Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jessica by Laura DeLuca

$.99 at Amazon NOW!

Jessica by Laura DeLuca is a great ghost story with a sadness.

Wilbur is a lonely college student with no friends who is hopeful that he will go to the school dance and something wonderful will happen. 

Wilbur is nerdy and awkward but during the dance a beautiful girl named Jessica catches his eye. She comes over to him and asks him to dance. Wilbur is surprised and relishes this moment with Jessica. When she asks him to come outside with her he is shocked but goes hoping that his luck is about to change. 

Jessica is interested in a story about The White Lady who has been spotted at the school. Wilbur is uncertain of the White Lady but Jessica's interest gives him a reason to spend alone time with her which this college boy needs. 

Will they see The White Lady, that my dear is something you will have to read in this very short (cough cough) too short story that reads like a sleepover/camp out ghost story. I loved it and for the price, you will too!!!!

Just A Few Pictures from Christmas

Ahhh Christmas is over and we are just coming out of our holiday fog. I love being with my little family of 4. Me, Teach, Handsome and Goddess. It is what makes me happiest. We spent the eve at home watching movies as we have every year for the past 5 years. It is a nice quiet night with excited kids counting down the moments until Christmas cookies are made and they can toss out "Reindeer food". I put these up on my personal Facebook page yesterday as they are the only photos I have gone through so far. There are so many to look at, weed out, edit, and play with. The middle one is Handsome at 6:00 AM. He was up at 4:07 "because my dream was all done." I heard him but didn't get out of bed until 5:15 AM. I heard him rummaging through things and checking out names. He knows it all when I finally come out of my bedroom. The camera is video camera keep him busy until Teach and Goddess wake. Goddess always needs to be woken up. We did it this year by flashing a camera in her face and Handsome saying, "come see what Santa left!"

More photos coming!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas & Winner Announcements 12-26-12

Hopefully you all had a wonderful holiday and spent it with people you love! Ours was amazing and stress less. We love it that way. We spend the Eve and day alone visiting people before and after. Hoping to get to my in-laws today depending on the weather. My car needs new tires and if it snows I can't do the trip. Praying it will hold off until the evening so we can see my nieces.

Now onto prizes...

The Winner of the perfect Sleep Pack giveaway is: a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Winner of the UStar Novel giveaway is:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Winner of the Holiday Survival Kit is:   a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Winner of Excepts from the Heart is: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 24, 2012

Last Minute Gift Idea for Scooby Doo Fans

My Goddess is a die hard Scooby Doo Fan and has been for over 4 years. I found it funny that a 3 year old was so obsessed with a cartoon I used to watch when I was a tween but she LOVED it. 

Her obsession was so big that everyone who knew her, knew her obsession and we now have almost Scooby toy and DVD known to man.

If your children love Scooby-Doo, please visit the new Warner Bros. “Scooby Mystery Workshop” where they can play game, participate in polls, customize their wish list, win prizes and so much more.

It doesn't have to just be for Christmas either, my family love knowing things the kids love because they know kids love getting mail. We have received all kinds of goodies over the years.  With the Scooby Mystery Workshop, kids can find their favorite Scooby-Doo items select, print our their list or email the list to family and friends.
We all know kids need to learn that life isn't all about receiving so the site is fully interactive with fun games like one where you can help The Scooby Gang GIVE gifts for each other through an interactive poll!  They can also compete to win fun prizes, or play some games with Shaggy and Scooby-Doo.

Scooby fans of all ages should check out the site and from Scooby and the Gang and me, Have a Very Merry Christmas.

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Scooby-Doo. I received a product sample to thank me for participating.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Pitch Perfect Is A Must See!

Arriving at her new college, Beca (Anna Kendrick) finds herself not right for any clique but somehow is muscled into one that she never would have picked on her own: alongside mean girls, sweet girls and weird girls whose only thing in common is how good they sound when they sing together. When Beca leads this a cappella singing group out of their traditional arrangements and perfect harmonies into all-new mash-ups, they fight to climb their way to the top of college music competitions.

The 411 by Maria:
Anna Kendrick is Beca, who is starting her first day of college because her dad is forcing her. She wants to be a music producer, and spends her free time doing mashups on her DJ equipment. She is pissed and just wants to get through school so she can live her dream.

She eventually is coerced into trying out for the prestigious a capella all girl group the Barden Bellas. Who are suffering as well. They lost the singing competition to their arch rival the all-boys group, the Trebles when their leader Aubrey (one of my favorite True Blood Characters from season 2) played by Anna Camp suddenly chucked all over the audience. Now the group is hurting for participants and have a seemingly nonredeemable stigma placed upon them.

The new blood in the Barden Bellas are an eclectic bunch including Fat Amy played by Rebel Wilson who is hysterical. I loved when she was on screen.

What's a girl movie without a love interest. Skyar Astin plays Jesse who is very interested in Beca. He is charming, adorable and can sing. What more can a girl ask for?

This is a comedy on so many levels with funny lines, moments and the hysterical duo of Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins who stole each scene they are in.  

I LOVED it. Seriously, I wasn't as interested when it was in the theaters. A lot of my friends wanted to see it but it seem young and boring to me. A bunch of girls singing in a competition. Whatev! It was so much more than that. This for me was a breakout film with so many favorite moments it is hard to sum it all up. It was funny, entertaining, and made me smile. There were some serious performances here by some of Hollywood's young actresses.  Anna Kendrick was awesome. I had never seen Anna before Twilight and had no idea she had such chops. She has lead actress written all over her and I love watching her. There is so much to say but I will just leave you with this...see it. The movie is actually funny and the soundtrack great! You will find yourself singing along and any movie that continually references The Breakfast Club can't be bad right!?

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy for my honest opinion.

Code Pink!

Code Pink

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Outpouring Of Generosity Is OverWhelming

I am a crier. Some of my crying is done because of hurt feelings, and sad movies, but most of my crying happens when I feel love.

Today, I felt overwhelming love from so many people in my community. It happens often. I live in a wonderful town where I know sooo many people. This is the first place I ever set down roots and stayed longer than 5 years since I was born. We are here since 1998 and since the town is small, I know a lot of people.

Yesterday, the school principal asked me to come in before school started because she had something for me. It turned out her house was hit by a falling tree today so she was late. The nurse handed me a bag with two wrapped presents. One for each of my children. I was so touched. Goddess who was sick was with me so I put the bag behind my back and we both ran to the car in the rain. She asked what they had to give me and I said, a piece of paper. I stashed it in my trunk.

We pulled out of the parking lot and I was tearing up thinking about the school and how good they are to my family when I get to the stop sign my phone rings. It is the school. "Can you come back? Nothing is wrong, it is a good thing."

I head back and leave Goddess locked in the car because she asked if she could please stay. Her fever makes her tired so she asked for my phone to listen to music and I headed in.

Heading to the office I told them she was in the car, the all said they hoped she was better soon and we talked for a second about how so many kids and teachers have been sick. I could see the car from where I was and was getting anxious that my sweetie was alone for 3 minutes now.  The principal walked over and handed me two gift cards. She hugged me and said, "from my hometown who wanted to help families in this area that are hurting" I started crying and was hugged by all in the office. The school has been so generous to my family after hearing that we were financially struggling  We are part of a snack pack where they send Handsome home with a backpack of snacks so I don't have to buy them for the kids. It really helps us budget better. We, like so many I know have been really affected financially. I am praying for a better new year but between my medical bills and Teach's business loss, it has been hard.

We have been so fortunate to have such wonderful people in our lives who understand our situation and want to help. My sister in law has been amazing to us. My Uncle and Grandparents have offered to help although I can't bring myself to say yes, friends have provided hand me downs for both kids where we didn't even have to buy them anything new this year except for sneakers for Handsome, underwear and PJs for both and the school has helped in so many little ways.

I count my blessings every day but today, I counted them twice.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Candice Night - Reflections Review

I wrote about Candice and her debut solo album here 

Candice was a vocalist for Blackmore's Night a Renaissance rock band for over 15 years and Reflections is her solo album. Don't you love that we still call it an album even though we no longer play albums?!


1. Wind Is Calling (Hush The Wind)
2. Gone Gone Gone
3. Black Roses
4. Now And Then
5. Dangerous Smile
6. For You
7. Call It Love
8. Robin Red Breast
9. Alone With Fate
10. In Time

The 411 by Maria and Goddess:

The songs are a mix of folk, pop and country to me. Goddess like them too. She is so into music so I usually just ask her what she thinks. 7 year old Goddess thinks she looks like an angel and sounds like she would be nice.

What I love most and this is usually something I say about female vocalists is that she writes her own stuff! Singer/songwriters amaze me.

My favorite was Black Roses, the melody is beautiful and haunting it reminded me not of Stevie Nicks or Karen Carpenter as some have been saying but Lee Ann Womack. 

I've Loved, I've Lost
My Dreams Were Well Worth The Cost

Her voice is light and sweet.

We like Wind Is Calling (Hush the Wind) with it's catchy chorus. We actually sang it in the car together after hearing it one time.

While she isn't what I would normally listen to. I prefer a more powerful voice, her voice is pretty and soft!

Our least favorite song was Dangerous Smile. While I appreciate the rock guitar the funky vocal reminded me of Britney Spears.

If you are looking for a power house singer who gives you chills or makes you feel raw emotion this is not for you but country music fans and easy listening fans, this may be the new singer you have been looking for.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this CD for my honest opinion.

Clean Up That Pre & Post Holiday With A Greased Lightning Giveaway

The holidays are here!  If you’re expecting friends and family this season, Greased LightningMulti-Purpose can help clean your home and kitchen before guests arrive and make it good as new again when they leave! Best of all, it has a delightful Spring Rain scent that keeps your home smelling fresh and welcoming.

The new Multi-Purpose Cleaner is tough on grease, grime, laundry and carpet stains, and much more like the Super Strength you’ve used before, but leaves behind a soft, pleasant scent. 

The 411 by Maria:

I received sample bottles of Greased Lightning Multi Purpose Spray. I used one and I gave one to a friend (an experienced cleaner) to help me facilitate this review. She started reading the back which states to use gloves, use in a well ventilated area, yada, yada. She was all like "What the heck are you giving me?" I told her that if she read all her cleaning products, she would find some of the same warnings. 

We love that it DOES get everything clean. There is nothing that we used it on that it didn't work to fight. I used it on my dining room fan, my kitchen wall next to the stove which is always greasy, the stove top which has never felt less slimy. Even after other cleaners, my stove still felt sort of slippery. It feels brand new now.  She used it on her deck table which was looking a little green. She said, it cut through the ring around her downstairs toilet that has always bothered her. 

Basically the only thing we haven't tried it on are carpet stains and I am going to do that as soon as I can find one that needs some cleaning!

For your chance to check out Greased Lightning, enter the Rafflecopter. Only one person can win so if you want to buy Greased Lightning, here is a list of the stores currently carrying it. 

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

NYC Through My Car Window

Two weeks ago, Teach, the kids and I went to visit my grandparents. On the way back, we drove through Manhattan as the kids have never been there and after many, many Home Alone 2 viewings, they talk about it all the time.

I am not a good passenger on a good day but driving through Manhattan during the holiday season in Times Square made me even a worse passenger (I swear Teach was a Livery Driver in another life). To keep myself from freaking out, I kept myself busy by taking some photos.


ABC Wednesday

The Letter E In Photos

Jenny Matlock
Some Elves who worked at our Town's Santa Breakfast
Our School is a bully free zone. Here is a sign hanging in the hallway.
Some energetic High School students during my town's Tree Lighting Ceremony
Entertainers at an Event in town for our Food Pantry! They raised over $2,000 worth of product!

Bio-Scriptives Repiderm Review & Giveaway #rafflecopter


Taking care of my skin has become something I do every day since I am 12 years old. It is something I haven't really started to instill in my kids yet and I am not sure why. My skin looks good because I took care of it while growing up, thanks to my Grandma. She talked about the importance of a good skin care regime from when I was 11-12 years old but even with good skin, sometimes, like everyone else, I get the occasional pimple. Currently, I have two small ones on my forehead. I know why they are there. I had my hair cut recently and have been straightening it, when I am done I use a serum to smooth all the hair out. It tends to be a bit oily and often my hair falls on my forehead (reminder to self, check into different serums, but that is not why we are here, we are here to talk about Bio-Scriptives Repiderm).   Acne treatment formulated with a mix of 16 herbal extracts and essential oils and 4.4% benzoyl peroxide Bio-Scriptives Repiderm is an advanced acne treatment formulated with a proprietary technology and 4.4% benzoyl peroxide. It works in multiple ways to clear and prevent acne blemishes, pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.

Unlike other acne products, Repiderm works as a single standalone product rather than a multi-step system. You’ll be shocked at the difference!
Who can benefit from Repiderm?

  • Patients with acne
  • Patients who are tired of having dry skin
  • Patients who want a product that works that requires fewer steps
I started using Repiderm last night. The smell was familiar but different if that makes sense. It may be the benzoyl peroxide that other acne products have but the mix of 16 herbal extracts make it different.

What I like about it is that you don't need a lot. Just cover the area and I bet it is better than using toothpaste or antiseptic cleaner dabs like I do sometimes which work but leave my face very dry causing your skin to overproduce oil.  You can apply 1 to 3 times a day. So far, I put it on 2 times. The feeling isn't overly drying and the smell really is nice. I think the 4.4% solution may just work. 2% doesn't work for me and 10% is way too drying and I end up with peeling skin. So far, so good.

For your chance to win a bottle of Repiderm by Bio-Scriptives enter the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Disclaimer: I received complimentary bottles from the sponsor to facilitate this review and giveaway

Last Minute Gift Idea for Sport's & Blooper Fans #Giveaway #Rafflecopter

The Baseball Hall of Shame: The Best of Blooperstown as the perfect stocking stuffer for baseball and sports fans of all ages.

This book is a hilarious page-turner readers can’t put down – and it costs less than $15!

The book is available for purchase on Amazon and makes a wonderful holiday gift for any sports fan. The original Baseball Hall of Shame, first published in 1985, was an instant hit with fans of all ages, becoming one of the most popular sports humor books of all time. It spawned a Hall of Shame publishing franchise, with additional volumes on baseball, as well as football, basketball and other sports. The series has sold over 750,000 copies. For authors Bruce Nash and Allan Zullo, their motto has always been, "Fame and shame are part of the game."

The 411 by Maria:

While I am not a huge sports fan and I didn't read the entire book, I did touch on some stories during my busy holiday, mad rush and thoroughly enjoyed it.   What I think is the best part about this book apart from the funny mishaps and pranks is that each story is short enough that even your reluctant reader will love it. So if you have a baseball lovin', prank and blooper, reluctant reader on your list, this is the perfect gift idea. Read it yourself, you may find you love it as well.

Enter the Rafflecopter Below:

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Make Meal Time Easier With Minute Steamers-Minute Prize Pack Giveaway #RAFFLECOPTER

The holidays are the busiest time of the year for my family. From November until January 10thish we are running. Between school, family, shopping, Maria's Space, my community newszine, Brownie Leader obligations, Chamber of Commerce obligations, friends, chores, and more we are busy and sometimes a balanced dinner is nonexistent. A can of soup, a hot dog, cereal is often the meal served here. My life just go much easier thanks to Minute! They have been saying they can help for years why wasn't I listening?!
MinuteRice’s newest product, Minute® Steamers (available in the frozen food aisle at your local Walmart), are the perfect addition to your family’s dinner table. From freezer to plate in just four minutes, Steamers help make perfectly cooked rice a part of a well-rounded, affordable meal, making the back-to-school transition easy for you and your family.
Minute® Steamers is available in seven different varieties, including: Whole Grain Brown Rice, White Rice and flavorful mixes such as Whole Grain Brown & Wild with Vegetables, Broccoli and Cheese Rice, Spanish Rice, Fried Rice and Macaroni and Cheese.

To help make mealtime even easier, Minute® Steamers offers Four Ingredient Meals with Four-Minute Steamers, combining some of your favorite ingredients and kitchen staples with Steamers to create yummy, simple meals the whole family can enjoy.

Here is just one of the recipes on the Minute site.  Visit for many more quick and easy recipes.

South-of-the-Border Turkey Dinner Ingredients: •1 bag Minute® Steamers Brown Rice •1 pound ground turkey, cooked and crumbled •1 can (11 ounces) southwestern corn blend •1 cup prepared salsa Directions: •Prepare rice according to package directions. •In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine turkey, corn and salsa. •Cook on HIGH 2 minutes. •Stir in rice. Tips: •Add 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese. •Use as filling in tortillas and top with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes. •Roll into burrito-sized tortillas and serve with sour cream My family loves rice and I love easy! Plus look at all these options to make your meals diverse enough for even the pickiest eaters.

Enter the Minute Steamers Prize Pack Giveaway and enjoy meal time again!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Marriage Mistake by Jennifer Probst - REVIEW

The 411 by Sonia:

I really loved this book even though I haven't had a chance to read Jennifer's first two books The Marriage Trap or The Marriage Bargain. Now that I have read The Marriage Mistake,  I do plan on reading them as soon as I can.  I absolutely adored The Marriage Mistake by Jennifer Probst! Right from the beginning you immediately know Corina a 26 year old feisty virgin who has a thing for her brothers best friend Max since childhood.  I can really appreciate how she goes about getting Max to see her as a woman and not a little girl anymore. You are gonna absolutely love Mama Conte. 

Throughout the story I just want them to realize that they are so right for each other.  Jennifer, weaves their story beautifully. It is not only a very sexy love story but I also amusing. 

You absolutely must read the Married to a Billionaire Series by Jennifer Probst.

Disclaimer: We received a copy of this book for our honest opinion.