icRKphJXQm-ezth8lntKydifkDg The Loose Screw: September 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Check out "Unstoppable" by Nick Vujicic!

Unstoppable is the brand new book coming out in October by Nick Vujicic, an amazing author and speaker who was born without limbs.  I read his first book, Life Without Limits, back in May 2011-you can read that review here.  I'm looking forward to reading his new book, so I thought I would share about it!  Here is a description taken from the WaterBrook Multnomah website:

Being unstoppable is about believing and achieving. It’s about having faith in yourself, your talents and your purpose and, most of all, in God’s great love and His divine plan for your life.

Millions around the world recognize the smiling face and inspirational message of Nick Vujicic. Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick’s challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships. Nick has overcome trials and hardships by focusing on the promises that he was created for a unique and specific purpose, that his life has value and is a gift to others, and that no matter the despair and hard times in life, God is always present. Nick credits his success in life to the power that is unleashed when faith takes action.

But how does that happen? In Unstoppable Nick addresses adversity and difficult circumstances that many people face today, including:

· Personal crises

· Relationship issues

· Career and job challenges

· Health and disability concerns

· Self-destructive thoughts, emotions, and addictions

· Bullying, persecution, cruelty, and intolerance

· Balance in body, mind, heart, and spirit

· Service to others

Through stories from his own life and the experiences of many others, Nick explains how anyone wanting a “ridiculously good life” can respond to these issues and more to become unstoppable. What’s standing in your way? Are you ready to become unstoppable?

Click here to read the first chapter of Unstoppable.
I hope you are as inspired as I was by Nick Vujicic's story!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sweet Addition

Two things that I already knew, but that God reminded me of in a big way this year are that life will not go as you expect, and that blessings can come from every situation.

Something I haven't posted about yet, but have hinted about in recent posts, is that I am a Grandma.  We didn't find out about our grandson until he was seven months old, and it was quite a shock!  After the reality settled in, we embarked on the journey of falling in love with Daniel.  He is now one year old, and the past five months, although bumpy, have been joyous.  No, it isn't the way I wanted to have, or planned/expected to have my first grandchild.  But, things happen and this beautiful little boy is now a huge part of our lives. 

In keeping with my family's traditions, I am YiaYia and Jeff is Papou (Grandma and Grandpa in Greek).  I don't think there is any way of describing the love for your grandchild-you have to experience this deep feeling firsthand to understand.  I love our time together, and just melt at most everything he does. 

This journey hasn't been easy, but one thing is for certain-I love being Daniel's YiaYia!

Soft Scrub Review and Giveaway~3 winners!!

I have found a great new line of household cleaners.  As a member of Purex Insiders, I had the opportunity to try out Soft Scrub Total All Purpose Cleaners.  I received a Soft Scrub Total Bath and Bowl cleaner, and a Soft Scrub Total All Purpose with Bleach.  Also in the line is an all purpose lemon scented cleaner without bleach. 

These new cleaners work great, and have some nifty features that I've never seen before in a household cleaner. 

*Works upside down!
*Choose Foam or Spray
*Tough on stains, gentle on surfaces
*Cleans and deodorizes

My favorite feature is that you can spray upside down!  This is perfect for awkward areas, and great for the toilet bowl!!  Another feature I loved is that there is a little plastic piece on the nozzle that you can switch from foam to spray.  I didn't think I would use that feature much, but I do!  I'm very happy with these Soft Scrub Total Cleaners.  I've been using the Total with bleach in my kitchen-it has a clean smell, and I use the Bath and Bowl cleaner in the bathroom. With the exception of a glass/mirror cleaner, you don't need any other products for your bathroom. 


Soft Scrub is holding The Tough and Gentle Sweepstakes, with $3000 in prizes!  One lucky winner will win $1000, and 50 other winners win $40 each!!  Enter here!


Three The Loose Screw readers will each win a coupon for one free bottle of any Soft Scrub Total, Bleach Clean, or Soft Scrub abrasive product! 

This is my first try at using Rafflecopter, so please let me know if you experience any problems.  Thanks!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: Soft Scrub provided me with free samples so I could review them.  However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own.

Winner!! Shutterfly Photo Book!

The winner of the 8x8 hardcover Photo Book is...

Brooke T!

If I don't hear from Brooke within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn. 
Thanks everyone who entered!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review~Still Life in Shadows

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Still Life in Shadows
River North; New Edition edition (August 1, 2012)
Alice Wisler


Alice was born in Osaka, Japan in the sixties. Her parents were Presbyterian career missionaries. As a young child, Alice loved to walk down to the local stationer's store to buy notebooks, pencils and scented erasers. In her room, she created stories. The desire to be a published famous author has never left her. Well, two out of three isn't bad. She's the author of Rain Song, How Sweet It Is, Hatteras Girl and A Wedding Invitation (all published by Bethany House).

Alice went to Eastern Mennonite University after graduating from Canadian Academy, an international high school in Kobe, Japan. She majored in social work and has worked across the U.S. in that field. She taught ESL (English as a Second Language) in Japan and at a refugee camp in the Philippines. She also studied Spanish at a language institute in San Jose, Costa Rica.

She has four children--Rachel, Daniel, Benjamin and Elizabeth. Daniel died on 2/2/97 from cancer treatments at the age of four. Since then, Alice founded Daniel's House Publications in her son's memory. This organization reaches out to others who have also lost a child to death. In 2000 and 2003, Alice compiled recipes and memories of children across the world to publish two memorial cookbooks, Slices of Sunlight and Down the Cereal Aisle.


It's been fifteen years since Gideon Miller ran away from his Amish community in Carlisle, Pennsylvania as a boy of fifteen. Gideon arrives in the Smoky Mountains town of Twin Branches and settles in at the local auto mechanic's garage. He meets a host of interesting characters -the most recent acquaintances are Kiki, an autistic teen, and her sister Mari. Known as the "Getaway Savior" he helps other Amish boys and girls relocate to life in modern America.

One day the phone rings. On the other end is his brother Moriah calling from Florida. Of course Gideon welcomes his brother to stay with him and offers him a job. But Moriah is caught in a web which ends in his death and forces Gideon to return to the town of his youth, with his brother's body in the back of a hearse and Mari and Kiki at his side. He must face not only the community he ran away from years ago but also his own web of bitterness. Will he be able to give his anger over to God and forgive his father?

If you would like to read the first chapter excerpt of Still Life in Shadows, go HERE.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Shutterfly Photo Book Giveaway!!

Back in March, I did a review of Shutterfly's yearbooks. Well,  it’s a new school year filled with new memories, and a Shutterfly yearbook is the easiest way to preserve school year memories.  Here is a snippet from my review:

 Shutterfly makes it easy and affordable to create a Yearbook for your child and their school! Use their specially designed page templates with the all new Custom Path to create a unique and special memory! These award-winning books are printed in color and professionally bound. The colors look rich and vibrant!

You can read my entire review here.

You can learn more about Shutterfly and all their great products on the following social media channels (Make sure to follow them!):
            · Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shutterfly
· Instagram: Shutterfly


One lucky The Loose Screw reader will win an 8x8 hardcover 20-page Photo Book plus shipping (Canada included).  That's a $38 value!! More information on the Photo Books is available at the Shutterfly website. 
You can earn up to 4 entries (you must leave a separate comment for each entry):
1. Visit Shutterfly at any of the links above. (one entry total)
2.  Like The Loose Screw on Facebook.(one entry total)
3.  Follow me via GFC, Google Plus, Linky followers, Twitter, and/or Pinterest using the links over on the right sidebar. (one entry total)
4.  Tweet, blog, or post on Facebook about this giveaway. (one entry total)
PLEASE make sure to leave me your email address in one of  your comments. 
This contest will end at midnight MST on Monday, September 24th.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email or another winner will be drawn.  Good luck!!
*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, however all opinions are my own.

Book Review~A Heartbeat Away

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Heartbeat Away
David C. Cook (September 1, 2012)
Harry Kraus


A Word from Harry:

I started writing my first novel during my last year of surgery training at UK. I was a chief resident, and started writing Stainless Steal Hearts in a call room at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Lexington. It was a crazy time to write! I had a very demanding schedule, often spending days and nights in the hospital. I had two sons at that time, and I recognized the wisdom in my wife's urging: "Now doesn't seem the right time for this dream."

My experience as a writer is far from typical. Having received my formal training in biology and chemistry and medicine, my only preparation for a writing career was a love for reading. The longest thing I'd written before my first novel was a term paper in undergraduate school. My first novel was accepted by Crossway Books and published in 1994, and it wasn't until after I had FOUR published novels that I even opened a book of instruction about the craft of writing fiction. This is not what I recommend to others! Yes, I was successful, but I was bending the "rules" without knowing it. I had a natural talent for plotting, but I realize my initial success may have stunted my growth as a writer. I'd have made faster progress if I'd have gone to the fiction teachers sooner.

I have three sons: Joel, Evan, and Samuel. Look closely in all of my books and you'll see them there. My lovely wife, Kris, provides the basic composition for all those beautiful, athletic, dedicated women in my novels.


When a brilliant surgeon undergoes a heart transplant, her life transforms as she begins experiencing memories of a murder she never witnessed.

The residents worship her. Nurses step out of her way. Her colleagues respect and sometimes even fear her. But surgeon Tori Taylor never expected to end up on this side of the operating table.

Now she has a new heart. This life that was formerly controlled and predictable is now chaotic. Dr. Taylor had famously protected herself from love or commitment, but her walls are beginning to crumble.

And strangest of all, memories surface that will take her on a journey out of the operating room and into a murder investigation.

Where there once was a heart of stone, there is a heart of flesh. And there is no going back.

If you'd like to read the first chapter excerpt of A Heartbeat Away, go HERE.

MY THOUGHTS: Unfortunately, I didn't receive this book in time to get it read for the tour, but I'm looking forward to reading it.  I always enjoy medical mysteries. 

*Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Winner~Combat Ant Gel!!!

The winner of the Combat Ant Gel, chosen by random.org, is...

Amber Faith!!

Congratulations!  I have emailed the winner with further instructions.  Thanks everyone who entered, and be watching for another great product giveaway next week!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Book Review~The Bridesmaid by Beverly Lewis

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Bridesmaid
Bethany House Publishers (September 11, 2012)
Beverly Lewis


Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, The Heritage of Lancaster County, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."

Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Beverly's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and spending time with their family. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."


The Latest in Chart-Topping Amish Fiction from Beverly Lewis

Twenty-seven-year-old Joanna Kurtz has made several trips to the altar, but never as a bride. The single young Amishwoman is a closet writer with a longing to be published something practically unheard of in her Lancaster County community. Yet Joanna's stories aren't her only secret. She also has a beau who is courting her from afar, unbeknownst even to her sister, Cora, who, though younger, seems to have suitors to spare.

Eben Troyer is a responsible young Amishman who hopes to make Joanna Kurtz his bride--if he can ever leave his parents' farm in Shipshewana, Indiana. Yet with his only brother off in the English world, intent on a military career, Eben's hopes for building a life with his dear Joanna are dimming, and patience is wearing thin. Will Joanna ever be more than a bridesmaid?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Bridesmaid, go HERE.

My Thoughts: Beverly Lewis is one of my favorite authors, and in The Bridesmaid she has written another beautiful story.  Joanna Kurtz is unmarried still at 27 years old, an age when many young women have been married for several years and already have children!  She longs to be a bride, and has a secret beau living far away.  Eben longs to go to Joanna and marry her, but his responsibilities at his parent's farm keep him home.  The two secret sweethearts struggle to find a way to be together.  I definitely recommend this heartwarming book!

*Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Speekee TV

For the past six weeks, we have been trying out Speekee TV, a Spanish immersion course for ages 2-11.  I think it's important for my kids to learn another language, and learning Spanish could definitely come in handy for their futures.  Speekee TV was created by specialist linguists and musicians, and is 100% in Spanish!  When we first logged in to Speekee, I was expecting my child to learn one word at a time.  That's not how this program works-your child is immersed in watching real Spanish children in real Spanish locations speak!  At first I thought it would be too difficult, but this program works!!

Speekee is a puppet, and I thought my nine year old would say it was too babyish for him.  Surprise-he really enjoys Speekee and the other puppets in the program!  With Speekee TV children can learn at their own pace.  There are lots of fun videos and songs, and all the repetition helps them remember the words. There are English or Spanish subtitles, which also helps improve reading skills. Here is what you will get if you subscribe to Speekee:

*10 episodes of Spanish
*Over 150 minutes of pure Spanish learning
*Learn Spanish from real Spanish children in real Spanish locations
*Features songs, animation and puppets
*Optional subtitles in Spanish and English
*Free activity sheet downloads
*Great fun and extremely effective
*Created by specialist language teachers
*Free optional curriculum
*Songs you can't stop singing

That last sentence-'songs you can't stop singing' is so true!  Both Chad and I always end up singing and humming the cute songs long after we've watched a video.  We used Fasttrack, which is a 40-week plan with each week's learning all laid out for you.  I received an email each week, with links to the videos to watch, and corresponding activities, flashcards, and worksheets.  Fasttrack is a great program that comes free with your subscription. 

You can try Speekee TV out for two weeks free!  A subscription to Speekee TV is only $7.50 per month or $60 per year, and you can cancel any time.  Speekee is also available on DVD

I recommend this program-Chad has enjoyed it and has learned many Spanish words and phrases.  To read more reviews of Speekee TV, click the banner below:

*Disclaimer: I received a free subscription to this product in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

~Wordless Wednesday-1st birthday fun~

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book Review~Found by Shelley Shepard Gray

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Avon Inspire; Original edition (September 4, 2012)
Shelley Shepard Gray


Since 2000, Shelley Sabga has sold over thirty novels to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Harlequin, Abingdon Press, and Avon Inspire. She has been interviewed by NPR, and her books have been highlighted in numerous publications, including USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

Under the name Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley writes Amish romances for HarperCollins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. Her recent novel, The Protector, the final book in her “Families of Honor” series, hit the New York Times List, and her previous novel in the same series, The Survivor, appeared on the USA Today bestseller list. Shelley has won the prestigious Holt Medallion for her books, Forgiven and Grace, and her novels have been chosen as Alternate Selections for the Doubleday/Literary Guild Book Club. Her first novel with Avon Inspire, Hidden, was an Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist.

Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two children in college, and is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and currently leads a Bible study group, and she looks forward to the opportunity to continue to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.

When she’s not writing, Shelley often attends conferences and reader retreats in order to give workshops and publicize her work. She’s attended RWA’s national conference six times, the ACFW conference and Romantic Times Magazine’s annual conference as well as traveled to New Jersey, Birmingham, and Tennessee to attend local conferences.

Check out Shelley's Facebook Fan page

A murder is solved and a quiet Amish community must deal with the repercussions. Amid the surprising revelations, can a newfound love survive?

As the search for Perry Borntrager's killer continues, Jacob Schrock feels like his world is about to crumble. Right before Perry went missing, he and Jacob got into a fistfight. Jacob never told anyone what happened that terrible night. He's good at keeping secrets—including his love for Deborah, Perry's sister. But when Deborah takes a job at his family's store and their friendship blossoms, Jacob senses everything is about to be revealed.

Deborah has been searching for a slice of happiness ever since her brother's body was discovered. When the police start questioning Jacob, Deborah can't believe that the one person she's finally allowed in could be the one responsible for her brother's death. Will she believe what everyone seems to think is the truth . . . or listen to her heart, and hope there is still one more person who is keeping secrets in Crittenden County?

If you would like to read the first chapter excerpt of Found, go HERE.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review and Giveaway~Combat!!

Most people have heard of the brand Combat.  They have a line of products for different pesky insects you don't want in or around your home.  I recently reviewed a few of their products that helped me get rid of ants.  I received Combat Ant Gel and Ant Bait.  It was perfect timing at the hottest part of summer, and I had an invasion of ants in my laundry room.

Combat Ant Gel is a specially formulated ant gel.  Ants return it to the colony and feed the bait to larvae and queens.  It is a fast-acting formula that works within hours and for up to one month.  Combat Ant Bait is a child-resistant bait station that destroys the queen and entire colony.  It can be used both inside and outside. 

So, armed with my gel and bait, I applied the gel near the ant trail, and set up some of the bait stations around the house.  Combat did the trick, and my ants were soon a thing of the past.  I haven't had any problems since!

Combat is having a $1000  Backyard Bash sweepstakes! One lucky winner will win an assortment of Combat products, as well as $1000 to hold their very own Backyard Bash!  Click here to enter.

The Giveaway!!

One lucky The Loose Screw Reader will win a box of Combat Ant Gel!  There are four entries possible:
1.  Enter the Backyard Bash Sweepstakes for one entry.
2.  Follow The Loose Screw through Google Plus, Google Friend Connect, Linky Followers, and/or Twitter for one entry. All links are in the sidebar to your right.
3.  Follow my Facebook page for one entry.
4.  Tweet, blog, or post on Facebook about this giveaway for one entry.
Please leave a separate comment for each entry, and please leave your email address in one of your comments so I can contact you if you are the winner! 

This giveaway will close on September 13, 2012 at midnight MST.  I will draw the winner through www.random.org and contact the following day.  Good luck!!

*Disclaimer: I received a free sample of Combat ant bait and gel in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Schoolhouse Crew Review~Reading Kingdom

I've mentioned Chad's struggles with reading in the past.  He has Dyslexia, and although he is in 4th grade, he reads at about a beginning 2nd grade level.  I am always on the lookout for good reading helps and programs!  Reading Kingdom has been a great online program for Chad!

Reading Kingdom was created by Dr. Marion Blank, the Director of the Light on Learning Program at Columbia University and one of the world's top experts in reading.  It is for ages 4-10, with the goal to be able to read at a 3rd grade level.

Reading Kingdom is the only program that teaches all six skills needed for reading and writing success:
*motor skills
*phonics (phonemic awareness)
*reading comprehension
Reading Kingdom makes learning to read fun for kids-bright graphics, incentives, and fun games. Chad loves fun computer games-so Reading Kingdom is perfect for him!  It makes learning fun-he wants to do this program during his own free computer time! 

What I like about Reading Kingdom, besides Chad loving it, is that once the account is set up, the child can do it on their own.  There are still progress reports for the parents, so you always know where your child is in the program.  Also, Reading Kingdom customizes to each student-so no wasting time on things he has mastered already.  I will be thrilled to get Chad to a 3rd grade level by the time he has completed the program-I have already noticed improvement in his reading!

There are many resources at the Reading Kingdom website.  You can access sample lessons,  as well as find learning games, tips, worksheets, and videos.  Reading Kingdom's store is where you can purchase a variety of books, as well as sign up for a  30 day trial.  The regular price of a Reading Kingdom subscription is $19.99/month or $199.99/year, with additional readers costing $9.99/month or $99.99/year.  Your membership is risk-free, you can cancel anytime. 

We are having great success with Reading Kingdom-check it out! 

*Disclaimer: I received a free subscription to Reading Kingdom in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Schoolhouse Crew Review~Everyday Cooking

As the busy homeschooling mother of eight girls and foster mom to fifty, Vicki Bentley didn't have the time or money to make gourmet meals every night.  Everyday Cooking began as a chapter in her homeschooling manual, Home Education 101, and has grown to become a cookbook full of great recipes and ideas.  I received Everyday Cooking as an e-book, and I plan to have it printed and bound eventually.  Mrs. Bentley has many good money and time-saving ideas in this book, and I learned a lot from reading it. 

One thing I have never frozen, because I thought you couldn't, is rice.  I read in Everyday Cooking to cook up a bunch of rice and freeze it in individual bags for quick dinners.  I've been freezing it regularly now-what a timesaver!!  I made several of the recipes in Everyday Cooking, and my family's favorite was Hawaiian Chicken.  Here is the finished product:
Yummy!  This recipe is going to be a regular in our dinner rotation.  I liked that many of her recipes could have their ingredients chopped/cooked ahead of time and frozen, to be thrown together and heated up at dinnertime.  The only thing that I didn't like about some of the recipes was that they would say for example '1 quart size bag of cooked chopped chicken'.  I know a lot of people cook without exact measurements, but I'm the kind that likes measurements on everything.  It would also be nice to have pictures of some of the recipes. 

Everyday Homemaking is a website full of great tips and encouragement on homemaking and homeschooling.  You can see sample recipes, including Vicki's Bread Recipe!  There are also several other books available for purchase.  Everyday Cooking is available as an e-book for $14.99, or printed for $17.99.  It is a great resource for busy moms! 

*Disclaimer: I received a download of Everyday Cooking in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Book Review~The Reason

Looking for a book you won't be able to put down?  If you are looking for a real page turner, I suggest reading The Reason by William Sirls.  In a small Michigan town, lightning hits the church's wooden cross and splits it in two.  This event is the beginning of a riveting story about everyday people dealing with life's problems.  The church's minister hears the words, 'only believe.'   The Reason is about learning to 'only believe', and find God amidst their troubles.  The story and characters were so deep-it will make you feel so many emotions!  

This is Mr. Sirls' debut novel, which I was very surprised to learn. There are author's notes, a reading group guide, and an interview with the author in the back of the book.  I think The Reason would make an excellent book club choice.  I highly recommend this book!

*Disclaimer: I received this book free from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.