Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy Birthday, America!

Happy Birthday, America!

Today is a day that we celebrate the freedom of our country. And I usually post some sort of photo to represent the day. This year, I'm thrilled to have photos taken by my son, Andrew. We were at an early 4th of July celebration event and he took these photos. Enjoy!

Happy 4th of July!





 





Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Old Fashioned Novel and Devotional - Review and #Giveaway

Disclosure: I was given a copy of these items in order to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


I was part of a review team that got to not only review the DVD of "old fashioned" the movie, but I also got to read the novelization of the movie and received "the old fashioned way" devotional. I loved getting the chance to look at all the pieces of this project. It was a wonderful thing to be able to share the movie, the book and the devotional with my teenagers as well. It shows them the way their father and I dated and married. It gave us a terrific opening to talk about why abstinence is important to us and to share that we practiced abstinence until married. Definately an 'old fashioned' way to date and marry if you believe all that is in the media and on TV.  Keep reading for your chance to enter to win your own Old Fashioned prize package, but you can purchase anytime at this website.

About the novelization/book Old Fashioned:
Turning his back on his reckless lifestyle, former frat boy Clay Walsh has settled down to turn an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town....and to purse lofty and outdated theories on love and romance.  But when Amber Hewson, a free-spirited woman with a gypsy soul, rents the apartment above his shop, Clay can't help being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life.  Amber also finds herself surprisingly drawn to Clay, but his ideas about relationships are unusual to say the least, and they bring to light her own deep wounds and fears about love.  They say opposites attract, but can Clay and Amber move beyond their differences and their pasts to attempt an "old fashioned" courtship?

I loved the book. I probably loved the book more than the movie becasueyou get a better sense of the depth of the struggles the characters face when you read their innermost thoughts. But, I also loved the movie and found it was the best way to communicate with my kids. This is a visual society and giving them a movie to watch emphasizing values we believe in was much more impacting than a book they didn't (and probably wouldn't) read. 



I also loved the devotional. It goes into more depth and allows my husband and I to encourage and facilitate conversations with our kids about our beliefs. That's been the most instrumental part of this review process. Finding ways to connect with our kids and be able to share our beliefs without preaching sermons to them or getting in their face. We've had lively discussion and debates. They are smart kids and they have opinions--often strong ones--too. In having discussion and debates, we get to know each other better. They learned a few things they didn't know about their parents. And we learned over and over that our kids often 'get it,' even when we think they don't. I learned that my kids are awesome and even when they disagree over things, they are open-minded enough to listen. On some things, I am shifting my position because of their logic and their arguments. 

About the devotional:
Contrary to popular opinion, being "old fashioned" doesn't mean you're dull or unromantic.  In fact, a true old fashioned relationship can be more exciting and romantic than anything you've ever experienced!  So what does it mean to do things the old fashioned way?  Sure, it means opening doors, holding out chairs, and taking things slow.  But a true old fashioned romance goes much, much deeper than that.  Inspired by the motion picture Old Fashioned, this book will show you how to reclaim the lost art of romance by introducing you to romantic love as God intended it.  Regardless of your past mistakes, where you've been, what you've done, or where you are now, you can find and create a love that will last a lifet ime!  As you work your way through this forty-day journey of inspiring readings and questions for reflection, you'll discover all the unique and amazing benefits of doing things the old fashioned way.  And before you know it, you'll be well on your way to creating a love story for the ages.   
Now for the giveaway - 

I'm excited to announce that I get to give one lucky winner a complete "Old Fashioned" prize package including the DVD, the Novel, and the Devotional.

Please note the giveaway rules: 
  • Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. 
  • If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. 
  • If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
  • Only US and Canada addresses are eligible to win this prize package. 



Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Vino Van Gogh Painting Class and #Giveaway - Omaha Area

Disclosure: I attended a class for free in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts an opinions are my own. 

I'm sure you've heard all about those wine and paint parties. But have you ever gone to one? I hadn't, but I'm hooked now. What fun! I had the opportunity to paint a painting called Spring Sunset with Vino Van Gogh and I loved the experience. Vino Van Gogh is a unique painting experience because instead of being in a building where you have to bring all your own food/drink, they meet in local restaurants where you paint and can eat and drink the house specalties.


Painting from start to finish
My painting was done at Frernando's Mexican Restaurant off 75th & Pacific. I was able to take my mom with me and we had a great time together. It was fun to hang out and talk and laugh...and pig out on nachos. (I'm still stuffed from those giant nachos!) We decided we might not be the best painters from our class, but we had fun and that's what mattered. I thought of it as painting memories with my mom.


Mom and I with our finished paintings


Even better, I was at the same class as two blogging friends. I hadn't met them in person before, just through their blogs, but it was very fun to connect faces to blogs. I met Becky who blogs at The Modern Jane Austen and Rachael who blogs at Love Yourself Green. Be sure to keep reading because not only do I have a giveaway on my blog, each of them is giving a lucky winner a painting class, too.



Robyn (me), Rachael and Becky with our finished paintings
Now that you've seen some of what we did and heard about all the fun we had, who wants to win a certificate to attend a class? Enter using the Giveaway Tools form below. 

Enter the Giveaway!


When you have entered here, be sure to enter the giveaways at - 

The finished painting.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the dads.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Black Day: The Monster rock band (Children's Book) Releases Today #BlackDayBook

Disclosure: I was given a PDF copy of the book to read in exchange for my review...and I'm super stoked that Marcus' book is in print as of today!



There are some things that are so thrilling to me that I can hardly breathe because I get so excited. This review is one of them. I've been honored to review a lot of authors over time. I've even met some really famous authors and even had lunch with a few of them after book signings. I even go to church with a famous author. Even with all the author blessings I have in my life, to hold in my hands and read the book Black Day: The Monster rock band holds extra special joy for me because of who the author is. 

Congratulations, Marcus Sikora. Another dream of yours has come true today! 

And to Mardra Sikora, co-author and mom to Marcus, wowza! Mardra and I have been BFF's since high school and my husband and I hold the honor of being the first babysitters for Marcus. So when I see the Black Day books and hold one in my hand, I cry because he's my boy, too. 

Marcus is an incredibly funny guy with imagination that never ends. He gives some of the best hugs on the planet. He is an actor and singer as well as a writer. Oh, and he happens to have a spare chromosome. He's got 3 of #21 which means he has Down syndrome. But I never want that to be what defines him--he's Marcus, he's awesome, and he's a published author. The other label is meaningless to anyone who knows him.

As of today--his birthday--he is a published author. And I've read it and I have to tell you it's totally amazing. It's a hard-cover, full color story with beautiful illustrations by Noah Witchell. The talented Noah is also helping animate the DVD short and if I understand it all correctly, he's making the movie 3D. Awesome!!! (PS--shameless plug for the DVD as my oldest boy, Andrew, is the voice of Dracula.)

We are not big Halloween fans in our house--but the idea of monsters seeming scary and needing to neutralize the 'scary monster thoughts' makes this book perfect. It gives monsters voice to show they aren't mean or scary. They just want to have fun like the rest of us. They want friends and to be able to make a band if they want. So if you're a Halloween lover, you will love the book. If you're like me and one the fence about the whole day, you'll still love the book. 

About the book:
Brad is a paper boy who wants to be a rock star, so when he discovers the band Black Day playing in old Professor Hammer’s garage, he really wants to join.
The band’s monsters have a different idea and send him away, “No humans!”
Brad sets out to change their minds, but the monsters have bigger problems than finding a bass player.
Halloween may never be the same again.

The book is $20 and can be purchased online at the Black Day Book website for delivery in July. Or you can order online at My Book Orders and for Omaha peeps, the Bookworm at 90 & Center is carrying the title as well. Don't miss the book signing on July 11 at 1:00 p.m. at the Bookworm. Marcus would love to meet you and sign your book. (My suggestion for Omaha folks - buy your copy now and bring it to the signing...then you KNOW you have it!)




And let me leave you with a little bit more about the author. 
Marcus Sikora is a 25 year old creative soul who has Down syndrome and lives in Omaha, Nebraska. He has acted on stage with local and national companies as well as written a short one act. Black Day: The monster rock band is his first book for children. When he’s not watching theater, singing, or working out, he’s contemplating the sequel, title yet to be determined. You can connect with Marcus and his adventures via Twitter @marcusmusical, on Facebook at GrownUpsAndDowns, and BlackDayBook.com.

Make sure you get yourself a copy of this book!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pirate's Code: The Adventures of Mickey Matson DVD Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this DVD in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 



Who likes to have movie night at their house? I know we do. Yet, having kids with such a large age span (ages 17, 13, 9), it makes finding 'appropriate' movies that interest everyone a little challenging. It made me excited to have the opportunity to review Pirate's Code: The Adventures of Mickey Matson for this reason. It's an action movie, but one that is appropriate for all ages to watch. I didn't have to worry that words or gore would be bad for my 9 year old, and at the same time, my 17 year old would be willing to watch it with us--even if it's a little beneath his age--because of the action.

Well, we all thouroughly enjoyed the movie and are now planning to get the previous Mickey Matson movie. It was such a pleasure to watch a family friendly film and not worry about what we might see. We were able to sit back as a family, enjoy popcorn, each other's company, and a terrific movie. Keep reading for the opportunity to win your own copy of this DVD below. Or order a copy of the movie here.  Since it has the Dove.org Family Approved seal, you know you are watching a movie that is safe for the entire family. I can't tell you how happy we are to have a new series of movies we can be on the lookout for to purchase and share over and over as a family. 

About the movie:
In this follow up to Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure, Mickey Matson is at it again; this time pitted against the evil Admiral Ironsides and his gang of pirates who are intent on destroying civilization.  They're new invention, the Tesla Coil, is a weapon of mass destruction that will send an electromagnetic pulse throughout the world, destroying every electronic device in existence.  With the help of a secret organization, Mickey and his best friend Sully embark on a mission to stop the pirates from taking over a submarine and stealing the last part needed to complete their devastating weapon.  If Admiral Ironsides succeeds in his plan, civilization will be sent back to the Stone Age.  It's a race against time, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.  
The giveaway -

Please enter using the Giveaway Tools form below. Must reside in the US or Canada in order to enter. If you have won this DVD from another blog, you are not eligible to win again. Please see all the terms and conditions for the giveaway and good luck!






Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Old Fashioned - DVD Release Today

Disclosure: I received a copy of the DVD in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


I don't know about you, but one of the things that I've worried about since the time my kids were little was when they would date. You do your best to raise them right and to make good choices, but as our society becomes more and more permissive, it is hard to show our kids an e
xample of balance in dating. I know I'm considered old fashioned in my views, so when the opportunity to review the movie Old Fashioned came my way, you know I jumped on it.


What did I find? Well, we watched with our teens (not the littlest one--I wasn't sure if it would be appropriate for a 9 year old or not). I think she would have watched it, but it wouldn't have had much impact or meaning for her. A little over her head and that's ok--she can see it when she's older. I found it to be a gateway to discuss my husband and my beliefs and thoughts on dating with our teens without it becoming too heavy or a lecture. We were able to talk about things from the movie and apply to our own lives. 

A little about the movie:
A romantic-drama, OLD FASHIONED centers on Clay Walsh, a former frat boy who gives up his reckless carousing and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town. There, he has become notorious for his lofty and outdated theories on love and romance as well as for his devout belief in God. When Amber Hewson, a free-spirited young woman with a restless soul, drifts into the area and rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his strong faith and noble ideas, which are new and intriguing to her. And Clay, though he tries to fight and deny it, simply cannot resist being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life. Ultimately, Clay must step out from behind his relational theories and Amber must overcome her own fears and deep wounds as the two of them, together, attempt the impossible: an "old-fashioned" and God-honoring courtship in contemporary America. 

Here is the trailer for the movie:


We thoroughly enjoyed the film. I found it to be a good example of a different way of viewing dating, love and marriage. I know friends of mine were worried it would be too preachy and that it would be a two-hour sermon. I was delighted to find a well-written, well thought-out script that was a breath of fresh air. It wasn't a long sermon, it was a love story. It was chivalry and it was pure love and it was beautiful.

I really liked the movie and hope others will give it a chance and use it as a tool for working with their own children to show an 'old fashioned' way of dating. You can purchase the movie here and share it with your family as well. And keep watching here because I'm also working on the devotional inspired by this film as well as the book. I'll be reviewing the book and devotional in a couple weeks--which will include a giveaway of all three items to one lucky winner. 

Be sure to check out the Old Fashioned Movie Facebook page as well as Twitter

Friday, June 12, 2015

Copper Mountain Activity Passes (My Readers Save $20)

Disclosure: I received activity passes in exchange for sharing on my blog. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

VACATION TIME!!! VACATION TIME!!!


I can't wait for our family vacation. Colorful Colorado, here we come. We plan to spend time in Denver, then a week up in Copper Mountain. It's going to be amazing. Especially after I learned about the Summer Activity Passes you can get for Copper Mountain. There are daily passes or season passes. Save a bundle while you do all the 'cool' things the kids (of all ages) want to do. 


More about Copper Mountain and the Activity Passes: 
Summer days are family days at Copper Mountain. Race around Summit County's only go kart track, ride a rugged scooter around the village, jump for joy on our bungee jump or invoke your inner Happy Gilmore on our mini golf course. We've got fun covered!
Go Karts - favorite of 2 of my kids
1) Free Chair lift fare when you spend $12 in the village. Kids under age 12 are free.
2) Kids Night Out on Fridays and Saturdays-5:30-10:00pm. Free when you spend $30 in the village
June-26-September 5th
3) Copper Campfire and Fireworks - Every Saturday night- roast s'mores, while you hear campfire-style family friendly story teller or guitarist. * excluding July 4th because we are recommending for guests to attend the in-town celebration in Frisco.
4) Summer Family Friendly Events Galore- including Mac and Cheese Fest and Copper's Gone to The Dogs- see our event calendar
Zipline - this 'big kid' favorite' (that's Mom)

Here's the part everyone should jump up and down about... 

My Readers Save $20 Off Copper Mountain Summer Activities when you purchase a Summer Activity Pass. Be sure to get your coupon here. 


Summer Activity Passes: Bungee, go-kart, zip-line, mini golf, hydro bike, bike haul, diggler, scenic chair, bumper boats, and climbing wall. Save $20 off Summer Season Pass $109 Save $10 off Summer Day Pass $49 Save $2 off a Summer Activity range $12-$15 
Visit Coppercolorado.com for information. Valid 06/12-09/09 2015 



Click here to see lodging options: http://www.copperchamber.com/business-directory/lodging


Putter's Pride Mini Golf - Denver, CO - Discount Offer

Disclosure: I received golf passes in exchange for a post on my blog. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Have you heard how excited I am to take a family vacation this summer? We will be headed to beautiful Colorado. While there, we are trying to pack in as many 'fun times' as possible. Since my kids have loved mini-golf since they could walk, we knew we had to find a miniature golf course to go to.

Hello Putter's Pride Mini Golf. Centrally located in Denver, CO, the kids can't wait to get their hands on a club and go putt the day away.

From Putter's Pride:
Love the windmill hole!
Opened since 1996 we have created a great place for your family and friends to gather.We offer entertaining fun for everyone with individual and group rounds of 18-hole miniature golf. Stop in for great golf fun at our memorable atmosphere. Give your family & friends a party that they will never forget. Putter's Pride is great for every age and groups of any size.
Putter's Pride welcomes Birthday Parties, Corporate Events, Camps, Church Groups, Family Reunions, Local School and Non-Profit Fundraisers and everything in between. For details on group rates and availability on having your party at Putter's Pride please call (303) 985-3860 or email us at info@putterspride.com.
Can I bring my own food and drinks?Yes. Any food or beverages you would like to bring to your party is welcomed in our outdoor party area. Alcohol is prohibited.
Can grandma come to the party?If you have guests, such as elderly relatives who want to come and enjoy the party or parents accompanying their child who do not want to participate in miniature golf, they are welcome to come into the party area at no charge.
And do you want to know why it's a good thing you read my blog? Because if you use the coupon, you will receive Buy 1 Round Get 1 Round FREE Or 20% Off Birthday parties. Can't beat a deal like that!!

Sky Zone - Parker, CO (FREE Sky Socks)

Disclosure: I received bounce passes in exchange for a post on my blog. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


Later this summer, our family is planning a vacation getaway to Colorado. While there, I'm attending a convention, we are traveling with my in-laws and our family is going to do some fun family events. One of our family events is going to be jumping at Sky Zone in Parker, CO. We have been looking for a fun trampoline place to bounce and can't wait to bounce in Parker (just south of Denver). 


A little more about Sky Zone: 
Throw your child the best party ever at Sky Zone! Your kids and their friends will experience the WOW of jumping, flying and flipping on our wall-to-wall trampoline courts. Give your child the best gift of all - pure joy! Voted "Best Party Ever," Sky Zone Parker makes birthday parties easy with their custom party packages, private rooms, and fitness-oriented activities that will have them bouncing off the walls! 
Jump on private trampoline courts under supervision, dunk like a pro on the SkySlam hoops, and flip over the Foam Zone! Got Smaller Kids? (under 40") Sky Zone has Toddler Time Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10:30 AM to 12 PM http://www.skyzone.com/parker
Mention that you saw to mention "Colorado Kids" on Coolestmommy.com and receive free Sky Socks. There is also a coupon available


We hope you will email or tweet some pics of you and your family jumping at Sky Zone. Looking forward to bouncing fun!


 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Thanks




Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Just when you think it's over - #SensoryBlogHop

Do you ever have one of those days where something from the past suddenly blindsides you? In many ways, that's what it is like to have a loved one with a sensory processing disorder (SPD).

Recently, we went through our own blindsided epiphany. Nathan is now 13 years old. And through a lot of therapy, practice and the grace of God, he is able to participate and handle most situations. Things that used to bother him don't bother him in a way that makes him meltdown...usually. We are so far past crying in restaurants and crying at prayer and fighting against certain clothing choices that I almost forget we have SPD issues...almost. 

Nathan had a day where he was sick and stayed home from school. He had thrown up once (a one and done as my daughter calls it) but was having some bathroom issues. Our school says we stay home for 24 hours after vomiting. I'm not one to mess with that rule so he stayed home even though he looked good, felt good, and hadn't gotten sick again. But the day proved he was tired and it was the right choice. We were able to catch up on some homework and still have time to relax and let him play video games. 

A few days later, we're at lunch at a popular restaurant. One that we don't go to with great frequency, but we eat there about once every other month. He even said he'd go there with our group to celebrate my friend's birthday. We are all laughing and talking and picking our food, and I'm not paying much attention to Nathan or Rebekah. They have their own system with kids menus. They look them over and use the crayons provided to circle their picks and then we make them practice giving their orders to the waitress. I look over at Nathan as she's starting at the other end of the table, his face crumples and out of nowhere, it hits. He's overwhelmed and just went into overload. Dang, I didn't see that one coming. 

The music was a little louder than most places, the whole restaurant is a little louder than most. Not something you'd normally notice, but that day, it got to him. He was also extra-tired as we had a late night the night before and he was coming off of his illness day. Poor kid. He was floundering to keep it together and choosing a meal was more than he could take. All he wanted was an appetizer, but he was very upset because he had the drink already for the kids meal and he felt trapped into picking a kids meal. So I threw the idea of making him order out the window and intervened. Ordered the appetizer he wanted for his meal, told the waitress to charge me for the drink. (God bless her, she said she'd give it to him on the house because it wasn't a problem.)

In that moment, I was thinking, "What just happened here?!?!" Later I figured it out. 

Just when you think it's over...








This month, I'm once again participating in the Sensory Blog Hop. Please take some time to enjoy the other fine blogs listed below in their sensory journeys. 



Friday, May 01, 2015

New products from Dial for Babies + Kids - Review and Giveaway

Disclosure:  I received a sample of Dial Baby Body + Hair Wash and Dial Kids Foaming Hand Wash in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Have you seen the two new products for kids from Dial? There's Dial Baby Body + Hair Wash and Dial Kids Foaming Hand Wash. 



Even though my "baby" is 8, she liked the gentle baby body wash for her. It's mild enough that anyone can use it, no matter what their age. I really love the light scent and how nicely it foams up. 



Our favorite of the two products is the Dial Kids Foaming Hand Wash. We love the foam, the smell, and mom especially loves the clean hands leaving the bathroom. I have found that they are more likely to wash their hands and wash them well if there's a foaming hand soap. The selection from Dial for babies and kids is amazing and fun and makes kids want to get (and hopefully stay) clean. 

I can't wait for one of my readers to have the opportunity to try one of these products for free, so I'm holding a GIVEAWAY! One winner will receive a coupon for their choice of a free baby body/hair wash or a free kids foaming hand soap. 

Enter using the Giveaway Tools form below. Winner must live in the US. Ends Sunday 5/17 at 11:59 pm Central Time. 



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Autism Awareness Month--oh yeah, I'm aware #SensoryBlogHop



Did you know April is Autism Awareness month? I'd prefer we change it to Autism Acceptance Month---trust me, I'm aware. In fact, with the incidence rate at 1 in 68 (1 in 54 boys), autism has reached an all time high in recognition and diagnosis.

I think most everyone has heard of autism at this point--and almost everyone knows someone with autism. Yet, we have trouble sometimes finding acceptance for people on the spectrum. I find it frustrating that because my son doesn't "look" disabled, he is not always given the accommodations he needs.

Yet, every so often, there's a glimmer of hope in the storm. When he gets nervous, or excited, or upset, he has to get sensory  input to offset the emotion. He will try to get it by jumping or pacing...or if we are at home by jumping on the mini-trampoline, riding his scooter or his bicycle. When we are in public places, this is harder to do. You get some strange looks for jumping in a store for "no reason." He's learning ways to cope and how to find sensory release that is more socially acceptable. I've noticed he will tap his toes or drum on his leg with his thumb to get some sensory input and release the tension. I've noticed he might find a small hallway (such as to a bathroom) and pace in the hall where he's out of sight.

I enjoy seeing him grow and learn to deal with his sensory needs.


Check out these other fantastic posts as a part of the Sensory Blog Hop:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash with #Giveaway

Disclosure: The Dial brand provided me with a sample in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. 


Have you seen the new body wash available from Dial soap? It is infused with Marula Oil and helps make your skin feel soft and silky smooth. I love the scent of this new body wash. It smells nice on both men and women, and even my kids liked the scent. More than the scent, I loved how this body wash helped moisturize my skin. I want healthy skin and soft skin - and the Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash delivered. I like having a family body wash that everyone likes and leaves everyone feeling clean and refreshed without drying our skin. The scent is key in making a body wash a 'family body wash.' Some are too feminine, some are too masculine, but Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash is just right. 


I don't understand how the Marula Oil works, but I know they are calling this a restoring body wash. I'd agree. It restores moisture to your skin. I hope you'll consider trying it the next time you need body wash. And - to sweeten the pot, I'm going to be giving away a coupon for a FREE bottle of Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash to two lucky winners. I hope you'll enter using the form below. Winner must reside in the US. Good luck!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Texas K-9 Unit Series #Review and #Giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Do you read fiction books? I've loved mystery books since I picked up my first Nancy Drew...in fact, my living room bookshelf holds my collection. The entire series of Nancy Drew mysteries, most in the familiar yellow spine hardback. Once I found Nancy Drew, not only mystery stories, but all books opened up to me. I discovered a way to transport myself to other places and times and found the most wonderful adventures in books. Over time, my love of reading expanded and I became a romance junkie. Although, I was often disappointed by the lack of crossover between genres. It seemed as if writers could/would only write one thing. 

When Harlequin came out with the Love Inspired Suspense series of books, I know I was one of the first in line to check out this new line. And I fell in love. It's a crossover line of books. These are Christian Romance books with Intrigue/Suspense. A mystery AND a romance...with a Christian moral compass...all in one book. Needless to say, I own a lot of Love Inspired books. (Hint - keep reading for a chance to win a Love Inspired book for yourself.)

I'm so excited to let you know that three authors have teamed up to give us a three-book series with not only the romance and suspense that you've come to expect from Love Inspired, but also dogs. Not just any dogs, K-9 cop dogs. I don't want to give out spoilers, but having read the three books in this series, I know you won't be disappointed. These three authors are in sync and this series is going to be a runaway hit. 

Be sure to order your boxed set now: Texas K-9 Unit Series Books 1-3: Tracking Justice\Detection Mission\Guard Duty

About the series:Love Inspired Suspense authors Shirlee McCoy, Margaret Daley and Sharon Dunn will get your pulse racing with tales of Texas cops and their loyal K-9 dogs tracking down a crime ring. Enjoy three action-packed Texas K-9 Unit romantic suspense novels in one box set! When a boy goes missing from his bedroom, a police detective must assure a desperate single mother that he and his trusty bloodhound will find her son. A woman with amnesia has to rely on an officer and his border collie to stay alive when she can't remember who tried to kill her. An FBI agent is called in to protect a single mother when the rookie K-9 officer witnesses a murder and becomes the killer's target.
About the authors:
Shirlee McCoy  Shirlee McCoy has always loved making up stories. As a child she daydreamed elaborate tales in which she was the heroine — gutsy, strong and invincible. Though she soon grew out of her superhero fantasies, her love for storytelling never diminished. Shirlee knew early that she wanted to write inspirational fiction and began writing her first novel when she was a teenager. Still, it wasn't until her third son was born that she truly began pursuing her dream of being published. Three years later she sold her first book. Now a busy mother of four, Shirlee is a homeschool mom by day and an inspirational author by night. She and her husband and children live in Maryland and share their home with a dog and a guinea pig.
Margaret Daley  Margaret has been writing for over 35 years. She started writing in the late 1970s because she wanted to see if she could put a whole story down on paper. That book is still in the drawer and will never see the light of day. But she was able to finish a book, which was her goal. She loved teaching and working with students with special needs, and recently retired from teaching to write full-time. When she isn't working, she loves to read, travel, and go to lunch and a movie with a friend. She and her husband, Mike, to whom she has been married for over 40 years live in Tulsa. Besides teaching and writing, she is also a mother of one. Her son, Shaun, is married with four daughters.
Sharon Dunn  Sharon Dunn first fell in love with mystery and suspense about the time she read Nancy Drew mysteries in the fifth grade. Her first book in the Ruby Taylor mysteries Romance Rustlers and Thunderbird Thieves was a finalist for the Romantic Times Inspirational Book of the Year. The second book in that series Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante was voted Book of the Year by American Christian Fiction Writers. Her hobbies include reading, working out, hiking, trying to find things around the house and making pets out of the dust bunnies under the furniture. Before she started writing, she used to sew. Now she just collects fabric and patterns and fantasizes about projects. After nearly twenty seven years of marriage, Sharon lost her beloved husband in 2014. She lives with her three nearly grown children, two cats and a nervous border collie named Bart.
Who would like the chance to win a Love Inspired book of your own? 
I'm giving away a printed copy of Shirlee McCoy's "Protection Detail" to one lucky winner. This book is Book 1 in the Texas K-9 Unit series. Even if you don't win, you can use this coupon to take $1.00 off of your purchase of "Protection Detail." This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada. Good luck!!!

Enter here:

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Motown the Musical at Orpheum Theater Omaha - March 25-29

Disclosure: I will receive complimentary tickets in exchange for promoting this musical. All opinions are my own. 



Who is ready to get their 'groove' on with me? I've been looking forward to Motown the Musical coming to Omaha ever since the announcement almost a full year ago. Here's my personal thing...I was an acting major. I originally wanted to be a music theatre major, but I changed my mind when I saw their workload in college. And, I'm not sure that I would have made it into the program. 

Reed L Shannon as Michael Jackson (center) with the Jackson 5
Motown the Musical First National Tour (c) Joan Marcus, 2014
With a theatre (and musical theatre) background, I love music. I especially love music with really good harmonies. As you can imagine, I've been a Motown fan for most of my life--even though many of the classic Motown hits were before my time. I'm a sucker for 'oldies' that have great music and harmonies. I love songs like "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Shop Around." There's actually very few songs in Motown the Musical that I don't know well and love. 


Krisha Marcano (Florence Ballard), Allison Semmes (Diana Ross) & Trisha Jeffrey (Mary Wilson)
Motown the Musical First National Tour (c) Joan Marcus, 2014
 

Don't know what Motown the Musical is all about? Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, Motown the Musical is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more.  Featuring more than 40 classic hits such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Motown the Musical tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. 

Performances for Motown the Musical will be at Omaha's Orpheum Theater:
Wednesday, March 25 - 7:30 pm
Thursday, March 26 - 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm
Friday, March 27 - 8:00 pm
Saturday, March 28 - 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm
Sunday, March 29 - 1:30 pm and 7:00 pm

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.ticketomaha.com/productions/Motown.

Make sure you don't miss one of the hottest tickets in town. If you love music, you have to get to Motown the Musical!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lakeside Collection - Great Pet Items and $25 GC Flash Giveaway

Disclosure: I was given free product from Lakeside Collection in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 


Have you ever shopped at the Lakeside Collection? They have wonderful gifts, home furnishings and even things that your pet would love. The best part of Lakeside? The price. Hands down some of the best internet shopping at incredible prices.

I was asked by Lakeside to look at some of their pet offerings. I have purchased some wonderful things--both for the dogs in my life to use now and some they will get at Christmas time. Not only can you pamper with Lakeside Collection items, you can also find great things to pamper yourself.

I was able to spoil some cute pups in my life with unstuffed toys (no stuffing for them to tear out and eat--which they will) and a trainer that helps train dogs to stay off the furniture. And check out this cat perch.

I can't wait for Christmas to bring out some additional toys like the stuffed bone that says Naughty/Nice on each side. Love it--waiting to see which side the dogs carry facing out. Anyone have a guess?

Would you like to purchase some great items from the Lakeside Collection? 

Enter the flash giveaway. It's only open for 2 days so your chances of winning are extremely high.

Car Washes - Sensory Blog Hop - #SensoryBlogHop


What did we avoid with Nathan for years? Yup, the dreaded car wash. It would put him into a sensory tailspin like you couldn't imagine. He'd start freaking out from the moment we started to pull in. Lots of tears and crying and even some screaming as we went through. It was NOT worth it. We would only go if he wasn't in the car. You know how we parents of kids with sensory issues are...sometimes avoidance is easier than actually trying to teach and desensitize. When you're in the midst of so many sensory and other battles, sometimes you pick and choose. 

Inside the colored soap carwash. 
Fast forward to just this week. Nathan still doesn't love car washes like his little sister does. She sees them as a grand adventure. But, he's now able to articulate with us and he had this to say about car washes, "When you learn what to expect, you learn that it can be kind of fun in the process." Who would have believed it? 

What is it about car washes that can put even a non-sensory kid on edge? Between the vibrations, the change in air pressure, the noise and the visual stimulation, it's a recipe for sensory overload and meltdown if you can't control all the emotions and anxiety. We did eventually find he prefers the car washes with colored soap that squirts onto the car. It makes the visual a little more appealing. 
And...when he asks if he can skip it these days, we give in. But, we know he CAN manage to get through without becoming overloaded and upset. 

How do your kids with or without sensory issues handle car washes? 





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