February 19, 2020

New Sarah Sundin Book: The Land Beneath Us



In 1943, Private Clay Paxton trains hard with the US Army Rangers at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, determined to do his best in the upcoming Allied invasion of France. With his future stolen by his brothers' betrayal, Clay has only one thing to live for--fulfilling the recurring dream of his death.


Leah Jones works as a librarian at Camp Forrest, longing to rise above her orphanage upbringing and belong to the community, even as she uses her spare time to search for her real family--the baby sisters she was separated from so long ago.



After Clay saves Leah's life from a brutal attack, he saves her virtue with a marriage of convenience. When he ships out to train in England for D-day, their letters bind them together over the distance. But can a love strong enough to overcome death grow between them before Clay's recurring dream comes true?


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I've been a fan of Sarah Sundin's books for awhile now. I really enjoy historical fiction and she does it so well. She takes the reader back in time and you feel the emotions of the characters and fall in love along with them. This book was no exception! I can't wait to read more by Sarah.

February 11, 2020

New Makeup At The Drugstore!!!

See what's popping up at the drugstores in the world of beauty, and what I think of them:

January 22, 2020

Raising the Challenging Child

About Raising the Challenging Child by Karen Doyle Buckwalter, Debbie Reed, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine: 

What's the worst you've ever faced as a parent? An all-out tantrum at the mall? A son who won't take out his earbuds to listen to you? A daughter who's failing at school and won't do her homework? A teen who constantly breaks curfew? A call from the police? Whatever you're dealing with, Raising the Challenging Child will help.


Building on their work at Chaddock, a nonprofit organization that has worked with some of the most challenging kids in the nation for more than 150 years, the authors empower frustrated parents with practical tips and real-life examples on how to



- minimize behavioral meltdowns
- reduce conflict
- increase cooperation
- promote healthy attachment
- improve family relationships



The strategies they share work both for the child who is going through a difficult phase brought on by life disruption or trauma, and for the child who faces chronic struggles. Parents, teachers, and those who work with children and youth will find positive, practical steps they can start taking today in order to understand and address the baffling behavior of the child under their care.

My Thoughts: If you had asked me a year ago I would have said I didn't need this book, but now I would say, without hesitation, Yes! I need to read this book! My kids are all very different. My daughter is sweet, eager to please, but can melt down with little notice over seemingly nothing at all. My youngest son has had an attitude since the day we met him at 1 month old, and while he's an easy going guy, when he gets mad, he refuses to do anything and stubbornly holds his ground with a scowl on his face. And my oldest son is silly and funny but he loves to get a rise out of people by doing the exact thing they asked him not to do. So like I said, they're all very different, and present different parenting challenges, which is why a book like this is so helpful. 

With my oldest son, my reaction is a reward to him; it's what he wants, so when I stay calm and ignore the behaviors they eventually lessen. He craves the attention whether it is positive or negative. So now that we know what's driving the behaviors, we can address it. The book says be sure not to "withhold affection" for misbehavior, which we don't do, but we tell him he can have a hug when he has calmed down, and that we still love him, just not his behavior. Giving him positive attention when he does the right thing hopefully fills his need for attention so he won't feel the need to act out and get negative attention as often.

My youngest son wants to have his way or nothing at all. For example if he gets mad because he can't have the blue crayon, he will say "Then I don't want anything!", so when that happens, we stick to what he says, and give him nothing just like he said. He gets upset and says he changed his mind, but we're teaching him that he needs to think  before he says things, instead of talking in anger.  We're modeling to him using feeling words, and taking a break before we answer and explain that we're thinking first then talking. All useful tools for him to learn.

My sweet daughter has meltdowns when she hears she can't do something, or 5 minutes after we've said no to a TV show, or 15 minutes after we've told her it's time to clean up the crayons and get in the car for church. Sometimes the melt downs come out of nowhere, as they can be much later, so that makes it hard to find the cause for these events. Being patient and loving has been key to helping her communicating when these events happen.

The book had some really useful, practical tips and suggestions for parenting children who can sometimes be a challenge. Let's be honest though, who's child hasn't been a challenge at one time or another, right? We could all use this book! ;-)

January 14, 2020

GIVEAWAY: Turbotax code to file 2019 taxes for FREE!

Do Your Taxes w/TurboTax® This Year. File Online With Confidence.

#1 Rated Tax Software · Free State Filing · No Tax Knowledge Required

...offers one of the simplest ways to file a tax return

We've been using TurboTax for the past few years and plan to continue doing so because it makes filing taxes easier. I wouldn't say it makes them "easy" because ours were very complicated, but it was such a huge help. Since we had a failed adoption in 2012 and then a successful finalized adoption in 2013 we had the adoption tax credit to figure out for 2012, 2013 and 2014. And then again with the adoption of our second and third children this makes filing SO much easier!!! Without the help of Turbotax we would be lost. 

What I like about TurboTax is that with just a click you can get explanations of what tax words mean, or in which situations you would quality. It leads you to answers instead of having to scour the web for them. It's a click away. I also appreciated that they cover EVERYTHING. They lead you through income and can even pull up records from employers (not all, but many). They ask about your investments, your loans, your deductions etc. You just keep pressing on until you're done.


New this year is TurboTax Live, which gives consumers on-demand access to personalized chat, phone, or video-based tax advice from a credentialed tax expert (CPAs, Enrolled Agents, or Practicing Attorneys) who can also review, sign and file the customer’s return.

...and now 2 of my readers will have a chance to file their taxes with Turbotax this year.  Each code below is good for one free federal + state preparation and e-file. See below...

WIN IT: 2 readers will each win a Turbotax Premier code to do their 2019 Taxes!!!!


HOW TO ENTER:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

January 02, 2020

Best Beauty Products of 2019

Click on the videos below to see what beauty products made my "Best of 2019" Lists. One video is more affordable options from the drugstore, and one is more expensive high-end products.



December 16, 2019

GIVEAWAY: Angela's Christmas DVD

Netflix original short film, Angela’s Christmas is a new, family-favorite Christmas classic that celebrates the magic and generosity of the holiday season. Through one little girl's will to keep Baby Jesus warm for one night, little Angela teaches us all something about the warmth of the holiday season and the true meaning of Christmas. 

To go along with the Spirit of this film they're launching the #SpreadTheWarmth campaign in order to encourage people around the world to be loving, generous and warm during this magical time of year.

To kick this off, I'm offering 2 WINNERS a copy of this movie!


Easy Holiday Glam Makeup Tutorial

Enjoy!

December 09, 2019

100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear

100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear 
by Lisa Jacobson


Every one of us has tremendous power to either build others up or tear them down through the words we speak every day, and nowhere is this more evident than in our marriages. Are you being purposeful in how you use the power of your words to speak encouragement, strength, and love--breathing life into the heart of your spouse? Or are careless words having a negative impact on your marriage and on the heart of the one you love most?

Matt and Lisa Jacobson want you and your spouse to discover the powerful ways you can build one another up in love with the words that you choose to say every day--words that every husband and wife need to hear. These books offer you 100 Things to say to your husband or wife that deeply encourage, affirm, and inspire. Start speaking these words into each other's lives and watch your spouse--and your relationship--transform before your eyes.

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It is so important in any relationship to know the other person's love languages, but to also know what words cut deeply, and what words help heal those wounds. Everyone gives and receives love differently. My husband receives love by being served, whereas I couldn't care less about service and I look for words of affirmation to know he loves me. You would think that since words of affirmation is my love language I also give them freely, but I do not, which is why this book was so helpful to read!

November 20, 2019

GIVEAWAY: Amber Vale Home Holiday Sampler


I was recently sent the Amber Vale Home holiday sampler to try out, and I have to say they smell amazing!

One has that evergreen wintery scent that you imagine when you think of winter in the woods. One is a mint chocolate and it smells EXACTLY like mint cocoa (which I'm obsessed with by the way), and the third smells lightly sweet like whipped cream, but not overpoweringly so.


They have wooden wicks and are made from a soy-coconut blend. They are great for holiday decorating or gift ideas. Most people I know would love getting delicious smelling candles as a gift!


WIN IT: Win a sampler


HOW TO ENTER:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

November 11, 2019

My 6 year old son does my makeup...

Watch and see what my 6 yr old son, Braeden, comes up with. He is our crafter and art-lover in the family, so it's sure to be colorful ;-P

October 31, 2019

Black Friday is COMING!!!!

Growing up my family did not place much emphasis on Black Friday. We did not scope out the deals. We did not plan out our day. We did not set the alarm for an ungodly hour of the morning (or night depending on when the madness started). We didn't make our shopping lists and check them twice. Don't get me wrong, we always had a list. What to buy, where and for whom, but it didn't revolve around black Friday sales. We didn't map out our routes for optimal efficiency and gas saving, however when I married my husband I realized just what I was missing out on.

My husband and his family would do the full black shopping experience almost every year, sometimes starting the night before. They would pour over the black Friday ads during thanksgiving with the family and debate back and forth about which stores were worth a visit and which were not. They would decide who had the best black friday deals, what time they opened, where to go first etc. They had it down to a science it seemed. I met my husband before the internet was as big as it is today, so they used the paper ads and flyers almost exclusively, but now the ads and deals are all online too, so it makes it even easier to plan out your shopping! In addition to the ads being online, there are often coupons available online and in apps too, which allows for even more savings!!!

While I am not a hard core black Friday shopper today I still look over all the ads to see if any of the places I normally shop for the holidays have great deals. I always look at Walmart, Target and Kohl's because those are three of the places I shop the most during the holiday season. Toys, clothing, electronics, books and more! I almost always buy a pair of slippers and pajamas at Kohl's, sometimes a Lego set or toy too. There is also usually an item or two tossed in the cart for myself; I am not going to lie. :) One of the resources I use is Slickdeals which posts the black Friday ads for most big retail stores, so all the sale information is in one place. It's very convenient! It's amazing what the internet can do for us. It saves us time, money and gas.

So this year before heading out on black friday, head on over to slick deals to see if any of the items on your "list" will be on sale that day, or that weekend. Sometimes black friday sales start before black friday. I've even seen some sights announcing "black friday" sales before halloween. Pay attention to the dates listed on the ads, both the start and end dates. Some will run beyond black friday, maybe even until Christmas. Every store and deal is different so make sure to pay attention to the details so you don't miss out! Happy shopping!!!!!

October 23, 2019

Unscripted by Davis Bunn

Young line producer Danny Byrd is well-known in Hollywood for being someone who gets things done on time and under budget. But when his reputation takes a beating after his partner--and former best friend--makes off with their investors' money, Danny has but one chance to redeem himself and restore his ruined career.

LA lawyer Megan Pierce has sacrificed years of her life proving herself to her impossible bosses only to find herself disgusted at their snobbery and their specious business practices. When an opportunity to actually make a difference comes her way, she knows she has to grab it--even though she's not entirely clear what "it" is.

Danny and Megan are each other's best hope for redemption. What they never could have imagined was that they might also be each other's best hope for love.


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure what to expect as I'd only read one other novel by this author, which I remember having quite a bit of suspense, so I was happy when I got into this novel and realized it was a bit more relaxed in pace. I feel like Bunn did a nice job setting up Danny's back story without going too in depth. Some authors introduce 10 characters and their backstories all at once and I find it a bit confusing, so I'm glad he did not. I really enjoyed Danny's character and his integrity, and I would imagine that would be hard to find in his industry, so it must have really stood out...so much so that people still wanted to work with him despite the charges against him. I really well written book, and I would DEFINITELY read more by this author!

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