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February 01, 2015

GIVEAWAY: Team Us, Marriage Together by Ashleigh Slater <--- Spoiler Alert: It's amazing!

What are you agreeing to when you say “I do”?
When a couple promises “I do,” they agree to more than just a shared last name, a joint bank account, and no more dateless nights. This husband and wife duo forms a new team. “Life together” becomes their mantra. Nothing can come between them. At least, that’s the plan.

But then real life sets in. With it come disappointments and frustrations. If the couple isn’t intentional in their day-to-day interactions, that once enthusiastic “we” can slowly revert to “you” and “me.” Before long, the couple’s left wondering what happened to their team spirit.

Team Us: Marriage Together offers couples practical ways to cultivate and strengthen unity in their marriages. Author Ashleigh Slater shares from her own marriage as she presents couples with realistic ideas on how to foster cooperation, deepen commitment, and exercise grace on a daily basis.

My Thoughts:
I would recomend this book to any 20/30/40 year olds who are married because it's hilarious, and some of the disagreements that Ashleigh and Tim had were the EXACT same ones my husband and I had, ver batum. I found myself laughing at the similarity of it all. I also loved all her references to things that I also loved growing up - Princess Bride, TGIF Tv line up when I was a kid, Gilmore Girls, and more recently, Downton Abbey, and yes, even the Olympic Sport, Curling, which I only recently started watching. While I'm only half way through this book, it's not only humorous, but very insightful. While some of the tips are obvious, others really struck me and made me stop and think. Just some of the tidbits from this book are...."Practice makes progress" [so true!],  "Don't assume the worst of your spouse; assume the best" [guilty!], and many more.

Ashleigh is a very talented writer, and I would suggest this book for any married couple. I suggested ages 20-40 just because of the references from the 80s/90s, but I'm sure everyone would get something from this book! Having her husband's insight was also helpful, if you choose to read this as a couple, it gives you the female and male perspective on issues, because sometimes they can be very different.

Check out the book trailer HERE & hear from Ashleigh Slater HERE.

Check out Ashleigh’s blog HERE

Check out the official website HERE (you can read an excerpt here to see if you’d like it!)

WIN IT: One reader will win a copy of this book

a Rafflecopter giveaway

January 21, 2015

Halo Sleep Sack Winter Weight

Halo Sleep Sack now available in winter weight! The HALO® SleepSack® wearable blanket (www.halosleep.com) is the nation’s best-selling wearable blanket for babies. It is intended to lessen the likelihood that a baby can get entangled with clothing and loose bedding during sleep.  For colder winter months, the SleepSack® wearable blanket is now available in Winter Weight to keep little ones warm on the coldest nights.

The warmth of the new HALO Sleep Sack Winter Weight is measured in “TOG,” a unit of measurement of thermal insulation used in the textile trade.  This new SleepSack wearable blanket has a TOG value of 2.5, making it ideal for chilly seasons and climates.

Available in pink and blue, the cozy quilted feel comes from a 100% cotton outer fabric with a 100% polyester fill.  The new HALO SleepSack Winter Weight comes in small (10-18 lbs) and Medium (16-24 lbs) and retails for $35.

I used these with my son, and foster daughter. My son especially loved the kind with velco straps that made him feel snug, but that doesn't work for all kids. My niece loves to flail her arms and break free, so the swaddle type doesn't work for her. She loves this kind, where her arm are free, but she's still kept warm with the sleep sack. It's a great idea!

the shoe size dilemma

Can any parents out there relate to this? You had a bin of shoes in your child's closet of every shape and size yet you can't figure out what size he actually is, so you pull out a size 5, a size 6, and even a size 7, and start testing them with trial and error, all while thinking, "how on earth can I find the right size shoe for my child without going through all this hassle?" Now there's an easy solution to this problem: Squatchi®.

Squatchi® is shaped like the typical shoe sizer found in every department store, but made from a lightweight, unbreakable material that's easy to use and transport. Each one features measurement lines that range from size 2 toddler to 5 youth and is ideal for use with children ages 1-11. Kids will delight in the fun, vibrant colors they come in, and won't put up a fight when they get to step up to the plate.

My son thought this was a hilarious game and thus refused to stand up or hold still, but he had a blast while I learned his shoe size in just a matter of seconds. :)

I think this is a great tool to have in your home for those mornings where you don't have time to sort through your child's entire shoe collection to find the right size.

Giveaway: Spartan Race

If you aren't familiar with Spartan Race, it’s been voted the #1 obstacle race by Outside Magazine and focuses on building a healthy and active community of adults and children. Every Spartan Race has a Junior and Varsity Spartan Kids Race to allow children to share in the thrill of an obstacle race.

The epitome of grit, Joe Desena, founder & CEO of Spartan Race and NY Times best-selling author, travels the globe seeking answers from experts like Sir Richard Branson, Steve Pressfield, Barbell Shrugged, and many more. Joe’s interviews with authors, academics, athletes, adventurers, CEOs and thought leaders will shift your thinking, make you laugh and and give you the tools you need. He’s on a mission to find the secrets to success in all aspects of life. Not only does Joe interview epic people, he has brought together an amazing panel to break down and analyze every aspect of these interviews. We give you the ultimate blueprint and action steps to assimilating these powerful conversations into your own life. The Podcast is now live here!

What does a Spartan Race look like? Check out this video to see for yourself: 


The 2015 World Championship Spartan Race is moving to Lake Tahoe California. Learn more with Joe Desena’s new podcast, “Spartan Up!” In each episode, Joe interviews different experts and thought leaders with a lesson breakdown and a blueprint for success.


Want to try it???

Win it: Win a code to enter a spartan race near you in 2015

Enter Here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

December 31, 2014

Two Volcanoes Coffee

I was recently given the opportunity to review Two Volcanoes coffee.  The coffee tasted great and the vacuum sealed bag made for a fresh cup of coffee, that is of course after I ground the whole beans.  The medium roast was a little on the stronger side, so I did increase the amount of cream to balance out the flavor, as my palette is used to a milder coffee.  

A little about Two Volcanoes:
Two Volcanoes coffee is cultivated in the best volcanic soils of San Marcos, Guatemala.  It is carefully cultivated, processed and packaged in origin, ensures the best flavor and coffee experience to their customers.  They roast every week to offer always fresh products.

Check them out today: http://www.twovolcanoescoffee.com/

December 18, 2014

Yale Digital Door Viewer

YRL just released a new Digital Door Viewer product that not only enhances home security, it lets you skip the whole “who’s there?” routine when answering the front door using an old fashioned peephole. Essentially caller ID for the front door, Yale DigitalDoor Viewers replace a door’s standard peephole with a 3.2-inch screen to provide a clear view of who’s outside. Premium models allow you to record and store video or still images via an internal MicroSD card. 

It’s a simple way to boost home security, and especially valuable for children or those in a wheelchair who typically can’t see out a door’s peephole. 

I recently had the chance to review the Digital Door Viewer by Yale.  I liked several key features such as the ability to record images, the built-in LED for assisted night viewing and the sleek, clean design. This would be a helpful piece of technology for those who want an added sense of security and visually impaired individuals who may have trouble looking into a tiny peephole. It is great for our 2 year old to know who is at the door (ie grandma, mailman or stranger). He usually gets scared when someone is at the door and runs to mom [see photo], but if he could see who was on the other side, he may not be. On the contrary, there were two drawbacks such as the fact you need an existing peephole for easy installation and the door viewer remains tethered to the door.  If I am upstairs or in the basement, it would be much easier to have remote access to the door viewer instead of having to run to the door to see who is there.  Overall, I would give this three out of five stars.  

Find out more, and purchase, here: http://www.yale2you.com/Products/Digital-Door-Viewers/693AYRDRecorder.aspx

GIVEAWAY: Cover Your Hair

Cover your Hair sells a complete array of headcovering for women, girls and children. From the Pre Tied Bandanas to the hairbands there are many to choose for each style and taste. Their exclusive Pre Tied Bandannas are made in the U.S. There are many different fabrics including lycra, velvet, cotton, velour, cotton lycra, terry and embroidered. Besides for being used as a religious haircovering these banndanas are used for cancer patients who have hair loss due to chemotherapy or patients with alopecia, trichotillomania and other medical conditions.

Hair coverings.com has a beautiful collection of hair clips, banana clips, scrunchies, pony holders and jewel clips. They are great for wedding accessories or any other occasion. Some hard headbands have teeth and some are smooth. The hair bands have stones, crystals, feathers, appliqu├ęs and other unique ornaments.

I was recently sent this adorable coral infinity scarf pictured here. It's thick and warm, and the color is so vibrant. I really love bright colors, especially in the dreary winter.

They  don't just carry winter weater accessories, but they also carry wide headbands, headbands with tails, untied headbands, tied headbands, elastic headbands and silk headbands.


WIN IT: A Surprise $25 Box Full of Hair Accessories!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

December 10, 2014

Door to Door Organics

So you know that feeling when you come home and a package is waiting for you? The excitement of Christmas morning. Well at least it's like this for me! I experienced this every other week with Door to Door Organics. I could have picked every week, but I wanted to give myself something to look forward to on the inbetween weeks. What is door to door organics? Let me tell you about it.

Door to Door Organics partners with farmers to bring fresh, organic produce and natural groceries right to your doorstep. As a mom of 1 (sometimes 2, sometimes 3, and sometimes 4 kids, with nannying/fostering), it can be very hard to make it to the grocery story or produce store with kids in tow. The place I normally buy my produce from only has those half carts with nowhere to put children [or much else for that matter]. I tried to take my 2 year old with me once, but had to carry him the entire time because he wanted every flower he saw on display, which proved problematic, so I never did that again. I can't even imagine attempting that with more than 1 child with me. What a nightmare! So I was very excited to learn about a service that lets you pick 1) how much produce you want 2) how often you want to get it 3) what is in your box (fruit, veggies or both) and 4) stay in your warm cozy home!!!!

On top of being convenient, it pushes me to try new things. We cooked swiss chard for the first time, and had tangelo's for the first time. One that I didn't enjoy at all, and one that I did. I also learned that we LOVE fingerling potatoes. So this can be an educational experience as well as a convenient one. And don't fret if there is something listed in your box that you don't like. Door to Door Organics gives you a window of time where you can swap out the things you don't want for things you do. Win win!
I really love this service, and would highly recomment it! 
With the craziness of the holiday season, treat yourself to this produce/fruit delivery system, and use this $10 coupon code: MELINDA1415T  Boxes start at $25, so why not give this a try for $15 (after coupon code)???

December 07, 2014

Flowers = Perfect holiday gift!

 About the Bouqs:
"Our flowers never sit in a corner store or a dingy warehouse (where they send you the oldest, most-dead flowers they have in the fridge), and they never show up in a van with a 1-800 number on the side. We ship straight from an active volcano where they are grown or from the sunny surf of California, seriously - we’re putting a little romance back in the Bouq. We also cut only what we sell. Other providers source from a supply chain that sees 1 in 3 stems wasted. Across hundreds of thousands of bouquets a year, that’s a lot of wasted land, resources, labor and fuel. We cut only when you order, so we avoid the waste. Finally, our farms provide living wages, childcare, healthcare and adult education. And our growing business supports farm communities, so you can feel good about shopping The Bouqs Company's flowers."

If you aren't already convinced that this is a great company how about I share my experience with you. I decided to order a bouq for my birthday. I realize this sounds a bit silly, but I love getting flowers, so why not, right? They arrived in the morning and were immediately cut and put into water. The rose buds were closed, but by the next day they were open and absolutely gorgeous. While I didn't intend for them to match my kitchen, they ended up doing so, being yellow with red tips. Lovely!

Even the celebrities are raving about them!!!

If you are looking for a site that offers beautiful bouquets for a loved one in your life, try Bouqs today. Holiday flowers are a great way to say "I'm thinking of you" when you can't be there in person for the holidays. Order them today!

To order a Bouq for someone today, visit THIS SITE Now!!! 

November 28, 2014

Plan Ahead for Emergencies & Get Set for 2015!

So many families live paycheck to paycheck, which may be a necessity. They may only be able to afford the bare necessities, but other families live that way because they don't know how to budget or save. 

When I was single I always had a savings for this and a savings for that, but I didn't really think long term because my expenses were limited. I didn't have a car payment b/c my car was old. I'm talking cassette player old. I never minded because while my friends were complaining about car payments, I was enjoying my old clunker and not worrying about payment deadlines. I had a cell phone bill, car insurance, minimal rent to my mom [yes, I lived at home], and clothing/food expenses.  It wasn't until I was married, a home owner and a parent that financial planning became more important.

Now that we own a home there are repairs that need to be done, fairly frequently. On top of that there's the mortgage and home owner's insurance. My husband and I found that the only way we could have peace of mind was to save up an emergency fund. We took a particular course on financial peace, and the FIRST step in this program was an emergency fund. Most financial planners will suggest you have AT LEAST 3 months worth of expenses saved up, but they encourage you to have more. Having an emergency fund gives you a sense of security and peace. Instead of thinking the world is coming to an end when you need a roof that costs X dollars, you can respond with "thankfully I have enough to cover it in my emergency fund, so I can still put food on the table this month." It gives you a completely different attitude when "emergencies" happen, and they will happen.

In my opinion emergency funds should be for just that: emergencies, but it's also good to have money saved up for foreseeable expenses like holiday shopping or birthdays or back to school shopping. The holidays are always a whirl for me, so it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and lose sight of the goals we've set, especially when it comes to helping us achieve financial peace of mind, but this year Capital One 360 is decking the halls with deals you can bank on [see chart below], including new account bonuses, referral bonuses and closing cost credits.

Once the Thanksgiving celebrations are done, be sure to add Capital One 360's Black Friday Sale to your shopping list. 

Visit http://clvr.li/cap1bfs to give yourself the lasting gift of financial peace of mind by taking advantage of Capital One 360's deals on banking, brokerage and mortgage products. In addition to taking advantage of deals on banking, brokerage and mortgage products yourself, you can give your friends and family the gift of financial peace of mind by encouraging them to take advantage of the deals and refer them to the sale. If they sign up, you may be eligible for a $40 referral bonus. I've done this before and it's great! You get a gift just for sharing a great product/service with someone else you know. You could put it toward your emergency fund, or spend it on a cute pair of shoes ;-).

I am always looking for places that help me make the most of my money AND my time. When looking for banks I search for places that either don't charge me ridiculous fees, or charge minimal fees. Capital One 360 Checking and 360 Savings are fee-free and earn interest. Win win, right? I also look for a place that allows me to do my banking from home. Anyone who has kids knows it can be such a hassle to get them bundled up, put in the car seats, taken out of the car seats and into a store or bank, so convenience is very important. Capital One 360 products are designed to save consumers time and money. From online to our mobile app, Capital One 360 is with customers 24/7. Love it!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

November 17, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Why Do We Call It Christmas DVD

Straight from VeggieTales creator himself Phil Vischer comes “Buck Denver asks… Why Do We Call It Christmas?” movie for kids. In this movie Buck Denver answers the following: Cutting down trees? Hanging stockings? Santa Claus? What do any of these have to do with Jesus' birthday?  More than you'd think! 

Join VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer along with intrepid newsman Buck Denver and all his friends on an amazing journey into the world's most popular holiday! Sure, you know the Christmas story. But do you know the story of Christmas? Don't miss the whimsical, educational, Christmical party to end all Christmas parties as Buck Denver Asks … Why Do We Call It Christmas? 

Contains the following topics:
-Where do we get the word Christmas?
-When was Jesus born?
-What do Christmas trees have to do with Jesus?
-Who is St. Nicholas?
-What is Hanukkah?
-Who is Emmanuel?
-Luke 2 Story

I think this is a really cute movie. My son was captivated. He's almost 2 years old, and usually only stays interested for about 10-15 minutes of any given show or movie, but he watched 30 minutes of this [we broke the movie into 2 parts for him]. While he is still a bit young to understand what Buck Denver was explaining, it was entertaining for him and educational for me. I learned a lot about Saint Nicholas and how we got the nickname "santa claus." I also found the stocking story interesting. That was news to me. The origins of stories are always fascinating to me. It was a very well done film!

Watch the Trailer here:

WIN IT: Why Do We Call It Christmas DVD

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

GIVEAWAY: NOAH - A Wordless Picture Book

A hundred years before the Great Flood, a man named Noah came home talking crazy. God wanted him to build the biggest ship the world had ever seen. The future of humanity depended on it. How would his wife respond? What would the neighbors think? Was it even feasible?

This lavish reimagining of one of the greatest stories of all time will fascinate children and adults alike. Nuanced and playful, yet meticulous in following the biblical narrative, Mark Ludy’s world-class art digs deeper than the Sunday-school tale of cuddly animals, exploring noah’s relationship with his family, the natural world, God - and a formidable engineering challenge.

Bonus: Find Squeakers the mouse on every page!

About the author:

Mark Ludy has written or illustrated eight children’s books including The FarmerThe Flower Man, The GrumpWhen I Was  a Boy I DreamedWhen I Was a Girl I Dreamed, and Jujo the Youngest Tribesman. When he’s not immersed in his sketchbooks, you’ll find him in schools promoting art and literacy. He lives in Colorado with his wife, daughter, and two sons.

Mark’s website: http://www.markludy.com
Official NOAH websitehttp://www.plough.com/en/ebooks/n/noah 

 This book is full of beautiful artwork that helps you tell the story. I grew up in church, but I'll be honest and say that I didn't know what I was supposed to be explaining on every page, so it not only helps teach children, but also teach the parents about this famous Bible story.

Just look at some of the stunning artwork pictured here!

WIN IT: You can win a copy for yourself

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Paperback Swap!!! (get rid of old books and get new ones)

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

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