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17 April, 2012

Can YOU Live Below the Line?

From May 7th to the 11th my family and I will be participating in the Live Below the Line Challenge.  Here's some more info on it:

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

Live Below the Line is a campaign that challenges individuals and communities to eat and drink on just $1.50 per day for 5 days. By exposing participants to a glimpse of some of the daily difficulties experienced by the 1.4 billion people who live in extreme poverty every day, for everything, the campaign provides a unique window into understanding the realities of life for so many.
Through the insights gained over the 5 days, Live Below the Line is assembling a movement of people passionate about eradicating extreme poverty. Through partnerships with various charities, the campaign raises both awareness and critical funds.
If you don't think you can live off $1.50 a day yourself, pass on the information and the Live Below the Line website to friends and family who you think will be up for it.

Ready to Take the Challenge?

  1. Visit the Live Below the Line partner page and choose one of the following charity partners to support
    • Shot at Life
    • UNICEF
    • The Global Poverty Project
    • CARE
    • Global Syndicate
    • Malaria No More
    • Rainforest Foundation US
  2. Enter your profile details.
  3. Let your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, friends and family know you're going to be Living Below the Line May 7th-11th to spread awareness and convince them to join and support you.

Suggested Foods and Recipes

Hint: Power In Numbers

The best way to stretch your dollar is add more to the bottom line. You still only get $7.50 for the week, but if you team up with a few friends, you can pool your resources to greatly increase your options at the grocery store. So go out and recruit some friends!

Plenty of Options

Sure, you're not going to be eating tuna tartare or exquisite veggie pizzas this week, but with a little creativity you can whip up some tasty meals. Now, you probably won't be seeing these in Anthony Bourdain's next cookbook, but they'll get you through the week.
Pasta with Shredded Onions, Carrots and Garlic:
1 package of bow-tie pasta
1 tablespoon salt
3 carrots
1 tablespoon pepper
1 onion
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 cup canola oil
Peel the onion and finely chop. Peel the carrots and chop into half-inch long sections. Separate half a cup of canola oil and heat over high flame. Put onions into the oiled pan. After a minute, add chopped carrots. Let cook in covered pan until carrots are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cook pasta until al dente. Once pasta is cooked, add the other half cup of canola oil until pasta is coated. Add carrot and onion mix. Add garlic powder to taste.
For more recipes and tips, visit the Live Below the Line guidance page

Do you think you can do it?  If you decide to, please let me know how it goes for you.




16 April, 2012

The Beauty Book Review

The Beauty Book


     I struggle to help my oldest daughter feel beautiful.  She is reaching that age where she wants what's in and wants to be seen as cool.  But we just can't afford to buy her all the cool things, especially with gas and food prices getting so high!  So when I saw The Beauty Book by Nancy Rue, I was very curious about how it could help my daughter.  It is one of many Lily Series books.
     I decided to read the book first before allowing my daughter to have it just to make sure that I agreed with what was said and it would not go against what I was teaching her.  It didn't.  I was very impressed with the book.  It reads just like a child would talk, so it's very easy to read.
     It starts with talking about ways to be happy with your body and find confidence even if you aren't the current definition of beautiful.  It tells girls that because God makes no mistakes, then he must have made them that way for a purpose and that God's work is beautiful, so they are beautiful as well.
     Next it shows girls how to best take care of the temple God gave them, from their hair and nails to their skin and clothes.  It also gives ideas on how to deal with teasing.
     I loved the different subsections of each part of the book.  There was "Check Yourself Out" where the book asks you to take an honest and loving look at yourself and answer questions.  There is also "How is this a God Thing?" where it explains how God and the bible can help you deal with how you are feeling about things.  There is also a subsection called "Talking to God About It" where the book helps girls write out a prayer to talk with God about their problems or their joys.
     I love that the book encourages kids to respect their parent's decisions and to be patient and to earn the trust they want when asking for privileges.  In fact, it's probably my favorite part because I have a hard time getting my girls to respect the decisions I make.  All in all I would say this book is a great book for any girl 8-13 years old who is having trouble with self-image.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

13 April, 2012

Luca Lashes dental books review

     I am obsessed with my children.  It's true.  Almost every moment of my day while they are at school is spent browsing the web for fun things to do together or enjoy together.  Today was no different.  I heard about this great site for bloggers to check out e-books and I immediately went to the kids section to see what they had for the girlies.
     My eyes immediately were drawn to the Luca Lashes books.  The illustrations are simple, but colorful and stand right out.  And the subject matter is very relevant for young families like my own.
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      Luca Lashes Learns to Brush His Teeth is a clever book about a boy who is nervous to try the tooth brush.  The tooth brush's bristles are sharp and prickly and he's having trouble confronting the task.  But Luca has a special trick to help him.  He has magic eyelashes and when he blinks his fear goes away and he is brave enough for anything.  He learns that brushing his teeth is not as bad as he had imagined it to be.

     I loved the book because it relates to the children and how they feel.  It says to a child "I'm on your side", and that's important when facing scary situations.  I also loved that it had a section in the back with facts for parents and resources.
     I decided to ask for both books so that I could read them together.  The streaker is turning four in a little over a week and she will be seeing the dentist for the first time soon after.  So I thought that these two books could benefit her.
Luca Lashes and His First Trip to the Dentist
      Luca Lashes and His First Trip to the Dentist takes Luca on a whole new journey.  I felt like this book was almost shorter than the previous one, though that could be just my imagination.  It is about Luca's very first time going to the dentist and sitting in the chair.  It explains what happens to Luca while he is in the seat and that he was perfectly fine when it was all done.
     I liked this book and I think it will help The Streaker with anxiety she may have.  I will say though, that I felt the dentist visit was incomplete.  It didn't show the dentist working inside the mouth at all and I feel like children should see that so that they can understand what is going to happen fully.  It only showed her standing by him while he sat.  But other than that, I thought the book was a nice addition to the first and I feel like it is a good set to own or borrow for those big moments in a child's life.
     Hear from the creators of Luca Lashes LLC to hear more about the series:



11 April, 2012

Teen Truth or Dare Scavenger Hunt Review







     My kids are not teens yet.  But like any young parent, I like to think that at least in heart, I am still very much a teen.  I love to have fun when my kids allow it and I love to stretch my comfort zone in fun, legal ways.  So when I had the chance to review this Truth or Dare Scavenger Hunt for teens by Print to Play, I was very excited to give it a try.
     Here is where you see how un-teen like I am.  I have very few friends in the real world and those friends mostly have children of their own.  BUT, I do have a great many very fun friends online.  And though they have kids and families, they were more than willing to play a national scavenger hunt with me.



     I took sign-ups and after sign-ups finished, we distributed the tasks to the teams that were made and each team had so many days to do as many tasks as possible.  We gave certain tasks more points than others.  Truths earned the least, picture dares earned more and video dares earned the most.  And since every team had the exact same dares, it was perfectly fair.  Mind you, this was not the way that the game was supposed to be played, but that is why I love this game so much.  You can play by almost any rules you want!
     It was exciting to wait and see who did what.  In the end, one person ended up petting a rat AND kissing  snake.  I think this game would be a blast at a teen party, and it is a great alternative to other things I can think of that teens would find fun.
     The set includes:
5 Sets of scavenger Hunt Lists
Teen Scavenger Hunt Invitations
Team Badges
Car Tags
Water Bottle Labels
 And these are the rules you are supposed to play by:
1. Download and print out all printable kit.

2. Decide how many contestants and teams you are going to have. Suggested team size is four people.

3. Place each individual location challenge in its own envelope. Seal it and mark on the outside of each envelope whose team it belongs to and what location it contains. Each team should have nine envelopes.
4. Have everyone meet at home base before the hunt begins. This is usually the host home.
5. When players arrive give them each a team badge and a water bottle. Have them vote for team captain. Give the team captain the team car tag and the nine sealed team destination envelopes.
6. Assign a driver to each team.
7. Explain the rules:
  • Each team can visit the destinations in whatever order they wish. They can only open one destination envelope at a time. Once they open the envelope they must complete that destination before moving on to their next challenge.
  • Teams must complete at least one truth and one dare before moving on to the next destination. Each dare completed is worth ten points and each truth is worth five points . If all challenges are completed on a card it is worth an extra 20 points.
  • In order for a challenge to be considered completed the team must have eveidence. The evidence needed is list on the card. It can be photo, video, actual item, or answer to specific question.
  • The team must return back to home base before by finish time. For every minute they are late returning 5 points will be deducted from their score.
  • Some dares require the help of a stranger. This is someone the team does not know. The same “stranger” cannot be enlisted for help on more than one challenge.
  • Judges will add up the points at the end of the race. They make the call on if the evidence is sufficient enough to get the points. They announce the winner. No arguments.
8. Set a time limit. Suggest time is 3 – 4 hours.
9. On your mark, get set, GO!

     For use at home with the family, we printed the cards at a quarter their normal size and laminated them so that we can carry them in our pockets or on key rings.
     The only things even close to negative that I have to say about this game is that one dare I thought may cause legal trouble for someone.  That dare was this: two team mates walk up to a stranger in the store and start petting them as if they were a kitty and talking about how “cute and cuddly they are”. Wonder out loud about “how much you think this one would cost”.  While fun in theory, it may cause trouble if you touch the wrong person.  However, everything else I loved and I will be keeping these cards around for a long time along with our board games for if we ever want a little fun.
     The game set costs $12.99 to download and to print as many times as you please.  It would make a great DIY type gift for any teen in your life.


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

05 April, 2012

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks Giveaway

Happy Easter Everyone!  What a great holiday to be celebrating.  Any big plans?

This Easter, we are teaming up with over 200 blogs who are all hosting giveaways geared toward lovers of the written word in a Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop!  These giveaways are super easy to enter.  Big thanks to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Yara @ Once Upon A Twilight for hosting.  Please take a minute to say thanks.

As our part of this swap, we are offering a copy of Nicholas Sparks' new book, The Lucky One. The movie comes out on April 20th, so it's the perfect time to have this book. Here is a little about the book from the publisher.

After U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds a photograph of a smiling young woman buried in the dirt during his tour of duty in Iraq, he experiences a sudden streak of luck — winning poker games and even surviving deadly combat. Only his best friend, Victor, seems to have an explanation for his good fortune: the photograph — his lucky charm.

Back home in Colorado, Thibault can't seem to get the woman in the photograph out of his mind and he sets out on a journey across the country to find her. But Thibault is caught off guard by the strong attraction he feels for the woman he encounters in North Carolina - Elizabeth, a divorced mother — and he keeps the story of the photo, and his luck, a secret. As he and Elizabeth embark upon a passionate love affair, his secret soon threatens to tear them apart — destroying not only their love, but also their lives.

Filled with tender romance and terrific suspense, THE LUCKY ONE is an unforgettable story about the surprising paths our lives often take and the power of fate to guide us to true and everlasting love.


For a second chance to win, check out Inspired Langley.

To enter our giveaway, please use our convenient rafflecopter:


a Rafflecopter giveaway



And check out this linky for a bunch more awesome giveaways!


04 April, 2012

Then Sings My Soul, Book 3 Review



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A while back I was thrilled to tell you all about a great book called Then Sings My Soul.  It is an awesome collection of hymns and each hymn is accompanied by it's background, a little story about how it came to be or what it stands for.  I love the book and am so glad to have it in my collection.

Now I am even more excited because now I have a second book, though not THE second, of the trilogy series on my shelves.  Then Sings My Soul, Book 3 by Robert J. Morgan is just as great as the first.  In fact, I like it better.  It is done differently than the first books, which were written in 2003 and 2004.  Although it has fewer hymns and hymn back-stories than the first two, it has things the other two do not.
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It starts with a history of hymns in the christian faith.  It talks about biblical hymns, ancient hymns, southern gospel and more.  Then it goes on to tell the story behind fifty-six hymns of all sorts of different time periods along with the sheet music to them.  I wish I could play an instrument because I know I would enjoy the book even more.  After those fifty-six hymns, he goes over another six more recognized hymns.

I absolutely recommend this series to anyone who loves a good hymn, or even christian history buffs.  You will NOT be disappointed in these books, I guarantee it.



This book was given to me by Thomas Nelson to review and the opinions in this review are 100% accurate to my own view.
 
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