Saturday, March 28, 2015

Toad Weather by Sandra Markle & illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781561458189
$16.99 Hardcover
32 pages, Ages 4-8
About the book: There's nothing to do on a rainy day, Ally thinks. But Mama says shes seen something amazing, so despite Ally's misgivings, she sets out with her mother and grandmother. On her journey, she sees all sorts of things: dripping awnings, splashing cars, storm drain geysers, and oil slick patterns. They turn the corner, just in time to see a big crowd. Whats happening?
My thoughts: Beautifully done art brings to life a rainy day when light glistens and colors reflect on the watery surfaces. Love the gentle images of the characters as they grace the pages when they sally forth to see what is happening outside in a rainy world.

As Ally gazes at the dull, wet world just outside her window definitely feeling rainy-day doldrums, in bursts her mother who has something wonderful to show her. Mama tells Grandmother and Ally to grab their slickers and boots and come with her. Well, Grandmother doesn't want to go out in the wet. But ultimately they all go.

I loved the text which tells a story with just enough words. The illustrations are colorful and yet still translate the feeling of a wet, rainy, dull, gray day. Love the splashes of various colors in this world of gray.

The story isn't just about going out and splashing around a bit in the rain. No, this has an endearing real-life adventure. You see, when it is "Toad Weather" magical things happen. The story is not just about the rain, it is about the life of toads and why Toad Weather is such a great "happening."

GIVEAWAY: Publisher is offering one of  Chat With Vera's reader the opportunity to win a copy. If you (same name or mailing address) have won prize in another giveaway, you are not eligible to win it again from this giveaway. Publisher has right to deny prize to winner in case of duplication. Begins March 28 & ENDS April 14 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open for USA addresses only.

Teachers' Guide & a coloring sheet

Author & illustrator information: Sandra Markle is the author of more than two hundred children's books, which have won numerous awards, including Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, IRA/CBC Children's Choice, NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Books for Children, NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommended, and ALA Notable Books for Children. She lives in New Zealand.

Thomas Gonzalez was born in Havana, Cuba, and moved to the United States as a child. An artist and painter, he also illustrated The House on Dirty-third Street and the New York Times bestseller 14 Cows for America. He lives in Georgia.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Peachtree Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Micro-scrubbers from sugar cane husk clean in moisturizing Dial® Hand Soap [Review & Giveaway]

Growing up Southern in the coastal city of Wilmington, NC I remember lots of things. Going to the grocery store on the corner (we walked) with Mama was a treat. Sometimes she'd buy me a large, red apple. And I remember a few times, they were selling sticks of sugar cane. We would chew on the ends - kind of a chewing, sucking that drew the juice of the cane forth into our mouth. A treat to be sure. But those days are long gone. I haven't seen sugar cane since I was a child.

We are aware that sugar cane is the source of sugar and syrups. And now we have learned that the Dial corporation has incorporated the micro-scrubbers of the cane into a deep conditioning, moisturizing hand soap so that we can get a moist and deep down clean wash each and every time we lather up.

Presented to the consumer in a sleek, modern, abstract shaped bottle that will look lovely on the kitchen or bath counter, this quality soap will make all your hand washing moments sweet and pleasant and really do a good job of cleaning as well.

Dial has long been known for producing quality cleaning soaps. This is true with The Boutique Collection that includes the Sugar Cane Husk Scrub hand soap.
Dial® Healthier Skin. Healthier You.®
GIVEAWAY: One of Chat With Vera's readers will win 2 free product coupons from the Boutique Collection. Open to USA addresses only. Begins March 28 & ENDS April 9 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to facilitate this review as a member of the Purex Insider Blogger group. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Go Natural. Thoughtfully. Perfectly Natural Soap by Foxbrim - 100% Natural & 98% Organic

We've grown so accustomed to simply using the products that line our store's shelves and make our selection based only because we like how they work, what they smell like, or how they might taste. We have given little thought as to what that product actually consists. Fortunately, there is been a movement afoot to root out the chemicals and get back to ingredients from natural sources. Some even reaching for a higher level of "natural" in that they aim for organic natural ingredients.

Foxbrim has been working to create products along this "new" line and the result is much like the products of yesteryear when life was simple, more natural. Their newest product is Perfectly Natural Soap. It comes in a small pump bottle much like we find hand soaps. But this is not simply a hand soap. It is a natural product that can be used all over the body and even for one's hair. Versatile!

I have found that it takes a very small amount to work. The lather is not excessive. After washing, my hands felt very nice and soft. Even a kind of "silky." This tells me it has not dried my skin as some harsh soaps/detergents have done. I found the scent to be reminiscent of soaps of many years ago - just a simple clean fragrance. Ingredients include: wonderful hand-picked botanicals of Saponified Coconut Oils, Organic Sunflower and Organic Castor Seed.

I am enjoying having the opportunity to use this new soap and can heartily recommend it.

Product Description (provided by Foxbrim) - Perfectly Natural Soap - 100% Natural & 98% Organic

Perfectly Natural Soap brings you a wonderful mix of 100% all-natural botanical ingredients to effectively cleanse skin. Ecologically simple and pleasant to skin, you'll enjoy a powerful yet gentle cleanse. Absolutely no additives, fragrances, synthetics or harsh chemicals used. The soap we've been asked to create is finally here. Perfect for face and body. Perfect for use both morning and night. Perfectly Natural Soap by Foxbrim.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I received no compensation for this review.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Elba Naturals presents an Advanced Firming Eye Cream [Review & Giveaway]

Folks, when you combine being a lady-of-a-certain-age and the ravages  of allergy season, you have very tired eyes - eyes that need all the help they can get to make them look and feel better. You need a product that doesn't irritate and annoy as well.

These days of pollen, changing seasons, and itchy eyes have fared well for me during the past couple weeks

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Advanced Hair Repair Shampoo and Conditioner Set with Argan Oil and Macadamia Oil & Argan Oil Mask By Arvazallia

Find it HERE

I was given the opportunity to review Arvazallia Advanced Hair Repair system. I don't have "damaged" hair, but I do have "aging" hair. My hair has always been thick and straight. Beauticians usually use a conditioner on my hair, but I don't because the products I have purchased in the past have left my hair heavy and harder to style/manage.

I decided to give Arvazallia a try because I have heard so much hype about argan oil for the hair.

Monday, March 23, 2015

America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great by Ben Carson, M.D. with Candy Carson [Review & Giveaway]

About the book: What is America becoming? Or, more importantly, what can she be if we reclaim a vision for the things that made her great in the first place? In America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great, Dr. Ben Carson, author and professor at John Hopkins Medical Institutions, helps us learn from our past in order to chart a better course for our future. From his personal ascent from inner-city poverty to international medical and humanitarian acclaim, Carson shares experiential insights that help us understand what is good about America, where we have gone astray and which fundamental beliefs have guided America from her founding into preeminence among nations.

Written by a man who has experienced America's best and worst firsthand, America the Beautiful is at once alarming, convicting and inspiring. You'll gain new perspectives on our nation's origins, our Judeo-Christian heritage, our educational system, capitalism versus socialism, our moral fabric, healthcare and much more. An incisive manifesto on the values that shaped America's past and must shape her future, America the Beautiful calls us all to use our God-given talents to improve our lives, our communities, our nation and our world.

My thoughts: I truly don’t feel qualified to offer opinions, criticisms, or evaluations on anything written by an individual with the intellectual qualities of a neurosurgeon.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

God is our Refuge...

When the shadows darken our skies, when our heart fails us in trouble, when faced with unfathomable problems or worries, remember....

God is our Refuge

That is the God of Creation. The God of the Universe. The God of our Salvation. The God of our most fearsome worries and troubles. 

He is our Refuge

Psalm 46 King James Version (KJV) 
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will not we fear,

Friday, March 20, 2015

By Your Side (Book 1 in new Crisis Team Series) by Candace Calvert {Review & Giveaway}

About the book: ER nurse Macy Wynn learned essential, gritty lessons in the California foster care system: land on your feet and trust no one. She’s finally located the fellow foster child she loves like a sister, but the girl’s in deep trouble. Macy’s determined to help, no matter what it takes. Her motto is to “make it happen” in any situation life throws at her—even when she butts heads with an idealistic cop.Deputy Fletcher Holt believes in a higher plan, the fair outcome—and his ability to handle that by himself if necessary. Now he’s been yanked from Houston, his mother is battling cancer, and he’s attracted to a strong-willed nurse who could be the target of a brutal sniper.

My thoughts: By Your Side from The Crisis Team Series written by Candace Calvert involves drama, romance and faith!

Being an RN myself for 30 years, I tend to be more critical of novels

Thursday, March 19, 2015

SunTurtle Solar Lamp from EarthEasy - prepare for emergencies {Review & Giveaway}

I just think this is one of the neatest, handy little gadgets I've seen in quite awhile. Maybe they've been on the market for awhile and I just missed them. Who knows? I just know I think it is really a nice product to have on hand in case of power outages or even for a camping trip.

There are 3 levels of brightness to the lamp. The amount of time your lamp will stay on depends on how long you've charged it with sunlight and which degree of light you utilize.

The "ring" that looks like a handle is handy for sticking the lamp atop a large bottle. This gives you a "lampstand." Of course, if out in the wilderness, you might even find a stick or branch to hang it from.

The light can be tilted upward to reflect off a ceiling or perhaps directed straight at the object you wish lite.

The two following video clips are very poor quality - totally my own ineptness. I am attempting to show how to tilt the lamp to utilize the light in varying positions. In the 2nd video clip you will see the light dim and that is because this little gem has the ability to give you 3 levels of brightness.

This is such an interesting company, They carry a line of Earth friendly products. Products that will help you live a sustainable life, prepare for emergencies, and just live a bit greener. Wow! A really fine group of products.

GIVEAWAY: One of Chat With Vera's  readers can win one of these nice little solar lamps. A great way to begin to prepare for emergencies. Begins March 19 & ENDS April 8 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary product to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Getting more veggies eaten and having fun fixing them with a Spiral Ninja {Review & Giveaway}

I was given the opportunity to review the Spiral Ninja and thought this would be a fun tool to have in my kitchen. It is! Now you can make veggie noodles that are just veggies. No pasta. No mixing. Just twist and voila you have veggie noodles.
This is the result of "Spiraling" 1 Zucchini & 1 carrot.
They were small/medium size. Left over bits were
saved to toss in the soup pot later.
This is a fairly small, hand-held tool that has two openings for two blades (firmly affixed and non-removable). You simply choose your veggie and twist it inside the cone of the Spiral Ninja very much like you would turn a pencil in a hand-held pencil sharpener.

I tried three veggies tonight: broccoli stalks, carrots, and zucchini squash. The zucchini gave the best results for me, but then practice makes perfect so I am looking forward to doing better with the broccoli and carrots. My broccoli stalks were smallish and you probably need the larger portion of stalk (peeled, of course). I did fairly well with the carrots, but need some practice with them. The zucchini was a winner.

I decided to saute my veggies, keeping them somewhat separate. Of course, for a family, you'd need a larger amount. I used a small amount of olive oil in my ceramic non-stick fry pan and seasoned them with pepper and salt (added after cooking so it would not wick moisture from the veggies).
Sauteed spiraled veggies.
I loved the taste. As you can see, there are bits of brown, caramelized veggies throughout. We enjoyed them and this was such an interesting presentation of food.

GIVEAWAY: Want to have your very own Spiral Ninja? Enter to see if you're the one to get one. Begins March 19 & ENDS April 7 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Product information (from Spiral Ninja)

  • High-quality super sharp Japanese Ninja blades stay sharp and won't dull or rust
  • Opposing blades offer two julienne sizes - 2x3mm and 3.5x5mm
  • Speeds up meal preparation time. Easy to use unlike complicated paderno spiralizers
  • Works well with zucchini, squash, tricolor carrots, parsnip, cucumber
  • Compact and space-saving storage
  • Easy to clean with included free cleaning brush
  • Top-rack Dishwasher safe
  • Free recipe eBook to start your new spiralizing culinary adventures
Find it on Amazon

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary product to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The relaxing music of Jeff Gold {Review & Giveaway}

"First Snowfall" from Jeff Gold's CD "Simple Treasures" is a celebration of Winter.
Sunsets and clouds were shot on Kauai's North shore at Hanalei, Na Pali and Tunnels Beach by Diane Gold. Take a nice relaxing musical vacation..... Escapes 2: "Hanalei" by Jeff Gold - Beautiful Instrumental Music - Hanalei, Soothing and Relaxing Music
I was given the opportunity to review three of Jeff Gold's instrumental CDs. He is a prolific recorder of relaxing music that is intentionally created to help the listener achieve a sense of relaxation and relief from stress. Good for the commuter's drive. Background music for office or home. And widely accepted as spa music for those relaxing moments.

Some might find his pieces repetitious and uninteresting. He does make use of simple rhythms and repeated phrasing with some modification through a piece, but music that is intentionally relaxing can not by its very nature be exciting, bombastic, and intricate. 

I didn't enjoy every single song, but I found the majority to be great playing softly on my computer while at work or during my commute to and from work. I particularly enjoyed a couple of pieces that included flutes (or computerized flutes). A co-worker even commented, "Beautiful music!"

I find that this music has a definite place in the world in which we live and we are in need of something relaxing and that can bring the mind and body to a place of simple beauty.
Biography: California native Jeff Gold is a composer/musician who creates imagery through music; images that are emotional and melodic, restorative and uplifting. He composes soulful relaxing instrumentals which have received the attention of Wellness Centers, Spas and Music Therapists for their tranquil and healing qualities.

A bit more "Easy Listening" than "new age," Jeff combines beautifully arranged acoustic guitars, piano, strings and flutes. He has released three CD's; "Soul of a Mountain" in 2006, and "Escapes" in 2009 and his latest, "Simple Treasures" in 2012. All three are a soothing and relaxing collection of melodies ideal for music therapy, yoga, massage, scenic drives or just winding down.
Soul of a Mountain

Jeff’s 14-year old special needs nephew, Russell, became a big fan of these soothing instrumentals because they help to calm his overstimulation. Russell then passed his uncle’s music on to his other friends on the autistic spectrum and they found that it is helpful to them as well.

Jeff is also a contributing writer and music advisor to EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT resorts, located throughout Europe and Asia, researching and writing articles on the physical, mental and therapeutic effects that are possible with music.

Jeff composes and arranges all of his own music, playing the guitars and pianos, and creating other instrumental sounds by computer. He also does his own mixing, mastering and editing; a skill he perfected as a television editor for shows like MTV’s “Making the Video,” “Baywatch,” “MadTV” and “The Office.”
GIVEAWAY: Two of Chat With Vera's readers will receive their choice of one of Jeff Gold's CDs shown in this review. Begins March 15 & ENDS April 2 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: Mr. Gold has provided 3 CDs to facilitate this review. No compensation was received. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

INSTACANDI - New way to send a "care package" {Review & Giveaway}

If you've ever had a child away from home and wanted to reach out and touch them in a small, inexpensive manner, you will see the value in INSTACANDI. These little baggies of assorted sweets that you can send for $9.99 and that is the entire cost. Product, shipping, and handling.

I know it isn't really a "good for you" treat, but it is sweet and it is a thoughtful gesture that conveys warm generous heart. It won't break the bank, either.

There are several assortments from which you may select, and right now there is a St. Patrick's Day buy-one-get-one-free offer if you use the code BOGOSTPAT. I don't know how long this offer will hold, but you can try it. Also, there is a 10% discount using the code ICTENOFF - again, I don't know how long this is good for. Their website - CLICK HERE
INSTACANDI for Business
(bulk orders discounted)
Mindful Mix
(a tad better for you than regular candy)
So you want to send someone sweet a little treat? INSTACANDI makes gift giving easy! Here is how it works:

Step 1: Think of a person who needs some extra sweetness in their life.
Step 2: Select a package and send INSTACANDI.
Step 3: Get ready to hear that you are AWESOME, THOUGHTFUL, KIND, FUNNY, AND ADORABLE.

GIVEAWAY: One of Chat With Vera's readers will win an INSTACANDI package of their choice. Begins March 14 & ENDS April 1 (not an April Fool joke, either) @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Product info: Each INSTACANDI package comes with an assortment of old-time favorites like Mary Janes and Tootsie Rolls to Snickers, Milky Ways or Jolly Ranchers.  They stock 100’s of different INSTACANDIS! Each package is wrapped up in a nice clear treat bag and accented with themed confetti, depending upon the occasion. They also include your custom message hand-written on a themed card that you add at checkout. They use colorful padded envelopes to ensure your INSTACANDI does not get crushed during delivery. All packages are only $9.99 and include shipping!
DISCLOSURE: I was provided an INSTACANDI package to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine and I was not compensated.

Friday, March 13, 2015

SomeBunny Loves You! - written by Melinda Rumbaugh & illustrated by Cee Biscoe {Review & Giveaway}

About the book: A playful, sweet music book that celebrates love for a child.
This delightful book is centered around a love poem to a child:

Right from the start, since you were new,
You've had Somebunny loving you.
I'll give you hints. Can you guess who?
Somebunny loves you.

Each page celebrates something about the little rabbit and concludes with the refrain, 'Somebunny loves you.' Children will love the rhyming text and sweet illustrations, quickly catching on that the 'Somebunny' in the book is really the narrator, and the feelings are echoes of what their loved one feels for them. The reassuring message of unconditional love is accompanied by a delightful melody that plays when the sound button is pushed. Ages 2 to 5.

My thoughts: Sweet! Sweet! Sweet! It's Spring and we just love bunnies. This is just a sweet little rhyming (song) book about a wee little bunny that some "bunny" loves. It is a bit of a mystery.  It is also a "push the button and listen to the song book." These are always favorites of the little ones.

A charmingly illustrated board book that tiny little hands can grasp and tote around with them all day (Oh! And yes, these little ones do tend to do that.), pushing the button and singling along with the music.

A little book, a little song, a little rhyme, for those wee little hands. A real winner!

GIVEAWAY: The publisher is providing a copy for one of Chat With Vera's readers to win. Use the form below to enter. Begins March 13 & ENDS March 24 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are mine. I was not compensated for this review.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

WashGuard - Lingerie Bags for Laundry {Review + Giveaway}

Sizes: (1) 12x16, (2) 15x20
I have had a little "lacy" zippered bag that I place my lingerie so it is not roughly treated in the washing machine. This protects it from abrasion, getting tangled with other garments, hooks snagging, and lace tearing. I have loved it. But it is getting old and I knew it was nearing replacement time. Plus, I have had a hankering for a larger "special bag" that I could place larger pieces in such as a sweater to protect it during machine washing.

The folks at IX Better Home, creator of the WashGuard laundry bag, have provided a couple of their lingerie bags - two sizes - for me to review. I have used them both a couple of times, and I am very pleased. When they arrived, they were a bit stiff. The mesh is closely woven which will help keep hooks from catching and perhaps prevent lint from getting in the bag and onto your garments. After using them, the bags soften.

I don't know what can be said other than these are nice and I am thoroughly enjoying them. It is so very nice to have more than one bag so I can place smaller pieces or larger pieces in the wash. 

I can endorse heartily having little garment bags in which to place your delicates during washing. It has saved my special garments from excess wear and tear and makes them last much longer. I intend to use these two new WashGuard bags a long time.

QUICK GIVEAWAY: IX Better Home is providing 2 WashGuard bags for one of Chat With Vera's readers to win.  Begins March 12 & ENDS March 19 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.

Product description - Lingerie Bag for Laundry - Ultra Fine, Zippered, Mesh Wash Bag Protects Delicates - Expensive Blouses, Hosiery, Bras and Underwear From Other Clothes in the Washer - No More Snags, Knotting or Napping Caused By Washing Even in Delicate Mode. Sold in single and double packs of both medium and large size bags.

a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I was provided two WashGuard products to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Adventures of Pajama Girl and the Coronation of the Cupcake Queen by Sandra Hagee Parker [Review & Giveaway]

Worthy Publishing
About the book: A cute, illustrated story about a girl's imagination and her magical pajamas. In this adventure, Ellie's cupcake pajamas pave the way for she and her Sis to take a journey to a land filled with all kinds of sweet treats. Their journey quickly turns into an adventure to help the Cupcake Queen find the missing sprinkles needed for her coronation ceremony. In searching for the missing sprinkles, Ellie and Sis uncover a life lesson that is important for every child to learn.

My thoughts: The idea behind The Adventures of Pajama Girl and the Coronation of the Cupcake Queen is certainly delightful and this is a very colorful book. Love the two little sisters. Ellie, the pajama girl, loves to choose her pajamas each night by how they are decorated and dream about the theme - tropical, cupcakes, etc.  She and Sis land in the dreamland of cupcakes and become embroiled in the Cupcake Queen's missing sprinkles.

As it turns out, they have been stolen so a lesson in "thou shalt not steal" based on Exodus 20 is subtly taught. This is always a good point in stories and to see it resolved nicely is great.

The actual text has some rhyming words but lacks consistency in rhyme. It is a type of rhyming prose. The illustrations, while colorful and cheerful and filled with gaiety, seem somewhat lacking. This book will still be very appealing to children because of the delightful little girls, the love of sweets, and the resolution of wrong doing.
FlyByPromotions on behalf of the publisher and author are providing a copy for one of Chat With Vera's readers. Use the Rafflecopter form below. Begins March 11 & ENDS March 20 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT.

Lots of fun going on at Pajama Girl Headquarters.

  1. Click  here for activity sheets.
  2. When you buy Pajama Girl  from any store or online and then enter your receipt at you’ll receive 10 more free Pajama Girl Activity Sheets sent to you via email!

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Worthy Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Rodeo Red by Maripat Perkins, illustrated byMolly Idle

ISBN: 9781561458165
About the book: Rodeo Red and her hound dog Rusty are happier than two buttons on a new shirt 'til Side Swiping Slim shows up. Red's sure anyone who hollers that much'll be hauled to the edge of town and told to skedaddle, but her parents are smitten. When Slim sets his eye on Rusty, Red'd better figure out a way to save her best friend in all the world. Can she bargain with a varmint?

My thoughts: This is definitely a cute book and cute story. The text is "cowboynese" with a heaping of tough cowboy slang thrown in. While I prefer books to use correct grammar, I can see the use of this in a story. Obviously, a parent or older reader will need to explain the use of poor grammar and slang to the children. I do object to the use of a "dadburnit" in the story.

The story opens with Red as the lone cowboy on the ranch until a sideswiping Slim (new baby in family) arrives. As Red goes through the adjustment of a baby crying, tugging, crawling, walking, and taking stuff we see the illustration depict the baby and Red also growing physically. But Red simply doesn't want to have her territory or stuff messed with, yet that is simply what babies do. Rodeo Red gets in trouble with the Sheriff (Mom) and Deputy (Dad). But resolution does come.

The book has no teaching how a child can adjust to a newcomer in the family or how to learn to share space and toys. Some might find this a fault. I didn't because I think sometimes our books moralize too much. Red creates her own way to get her prize possession back from Slim without hurting him. Petty creative.

Love the illustrations and character's expressions. Love the growth of the two children as the story progresses. The "jail" is the back of the chair. The illustrated "largeness" of the Deputy when he confronts Red for wrong doing. Just good stuff.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Peachtree Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Warrior's Faith by Robert Vera {Review & Family Christian $25 Certificate Giveaway}

ISBN: 9781400206780
Hardcover $22.99
About the book: An exhilarating story of a young Navy SEAL whose relentless faith transformed his life and inspired everyone who knew his courageous story.

In "A Warrior's Faith," Ryan Job's close friend, Robert Vera, recounts hght, and fierce determination helped him survive after being shot in the face by an enemy sniper on a roof in Ramadi, Iraq.

Though blinded, the irrepressible Job recovered from his wounds and began facing a new set of obstacles with his characteristic humor and resolve. He married the girl of his dreams, hunted elk, climbed Mt. Rainier, graduated college with honors, influenced countless people around him, and was looking forward to being a father--before his life was tragically cut short by a hospital medical error.

Vera's raw, often funny, and heartfelt account of his friend's life offers readers a way to find hope in the middle of life's raging storms.

My thoughts: The author's account of SEAL Ryan in A Warrior's Faith is thoughtful, revealing, and inspiring. He describes the strength and ability of SEAL Ryan, his deployment and service, and his injury and rescue in a way that leaves no doubt that Ryan was a true hero and Warrior.

After Ryan's massive injury which left him blind, Robert Vera's introduction into the life and faith of Ryan reveals the strength and caliber of faith SEAL Ryan has in God who is his strength, sustainer, and supplier.

Written from the author's standpoint and association with Ryan, the story recounts Ryan's abounding determination to succeed in activities normally outside the scope of the blind and his assurance that God is on his side.

Just short of 200 pages, this is a good read and one that will inspire.

GIVEAWAY: A $25 Family Christian (in-store & online) Appreciation Certificate. Begins March 7 & ENDS March 1.7 @ 12;01 A.M. ET. Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: I received an advance reader copy from Family Christian to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received a $10 store coupon/certificate as a gift for posting this review.The giveaway store coupon/certificate is provided to the winner compliments of Family Christian.

KissMe Organic Dandelion Root Tea

Dandelions! Always considered a pest. True, I heard that people gather dandelion greens for salad, but I never did. It just didn't seem appealing to me to traipse into the yard and poke through the grass for a few dandelion leaves. True my kiddes picked the little yellow flowers and brought them in to Mommy. So proud of their bouquet. Little did I realize that there was a wealth of good in the lowly dandelion plant.

I have been given the opportunity to try some KissMe Organic Dandelion Root Tea and I have enjoyed a few cups of this interesting plant. The tea is made from the root in this particular instance. The leaves and flowers can also be utilized. But the KissMe Organic Dandelion Root Tea is made from the roots of the plant.

The KissMe company sent me a nice online booklet just filled with a variety of recipes for food and beverages utilizing the dandelion root. I haven't tried any of them, but the tea is nice. I have brewed for 10 minutes the little tea bags and enjoyed the hot tea. I used a bit of honey to sweeten it. It is light in color and taste.

 I don't know what I was expecting other than an herbal tea. It does have hibiscus and cinnamon in it as well as the dandelion root. I found it pleasant to drink and there was a surprise element as well. It seems to function as a diuretic. I then began to research for more information on pros and cons of organic dandelion tea. So while I don't object to the diuretic aspect, I understand that caution must also be exercised so that one doesn't experience too high a level of phosphate. 

I advise anyone interested in pursuing the health aspects of using dandelion root tea to do their research. Yes, do enjoy drinking it as I am. But be aware that there are effects pro and con to consuming it. I can readily recommend the tea as a pleasant, alternative to my regular cup of tea and will be enjoying it.

About the Product Organic Dandelion Root Tea - With Hibiscus & Cinnamon - 

  1. SUPPORTS HEALTHY DIGESTION, KIDNEY HEALTH & LIVER FUNCTION Detox the liver and kidneys from toxins that can build up over time. Healthy digestion helps the body to absorb more nutrients and improve physical and cognitive functions.
  2. RAW & ORGANIC Raw Dandelion Root is extremely nutrient rich and provides more vital minerals and vitamins to your body when compared to roasted Dandelion Root.
  3. VITAMIN RICH Raw Dandelion root is rich in Vitamins A, C, D and B-complex plus Iron, Potassium and Zinc. A diet rich in these nutrients can help treat mood disorders, liver disorders and boost a weakened immune system.
  4. HIBISCUS & CINNAMON While enhancing the earthy flavor, and adding a hint of flowery sweetness to every cup; Hibiscus has been shown to help regulate blood pressure and Cinnamon has been shown to regulate blood sugar and reduce bad cholesterol.
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Sponsored post: I received a complimentary product to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Miracle Oil Body Wash with Marula Oil from Dial {Review & Giveaway}

Don't you just love quality products. Especially the good stuff from a long-time reputable brand at a doesn't-break-the-bank price? I do! And Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash is just that. Dial has produced another fine new produce - Miracle Oil Body Wash with Marula Oil. This body wash feels so very good when you're washing and after. So soothing.

I love the fragrance. Floral. Nice. Rich. Yet, it isn't overcoming to one's senses. It lathers wonderfully creating a soft bubbly wash using a bath poof or wash cloth.

So many of the products on the market today for bath or skin care have fragrances that are simply over powering. But not so with this Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash. I have found the scent to be a feminine and lady-like flora with just a touch some other note I can't distinguish. Just lovely.

It doesn't leave an "oily" residue but rinses off leaving you with refreshingly smooth skin after bath. I found I still need lotion to smooth and hydrate my skin, but this is a very good bath wash.

About Marula Oil: Dial's Miracle Oil body wash is formulated with Micro Oil Technology for a luxurious, clean-rinsing lather that leaves skin feeling clean, soft and smooth. Marula oil is a major trend in hair care and cosmetics now growing in personal care items like body washes and soaps. Marula Oil Fact: Marula Oil comes from the fruit of the Marula tree. It is rich in omega fatty acids, Vitamins E and C, and antioxidants, and known to deeply hydrate and nourish skin.

Just what is Marula Oil? 

The Tsonga people of South Africa and Mozambique have used the oil as a moisturising body lotion for women and also as a massage oil for babies. In the past, women used Marula oil rather than water to clean themselves. Marula oil is extracted from the kernels (nuts) of the Marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea), from the Anacardiaceae family. Marula oil is traditionally used in cosmetics, in food as a cooking oil and as a meat preservative and to treat leather. copied
GIVEAWAY: Two of Chat With Vera's readers will be randomly chosen from the entries in the Rafflecopter form to each receive a 1-free-product coupon. Begins March 6 & ENDS March 18 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to USA addresses only. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Did you know that... This past December, employees from Dial’s parent company Henkel and the Fritz Henkel Foundation worked together to donate $15,675 to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). All donations are being used to support MSF’s Ebola emergency response, which provides funding for treatment and prevention in infected areas. Find out more about MSF and the organization’s work:

DISCLOSURE: As a member of the Purex Insiders Group, I was provided a complimentary product by the Dial company to facilitate this review. I received no compensation for the review. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

P. ZONKA LAYS AN EGG by Julie Paschkis

Hardcover: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-819-6
Ages 4-8
About the book: Why doesn't P. Zonka lay eggs?

Extraordinary hen P. Zonka spends her time taking in the beauty around her: the shiny green of the grass, the buttery yellow of the dandelions, the deep blue of the sky. The other hens can't understand why she never lays eggs like they do - they think she's just plain lazy. But when P. Zonka finally decides to give egg-laying a try, the other chickens are in for a spectacular surprise!

My thoughts: Bright! Cheerful! Folksy art! Those were my first impressions of P.Zonka Lays An Egg. Julie Paschkis has an enviable talent for different, folksy, engaging art. When I visited her website, I saw a huge selection of books she has illustrated and they show a artist who excels in her particular style of artistic expression.

In the story of the barn yard filled with chickens, P.Zonka being one of them, we have an unproductive loner, P.Zonka, who just doesn't lay eggs like the other chickens. I guess there is always one in the hen house that is different. That is often the case in society at large - someone might be a bit different. It may be their style of dress, their proclivity for a different type of music (march to their own drummer), or the artist in the group who just sees the world in a different way.

The text for the story flows beautifully as the chickens chastise P.Zonka for not laying an egg. She tries to explain what she has been doing (instead of laying eggs) when she looks at the sky, the sun, the flowers, the grass. Eventually, they get her to "conform" to what all good chickens do and she lays an egg. And oh what an egg!

I absolutely love the combination of story, text, and wildly exuberant illustrations! This is a book to place on your child's home library shelf and one they will want read repeatedly. Because, you see, they will fall in love with P.Zonka and her world of beauty.

NOTE: P.Zonka was born of an ancient Ukrainian tradition, closely associated with Easter. It is the custom of an egg decorating technique called pysanky. Julie Paschkis and her family hold a big party where they decorate eggs every year after the tradition of pysanky. I found it interesting to read about the history egg decorating on Wikipedia. Perhaps you will, too.
Mix of disaporan & traditional Ukrainian pysanka
copied from Wikipedia
Julie Paschkis was born in 1957 and grew up in Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. Her parents encouraged the children to read, to draw and to play outside. Julie still like to do those things. She attended Germantown Friends School, Ringerike Folkehogskole in Norway, Cornell University, and the School for American Craftsmen at RIT where she received BFA. Please visit Julie's BLOG - Books Around the Table.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.