Saturday, October 27, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway Info: The Memory Jar

About the book

Book One in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series

Every year, 30-40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive 'resident' status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides! Sarah Shelter has lived in West Kootenai for the last ten years and wonders if she will ever fall in love.

Since the tragic death of her best friend, she carries her memories in a jar along with the small items connected to them. For just as long, she's also been carrying around her emotions instead of allowing them to penetrate deep into her heart. Now she's met a kind and gentle man who may be able to break down the wall. But can Sarah risk her heart to finally achieve her dreams?

My thoughts
There were a lot of things I liked about this book, especially the characters.  Sarah Shelter is a strong Christian woman, but bit rebellious in the traditional Amish ways.  She does things as she truly believes they should be done, and not just because others tell her that is the way it ought to be.  I enjoyed watching her grow and seeing her relationship blossom as well.  I also liked the consistency in the West Kootenai characters that the author carried over from her other books.

The Memory Jar is an easy read, but there are times the plot slows down a bit.  This is not necessarily a bad thing. It allowed me to put the book down and get some sleep, yet the plot picked back up quickly enough that it kept me from getting bored.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes romance stories, and there are definitely some romantic gestures in this story, as well as anyone who likes Amish fiction.  

About the author
Tricia Goyer is the award winning author of over thirty books including Beside Still Waters
, Remembering You
, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences and is the host of Living Inspired. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

Find out more about Tricia at

About the giveaway

Celebrate with Tricia by entering her Amish Kindle Gift Pack Giveaway and RSVPing to her Facebook party on November 7th. (And be sure to ctry your hand at one of the simple, keepsake crafts Tricia has put together on her website.)

Enter Today - 10/16-11/7!
The Memory Jar by Tricia Goyer

One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire

  • Custom-made Memory Jar Kindle Cover

  • Amish-made decorative items {Wall hanging, horse/buggy and Amish houses}

  • The Memory Jar {Be swept away by this captivating series.}

So grab your copy of The Memory Jar and join Tricia on the evening of the November 7th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 7th!

Thank you to Litfuse for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for this review.  As always, my opinion is my own. 

Roller Coaster Costume and A Fun Pumpkin

Today my daughter was volunteering at the children's Halloween party at our local library and she needed a costume to wear.   We had seen this costume on line and were inspired, though I have to give most of the credit to my daughter.  I gave a little bit of advice and my husband helped with some of it as well, but she did most of the work and the designing.  I also want to note that she plans to continue improving it over the next few days, such as painting the inside of it.  Anyway, here are the pictures:

Front view
Side view
Back view
 I was going to type up a tutorial, but I have not had a chance yet.  Hopefully, I will get back here and do it, but it really is pretty simple. 

After the Halloween party, we headed over to do some grocery shopping at Wegmans.  All of the departments had decorated pumpkins and they were displayed together at the front.  They all looked great, but I have a great appreciation for things I have never seen done before and the pumpkin from the deli did just that:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review and giveaway: Purex plus Oxi

As a mother of 5, I have seen my fair share of laundry stains. Often, I have ended up taken the stained item and dyeing it some dark color so that we can still use it, but the stain is no longer an issue. However, that means we no longer have the white shirt/khaki pants/etc and they still need to be replaced. I would much prefer to have fewer dyed dark clothes because we are not permanently staining and dying our light clothing. I was happy to put Purex's new Purex plus Oxi (and Zout stain removers) to the test.

Purex plus Oxi is the most powerful Purex detergent available, working against 101 different stains.  I have used various Oxi type products in the past and have been happy with the results, so I am not surprised to see this as part of why this is so powerful.  Like, all liquid Purex products, this is safe for HE machines, as well as traditional machines.  It is also a great bargain, as I find Purex to be one of the lower cost detergents, yet it works great. 

When I received this detergent, I was in the middle of a contact dermatitis attack due to a new fabric softener (not Purex) we had tried.  I was very hesitant to try a new detergent due to the rash I was dealing with, but then I learned it is a hypoallergenic formula so I went ahead and used it.  My rash continued to get better, so there was no reaction for me to the Purex plus Oxi.  I did notice my whites are brighter and fewer stains survived the wash when I used the Purex.  I did not pretreat any of the clothes, but you can use this detergent as a pretreater.  Just pour some on the stain, rub the fabric together and let it sit for 5 minutes before putting it in the water.  Then add more of the detergent to the wash load as you normally would.

To kick off their new product, Purex is giving away $6,000 in prizes.  Just visit their giveaway website to enter.

They have also given me some free product coupons to give away to one of my readers!  Enter through the rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Purex sent me a free bottle of the product listed above in exchange for this review.  I was also given the free coupons to give to one of my readers.  As always, my opinion is not influenced by others. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Review and giveaway: Designer Tie by Cavallieri from
Light Blue Checkered Men's Tie
I recently had the opportunity to review a tie from  My husband received the Light Blue Checkered Men's Tie by Cavallieri and I can tell you that it looks even better in person.  Each Cavallieri tie is handmade from the finest Jacquard woven silk and while you may not be able to tell from the picture, the stripes are actually woven into the fabric, not printed on it.  My husband found the tie comfortable to wear and it has become one of his favorites.

If this tie is not your style, or maybe you are looking for a different color, has ties, and bow ties, in a wide variety of patterns and colors.  They are a great resource if you are looking for a gift for a man who appreciates ties or if you need a tie for work, church or just a special occasion.  Due to the wide variety of colors available, they are also great if you are planning a wedding and looking for ties for your entire wedding party.  They even have a pretty good selection of kids ties,  all of which are also available in adult sizes, making it easy for father and son to match (or for the ring bearer to match the rest of the party).  Do you have a larger male in your life that needs a tie?  They also carry extra long ties just for them.  Their prices are also very reasonable with ties starting at just $9.90 and the most expensive ones I saw were $24.90.  In addition to ties and bow ties, they also carry handkerchiefs, silk scarves and ascots, women's scarves, cuff links and tie bars.  They also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and will refund you for any purchase you are not happy with. 

Another aspect of the site that I really like, is the information section, where they have well-written instructions, along with pictures, of how to tie a tie 5 different ways, how to tie a bow tie, how to tie an ascot and how to fold a handkerchief.  You can also find necktie trivia and care tips, men's fashion tips, and men's dress codes for a variety of events.

Hendrik, the owner and founder of, is offering a 20% discount for any purchases.  This discount is good until October 31, 2012.  Use promo code: GHK67TR to get your discountHe is also allowing me to give away a $20 gift code to one of my readers!  Thank you, Hendrik!  See the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

UNREAL candy

I am super-excited to share with you a new candy that is available now in stores near you.  Here is some ingredient info about UNREAL candy:
  • Made with real cane sugar, no corn syrup, high fructose or otherwise.  Because they use the real stuff, they can use less of it, allowing their candies to have 30% less sugar than their competitors.
  • More cacao for more chocolate flavor, more than twice as much as leading brands use
  • No artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors (this makes the candy coated chocolates a more fall-like appearance, in that the colors are not as bright as those that are artificially colored)
  • Made with real milk from grass-fed cows that are not treated with artificial hormones or antibiotics.  No genetically modified corn for these cows.
  • More protein and fiber than comparable candies (60% more fiber and 250% more protein)
  • No hydrogenated fats or oils
Another thing that I love about UNREAL candy is that it is available at traditional retail stores, such as Wegmans, CVS, Walgreens, BJs, and many more.  They also do not cost more than other brands.

Ok, so now you know they are better for you, are comparable in cost and are easy to find, but I know your real question is, how do they taste?  Let me tell you, they are GREAT!!!  They are not exactly like the leading brands, but in many ways they are better.  The peanut butter cups are my personal favorite, with a smooth, creamy peanut butter filling instead of a gritty, peanut butter flavored sugar in the middle.  

Want to learn more about the UNREAL™ mission? Check out their new video at

I had the opportunity to host an UNREAL party to share their products with my friends and family.  Here are some of the pictures:
This is a trail mix I made with some UNREAL candy coated chocolate.

 My husband's co-workers stopped by on their lunch break and were thrilled to get a goody bag of UNREAL candy to take back with them.

A picture of the goody bags and the candies.  From left to right, Candy Covered Chocolates, Peanut Butter Cups, Chocolate Peanut Caramel Nougat Bar, Chocolate Caramel Nougat Bar and Candy Coated Chocolates with Peanuts.

UNREAL candy is truly a candy that both moms (and dads) and kids can both feel great about.  The vision of UNREAL is not to just sell their candy, but to encourage other manufacturer's to get rid of the junk as well.  I am hoping to see them also move on to other segments of the grocery store.    

You can help to spread the UNREAL mission.  Visit (user name- UNREAL, password- unjunked).

I received samples of the products above to share with my guests.  I also received a stipend for hosting the party and sharing this information with you.  As always, my opinion is my own and not influenced by anyone else.   

Kroger Buy 5, Save $5 Event and Giveaway

Attention Kroger shoppers!  Grab a cart (or two!) and head to your local Kroger Co. Family of Stores for the Kroger Buy 5 – Save $5 Event! From October 14th through October 24th purchase 5 participating General Mills products, and receive a coupon for $5 off your next shopping order* (coupon printed at checkout)!

  •  Look for some of your favorite participating General Mills products like Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Pillsbury Toaster Strudel, Betty Crocker Cake and Brownie Mixes, Hamburger Helper, Totino’s Party Pizza, Yoplait** and many more!

  • Promotion varies in different locations so please be sure to check your local Kroger Co. Family of Stores*** for specific deals and offers which include: Kroger, Ralphs, King Scoopers, City Market, Dillons, Smith’s, Fry’s, QFC, Baker’s, Owen’s, Jay C Food Stores, Hilander, Gerbes, Fred Meyer, Pay Less Supermarkets and Scott’s Food & Pharmacy

  •  Don’t let the savings pass you by! Fill up your cart and save with the General Mills products you love at the Kroger Buy 5 – Save $5 Event! I

    * Products must be purchased during one shopping visit. To view a list of participating products see your store for details. The $5 coupon offer off your next shopping trip offer expires 1 week from the print date, with the coupon prints ending October 24th. Any offers printed on October 24th will expire on October 31st.
    **Yoplait items vary by state
    ***Excludes Food 4 Less 

    Kroger and My Blog Spark have provided me with the opportunity to give one of you a $25 gift card!!!  To enter, use the rafflecopter form below:
    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    I received this information, along with a free gift card  for myself and one to give away, in exchange for sharing this information with you.