Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

Today is the start of a brand new year.  I have 365 days to write about my life and the little things that go on, the bigger than the little things, and well everything that goes on.  I have desires that I want to accomplish, and goals I want to achieve, people I want to serve and experiences I want to have.  I want to learn, to develop better love and caring and happiness and wisdom.  I want to remove pounds from my body, judgement from my mind, wickedness from my soul and fear from my faith.

I want to visit with friends I haven't seen in years, to keep in touch with family and friends better.  I want to over come the hurt that is haunting my life and to be a better witness of Christ.  God has made me strong.  He is the one I turn to when I need help, when I feel alone, when no one is caring enough to be there for me.  He is my foundation where on I stand strong.  I stand with my husband and my children, we are a team, we work together, and we work hard.  I am strong enough!  I have been given the responsibility to serve other because they are not strong enough on their own.

During the year 2014, I will be sharing more than just product reviews, giveaways, and none personal things here on this blog.  I really do love serving others, and find that it is soothing to my soul.  It helps me forget the negative in my life, and focus on the positive.  God is the one that I thank when good things come my way, when happiness reigns supreme in my life.  For without true honest gratitude expression during the good times, why would God want to bless me with strength, peace, help and support during the hard times?  I'm not really sure He would really want to.  So I give thanks for everything.

Here is to a new year, a new book, a new chapter, a brand new me and a brand new you!  I saw this photo being passed around Facebook on New Year's Eve.  I really love it, it really speaks to me as a writer.  So join me and my team as we welcome the new year 2014, and all the new that will happen.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Raising a Happy Child Book Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Details: How to Raise a Happy Child, and be happy too) by Heather Criswell and Taryn Voget.  Simply genius parenting strategies that work.  Includes many "How to" videos via QR scanner codes.  Heather Criswell is a kid whisperer, and has spent 25 years working with over 30,000 children.  She  is a parent coach, a keynote speaker, and an author, sharing her unique approach and wisdom with the world.  Taryn Voget is the co-founder of the Everyday Genius Institute.  She too is a keynote speaker, a consultant, and the author of 6 strategy books of genius, and a thought leader on genius and human potential.  Together they bring you simple strategies that bring out the best in you as a parent/ guardian, and the best in your child.  What they cover in this book is: bedtime, manners, homework, sharing, mealtime, back-talking, disrespect, fighting, grades, lying, swearing, public temper tantrums.  You will get the chance to question your parenting assumptions, and learn step-by-step, refreshing new techniques to get the results you want.  "You will discover how to raise capable, self-reliant, truly happy kids in a stress-free environment."

Disclaimer: 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.

Video links
Favorite poster
My Review:  I am so happy to be chosen to be a reviewer of this book.  My husband and I love our kids, and know that our kids are really good.  However, we also know we're not perfect, we make many mistakes daily, and some if not most of those mistakes affect our children, their happiness, their self-confidence, and how they feel about themselves.  So as we are personally on a journey to better our selves as parents, to improve our parenting and discipline, this landed in my lap as a blessing from the Lord, because what I have read so far is really helping us!  Let me just say, I love the QR scan codes for the videos, because me husband isn't going to sit down and read this, or let me read it to him.  He just doesn't get anything out of big thick books.  However, with these videos, he can watch them and learn from them as I learn from this book.  He totally loves this idea!  So thank you Heather and Taryn for thinking of busy dads, not just us moms here.  The picture of the favorite poster is one that was used in the preschool mentioned in the book.  We have printed up this poster for our kid's rooms so they can see it and learn to read it daily!

Was I successful?
parenting list of Q's
Okay, to start off with, this book does take time and energy, and you may want to write down notes or highlight things that apply to you, and your children.  The book is broken up into 5 sections.  Part 1 covers "Deciding who you are as a parent", meaning what you want to get out of parenting, and how you define yourself now as a parent.  Part 2 covers "5 ingredients for parenting success" a great section for notes and high lighting.  Part 3 covers 1 chapter "Put Happiness into Action" you could technically stop reading after this chapter, but Part 4 is the stock of this stew; and without it you wouldn't really know how to make those changes you've just read about, want to instigate, and plan on using.  So Part 4 covers "Feel like a Parenting Pro with these Proven Scripts", 22 scenarios that you can master, learn, and use for your every day parenting challenges.  Part 5 covers the closing thoughts, and the list of videos pertaining to this book.

The list of scenarios include: team sports (which would have been helpful while our kids were in soccer, but will help us when they play baseball this spring), "I hate you!" towards parents or siblings (which is unfortunately used by our 4 year old way more than we like at all, "I'm not tired" (which at our house means they'll play for hours once in bed, and no amount of threatening, ginger powder on their tongues, or time outs do anything for this issue).
Let me tell you, our 6 year old now learns the names of those kids whom he plays with, where otherwise he wouldn't have even cared to know their names.  Our 4 year old gets after me and Daddy now any time he hears us use the "H" word (hate) even if we're referring to that stupid dog who barks all the time, or the crazy drivers on the road.  And now for bedtime our kids fall asleep within 10 minutes of going to bed, with no playing or crying, where as it used to take HOURS for them to fall asleep.  And this is just the tip of the ice berg for us.  We still have so much to practice with our kids from this book!  And each time they present us with a whole new playing field we can still review and go over what we know and adjust it to each child and their personal situations.  I think every young couple ready to have kids should read this and start memorizing what to do, so when they come to those situations their bases are already covered!  I highly recommend this book.

Pros: AMAZING!, it works great, easy to read, makes sense, applies to so many people and situations

Cons: none

Contest: There is a contest for you to win 1 free printed copy of this book.  All the details are on our facebook page for this contest.  Must be 18 years or older, open to US only, must be a friend on facebook.

My Rating: THUMBS UP

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Lego Mouse Trap Game

Details: Hasbro U-Build Mouse Trap game for kids 6 years and older.  A 2 - 4 player game, with a twist.  Change your traditional Mouse Trap game with Lego's.  Build your board and chase down the cheese!  Launch your mouse and race for the cheese!  Game Contents: 106 U-Build bricks, 8 walls, 4 mouse marbles, 4 small cardboard cheese hills, 1 large cardboard cheese mountain, 1 trap part, 1 space boot part, 1 die, 1 20" x 20" game board, 1 label sheet, assembly guide, game guide.  Don't get trapped as you search for the cheese in outer space.  Play it our way, or change things up.  Find all the cheese, customize the game-board, add in some of your own twists and truly make it your own.

Disclaimer: This game is no longer being sold, however we got one brand new from a store, I'm not sure when these have been taken off the market.

My Review: My children love this game!  I have a 4 year old boy and a 6 year old boy who play this game on a weekly basis.  The game pieces are Lego's, and do fit with the regular Lego's my kids play with, so whenever they are done with this game, it'll be easy to just put all the Lego pieces in their Lego sets.  It took us about 10 minutes to set up the board, the directions weren't very clear about how the pieces go together, which pieces were for what, but looking at the pictures on the box really helped us the most.  This is basically Mouse Trap on the Moon, complete with space ships, the cheese moon, rocket ships etc.  The "cardboard" cheese hills and mountain are really card stock, and have a hard time staying in the correct position because they have been folded for so long.  The rocket ship boot doesn't really work very well.  So we improvise for it to work.  In fact even though it says on the box it only comes with one, in the directions it tells you that there should be 4, one per color of mouse.  This is the first time I've ever had to make or rather put together the game die.  The outer walls work okay, but don't really stay put either.  Aside from all these little things that annoy my husband and myself, my kids and their friends love playing this game.

Pros: kids love this game, Lego's make this fun to play with

Cons: little things will annoy adults, no longer being sold in stores

My Rating: thumbs up and down

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Nail Ritz Kit Review

Details: Professional Nail Art Nailritz is great for nail art enthusiasts.  About Nailritz: 2 in 1 double sided polish pens.  Directions: twist off cap to paint.  Pull cap off to draw.  Squeeze to design with the pen.  Twist and join rings to easily combine your favorite colors.  Convenient to take on the go, anywhere.  Patented designs for brush applicators and micro-pen nail art tips.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary nail kit in exchange for an honest review, and to help with a company sponsored giveaway.

My Review: I was introduced to this nail company 3 years ago, but when I was introduced the nail logo was already washed off, the pens so the owners couldn't tell me who or where they got their nail art pen set.  So when I got this company's invitation, this was Christmas to me!  I am so stoked to give you my testimony about this company.  As someone who has been working with nails, nail polish, nail art designs for over 17 years, finding great products is key.  I love these pens!  They are amazing; because of their micro-tip and its accuracy it gives for very detailed nail art.  I love that each pen is double sided, and that it comes in themed kits like: Neon, Shimmer, Princess etc.  This way you can get a whole set of 5 pens, 10 colors and have them all be amazing.  The mirco-tips are super easy to keep clean, but can bend if not treated with care.  The brushes are a really fun way to enhance the pen's versatility, and usability so you don't have to have on hand multiple bottles of polish, instead of just 1 or 2 pens.

On top of those really great features, Nailritz is a Vendor so you can order with two different retailer options: Drop Ship Dealer Program, or the Wholesale Stocking Dealer Program.  And to one-up that option, you can become a Nailritz Consultant, and or become a Hostess and host your own in home Nailritz party.  I am totally signing up for a home party, I have a Bridal shower I'm in charge of coming up, I think this would be a way to celebrate the Bride and her friends.

Pros: amazing! love this product

Cons: nothing

My Rating: THUMBS UP

Gallery of Examples:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bloglovin Claim

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/11427287/?claim=cq3bg388b24">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Joining the Bloglovin crew!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Wedding Flower Woes: Flowers on a Budget

Wedding Flower Woes: Decorative Options that Won’t Break the Bank

You’ve been dreaming about your wedding since you were a little girl. What that little girl didn’t know was how much weddings cost. Your innocent inner child still believes flowers should be free because they grow out in nature, just waiting to be picked by sticky hands. Your adult self knows better now. But don’t give up on your dreams just because you’re limited by a budget. Here are some tips for saving money on wedding flowers.

Multipurpose flowers
One of the most common ways brides save money on flowers is by using them for more than one purpose. Bridesmaids carry bouquets down the aisle during the ceremony and those same bouquets are used as centerpieces at the reception. This simple step can save you up to fifty percent on flower costs.

Buy in bulk
Skip the middleman and buy your flowers wholesale. There is a catch to this option, though. You have to create your own arrangements. Because fresh flowers don’t last forever, you have to create the arrangements within a day of the ceremony. Some brides find this too stressful. Others have their bridesmaids build their own bouquets a couple of hours before the rehearsal dinner, as part of the wedding festivities.

Single stems
Instead of having your wedding party carry intricate bouquets down the aisle, give them one single flower. A long-stem rose or a vibrant sunflower can create a simple elegance for significantly less money.

From the garden
There is nothing that says your wedding flowers can’t come from your garden. If you or somebody close to you has a garden of flowers, your inner child can fulfill her fantasy of picking her own bouquet. There is some risk to this option, not knowing for sure how the flower “crop” will produce each season, but the fragrance and the nostalgia make it a risk worth taking.

Paper flowers
If you would rather create your own bouquets ahead of time, without the risk of your flowers wilting, you could always make your own flowers. There are numerous DIY and crafty people who show you how on Pinterest. The bonus of this option is that you can be very precise with color selection.

Do something completely different
Break down the traditional expectations and do something completely different. Have your bridesmaids carry candles instead of flowers. Be sure the candle will last the length of the ceremony and that there is something to protect the girls from hot, dripping wax.

Other options could be to carry scarves folded to look like flowers. (Groomsmen could wear pocket-handkerchiefs to match.) They could carry paper lanterns lit by battery powered tea lights. They could even carry balloons. It’s your wedding. Use your creativity to come up with something unique that’s meaningful to you and your groom!

The point is that your dreams grow and change as you get older, but the creativity of childhood can bring them to life in ways you never imagined!

Tiffany Marshall is a freelance writer who has been a bridal consultant, a wedding videographer and a bridesmaid many times over. She writes about budget weddings, DIY decorations and Cutting Edge Entertainment.

Manicure Monday: Christmas Red and Gold Zing

Revlon: Saucy 640
Revlon: Saucy 640

Sassy Chick: 3 in 1 Gold polish pen

Thumb: one layer of Revlon, then 3 curved lines and 4 zing.  3 mini jewels, 1 medium jewel

Adding the zing onto the nail with wet gold polish

Pointer Finger: 1 layer of Revlon, 2 slanted lines of gold dots, with 1 mini jewel 

Middle Finger: (Similar to thumb) 1 layer of Revlon,
3 very short curved lines of Gold polish,
2 zing: 1 mini, one medium, then
add 6 dots between curved lines

Ring Finger: 1 layer of Revlon, 2 rows squiggly lines of dots, with 1 zing

Pinky Finger: Step 1: 5 Zing closing off the nail tip 
Pinky Finger: Step 2: Gold Tip: using the brush on Sassy Chic's 3 in 1 polish pen,
paint the nail tip gold in front of the zing

Finished Pinky Finger nail
Here's the finished look
(this was taken before I painted the pinky finger nail tip gold)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Vitabath Hydrating Lotion

Details: Vitabath Hydrating Lotion is usually $7.99 in most stores.  Moisturize your skin with lotion formulated with Aloe Vera, Safflower and Olive Oils for silky soft skin.  This hydrating lotion enriches skin with luxurious moisture and delicate scent.  Free from propylene glycol, phthalates, mineral oil, and synthetic color.  Fruit Fanatic: Grapefruit Vanilla hydrating lotion is paraben free.  12 fl oz bottles.  "Super sweet deliciousness.  Three perfect words for this sublime blend of sugary pink grapefruit and smooth rich vanilla."  Drench your skin with this ultra rich lotion created to provide instant moisture and leave skin feeling soft, smooth and lightly fragrance.  Antioxiant rich super fruit blends: Acai, Goji, Coffee, Noni, Pomegranate, Green Tea and Mangosteen. Vitamin rich: Vitamin A, B3, C, E and B5.

Disclaimer: I received a free full sized bottle in exchange for an honest, non biased review for Influenster and Vitabath.

My Review: When this product came I first noticed that 1.  I didn't get the fragrance that I asked for, 2. the "lightly frangrance" is actually really strong, and 3. this is super thick lotion.  Now with these aspects that I just pointed out.  Point number one was frustrating because I wanted the Pomegranate and Blood Orange scented lotion.  But ended up with the Grapefruit Vanilla scented lotion.  I do enjoy this scent thank goodness, I was worried because my skin and nose are super sensitive to grapefruit and vanilla.  Point number two is also something to keep in mind.  This lotion is one that needs to be put on and then aired before going to mingle with lots of people because its strong enough to be categorized as over powering by those standing or sitting closest to you.  But this is an easy fix, just put it on when you're alone in the bathroom or your bedroom.  Point number three is a great feature, because as it is winter right now, thick lotion is perfect for my extra dry skin.  This stays on for hours, even if you wash your hands, which is a huge plus for me.  This would also make a great gift for anyone who loves or needs to wear lots of lotion.

Pros: Amazing product, great scents, great for extra dry skin, and for smelling good

Cons: I didn't get what I asked for, but do like what I did get

My Rating: Thumbs up

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Choies Pearl Necklace

My Wear: earrings added separately
Details: Pearl necklace from Choies.  Consists of artificial pearls on a 62 cm length gold plated chain.  Choies for $12-$15.

My Rating: I love giant pearls so when I got this necklace as a replacement item from Choies that was ruined, I was very excited.  This gold plated chain isn't as gold as it shows in the pictures, its a mix of white gold and yellow gold.  The pearls are amazing!  They have 3 different sizes, small, medium, large.  The chain works best when worn as a shorter (more choker style) necklace, because with all the pearls on the chain its heavy.  I'm actually planning on removing about 10 pearls in the different sizes because they don't sit in sync with the other pearls when I wear this necklace.  So with the ones I plan on removing I'll make 2 sets of matching earrings, and a matching gold plated chain bracelet.

I have worn this necklace more as a causal accessory to my outfits, but its also great to dress up.  I have received multiple compliments on my statement piece when I'm out and about running errands!
Casual Wear

Business Wear

My Wear

Pros: a great statement piece, fun to wear, looks amazing

Cons: fake pearls, a little heavy

My Rating: Thumb up

Monday, December 9, 2013

Manicure Monday: Christmas Nails: Lots of Zing

Claw polish: vampire red, but great for Christmas too

I love Milani chunky glitter polish

red "Claw" polish, with red chunky glitter, and 3 blue oval zings per finger (middle and ring fingers)

I started with the white zing on the very tip, then I painted on the green glitter stripe after the zing.  I used 6 mini diamonds.
Lots of Zing to choose from

Green Zing on red polish: 4 mini flowers
Pinky Finger: green glitter on red polish

Finished look.  I wouldn't wear all these designs at once, but it was fun to do.