Sunday, March 30, 2014

New Purex® Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh Laundry Fragrance Enhancer (Review and Giveaway)

Laundry is an ongoing seemingly never-ending task in each and every household. Some folks wash clothes barely soiled. Some have to contend with the heavily soiled clothes of a farmer or mechanic or football player. Some have smelly socks, towels, undies, shirts. There is the whole gamut of laundry waiting out there to be done. And folks, the laundress (be they lady or gent) needs a bit of help.

Purex® (by Henkel) has an array of products to clean, soften, begrime, and freshen. And today I’m going to introduce you to one of their “laundry fresheners” that is a “limited edition” product. It is the New Purex® Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh Laundry Fragrance Enhancer.

In case you don’t know what Purex® Crystals are, let’s get a run down….
Purex Crystals
Introducing an entirely new way to freshen your laundry. Available in the fabric softener aisle.  Purex Crystals are 87% natural crystals that go in at the start of the wash, so they spend more time with your laundry infusing them with long-lasting freshness. (Learn more about this product)
You add it to the bottom of your washer tub at the beginning. You can add a little (half to one-half measure) or you can double the amount. There are several fragrances. But none leaves a really perfumed scent – in my opinion. I like to think that the crystals have not added a perfume to “cover up” unwanted odors, but have freshened in some way to leave the fabrics simply fresh.

Please note: this product is NOT a fabric softener. It is a laundry freshness enhancer. You may use fabric softeners as well as this product. 

GIVEAWAY: Two of Chat With Vera's  readers have the opportunity to win one coupon for a free product of New Purex® Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh Laundry Fragrance Enhancer. Use the entry form below. Begins March 30 & ENDS April 15 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to those with USA mailing addresses.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: As a Purex Insider, I received a free product for the purpose of facilitating this review. No compensation was received. Coupons for the giveaway are also provided by Purex.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Live streaming hummingbird nest

Just hatched 3/28/14 before dawn - first chick.Watch these tiny marvels.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

FOLIO strap + go weekly travel pill box Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Product Description:  The FOLIO pill box is made for those on a twice daily a.m./p.m. regimen of vitamins, supplements, or pills. It is a cut above the standard 14-door pill box and is much easier to load, with one universal lid.

It’s also much easier to extract pills from the FOLIO pill box. With other pill organizers, it’s nearly impossible to get your fingers into the pill box compartments and it’s necessary to turn the entire pill box upside-down to shake out its contents. The FOLIO pill box features rounded compartments that make extraction of pills quick and easy.

The FOLIO pill box is also much sleeker than any of the twice-daily pill organizers out there. It fits elegantly and stylishly into purse or briefcase, and can be taken out anywhere.

  • Capacity: 6 capsules per day
  • Dimensions: H: 6.7 in x W: 3.8 in x D: 0.9 in
  • Compartments: W: 0.8 in x L: 1.4 in x D: 0.6 in
  •  7 x 2-compartment (a.m./p.m.) pill box inscribed for each day of the week
  •  Looks like Moleskine-style memo book
  •  Durable elastic band ensures secure closure
  •  Universal flip-open lid makes loading and extracting pills easy
  •  Rounded pill box compartments make pills easy to extract 
  •  BPA-free 
  •  Cloth-cleanable
My thoughts:  First of all, this little 6.7" x 3.8" pill container is downright classy. The fingertip touch is soft (not cushy, just fabric soft) and makes me feel as though I have a classy, non-plastic product in my hands. It looks classy, too. Through the years, I personally have carried my mid-day pills in a small single compartment holder tucked away in my purse. And when I've traveled, I've tossed the week's supply of an assortment of prescriptions into a single prescription bottle. Now you know as well as I know, that is simply NOT a good solution. But I simply couldn't envision those weekly pill holders with all the little compartments tucked in my luggage or my purse and gallivanting cross country. (Can't you just see those little lids getting flipped open and pills going everywhere?)

That problem is now solved. This "Go Weekly Travel Pill Box" is ideal. The individual compartments (2 per day) don't have individual lids on them. There is one side-lift top that covers them all. The little compartments are rounded which helps to get those very small pills out. The whole pill box is held closed with a colorful elastic strap. Just simple and classic. And all the while it is made of BPA-free materials.

I really like this product by Sabi and encourage you to see for yourself just how nice and workable it is for you or someone you love.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I will receive a low value free gift from the manufacturer forposting this review. I was not required or compelled to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC 16 CFR, Part 255. I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In the Hall of the Mountain King by Allison Flannery and illustrated by Vesper Stamper

About the book:  This beautifully illustrated story brings to life Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg's musical masterpiece and Henrik Ibsen's timeless characters. Geared toward children 4-9, the story follows young Peer "into the forest and out the other side" where he finds the mysterious Mountain King's castle and begins a harrowing chase that mirrors the movement of the music it’s based on. The book includes a CD with orchestral performances of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" and four other pieces from the "Peer Gynt Suite."

My thoughts:  Classical music education is not complete unless you’ve ventured In the Hall of the Mountain King. The story of the young boy, Peer Gynt, begins as he wanders away from his home, through the forest, and into the very castle. With stealth he creeps into realms he is not suppose to be. The music begins softly, very softly as Peer creeps deeper and deeper into the recesses of the Castle.

The story depicted in Allison Flannery’s adaptation of Henrik Isben’s Peer Gynt is compelling and will quickly become a favorite of the young child. What young child doesn’t envision a bit of stealth and venturing into places they are not to be? This time Peer has gone too far and he is in the hall (castle) of the scary Mountain King. Such adventure! The music on the CD captures the adventure, excitement, fear.
"From passage to passage and room to room, Peer grew more confident.
Maybe he could be the King!
He walked and marched  … … … … ..
Peer had been so enchanted that he had forgotten one important thing – he was an uninvited guest! Fear of the Mountain King’s fury seized Peer… … .."
Illustrated by Vesper Stamper, the pages are filled with lively and skillfully executed art that breathes excitement and delight to the text bringing a joyful, fearful, enchanting read to children. The book has a special treat accompanying it. There is a CD with excerpts from The Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg. This will provide the non-musical family opportunity to garner a delightful taste or nibble of the classics and help the child venture into a world of music that will delight for a lifetime. For those families more musically inclined, this is a great tool to begin engaging in a little music theory education.

The lovely hardcover book will be welcome in the home, public, or school library. It is certainly a must for the music library in a home that treasures music.
Illustrator: Vesper Stamper spent most of her childhood
meticulously copying each page of Hilary Knight’s
Cinderella. She earned an honors degree in Illustration
from Parsons School of Design
Author: Allison Flannery is a Kindergarten music teacher who sings,
dances, marches, and teaches seventeen classes of five to
six-year-olds each week. With a background as a private piano
instructor, she loves inspiring youngsters to listen
and learn from some of the great classical composers. 
The author has provided wonderful "teachable moments" material and information on her website:
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"My Brother Is My Best Friend" by Nicole Weaver and illustrated by Clara Batton Smith

In My Brother Is  My Best Friend the author, Nicole Weaver tells a story of brothers who value each other not just as brothers but as friends as well.

The story is presented in tri-lingual format. This puts a lot of text on each page for the young reader to cull through, but each sentence for each different language is color coded. Example: English is black, Spanish is red, and French is blue. So to read the story in Spanish you simply focus on the red text on each page.

Blake and Drake are twin brothers whose adventures are cute, loving, and heartwarming. They have a special bond.They go through daily life inquisitive about the little things that  bring delight and joy to boys, being boys. While the two are twins, I can see the same loving bonding in non-twin brothers as well

The story itself is great. The tri-lingual text is great for those who are learning second and/or third languages. While the idea is great, I personally believe that publishing it in two languages at a time would be better. 

There are two glossaries - French to English and Spanish to English.There is also an activity where the reader has a sentence and they are to match that Spanish or French sentence in English
The illustrations by Clara Batton Smith are cute and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed them and know children would! 

GIVEAWAY: The author is providing a copy for one of Chat With Vera's readers.  Use the Rafflecopter entry form below. Begins March 25 & ENDS April 11 @ 12:01 EDT. Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: The author provided a complimentary in exchange for this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Must Have Marvin by Christy Ziglar Illustrated by Luanne Marten (A Shine Bright Kids Book) #ShareAMoment - Review and Giveaway for US & Canada Entries

ISBN: 9780824956578
About the book:  Whether it’s in the classroom, on the playground or on the soccer field, Marvin is always finding something new that he simply must have! After discovering whame.t he deems the latest, greatest, new toy, Marvin finds himself focusing a bit too much on getting instead of on giving and excludes his friends. He lets them down when they need his help and nearly loses their friendship. Through a chat with a wise neighbor and a second chance, Marvin learns the important life lesson that people matter more than things.

My thoughts:  Christy Ziglar has launched a terrific program for kids to help with issues they face. I previously reviewed Can't Wait Willow written by Christy Ziglar as part of the Star Bright Kids Program (and website). Now we're reviewing the freshly launched Must Have Marvin.

Marvin is a smart, cute, sweet boy that seems to have his priorities a bit skewed. If he sees it and likes it, he wants it. He must have it. He is "Must Have Marvin." Regardless of his friends and what they need of him. Help with a project. Help for his brother practicing his catching game. Marvin simply must pursue what he wants and when he wants it.

And then he begins to learn the lesson of wanting what he doesn't need and of friendship and caring for others.
The book is beautifully illustrated with expressions that capture the moment and actions that run the gamut. It is colorful and a delight to simply look at, and it will capture children's attention wonderfully reinforcing the text.

I can recommend Must Have Marvin as a teachable moments book that will delight.

GIVEAWAY:  Chat With Vera has been given the opportunity to offer one reader a chance to win a copy of "Must Have Marvin." Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Begins MARCH 24 & ENDS APRIL 7 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA & Canada. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Shine Bright Kids series provides children and their families with a framework to teach the importance of making good choices. The principles that will be explored include: using good judgment, taking responsibility, having a positive attitude, and demonstrating perseverance.

Author Bio:  Christy Ziglar, financial planner, mother of twins and niece of legendary motivator and the world’s original optimist, Zig Ziglar, is bringing the same timeless wisdom and ageless advice to an entirely new, younger audience through her new Shine Bright Kids picture book series.

Illustrator Bio:  Thanks to her first-grade teacher, who recognized her superior skills in drawing a robin, Luanne Marten  has been drawing, painting, and sketching ever since. She is a great experimenter and has a fresh, whimsical approach that brings her characters to life.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Green Earth Pan by Ozeri Featuring GREBLON Ceramic Non-Stick Coating (Review)

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
I was recently given the opportunity to review products for Ozeri and one of those is the Green Earth Pan. I have "been through" several non-stick fry pans through the years of varying price ranges and quality. I couldn't help but wonder just what was in the stuff that made these pans non-stick and if they might have some effect on the health of the user.  I especially questioned how good for me these could possibly be when the non-stick finish started detaching itself from the pan itself. Just how much of this "stuff" have I, and my family, been consuming through the years?

The Green Earth Pan is made of ceramic and processed so that food doesn't stick. Below is some information provided by the manufacturer of these pans so you can actually see what it is, and what it is NOT. I especially like what it is NOT! Please note that on the packaging it says it is Ultra-safe 100% PTFE and PFOA free! PTFE and PFOA have very long spelled out names that sound dreadfully toxic to me.  Please note what it IS!...... Featuring GREBLON ceramic non-stick coating.

Product Information:  Ozeri Green Earth Textured Ceramic Nonstick Frying Pan, 100-Percent PTFE and PFOA Free
Unlike other ceramic pans, the Ozeri Green Earth Pan utilizes GREBLON - an ultra-safe ceramic coating from Germany which is 100% PTFE and PFOA free.
  • Innovative textured pan surface delivers enhanced heat distribution and superior non-stick performance without ever releasing harmful fumes or toxins.
  • Features a scratch-resistant 100 percent ceramic coating that is super easy to clean.
  • Made out of durable heavy-gauge die-cast aluminum with no heavy metals or harmful chemicals.
  • Boasts a comfortable heat-resistant silicon coated handle, and a magnetized induction stove safe base for rapid heat transfer.
Utilizing GREBLON -- an ultra-safe ceramic coating from Germany, the Green Earth Pan by Ozeri is one of the world's first frying pans to achieve non-stick perfection while remaining absolutely free of PTFE, PFOA and other harmful chemicals. Conventional cookware and other ceramic cookware brands achieve their non-stick performance through a coating of PTFE (PolyTetraFluoroEthylene), a synthetic substance that has waxy properties. At very high temperatures, PTFE begins to decompose and release fumes which are documented to be lethal to birds and small pets, and which can be harmful to humans. In addition, traditional pans incorporating PTFE are often manufactured with the aid of PFOA (PerFluoroOctanoic Acid), which the EPA has classified as a 'persistent pollutant of the environment'. With the Green Earth Pan's GREBLON ceramic from Germany, even under high temperatures, no harmful toxic fumes are ever released into the environment. This is because the Green Earth Pan utilizes a 100% ceramic coating inspired by nature - not a laboratory. The Green Earth Pan's ceramic coating is completely free of PTFE and PFOA, and far more durable and scratch-resistant than other non-stick surfaces. With better non-stick properties, the Green Earth Pan allows you to saute, fry, bake, boil and braise with as little as half the amount of oil normally used, and cleaning is a breeze. The Green Earth Pan by Ozeri is made of the highest quality die-cast aluminum that allows for even cooking and fantastic browning without hot spots. It boasts a magnetized bottom for rapid heat transfer on induction stoves, and a heat resistant silicone coated handle. This version of the Green Earth Pan features a textured ceramic cooking surface. The elevations of the textured cooking surface create air pockets which distribute heat underneath food to enhance cooking performance. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. GREBLON ceramic made by Weilburger GmbH, Germany. Final assembly in China.

My thoughts:  This pan is no "light weight." It has durability and heft which makes you feel confident in the kitchen. The honeycomb pattern on the bottom had me a bit concerned prior to using it as I thought the texture might enable food to stick or remain in the grooves. But I was pleasantly mistaken. I found that by following the instructions of using a minute amount of olive oil and wiping the excess out with a paper towel, my chicken did not stick and browned nicely. Usually when I cook onions and peppers along with steak or chicken, it requires lots of oil to brown them and make them good. Not so with this pan. Below you see four steps in cooking chicken with onions and peppers. I only used the tiny amount of oil for cooking and salt and pepper for seasoning. This was delicious.

Clean up of the pan was a breeze. A bit of water and tiny amount of detergent plus a paper towel. Wipe it dry and store it for the next time. I can't wait to really use this Green Earth Pan by Ozeri on a frequent basis!  

DISCLOSURE: I received a free Ozeri Green Earth Pan from the manufacturer for the purpose of providing an honest review. No compensation was received for this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

Friday, March 21, 2014

"Life Support: Grace Medical Series #3" by Candace Calvert (Review and Giveaway)

ISBN13: 9781414361130
Tyndale House Publishers
About the book:  Nurse Lauren Barclay put her life on hold to keep a watchful eye on her troubled sister. It's why she's back in Houston. But that means confronting the brooding physician assistant who caused painful turmoil in her family--and left Lauren with memories her heart can't forgive.PA and single parent Elijah Landry is no stranger to stormy relationships, including one with his father, who is threatening him with a restraining order. It won't stop Eli from protecting his disabled brother--or from making peace with Lauren. He wants that and so much more.But as Lauren and Eli draw closer, a powerful hurricane roars toward Houston. Survival instincts take priority and everything changes. Can hope weather the storm?
My thoughts:  As Candace Calvert takes us into the third story in her Grace Medical Series, she inflicts us with characters that are both flawed, fractured, and whole; who are loved and hated; and who are in need of healing and yet who are the healers. Drawing from her personal  experiences and expertise as an emergency room nurse, Calvert skillfully draws an entry to the story with its opening drama in the ER as PA Eli looks in the face and on the trauma of his brother being treated.

As the story progresses, the conflict between families over life and death decisions and treatments that are humane and kind brings the reader to face issues within themselves that address the matters involved in having a living will. What is best? Who is it best for? When do you do what? What is quality of life?

But back to the story unfolding in Life Support…. Nurse Lauren Barclay has family issues, too. Her younger sister, Jessica, is unstable mentally and emotionally and Lauren has been the responsible family member standing by Jessica. Yet Jessica is working desperately to get her life together and get control of it in order to be independent and successful at living.

As usual, Candace Calvert has written a story that is believable, exciting, and complete with emotional and physical tension. There is sweet romance and medical expertise. The subjects dealt with in this work of fiction are somewhat heavy but are brought to realistic conclusion. Grace is woven through the pages without being too heavy on religion. This is a work of Christian fiction and the author brings the heart of the story right to our own hearts.

GIVEAWAY: Candace Calvert has graciously provided the opportunity for one of Chat With Vera's readers to win a their very own copy of Life Support.  Use the Rafflecopter entry form below.   Begins March 21 & ENDS April 11 @ 12:01 EDT. Open to USA addresses only. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLAIMER: I was provided a complimentary copy by the author in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I received no compensation for this review. Copy provided for the winner of the giveaway is provided by the author.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"About Habitats: Forests" by Cathryn Sill and illustrated by John Sill (Review & Giveaway)

I have had the distinct pleasure of reviewing several books written and illustrated by the Cathryn and John Sill husband and wife team. It is also a source of pseudo pride that they reside in my home state of North Carolina. John is also a graduate of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC - one of our fine State universities. So when given the opportunity to participate in Peachtree Publisher's blog tour for About Habitats: Forests, I jumped at the invitation to sign up.

The "About" books follow basically the same format. They have two-page spreads with simple one line sentences for the young child or young reader to learn about the feature of that two-page spread. There is also tucked near the inner spine a basic bit of information to identify the features or creatures on the page. Example:
White-nosed Coati
Leafcutter Ants
Blue Jean (Strawberry) Poison Dart Frog 
At the end of the book, each Plate is presented with detailed information and a thumbnail image of the actual plate picture.

The illustrations by John Sill are beautifully and skillfully drawn and painted. The art is worthy of displaying on the coffee table for guests to enjoy as well as use to teach that special young child in your household.
Did you realize there were so many "types" of forests? Let's see.... Rainforest, Tropical Dry Forest, Tropical Rainforest, Temperate Rainforest, Cloud Forest, Deciduous Forest, and Boreal Forest.

I heartily recommend About Habitats: Forests for home, school, and public libraries. These nicely bound books will entertain and educate beautifully and gently.

GIVEAWAY: Begins March 19 & ENDS April 10 @ 12:01 EDT. Open to USA addresses only. 

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of About Habitats: Forests by Peachtree Publishers in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I received no compensation for this review. Winner's copy in the giveaway is provided directly to the winner by the publisher.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

SPORT All-terrain, lightweight sporty cane with precision handle and tip by Sabi

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
elevate. everyday
I remember when my dear mother reached a period in her life where she was unsteady and needed a stabilizing assist. Oh, how she resisted the idea!  What came first of all was in the form of a cane. We acquired a tri-footed cane and she was good to go with it. But being elderly is not the only criteria for a person being able to benefit from using a walking stick – or cane.
  • Injuries
  • Unsteady gait
  • Imbalance
  • Young, old, mid-life
Add caption
Frankly, no one wants to be known as being dependent on a tool for walking or getting around. But life being what it is, things happen that do require us to need or want assistance.

Product Description:  SPORT takes its inspiration from those differently-abled athletes out there who take adversity in stride. For them, we designed an all-terrain, lightweight cane for those times when you need a little boost to hike that extra mile; climb that higher mountain; or camp that extra night.

SPORT, Sabi ROAM Line’s lightest cane, features an ultra-comfortable handle, precision dipped in rubber coating for a smooth, secure grip that’s hygienic and easy to clean and care for. The SPORT cane has a single-piece, non-adjustable shaft made of high-strength aluminum; the same grade of aluminum used in bicycle frames. Super-durable and powder-painted, just like a bike, it offers a much more stable alternative to the adjustable cane.

Air-cushioned rubber-based TIP
The cane has an air-cushioned rubber-based TIP made from the same material used in hiking boot and running shoe soles for maximum stability, smooth walking at any speed, and superior grip on the most uneven surfaces.

The SPORT cane comes in eye-popping colors with a matte finish, making it a fab and fun walking companion for people on the move.

While neither my husband nor I need a cane at this point in our lives, the fit of this one will work great should that day arrive. We’ll tuck this quality cane away for just such a time.

SPORT is made by Sabi:
Twitter: @sabi_brand
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

E.I.E.I.O. How Old MacDonald Got His Farm by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Matthew Myers

  • ISBN-13: 9780763660437
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
We all know that “Old MacDonald Had A Farm” and we’ve read the story and sung the song. Well, maybe some even “bought the T-shirt”! But who knows HOW Old MacDonald really got the farm in the first place?

Judy Sierra is going to share her “take” on how today’s Old MacDonald might get his farm and she does it taking in the whole sustainability (or green) issue along with it. But you don’t feel as though a bunch of tree huggers wrote the book. It is cute. It is fun. It is innovative!

Illustrated with absurdly cute and colorful pictures by Matthew Myers, the story really comes alive and captures the reader’s (and definitely the listener’s) attention.
First of all we get a glimpse of where MacDonald lives- the suburbs complete with large yards covered with grass that needs mowing. Despairing of this mundane and boring chore, he has a visitor – The Little Red Hen – who rescues him with a brilliant idea.
“Not your average bird was she,
but the smartest hen in history."
“Join me in a garden caper--
cover up this grass with paper,
layer cardboard, then add dirt.”
On and on it goes in catchy rhyme (caught your little one’s attention, too) until in the end……. Well, you do know that “Old MacDonald Had A Farm…. E.I.E.I.O.

And of course, I recommend this delightful book that is fun, teaches working together and sustainability, and does it with eye-popping and strong but cute characters, and with rhyming text.

GIVEAWAY: A copy of E.I.E.I.O. How Old MacDonald Got His Farm is available to one of Chat With Vera's readers and provided by Candlewick Press and will be sent to one reader randomly chosen from the entries using the Rafflecopter form below. Begins March 17 & ENDS April 7 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT and is open only for USA addresses.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of E.I.E.I.O. How Old MacDonald Got His Farm from Candlewick Press in exchange for my honest review. I received no compensation for this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sabi Chop Cut-and-Take Pill Splitter by SABI

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
Product Description:  Different people split pills for different reasons: some pills, especially daily vitamin supplements, are so large that they can be difficult to swallow whole. Oftentimes, pills come in only one high dosage version and you need to halve or quarter them to get a lower dose. Others split pills because it’s more cost effective, since higher-dosage pills frequently cost the same as lower-dosage ones.

No matter the reason, if you split pills regularly you have likely encountered many pill splitter pitfalls. When we began to investigate the task of splitting pills we quickly realized that this seemingly trivial task is actually riddled with problem.

We wanted to create a superior pill splitter. We designed a pill splitter that can split all pills of any shape or size, cleanly, accurately, and easily. It employs a non-steel/non-razor durable plastic poly blade so it’s safe and won’t easily wear down. And you don’t have to worry about it rusting if it gets wet so it’s easy to clean.

We made it adjustable to all pill types, easy to hold and press, and at the same time fun to use and beautiful to look at. We hope that when you use CHOP, you’ll get into the ritual of snapping your pills to size and use the moment to stop, breathe, and think on the importance of your health and the time you invest in ensuring your healthcare is accurate, non-wasteful and… just plain fun.

What does "Chat With Vera" think of the CHOP pill cutter?
Well, first of all, I must emphatically state that you should ONLY cut your pills when authorized by your prescribing doctor to do so. Some pills should be taken WHOLE and never cut. Some folks in order to economize or make their prescription medicines last longer, cut pills. This should NEVER be done unless your doctor says it is o.k. to do so. Now, what do I think about this particular CHOP pill cutter?

It is a nice, neat product. The lid is concave and fits the heel of your hand/palm nicely so that pressure applied to the CHOP doesn't hurt your hand or fingers. This is a plus when arthritic hands are applying pressure.

It cuts large pills or small pills - elongated, oval, square, round. The "floor" where the pill is seated awaiting being chopped (don't you like my hint of whit?), is designed to help position and hold the pill before lowering the top to cut the pill.

You really need to visit the Sabi website and see the nice products they have, to learn about the Sabi company. Read a little about them.....
Sabi. elevate. everyday.
Sabi - Products designed to improve day-to-day life
We believe that people's imperfections are what make them beautiful and that intelligently designed products can motivate us to embrace our vulnerabilities and feel happy about doing daily tasks that may have grown challenging or mundane.

Sabi products marry vibrant design and superior performance to make the most humdrum chores – from organizing your weekly pill box to taking a bath, to taking a walk – simply more enjoyable.  Our ambition: to make the everyday moments count, each and every day.
As you look at this product and others made by Sabi, don't just brush them off. Think about someone in your life that would benefit from ANY of these fabulous products. Who do you know that would benefit from using a CHOP or other Sabi product?
Twitter: @sabi_brand
DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

"Lost for Words" written and illustrated by Natalie Russell (Review & Giveaway)

  • Hardcover: $16.95 
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-739-7
About the book:  A gentle story about finding your creative spark
Tapir wants to express himself, but he can't find the words! He and his friends all have nice new notebooks, just waiting to be filled. Giraffe decides to write a poem, Hippo writes a story, and Flamingo composes a beautiful song. But poor Tapir can't think of anything to write - and the harder he tries the more upset he becomes! But everything starts to change when Tapir stops trying to write and begins to draw...
Review:  This cute picture book begins as Tapir gazes at a blank sheet of paper, holding his pencil, and trying to write. But sadly nothing is forthcoming. He is at "A Loss for Words" as the saying goes. But the real problem is he is lost because he has no words to put there on the paper.

His friends could. He couldn't. Why even the flamingo wrote her words and SANG them! Tapir was simply lost for words. He looked everywhere for words and couldn't find them. But the world was so beautiful to him. He looked. He picked up his pencil. He began to....... (well that would be telling, wouldn't it???).
Let's just say that Tapir found that words were not the only way to be creative. To express himself. To share his joy with others.
Lost for Words will help the age 4-8 child discover that he or she can be creative, too.

GIVEAWAY: Begins March 12 & ENDS April 3 @ 12:01 EDT. Open to USA addresses only. 
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Peachtree Publishers in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. No compensation was received for this review. The giveaway winner's copy is also provided by Peachtree and will be mailed directly to them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"Home at Last" by Anita Higman - Question & Answer with Author, Review, and Giveaway

Anita has given us a bit of insight into herself and her writing journey. She also talks about Home at Last.

How long have you known you wanted to be an author?

Growing up I longed to be a writer. When I was very young (I don’t remember my age) I started working on a novel about a man from Mars who wanted to go to college in New York. I never finished that novel, but it left an impression on me. I knew deep down that writing was my dream, even though I didn’t get around to fulfilling it until I was in my thirties.

When a reader finishes Home at Last, what do you want them to come away with?

I would love for them to be inspired, challenged, and entertained. If I accomplished even one of those things I would feel my writing time wasn’t wasted.

Where did you come up with the idea for the story, Home at Last?

The inspiration came from watching the latest movie version of Jane Eyre over and over and over. I love that story. I read Jane Eyre a few months ago, and I was truly awed by Charlotte Bronte’s writing. I high recommend it if you’ve never read this masterpiece.

Any hobbies you especially enjoy?

I love decorating. I know that sounds awfully girly, but it’s exciting to see the right drapes and the right colors and flooring and accessories all come together to make a pleasant room—a place where you want to spend time and a place you want to share with your family and friends.

Home at Last deals with orphans and abandonment. Those are elements that show up frequently in your work. Why is that?

There were times growing up that I felt lonely and abandoned. But instead of sharing all of these details of my past in interviews, I infuse my novels with those intense emotional memories. That is one of the many blessings of creating art—to be able to sift through, study, and then hopefully, through the miracle of writing, let go of some of the painful pieces and burdensome baggage of our pasts.

If you could have dinner with two special people, who would they be?

Josh Groban, because his music inspires me, and Leif Enger, because I love the way he writes.

What are the fun things about a book signing? The uncomfortable parts?

If I’ve invited friends, it’s always great to see them and catch up. If strangers trickle by, and I’m able to tell them about my book, or if I can encourage them in some way I feel like the book signing was successful. The uncomfortable parts can be when people automatically think you’re an employee at the bookstore and ask where the restroom is located. Too many of those kinds of responses can lower the level of enthusiasm significantly. Before I head into a book signing, I usually pray, and the prayer goes something like, “Lord, if the sales are wonderful help me not to become haughty about it, and if the sales aren’t so wonderful please help me not to become discouraged.”

ISBN: 9780373486878
Heartson Pub. $4.99

How can readers connect with you?

Please feel to stop by my website at or chat with me on my Facebook Reader Page at!/AuthorAnitaHigman

About Home at Last:  Olivia Lamington's never had a home or family. When her late employer leaves Bromfield Manor to her, Olivia feels secure for the first time in her life. Then Bromfeld's prodigal son returns, challenging her claim to the estate---and everything Olivia understands about family...and love.

My thoughts: Anita Higman has written a deep and intense story about a woman who has had so little through life and about a "son of the Manor" who returns and seeks to claim the only home Olivia truly knows as her's.  Ms. Higman uses phrasing and words to paint beautiful and emotional pictures in the mind. Journey with Olivia and Noah as they learn to adapt, trust, forgive, and love. 
Time and time again, a moment of joy would be subdued by a snake in the woodpile. And, in life, there always seemed to be a serpent waiting patiently in the wings. (pg. 47)
Olivia Lamington wiggled the key into the  lock of the manor's heavy door, but it didn't fit quite right - just as her own irregular life had never slipped easily into this world. (pg. 1)

..... and Olivia's panicked voice above him. Then life faded into blackness. (pg. 175)
Beautifully written, delightfully sweet, frustratingly tense, and lovingly romantic. The only down side of Home at Last is that it is published in budget format by Harlequin Love Inspired publishers. It deserves larger, "higher-on-the-shelf" publication and recognition.

GIVEAWAY:  Anita Higman is going to bless two of Chat With Vera's readers with their own copy of Home at Last. Use entry form below. Begins March 11 & ENDS April 3 @ 12:01 EDT. Open to US addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE:  I was provided a compliment copy by the author in exchange for this honest review. No compensation was received for my review. Giveaway copies are provided by the author and shipped directly to the winners. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mark of Evil by Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall

About the book:  Economies have fallen, freedom has been suppressed, and peace is a distant memory. The world is falling apart. Joshua Jordan’s protégé Ethan March, along with Jimmy Louder and Rivka Reuban have been left behind in a world that is rapidly coming under the complete influence of the Antichrist.

Technology is growing by leaps and bounds, with BID-Tag implants, robotic police units, and drone-bots flying overhead . . . all designed to control and dominate those who resist the Antichrist’s reign of evil. As Biblical prophecy is fulfilled each new day, Ethan and the others in the Remnant struggle to eat, to procure necessary goods, and to avoid the Global Alliance---in short, to survive.

But when the forces of evil attempt to pervert the world’s most powerful information system to their own sinister ends, eliminating everyone who gets in their way, it’s up to Ethan and the Remnant to subvert their dark ambitions. From New York Times best-selling author Tim LaHaye, creator and co-author of the world-renowned Left Behind books, and Craig Parshall, Mark of Evil is the final thrilling chapter in The End series.

With high-tech thrills against a background of prophetic events that seem to leap from today’s news, this is the story of global tribulations bringing the world one step closer to the reign of the Antichrist and the return of Jesus Christ in glory.

Review:  I have read several Tim LaHaye's novels dealing with end time conditions and his perception of how Biblical prophecies will actually occur. No one knows, of course, and these are truly works of fiction. Mr. LaHaye and Mr. Parshall draw deeply from Scripture by weaving them into the conversations, sermons, and "articles" that are part of the story. They bring to play scenarios across the world that hold a tantalizing hint of the evening news broadcasts and newspaper headlines.

In Mark of Evil the reader is continuously switching between different parts of the world for action, political intrigue, evil plots and plans, and adventure. It becomes somewhat difficult to keep it straight, but it can be done. Just stay on your toes!

Do I agree with LaHaye's interpretation and concept of what will occur and the order in which events will take place? Not necessarily. Some is simple conjecture. Some is his belief. But he simply does NOT state dates or set times.

In Mark of Evil the reader picks from the previous book in the series with some of the same characters. But if you have not previously read any in "The End" series, you can still enjoy this read.

To buy, sell, exist one must have the new approved chip inserted. Technology has advanced to the point that the Antichrist will be able to control people whether or not they have the chip. The question is, and to me the purpose of reading fiction of this type, ..... "What will you, what will I do....?"

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from BookLook on behalf of authors Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall and Zondervan Publishing. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.

"Would You Do What They Did?" by William Dean Hamilton

About the book:  A collection of biographies of Martin Luther, Francis of Assisi, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, and the famous martyr Thomas Becket written in creative nonfiction style.

Review:  When given the opportunity to review Would You Do What They Did?, I was excited because I do enjoy biographies. I assumed given the length of the book and the fact that there were four famous Church leaders included, the biography of each would focus on a small portion of their life.  Beginning with the introduction, I saw the author had taken liberty with the historical record of these gentlemen’s lives and pursued his own “atrocious” [my opinion] creative non-fiction [his own term].

He decided to stir the pot of characters muddying the mix.  He uses the tool of humor without success.  He writes extensively of Francis of Assisi and to a vastly lesser extent the other three. This reader questions the author’s intent in such unbalance. I personally felt that his writing leaves much to be desired. There are editing issues with spelling, punctuation, word association, and basic sentence structure.

I was looking forward to reading a good biography, even though I clearly understood that the coverage would be somewhat limited. I was sorely disappointed.

In agreement with the BookCrash Program, I read this book in its entirety. However, I simply can not recommend this book.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the Bookcrash book review program. Opinions expressed are solely my own. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

"Distortion" by Terri Blackstock (Review & Giveaway)

ISBN-13: 9780310283140
Zondervan $14.99
Paperback Edition
About the book: Juliet Cole's life has been dismantled by the murder of her husband. She doesn't know who---or what---to trust when everything she has believed to be true about her marriage has been a lie.

A husband's lies can have deadly consequences.

When Juliet Cole's husband of fifteen years is murdered before her eyes, she thinks it was a random shooting. Devastated and traumatized, she answers hours of questioning, then returns home to break the tragic news to her boys. But a threatening voicemail takes this from a random shooting to a planned, deliberate attack.

Juliet realizes that she and her children are in danger too, unless she meets the killers' demands. But as she and her sisters untangle the clues, her husband's dark secrets come to light. The more she learns, the more of her life is dismantled. Was her husband an innocent victim or a hardened criminal?

Pre-order a copy for just $4.99 on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, or the eBook version on CBD until March 10th.

My thoughts:  This was a suspense and mystery involving local law enforcement, private investigators, federal law enforcement, and close family members. It also referred back to the same characters in a previous novel in the same series who were previously involved in murder and mayhem. The close connection of these characters seems a bit out of the realm of the ordinary and of real life. But it is fiction and who knows, all this connectivity could really occur.

A well-liked and successful surgeon is killed in front of his wife in a dark, deserted parking lot at night. As his shattered wife tries to come to grips with this, a life of unknown proportions comes to light and almost completely destroys her. Trying to protect herself and her two children while coming to grips with her husband’s link to a dark world of crime, she works with family and close friends who are officially in the investigation to solve this intense mystery.

As usual Terri Blackstock has brought us a good, clean read that intrigues and absorbs.

GIVEAWAY: Begins March 7 & ENDS March 24 @ 12:01 EDT. Open to US addresses only.  One of Chat With Vera's readers can win a copy of Distortion by using the Rafflecopter entry form. The good folks at Litfuse Publicity Group are providing the winner's copy on behalf of the publisher and author.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the Author: Terri Blackstock has sold over six million books worldwide and is a New York Times bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, Restoration, and Moonlighters.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Zondervan on behalf of the in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. No compensation was received for this review.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dial© Deep Cleansing Hand Soap (Review & FLASH GIVEAWAY)

Dial© has a new kid on the block – Dial© Deep Cleansing Hand Soap. It comes in three delicious “flavors” or fragrances –
  • Yellow Raspberry & Black Sugar
  • Water Blossoms
  • Coconut Lime Verbena
The good folks at Dial© graciously sent me two bottles of their new hand soap – the Water Blossoms and the Coconut Lime Verbena. I LIKE this! The Water Blossoms is my favorite of the two, but the Coconut Lime Verbena runs a tight second place. The aroma is amazing. There are tiny little micro-scrubber beads in it that help you really scrub (exfoliate) your hands to get them a deep clean, but your hands are left moisturized.

I don’t know about you, but Winter and very frequent hand washing to stay as free of germs as possible has really left my hands a mess. I am looking forward to these new Dial© hand soaps to help soften and moisturize my hands.

FLASH GIVEAWAY: I was sent coupons to share with my readers but sadly they expire March 31, 2014. So we’re going to have to move fast on this one! Begins March 5 & ENDS March 11 @ 12:01 ET (EDT). Open continental USA addresses only!  You will have to respond quickly if you win so I can mail the coupons right out to you! You must redeem them by March 31!......

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

SABI DAYBOX Extra-large weekly pill box with eight detachable day cases (Review)

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Keeping track of your medications and when you have taken them is vitally important. Having them easily accessible improves the likelihood of an individual's taking them as instructed by their physician. Not taking your medications as prescribed can lead to deadly consequences. Not remembering that you have taken them and then taking them mistakenly a second time, can lead to deadly consequences. For these reasons, a system is essential.

The Sabi company has created a line of tools that help take the guess-work and error out of taking your medications. Their pill boxes can be used for prescription and non-prescription pills. The compartments are large enough to hold "fish oil" capsules.

The Sabi Extra-large weekly pill box is has three compartments for each day (with an extra compartment - 8 total).  There is a single top for each day's compartment made of a soft vinyl that is easy to open and shut. See product description below:
  • Capacity: 27 capsules per day. Fish oil fits!
  • Dimensions:  H: 11 in x W: 4.1 in x D: 1.4 in
  • Compartments (x3/case): H: 1.2 in x W: 1 in x D: 1.1 in
  • 8 x 3-compartment pill boxes inscribed for each day of the week
  • Individual daily pill boxes easily clip together and detach
  • Each individual pill box topped with easy-peel rubber lid
  • Extra-deep pill box compartments hold pills of all sizes and shapes
  • BPA-free
  • Cloth-cleanable
The DAYBOX pill box is Sabi's largest pill box, a weekly pill organizer for medication management featuring eight pill boxes, each inscribed with the day of the week (plus one extra!) and each with three extra-spacious pill box compartments, suitable for storing a large number of large-sized pills, vitamins and supplements. Eight individual daily pill boxes clip together to form a beautiful weekly pill box and easily detach so you can tote with you one daily pill box at a time.
Each daily pill box is covered with a soft peel-back rubber lid that is easy on the hands to open and close, making loading with pills easy. Rounded compartments make extracting pills easy as well. The individual daily pill box fits well into any purse, bag or briefcase.
The DAYBOX weekly pill box makes it possible for even the heaviest pill, vitamin and supplement user to tote and take their pills in style.

Personally, I think that the Sabi Extra-Large Daybox Weekly Pill Box is really a nice design. Once a week you organize your medications so that you can be certain to take them correctly. Then daily if you are on the go you can detach that day's compartment, tuck it into your purse or pocket, and be on your way with the assurance that you have your meds for the day with you. 

Check out the Sabi website here and learn more about this and other products.  Other places to see more about Sabi....., Twitter,  and, of course,

DISCLOSURE:  I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.