Tuesday, August 25, 2015

WonderVeg Spiralizer

Disclosure of material connection- I received this product deeply discounted in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

When spaghetti squash was all the rage, I tried it and was just not that into it. I thought it was an awesome idea to try and add more veggies into the diet and also to save myself from over doing it on the carbs, unfortunately I didn't love the taste and the texture was too far off from spaghetti to really be a good replacement. I have been using a little hand held spiralizer to spiralize my favorite vegetables- usually zucchini or carrots- for a while now, but have been meaning to make the upgrade to a counter top model. WonderVeg Spiralizer is just what I have been needing! I can't believe how hard I have been working to use the hand held spiralizer when all this time I could have had my spiral veggies in less than five minutes! As you can see from the above picture, it is so simple that even a 5 year old can handle doing it. All three of my kids were so excited about making the veggie spirals that they ate the entire plate of zucchini raw before I even had the chance to do anything with it! The WonderVeg Spiralizer comes with three blades for different shapes and sizes of spirals. Whatever blade you are going to use is easily added to the top portion of the machine and the other two are conveniently stowed away in  the storage on the side of the spiralizer. Something I really loved about this machine is that there are suction cups on the bottom that hold it in place on the counter or table or wherever you plan to use it to keep it in place.

Look how beautiful those noodles look! It literally took about 3 minutes to create that beautiful plate of zucchini and they didn't last long! This is just one type of vegetable and one type of spiral that you could make using the WonderVeg. If you are looking to add more vegetables to your diet or looking for a fun way to get your kids more interested in eating healthy, WonderVeg would be a wonderful investment to your kitchen!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Runaby Baby Glass Baby Bottles

Disclosure of material connection- I received the product in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

When my first baby was born, I went into research mode. Back in 2007 it was just becoming known in the United States that BPA was a horrible chemical, prone to disrupt hormones. I vowed to never buy a product with BPA. a few years later when my twin boys arrived, I had done even more research (a mother's research is never finished!) and found out about even more terrible chemicals in plastic (such as phthalates & pvc) so this time I vowed to be done with plastic. We did glass bottles and I still don't regret it. Even without the yucky chemicals in plastic, I have found that when it comes to drinking things I personally find them to taste better out of glass. It holds the temperature better and it doesn't have any plastic-y after taste. I was excited to come across the Runaby Baby bottles because I have several friends pregnant with their first children right now and I want to share my love of glass bottles with them. The Runaby bottles come in 4 oz and 8 oz sizes and are available in pink and blue. I received the pink bottle. My first impression was that this was a super light bottle for 8 oz of glass! Ir is made of baby safe glass and surrounded by a layer of medical grade silicone for added comfort and safety. The bottle is an hour glass shape for easier gripping and contains removable handles to coordinate with whatever stage your baby happens to be at. The silicone sleeve is dishwasher safe and doesn't need to be removed from the bottle upon washing, that is a huge win for a busy new parent! My only complaint is that these bottles are not available in a gender neutral color. I would love to see green and yellow options available for those parents who chose not to find out the sex of their baby or who just don't care for pink or blue so hopefully we will see those options in the future. I will definitely be recommending the Runaby Baby bottle to all of my expectant friends!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Awake by Natasha Preston (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

Of course, the dress was white. This is what I’m supposed to die in, I thought. Not many people knew what their last outfit would be.
I pulled it over my head. It fit me perfectly. It had long, loose fitting sleeves, a modest neckline, and waves of material on the skirt. I hated it.
There were no shoes, and I was afraid I’d have to run through the forest barefoot but there weren’t a lot of options. Besides, I’d run barefoot over a bed of nails to get away.
“Scarlett, are you ready?” he called.
I looked in the mirror and took a deep breath. Time to fight for my life.

Scarlett Garner doesn’t remember anything before the age of four—until a car accident changes everything. She starts to remember pieces of a past that frighten her. A past her parents hid from her…and a secret that could get her killed.

My thoughts-

The beginning of the book was kind of cliche and annoying. Hot new boy only has eyes for average girl, blah, blah, blah. I was as annoyed as the next person, but I stuck with the book to see where Preston was going with it and I am glad that I did. Awake was a refreshingly dark offering in the young adult genre. Some of it was predictable, but the whole cult aspect of the story line was intriguing to me. There have been so many cults in the news. usually for doing awful things, and while the cult in the book has escaped news stories honing in on them, they are definitely up to some awful things. I thought it was an interesting book, an easy read. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys young adult fiction.

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The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that's how I sell books.”
Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country's rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people's lives.

My thoughts- 

I was initially drawn to this book by the beautiful cover. It is also pretty much guaranteed that if Paris or bookshop is in the title , I will be clamoring to get inside of the cover and see what the story is. The Little Paris Bookshop in theory is pretty much everything I look for in a book, but for some reason I just could not get into the book. I can sympathize somewhat with Monsieur Perdu and that kept me coming back to see what would happen in the story, but I don't know if the book was just too slow or it was just not written in a style that I am just not into. I wanted to like this book so much, but I just didn't find anything I wanted to read about- not enough Paris, not enough bookshop and too much filler. This one just wasn't for me.

Find a Way (Movie Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the movie via Edify Media in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the movie-

Inspired by a true story

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Finding faith can be difficult for many people on any given day. Imagine an ordinary Sunday morning. It's time to get redy for church and you go to wake your talented, loving, bright, beautiful son. Only, he won't wake up...every again. What happens to faith then?

This is how tragedy began for a Burlington, North Carolina family. Their son, Harry Cohen, was a high school senior- a genuinely inspirational young man, star football player, friend to all and a strong Christian. One morning he didn't wake up. The untimely death of an outstanding young person naturally brings up questions about faith and God's presence. How can God allow such a thing to happen? The event obviously has an immense effect on family, friends, and the community at large.

Things that previously seemed to be so important are put into perspective and we can gain an understanding as to what is truly important in life. Harry is gone from us, but he continues to inspire actions, words and deeds with a message of faith & hope. Find a Way will stand as a tribute to Harry Cohen and be a beacon of hope to anyone who has ever dealt with pain and heartache.

My thoughts-

Tragedy can strike when we least expect it and I think it is always more heartbreaking when a child or young person is the one to go. I lost a couple of classmates in high school and it is a huge overwhelming feeling at that age- feeling invincible and being brought back down from the clouds when something goes wrong with someone the same age as you. Find a Way shows how several different people and families deal with the grief of tragedy striking a well loved teen. It is all the more heartbreaking that it is based on a true story. The story beyond that is reconciliation of relationships within these sub-stories or in some cases making changes where necessary. I would recommend this movie to anyone who has ever lost someone and struggled with their faith. You are not alone.

Watch the trailer for Find a Way- http://youtu.be/CA606vV6ANM

Sunday, August 16, 2015

When Calls the Heart: Heart of the Family

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the dvd via Edify Media in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About When Calls the Heart- 

From celebrated author Janette Oke (The Love Comes Softly series) comes a rigorous and romantic adventure as epic as the wide frontier. Erin Krakow (Army Wives), Daniel Lissing (Eye Candy) and Lori Laughlin (Full House, 90210) star in When Calls the Heart, "a beautiful story with roots in relationships, self-empowerment, and the enduring power of love" (Common Sense Media).

Elizabeth returns to Hope Valley and immediately volunteers to look after a neighbor's rural homestead....and his two children, an undertaking which proves to be a bigger chore than she'd imagined. But when Jack lends a hand, and they wind up chatting by the fire,. all seems right in Hope Valley and the world. Meanwhile, in Hamilton, Bill Avery sets about busting a counterfeiting ring wide open, an endeavor which surprisingly leads him back to Hope Valley,  where he mysteriously declines Jack's help. But Bill isn't the only big-town visitor: Elizabeth is even more surprised to see her former suitor Charles Kensington, standing right in the middle of her schoolhouse!

My thoughts-

Just looking at the adorable cover of the dvd you can tell that Jack and Elizabeth have a pretty cute relationship. What I love most about this show is that are some incredibly romantic moments, but romantic moments that are also innocent and can be watched by younger eyes. I love watching When Calls the Heart with my 7 year old daughter, Jack is the perfect example of the type of man she should be seeking for her life when she's older!

Elizabeth is back in Hope Valley after being gone for a while to tend to her sick mother. She is welcomed back with a party in town that pretty much everyone comes out to! Watching historical fiction always makes me wish I lived in a time when people still were all about community and come together for something like the homecoming of one of their own. There was a lot of Jack in this span of episodes which I am always happy about, but the most fun thing that I got a kick out of was Elizabeth volunteering herself to run a homestead and take care of two children. I knew she would have no trouble with the children, but taking care of a homestead? Watching her milk a cow was hilarious! There is also some drama with Nora showing up in town AND with Charles showing up in town as well! I will never grow tired of this show. It is great for the whole family and always packed with lots of drama, humor and romance. It may be sappy at times but there is nothing wrong with a little old fashioned sap! I will be hoping for (and tunning in to) many seasons to come!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hudson Cast Iron Cleaner XL 7x7 Premium Stainless Steel Chainmail Scrubber

Disclosure of material connection- I received the product via Tomoson in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

I love my cast iron pans! They are well loved and used probably more often than any other cookware in my house. I have been using scouring pads to clean them the last few years and that can use some real elbow grease sometimes if food has been sitting for a while or has caked onto the pan. I had never heard of chainmail scrubbers and I will admit that at first glance it was a strange looking contraption, but the scrubber really works well on my cast iron pots and pans. I love that it is made out of stainless steel. One of the main reasons I use cast iron is because it is not teflon or non stick and doesn't contain awful chemicals that leach from the pans and I like that the scrubber is made from another great, clean material. I have not yet used it on my Pyrex or other glassware but I have faith that it will clean those just as nicely. When you are finished using it to clean your cookware, it is simply to clean off by just throwing it in the dishwasher!