The Grace Card *Review & Giveaway*

If I had to sum up The Grace Card with just one word it would be “Wow!!!” This is hands down one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long, long time!

The Grace CardI absolutely love the fact that so many companies are finally realizing the need and demand for quality family friendly, Christian oriented movies! I love them and want to support them in any way that I can! One thing about these films is that they often have a hard time handling a smaller budget or dealing with first time actors. Many times these films come across as low budget or corny. There were a few moments that felt a little staged at the very beginning of this movie. However as it continued on I got more and more invested into the story–by the middle the acting was superb and I was on the edge of my seat, by the end I was bawling my eyes out–as were my mom and sister who watched the movie with me! Overall the acting is absolutely amazing and the story is a complex and unique one. I’m having the rest of my family here be sure to watch it and recommending it to all my friends as well! My younger sister loved it so much she’s planning on re-watching it with my dad and brother 🙂 If you rent or buy this you will *not* regret it! As I mentioned, it’s a tear jerker and there is action so I wouldn’t recommend it for really little kids, but it is wonderful for older kids and adults!

One Lucky Winner will receive this DVD! Enter using the form below– I think Rafflecopter is pretty amazing but let me know if you have any problems using it!

Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin *Review & Giveaway*

Blue Skies Tomorrow: A Novel (Wings of Glory)You might remember my review of the first Wings of Glory book, A Distant Melody. I loved it so much I could wait to read the rest of the series. Although I actually missed out on reviewing the second book in the series Memory Between Us, I just finished reading Blue Skies Tomorrow. As much as I enjoyed the first book, this one is even better! It was also really nice because all three books in the series are linked, each one can also stand alone. Even though I haven’t read the second book I didn’t feel lost at all. I loved the unique vibe of the storyline and the idea of broken hearts that needed love and healing finding it in one another. In this book Sarah deals with some more serious issues than things like lying that the first book addressed. it kept me turning the pages, in suspense of what would happen next. I admit that I stayed up till almost 2 a.m. just so I could finish it, haha! Though I’m sad the series is ended I definitely enjoyed it and am going to purchase the second book myself. My mom has also very much enjoyed the series, and the other day I saw that my Grandma was reading it as well 🙂

Want to know what my fellow boggers are saying about this book? Then check out the tour here

A big thanks to LitFuse for providing me with yet another wonderful book to read!

To celebrate the release of Blue Skies Tomorrow, the final installment of the Wings of Glory series, Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Vintage Kindle Prize Package! 

Read what the reviewers are saying here.

One winner will receive:

* Kindle with Wi-Fi

* Handmade vintage apron for you and a friend (see a photo here)

* Blue Skies Tomorrow (for Kindle)

To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, giveaway ends on 9/10. Winner will be announced on 9/12 at Sarah Sundin’s blog. Details and official rules can be found when entering the contest.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

MyMemories Suite Digital Scrabooking Software *Review & Giveaway*

As many of you know by now, I’m some what of a digi-scrapping addict! In case you missed it I talk about how I came to begin digitally scrapping here. The bug that bit so hard has never gone away! I still also do pages for my scrap-for-hire site, Artistic Albums by Nicole. Although I’m not actively promoting it I just got 2 big orders from loyal customers and have been staying up late scrapping!

If you have followed me along my scrapping journey you know that up until this point the only software I’d ever used was Photoshop Elements. While it is true that PSE is wonderful for scrapping it is also far from user friendly! I actually ended up crying (literally) when I first was using it because I had spent an hour trying to figure a certain thing out and even with online tutorials I just couldn’t get it to work! I don’t get easily flustered or frustrated but I was pulling my hair out! Also PSE running price is right around $100-for you frugal (total side note, isn’t that a lovely word–we no longer have to be called “cheap” or “tightwads” -no we’re frugal!!! but I digress) if you are *frugal* like me that price is enough to make you drop the digi dream right there.

The wonderful aspect of MyMemories Suite is that it is extremely user friendly and also affordable! I put the above layout together in about 15 minutes and that was with never using the software before at all! (even with knowing PSE it still takes me a good 30 min to an hour to complete a layout start to finish) This layout is extremely simple but as I said, it was my very first try with using the software. They have a great feature in that it can be as easy as them building the pages for you, or you can build it all yourself, as I did above. You can still use their templates but I was pleased that I could move the photo slots around, delete them, or adjust their size-so even when using templates you can truly make the page your own. I took a picture so you can get a feel of what it looks like when you first open a template:

 Another thing that I loved about this is that although it does come with a bunch of pre-built papers and embellishments already in the program, if you have digital scrapping kits on your computer you can actually go ahead and use them as well. I had actually fallen in love with MyMemories digital kits before I’d ever used the software or was approached by the company. I used the Coming Home kit that I had previously gotten from them to do the layout above, since I felt that it was only fitting! Their digital kits are extremely high quality, I love them! The ones I got are also scrap-for-hire friendly–which instantly endears them to my heart as well 😉

Just in case you’d like a little more in-depth look so you can see all of the great things that you can do with this software (you can create things like calendars, photo books, cards, videos and lots more!) here is a video:

Welcome to the Family! from Lisa Jurrens on Vimeo.

I saved the best for last! If you use Coupon Code: STMMMS65515  You can get the great deal of getting $10 off the software and $10 in free merchandise from MyMemories.com!! Since the software is only $39.97 you will be getting a great bargin! 


One Lucky Reader will also win their own MyMemories Suit Digital Scrapbooking Software! Just enter using the Rafflecopter Form below! Also please feel free to let me know if you like the Rafflecopter Form–or if you prefer the old comment way better!

<a href=”http://rafl.es/enable-js”>You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway</a>.





SIMPLE GIFTS By Sharen Pearson *Guest Blog*

I just love having guest bloggers from time to time, and this article really hit home for me because it is *exactly* how I feel birthday parties should be ran! I’ve now thrown 4 (what I would consider) wildly successful parties for my children and they cost very little and weren’t too much work! Enjoy!

My munchkin at his first bday party this July

SIMPLE GIFTS
By Sharen Pearson

As a mother of five and now grandmother of seven, I’ve planned my share of birthday events. I am a creative person, so my problem is “going over the top.” My expectations supersede those of the birthday child. So, I have to step back and say, “Whose birthday is it anyway?” And, therein lies the key to a successful birthday party.
I recently assisted with my grandson, Waylon’s party. He was reaching that big-boy age of 5 years. He knew what theme he wanted: Herbie the Love Bug. He wanted a backyard campfire and a cake with Herbie on it. Simple—Herbie, campfire, cake. Got it! My daughter complied. She invited a few families from church that Waylon knew well and was comfortable around. Since entire families were represented, parents were there to help with crowd control. Bowls of chips and dip provided a place to gather around as people arrived. Children scattered to play in the back yard, parents grouped to watch and chat. Easy, huh? Daddy lit a small fire in the campfire ring in the yard. More talk, more easy playing. The cake was a simple giant chocolate chip cookie with a frosting “Herbie.” Waylon thought it was wonderful. 
Mommy announced that it was gift-opening time and everyone pulled up lawn chairs and sat in family groups. Waylon sat in the middle of the circle on the grass and guests watched as he opened each gift and thanked the giver. He received many nice gifts, but to everyone’s delight, a small, inexpensive VW bug toy car was his favorite. He opened it, raised it above his head as if it were a trophy and yelled in delight. Waylon slept with his “Herbie;” woke up and greeted it; placed it on the edge of the tub so he could see it. He had the birthday he wanted. Simple party, simple gift, simple fun!
Some suggestions to consider when planning your party:
  • If your child is old enough to have input, allow it.
  • For ages 1-5 years, simple is best. Simple decorations, simple food, simple games.
  • Invite only one party guest per age of the child. Young children are very intimidated by many children of the same age. Remember, “Whose birthday is it?”
  • If guests include family/friends with older children, add activities especially for them.
  • Home is the best place for children ages 5 and under. Big party venues are confusing, scary and do not position the “birthday child” as the center of attention as he should be. 
Some traps that parents fall into:
  • Making the party so complicated that you, as the parent, no longer enjoy it. (Been there, done that.)
  • Allowing young party guests to get close to and grab for gifts as as the birthday child is opening them. (Admit it, you’ve seen this haven’t you?)
  • Spending too much money. (Guilty as charged.)
  • Preparing food for adults and not age-appropriate to the guests. (The only thing to show off today is your wonderful child)
  • Engaging in sleepover parties before the age of 9 years. (Children younger than 9 or 10 years often find sleeping at someone else’s home frightening and uncomfortable.)

Author Bio
Sharen Pearson

Sharen Pearson’s Goof & Giggle classes and materials continue to provide a quality Mom/Tot interaction. Widely popular, Goof & Giggle’s child-focused play plans are offered in various Arizona communities. She’s also created a variety of Goof Juice DVDs and filmed episodes of Baby D.I.Y. and written workbooks for BabyFirstTV. Arizona Midday (NBC) tapes monthly segments with Sharen to provide their audience with a variety of original and creative “easy to do” activities for babies and preschoolers. Sharen’s creativity reaches a combined audience over 200 million viewers worldwide. Goof & Giggle classes and products encourage green living, repurposing materials from around the house into affordable objects for play and learning. Learn more at: http://sharenpearson.com/

Little Looster *Review*

As I blogged about quite a while ago now, Amber was potty trained before Tyler was even born. We suffered a relapse, big time, during the beginning of this deployment, however. Everything I read had said to expect that, but it was still very discouraging when it happened. During the trip from Texas up here to Wyoming the potty chair that we’d been hauling along got broken somehow and started leaking (can we say G R O S S) Amber started just using the “big potty” but at places like my parents house it was really high and hard for her to climb up on. The Little Looster is designed to help solve just that problem! as you can see it sits around the bottom of the toilet to give little legs somewhere to support themselves when going potty. The toilet at my brother’s house (the one in the picture) is actually pretty low/small so the looster doesn’t work quite as well as it does at my parents house where the toilet is high. Amber is *so* tall for a 3 year old (already over half as tall as I am, people always think she’s 5 years old) so she was towering on it over here. For people with regular sized children (haha) I think that this is absolutely perfect though! I will be leaving this one for my brother and sister to use for when my niece starts potty training! 🙂 One nice thing is that you don’t even have to move it back and forth for when you as an adult need to “go potty” since it fits in so snug it doesn’t get in the way of big people legs. I did notice it brushes the backs of my legs (at 5’5″ I’m on the shorter side of things) especially on the shorter toliet, but on the bigger one it didn’t bother me at all. Overall it’s a great product, and a better investment than a potty chair that’s gonna end up leaking!

Be sure to visit their website to learn more about the Little Looster . You can also find them on Facebook Here and on Twitter as @Loostermama

Right from the Heart by Bryant Wright *Review*

Right From the Heart: Turning Your Day Toward GodRight from the Heart by Bryant Wright is a 365 Daily Devotional book. It’s in the style of many devotional books in that he gives one Bible verse and the a short pages worth, about 3 paragraphs, worth of thoughts about the verse and subject matter for the day. Although I would not recommend using this exclusively for your devotions it *is* the perfect way to start out your day-each takes less than 5 minutes to read through, and great thoughts to “turn your day towards God” just as the book says. The devos could also be used for further study on your own, if you care to dig a little deeper into the subject matter or read the surrounding verses. He includes a huge spectrum of thoughts which range from money, to parenting preschoolers, to old age. Everyone could benefit by starting their day with these thoughts and verses!

Global Green USA’s Green School Makeover Competition

I recently just signed up to be part of a great new program called Influenster and so far I’m loving it. I think it’ll be great and a valuable asset to this blog. I found out about this competition and thought it sounded great so I wanted to share!

Here are the details from the Pureology Website

THE CONTEST:

Every child deserves a learning environment that’s safe, healthy, free of harmful toxins and optimal for learning. Unfortunately, many schools across the country are subjecting children to unhealthy classrooms with poor lighting and inefficient energy usage, which costs most schools more money than they spend on books and computers. Global Green USA is working to change this by helping to ensure that every child has the opportunity to learn in a healthier, greener school. Pureology is pleased to present Global Green USA’s Green School Makeover Competition. You can help a school in your area by nominating it for a Green School Makeover – read on to learn more, and find out how.

  • From March 1 – September 30, 2011, enter your school for a chance to win a “green school” makeover. 
  • There will be one grand prize winner and four schools will each receive $2,500 towards their green school renovations

Good luck!

Skin MD Natural Stop The Burn Campaign *Review & Giveaway*

Everyone knows what record heat waves have been sweeping over the country. My kids are *loving* the hotness and the sunshine but I want to make sure that I’m keeping their skin safe while they’re enjoying themselves!

On a side note, hahaha–this picture so cracks me up I asked Amber to let me take a picture of her holding the lotion and this is what I got. What a little cheeseball 😀

We were sent Skin MD Natural + SPF 15 to review. It is great for the kids skin as it is designed for sensitive skin and I love the fact it has built in SPF. I’ve been using it on Amber in addition to her normal eczema lotions and it’s been working very well. I also sent a bottle to my deployed hubby. It’s super hot where he is too and he forgets to put on sunblock all the time (wicked boy) so I was hoping that this would help him to remember! 🙂

Here is some super interesting information that Skin MD sent me that I wanted to share!

Skin cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancers and yet more and
more people each year are being diagnosed.

We have set up a pledge to Stop the Burn and would like to invite you and
your readers to get involved and take the pledge here


Every week we will be randomly selecting one person who took the pledge to
receive a bottle of Skin MD Natural + SPF 15 to help keep them sun safe this
summer. 

You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway.

Pampers Gifts To Grow Point Codes

I first heard about Gifts to Grow from my lovely and wonderful friend Jaimin (who blogs on over at Crazy Love) when she posted about it on Facebook. Since my little man does best in Pampers I’ve been buying them by the bucketloads since he was born. I’ve always liked their wipes best as they as so soft and don’t make my kids, who both have eczema, break out in rashes like other wipes do. I’ve been impressed with how many points I’ve gotten even though I just started inputting them a few months ago and there are some really awesome prizes you can save up for! It totally made my morning when one of my fav bloggers My Litter posted these Point Codes! 😀 😀 😀 So I thought I’d pass them along to you as well! 🙂 There are a few that are expired, but it’s worth taking the 4 minutes to put them all in 🙂

There is a new code out for Pampers Gifts to Grow to add 10 points to your account! Just enter the code 2beginearning10 to get your free 10 points!
Here are a bunch of other codes you can also use to add points to your account! You can pick from a variety of different freebies and coupons on the Pampers Gifts to Grow site so the points are worth collecting!

  • WELCOME2PAMPERS ~ 50 points
  • JOINNOW4REWARDS ~ 50 points
  • 2BEGINEARNING50 ~ 50 points
  • GIFTSTOGROW4MOM ~ 50 points
  • pampers4momjfm1 ~ 10 points
  • CONGRATS2NEWMOM ~ 10 points
  • NEWWIPESPACKAGE ~ 10 points
  • GTGWELCOME10PTS ~ 10 points
  • PAMPERSGTG10PTS ~ 10 points
  • PAMPERS4MOMSOND ~ 10 points
  • 10PTSFREECODE4U ~ 10 points
  • PUNTOSPARAMI123 ~ 10 points
  • CAREFORNEWBORNS ~ 10 points
  • GTGCOUPONPOINTS ~ 10 points
  • WELCOME2VILLAGE ~ 10 points
  • GETSTARTEDNOW10 ~ 10 points

Thanks, Keeping Cents!

Kabongo ~ Online Learning Games for Kids *Review*

I’m normally not an advocate of kid games that are played on a screen, either tv or computer. Then I heard that Kabongo was designed to help 4-7 year olds develop early literacy skills. Of course we all know how crazy I am about books and reading in general, so I wanted to check it out!

Amber and I were both impressed! It took just a few minutes to sign up for the site and we got started right away. The characters were cute and quirky and the games were very fun and didn’t annoy me which is a huge plus. They focused on patterns, shapes, colors, and sizes–just right! Amber did very well but I had to help her with the dynamics of it since it was on my laptop, I think it would be perfect for the age range it’s recommended for. To begin with you get to create a little character–like a Mii or any other avatar. Amber thought that was great fun. Then if you do well on the games you get to pick a prize–stickers for a comic book you create, skate park parts, or things to landscape your habitat. We had a lot of fun playing together and Amber loved it so much she almost started crying when I said it was time to stop–haha. I had to assure her that as long as she was a good girl we could play again tomorrow. So it is definitely kid approved!

If you sign up for the Kabongo website using the code above you can play it all for free just like we did! Happy playing!