 4 Kids Bumps 'n Bruises with Arnica  is for kids, ages 2-12 but, since I bruise easily and have issues with my legs, thanks to RSD, I have been using this for myself. (So, I would add at least to age 41!)

You can find these handy, push up, ointment tubes exclusively at Target in the first aid section. Since it is part of the Target Made To Matter collection.

Hylands Bumps 'n Bruises is free of PABA, synthetic preservatives, fragrances, parabens, and dyes. It also comes in a tube made of paperboard that is 90% recycled. My kids giggle non stop when we have to pull out their "make everything better fast" sticks, thanks to the goofy Splat!  faces on the tube. This is an added bonus for moms and dads since it is much easier to apply on a happy, giggly kid.

Hylands makes everything just a bit better to work with and they definitely outdid themselves with this product! My 5 year old and my 8 year old use their ointment sticks all by themselves sometimes! I almost wonder if my 8 year old daughter pretends she has a red spot on her arm or leg every couple of days, just so she can use Bumps 'n Bruises....

She is extra smiley here but her tiny scratch is visible so I know she actually needed it this time :) She actually had a fair sized red scratch, a few of them really. From what? We aren't so sure. Just one of those things that happens when she is outside with her brothers, playing soccer, army or jumping on the trampoline. So, she used her Splat! stick a few times and instantly said she wasn't more. Not to mention, the visible scrapes weren't very visible after the first application. (I think she rubbed it a little and made it look slightly red since she said it itched.) Which brings me to the next part we love! These "make everything better fast" sticks seem to take away the itching away. For Genevive, this is a big help because she is a scratchy kid and she has very sensitive skin. (She takes after her mommy.) We always have cortisone cream for her and I, but since we have had these nifty ointment sticks, the cortisone cream has been used much less.

Hylands Bumps 'n Bruises is formulated with Arnica Montana, which is the #1 homeopathic remedy for bruising and swelling. I do wish they sold this in a vat because my ankles, feet and legs get so swelled up, especially at night and in the mornings. But, I did notice that we have a lot less swelling when it comes to spider bites, mosquito bites, and whatever other critters are chewing on us at night. (Again, Genevive and I are the ones who get eaten alive!)

If your kids are always out and about and getting skinned knees, bitten by every bug known to man, getting scratches, skinned knees, stubbing toes, bumps, and bruises, grab a coupon for Hylands Bumps 'n Bruises with Arnica here!

I would love to know what you think so, please stop back or tweet me, and let me know if you tried this product and what you thought! (I promise, your kids will be so busy smiling and laughing at the fun Splat! character, applying the ointment is a breeze!) 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Don't Throw My Diamond In The Lava! (And All Of This Fun Minecraft Stuff)

I don't know about you but, my kids are totally obsessed with Minecraft. I admit, it's a clever game and I love how they seem to be learning survival skills, life skills and how to escape this Hero Brian or Herobrine or Endermen or whatever in the world they are called. Either way, I am shocked at some of the things my children seemed to have learned from this game and I think this generation of Minecraft kids will end up showing us how they are able to get through anything. Well, almost anything.

As I am sitting here right now, typing this post, I am on the edge of my seat, just waiting, wondering when the next shriek will come out of one of their mouths. It gives me shivers just thinking about it! Yes, I allow my kids to play video games. No, they aren't on 24/7. Yes, we limit their time. I admit, there are times when I need a break. Just 30 minutes or so. Just to grab a quick shower or prepare dinner, even hide in the bathroom. Yes, I sometimes let the play even when they didn't necessarily earn game time. Why? Because I'm a mom who needs peace and quiet and I know it's nice to think of all of the perfect houses, with the perfect moms who do nothing but entertain their children and play with them for 12 hours straight and make sure to cook everything from scratch and take them with them, everywhere they go.

But, we aren't like this in the real world. I bake and cook from scratch most every evening. (Or night. It depends on how busy we were with soccer or hockey or band or just regular everyday stuff.) I don't go overboard for lunches and the warmest breakfast I will ever cook is a Pop Tart. Ok, maybe some oatmeal. I just am not a morning person. Not only because of my RSD or any other health issue, but because I hate, absolutely hate to wake up early. (and then comes the need to refill my veins with coffee.)

"MOM! MOM! I just fought the Ender Dragon!" HUH?

We do fun things with our kids, we have craft nights, baking nights, sleepovers, play outside but, guess what? I will tell my kids, "Ok kiddos! Why don't you go play a game for a bit so mommy can get a few things done" This is often followed by, "HOORAY!" and other yelps and screeches and giggles. Plus, a huge sigh of relief from me. Knowing I will now have time to do whatever it is I need to do. Relaxation!


OMG! I can't take it anymore! All I hear is constant bickering and something about Endermen (sp?) and Herobrine and one kid is freaking out over the youngest one because he keeps making to many signs and eats raw pork chops and OH MY GOD! As if it isn't enough for the bickering outside of the game, but now, I have to break up fights inside of a video game??

My children learn a lot from this game and I promise you, if they are ever thrown into a land that is made up of dots and just given a pickaxe and a few animals, they will get through. They will proceed to build a new village and a new house and figure out how to adjust to their new lives. So will your children. Is it silly of me to say such things all because of a video game? Maybe. But, I watched my 5 year old, (then 4), figure out which animals to save, how many of each, count 36 sticks, build a house for himself, a safe place for the animals he found and collected, and figure out how things work on a computer, a game console and in Minecraft land.

But what about when his brother and sister are in school and he decides to destroy their houses, steal their belongings, mainly their food and diamonds, and when they get home from school, everything they worked so hard for is gone? I don't know but, they all do it to each other at times and at other times, they work very hard together to build a giant village with houses all around the perimeter and they take care of each other's animals and work as a team. (I have no idea what happens between there and the time they decide to throw each other's diamonds in the lava!)

Every time they start yelling and arguing, it's time to turn it off and guess what they do next? They go outside and play "real life Minecraft". It's fascinating to watch yet somewhat creepy. But, their vocabulary has grown and their survival skills are far more brilliant than what I might do if I was dropped off in the middle of a bunch of dots and just thrown a few things every so often.

So, for now, I think I will deal with all of the craziness. I really wouldn't mind playing Minecraft myself but, there is no time. Plus, if I start, it will be to addicting so, I better steer clear! As long as time is limited, children are supervised, you are there to answer questions, help with debates, be the judge and jury, and get them out the door on a daily basis, I think it's just fine.

What do you think about Minecraft? Do your kids play? Please tell me I'm not the only mom who has to break up these screaming battles inside an actual video game?

Lost In My Mind Book Review

** I received a copy of this book in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own. **

Some people are afraid of spiders, some have a fear of heights, even roller coasters. Now, I don't care for spiders, especially since they seem to think I am quite delicious! I don't mind heights and I have a serious addiction to roller coasters. My biggest fears has always been anything related to brain injuries, head injuries, TBI, and amnesia. Usually that one of my children are involved, sometimes myself, but, either way, it has become something that eats at me and causes more trouble than anything. (Imagine being one of my kids and falling or bumping your head or even thinking about skipping steps!)

I think this goes back to a movie I watched once about a girl in the 1800's who fell down the steps and suffered from a serious brain injury. She started to hear voices and had multiple personalities and she wasn't the same ever again. In fact, she ended up murdering her entire family and was placed in a mental institution for many years. But then I think this fear started before all of this and I think I can trace it back to some books and biographies I read when I was much younger.

I don't know what it is but something about the possibility of a head injury causing you to be completely different and not remembering your own family or even having the same interests that you once had. Then, I think I think to much and I end up reading stories online about TBI and the horror stories and how it affected people and I can't help but feel horribly sad for these people. (I have Tripp Halstead's Facebook page set in my notification alerts)

 I was scrolling through a list of books on a review list one day and, Lost In My Mind Recovering From TBI, caught my immediate attention and I applied to have this opportunity to read and share my thoughts on this courageous story. I didn't even know I was chosen as one of the reviewers, so, about 5 days later, a package arrived. I didn't expect this book and much to my surprise, there it was!

I was sitting on the porch when I opened the padded envelope and I was just mesmerized. I think I sat and stared at the cover, at Kelly Bouldin Darmofal, for at least 5 minutes. I was a bit relieved when I saw her face and her eyes are very bright, alert, comforting, but also, very wise beyond her years and you can tell she has a story to tell. I can't explain it, other then her photo has this peculiar way of saying, "Look at me! I have something to tell you!" and so, I opened it up and started reading.

I am a pretty fast reader and sometimes this aggravates me because when I am reading something that I am extremely interested in, I don't want it to end. Then it does. Then I'm stuck trying to decide if I should read it again or should I just hope for a second part or cut my losses and do something productive like, finish spring cleaning lol! I read this book in a couple of hours that Saturday afternoon and much like a fairy tale, this book captivated me in such a way that I will not be forgetting anytime soon.

Just like Kelly's eyes, the inside of this book grabs you and doesn't let you set it down. I even tried, a few times. I actually made a pot of coffee with this book in my hand, opened and reading and I only looked away when I had to pour the water in.

Lost In My Mind, tells the story of a 15 year old Kelly. A typical teenage girl who loved her friends, her family, cheerleading and was on her way to grab some food at Burger King, one night with some friends. According to Kelly, she was supposed to die on September 17, 1992. Fortunately, she didn't. However, her friend who was driving that night, turned to talk with another friend and ended up hitting a telephone pole. Kelly was in the passenger seat and hit the right frontal portion of her forehead, on the dashboard. This was her only injury in the accident. But, because she was struck on the right side of her forehead, her brain had a whiplash reaction, causing injury and bleeding to the back of the left side of her brain. She also suffered brain stem trauma.

The first half of this book is written by Kelly's mother, Carolyn Bouldin. who started writing a journal of sorts, for her daughter, so that she could have some memories as she got older. Carolyn's recollection takes you through one of the most horrifying things that a parent should never have to go through and she does an astonishing job. From the night of the accident that almost took her daughter's life to the very end, she covers everything about Kelly's accident, her feelings, the hospital, doctors, diagnosis, nurses, the people they met and ultimately, Kelly's new life after she was finally able to come home and start her recovery.

There are times when you are reading that you just want to reach through the book and grab some of the people they run into, especially at the schools. I have some not so keen experiences with schools and have had my fair share of fighting for my children's rights, but, nothing like what this family had to go through! You will go from angry to sad to wanting to hug her mom and tell her everything will be ok and yes, I suggest having a box of tissues nearby. You'll need them.

Kelly writes the second half of the book and starts around the time she returns home, after the accident and now has to not just struggle with being a teenager but with being a teenager with a traumatic brain injury. She goes into detail with everything and answers pretty much every question you may think of if ever you were interviewing a teenager or young adult with TBI. It is painful to read, just knowing that this is a true story and has actually happened to another human being. But, there are good parts and good endings and you will be amazed at Kelly's strength and determination and what she has overcome. (and continues to.)

One part in particular, just broke my heart... I'm not going to lie, a lot of her story broke my heart but something as simple as a teenage girl who just wants to be able to shave her legs by herself, but can't. It's the little things that are missed sometimes. It's very hard to imagine having to deal with any of these problems. Being to honest and blunt for some friends, friends not visiting as often, having to relearn everything, even walking. These are all things that a high school girl should not have to do. But, as with everything else, Kelly went above and beyond everybody's wildest expectations.

Lost In My Mind is an extraordinary look into the life of somebody who is recovering from TBI. You will feel so much joy when they find that Kelly is coming through and even more delight when she begins writing poems which offer a riveting look into Kelly's mind.

One of the things that really concerned me with this family's battles, was how Kelly and her family were treated at school and with cheerleading. I understand this took place in the 90's but even then, I would have expected the blatant discrimination to take place. I guess in a way, this was possibly part of the silver lining, since Kelly went onto college and became a teacher. (We need more teachers like her in our schools.) This is a story of triumph, dedication, strength, sorrow, friends, boyfriends, school problems, being disabled, fragmented memory, fear, hope, and faith.

I would recommend this for anybody who has a friend or family member who suffers from TBI, teachers, doctors, nurses, anybody who could use some strength and wisdom.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pandora's Succession Book Review

** I received a copy of this book in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own. **

On the very first page, you are introduced to, Ridley Fox, who had just woke up after blacking out in Chechnya. You are immediately suffering from a pounding headache when you read the first paragraph and you are right there with Ridley, staring down the barrel of a Russian AK 108 assault rifle. Did I get your attention?

So, before I begin explaining a bit about what this intriguing, gripping, spy thriller is about, I must tell you, I am floored, (like, totally), with Russell Brooks' writing style. Honestly, I wish Clive Barker would take a few lessons here. (Yes, I said it. Yes, I mean it.) I just can't sit through a book when the author takes a page, or in Barker's case, a few pages, to describe the scene or the pain or the dress that the woman was wearing who walked by. It isn't necessary and I lose interest in books like that because I just don't particularly care so much about insignificant details.

What is fascinating about this book and this author, is that he is capable of painting the picture in a paragraph. Short, precise, detailed and onto the next thing. I found this to be true for the entire book and for me, this is something I envy and something I wish more writers would be able to do. Of course, writing styles are all unique and everybody enjoys something different. I just happen to like more of a story, more action and less of the "Look at me! I read a thesaurus today and I used all of the words instead of just a few!

That being said, I do wish this story would have lasted a tiny bit longer. It is a very fast moving, quick story that I feel has a few more chapters of life in it. I think at times, I felt a little rushed and some of the elaborations and "secrets" and different parts of the story that could have had more play, seemed to end abruptly. Sort of like the condensed version of the actual, entire book. Remember Cliff Notes?

This book fits in my favorite genre so, maybe I am being a bit partial but, this book has everything you would wish for in an action packed thriller, spy thriller, suspense, wherever you want to put this book. The story is good, the characters are interesting and it is delivered to you in a tight knit, well put together, little package. You won't be taking to many breaks with this one and you will ether be taking the book or your kindle to the bathroom if you start it. So, be sure to have some time available before beginning.

Ok, so, back to the book. Ridley Fox's fiance was murdered a couple of years ago and Ridley makes it his personal mission to hunt down the killers. It seems he gets in a lot deeper than what he expected or assumed he would be in, when he uncovers the terrorist group's plot to take over the world.

The Arms of Ares, are their name and they have a biological weapon called, Pandora. Ridley learns throughout the story, that Arms of Ares has been successful in infiltrating some of the world's highest organizations. (The British and the Russians!) He also meets, Dr Marx from the CDC and finds that Dr Marx is also aware of Pandora.

Pandora is an organism that feeds on DNA and not just Arms of Ares has this organism... Pandora could eat through an entire human in just a minute or 2 and there is no way to stop it.

Pandora's Succession has a mole in the CIA, creeps from the CDC, new world order, terrorists, cults, enough action to keep your heart pounding and you can tell the author did his homework when having to write about biological warfare, weapons, other countries and intelligence operatives.

I am very interested in reading books by Russell Brooks and I hope to grab a few autographed copies as well. (I found on his website that you can order these and I think that is one of the coolest options an author offers and would be a prized possession!)

Beads For Every Occasion

I never put much thought into it until just recently when it occurred to me, (or my 8 year old daughter started her bead obsession.), that beads aren't just for making those little friendship safety pins we used to make in school. There are actually a lot of crafts and absolutely gorgeous things you can do with beads!

I consider myself a "DIY'er" however, I am limited to creating recipes, candle making, homemade beauty products, cheesemaking and my new fascination, mason jars and doilies and lots of pretty paints! I can't sew, (I know, weird huh?) My husband is in charge of fixing any buttons or hems or holes and I don't really want to learn at this point. I don't have the time, nor do I have the patience to even thread the needle. Sometimes, I think about all of the cute bags and things I could make if I only knew how to sew but then I get the needle and thread out and I'm ready to scream in about 5 minutes!

I stumbled across this website, that sells mill hill beads and after finding that beads just aren't the same anymore. (This is a good thing!) I think I may have to start a collection of different beads! I know my youngest daughter would go crazy over being able to make some beaded bracelets and design her own handbags, pencil cases, even bead dazzle a shirt or 2!

Now, if you are already a bead expert, don't laugh at me. When I think of beads, I just think of the typical, solid color beads that I used to buy by the bagful as a kid so I could make those totally rad safety pins to clip onto my backpacks. I didn't realize there are antique beads, glass beads, frosted glass beads, wooden beads, different shaped beads, I am completely shocked at the variety available!

If you are a newbie like me, you can start out with some kits and even try some wooden bead crafts first. I have been finding a lot of kid friendly and newbie friendly, bead crafts on Pinterest and on several craft blogs. I may be able to graduate to something really fancy and maybe make some beaded sleeves for my collection of mason jars! What do you think?

Maybe, after threading some beads, I will get the hang of it and be able to thread that sewing needle. Then, maybe I can get to these stacks of mix matched fabric squares I bought and make some fairy tale, drawstring bags!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

ROHA Measuring Spoons Review

** I received a free product in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own. **

I am always in the kitchen, it seems. There is an army here who never stops needing food and drinks and I recently made a small makeshift office at the kitchen table so I can catch up on my computer work and emails and everything else a busy mom does. It's kind of where I spend most of my day and evening and part of the night time.

Of course a lot of my time here is cooking, baking, preparing, mixing, even butter and cheesemaking. So, of course, a good set of measuring spoons are a must have for me!

I like that these measuring spoons are light weight and stainless steel. I also think it's imperative to have the measurements, engraved in the spoon itself. Just like the other reviewers stated, it helps to not have the measurements rub off when you wash them. I also like the handy little ring that connects all of the spoons. I usually won't even bother with a set of measuring spoons without a ring to attach them to so I can hang them on a hook on the wall or my bakers rack.

These do the job and I don't really have anything negative to say about them. They are well made, the price is right and they are one of the best for the job. I will say, I did expect them to be a tad bit sturdier. I do like that they are light weight but they are very light weight and they are slightly bendable. But, this is just a personal preference and nothing at all against how they are made. I just happen to like things a little heavier then these.

I would recommend these to anybody who cooks or bakes or just needs a set or an extra set of measuring spoons. Yes, I would purchase a set if anything were to happen to these. I have a few sets and I like this specific set for granulated sugar and brown sugar. They just seem to be easier to get into bags or containers and level off. More so than other measuring spoons. To me, that alone makes them feel much more precise.

Friday, August 14, 2015

How To Drink More Water (Sweet Leaf Stevia Style)

** I received free products in return for my honest review as a part of the Mom's Meet Blogger Program. All opinions are my own. **

One of the hardest things to do as a mom, is to get my kids to drink more water! It doesn't seem so hard during the summer since, we can make our own popsicles, they get super thirsty from playing outside, and just love ice. But, give them a choice, water isn't their first choice.

So, like most everything else that parents have to do for our little ones when we have to teach them to eat their fruits and veggies, drink water, wash their hands, don't eat boogers, and all of the other icky things kids do, we have to be creative and try our best to make the not so fun things, more fun!

I know, it is super duper rough sometimes but we do have the internet now and a lot of brands and bloggers and Pinterest! All of these things make one of the hardest jobs we have as parents, all the more easier. The best thing is, we aren't alone! I spend a lot of my time online, looking for recipes, tricks, tips, and new products that will help make my life less annoying in some way. One of those products are the new Water Drops, by Sweet Leaf Stevia.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Evgie Gift Card Giveaway!

We are in the process of remodeling different sections of our home. (Aren't we all, right?) It has been 8 years and we got a lot accomplished but as usual, something unexpected happens, breaks, explodes, lol, whatever the emergency, we have all been there.

We bought an old, ok, a REALLY old, house that used to be an inn with a barroom in the basement. It has a lot of character! (But, also has 2 floors that need completely redone since they are just as they were when they were built.) So, after a few years, we finally finished 2 bedrooms for the kids and we are in the process of planning for the youngest to have a new room and for our own bedroom.

I love creativity, originality, things that don't match and things that are unique! I can not wait to order some of these wall decals for the last 2 bedrooms! I may even have to order some for the other bedrooms! Which designs? I have no idea just yet because I can't decide between all of them. They are absolutely stunning!

Evgie is a great place to find wall decals. Their vinyl decals are made from high quality matte (made in Germany) vinyl which looks like it is painted on the wall. It is removable, so it’s simple to transform any room over and over again. Just peel and stick, it’s so easy! They will apply to most smooth surfaces. It’s also removable and won’t damage walls! Right now - the more you buy the more you save. You can save up to 25% on your order!

Check out some of our favorite designs!

Birches and Owl Bears with Honey Pot Space Monkey Deer, Teddy Bears, Birds and Trees

Safari Wall Decals

Panda Bears Wall Decals


Teddy Bears Wall Decals

Space Astronauts Wall Decals

Baby Nursery Wall Decals

They are also customizable. For example the Safari Wall Decals different colors are available at no additional charge and you can choose up to 7 colors from their color chart. With every order you get 3 FREE CUTE MINIATURE COPIES of their decals, your choice of monkeys, elephants or dogs or combination. You may put it on mirrors, glasses, your laptop or just hand it to your friends and relatives as it makes a great small gift.


More Reasons to Shop at

  • 100% SATISFACTION – If it turns you don’t love your decal you may ship it back and they will refund your money!
  • FREE test decal for you to practice on and EASY Step-by-step detailed instructions!
  • They can adjust the decal size larger or smaller and add additional colors. Contact them for pricing!
  • They also offer custom designs. If you have an idea in mind of a custom design, let them know!
Make sure you check out some of their products. Hidden in a few product descriptions are a code to save 20% -35%off off any product! The code is valid from August 1 - August 17 at 1159pm EST.
Now for the giveaway! One winner will receive a credit to spend $200 on Wall Decals at Evgie. Details:
  • Dates - August 1 - August 17 at 1159pm EST
  • Open Worldwide - but if the winner resides outside the US they will need to pay the difference in shipping.
  • Prize - $200 To spend on Wall Decals at Evgie
This information is brought to you by Evgie Wall Decals and Blogger is not responsible for fulfilling the prize.