Monday, May 2, 2011

FREE RecipeLion Top Secret Copycat Restaurant Recipes ebook

RecipeLion
 

This ebook contains 17 recipes from some favorite restaurants, such as Olive Garden, Chilis, and Cracker Barrel! It’s FREE!
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Heart of Haiti - 15% off Heart of Haiti and Rwanda Path to Peace products!

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There have been so many strong women that I have been blessed to have been able to lean on in my life. First, and foremost, the woman who has helped me most in my life is my mother. As life has thrown me curveballs over the years, my mother has been just a phone call away – any time of day or night. I have always been able to count on her for saying just the right thing to me to encourage me to keep striving for what I want and to help me manage my stress. I often call her to bounce ideas off of her, no matter how silly. My mother was the first person I called years ago when I wanted to bounce around the idea of forming my jewelry business. She was entirely supportive and even helped me pin down the name. She then took it a step further and gave me a large gift box filled with supplies to get started on my new venture. My business then took off and she has been encouraging me every step of the way. I can never repay my mother for her consistent support and encouragement. I hope that I can be everything to my daughter that my mother is to me.

The artists of Macy’s Shop for a Better World/Heart of Haiti collection have created pieces that would make beautiful gifts this Mother’s Day. If you would like to see the entire collection, click here. If you use the promocode CLEVERGIRLS, you will receive a 15% off the Heart of Haiti and Rwanda Path to Peace products! This discount is from 5/3/11-5/8/11.

*Disclaimer: I was selected for this very special “CleverHaiti” opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity. All opinions are my own.

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A Conversation with God: If You Could Ask God Any Question, What Would It Be?

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I believe that I have spoken quite a bit on here about my choice to convert from being a Protestant to a Catholic.  I have done so much thinking and soul-searching over the years to come to this decision.  I became "official" at the Easter Vigil a week ago and I was so excited.  A religious education is something that has always been missing from my life.  I was always jealous of people who knew and understood the Bible.  They appeared to know all the answers to the important questions.

I had the opportunity to review "A Conversation with God: If You Could Ask God Any Question, What Would It Be?" by Alton Gansky. The title of this book instantly grabbed and really got my wondering what my one question would be...I have asked so many questions, but if I could choose only one, that would be hard!  I think a lot of my questions have to do with heaven and they can only get answered when I get there!

"A Conversation with God" is a beautiful book that is easy to read.  It presents questions to readers that many of us have wondered about and possibly debated about with family and friends.  The questions are organized by categories, including God, Bible, The Future, Pain and Suffering, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Heaven and Hell, Humanity, Christian Living, and Today's World.  What differentiates this book from other books is that it presents the answers from the perspective of God, Jesus, Disciples, and other important people in the Bible.  At first, I had a little difficulty with reading the sections that were speaking for God and Jesus because I had bee taught that no one can speak for them and that it is considered blasphemous to do so.  However, after I put this thought aside, I found it interesting  and helpful to read it as though it was coming from them.  It made it more meaningful.  There were some things stated in the book that I still need clarifying and will possibly ask my teachers about; for example, it states, "There is a myth that good people die and become angels. This is a misconception.  Angels are a special class of creation".  That was not what I was taught.  I guess maybe I have more learning to do!  I also feel this is a book that I could read a few times, not just once.  I feel as though I need to take time to ponder the questions and answers and then read it again to see if it all makes sense.  These are deep questions!  For example, in regards to humanity, "what is our biggest problem?", "what is heaven like?", and "what will we do for eternity?"

Overall, I really wish I had read this book over a year ago.  I would have been well prepared for my RCIA classes!  My daughter has started asking me some questions recently and I believe this book will also be helpful in trying to explain things to her.  As I mentioned before, the text is easy to understand and would help people, especially those without a religious background, to understand the major questions we ask in life.

I would like to thank Booksneeze for providing me with the opportunity to review this book.

So, the ultimate question is, what is the one question you would ask God if you were given the chance right now?
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review: Journey of Honor

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Journey of Honor, written by Jaclyn Hawkes, is the sweet story about the friendship and love that develops between the two main characters, Trace and Giselle.  Each traveling out west for different reasons, Trace and Giselle support each other and ultimately, find love.  In addition, this love story includes fear and courage, humor, perseverence, faith, and loss.  As the back of the book states, "Thrown together by circumstance, Trace and Giselle team up to begin to figure out just how to make this epic journey across a continent a success".

About the Book :
Trace and his brother, Mose, are traveling to California.  Trace is a doctor, but decides to give it all up in order to head out west to escape the bigotry of the south.  Giselle Van Komen, a pregnant single woman, and her grandparents are part of the wagon train.  Giselle and her grandparents are heading out west to join the Mormons.  In order to save Giselle from being arrested and to keep her from a horrible man, Trace offers to marry Giselle.  Although it was a marriage made in haste, Trace and Giselle support and honor each other, in good times and in bad. 

My thoughts about the book:
I really enjoyed Journey of Honor.  Trace and Giselle are such likable characters.  The support that Trace offers to Giselle is so admirable and it is quite apparent how the two feel about each other.  I have read other books related to people traveling out west during that time and battling the elements must have been horrible at times.  Each person needed to do their share in order to survive.  I enjoy love stories and this book made me smile at the end!

About the Author:
Jaclyn Hawkes grew up in Utah in a large family.  She still lives there with her husband, four children, and pets. 

*Disclaimer: I did not receive monetary compensation for this post.  I received a free book for the purposes of the review.  All the opinions expressed here are my own. 
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Try Curves FREE For A Week!

The weather is getting nicer, it’s time to get moving and get in shape! Try Curves FREE for a week!



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Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Review: The Fearless Baker

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I have been reading a lot of cookbooks lately.  I am getting kind of tired of making the same thing over and over again – it is getting too monotonous.  I would like to try new meals and new treats; however, I am not a confident cook/baker.  There are only a couple of things that I am completely confident in making because I have been making them for years, including banana bread and pineapple upside-down cake.  I hate to admit it, but the oven makes me nervous.  This is why “The Fearless Baker” was a perfect read for me.  The Fearless Baker was written by Emily Luchetti and Lisa Weiss.  Luchetti and Weiss say, “Anyone can learn to bake”.  There’s hope for me then!! 
This book contains a huge number of mouth-watering recipes!  The chapters include Cookies, Bars, & Bites; Cakes; Pies & Tarts; Fruit; No Oven Required; Best Dessert Sauces; and Breakfast.  As I read each chapter and perused the recipes, I envisioned who would love to try the recipes as well and what holidays, parties, get-togethers I could bring them to.  I have a special breakfast coming up next month at work and I think the Cinnamon Coffee Swirls or the Apple Turnovers. 
The Fearless Bakes provides a ton of practical information about baking, the utensils used, why certain techniques are used, etc.  This information is helpful because I want to get back to the basics so I can practice those and feel more confident to try other things.  The tips are provided right before the recipes for that section.  This is what sets the book apart from your typical cookbook.  It explains baking to you, not too simplistically and not too wordy.  The only thing I wish The Fearless Baker had are more pictures.  I am a visual learner and I love cookbooks that show me not only what I am supposed to do, but what the food is supposed to look like when I am done.  Not everyone will feel the same as me, but again, I am still a “fearful baker” at this point.  I need to put some of these tips and recipes into action and then maybe someday I will consider myself a “fearless baker”.
More About the Author:
Emily Luchetti has developed a nationwide following for her innovative yet approachable dessert creations. She is executive pastry chef at Farallon and Waterbar in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has authored five successful cookbooks, and contributed to The New Joy of Cooking and The Farallon Cookbook. She won a 2004 James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef.

Lisa Weiss is a food writer and stylist whose work has appeared in such publications as Cook's Illustrated and Cooking Light. She has co-authored six cookbooks, including The Farallon Cookbook, the James Beard Award-nominated The Seventh Daughter: My Culinary Journey from Beijing to San Francisco with Cecilia Chiang, and the bestselling Complete Meat Cookbook with Bruce Aidells.


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Thank you to the Hachette Book Group for allowing me the opportunity to review The Fearless Baker!
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Home-Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living Review

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Home-Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living by Heather Solos is written for those of us who struggle with balancing parenthood, work, and cooking, cleaning, washing, and fixing that is involved in taking care of your family and home.

I am definitely searching for a way to organize my chores and meal planning so that my life can be simplified. That’s a tall order, but I am up for the challenge if it is going to help me out. I was given the opportunity to review a chapter, Meal Planning is Not Just For Control Freaks, from Home-Ec 101. This chapter was great because not only does it give some menu ideas for three weeks, but it also gives practical ideas for mixing up your usual meals. Solos suggests have nightly themes for dinner; for example, “Taco Tuesday” and “Soup and Sandwich Saturday”. The recommendations that are made can definitely help people organize their thoughts on dinner and hopefully remove any stress involved. For example, leftovers often sit in my fridge, go uneaten, and are then thrown away, which is such a waste of money. Solos suggests, “Once you get the hang of menu planning it’s time to up the ante and learn the planned-over formula. The basic premise is to cook only one labor-intensive meal and roll that one item into several meals. Take meat loaf. It’s a good entree, but it’s even better the next day crumbled into vegetable soup, served in sandwiches, or crumbled into spaghetti sauce”.

I would love the opportunity to read the other chapters in the book because Lord knows I need some advice on organizing the whole way I approach managing chores!

Thank you very much to the One2One Network for providing me the opportunity to review this chapter of Home-Ec 101.

*Disclaimer: I was provided a chapter of this book for free for the purposes of the review. The opinions expressed here are completely my own.

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JewelMint - Personalize Your Profile and Shop!

If you have not heard of JewelMint yet, you really need to check them out. JewelMint is a jewelry company that was created by Kate Bosworth and Cher Coulter. JewelMint allows you to create a profile based upon your style of fashion. Once your profile is created, should you decide to pay $29.99 per month, you will receive a piece of jewelry based upon the as well as style tips, a fashion trend report, and sneak peek information about jewelry that is up and coming. JewelMint also has a blog entitled The JewelMint Style Diary where you can read even more about fashion and even ask style advice!
JewelMint sent me this SoulMate Bangle Bracelet to try and I love it! It is so different from the bracelets that I already have. I love to wear different styles and JewelMint has definitely hid the nail on the end as far as my particular preferences are concerned. Their website is unique compared to others because it helps to tailor your “showroom” to your particular tastes.




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In addition to the SoulMate Bangle Bracelet, I really like the Aurora Bracelets!



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Are you a fan of American Idol? American Idol contestants have worn JewelMint on the show recently! The photos below were from the last week in March. I’ve also included JewelMint’s Style Breakdown YouTube video so you can hear more!



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*Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product in compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are completely my own.
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Pier 1 - Spring Outdoor Furniture

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1 for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Pier 1 Tweetups

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I know that Spring has just begun, but my mind is completely on the summer. I have the luxury of not working during the summer, so I am all about lounging in the yard and entertaining neighbors in the evenings. We have a large yard where the children can play and sit back and relax next to a fire. We have a deck, although it is old and we are preparing to tear it down to reconstruct a new one. In addition to design ideas I have for a deck and patio, my mind is running wild with design ideas for furniture and decor.

Pier 1 has the perfect pieces that reflect my style and taste in outdoor furniture. Currently, I have only two Adirondack chairs and they are the most uncomfortable chairs imaginable. We only have two; therefore, we can't accommodate many people. I am on the hunt for stylish, but comfortable furniture. I gathered a ton of information from Pier 1's website, but I am definitely a visual/tangible shopper and I need to see things with my own eyes. There is a Pier 1 in the town in which I work, so I am able to stop in there often. There are numerous pieces that I can envision on my new deck, primarily of the wicker style. I am a particular fan of the dark wicker and the style of the Sunset Pier pieces, including the Sunset Pier Outdoor Deluxe Settee and the Sunset Pier Outdoor Deluxe Chair.   

 I was thrilled to see that they had an Outdoor Papasan and a Swingasan. I had a papasan chair for years when I was younger and I remember feeling so relaxed and comfortable while curled up in it. This chair is cool and stylish, yet comfortable, which is exactly what I am searching for! I was pleasantly surprised the cost of the Outdoor Papasan was only $89.95! The beautiful cushion seen below (the one I would choose) was only $80! I believe my children would love the Swingasan. This piece in particular is unique and stylish and would be an eye-catcher for my guests while I am entertaining.

 In looking at all the outdoor furniture pieces that Pier 1 has to offer, I was also thinking about the design possibilities for the future should we move and have a sunroom. These pieces would be beautiful indoors in a sunroom or breakfast nook. They are truly versatile.

 In completing my vision of design ideas, it would be important to accessorize of course! Accent rugs and cushions would be must-haves. Pier 1 has a variety of color options for cushions. I am partial to the warm colors of the "Red Scatter Daisy" cushions, plus daisies are my favorite flowers! Lastly, to top off my needs for entertaining, I would love to purchase one of the Metal Beverage Tubs! These are perfect for keeping many drinks on ice so you do not have to keep going in and out of the house.

 Pier 1 has products that will accommodate everyone's tastes. I can't wait for my new deck and to actually put my design ideas into action. I would love to show off my new furniture to my friends and be able to relax in comfort and style! 

 

Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mother's Day Cards from Tiny Prints

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My mother was a single mother for the majority of my childhood.  She worked so hard to provide for us and do things with us, such as camping, skiing, etc.  When I think back on my childhood, I remember being frustrated with my mother at times and giving her all the adolescent attitude possible, but when push came to shove, I knew my mother loved me with every ounce of her being.  It did not matter what event or activity I was doing, she was there.  She could not provide the "materialistic stuff" I wanted at the time, but she was there for me whenever I needed her.

The best advice my mother ever gave me was to spend time with your children to show your love.  My mother was watching from the audience at each and every stage performance, was watching from the sidelines at each and every soccer game, and was often sitting at the kitchen table each night to help me with my homework.  My mother's love was conveyed by the attention she gave me and that is the best advice she could have passed on to me for parenting my children.  It is hard to do this sometimes with the craziness that is my life, but I think about it often.  My mother helped to instill precious memories, which was much more valuable than any material item. 

I take quite a bit of time trying to find the right cards for people in order to help me express my love. On Mother's Day, I shop for my mother, my grandmother, and my stepmother. Tiny Prints has cards for everyone on your list! Please visit here to see all the Mother's Day cards they have to offer!




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Tiny Prints provides simple, modern and unique stationery from Fathers Day Cards to personalized greeting cards to thank you cards, business cards, and even custom wedding invitations or photo birth announcements. Offering exclusive designs from the nation’s top designers, easy card personalization, a powerful preview engine and top-notch customer service and paper quality, their designs have been lauded by numerous television networks, publications and celebrities. With Tiny Prints by your side commemorating every holiday and momentous occasion is a cinch! They offer perfect party invitations for every occasion and memorable personalized photo-gifts like notebooks, photo books and calendars to commemorate the event.

*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Tiny Prints.  I was compensated with store credit; however, the opinions expressed here are solely my own.
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How To Be A Mean Mother

I was given this poem years ago. I just pulled it out of the drawer to share with you and wonder what your thoughts are. It doesn't have an author on the page, so I don't know who to credit.

A mean mother never allows
candy or sweets
to take the place of a well-balanced meal.
A mean mother insists on knowing where
her children are at all times.
Who their friends are and what they do.
A mean mother breaks the
Child Labor Laws by
making her children work - washing dishes,
making beds learning to cook and doing
other cruel and unpleasant chores.
A mean mother makes life miserable for
her offspring by insisting that they
always tell the truth.
A mean mother produces teenagers who
are wiser and more sensible.
A mean mother can smile with secret
delight and
pride when she hears her own
grandchildren call their parents mean.
What the world needs now are more
mean mothers and fathers.

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