Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pizza Ranch Living Hope CD Review & Giveaway

Have you heard of Pizza Ranch?  I didn't find out about them until last month.  We were driving from Texas to Wisconsin to visit family and we ended up stopping at a Pizza Ranch for dinner in Iowa.  We had the best experience!  It was kids eat free night but we chose to have a pizza made.  The manager found out we were from out of town and came over and sat with us.  He talked to us and was so friendly and personable.  Then he gave all the kids free ice cream.  We left dinner feeling so blessed and encouraged - and it only took one person!

Well, Pizza Ranch just released a CD called Living Hope containing twelve songs from many of their favorite Christian artists.  Most of the songs are brand-new and written exclusively for this CD around the theme of Hope.  Artists include Colton Dixon, Francesca Batistelli, Ellie Holcomb, Sidewalk Prophets, Kevin Max, Bart Millard, Passion Band featuring Kristian Stanfill, Michael W. Smith, and Mark Schultz.  

The CD will be available to purchase for $5 plus tax exclusively in Pizza Ranch restaurants or for download at through August 31.  
From Adrie Groeneweg, President and CEO of Pizza Ranch, Inc.:  "This album has a very special meaning for Pizza Ranch.  Although Pizza Ranch is not in the music business, many things have been happening, conversations have been taking place and doors have been opening for this album.  Through these events, I believe it was obvious that God has been behind this for His specific purpose and putting it on our hearts to collectively create this project.  As such, we call this our miracle album, Living Hope."
We have been packing the last few days for our vacation and the kids and I have been listening to this CD.  We love it!  In the midst of chaos and packing, our hearts have remained happy.  These songs are good, really good!  If you enjoy Christian music, or music with a positive message, this CD is for you.

We have yet another long drive ahead of us as we head to the beach!  I am looking forward to having worship time in our car as a family and this CD will be a great addition.

Check out videos of the artists talking about the story behind each song as well!

Would you like a Living Hope CD of your own?  Guess what, one of you will win your own Living Hope CD!  Enter the giveaway below and good luck!

Disclosure: Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing Pizza Ranch's Living Hope CD for this giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive my own copy of Living Hope CD 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.

Kids Create Music Compositions with ThinkFun's Compose Yourself

Compose Yourself by ThinkFun

My kids have been having a lot of fun with ThinkFun's Compose Yourself.  Using Compose Yourself, anyone can create a fabulous composition in literally minutes.  Compse Yourself was invented by virtuoso cellist and composer, Philip Sheppard.  I love that this game inspires mini maestros and allows people to play with music.

 Composition Cards

This game comes with composition cards that can be flipped, rotated, and re-ordered to create appealing patterns and music.  Each card has four different possibilities.  After your choose your cards, simply enter the card codes onto the special website and you can hear your composition come to life.

 B listening to her first piece, Sweet Little Princess.

This is the kids favorite part, listening to their pieces over and over!  You have the ability to share your music on social media and e-mail, download an MP3, print sheet music and so much more.

 You can see the different cards next to B in this photo.

B's opinion (a 9 year old perspective):  I think Compose Yourself is amazing!  It is so cool that you get to make the songs using the cards.  I have had so much fun creating my song, Sweet Little Princess.  I hope you enjoy it too.

You can look at B's song and even listen to it!

Compose Yourself is for ages 6 to 106, single player (although my kids have worked together on a few masterpieces), and sold exclusively at Amazon for $14.99.

Disclosure: Thanks so much to ThinkFun for sending us their Compose Yourself to facilitate this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Backyard Fun In The Sun Sweepstakes with Purex, Dial & Step2

I have a super fun sweepstakes to tell you about, the Backyard Fun in the Sun Sweepstakes with Purex, Dial and Step2.  One grand prize winner will receive a Step2 prize suite worth $1000, a year's supply of Dial Baby Body and Hair Wash, and Purex Baby laundry detergent.  This would be so awesome to win!!  There will also be ten second-place winners - they will receive a bottle of Dial Baby Body and Hair Wash and a bottle of Purex Baby laundry detergent.

This sweepstakes ends July 31, 2015 so you want to make sure to enter the Backyard Fun In The Sun Sweepstakes now and good luck!

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to the Purex Insiders program for allowing me to be a part of this campaign and providing information about this sweepstakes!  As part of this campaign I am eligible to win prizes.

Use Words to Inspire

We all know that words are powerful.  They have the power to tear down or build up.  I don't know about you but I want to be a builder!  I want my words to inspire, transform and encourage.

David and I have been discussing how we want to have more inspiring words and scripture throughout our home and on our walls.  Inspiring words and scripture around the home have impact, the kind of impact we desire.

I have been compiling a list of the words and various scriptures I would like to find, make, purchase for our home.  It won't happen overnight, but like most things it will be a process.

It was hard to decide what to chose.

My Letterpress Blocks - PrAy

I am really excited to share with you a word I created for my bedroom.  I had just seen an early screener of War Room.  While my house does not really have the space to create an actual prayer closet, I was inspired to create a "prayer space" so I made a plaque with the word PrAy using DaySpring's new Letterpress Blocks.  These beautiful blocks are a daily visual reminder of the importance of prayer and my role in it.

You can order the letters in various sizes to really create a unique look.

The letters connect to each other in the back and you can choose the heights, again creating a very unique look.

Here is my bedroom wall!

Above, you can see my Letterpress Blocks up on my wall with a picture that E drew for me below it.  I plan on attaching drawings, scripture verses, prayer requests all around the word PrAy to give me ideas and remind me what I am praying for.  E brought me this picture and told me how I was the best Mommy at a time when I wasn't feeling like I was even a good Mommy.  It lifted my spirits so much and I was able to pull myself from the pit and pray.  I put it up on my wall as a reminder and I can't help but smile when I see this picture.

The possibilities are endless with Letterpress Blocks.

Would you like to try the Letterpress Blocks for yourself?  You can choose from a variety of words already available for purchase at or you can create your own word like I did.  I have a 20% off coupon code to share with you, Love20 and it doesn't expire until 12/31/2015.  I would love to see what you create.

Disclosure: DaySpring provided me with a $50 coupon code to facilitate my review.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Join Dial Rewards Today
Dial just released a new rewards program appropriately called Dial Rewards.  I recently signed up and have been exploring the site and the opportunities available.
Once you activate your account, you can start earning points to play for chances to win Dial products, eGift cards and cash jackpots!  I have a unique code that will give you an extra 500 points, R900R.
My Dial Rewards Home-screen
I found the Dial Rewards Program easy to sign up for.  And it took a very short time to earn over 7K in points.  I haven't won anything yet but I am still deciding which instant wins I want to try for.  I would love to hear what you think.  Sign up for Dial Rewards today and don't forget to use the unique code, R900R.

Disclosure:  Thanks so much to the Purex Insiders program and Dial for allowing me to be a part of this campaign!  As part of this campaign I am eligible to win prizes!  All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer Reading with Family Christian

Disclosure: I am proud to be a Family Christian Blogger and Affiliate.  I was provided with a Family Christian certificate to facilitate a post about Family Christian's Summer Reading Program.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Have your kids been reading this summer?  My kids love reading and I love anything that encourages them to read.  We went to Family Christian last week and the kids each picked out a book to read or be read to them.

Headed to Family Christian

Summer Reading Program Shelf

Kids' Picks of the Month

The kids dove right in looking at books.

Baby F was the first to pick his book, Coat of Many Colors.

E almost picked this Berenstain Bears book.

She ultimately settled on My Princesses Learn to be Brave.

D looking at books.

B chose The Prodigal Cat by Janette Oke.

C had a lot of fun reading while we were there.  He chose Diary of a Real Payne: True Story (Book 1).

A checking out the books.

A ended up getting a 4 book Soul Surfer series by Rick Bundschuh.
 The kids with all their books!  Thanks Rachel for awesome service.

Family Christian's Summer Reading Program is currently going on until August 27, 2015.  The Challenge for kids 12 years and younger:  read any six Christian books, answer a few questions about each title on Family Christian's book report form, bring all six completed forms to any Family Christian store and kids will receive a free $10 Savings Pass good toward any purchase of $10 or more!  How are you encouraging your kids to read this summer?

Friday, July 17, 2015

You'll Get Through This by Max Lucado Book Review

Disclosure: I am proud to be a Family Christian Blogger, Affiliate, and Max Lucado blogger.  I was provided with my own copy of you'll get through this to facilitate my review.  All opinions expressed are my own.
My latest Max Lucado Book

I just finished reading you'll get through this: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times by Max Lucado.  Sometimes people mistakenly think that becoming a Christian means that you will have no problems.  Christianity does not equate to a pain free or trial free life.  Lucado addresses this very idea in you'll get through this.  He takes us on a journey through the story of Joseph while giving present day trial experiences.  Joseph was betrayed by his own brothers, sold into slavery, put into prison, and then remarkably placed as the second in command over all of Egypt.  Joseph's journey wasn't painless and it wasn't easy but he trusted in God and God was there.

Miss D

One of my own personal trials was when I miscarried back in December 2008.  That was a very difficult time and I really didn't understand why?  One year later, December 2009, D was born.  I miss the baby we lost, the one I haven't yet met.  I also enjoy Miss D more than I can express.  This girl has spunk, energy, and a personality for the world.  My life is better with her and she has helped bring healing to my heart.  So while I don't understand, I choose to trust in the Lord.  Have you experienced something like this or are you in the midst or a trial now?

When you are experiencing a trial or facing a difficulty remember these words from Max, "You'll get through this.  It won't be painless.  It won't be quick.  But God will use this mess for good.  In the meantime don't be foolish or naive.  But don't despair either.  With God's help you will get through this."  Amen!

Read more about you'll get through this by Max Lucado and remember you can purchase it from Family Christian.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


I am back from AdventureCon15 (SeaWorld's blogging conference) and vacation as well!  AdventureCon15 was such a blast.  AdventureCon13 was the first blogging conference I ever attended.  David and the kids met me for a day when I went to AdventureCon14.  This was our first year to experience the conference as a whole family and we had a lot of fun.  When I was in blogging sessions, David and the kids were at the park having fun with other families.  Of course it didn't feel like "sessions", it felt like I was hanging out with friends and family that know a lot about blogging and social media!  I am excited and inspired to start implementing many of the things I learned!

And I have to end with some fun photos of course, enjoy!

David and the oldest five with Shamu

 B approves of her lunch!

 A and F having water fun.

 Aquatica has some great places to relax.

 D loved the sand.

E excited to see the new Sea Lion High show.

Disclosure:  I am a SeaWorld Texas Wildside blogger.  I received complimentary passes for myself and family and have the opportunity to receive other perks throughout the year.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Easy Cow Costume Accessory

On our way to Chick-fil-A for breakfast!

Cow Appreciation Day is finally here!  The kids and I met some friends for breakfast and had a "moo"velous time.  When David gets home we plan to head out again for dinner - we love Chick-fil-A!  In case you don't have an amazing costume yet it's not too late to pull something together.  Gather your black and white gear and create something amazing.  I love to use black and white felt because I always have some on hand and it is easy to use.

Here is a step-by-step on how to make a cow sign for your cow costume.  All you need is one piece of white felt, black and red sharpies, twine or something similar, a hole punch, and an example of the sign you want to create (we used a plush cow).

1.  Place the felt on a hard surface and use the black sharpie to write Eat Mor Chikin as the cows would.

 Make the letters

 More letters

2.  Keeping the felt on a hard surface, use the red sharpie to write Chick-fil-A at the bottom of the sign.

All the words

3.  Hole punch two holes at the top of the sign and attach the sign.  Finished!

 Make the holes

4.  Repeat as necessary.

 Finished sign

I reuse the signs and make new ones as needed every year and they are always a hit.

B this morning with her sign!