Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Twilight Tuesday--My Blog is Still Growing

For those of you following my quite regularly, you will know that I have gone through a lot over the past couple weeks.  Or longer--I tend to forget.  I have missed posts here and there, and  I was at 124 followers for so many weeks.  I didn't let it upset me too much, but after all, it gets disconcerting to see the same numbers for weeks on end.

Within the past couple days, I have jumped up 4 followers!  I took some risks in finding some stuff to give away--I hope to be able to actually do some sponsored giveaways.  I will spend  some time researching that over Christmas break.

I am so grateful to my wonderful followers.  It is neat to see you respond to my giveaways, and I can hardly wait to see what the future holds.  It is so nice to  see a different number of followers!  So thank you!

Stuff Your Stockings--Christmas Giveaway #4 (ends 12/10) (closed)

Comments 3 and 2 won and have been contacted!

This is my final giveaway in this series of giveaways. I want to make sure that whatever I send arrives in time for Christmas.  So this is all I feel I can do at least for this year.

I don't know about you, but I generally spend so much time thinking about others at Christmas that I forget about myself.  It's not a problem, but I think sometimes it's nice to get something for yourself.  And I always like to be surprised.

So here's your chance for both.  There will be two winners for this particular giveaway.  I am open to people entering from outside the U.S., but understand that your items may not arrive before Christmas.

What will be in this giveaway?  I have a lot of surprises I can put in the box.  This is actually a giveaway where you will not know what you are receiving.  The package value will be around ten or twenty dollars, but you'll have to wait and see what you get!

All I ask is that you follow my via google friend connect.  This is the only required entry.  I don't usually do that, but I like to have giveaways now and then to thank my loyal followers.  So just leave a comment on this post saying you follow me via google friend connect (gfc), and be sure I have a way to contact you.

Now, of course, I always have other ways for you to enter.  In fact, I have an unlimited way for you to enter.  I want this post to become a place where you can share anything you want to about the holidays.  Share what you would like.  Share what you would like to get those special people in your life.  Share holiday memories, recipes, crafts, etc.  Share any holiday tips, websites, or really anything holiday related.  Enter as many times as you would like to in this way.

This giveaway will end December 7 at 10 P.M. Pacific Time.  Now get busy entering!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Music Monday--I'm Back on Track!

I am trying to get things back to normal after being rather off the past few weeks when it comes to my blogging.  God is certainly at work within me, and it is exciting to see His activity within my life.

As I was beginning to listen to my holiday music, I heard a song that truly stopped me in my tracks.  It came from this CD:
 I remember when this first came out.  Since I am a huge Michael Crawford fan, this was a must-buy.  I love his stuff and several of the other sings I knew of.  And you can't go wrong with the Omartians.  I never got to see this when it toured that year, but the CD is full of fantastic imagery.

There is a song on the album that is sung by the character Elizabeth (played by Donna Summer).  The message of the song really hits home because it talks about the dream never dying.  When God gives us a dream that is truly from Him, it never does die!  We may have to wait a long time, but godly dreams cannot be extinguished!

So here's the song:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Solution Sunday--Ziploc Zip 'N Steam Bags Review

Today I would like to review a product that I have absolutely come to love.  It has become an absolute necessity in my kitchen.  I honestly don't think I can live without Ziploc zip 'n steam bags!
This is an item I originally found at Costco a few years ago.  It was a special promotion, and I wasn't sure I would like them.  After all, I could steam things in a microwave pan or on the stove with reasonable success.  Why did I need a plastic bag to do what I was already able to do?

Well, I was hooked from the moment I first used it.  You put the food in the bag and follow the cooking instructions on the front of the bag.  If you would like to add butter or seasoning, do it before you close the bag up.  That is a nice feature of these bags.  You can steam them in butter and with seasonings.  You then zip up the bag, and you microwave it for the time it says on the front of the bag.  When removing it from the microwave, be careful.  I did burn myself once when removing the bag from the microwave.  Let the bag set for about a minute, open the bag, and then serve.

I have never had such perfectly steamed vegetables.  Nor has my mom nor Martin.  Both of them were willing to try these based on my recommendation, and now we don't know what to do if we happen to run out.

The bad thing for us has been finding this product locally.  Costco no longer carries these.  (Surprise, surprise!)  Safeway is supposed to, but not in our town.  Nor does Walmart.  I think both stores now carry the medium size, but with our family, we must get the large size.  I recently bought them from amazon.  However, last week, I happened to find them at the local drugstore in town.  I bought all they had.

Something I have not done but would love to one day is make full meals in these bags.  Check out the recipes.  There are some great recipes on there, and I hope to give one of them a go pretty soon.  The garlic lemon cod sounds good amongst others.  I'll let you know if I get around to trying one of those recipes.

So if you get a chance and have not done so, please try these fantastic bags.  Seriously, once you try them, I doubt you'll return to the old-fashioned ways of steaming!

By the way, Ziploc does not know I am writing this review so they had no influence on what I said.  I received no compensation from them.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sporadic Saturday--How Well Read Are You?

Everything Distills Into Reading posted this, so I thought I'd join in.

How well read are you?

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

• Copy this list.
• Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
• Italicise the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.
• Tag other book nerds.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The King James Bible 
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) – George Orwell
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens 
Little Women – Louisa M Alcott 
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger 
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens 
Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
Emma -Jane Austen

Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis 
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving 
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Dune – Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
Ulysses – James Joyce
The Inferno – Dante
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Germinal – Emile Zola
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession – AS Byatt
Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Hey, 33 out of 100.  Not too bad!  Certainly better than most people in the world if the BBC is right!

Stuff Your Stockings--Christmas Giveaway #3 (ends 12/10) (closed)

 Melissa B.  won and had been contacted.

Here's the one I would have listed last night.  These two items are a little big for your stockings, but I think they will make great gifts for the scrapbookers and family historians in your life.

These two books have never been used.  My mom used to be more a scrapbooker and wanted to make a book that would chronicle our family history, but she has gone a different direction.  So she gave me these to use as a giveaway.

The first book you see is called Family Photograph Album.  You can see in the third picture what the pages are like inside.  The publishing information is Nichols Industries, LTD Illustrations 1997.  There is a nice green ribbon to tie the book together--you can kind of see that in the first photo.  It looks like an absolutely beautiful book that I hope you or someone in your family could use.

The second picture of the book called Memories Our Family Journal.  Barbara Morina is the author of this, and the second part of the title is Write it Down.  This book is spiral bound and has lots of prompts for writing down family history and happenings.  It is again a beautiful book, but we have no use for it.

Okay, so now to the fun part.  How do you win?  Well, first of all, the giveaway ends on December 10 at 9 P.M. Pacific Time.  Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  Also, please make sure I have a way to contact you if you win.

To Enter:

1.  Be/Become a follower of this blog via google friend connect.
2.  Friend me on facebook (or state that you already are a friend).  Be sure to leave your user name.
3.  Place my button on your blog.  Be sure to leave the link so I can verify it.
4.  Subscribe to my blog via e-mail or RSS feed.
5.  Share this giveaway any way you like once a day--please leave any applicable links.
6.  Who would receive this gift if you won?

Unlimited Entries:

Share anything about scrapbooking or compiling a family history.  It can be anything--tips, stories, difficulties, etc.

Friday, November 26, 2010

No Post Tonight

Sorry, we are having some family issues, so there is no blog post tonight.  Please look for a couple giveaways  tomorrow.  Nothing major, but we  had serious discussions, and a lot of  it involved my dad.  I'll try to tell you about the good points of my shopping excursions tomorrow.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday--God is At Work

You know, I am so glad that I cried a few nights ago and posted on here.  I needed that.  It purged me so much.  Are things any better?  No, but I had a fantastic Thanksgiving--with my real family:  my mom, Martin, and Martha.  If the weather hadn't been the way it is now, that wouldn't have happened.  We couldn't leave the house.

My house is temporarily not being foreclosed.  I am literally taking it one week at a time.  At any time, the house may have to go, but God is letting me keep it for now.

My dad is still difficult, but at least I am not dealing with it alone.

And Martin?  Well, if I don't miss my guess, he was rather tempted to go down the physical road tonight.  He and I have gotten to work together the past couple days in the snow--cutting down trees.  Sounds silly, doesn't it?  But that has drawn us closer together.  And at least I know that he loves me.  We have our moments, and I cherish each one--like a typical woman.  With God controlling every ounce of my being, I know that I can withstand this no matter how hard it becomes.  It is a relief to know that God knows exactly what will happen when.  Yes, I have to be ready at a moment's notice, but I also  have to live in the present.  I am grateful for dreams.  And I am even grateful for the pain.  It must mean I love him deeply to know this kind of pain!

For those of you who know our wonderful Lord,  please send up a prayer if you can for his salvation and for my family.  Pray that God's ultimate will be worked out.  I cannot imagine how hard it would be to say goodbye to Martin again in the spring, but with the help of God, I know I can.  I must rely totally on God and follow His leading every moment of every day.

Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

Stuff Your Stockings--Christmas Giveaway #2 (ends 12/15) closed

This giveaway no longer exists

Do you have kids?  Are you planning to fill their stockings this year?  Well, I have the ideal thing for them.  I have a fantastic prize pack I am giving away with your little ones in mind.

I was the recipient of a great Pump It Up Goodie bag.  My daughter had no need of these items, so I thought I would pass them along.  The bag may be a little worn, but I will try to keep it from tearing.  It contains the first items you see--sidewalk chalk and some kind of flying or top spinning toy.  I also have included 5 Christmas kits.  Three are jingle necklaces, and the other two are ornaments made with jingle bells.  My daughter would quickly remove these from the giveaway if she knew about them, but she has so much that I thought it would be nice to give away our surplus.  I would say this prize pack would work for about age 4 or 5 to about age 9.  And by the way, there is a picture of a boy on the back of the bag--it's not just for girls.  I didn't realize that until after I uploaded everything.

So now how do you win this package?  Make sure that you leave a comment for each entry below.  Also make sure I have a valid way to contact you.  This giveaway ends on December 15 at 9 P.M. Pacific Time.

To enter:

1.  Follow my blog via google friend connect.
2.  Friend me on facebook or tell me that you do.  Leave your user name.
3.  Subscribe to my blog via RSS and/or e-mail (1 entry for each).
4.  Put my button on your blog.  Leave a link so I can find it.
5.  Share the giveaway any way you want.  (once per day) Leave a link if necessary.
6.  Who would receive this gift if you won?

Unlimited Entry Option:

Share a special memory of Christmas as you were growing up.  Please leave a separate comment for each memory since your entries are unlimited!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stuff Your Stockings--Christmas Giveaway #1 (ends 12/10) (closed)


Well, this is the first of many giveaways.  I knew I had to do one tonight.  There may not be a well-spoken Wednesday, but this kind of takes precedence.

This is a brand new backpack I got from a company when I did a survey for them well over a year ago.  It is hydro backpack.  I do not know what the brand is, but I honestly have no use for it.  It is not huge, but for a short hike, it would be ideal.  It would make a perfect Christmas gift for you or for that special person in your life that loves the outdoors!

So how do you win?  Glad you asked!  No mandatory entry.  You may do as many or as few of the following things that you would like to.  Just be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry and also a way to contact you.  This giveaway will end December 10 at 9 P.M. Pacific Time.

1.  Follow my blog via google friend connect.
2.  Become my facebook friend (or tell me you already are).  Leave your user name.
3.  Share my giveaway any way you like--you may do this once a day.  Just be sure to leave the link if applicable.
4.  Add my button to your blog.  Please leave me a link so I can verify it.
5.  Who would receive this gift if you won it?

Unlimited entry option:

Tell about your favorite place to hike or tell where you would like to hike but have not had the opportunity to do so. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Twilight Tuesday--I Didn't Want To Write Tonight

You might notice that Tuesday is almost over as I write this.  I have just recovered from my little emotional time. I have been fighting tears off and on for weeks, I do believe.  And, well, I burst out with them tonight.   I don't think Martin knew--he absolutely hates my tears, and I hate having to hide them from him.

I have to admit that I am in the midst of a lot of  "twilight" moments.  I will soon have to foreclose on my house.  In spite of all that  I did (at God's leading), my renters have lied so much and continue to cheat me out of the rent money that I have no other  alternative.  I will not be making my mortgage payment for the first time ever, and it feels  really strange.  I can't say I'm too worried about losing the house.  I am more upset that these people who called themselves Christians have behaved so despicably.  And the woman involved was the one who turned my daughter on to reading back in preschool.  It is so tough to have to go through this.

But  that pales in comparison to dealing with my Dad.  Yes, he has gotten worse.  I have begun being more vocal,  and now he yells at me and treats me like I am 6 years old.  He lies, and he says horrible things about my mom,  Martin, and me.  He hates Martin.  He sees my mom as his mother, and I bear the brunt of his  anger since he  is afraid of my mom.

But  I probably can deal with that better than waiting on Martin.  While I want to be physical with him and he hasn't been interested, that would only be a bandaid to what is going on within me.  Yes, I know there are small signs that show me that things are going on.  But he is so angry at my dad, and he will not let himself feel what he I know he feels for me.  He is the quintessential man--afraid of feelings and of course, commitment.  I believe God will save him, but sometimes it is so hard.  God continues to impress me that I must be ready at a moment's notice.  And yet I have to wait?  That doesn't make sense, but isn't that how God works?  Did He not ask Abraham to wait for years for a son?  Does He ask Christians to be prepared for His Second Coming although he promised that return over two thousand years ago?

Now that I write all this out, much of it seems trivial.  Everybody is essentially healthy.  We have a home.  We  have enough food to eat.  And I have to say that the friendship I share with Martin is one that many people would give almost anything to have.  He has been there through thick and thin.  He steps in as Martha's father on a regular basis.  He treats me like a lady sometimes, and he also drops the jesting insults.  We can joke around with great ease, and I could tell Martin anything and he wouldn't leave.  Yes, we have our fights.  We have our difficult moments.  But he also treated me like a queen just a couple weeks ago.  How many single divorcees have a relationship like I do with a man like Martin?  I know married women who are not best friends with their husbands.  They don't really like to be around them.

I told God that I didn't know if I could keep holding on.  That's the wrong thing to say.  God is only asking me to let Him control my flesh and my soul.  He is not asking me to hold on.  He is asking me to let Him hold on through me.  Wow, that is quite a statement.  God is only asking me to accept what He has already given me.  No, I cannot do it.  I can't keep going on.  I can't keep holding on.  I can't keep waiting.  But God can.

Lord God, You have asked me to let go and let You control  my life.  Without You, I have no life.  I know not what You have for me in the future.  I don't know what You will allow to happen.  But God, I know that You already know.  You see the past, present, and future.  You know it all.  You know what will happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, etc.  You do ask me to be ready at a moment's notice.  You ask me to trust You.  You ask me to let Your love envelop me entirely.  You ask me to let You hold my hand and encircle me in Your arms.  I pray that I will humble myself and let You do that.  May I let go of all my hindrances.  Yes, I have vivid dreams and hopes, and if You want, I will completely surrender those to You as well.  But I also know that You have given those to me to give me hope.  Maybe things look bleak.  Maybe You aren't answering my prayers in the way I want.  But I know that You have only my best interests in mind.  I do pray that I will continue to rest in Your will and only follow what You lead me to do.  May I do nothing on my own without You.  For that is when I fail.

Well, you know what, I did not fail tonight.  I cried out to God--yes, that is okay.  If you can't be honest with God, who can you be honest with?  I would have failed tonight if I gave everything up or even if I pursued physical intimacy with Martin tonight.  God did not lead me there.  But I can say this.  Martin held me quite tenderly tonight as we said goodnight.  We broke away, but he now holds me like he doesn't want to let me go.  I've been holding him like that for a while.  But I have noticed that change.  Maybe he can't set things aside to fully focus on me--or he won't do it--but I know that God is working on him.  Martin will be saved, and I believe Martin and I will be married one day, but I cannot say I know when.  And I will not give up.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Music Monday--It's Quick Tonight

So our weather is pretty treacherous.  I think the song that comes to mind is "White Christmas" even though it is nearly Thanksgiving.  No, I didn't list a giveaway yet again--sorry.  By this weekend for sure.  So leaving you with this:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Solution Sunday--A Summary of Many Things

First of all, I am sorry I did not post yesterday.  I worked  very hard cooking, and then plans changed and I was out most of the day.  I finished about half of the freezer cooking I wanted to,  but if our weather continues as it is, I may not be working tomorrow anyway.  And Thursday and Friday are coming!  Four day weekend!  Yes!!!

Secondly, I want to apologize for not getting a giveaway posted.  I have been very busy, and I really believe I can get somewhat caught up on my giveaways.  In fact, watch for my "Stuff Your Stockings" giveaways this weekend.  I'll try to get them all posted.  I'm sorry that I couldn't get to it this weekend as I planned, but God is teaching me to be flexible.

Furthermore, I finally have my 2 international winners packages posted.  Sorry it took so long.  Finances and so much more played into this.  So they should go out tomorrow as long as weather does not prevent me from taking it in.

And now to today.  I have some wonderful things to share that God shared with me today.  I went into a real "tizzy" today as I was getting ready for church.  I didn't know how I could do everything I needed to.  And so I was "stressed out"!  I was almost in tears as I went to church.  I really didn't know what to do.

I had been experiencing great victory in the area of Martin.  I had really been letting God take over.  Unfortunately, I realized that I was trying to handle my dad and even the Christmas program at church in my own strength--pretty pathetic, eh?  I realize that I can't do some things in my own strength, but then I try to do other things in my strength.  I really am a slow learner in the things of God, aren't I?

So I gave it all over to God.  And the stress left.  I still had to deal with my dad, and I still had a church Christmas program.  But now it was God's problem, not mine.  And what a difference that made.

Now here is something God really spoke to me about.  I haven't even shared this with my mom--maybe I will.  As I sat in the Sunday School class, the speaker on the video spoke of how he worked so hard to make his wife like him when they were dating.  He then went on to say that once they got married, he stopped doing all those things.  He began to pray that God would change his wife, and God told him that he needed to change.  So he went back to showing love because he wanted to, not because he had to.  And not so that she would like him.

As I look at my relationship with Martin, I realize that sometimes I am doing things so he will like me or love me.  I want to please him.  But God doesn't want me to do that.  He wants me to show love to Martin just because I love him.  And I need to get over my fear of showing too much love to him.  It was hard last night as God really impressed me that I needed to approach Martin.  I did, and although he politely refused me advances, I felt better.  There were times this weekend that I longed for a hug, but I was too scared to reach out for one.  I realize that when God impresses me to reach out to Martin, I need to.  Martin may reject me at that moment, and I can live through it.  If anything, it makes me feel better because I have demonstrated love, and even his momentary rejection of my love will not keep me back.

So God has been teaching me a lot.  I have certainly not arrived, but I certainly am understanding more and more about God and how to deal with him.

Thank you to all my wonderful followers.  Keep on being patient,  and I think you will find some more fun giveaways coming up.  And I have lots of reviews I want to do.  So just stay with me.  I am grateful for every one of you.  You are fantastic!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fortified Friday--Freezer Cooking

Yes, I'm posting late.  God has been good today, but I have had some emotional ups and downs, too.  I thought I'd be going to bed much earlier, but I just couldn't.

My daughter had her book fair at school this week, and my mom happened to see this book.  We thought we'd give it a try.  So I looked through it, and I decided we needed to get busy.  So tomorrow, I am going shopping early and cooking most of the day.  Here's my potential list:
Colorful Chicken Casserole p. 11
Hearty Minestrone p. 12
Sweet BBQ Pork Chops p. 13
Three-Cheese Kielbasa Bake p. 16
Rhubarb Coffee Cake p. 66
Peanut Butter Cup Pie p. 99
Pizza Snacks p. 128
Breaded Chicken Patties p. 132
                                   Twice-Baked Rolls p. 147
                                   French Toast Sticks p. 151
                                   Puddingwiches p. 176

Okay, so I think I have a busy day of cooking.  We'll see how this goes.  I hope I can get it done and still have some down time.  By the way, all the recipes from last week turned out, especially the apple rice!  Wow, it was good.  Martin is here, so sometimes what I list will not be made.  He tends to change things, but that's fine.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday--Stuff Your Stocking Giveaway is coming!

Well, I happened to stop at our local drugstore on the way home today.  I wanted to put some special items together for some giveaways for my followers.  I found some great things, and the long-awaited giveaways are coming.  Hopefully, this weekend will be the time I will do it.  I have dubbed these giveaways: Stuff Your Stockings.  More information will be coming this weekend.

In addition to this, I will be reviewing a cookbook tomorrow.  I've listed it below.
We bought this last night at my daughter's book fair.  Trust me, I will be busy this weekend doing some future cooking!  I'll tell you more on Fortified Friday tomorrow.

And also this weekend, I will be reviewing an item I found at our pharmacy that we struggle to find locally.  I don't know why.

 We are always able to find the medium ones, but we often can't find the large ones.  They are life savers, and I think a review is in order.

So , that rounds out my post for tonight.  I hope you are having a wonderful Thursday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Well-Spoken Wednesday--The Evolution of a Blog

Well, I thought I would feature another blog tonight.  I haven't done  it in a  while.  I reviewed  a book last night that would have worked for tonight, but instead, I thought I would feature a blog that has really grown a lot since I first started reading it.


Brandy of Giveaway Blogdom says: Hi everybody! I have started this blog to share giveaways, reviews, and features of products. 

And indeed she did.  I don't  remember how I found her, but  I remember that her blog  posts were basically promoting giveaways on other blogs.  Which seems like a  really good way to start because many blogs do that.  She promoted so many giveaways, and sometimes I found new blogs as a result.  It was nice that she was so supportive of so many other blogs.  And indeed she still is.

I don't remember when, but a while back I saw and entered a giveaway of hers.  I don't remember if it was her first, but it was at least the first one I saw of hers.  And before long, she had giveaways galore.  She currently has 8 giveaways on her blog.  Check them out!

I have won several times on her  blog--which is always nice.  I remember that one time her e-mail got lost to me, and  I missed  out on winning the giveaway.  Actually, it was my only giveaway to have ever lost out on! I almost considered just not saying anything, but I decided to write her a nice e-mail and let her know  what happened.  I wasn't upset or anything--after all, I win my fair share of giveaways.  I also told her that I had noticed  how  much her blog had grown.  And I was right.  It had.  She seemed to have  found her unique style, and her blog had  truly become a reflection of her.

I was really impressed when I received a nice e-mail back from her in which I could tell she was very sorry this had happened. But she was glad I had won some  of her giveaways since then.  She certainly went up in my estimation.

I recently won one of her giveaways, and when I responded back, she gave me the nicest compliment.  She said that she enjoys sending winning notifications to me because I seem to truly be glad that I won.  And indeed I always am!  

So, if you get a chance, check Brandy out on her blog!  You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Twilight Tuesday--Cape Refuge Book Review

In case you missed me yesterday, there was a reason.  We had no power since 9:30 last night to 3:30 this afternoon.  I was scheduled to work, but that school district cancelled classes.  I was getting ready to do the drawing for my giveaways, and the power went off.  I have chosen my winners, and both have responded.  So all is well.  Anyway, I did finish my current read, and here is my review.

Cape Refuge (Cape Refuge Series, #1)Cape Refuge by Terri Blackstock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I began this book, I was quite intrigued.  After all, it is a Christian mystery.  That is a genre I have never read.  I grew up reading Erle Stanley Gardner and Agatha Christie where everyone jumped into bed with each other and used foul language right and left.  How refreshing this book was in light of that!

First of all, the author is a fantastic writer who certainly knows how to develop believable characters and plots with intriguing twists and turns.  I was drawn into the book from the very beginning--which is quite refreshing.

Furthermore, I absolutely loved that there were no bedroom scenes and no foul language!  Yes!  I could certainly handle reading more books like this.  While the gospel was there, the reader did not feel as though he/she was being beat over the head with Christianity.

And finally, I pride myself in the fact that I partially solved the crime.  I could follow the author's clues, and that really was exhilarating.  Rarely could I ever solve an Agatha Christie or Perry Mason case, but I have a chance with Terri Blackstock.  I certainly look forward to reading more of her books.  It looks as though this is the first in the series, and it would be nice to read the sequel.

View all my reviews

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Solution Sunday--CSN Stores Review

I promised I'd do it, didn't I?  Okay, so I am one day before the giveaway ends.  Be sure to get your entries in!

I have won a total of 4 gift certificates from CSN stores.  I have not used them all yet--I've only used 2 so far.  And I have bought a total of  3 products.  I have not had them long,  but I think I can basically review them from what I have seen so far.

This was the first product I reviewed--a Deni Food Slicer Pro II, My mom was saying one night that she wished we had a food slicer for slicing roast beef for sandwiches, cheese, etc.  I got  on CSN's website, and I found a well-reviewed item.  I will tell you that I have not had the opportunity to use this yet, but I was pleased with the price--about $60--and the speed with which it arrived.  I'll try to remember to let  you know  how well it works once we  use it.

My second order included the item above--Carex memory foam knee  pillow--and a fish cat scratcher (not pictured, follow the link).  I will tell  you that the cats refuse to use the cat scratcher at this point--hope they will one day,but maybe in a couple months once they warm  up to it.  But the memory foam knee pillow!!  Oh, yes!  I have slept with a pillow between my legs since I was about  3-4 months  pregnant.  I have used a normal pillow  up  until I ordered this.  I cannot tell you how  wonderful it is!  It is soft and fits between my legs well.  It doesn't fall  out of my bed in the middle of the night.  It is so comfortable!  My daughter wanted to use it the first night it came in,  and being the selfish mother I  am, I told  her no!  It was mine.  I  highly recommend it, and the  price is good--just around $21.

I am anxiously awaiting this product!  It is the Eclipse Memory Foam Pillow.   It must be a popular product.  It was the first thing I tried to order, but it was out of stock.  I had  the company contact me when it was back in stock. So it should be coming early this week.

I have paid will Bill Me Later, but you can use Pay Pal and major credit cards as well.  The shipping is fact, and their collection is extensive.  My only complaint is that it is sometimes hard to find a specific item for which you are looking.  The search engine on the site is not very user friendly.  I find things much easier on Amazon.  But most of the time, CSN stores is cheaper than Amazon.  You just have to be sure to do your homework!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sporadic Saturday--A Couple of Holiday Reviews

On Friday as I was driving home from work,  I heard my first radio Christmas music of the season!  Yes!  Two radio stations are playing all Christmas music, and my mood just soared as I drove home.  It was fantastic.

I had to make a stop at Safeway, and I thought I would take a look around and see what they might have for the holidays.  I knew they usually have holiday coffee cream.

I ended up buying two things I never had tried.  Both were Lucerne products, and so I will review them here.

The first product was Lucerne Light Eggnog.  I love  eggnog at the holidays, but the real stuff is so full of calories.  I tasted this almost the minute I got home, and I was impressed.  It had really good flavor.  I think it cost under 3 dollars for a quart.  And the  good news  is that it is 120 calories per 1/2 cup. If you want to see the nutrition info, click here.  While you could go overboard with this and drink too much, it is a nice sweet, mildly rich eggnog that at least  makes you feel like you are not being deprived.

The second product was Lucerne Peppermint White Chocolate non-dairy coffee creamer.  This was something new for me.  I have tried the chocolate and the pumpkin pie spice, but I don't remember this from last year.  Now, I realize that at 35 calories per serving might be a little steep, but the flavor is so worth it.  The mild peppermint flavor  mixes so well with the white chocolate.  Neither one stands out.  I can almost drink my coffee with no Splenda or anything else.  The flavor is perfect for this time of year, and for the size it was around 3 dollars.  I know it was on sale.

I would highly recommend this product to anyone.  You may not have a Safeway near you, but Tom Thumb often has similar products, so be sure to check it  out.  I have found most Lucerne brands that I try are very good.  I think it was their yogurt that was not my favorite, but it is possible it has been  improved by now.   Safeway's brands are usually cheaper than the name brands and have just as much good quality.

For your information, Safeway does not even know I am reviewing this product.  I plan to alert them if possible.   They did not pay me nor are they reimbursing me for this review.  These are my own ideas!

Saturday Six (11/13)

BWS tips button

Time for me to  get in on the action again!  I've been so busy, I could not do a blog hop, but here we go.

If you're reading this, this means you survived the week. Bravo! This also means it's time for Saturday Six with Boobies & The Zombie Housewife. Ashlee has an adorable new blog layout and button, so if you haven't snagged her new button--go ahead and do it, why dontcha?

Anyway...let's get down to business, shall we? Grab our Saturday Six button, slap it on a post, answer the following six questions, and link up! Please DO NOT link to your giveaways or random posts. (Visit me tomorrow for Show Me Yours Sunday...Giveaway Linky.) If you aren't participating-we'd prefer you NOT link up. It's just not polite folks. That'd be like us showing up to your Granny's birthday party without a gift just to eat your free food, aight? 

This week's theme is all about movies! So get your typing fingers ready you film phenoms!

1. What's the last movie you watched in a movie theater?
2. Share some movies with us that are guaranteed to make you cry.
3. What's your personal favorite movie genre?
4. What's the last flick you watched?
5. Give us your top 5 favorite movies.
6. Now tell us some of your most hated...
My Answers


Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole

I took my daughter and her friend to this film.  They loved it, and I will say that the 3-D was quite exceptional in this movie.


All  guaranteed tear-jerkers!

3.  Hard to say.  I am sucker for a love story, but musicals are fantastic as well.  Give me a comedy, family movie--oh, decisions are so tough!  I would say my favorite genre is the classics--specifically musicals.


Watched it last night and again tonight.  I loved  it!



I didn't begin to cover all the films  I could have,  but this a good beginning.  Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fortified Friday #7 Back on Track!

Okay, I have got this ready this week.  Here's hoping it will all  go well.  I planned my meals with two books.  You have seen one of them before:

The other book is:                                      


Most of the recipes are from the latter book.  Only one or two from the other.

Meal 1:  Orange Pepper Steaks (p. 38 4-ingredient cookbook), fried rice

Meal 2:  Peach Pork Roast (p. 10 4-ingredient cookbook), potatoes, veggies

Meal 3:  Hawaiian Chicken (p. 78 4-ingredient cookbook), Apple-Rice Medley (p. 206 4-ingredient)

Meal 4:  Country Chicken Pot Pie (p. 97 4-ingredient cookbook), green salad

Meal 5:  Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole (p. 54 Make it Fast cook it slow)

Dessert:  Take-Along Cake (p. 336 4-ingredient)

Extra:  Englishman's Trifle (p. 344 4-ingredient)

It feels good to be back on track.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday--Veteran's Day

A busy day today all around, so this will be quick.  Martin is here, and when he heard them say "Happy Veteran's Day" on the news, he did not see the appropriateness of this greeting.  My response was that we as Americans often see this as a holiday and a day off and we forget why it was established.  I have had the pleasure of sending off packages twice to soldiers in Afghanistan and/or Iraq this year, and it always means the world to me.  I think that sometimes we as Americans forget about the great sacrifice the military and their families have made for our freedom.  Just remember.  No matter what you may think of the war, our soldiers need our prayers and respect.  Who among you would willingly give your life for your country?  I don't think I would.  But I am sure glad there are those who do!  So thank you from the bottom of my heart to all those who have served or who are serving in the U.S. military.  And thank you to their families for their support as well.

I have both of these and highly recommend them.  The DVD is awesome, and the CD just thrills me when I hear it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WWW Wednesdays (10/10)

Okay, so I'm lazy.  I should go back and rewrite my last post, but I didn't.  So here goes:

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?  Just started it, and I love it!

• What did you recently finish reading?  Read my review here.

• What do you think you’ll read next?   I think I will read this one, but we'll see.