Monday, October 31, 2011

Book Review: The Christmas Singing

The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall takes you right into the heart of the Amish community.  It is a story of love, romance, loss, heartbreak and healing.  Mattie and Gideon were childhood sweethearts until he suddenly ended their courtship under hurtful circumstances, or were they?  Their breakup was definitely not what it seemed to be but Mattie wouldn't learn that until years later - three to be exact.  Gideon was trying to protect the one he loved the most and wasn't completely truthful to Mattie with everything that was going on.  She left the relationship thinking that he was a liar and a cheat but he was very much faithful to her.  Will their love stand the test of time and another man?  You will have to read the book to find out that question!

I am a huge fan of Amish romance novels and this one did not disappoint.  It is a sweet story and a fast read.  It is not overly heavy but it does bring up serious illnesses and the question, "Is it ever okay to lie?".  Mattie is a baker and cake decorator and I also really enjoyed reading about that aspect of her life.  I would highly recommend reading this book and with Christmas right around the corner (just a few months away) now would be a great time to dive in.

Want a sneak peek of this book?  Click here to read an excerpt of The Christmas Singing.

Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Rookie Bake-off Challenge

Grab your aprons and start your ovens! Pillsbury’s first-ever Rookie Bake-Off® Challenge has just begun!  The Rookie Bake-Off® Challenge consists of six weekly challenges, each providing you with a chance to win $500, 5 doable new recipes to vote on and use each week, and even inspiration from some guest bloggers!  To enter for your chance to win each week, visit to check out the weekly challenge and submit your entry!  Just keep in mind...

  • The whole shebang! Submit a recipe, story, and photo.
  • A quick fix! Prep time in 30 minutes or less.
  • A lot for a little! Five ingredients, including at least one Pillsbury refrigerated dough product.
  • All that and more! Keep in mind creativity, consumer appeal, appearance, and include an inspiring story.
So roll up your sleeves and get cooking for your chance to win this week's $500 prize! Best of luck!  I wonder if I can come up with something fantastic for one of these weeks :) 

Disclosure: This information is courtesy of Pillsbury through MyBlogSpark.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Scary Face Pancakes

 A, B and I just got home from IHOP, where we made scary face pankcakes!  Today until 10pm kids under 12 can go into IHOP and receive a free scary face pancake to decorate.  Our server was so nice, she gave me one too!

 The girls waiting...

 A decorating her pancake.

 B concentrating.

 My pancake


 A happy version...

 A squiggly version...

 Amost gone...

It is not too late to get these today :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Growing so fast

Yesterday E turned 3, 3 weeks that is!  It is happening again, my "baby" is growing up too fast.  Here are a few pictures for those that have been asking me for some :)

Miss E.  It is hard to tell what color her eyes are going to be in the future - right now they are a dark/medium blue.  A, B & C have blue eyes and D has brown.

E's favorite thing, being swaddled!  Here she is on the famous A blanket.  All those photos are of A as a baby.

Happy 3 week birthday E!

Tiny Prints Holiday Cards

 Do you have your Christmas cards figured out for this year?  If not, Tiny Prints has a beautiful Christmas card line-up. 
This "Berry Wonderful Card" is one of my favorites.  I love that it is round and looks like an ornament.  I also love the colors and the fact that there are 6 picture boxes.  I could put a photo of each of my 5 kiddos and then one of David and I. 

I also love this card, Earthy Cheer.   I think this would be a fun option for my family to use also since we just had a baby so close to Christmas.  I love the colors, the way the letters are written and how it reminds me of the baby that was born so long ago and why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

And to wrap it all up wouldn't these adorable elephant holiday address labels be perfect for us, now that our Baby E (elephant) is here!!  And don't forget your holiday party invitations as well.  Just a few options for you - let me know what you find!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kashi Peanutty Dark Chocolate Granola Bars Product Review

Have you ever heard of Kashi?

Kashi is a small company that has been around for over 25 years.  They were founded and have remained a 7 whole grain company - love that!  Kashi makes a number of products including hot cereal, cold cereal, crackers, snack bars, pizza, waffles, and cookies just to name a few.  Their products are natural and minimally processed (free of highly refined sugars, artificial additives & preservatives).

I am blessed to be a part of a group called Moms Meet, an online resource that empowers Moms to discuss raising healthy families and living green!  In addition to having great articles and discussion topic, they offer exciting opportunities for Mom Ambassadors and their groups to sample the latest healthy, green products.  I have now been upgraded to a Mom Ambassador Blogger.  Would you like to be a Mom Ambassador or Mom Ambassador Blogger - click here to join.

I was selected to sample Kashi's Peanutty Dark Chocolate Granola Bars with my family and my Mom's group (my Mommy friends and their families as well).  What did we think?  Loved them!  My kiddos woofed them down and begged for more.  All the Moms loved the high protein and fiber content.  Can you believe that one bar has 7g of fiber and 4g of protein?  Amazing!  Other children commented that they were not just snack bars but treats.  There is one peanut allergy and one soy/dairy allergy in this group of friends so they didn't get to try the bars, that was probably the biggest downside. If you haven't tried these bars yet I would highly recommend them.

 Sampling the product...


Disclosure:  I received this product for free from Kashi and the Moms Meet program.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

And another year bites the dust...

 What I look like blowing out 34 lit candles :)

Yesterday I turned 34!  I was so blessed to be able to celebrate with my hubby and 5 kiddos.  We had an intimate birthday celebration at home and I wouldn't have chosen it any other way.

My three layer cake with mint frosting in between each layer, yummy!  Oh, and the kiddos added bubble gum on the sides for decoration.

And we got to go to the pumpking patch around the corner from our house.

 A posing with the pumpkins.

 B helping search for the perfect pumpkin.

C next to the tallest pumpkin.

D and E were with us but they both fell asleep in their strollers on the walk there!  And to finish off the post, the kids did their cupcake busy bags - it seemed appropriate.
 A and C working hard.  I love the assembly line they created.


B was so proud of her creation.

Etsy Spotlight: Cuddles & Love Review & Giveaway

 ***Giveaway Closed***
Congratulations to Laura!
Check out this cute etsy shop I found called cuddlesandlove.  The owner, Lisa, has adorable blankets/lovies, bibs and burp cloths, reusable snack bags and my personal favorite appliqued onesies and shirts!

Look at this adorable onesie she created for me for baby E! 

I love this photo!!

 A close-up in Daddy's arms.

So my thoughts on Lisa and her shop.  Lisa is super friendly and professional.  She has great communication and super fast shipping.  The onesie is not only adorable but made with great quality.  I would definitely recommend this shop and will likely be doing more business with Lisa in the future!

Now, onto the giveaway.  Lisa has generously offered a $5 gift certificate to her shop and free shipping.  Thanks Lisa!

Mandatory Entry:  Go to cuddlesandlove and let me know your favorite item, please leave a link to the item in your blog comment.  That's it!  Please be sure and leave your email so I can contact you if you win!

Extra Entries
, leave a separate comment for each extra entry.

1.  Follow me on google friend and let me know that you do (2 entries)
2.  Add Cuddles & Love to your favorite etsy shops and let me know (2 entries)
3.  Tell me what you might get with your gift certificate (1 entry)
4.  Rank any of my book reviews and let me know that you did (1 entry per book)

Giveaway will end on November 10th at Midnight. Winner will be selected using a random number generator and will have 48 hours to respond. If there is no response, I will randomly select another winner.  Open to US residents only.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Paper Stars Photography

My super talented sister-in-law came to my house last weekend to take pictures of E.  I am so excited to post a few here - look how talented she is - thanks so much Paper Stars Photography!!

I love this one of E smiling.

I think E has the longest toes of any baby I have ever seen.  It is amazing how much she can curl them also.

This was taken on our deck.

 Love this one of E and her big sister D!

Click here to see other amazing pictures done by Paper Stars.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More Adventures with Stanley

Can you guess where we are?  I took C (& Stanley of course) to DQ to celebrate being a big brother again!

A and B went to Build-A-Bear to get their big sister again gifts.  We tried to stuff Stanley so he wouldn't be flat anymore but it didn't work.

 Here is Stanley making name suggestions.  A named her bear Rainbow and B named her bunny Chloe.  Maybe next time Stanley.

Daddy took the 4 oldest kids to Mt. Bonnell to do some hiking.

Where's Stanley?

Scenic view

Some tired kiddos...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Squinkies: Review & Giveaway

***Giveaway Now Closed***
Congratulations to A Daily Woman

Have you heard of Squinkies?  The little balls with the "surprize" inside.  Well, hot on the heels of the hugely successful Squinkies launch, comes their new line of Squinkies for boys!

Blip Toys says, "It’s a one-inch world of imaginative fun! Boasting highly detailed characters, a unique tactile “squishy” feel, an extensive number and variety of characters, plus the introduction of game play and dispensers.  Squinkies have firmly established a unique category of their own in the toy aisles. Unique only to Squinkies, each collectible figure comes encased in an added play value plastic toy bubble that pops open to reveal its precious content. For added fun and intrigue, each of their bubble packs, have “hidden” characters packaged in frosted bubbles that conceal their treasure and offer an exciting element of surprise. With hundreds of figures to collect, trade and share, Squinkies offers kids the ability to enjoy endless hours of imaginative game play as they create their very own Squinkies world.  And as an added bonus, Squinkies also make great pencil toppers!"

What did C and the girls think?  They love them.  They love the squinkies themselves, they love the toy bubbles and I have been amazed at the many different ways of creative play they have used.

 My kids have been loving this Cars pack!

C was so excited when we opened the Cars Bubble Pack - he is clutching it in this photo.

 The cars inside.

 C's favorite Cars squinkies are Lightning McQueen and Mater! 

 Even D wanted to play with them.

Basically my kids think these are awesome and I have been informed that Squinkies are not only on their birthday lists but Christmas as well :)

A few other products in the line of Squinkies for boys are the Skull Cavern playset and the Bubble pack Series 1-3.

Squinkies Boys Skull Cavern Playset

"Store and dispense your Squinkies in this awesome playset! Load up to 20 Squinkies in the top, insert magic coin (or nickel or dime) and turn the dial for a Squinkies surprize!  Opens to reveal two top-secret thrones to display your Squinkies power!  Comes with 6 exclusive Squinkies."

"Squinkies Skull Cavern Playset received a perfect score from WTS Toy Review winning 5 out of 5 stars for ease of use, durability, visual appeal, functionality, cost efficiency and originality."

 Squinkies Boys Bubble Packs Series 1-3

"Sports, monsters, aliens, superheros, warriors - themed just for boys!  Each bubble pack includes 14 different Squinkies and 2 bonus battle dice.  Booklet included with battle game rules.  Squinkies Boys: Compete. Combat. Collect."

Now, onto the giveaway.  One person will receive a Squinkies "surprize" pack which will include the Boys Skull Cavern Playset mentioned above ($19.99 value) and the complete Bubble Packs Series 1-3 ($9.99 value/each).  That's a $50 value!!  Thank you Blip Toys for sponsoring this giveaway.

Mandatory Entry:  Follow me on google friend and let me know that you do, pretty simple.  Please be sure and leave your email so I can contact you if you win!

Extra Entries
, leave a separate comment for each extra entry.

1.  Like Squinkies on facebook (2 entries)
2.  Tell me who this "surprize" pack would be for (1 entry)
3.  Tell me if you own any squinkies and if so, what you think (1 entry)
4.  Rank any of my book reviews and let me know that you did (1 entry per book)

Giveaway will end on November 1st at Midnight. Winner will be selected using a random number generator and will have 48 hours to respond. If there is no response, I will randomly select another winner.  Open to US residents only.