Saturday, October 31, 2009

Self Portrait Sunday - Happy Halloween

To find out why I began Self Portrait Sunday, see my first post here.
This is a picture of Goddess and I from 2007 and it is a favorite of mine. At the time
I was playing a lot with Photoshop but I am sorry to say, if someone asked me to do
another like this, I would have no idea where to start.

Berryplotgray, originally uploaded by on_angel_wings2001.

Chosen By Desire - 5 Winners

Title: Chosen by Desire
Author: Kate Perry
ISBN-10: 044654101X
ISBN-13: 9780446541015
ARC: 350 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2009


It's down to the wire and Carrie Woods is leaving China without the proof she needs for her thesis: Wei Lin's journal. While on a final tour of the monastery, Carrie finally locates the scrolls and attempts to photograph the documents. Caught in a sticky situation, Carrie takes the scrolls, only to notice a mysterious monk watching her--the same monk that she's seen each time she's taken a tour. Unable to return the scrolls, she travels back to California and isn't too thrilled when she notices the monk at the airport.

Maximillian Prescott first came to the monastery as an orphaned teenager when he inherited the Book of Metal from a distant uncle he hardly knew. After spotting a woman stealing from the monastery, he follows her to get back the documents he knows she's stolen. Max is further intrigued when he finds out that the chatty woman is friends with his archrival, Rhys Llewellyn, and he will stop at nothing to get back everything he's lost.

In A Nutshell: I have been cooped up on the couch for the past 24 hours and had time to read two of my review books. Chosen By Desire was the first on the pile. The cover is super hot. What? Doesn't a hot cover make you want to read the book?  This being the second in the series, and me not reading the first I was a tad behind the story. Kate Perry does a good job of filling in the blanks. I didn't feel that I was missing a lot but would have loved to read the first book ahead of this. Carrie is a strong character and I loved her dialogue. She doesn't take crap. I enjoyed reading about Max his desire and agony for Kate. He doesn't have time for a thief.

The book is fast and full of thrills. Kate Perry is a great writer with a mix of intrigue, romance and fantasy. Now I need to put the first and the third book on my Christmas list.

Except for her bowed lips. Her lips were pure sin.

But the innocence was a ruse. He stilled, feeling waves of elemental energy emanating from her. The way she clutched her bag to her side like it contained precious treasure confirmed what he already felt.

She'd taken The Book of Water.

He took a step toward her before he stopped himself. This wasn't his concern—he wouldn't get involved. Let someone else deal with her. Max looked around for another monk but found no one.Anger flooded him, cold and steely. It was like fate taunted him. He'd be damned if he had to deal with another less-than-angelic woman with light fingers. No way in hell.

Sounds like something you want to read right!?

Disclaimer:  I received no payment to write this review. The words are all mine and I was not forced or asked to write anything you read here. In my opinion, a blogger review is the equivalent of me talking to my friends and family in my daily life, about a product I either love or don’t. All the opinions throughout my posts are strictly my own.

 To Enter, Fill Out The Form Below:

* Blog about this contest and link back to me (provide the link in the comment) for two extra entries

*Add me to your blogroll and provide the link

*Follow me on Twitter , Tweet this and leave the link.

*Follow Kate Perry on Twitter

*Subscribe to Kate's Blog

*Become a fan of Maria's Space on Facebook

*Subscribe to Chotskies, my other blog

* Post my button on your sidebar


Progresso "Get More Fiber This Season Giveaway"

“Over 100 years ago, the business now known as Progresso Foods started. A young Sicilian, Vincent Taormina, first imported foods from Italy to meet the need for high-quality ingredients familiar to Italian-Americans. As more family members became involved and importing grew both in volume and locations, the business merged in 1927 to become the Progresso Italian Food Corporation and the Progresso label was born. It is now part of General Mills and continues to adhere to the original premise of providing high quality food ingredients at a reasonable price for the discerning home cook.”

Growing up in an Italian-American household, Progresso was a household name. You could have called literally called us the "Progresso's."

Progresso has changed a lot in the past 100 years and I am sure this will not be their last product. Sign of the times perhaps but Progresso soup is no making a high fiber soup. I was excited with their low sodium soups and now knowing that a cup or bowl of soup will increase my fiber intake by 7 grams (a full 28% of your daily fiber intake) is another reason I will always stick with Progresso.

This review couldn't come at a better time either. This past week while I was sick with an upper respiratory infection and a sinus infection I received my box from Progresso and My Blog Spark. 

The box contained two oversized soup mugs, 2 Progresso spoons and a can of Chicken Tuscany

Soup is just what the doctor ordered and the Chicken Tuscany was awesome. Over the past week I have eaten about 4 meals this being one of them. It was hearty, taste amazing and my 4 year old ate 50% of the can. The next one I want to try is Creamy Tomato Basil. Love tomato soup!!!

Progresso also has Hearty Vegetable and Noodle

and Homestyle Minestrone

Added fiber and everything you already love about Progresso is what you will find in their High Fiber soups.

Progresso and My Blog Spark wants a lucky winner to try the soup for themselves.

How to Enter: Fill out the form below.

Deadline: November 14, 2009 by Midnight

Do You Want More Entries? Please put each extra entry in a separate comment. You will get more entries that way.

* Blog about this contest and link back to me (provide the link in the comment) for two extra entries

*Add me to your blogroll and provide the link

*Follow me on Twitter , Tweet this and leave the link.

*Become a fan of Maria's Space on Facebook

*Subscribe to Chotskies, my other blog

* Post my button on your sidebar


A winner will be chosen by and notified within 2 days. You will have 3 days to claim your prize or another winner will be chosen.

Disclaimer: I received no payment to write this review. Progresso provided me with the free product, information, and prize pack through MyBlogSpark   The words are all mine and I was not forced or asked to write anything you read here. In my opinion, a blogger review is the equivalent of me talking to my friends and family in my daily life, about a product I either love or don’t. All the opinions throughout my posts are strictly my own.

My Favorite Giveaways Around The Blogosphere And More

Amanda always has amazing giveaways - Check this giveaway out and more at her site.

One Hundred Butterflies Is A Work Of Art

Thanks to my connection at Hachette Book Group I was given a copy of One Hundred Butterflies to review. This was a book I was anxious to receive. My little Goddess has such a fashionation with so many things and one of them like most little girls is Butterflies. It is still amazing to me how excited children get over butterflies and how years later as adults we are still entralled by the natural beauty of this visiually stunning creature.

Product Details

  • Pub. Date: November 2009
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
  • Format: Hardcover, 128pp
  • Sales Rank: 151,796


In One Hundred Butterflies, photographer Harold Feinstein showcases butterfly varieties from around the world, turning exquisite details into mesmerizing works of art. Feinstein's breathtaking photographs capture the color, vibrancy, and infinite variety of patterns that occur on the wings of these ornate insects. One hundred impeccably reproduced, oversized photographs allow viewers to appreciate the Blue Morpho of Central America, the African Birdwing, and the Asian Swallowtail at a scale and depth impossible to experience in nature. An elegantly printed deluxe gift book, it is a treasure for butterfly enthusiasts and art lovers alike.

When the book arrived, both my kids were excited. The big pages, the colorful photos, the minimalist designed pages. Each page had a beautiful, colorful, full-bodied, detailed photo of a butterfly. The coffee table sized book was perfect for the kids to look at together. They have sat together to discuss the book over 3 times this week. Unfortunately being sick I wasn't able to get a picture yet but I will so watch for my amended post.

Autumn Bursts With Color

Please check out my photo stream for larger pictures

Friday, October 30, 2009

2009 - Maria's Space, Holiday Gift Guide

Hello My Dear Friends,

I have started my list of favorite reviews and online finds that hopefully will make your holiday shopping easier and more manageable. Since sick leave took a week of my time, I will add to this list over the next few days.

Book Lovers:

Sherri Shepherd Permission Slips - Really funny book. Check out my review here.


TwiLite: A Parody by Stephen Jenner  purchase from Amazon here

Bella Bejeweled has some really awesome jewelry! Love every piece


For all your fou-fou girl things, like angel wings, tutus, hair flowers and more. Head over to Baby Cha-Cha Boutique.


Cozy Moments- This is my go to place for moisturizers. I wear one of her creams every single day. Love all of them. You will not be disappointed with her body butters.


Shining Stones - Beautiful pieces by artist Ellie Schoenberger

Joolwe - Stunning pieces at unbeatable prices.

In March we reviewed a Friends Forever Girls Doll. Here is my review of the doll with pictures. The dolls are awesome and don't cost anywhere near some other dolls cost. They are the same size as American Girl Dolls which we also own but you get more buck for your dollar. Each doll comes with a book.

Educational and Fun books for children 6-12, check out the Miss Trimble Series by Lori Jordan-Rice. Here is my review.

Little Passports is a wonderful, fun way to teach your child about georgraphy. Plus, they receive a gift every month when you go with the Monthly Adventure Kits. Here is my review.

Zhu Zhu Pets are awesome! Cute, furry and no clean up. What more could you ask for in a pet? Here is my review.


Life on Record - A great gift! Record your thoughts on a CD for a loved one. Here is my review.
I love the idea of Wear Your  These one-size-fits-all, unisex guitar string bracelets come in all different colors! Made from real guitar strings, they really rock! Wear just one or stack on a ton! Great gifts for music lovers of all ages! Rock’n’Roll jewelry is here to stay! A percentage of the profits from these bracelets are donated to charities that support music. Looking to really wow them? How about a guitar string bracelet from their favorite singer, or guitar player? They have everyone from Adam Fink to Ziggy Marley and everyone in between.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fun Season

IMG_5365, originally uploaded by on_angel_wings2001.
I love autumn because of the colors but I also love all the Halloween decorations. It is truly a fun season.

Orange Bloom Drenched in Morning Dew

This may be a stretch for ABC Wednesday "O" this week. But it is all I have that comes close to the theme.

IMG_4444, originally uploaded by on_angel_wings2001.

Isn't this beautiful? I love the dew on this picture.

BTW..these were taken with my Canon point and shoot. Lest someone think you need an expensive camera to take a macro shot.

IMG_4443, originally uploaded by on_angel_wings2001.

Cat Tails and A Sunny Spot

For this Wordless Wednesday, I really wish I was back at this spot. I love cat tails. I have no idea what they are truly called but they remind me of when I was young. There were a lot of these were I lived in Millbrook, NY.  I spotted them on my way out of the farm, pulled the car over to the side and prayed I wouldn't get stuck in the mud. Can you see the spider web strand?

Last week, I snapped this in a totally quiet location, I wasn't sick, there were no kids around, my head wasn't pounding and my chest didn't hurt from coughing.

IMG_5420, originally uploaded by on_angel_wings2001.

We Have Company

It appears that the Mucinex monster has taken up residence in my chest.

I haven't felt this sick in thankfully a really long time. In fact, I couldn't get off the couch last night to do prayers with my two children. I felt terrible about it but my body just couldn't do the walk from the couch to their rooms.

Yesterday the doctor informed me that I have an upper respiratory infection and a sinus infection. Why do just one when you can do two really. So I headed over to Shoprite who are running a free antibiotic campaign to help out the public. Thank goodness they are because I have no insurance. Thank goodness for doctors who give discounts and Shoprite for my free antibiotics. Having no insurance is scary enough and when you get sick you tend not to run right away to the doctor.

So after three rounds of medication, a surprise soup visit from Lauri I am finally feeling like I can sit up. Lauri was so sweet. She called me saying that she was in my driveway. When my son opened the door (I had to keep the kids home today, I couldn't move this morning to get them to school) I heard him say, "is that for us?" She had got them Happy Meals which they were thrilled with. She knew that I was suffering and didn't want me to worry about their lunch. She also brought over some crackers, soup mix, orange juice and a Neti Pot.

If you never heard of the Neti Pot head over to Healing Daily where they discuss benefits and usage.

In the last 3 hours I have felt better than I have the last three days. Last night I was beyond ok, my head and body ached from 4 days of unproductive coughing. My head wanted to explode. I pictured Uncle Fester from the Adams Family and his head vice. Every cough (approx every 2 seconds) sent my body into convulsion and my head pain made me suicidal. Dead would end the pain. Being rational and a loving mother who would never leave her children on her own free will I knew this was going to pass.

I just printed out some homeschool worksheets. The kids have been phenomenal today. During what what be our homework time I am going to pull them out and get some work done. They love it and really they aren't sick I am so work is in order.

For some great printables, lesson plans, and craft ideas head to Teaching Heart. KinderKorner is an amazing site full of stories, pictures, and lesson plans. I love this one on Pumpkins.

County Moments Take On Ruby Tuesday

IMG_5408, originally uploaded by on_angel_wings2001.

I headed out on a quest for Ruby Tuesday photos for Mary's meme.  I had just walked away from snapping this picture when the farmer asked me if I was working for the paper or just enjoying nature.

Did I look professional enough to be working? Was my face serious? Or perhaps it was my $1,485 camera. Whatever it was I was beaming with the compliment.

IMG_5364, originally uploaded by on_angel_wings2001.

Monday, October 26, 2009

How Does Your School Rate?

Recently I was sent a link to this online resource for schools.

SchooGo is a free online resource that provides information regarding pre-k, elementary, middle and high school across all the states. 

Parents can find, compare and evaluate public k-12 schools on academic performance, student’s demographics, teacher and student statistics and parent and teacher’s reviews. This information is supplemented with school photos, videos, questions and answers and other qualitative data on schools wherever available. For the private schools and the preschools, parents can find contact details and the basic student statistics such as student enrollment as private and preschools are not required to release test scores.  

The website currently features more than 125,000 public, private and charter k-12 schools and 100,000 preschools. 

On the site, parents can search for schools in a number of different ways including: search by city, state, zip code; search by school name or school district; or search by proximity to an address. Parents can also compare public schools side by side on academic scores, student and teacher statistics and student demographics. 

The site also features a blog that covers common parenting and schooling concerns and a variety of articles and guidelines on parenting and education listed by topic across all grades.

Being Interviewed By Other Websites Make Me Feel Good And A Tad Silly

Last week I was interviewed by

Here is my interview

The interview was fun and it was inspiring to read the title of the interview and the first paragraph by the interviewer too.

You never know, you just might see yourself mentioned in the interview so read to the bottom.

Healthy Teeth Challenge Was A Success

Through Mom Central I signed to participate in a Listerine and Reach Oral Care Challenge Blog Tour!

I received an assortment of adult and childrens products including:
  • Listerine Total Care (2)
  • Listerine Agent Cool Blue (2)
  • Reach Access Flosser (1 + refills)
  • Reach Toothbrushes (4)
  • Listerine Smart Rinse (2) 
  • Reach Floss
Along with a monthly chart and tooth stickers.

I explained to the kids we would be taking a challenge and that every time instead of just brushing we would also be rinsing, and flossing. After which we would take the little tooth sticker and put it on the appropriate day of the chart.

We had never used AGENT CO0L BLUE® and at first I used it incorrectly. I couldn't understand why the kids teeth had a light blue hue after rinsing. Then I realized after reading the directions (note to self: Always read before using. Duh!) that you are supposed to rinse before brushing. This way the kids would have to pay special attention while brushing to remove the blue tint.  They loved it! They especially love the dosing of it where you squeeze the bottle until the liquid fills up the cap. 

This was the first time the kids have used a rinse and they felt like big kids.
LISTERINE® SMART RINSE™ is an anticavity mouthwash for kids ages six and older that helps clean and protect teeth beyond brushing alone. The MAGNETIC CLEANING ACTION™ attracts particles—showing kids what brushing may have missed.
  • Contains fluoride to help prevent cavities
  • Kills bad breath germs
  • And shows proof in the sink of a cleaner mouth
When I asked Handsome what he thought about it he said, "It tastes good!"

Goddess said, "the swooshing, rinsing and spitting is me favorite part." Ummm...should I be concerned about this answer?

What this mom can tell you is that my children ask to rinse and brush now. Sometimes 4 times a day. Not bad when this mom usually gets in 1 kid brush and 1 parent brush a day.

To try LISTERINE® SMART RINSE™ or LISTERINE® AGENT CO0L BLUE® for yourself, check out these $1.00 coupons here

It was a pleasure to be part of this campaign so far. Oral health is very important and it has to start at an early age.

Did You Know:

  • 50 percent of children will have a cavity or filling between the ages of five and nine.
  • Perceived healthy snacks such as fruit juice and milk can also be the source of cavities.
  • The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommends parents schedule an
    appointment with a dentist as soon as the first tooth appears. 
To participate for yourself in this worthwhile challenge with your children, head over to Listerine Kids and download the calender. Show your children by example how important oral health care is and they will always take care of their teeth.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Listerine and Reach and received Listerine and Reach products for the Oral Care Challenge and a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Country Roads Take Me Home

IMG_5415, originally uploaded by on_angel_wings2001.