Friday, December 29, 2017

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

My thoughts:  Having grown up in a southern town that played a somewhat important role in the Revolutionary War, (or should we say, the War for American Independence?) and that was also steeped in pre-revolutionary war and later the Civil War history, I grew up fascinated by history. I have also read previous publications by the author Laura Frantz and found her writing style a joy to read and her attention to historical research and detail impeccable. So the opportunity to read The Lacemaker was met with much anticipation.

From the beginning of this story I was able to visualize the streets of Williamsburg where much of the story played out. The scenes were easily imaginable based on a visit I made years ago to Williamsburg and the author's apt descriptions.

Now the story...... This is a work of fiction though there is of necessity a sprinkling of real people involved in the story and the staging of the story is pretty much true to the history of the area and time. It is the cusp of the American Revolution and Williamsburg, Virginia, is about the explode. The Patriots and the Tories seethe with the fervor of their cause - be it King and Country, or Freedom and Liberty. Our heroin is a lovely Tory lady who is left, deserted by her father, friends, and fiance on the eve of their wedding. Then her home is trashed and confiscated by the Patriots and she is left bereft of home, protection, fortune, and livelihood.

She determines not to be defeated and seeks employment - unheard of for a Lady - but she does have the lady-like skill of lacemaking and needle-work that she begins to market.

Not trusted by Tories or Patriots, she is in danger. Her rescuer is a Patriot, a gentleman, a protector.

The story unfolds amidst the conflicts of the time and war ensues and with it the dangers to each person. Lady Elizabeth who becomes known as Liberty and Noble Rynallt are both strong, believable characters. Their faith shines through strengthening them for what they have to endure.

Laura Frantz has penned a wonderful story and one I highly recommend.
Watch for a Giveaway soon!

About the book: When colonial Williamsburg explodes like a powder keg on the eve of the American Revolution, Lady Elisabeth "Liberty" Lawson is abandoned by her fiance and suspected of being a spy for the hated British. No one comes to her aid save the Patriot Noble Rynallt, a man with formidable enemies of his own. Liberty is left with a terrible choice. Will the Virginia belle turned lacemaker side with the radical revolutionaries, or stay true to her English roots? And at what cost?

Historical romance favorite Laura Frantz is back with a suspenseful story of love, betrayal, and new beginnings. With her meticulous eye for detail and her knack for creating living, breathing characters, Frantz continues to enchant historical fiction readers who long to feel they are a part of the story.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Revell a division of Baker Publishing House, to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

With Love, From Me to You by Dr. Mary Manz Simon Published by Zondervan

My thoughts: This lovely little board book presents the concept of being loved and showing love in a light-hearted, gentle, sweet, and fun method using the tried and true rhyming text that helps to imprint the ideas and words on the  mind and heart of the young "reader" and listener.

While the "mail-bear" appears to have a mail pouch stuffed with valentines, love is a message that is appropriate anytime and all the time and therefore this book is not just a "Valentine" book. The book's publication launch date was December 26, 2017 which is timely for the upcoming Valentine holiday. But as I said, the message to extend love is appropriate at all times.

Cute, friendly, smiling animals populate this charming book. The little train that traverses the countryside is adorable and just begs to be played with. Alas, it stays ont the pages. The flitting birds, fluffy clouds, and floating dandelion puffs lend airy happiness. But the sharing of love with those around is the  message and it is clearly stated in the text and images. A joyful, delightful book to present to a young child to help them get beyond the "me" stage to the "you" stage.
A red heart sends a message
that says "I so love you,"
but we can send those same words
in what we say and do. 
If I see someone crying
or looking very sad,
I'll stop to show some kindness
and he won't feel so bad.

About the book: With Love, From Me to You is a board book for little ones that will remind them how important it is to love and be loved. With adorable illustrations and sweet, rhyming text by bestselling author Dr. Mary Manz Simon, this book shows children how important their actions and words are in expressing God’s great love with one another. Parents will enjoy reading this book on Valentine’s Day or any day of the year to encourage their children to remember that love is more than gifts and candy; it’s about doing for others and sending love to everyone who’s near.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the BookLook Blogger Review Program on behalf of the publisher, Zondervan, to facilitate an honest review of the book. Opinions are my own, alone, and are freely given.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

If You Were Me and Lived In...Viking Europe by Carole P. Roman & illustrated by Mateya Arkova

My thoughts: As 2017 winds down and we look forward to the restart of school in January 2018, it's time to focus a bit on educational items. Carole P. Roman is a former school teacher with emphasis on social studies. She has produced a plethora of books on countries across the globe and introduced young readers to cultures and geographical information about the countries.

Venturing into the ancient world to continue her "If You Were Me and Lived in....." series the author looks at life in Viking Europe and the year is roughly 890 A.D. While ideal for elementary students those in the early middle school grades will find them interesting and profit from inclusion in their studies. Readers can immerse themselves into the story imagining what it was like to actually live during the period about which they are reading.

Geographically, the Vikings traveled far distances to plunder, enslave, trade goods, and to resettle. Their life style is described by the author examining that of the wealthy, those of low station, and the captured and enslaved populace.

The illustrations by Mateya Arkova use soft-toned colors which for an historical period of rugged, barbarian, seafaring and waring peoples is interesting. I think of browns blacks, greys punctuated with the blue of sky and sea and green of landscapes but not pastels or reds. The illustrations provide an interesting perception of the time and peoples.

The back pages include descriptions of gods and goddesses worshiped by these Viking, Scandinavian, Norsemen as well as some actual known historically important men and women of this long ago era. The pages of words defined and with pronunciation guide are abundant.

Hard bound copies would provide good resource material for classroom as well as school libraries. But the soft cover book I reviewed is durable and well suited for the home library.

About the book: Hop in our time travel machine and join Carole P. Roman as she visits a Viking settlement in the year 890 AD. Learn what your name could be and the kind of food you might eat. Read about the different levels of society, how they affect where you would live, and the type of clothing you might wear. Mateya Arkova's beautiful illustrations illustrate what Vikings ate and their children did for fun. If You Were Me and Lived in.. Viking Europe is an exciting trip that shows a colorful culture through the eyes of a child.
5 Winners each 1 Copy
Begins December 26
Ends January 17 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the author to facilitate this review of my own opinions which are freely given. Winner's copies will be sent by author directly to the winners.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

What would Christmas "eats" be without a chocolate dessert?

A year or so ago I discovered using canned pumpkin in cake mixes. I read through quite a number of recipes online and had the opportunity to enjoy some prepared by other cooks who graciously shared their bounty.

I found recipes that used a box of cake mix and a can of pumpkin. Stir together and bake. Pretty good, but I thought to myself, "I think it is missing something." So I ventured into the kitchen armed with a can of pumpkin, a chocolate cake mix, eggs, spice, butter and sugar. Now cake mixes have their own fat ingredient but some have you add some oil. But folks are saying the pumpkin takes the place of the oil.

In my seeking for the right recipe, I came across one that called for some Hellman's Real Mayonaise. I recalled many, many years ago that there was a time when folks made cake using mayonaise instead of eggs and oil. Kind of a frugal cake because mayonaise was pretty cheap then.

But I digress..... I decided I wanted to make this nifty cake rich in the vitamines and fiber of pumpkin and deliciously chocolate. So.... Here we have it.

Vera's Chocolate Spice Pumpkin Cake

1/2 cup Hellman's Real Mayonaise
1 can Libby's pumpkin (not the pie filling, the unadultrated pumpkin)
4 eggs
1 box Betty Crocker (or other quality brand) chocolate cake mix
1 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice (McCormick's)
small amount of melted butter
scant 1/4 cup white granulated sugar plus a couple if tabkesoiibs for the pan

Combine mayonaise, eggs, butter, then add pumpkin. When thoroughly blended, dump cake mix on top of mixture and then spice on top of the dry mix. Slowly blend with your mixer until thoroughly blended. Add about 1/4 cup white granulated sugar to this mixture and blend in.

Melt about 1 T. butter in the microwave. Spread it in the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking pan. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons white granuilated sugar in the pan and shake to spread evenly. Pour cake batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake 350 F. 30 minutes.

Chocolate Fudge Icing

1 stick butter melted in heavy saucepan
2/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa
3 cups 10X powdered sugar
orange juice
half and half
1 t. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Melt butter in saucepan and then add cocoa. Use handmixer to blend well. Add powdered sugar alternately with orange juice and half and half. Note: I "eyeball" the liquid. It doesn't take much. This icing is prepared in the saucepan atop low heat on the stove top. I like to use some orange juice in the chocolate icing as it gives a bit of zing that cuts the sweetness a bit. I also like half and half (or evaporated milk) because it renders a richer icing. I use the mixer throughout the process of preparing the icing which is warm and thick and pours and spreads nicely onto the cake. Finish off the cake with the chopped pecans.

Friday, December 22, 2017

A Christmas treat: The scrumptious fruit of the East done up in delectable date-nut balls

Memories of past Christmas time meander around my mind of home as I grew up and later when I had an established home of my own. The foods and treats of the holiday season are forever imprinted on my mind and conjure taste pleasures that only these treats can produce.

Recently, my oldest child that is no longer a child herself brought to my recollection those delectable date-nut balls made with succulent dates that we only enjoyed during the Christmas season.

My mother made these and in later years I did. My family through the years made short work of the small abundance that was these small, rich, delicious orbs. So I thought...... "Why not give the family, and now the "grands," a taste. So the grocer reaped a harvest as I sought out dates, sugar, eggs, nuts, butter, coconut, and Rice Krispies. Only top grade ingredients will do for this treat, though store brands might suffice.

I measured, stirred, cooked, cooled, and hand-rolled the mixture. As I finished I couldn't resist tasting the scrapings of the pot that the mixture recently vacated. Just a wee taste. Well, I tell you, this is so good, so rich, so absolutely delicious.


I didn't take the time to rifle through my hodge-podge of accumulated cards and scraps of paper that hold family treasures. I went online as modern cooks do and found three.

No sure I wanted to use either, I sort of used bits 'n pieces of each calling to mind that "my recipe included...." and that doesn't see like enough.....

These are pictures of  the work in progress. Sorry I failed to snap a picture of the pot of bubbly goodness while it was actually in the process of becoming itself.

Oh, I'd love to share with you, but I'm afraid there might not be enough for my family and you.

Enjoy your own Christmas treats and make memories that last through the years.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Warm socks [think Heat Holders®] are always a "given" gift at Christmas for stocking stuffers or just plain gifting

Tucking warmth into the stockings hung by the chimney with care.....

When my children were growing up (many years ago) and cold weather came - especially on those snow days when we North Carolinians were ill prepared to weather, I worried that my children's feet would remain warm and dry. Today's parents can rest their minds knowing that with the fabulous Heat Holders® socks their children's feet will remain warm.
Warm, toasty socks for girls of all types and ages all ready for stocking stuffing (pun intended!)

When I found the brand "Heat Holders®" thermal socks, I was amazed that these soft, cuddly, and even pretty socks could be so serviceable and provide such warmth and safety for feet. Cushiony soft with varying thermal values, these socks are suitable for cold to intense cold temperatures. 

And just where can you find them? Well, of course they are online at Heat Holders® and, but you can also shop for them in a plethora of brick 'n mortar stores such as Kohl's, J.C. Penny's, Walmart, Target, Cabela's, Grainger's, and wherever you want to get your "outdoors stuff."
Big girls, little girls, "girly" girls, and plain Jane girls
all can find the socks they love for warm feet
Today we're looking at a few of the children's socks. Yep! Fun and warm socks for the kiddies. Perfect stocking stuffers. And perfect for my young grand-girls. They live where it gets pretty cold (much colder than North Carolina) and these will be welcome additions to their "keep warm" stuff and they are pretty, too! See assortment of children's socks - click here.

But Heat Holders is not just about a pretty pair of socks. There are some serious needs for socks that actually perform well in the bitter cold and protect one's feet and these qualify. Heat Holders has an entire line of socks for men, women, and children that will take you from mucking out the barn to snowshoeing in the Rockies to sitting in a deer stand or trudging along that 10-mile run. Your feet will be comfy warm. Why?......

Got a girly girl that loves all things pink? Got a little Princess?
Heat Holders® has the socks for her.

How do they feel? They feel wonderfully soft, fluffy, cushiony. Wonderful for lounging around the house on a cold evening. Or comforting to tuck into those winter shoes or boots and keep your feet nice and warm.

How do they wash? You can wash them by hand or in the washer and can air dry (line dry) or toss in the dryer.

Warm, happy feet
on Christmas morning
after unwrapping sock/gifts.
What about the "thermal rating"? According to the manufacturer, "TOG means Thermal Overall Grade. It is a scientific test that measures the thermal (heat retaining) capacity of fabric. Heat Holders® thermal socks, when tested using this standard, rate TOG 2.34*. This is 7x warmer than cotton socks and almost 3x warmer than ordinary thermal socks! *Heat Holders® LITE™ socks rated 1.6 Tog" (from product website) Please note in the information image above that the weaving technique and brushing also are a source of their high TOG rating. Note, too, the moisture breathing abilities.

Where can you find these products? Online for best variety: Heat Holders (Tip: sometimes there is a percentage discount and there is free shipping with a $25 order) or simply "Google" it and you'll find a bunch of brick-and-mortar stores that have them - even the mega stores totally geared for the outdoorsman. Awesome!

The socks I received are girls' and are varied, but not nearly as varied as the plethora of socks for kids, ladies, and men that they have on their website. Such a variety! Cute socks. Pretty socks. No-nonsense socks! You name it.

I love it! What a great idea for Christmas gifts and everyone needs new socks at Christmas time.

Want to try and win a set of 4 pairs of children's socks? Use the entry form below. One of Chat With Vera's readers will receive these lovelies.
1 Winner will win 4-pair-prize
Choice of Boys' or Girls' Styles
Begins December 16
ENDS January 8, 2018 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA/CANADA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a set of four pairs to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and gladly and freely given. I was not compensated for this review not required to post positive remarks.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Bishop Needs An Alibi by Vannetta Chapman [Review & Giveaway]

In a book I previously reviewed for author, Vannetta Chapman, the following quote really stood out to me...... and I came across it toward the end of When The Bishop Needs an Alibi when the Amish bishop and two others were in the midst of dire danger. It bears repeating.

"Courage is fear that has said it's prayers."
(pg. 129 A Wedding for Julia by Vannetta Chapman)

My thoughts: We met the Amish bishop, Henry Lapp recently in What the Bishop Saw and we learned that he is a gentle, kindly man who is the over shepherd and leader of the community of Amish. He also has quite an unusual talent of being able to subconsciously recall and draw in minute detail scenes he has visited or witnessed. This is because he is an "accidental savant."

Previously the Bishop was involved in solving a mystery using this unusual talent and now he is again embroiled in the terrible situation where a young woman loses her life.

The story locale is the beautiful Colorado San Luis Valley and Bishop Henry is an avid "birder" who loves watching the cranes that frequent the area that has marshes, mountains, and huge sand dunes. But all is not beautiful in this lovely place.

As the kindly and gentle Amish folk gather in the local diner for coffee or a meal or as they gather at the local bakery run by three Amish widow ladies, they pursue clues with their chatter, curiosity, and somewhat meddlesome way. But though fraught with danger, it's all good on their part and the outcome is good. You see, much is afoot in the world of evil and crime and these dear folk seem to get themselves stuck right in the middle of it.

You'll fall in love with the bishop because he is insightful, kind, and full of wisdom which he graciously shares with any and all. Even though falsely accused, he holds no animosity. Even though a pacifist, he knows when to act to protect. And dear Bishop Henry has a precious dog by his side, Lexi which we met in the first book about the Bishop.

I highly recommend this new book by Vannetta Chapman and you can always depend on her books to be clean reads that are "full of grace."

About the book: A Terrible Secret Hides in the Bulrushes

Amish bishop Henry Lapp eagerly awaits the annual arrival of 20,000 sandhill cranes to the San Luis Valley of Colorado. But his visit to the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge reveals more than just a miracle of God's creation. Hidden among the bulrushes and cattails is the deceased body of a young woman.

As the local authorities attempt to unravel the mystery, Henry feels God's calling to use his extraordinary talent to aid in the investigation. His ability to draw from memory in photographic detail could help solve this puzzling case.

Henry's closest friend, Emma Fisher, has always urged him to embrace his gift. As their relationship deepens, Henry realizes his involvement could put him and those he loves in the direct path of a killer, one who is willing to do anything to cover up a brutal crime, including framing the bishop.
When the Bishop Needs an Alibi is a compelling story of faith, friendship, and finding courage only God can provide.
GIVEAWAY - eBook or Print Copy
Begins December 12
Ends January 5, 2018 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the author and Harvest House Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given. Winner's copy is also provided courtesy of author and publisher.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Wonderfully clean and shinny hair with Good Earth Beauty Exclusives Shampoo & Conditioner [Review & Giveaway]

I've already introduced Chat With Vera readers to the lovely online company that produces natural products one small batch at a time and with love. You've met their beauty boxes which are delightful treats packaged with a variety of products and themed in various manners. I've told you about their delightful pumpkin soap, toner, moisturizer, and skin cleanser and lastly, the wonderful fragrances.

Now I want to share with you a little about their hair care products - the Good Earth Beauty Exclusives shampoo. and conditioners. I received small sample bottles of four of the products and all I can say is ----- WOW!
Sample sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner from Good Earth Beauty Exclusives.
Wonderful Pumpkin Chai, beautifully fragrant Bamboo Flower, and beguiling Cranberry Citrus.

These are lovely. The fragrance is subtle and so very pleasant. The way my hair shines after using them is absolutely gorgeous. And the hair is so manageable.

All I can say is good about these all natural products.
My favorite of the samples:
Pumpkin Chai

Now as my readers know, I'm particularly fond of the Pumpkin spice scented products that Good Earth Beauty Exclusives produces and the shampoo and conditioner was simply wonderful! I love the scent plus the shine and the feel of my hair after using these.

Chat With Vera readers may use the discount code of GEB10 to get a 10% discount on their entire order. And orders for USA addresses ship FREE!
Shop for Christmas gifts before it is too late & use the 10% discount code!

Now my readers also have the opportunity to participate in a short-run giveaway for a set of shampoo and conditioner samples. Good Earth Beauty Exclusives will provide the winner with a set so you have the wonderful opportunity to try these for yourself.
Begins December 11
Ends December 21 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received the pictured samples to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and given after actively using the items. I received no compensation for this review. Prize will be sent directly to the winner by

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Too Far Down by Mary Connealy from Bethany House Publishing

My thoughts:  Mary Connealy brings her trademark style of writing about cowboys, ranching, thieving orneriness, and sweet romance to this conclusion of the Cimarron Legacy series. The Cimarron Ranch (or CR as it is referred to) is the abode of the Boden family who herd cattle and also mine the land.

The land's story is one of the Spanish or Mexican land grants and the New Mexico land grants and the disputes that individuals carry with them over perceived slights.

The book opens with a blast of rock as the mines are ripped apart by explosions set by an unknown source. The  story follows the clues as the Boden family tries to get to the rock bottom of this meanness.

As the conclusion to the series, the book may be read as a stand alone story. However, it is better to read the series in the order in which they are written to better follow the plight of the Bodens and the machinations of those dead set at ripping the Cimarron right out from under them.

As always, Mary Connealy's books are fun to read, give a glimpse into the old wild west, and good clean stories.

About the book: When an explosion at the mine kills workers and damages the CR Company, the Boden family is plunged deep into the heart of trouble yet again. As they try to identify the forces against them once and for all, Cole Boden finds himself caught between missing his time back in the east, and all that New Mexico offers—namely, his family and cowgirl Melanie Blake.

Read an excerpt
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group to facilitate a review of my own opinions. These are my opinions and are freely given.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Stable Cat's Christmas by Christina Vrba and illustrated by Gail Yerrill [Review and Giveaway]

My thoughts: Kittens are cute and cats are cute and some people simply love having cats around as house pets. So this Christmas story will certainly appeal to them. It takes place in the "stable" where the Christ Child was born and is purportedly what the animals that were present felt and did - the shepherd's dog, the "barn or stable cat, the cow.

Certainly not Biblical in content, it is a cute story telling what each animal can give the King (the Christ Child). The primary character is the sandy colored cat and his transformation into the stripped Tabby Cat.

The story is abundant in sweetness and gentleness and the pictures are softly lovely. It is similar to other stories about the animals present when the Christ Child was born but does include a fable or legend or made up tale of how the Tabby Cat got it's lovely stripes.

About the book: One night in Bethlehem, a small, dust-colored cat returns to her stable to find that a Baby has been born in the night. As all the animals tell the cat about the gifts they gave the Christ Child, the cat sadly concludes that she is too little and powerless to give a gift to the King. But when the Baby shivers and the cat leaps into the manger to comfort him, she discovers that she can give the best gift of all—herself. This timeless Christmas book celebrates the fact that everyone has a gift they can give the King, no matter their size or stature. Enchanting illustrations and a heartfelt message make this book a Christmas keepsake that can be enjoyed year after year.
Begins November 30
ENDS December 12 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Worthy Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Evangelizing children using the tract ministry tools from "LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN COME"

Let this grandmother tell you a tale. One of a young woman, a mother, a Christian who desired to see her children and children in her church and community come to know the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, as their personal Saviour.

I taught Sunday School. I taught Vacation Bible School. I led the children's choir - "Little Lights" we called them. I led opening assembly in Sunday School. And one year I held Saturday morning children's get togethers for about three hours each allowing mother's some "me" time or shopping time and allowing me the opportunity to share Christ with the little ones.

What a blessing!

And I used tracts for a variety of purposes and reasons. They were written text tracts with cute pictures and some were in the cartoon strip mode. Kids liked them.

But what about today's kids. Kids so accustomed to being bombarded with animation, TV, smartphones, Tablets, computers. Would a tract speak to them? Can it still be used as an evangelism tool to reach a child?

I think so and so do the folks who have created this delightful assortment of tracts and evangelism bracelets. The concept of "The Wordless Book" is utilized in the bracelets with each color telling a part of the Gospel story. So let's take a look at the new tracts that will surely capture the children's attention enabling you to teach them of God's love for them.
Sized so that they are small enough to tuck away 

in a jeans pocket or a purse, these little tracts with just enough text
to keep them interested and convey the message, are designed 
with pop-up pages that add focal interest.
Colorful, quality paper, attention grabbing illustrations,
interesting story, and delightful pop-ups on the pages.

These little tract/booklets are again colorful, well done story,
quality paper, and an added plus of the removable
black plastic "bar" page that you slide across the
pages. Example: the above Joseph and Mary would
appear to move and/or walk when you slide the bar page.
These materials will provide an effective gospel message and can be used as Christian evangelism tools and resources for children. They will help you convey the powerful gospel message of Jesus Christ to children by holding their attention with the core message of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Check them out, click here.

“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.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

HORMEL GATHERINGS® Party Tray says, "Let's Party!' quick 'n easy [Review & Giveaway]

I have the opportunity to receive free Hormel Gatherings® product in exchange for my honest review to you. And I also was provided the high-value coupons being offered to two of Chat With Vera's readers. So..... read on!

The Hormel Gatherings Supreme Party-Tray
 at Walmart
I've know the name "Hormel" for years as one highly respected in the processed meat and cured ham market. And now in today's fast paced society in which we live, people are looking for ways to simplify life and still have those wonderful moments of gracious entertainment.

Hence, the birth of the Hormel Gatherings assortment of Party Trays. They are ready to pop open and lay out before your guests. Pretty in their own package, but you can go all out and place the goodies on your own party ware.

Life just got easy for you during busy times when you have fun activities and parties to attend or host. You can find these ready made easy appetizers for hosting a game day gathering or movie night or family gathering. You name the event and a party tray is ready-made to make your stress free party easier.

So I just love the Hormel Gatherings party tray. The flavor and quality is superb. With Sargento cheeses, assorted olives, crisp crackers and two types of salami. I just love it.
Hormel Gatherings Supreme® Party Tray 39.7 oz. of fantastic goodness.
HORMEL® Hard Salami, HORMEL® Genoa Salami, Sargento® Pepper Jack Cheese, Sargento® Colby Jack Cheese, Round Crackers, Peloponnese Pitted Olives.

Pair the party tray with anything that suits you and your guests
The large tray with 39.7 oz. meats, cheese, olives, and crackers was $15.98 at my local Walmart. I don't know how much the other two varieties which are slightly smaller in size would cost since my Walmart only had the one variety when I shopped. But if your store has more than one variety (there are several) you have the grand opportunity to get your "party to go" with a quick dash to the store and you're ready.
Each receive one $15 product coupon
Begins November 29
Ends December 19 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received product coupon and gift card to acquire this product from local store and to facilitate this #sponsored review of my own honest review and opinions. I have used this product and can attest to the quality and taste. I participated as a member of the "Social Insiders" product review group.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Gift Books from Candlewick Press [Review and Giveaway USA/CANADA 2 copies each title]

Give the gift of a book to a child. 
Read to a child 20 minutes a day. 
Bond with a child over a book.

For the young Medieval history enthusiast:  Knightology: A True Account of the Most Valiant Knights   

ISBN: 9780763698485 
Hardcover $24.99
My thoughts: This book is jam-packed with information both factual and legend about knights. Librarians should  be clamoring to buy this book for their knight-loving readers. This addresses so many interesting attributes of the period of time in the early 1000s and the Crusades. This is a really nice book with fun flaps and tabs to incentivize the reader to find more information hidden therein. The cover is rich in color, gold foil, and "jewels."

About the book: From the secret order of Round Table Knights comes a tell-all guide to the mythical occupation of knighthood — its history, mysterious quests, and puzzles that live on to this day. Inspired by the life of a most exemplary knight, this fascinating book explores the art of mastering sword and lance, the essential (and prohibitively expensive) war-horse, the ins and outs of a castle that a knight might defend, and the skills needed to prevail in a jousting tournament, with all its pageantry. No investigation of knighthood would be complete without a look at the Crusades, and a celebration of legendary knights such as King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, and Sir Gawain, plus vaunted icons such as Excalibur and the Holy Grail. In true ’Ology fashion, this tip of the lance to a noble (and misunderstood) profession offers a variety of interactive flaps and other novelties to keep young squires fully entertained. What does it really take to be a knight? Peruse this lavish novelty volume and be surprised.

For the curious ones always asking the Five W’s: A World of Information by Richard Platt and illustrated by‎ James Brown 

ISBN: 978076693480
Hardcover $25.00
My thoughts: This is one of those books that a family can purchase and use through the years of educating their entire family. Literally from kindergarten through grade 12. In fact, Mom and Dad might find it educational as well.

Though not a thick book, having only 64 pages, it is large in that it is approximately 11 by 15 inches. And while not a reference book encyclopedic in content, it can most certainly be referred to on a variety of topics leaning heavily on the sciences.

I found it interesting that though the style and font of the book are quaint or old fashioned, the information is definitely up-to-date. I liked, too, the information per topic is contained on a two-page spread and has it's own color.

About the book: From Morse code to the bones in the human body, this visually stunning collection of facts and figures puts a world of information at your fingertips.

How much do clouds weigh? Who invented the pencil? How many ways can you tie a knot? Discover the answers to these and many other questions in this elegant and absorbing miscellany of general knowledge. From music notation to Roman numerals and from the skeleton to the solar system, essential facts are brought to life by stylish infographics and fascinating commentary. Perfect for all ages, this book is sure to amuse and intrigue even the most curious minds.

For everyone STILL looking for Waldo: Where’s Waldo? Destination: Everywhere!  

ISBN: 9780763697266
Hardcover  $19.99
My thoughts: Didn't anyone ever find Waldo? If so, it seems he has slipped away again and needs to be found. What was or is his destination? It's been 30 years since Waldo appeared on the scene and this exclusive anniversary edition revisits destinations with games and searches.

This would be a fun gift for those who like to hunt Waldo or anyone who likes books with look 'n find games or searches. A somewhat large book in dimensions, and only 32 pages. But pages jam-packed with Waldo and lots of fun and games in the search and find category. A sure winner for fans of Waldo!

About the book: Everyone’s favorite bespectacled explorer has been many places — the land of dragon flyers, a Jurassic arena of sports-loving dinosaurs, the set of black-and-white movies in Hollywood. Join Waldo as he handpicks his favorite journeys of all time, revisiting twelve of his most fantastic travels in a new format that includes a surprise at the end of the book. New eye-boggling games await Waldo-watchers alongside every scene in this fresh tribute to Waldo’s many years wandering the world. Have you ever wondered which of his many adventures Waldo loved best?
2 Winners Receive A Set of 3 Books
Begins November 27
Ends December 12 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA and CANADA addresses.
NO P.O. Boxes, please!
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies from Candlewick Press to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Gift of Beauty from Good Earth Beauty #Natural Products [Review and Giveaway]

O.k. folks, let's just simplify matters and take an easier course of action for the task at hand - shopping for gifts for the holiday season. Let's do some "armchair shopping." Just sit comfortably in lounger, at table, desk, or rolling along in a vehicle and use your electronic device to let your fingers do the walking as you shop. And let me point you to a lovely website that has natural products and free shipping.

And their stuff is very nice!

Today we're specifically going to look at the Good Earth Beauty product line of "Beauty Boxes." Last February I had the super opportunity to review the Valentine special Beauty Box, "A Rose Is A Rose," and found it lovely. Here is my review. 

So heading fast toward the Christmas holiday, we're going to look at "Holiday box," "Chocolate lovers," and "Pumpkin Anytime" boxes that would make perfect gifts for those ladies on your list. And then at the end you will have the opportunity to enter a giveaway for a chance to win your choice of the three featured boxes.

The Chocolate Lovers Beauty Box

I haven't actually tried these products, but I know Good Earth Beauty and everything I've used works, feels great, and has lovely fragrances. Their soap feels smooth, with lavish lathering, and leaves skin feeling super when finished washing. So want to lavish that flavor of chocolate on someone who loves chocolate? This is the one for you. You can find it online here and it contains:

  • Chocolate Amour pefume by Good Earth Beauty/Mod Perfumery, sample mister
  • Chocolate Amour Body wash by Good Earth Beauty, sample
  • Body Cream - Chocolate Dipped Strawberries by Good Earth Beauty, sample
  • Crazy Rumors Chocolate Strawberries lip balm, full size
  • Chocolate Espresso soap by Good Earth Beauty, full size

The Holiday Beauty Box

Again, I haven't tried this specific beauty box, but these sound scrumptious! And just look at the scents of Christmas goodies it contains......
  • Perfume - Sugar Cookie - by good earth beauty - sample sized roller bottle
  • Perfume -Candy cane cocoa- by good earth beauty  - sample sized roller bottle
  • Lip Scrub - Vanilla by Good earth beauty - 1 oz jar
  • Lip balms - 1 milk chocolate and 1 white chocolate by Good Earth Beauty
  • Flavor extracts - sample bottles - 1 dark chocolate and 1 vanilla by medicine flower
  • AND a deep steep peppermint foot stick 

The Pumpkin Anytime of the Year Beauty Box

I previously reviewed several of the Good Earth Beauty pumpkin products and I can testify that these are fabulous. The fragrance with the essential oils and substance of spices is purely intoxicating. Just lovely. This box contains.....

  • Perfume - Pumpkin by Good Earth Beauty -  Sample roller
  • Shampoo & conditioner - by Good Earth Beauty - 1 oz sample bottles
  • Body Cream  -  By Good Earth Beauty - sample jar
  • AND a full sized Pumpkin Soap by the Grapeseed Company 

And don't forget the men on your list...... a specific item or an assortment in a "beauty" box


Other boxes available, but not all you may choose from ....

And while you wait to see if your entry is the winning one, you can shop with DISCOUNT CODE: GEB10 for a 10% discount!
Winner's Choice of 1 of featured Beauty Boxes
Begins November 26
Ends December 11 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a sample beauty box from Good Earth Beauty to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are given without monetary compensation.