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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Product Review & Giveaway~Purex plus Clorox 2 detergent

Purex always seems to be working on bringing customers the very best detergent at the lowest price. Now they have come out with Purex plus Clorox 2 laundry detergent.  This new formula combines the cleaning power of Purex with the extra powerful boost of Clorox 2 stain fighters.

Purex Plus Clorox 2 detergent contains three stain-fighting enzymes to remove 100 stains! Starchy stains, protein based stains, and food stains disappear with this new formula.  It is safe for colors, bleach-free, and available in two fragrances: Original Fresh and Sunny Linen. Purex plus Clorox 2 works great as a pre-treater as well-just apply directly to the stain and let sit for five minutes. I'm loving this new Purex, and its stain-fighting power!

I have two coupons to give away-each coupon is for free Purex detergent, up to $7.00! Enter using the Rafflecopter  form below. I will email the winners within 24 hours of the contest end. If winners do not respond within 48 hours, new winners will be selected. US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: Purex provided me with a sample of new Purex plus Clorox 2 detergent in exchange for a product review. All opinions expressed here are my own.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Product Review~Dauber Dawgs Dot Markers

I've seen dot marker sets in educational supply stores before, and thought they would be fun for kids. I have a four-year-old grandson, Daniel, who loves to do arts and crafts so this was a perfect fit for us. Our Dauber Dawgs Washable Dot Markers came in a sturdy reusable cardboard box. There are eight markers with washable ink in these colors: Red, pink, blue, purple, yellow, orange, green, and brown.

The markers are comfortable in your hand, and chunky enough for toddlers. The bright rounded caps make it easy to know which color you are choosing, and there is no leaking if  you put the caps on correctly. The Dauber Dawgs are 3 fl. ounces each, non-toxic, and bpa free. Included in your purchase is a link to three PDF dot marker coloring books.

Our experience with Dauber Dawgs was mixed. I downloaded the animal coloring pages, and my grandson was so excited to use the markers. We both loved the bright, bold colors! Daniel had a  hard time getting just a dot to appear.  Sometimes it would work, but other times it looked more like a 'splat', or way too much ink came out. I assumed he was pressing too firmly, so then I tried. I was able to do a little better than he did, but still had the same problems no matter how carefully I applied the marker. After seeing all the great reviews, I'm thinking maybe I got a defective set. Here is Daniel's picture he made, which he ended up smearing the paint around after the dots didn't work as he had hoped, and using them more like a paintbrush. The next one is my attempt.

I really think Dauber Dawgs are a great product, but my markers definitely had problems with ink flow. The worksheets are adorable! Despite them not working how he had hoped, my grandson is still enjoying using his Dauber Dawgs Washable Markers.

You can buy a set for your children, give as a gift, or for adult use at Bingo, available at Amazon.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Children's Book Review~If You Were Me and Lived in...Italy

Author Carole P. Roman has a great educational series for children titled If You Were Me and Lived In... (Fill in the blank with a country name): A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World. My family has all of the books in this series, and we love them!  They are educational, but also fun and so interesting! I always learn at least one thing new with each book.

The book I'm reviewing today in this series is If You Were Me And Lived In...Italy: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World, written by Carole P. Roman and illustrated by Kelsea Wierenga. It is 28 pages long, with a handy pronunciation guide at the back of the book. Colorful illustrations are on at least every other page. The print is perfect for early readers, with not too much text on each page.

In If You Were Me and Lived In...Italy, we learned about where in the world Italy is, its capital, and its history. We learned about popular names for children, what they would call their parents and grandparents, and about their school.  Money, sports, food, and special holidays are also discussed. Each volume in the series covers these basic topics, which is great for consistency.

The If You Were Me and Lived In... series is great for any family to have, and a must-have for homeschooling families! I think the entire set of all of the books in the series would make a great gift for a child or family.  Both my 13-year-old son and 4-year-old grandson read the books, so I think the age surpasses the recommended age range of Preschool-4th grade. The Italy edition has been especially interesting for our family as our 21-year-old daughter is traveling to Italy this summer with a dance group!

In case you were wondering what new fact I learned in If You Were Me and Lived In...Italy, it is this: Rome is the only city in the world to have another country inside its borders! The Catholic Church is considered an independent state, and its capital, Vatican City, is located there. So, if you read these books with your children, you might learn a few new facts along the way!

Learn more about author Carole P. Roman and her books at her website, http://www.caroleproman.com/ . There are links there to purchase her books at Amazon. If You Were Me and Lived In...Italy is available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle.

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Children's Book Review~What Was I Thinking?Volume 1


ABOUT THE BOOK:  What Was I Thinking? Volume 1: My Brainy Best Friend (ISBN 9780996849005) was written by Zac Lange. It is an 8x10 color casebound matte with 52 pages, and was published by Novel Notions Press. It is also available as a softcover (ISBN 9780996849012), and as an Ebook.

Description from the back cover: Come meet the REAL imaginary friend that we all have...As everyone who has ever been a kid knows, mistakes and accidents are a part of growing up. "What Was I Thinking?"is a series that examines and finds solutions to an endless list of experiences that are universal to both children and families using the incredible tool of brainpower. It is told from an engaging, humorous, and relatable perspective of a young boy in the process of figuring out his place in the world, and whose creative mind, Brain, is his own best friend.  "What Was I Thinking? Volume 1" encourages kids to celebrate their brains and their amazing potential. It also teaches the importance of using those powerful brains to think before acting, and the consider consequences both good and bad. Ultimately, the series wants to help kids be aware of their own thought processes, so they can make positive decisions for any given situation in their own lives. Hopefully, there will be fewer and fewer times when they have to ask themselves, "What was I thinking?"

WHAT I THOUGHT: When I first saw the description of What Was I Thinking?, I thought it was a great idea for a book for kids.  Once I received my copy and read it, I was happy that the content was just what I had hoped for. This book is great for kids in a wide age range to read and learn (or a reminder for older kids) that they have the choice to stop and think before acting. The illustrations are colorful and cartoonish, and on every page, perfect to draw kids in. The type is larger and simple, with only a sentence or two on each page, great for beginning readers.

 Although the suggested age range is 5-13, my four-year-old grandson Daniel (pictured above) got a lot out of the book. The timing was perfect. The day I received What Was I Thinking?, Dan had a problem pushing during class. As a consequence, he lost watching TV before bed. Instead, we read this book. He loved it! I think his favorite part was the baby brain in a diaper and bonnet. Reading What Was I Thinking was the perfect discussion starter. We discussed what had happened that day and how he could have stopped first to think about it. He wants to read the book every time he comes to my house, and the other day while driving in the car he wanted to review the Learning List verbally.  After this experience with him, I am even more impressed with What Was I Thinking? Volume 1 and author Zac Lange.

I highly recommend What Was I Thinking? Volume 1, and I'm excited  for future volumes. You can purchase your own copy at Outskirts Press.

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Review and Author Giveaway~A Dream of Miracles

 About the Book: Mattie Diener can barely keep it together. A young Amish widow and mother of two young children, she faces the lingering heartbreak of lost love, her son's mysterious illness, and a torrent of accusations that threaten to undo her. 

Bo Lambright is a fast-rising social services investigator whose high-society mother won't rest until she finds his Mrs. Right. Despite Bo's worldly success, the raw ache of a shadowy past and a series of unsettling dreams have left him reeling. 

When Mattie and Bo cross paths, all signs point to disaster. Yet as they face a crucible of trials and tragedies together, longings begin to stir that seem destined only to end in more heartbreak. Is a miracle possible-not only of healing but of forbidden love? What secrets lie in Bo's dreams? And will Mattie find the courage to face her uncertain future...or will she simply run away?

What I Thought:  Ruth Reid is a favorite author of mine. A Dream of Miracles is by far my favorite book of hers. Although it is the third book in the Amish Wonders series, it can definitely be read by itself. The concept of an Amish family being investigated by social services is one I have not read before in an Amish fiction novel. As my husband is a social worker, it held special interest to me as well. My heart ached for Mattie, not only a widow but with a son with recurring illness, and with a history of depression. A Dream of Miracles would make a great Book Club/Book Group book, and has a Reading Group Guide at the back.  Get this book-you won't be disappointed, I couldn't put it down!

Read more reviews at Litfuse.  Learn more about A Dream of Miracles and where to purchase  your own copy at Ruth Reid's website.

Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA bestselling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She's a full-time pharmacist who lives in Florida with her husband and three children. When attending Ferris State University School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several occasions to visit the Amish farms. Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life.

When a suspicious outsider with a shadowy past comes crashing into Amish widow Mattie’s fragile world, can she learn to love again? Find out in Ruth Reid's new book, A Dream of Miracles. When Mattie and Bo cross paths, all signs point to disaster. Yet as they face a crucible of trials and tragedies together, longings begin to stir that seem destined only to end in more heartbreak. Is a miracle possible—not only of healing but of forbidden love? What secrets lie in Bo’s dreams? And will Mattie find the courage to face her uncertain future . . . or will she simply run away?

Ruth is celebrating the release of A Dream of Miracles with a Kindle Fire HD 6 giveaway (details below) and an author chat party on May 3!

dream of miracles - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • One copy of A Dream of Miracles
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 5/3. The winner will be announced at A Dream of Miracles Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Ruth and other fans of Amish fiction, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

dream of miracles - enter banner

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 3rd!


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Book Review~Simple Pleasures


Simple Pleasures: Stories from My Life as an Amish Mother, by Marianne Jantzi, is published by Herald Press. It is 262 pages, including A Day in the Life of the Author, Jantzi Favorite Family Recipes, and FAQs About the Amish: The Author Answers.

About the Book: Young Amish homemaker Marianne Jantzi invites readers into her family's life on the snowy plains of Ontario. The mother of four young children and wife of a storekeeper, Jantzi writes about her daily routines and heartfelt faith with equal measures of wit and warmth. Sewing, cleaning, cooking, gardening, and helping to manage the store take up most hours in her day, but Jantzi finds time to pen columns for the Connection, a magazine beloved by Amish and Mennonite readers across the United States and Canada. Never sugarcoating the frustrations of motherhood, Jantzi tells it like it is, broken washing machine and bickering children and all. But through her busy days, Jantzi finds strength in simple pleasures of family, fellowship with her Amish community, and quiet time with God.

What I Thought: As a lover of Amish fiction, I have been enjoying the Plainspoken series, which includes real life stories of the Amish and Mennonite in their own words. Simple Pleasures: Stories from My Life as an Amish Mother is a wonderful addition to this series. It is simply the everyday life of an Amish wife and mother-nothing spectacular. But to those of us who are fascinated with the Amish lifestyle, it is a rare look into their lives. I found that, although there are obvious differences (such as no electricity), her life is not all that different from mine. She experiences the same struggles and joys with family life. Mrs. Jantzi is a talented writer, and I thoroughly enjoyed her beautiful descriptions of even the simplest things.

As much as I enjoyed Simple Pleasures, I think it is a book that only those interested in the Amish would enjoy. The only problem I had reading it was the stories were not chronological.  An example is one chapter may be talking about their three children, and next they only have one child. It happened often, and was confusing. Other than that, it was a wonderful look into the author's life that was a pleasure to read.

About the Author:  Marianne Jantzi is an Amish writer and homemaker in Ontario, Canada. Formerly a teacher in an Amish school, Jantzi now educates and inspires through her "Northern Reflections" column for The Connection, a magazine directed mainly to Amish and plain communities across the U.S. and Canada. She and her husband have four young children and run a shoe store among the Milverton Amish settlement of Ontario.

Read more reviews of Simple Pleasures at Litfuse, and purchase your own copy at MennoMedia. 

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.