Sunday, February 28, 2010

There Is a God

video

I just heard this song for the first time this weekend and I loved it immediately. I found this video on YouTube and wanted to share it with you. It may be just what you needed to hear today!

Friday, February 26, 2010

I'M A VIEW AMBASSADOR



I am super excited to tell you that I just found I have been selected to be an official View Ambassador. That means you can come here and find out what is coming up on THE VIEW each week and what HOT TOPICS the ladies will be discussing.

You can look forword to regular posts about THE VIEW starting next week! I have been a fan of THE VIEW since the beginning. I love how the ladies talk about what is happening in the world as well as current fashion tips, family issues, and what matters to women. I may not always agree with all the ladies, but I do appreciate their "views" and enjoy the engaging discussions. Frequently those discussions continue with friends or even with my husband later that day.

If you are a fan of THE VIEW and would like to win a trip to New York City to watch a taping of THE VIEW, sign up here THROUGH SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28th.

I am a participant in a Mom Central campaign for ABC Daytime and will receive a tote bag or other THE VIEW branded items to facilitate my review.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Applesauce-Spice Cupcakes from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes





I LOVE Cookbooks and have way to many of them, but I couldn't resist getting MARTHA STEWART'S CUPCAKES: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat. I first heard about it on her show and then saw it at Target. So, I thumbed through it and knew that I wanted to get it. Today, my daughter and I tried the first recipe out of it. There are so many I want to try including Chocolate Chip, Red Velvet, Rhubarb, Pumpkin Brown Butter, Coconut-Rum Raisin, Lemon Cupcakes, and S'Mores Cupcakes just to name a few! I look forward to more baking and you can look forward to more cupcake posts!

APPLESAUCE-SPICE CUPCAKES

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line standard muggin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add applesauce and then flour mixture, beating until just combined after each.

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a cate tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tin to a wire rack to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

4. To finish, frost with cream cheese frosting.

(side note: The original recipe includes pecans and a brown sugar cream cheese frosting)

The applesauce in the cupcakes made them very moist and the spices gave them a great flavor.

This is my honest opinion and I did not receive any compensation for this review.

Your Words


If you thought your words would be the last earthly thing someone heard, would it make a difference in what you said and how you said it? What do you want the last thing someone you love hears as they leave you? You never know when the last time you see someone will be? Do you want your husband to hear you complaining about the laundry as he walks out the door or I love you and drive safely? Was the last thing your child heard as you tucked them in bed was how tired you were and how you are frustrated that you still had a mound of dishes to do? Or did you kiss your child and tell them how much you loved them and how proud you were of them? Did your last conversation with your best friend end in a disagreement? No matter when or if you see someone again, shouldn't your last words to them always positive? What if it is the checkout girl at the store, or your co-worker as she leaves the office? Don't these people deserve our love too? You never know when those words will be just what that person needs to hear or if it will be the last words they hear on this earth.

What about our words at other times? Are you someone who complains a lot and puts people down, or are you someone who praises others and reminds people how special they are to you? Your words to others can give them just the boost they need or can completely crush their spirit.



Proverbs 25:11 states,
A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. NIV

The right word spoken at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl. NCV

The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry. THE MESSAGE

God wants us to be careful with our words and I have been focusing on that this week.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review: LifeStride Shoes from CSN Stores




I received these shoes courtesy of CSN Stores the other day and I LOVE them. So, I wanted to let you know how easy it was to shop for shoes on this website.

Once you get to the CSN Stores website, you can search for shoes by clicking on that category. Then from there you can narrow your search by gender, size and width, style, brand name, color, and heel height. Each time you select a category, your selections are going to more specific to your needs. There are more brand names for shoes offered than I had ever heard of. Anything from Etienne Aigner, Timberlands, and Harley Davison Footwear and everything in between. By being able to select the various categories I was able to narrow my search and find exactly what I was looking for....a black dress shoe with a slight heel. The order was placed on a Wednesday and I received the shoes on a Friday which impressed me.

Now to the shoes....as I said before, I LOVE them. The heel height is perfect and they are dressy enough to wear with pants as well as look great with a pair of jeans. The best part is they are VERY COMFORTABLE. I have worn them all day without a problem. These particular shoes are by LifeStride, a brand I had never heard of but plan to check out more of their shoe options. This particular style is called Suspense and is available in brown and black and retails for $45.00.

So if you are in the market for shoes for any member of your family, I would highly recommend them.

Thanks to CSN Stores for providing me with the above mentioned pair of shoes for this review. Even though I was compenstated for this review with a pair of shoes, you have received my honest opinion about this product and their website.

H.O.P.E.


HOPE: Holding On Praying Earnestly
Doug Quinn

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday's Attitude Quote




A bad attitude is like a flat tire. If you don't change it, you'll never go anywhere. Buz Moxon

Friday, February 19, 2010

Review: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold


When we first meet 14-year-old Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. This was before milk carton photos and public service announcements, she tells us; back in 1973, when Susie mysteriously disappeared, people still believed these things didn't happen. In the sweet, untroubled voice of a precocious teenage girl, Susie relates the awful events of her death and her own adjustment to the strange new place she finds herself. It looks a lot like her school playground, with the good kind of swing sets. With love, longing, and a growing understanding, Susie watches her family as they cope with their grief, her father embarks on a search for the killer, her sister undertakes a feat of amazing daring, her little brother builds a fort in her honor and begin the difficult process of healing. In the hands of a brilliant novelist, this story of seemingly unbearable tragedy is transformed into a suspenseful and touching story about family, memory, love, heaven, and living.


As a mother, this book was difficult to read. It starts right off with the murder of Susie that is horrific to read. As a parent, I felt the heart stopping fear of Susie's parents as they waited for her to come home and then later as a body part is found. The rest of the story is told from Susie's perspective from heaven. This is a different heaven than I have always imagined so this part of the story was hard for me to grasp. But I did understand the idea of Susie's inability to let her family go and why her heaven was different. I thought the storyline of the family Susie left behind was very realistic. Many couples that suffer the death of a child have difficulty remaining married. Unfortunately, I have seen that within my own family, but have also seen others who have gone through it and it made their marriage stronger. I won't spoil the ending by saying which way Susie's parents ended up, but I did like how the author ended the story for them. Watching Buckly, Susie's younger brother, grow up was an interesting storyline. I realized how everything in a family can change after something this terrible happens, no matter how old the family member is. My heart ached for both Buckley and his sister Lindsay as they were frequently left out because their parents were in deep grief. This story left me with the question,When is it time to let someone go and move on? Can you ever move on? I can't say I loved this story, but it did hold my interest and kept me turning the pages hoping that at some point, the murderer would be caught. I am planning to see the movie and am looking forward to comparing the two. I gave this 3 out of 5 stars.
Sincerely,


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin


Tonight I tried a new recipe from one of my favorite Food Network chefs, Robin Miller and her cookbook Quick Fix Meals. I have had her cookbook for awhile and have made a few things from it. Since I have a whole hog in our freezer, I have been making a lot of meals around pork lately. Tonight I used one of our pork tenderloins. I was pleasantly surprised that it got rave reviews from our family! The meat was very tender and flavorful and was quite easy to put in the oven! Robin Miller's Quick Fix Meals often revolve around cooking once and eating 2 or even 3 times. So, she has you make up extra meat and then gives you ways to use it in later meals. Tonight I just made one tenderloin and halved the recipe with no leftovers.
BALSAMIC ROASTED PORK TENDERLOIN
2-2 lb pork tenderloins
salt
ground black pepper
1/4 cup balamic vinegar
2 Tbs honey
2 Tbs dijon mustard
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
(remember this recipe can be halved when only using one tenderloin)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Coat a shallow roasting pan with cooking spray. Place the pork in the pan and season the top and sides with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, and thyme. Spoon the mixture all over the pork, then roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork reads 160 degrees, (The pork may still be pink in the center, but that is ok.) about 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes if possible.
Let the pork stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Giveaway: Rainbow Brite CD ROM


If you're a mom and in your 30's you probably had or wished you had a Rainbow Brite doll when you were little. I was in the "wished I had" category. I loved rainbows as a child and still do and loved everything about the Rainbow Brite dolls.
Well, Rainbow Brite is back! Check out http://www.rainbowbrite.com/ to to view four new Rainbow Brite animated mini episodes. Your daughter can join Rainbow Brite, her two loyal friends Moonglow and Tickled Pink, and their companion horse friends: Starlite, Shimmer, and Sunriser on their adventures through Rainbow Land. You can even find the newest Rainbow Brite fashion doll collection at Target and Toys R' Us.
If you would like to introduce Rainbow Brite to your little girl, I have a CD ROM full of fun games and activites for you. The CD ROM is PC and Mac compatible. The CD ROM includes a animated short, games, puzzles, the Rainbow Brite theme song, as well as all of Rainbow Brites friends and coloring pages! My 5-year-old daughter loved playing the games and everything is very easy to navigate.
Leave a comment telling me if you had a Rainbow Brite doll as a child or not. Be sure to leave me your email address so I can contact you. I will be choosing 3 winners. Entry deadline is Sunday, February 28th at 11:59 PM. Random.org will choose 3 winners on Monday, March 1st and the winners will be listed here as well as contacted by email.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Monday

For the past two Mondays I have talked about your attitude and how changing that attitude can change the course of your whole day. Today I have a quote for you....

The greatest revolution in our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives. William James

Go forth and have a happy Monday!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Way of Love


1 Corinthians 13: 1-8 taken from The Message


If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others, than for self.

Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.

Love doesn't strut,

Doesn't have a swelled head,

Doesn't force itself on others,

Isn't always "me first,"

Doesn't fly off the handle,

Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn't revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God Always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies.


Isn't that just amazing? That is how God loves me everyday, but I know I am not loving others in that way and I should be. This is such an excellent reminder for me, on Valentine's Day, for how I need to be loving others. Happy Valentine's Day and be sure that you tell those you love how special they are to you today and how much you love them!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love

There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved. George Sand

On this Valentine's eve, think about all those in your life who have loved you....parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, neighbors, old boy/girlfriends, best friends, roommates, co-workers.....and how their loving you blessed your life. Say a prayer and thank them for loving you because that love has made you who you are today.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Favorite Tradition


One of my absolute favorite traditions in our family involves Valentine's Day. It is something I started when our boys were 1 and 2 and we have continued it every year since. I give the kids a little present every year for Valentine's day just like I give my husband something. But the extra special part, is that I make the gift giving into a scavenger hunt all around the house. Each clue taking them to some other spot until finally arriving at the end with a present waiting just for them. Over the years my clues have been in a poem form, in question form and have involved memories from the previous year. One year I even had a scavenger hunt for my husband. Just the other day my heart swelled when our middle child asked if I was still planning to do the Scavenger Hunt this year. Of course I was! Except this year I had to do it a little early....last night in fact! So yesterday, I planned it out, placed the clues all around the house and right after supper, we let the kids get started. This year I also incorporated silly tricks that they had to perform before they got to the final prize at the end. The gift bag included movies and a Leapster game for them to take along for a weekend getaway. We are traveling to an indoor waterpark that is about 2 hours away. This winter has been cold, long, and snowy and we really felt like we needed a weekend get-away. So, as soon as the kids get home from school we are heading out to our balmy indoor waterpark where we hope to forget, for a few days anyway, that it is winter outside! What do you do for Valentine's Day?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Deliciously Delectable Carrot-Raisin Muffins from Gooseberry Patch's Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook




I have been a fan of Gooseberry Patch for awhile, and have recently "fanned" them on Facebook. So, I now get regular updates of new cookbooks and recipes on my Facebook Homepage. In January, they shared this recipe and I made it for bookclub last month and thought I would share it with you.



Yummy Carrot-Raisin Muffins
18 oz pkg of Carrot Cake Mix
15 oz can of Pumpkin
1/3 cup golden raisins (I used the regular brown raisins)
Add dry cake mix and pumpkin together to make a thick batter. Add raisins and mix well. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until muffins test done. Makes 1 dozen muffins.




These were a very dense muffin and very moist. The pumpkin flavor was very strong and mixed well with the carrot cake. You could also use a Spice Cake Mix.




For more about Gooseberry Patch, check out their website http://www.gooseberrypatch.com/.


Softlips Winner

Using Random.org, the winning comment was..............


Here are your random numbers:

10

Timestamp: 2010-02-09


paulasue said...
Pomegranate sounds wonderful!! Thanks for the giveaway!!!

Thanks to everyone for signing up. Paulasue will be receiving an email from me shortly. It was interesting to see everyone's flavor of choice!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Choose Happy

It is another Monday. Did you wake up grumpy? If you read my post last Monday, you know that I am trying to change my attitude and am hoping others will as well. Maybe you have a really hectic week ahead. Maybe life isn't going the way you want it to go. Maybe you woke up with a cold this morning. Whatever it is...change your attitude this minute. Life isn't always what you want, but it is what you've got. So, take this minute, and CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY! See what a difference this will make in your day and the day of those around you!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pride

When I met my husband nearly twelve years ago, his tag-line on his AOL profile page was "Swallow your pride before it swallows you". The other day I read this quote in the December 2009 Guideposts Magazine: "Swallow your pride. It contains no calories."

Being proud of my children and their grades, their behavior, and their accomplishments is a positive part of pride. But there is another side of pride that isn't always so positive.

I know if I took a minute to step back and ignore my pride, it would save me some frustration and heartache in several situations. Why do we hold tight to our pride? We don't want to be embarrassed. We don't want to admit we were WRONG. We would rather keep our pride than say "I'm Sorry!" Who are you hurting (besides yourself) because you didn't swallow your pride? I know how hard it is because I have let pride takeover and the result is always damaging. What amends could you make today by swallowing your pride?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday


Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. Guideposts Magazine December 2009

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Another Softlips Giveaway!

Are your lips suffering from dryness this winter? Are they cracked and chapped? Well, mine have been and I have been using lots of different products to try and keep them smooth and soft.

Softlips is a 95% organic lip conditioner. It is 100% natural. It contains a blend of organic oils, beeswax and shea butter. It also has Vitamin E to protect the lips. This product is free of pesticides, harsh chemicals, and parabens. It is gluten-free and cruelty-free which means is does not test its products on animals. It comes in a variety of flavors and also comes tinted. I have several of them and like each one.

I liked the long skinny tube because it fits easily in my pocket. Softlips is the one I take with me on the go. I don't have to worry about it "melting" in my pocket and the skinny tube isn't noticeable in my pocket. The product goes on very smoothly and stays on.
Since Valentine's Day is coming up, I thought I would help you get your lips in perfect kissing form! I have more Softlips lip protector to giveaway to you. Thanks to Nicole for offering the lip balms for me to giveaway!
To sign up, leave me a comment with your email address and tell me which flavor you would like to try after visiting the website http://www.softlips.com/. You have until 11:59 PM on Monday, February 8th to enter. I will draw a winner on Tuesday, February 9th and announce it here. Who knows, I may even draw more than one winner!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mondays

Now that I am on Facebook, I have noticed that nearly every Monday, several people complain about the fact that it is a Monday. Can you do anything about the fact that it is Monday? No. But if you start out with a cranky, bad, negative attitude on a Monday, how will that affect your day, your week?

I am the first to admit that Mondays are tough sometimes and it can be hard to get going again after the weekend. But I have also learned that my attitude affects our whole family and the "air" in the house. So, I have been trying to really notice my attitudes lately and if I am starting to get cranky, I need to change it and quick!

I read somewhere once....In one minute I can change my attitude and in that one minute I can change my entire day. I really try to remind myself of that on a regular basis.

If I think positively, I will feel better. If I smile, I will likely get smiles back. If I am grumpy, I am going to hear grumbling from others. If I am worried, I am going to get more worried. If I am unhappy, others will be unhappy. But, if I am kind, I will attract more kindness. If I am loving, there will be more love.

Just changing the way you feel or the way you start your day can affect your whole mood for the rest of the day. You will change the way you feel inside and likely your feelings will transfer to others. Won't that be a better way to start your Monday?