Thursday, July 2, 2020

THE GREAT FARMAPALOOZA by Jill Roman Lord & illustrated by Kelly Breemer (B&H Kids/Lifeway)

ISBN: 9781087706160
Boardbook $9.99
My thoughts: 
True to author Jill Roman Lord this cute board book rings with rhyme that gently nudges a young child to have thoughts of God and His creation,

It begins with rooster awakening and then waking everyone else to "celebrate God's brand-new day." So the barnyard animals waken and begin to bray, hee-haw, moo and frolic about. They are thankful for pasture, their own handsome self, and other delights.

Adorable illustrations include a variety of scenes and critters both farm and wild going about their day. The pages have flaps to lift and show little hidden additions to the scene or story. Rhymes are not stilted and change cadence from time to time, but still add a lot to the read-aloud experience.

The theme of the book is directed not just for fun and laughter at cute animals. It is directed to knowing God's love and how His love is in and about all things and His love is perfect.

I highly recommend this delightful book.

About the book: It’s never a dull day in the barnyard, and these quirky and colorful animals are having a farmapalooza to celebrate God’s love and thank Him for His creation! The ducks are thanking God for their quacks, the hens are thankful for their feathers, and the donkey is singing praises that God made him so handsome. All in all, it’s a day and a barn full of praise.

This fun board book pairs flaps and whimsical illustrations with fun-to-read rhymes that will have kids mooing and quacking along with the farm’s crazy cast of characters.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Fabulous Wonder Seed Fresh Jasmine Body Lotion with Virgin Organic Hemp Seed Oil [Review & Giveaway & Discount Code]

Have you ever been out for a stroll through the neighborhood or a hike in the woods or park and the breeze wafted a memorably fresh fragrance that engaged your senses making you look around you for the source? A scent so pleasant and gentle that you imagined floral beauty and vistas of extraordinary delight? 

That is the experience I have when I use the fabulous Wonder Seed Fresh Jasmine Body Lotion. Such elegance! No artificial sense of fragrance. Just a natural, elegant gift from nature.

I love that it goes on light and NON-sticky. It is refreshing and I feel so good about using this all natural and vegan product on my skin knowing there are NO harsh chemicals in it. My skin (and folks, it is old skin) has a nice glow to it I feel it is nourishing my skin with the wonderful botanicals that are used to make it. One of which is CBD Hemp seed oil. This is the safe kind that is accepted by our governments as a non-controlled substance. 

"Hemp seed oil may help many skin conditions including rosacea and acne you receive all of the natural healing benefits that nature's own hemp seed oil has been found to provide. The Wonder Seed's natural skin care products include natural hemp facial cleanser and facial cream for a new you with radiant, healthy skin." (from

Just check out the ingredient list (below) to see what you would be nourishing your skin with when you apply the Wonder Seed Fresh Jasmine Body Lotion. I am so impressed. 

And this is so beyond products you find on grocery and pharmacy shelves. Impressive! You will be impressed, too.

Product information: Ultra-nourishing body lotion relieves dry skin while moisturizing beneath the surface to revitalize, protect, and restore your healthy and youthful glow.  The fresh jasmine scent is heavenly!  This body lotion was chosen for the "Top 10 Eco Buys" in Teen Vogue's Earth Day issue!
  • 100% Vegan & Gluten Free
  • No Parabens or Sulfates
  • No Artificial Colors or Fragrances
  • No Animal Testing
  • Made by The Wonder Seed
Ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua), Virgin Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Organic Jasmine Essential Oil, Organic Jasmine Blossom Extract, Grape Seed Oil, Organic Aloe Vera, Gingko Herbal Extract, Glycerin (Vegetable), Mandarin White Oil, Soluble Natural Plant Collagen, Ginseng Infusion, Organic Green Tea Extract, Neem Oil, Seaweed Extract, Cetyl Alcohol (Coconut Oil Based), Geranium Extract, Caprylic Triglyceride (Coconut Oil Based), Kola Nut Extract, Mate Extract, Guarana Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Hyaluronic Acid (Natural Plant Based), Vegetable Glyceryl Stearate (Natural Plant Based), Bilberry Extract, Behenoyl Stearic Alcohol, Ascorbic Acid, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Potassium Stearate (Natural Plant Based), Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract, Lauric Oil Extract, Nutmeg Oil Extract, Sea Salt.
Celebrate 10th Anniversary of Good Earth Beauty's online webstore. Support small businesses! 

10% discount use discount code VERA10 

1 Wonder Seed Fresh Jasmine Body Lotion
Begins July 2
Ends July 30 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Pretty up your hands with Habit Natural Nail Polish [Good Earth Beauty] (Review & Giveaway)

During this time fraught with uncertainty when one isn't socializing much if any at all, one still needs to maintain a routine and make certain that they keep up with how they look from day to day.

Get out of bed. Make the bed. Style your hair. Wash your face and of course your hands. Clean the house. Cream your face. Add some color to your lips and your cheeks.

And then ..... there are the hands. The hands that have been lathered and rinsed until your cuticles and nails as well as knuckles are showing a bedraggled look.

Fix it!

Get a bottle of polish. Get a clipper. Get a file. Then trim, shape, and get pretty.
Find this lovely Coral & other beautiful colors

What color would you choose? Liven up the day with a crimson red or be beguilingly beautiful in a blushing pink. What's your choice?

Now here's a superb thought..... order online! (Don't go in stores where those Covids abound.) The folks at which is a fabulous all natural product beauty shop online is the perfect place to shop natural, vegan, cruelty free, etc. I love it!

Here is the Habit Natural Nail Polish I'm trying out right now. I'm telling you, it went on beautifully. I had a nice base coat applied. Then two coats of this beautiful Habit Nail Polish. Then a top coat. 

Beautiful color with just a touch of shimmer
Love it! And the polish is great!

"I feel pretty, oh so pretty....." (You know the song...)

You can, too. Go ahead and check out what they have. CLICK HERE

NAIL POLISH - CAMP - CORAL PINK SHIMMER NON TOXIC by Habit Cosmetics is a beautiful coral pink with electric pink shimmer.  Non Toxic

Natural strengthening nail polish made with Myrrh Extract.  PETA-certified as vegan and cruelty-free, gluten-free.  Free of Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, TPP, Xylene, Phthalates, Parabens and Fragrances. Creme finish. Made in the USA.  9 ml/.3 oz Price: $18.00
Ingredients: Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Adipic Acid/Neopentyl Glycol/Trimellitic Anhydride Copolymer, Acetyl Tributyl Citrate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Stearalkonium Bentonite, N-Butyl Alcohol, Benzophenone-1, Silica, Alumina, Trimethylpentanediyl Dibenzoate, Polyvinyl, Butryal, Commiphora Abyssinica Extract. May Contain (+/-): Aluminum Powder (CI 77000), Bismuth, Oxychloride (CI 77163), Oxides (CI 77499/ CI 77491), Red 34 Lake (CI 15880), Red 6 Lake (CI 15850), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850) Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide (CI 77510), Mica (CI 77019), Blue 1 (CI 42090), Yellow 11 (CI 47000), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Violet 2 (CI 60725), Polyethylene Terephthalate, Isobutylphenoxy Epoxy Resin, Polybutylene Terephthalate, Ethylene/VA Copolymer]

Use 10% Discount Code: VERA10
Free Shipping in USA 

1 Bottle Habit Natural Nail Polish
(no choice of color)
Begins June 23
Ends July 23 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a lovely product to facilitate a review. Any opinions given are my own alone and are freely given. I was not required to render positive thoughts on the products. I only recommend those products which I or a member of my family or close friends and will use. The winner's prize will be provided and shipped directly to the winner by Good Earth Beauty. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or damaged products. 

Monday, June 22, 2020

At Love's Command (Hanger's Horsemen #1) by Karen Witemeyer

My thoughts: This is an entertaining book about the old days in the West as it was being settled. Sometimes men were a law unto themselves and sometimes others came along to help bring lawbreakers into line with what is right.

We got a look at what a free-thinking woman of that era faced as she forged ahead to be a real doctor, with a degree, who establishes a practice. A woman doctor in a man's profession. She was also loquacious in speech and feisty. But she was also a woman with a pure heart, a devotion to God, and a faith that made her strong in weakness.

The adventure begins when Matthew Hanger shows up with one of his men who is wounded and near death. Dr. Jo (Dr. Josephine) with nerves of steel and calmness removes the bullet and nurses him back to health.

 It goes beyond helping when Matthew begins to have feelings for Dr. Jo and she for him but which they both try hard to deny.

Funny at times. Adventurous. Good men. Bad men. Good over evil. And strong faith in God all make for a pleasant read that is somewhat light reading with a nice helping of spiritual growth. And since this is book #1 we can look forward to more adventures with Matt's Horsemen.

About the book: Ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries who defend the innocent, but when a rustler's bullet leaves one of them at death’s door, they seek out help from Dr. Josephine Burkett. When Josephine's brother is abducted and she is caught in the crossfire, Matthew may have to sacrifice everything—even his team—to save her.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Culture story: Story of the Mongolian Tent House by Jambyn Dashdondog & Anne Pellowski; illustrated by Beatriz Vidal [Review & Giveaway/USA]

ISBN: 9781937786816
Hardcover ~ $16.95
Ages 4-8
Wisdom Tales Press
My thoughts:  Schools and educators are typically the active providers of multi-cultural studies for children. But I personally believe it is the responsibility of parents, in the home, to accept the responsibility to so educate their children. Let them see other peoples and their beliefs, behaviors, customs, and history and legends through story books and non-fiction sources. Let their children see and understand how we are alike and yet we are different and what can we appreciate from each and every culture.

The Story of the Mongolian Tent House probably falls into the category of story-legend that peoples of the Mongolian lands told of their resourcefulness and need for a structure to protect  themselves from the elements of heat and cold, rain and snow. And to protect themselves from animals.

It tells how they structured it round as the world and sun, used the natural resources they had, and cooperated with one another.

And then discord settled in amongst them (they were brothers) and in anger they went their separate ways but each took part of their Tent House with them.

This is a "tale" or legend but it teaches many things. It shows how working together with what one has can fulfill one's needs. It shows an affinity with nature or the world about us. And it shows how we humans have the failing of selfishness and anger.

But it shows how we can work together and work through our differences.

A nice book on this piece of humankind and a good source for libraries and schools.

About the book: Based on an original tale by award-winning Mongolian author, Dashdondog Jamba, and retold by distinguished international author, Anne Pellowski, find out how the traditional Mongolian tent house (called a ger in Mongolian and a yurt in Turkish), was created in the ancient past by drawing on the example of nature, and how it later became a beloved symbol of friendship and harmony. With stunning illustrations of Mongolian culture by renowned artist, Beatriz Vidal, young readers can experience first-hand the wide-open steppes of this vast and wild land bordering on Russia to the north and China to  the south.
Begins June 22
Ends July 18 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copy is provided and mailed directly to the winner by the publisher.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Farm and the Risky Ride Judith Grimme

My thoughts:   This is a sweet book about children in the 1960s and their activities during the summer. A visit to a grandparent's farm and the free and open acres to play and romp in, the animals they get to see and care for, the time with beloved grandparents, the food, the experiences of seeing what happens on a farm are an experience not to be missed.

There is a touch of French in the book since a friend is along for the adventure and her language is French. Quite exciting is the adventures with the horse and the new colt.

This is a wordy, chapter book that has strong moral overtones. No particular Christian group is extolled nor spoken of derogatorily. Activities at the back are for those who wish to strengthen their vocabulary skills.

This is a good series and one I can recommend for readers through possibly 8th grade.

About the book: Volume 3 of The Front Porch Diaries, a light, charming 4-book series about friendship, siblings, and growing up in the 1960s. Lucy was so excited about taking Simone to her grandparents' farm for a summer holiday, with no teasing brothers tagging along. But life in the country proved to be more wild and frightening than the girls thought! Eddie and Philippe found their share of adventure in the woods at home, too. It was the summer of 1967. What new things would these friends from different worlds discover about each other, and themselves? Were they prepared for the days ahead?

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from BookCrash Reviewer's Program to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Nature's Paradise Organics Baby products now online at Good Earth Beauty [Giveaway & 10% Discount Code]

Your baby is tiny, near perfect with beauty and tenderness on a grand scale. Now protect their skin with natural organic products from Nature's Paradise


Enjoy a Baby Organic Collection or give it as a wonderful gift. It includes...

  • 8oz. Baby Organic Shampoo & Body Wash,
  • 9oz. Baby Organic Moisturizing Lotion, 
  • 3oz. Baby Organic Relief Cream, 
  • 4oz. Baby Organic Baby Oil, 
  • 5.5oz. Baby Organic Baby Powder

Created special for baby right at a young precious developing age. This Baby Organic collection will will reduce the exposure of chemicals and toxins for the little ones.

Find these safe baby products at 
Remember: Use discount code VERA10 for 10% off 

My thoughts: I know when my babies were tiny we used the best products that we could find in the stores that were gentle on their delicate skin. That was a long time ago. There are many products on the market today produced carefully from natural ingredients that provide a wonderful level of care of these wee ones. 

The Nature's Paradise Organic Baby line is fascinating and just chock full of simple organic ingredients derived from nature itself. I am quite impressed with these.

Want to go ahead and get some of these fabulous products for your baby or for gifting? Individual items or special gift box.

Use 10% Discount Code: VERA10

~|~|~ GIVEAWAY ~|~|~
Nature's Paradise Organics Baby Care Set $50  Value
Begins June 15
Ends July 13 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a lovely product to facilitate a review. Any opinions given are my own alone and are freely given. I was not required to render positive thoughts on the products. I only recommend those products which I or a member of my family or close friends and will use. The winner's prize will be provided and shipped directly to the winner by Good Earth Beauty. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or damaged products.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

The Camping Trip & Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann

ISBN: 9781536207361
Ages 3-7 ~ Hardcover
Candlewick Press
My thoughts:
This is a precious book about two young girls on a camping trip. One is hostess (with her mother) and the other has never camped out before.

The reactions to everything encountered are adorable and so appropriate to city kids going camping for the first time. There is much to be learned in this enjoyable book and much realization of the adaptable nature of kids and the fun to be had in experiencing activities outside our normal scope.

I recommend this gem of a book.

About the book: Ernestine is beyond excited to go camping. She follows the packing list carefully (new sleeping bag! new flashlight! special trail mix made with Dad!) so she knows she is ready when the weekend arrives. But she quickly realizes that nothing could have prepared her for how hard it is to set up a tent, never mind fall asleep in it, or that swimming in a lake means that there will be fish — eep! Will Ernestine be able to enjoy the wilderness, or will it prove to be a bit too far out of her comfort zone? In an energetic illustrated story about a first sleepover under the stars, acclaimed author-illustrator Jennifer K. Mann reminds us that opening your mind to new experiences, no matter how challenging, can lead to great memories (and a newfound taste for s’mores).

Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures by Tricia Springstubb and illustrated by Elaheh Taherian

ISBN: 9781536203066
Ages 5-8 ~ Hardcover
Candlewick Press
My thoughts:
This is a sweet generational story of a young child and an older person. They live in the same building and share a backyard. Mr. Hagerty gardens. Khalil plays and digs for treasure. Mr. Hagerty is disappointed his garden produces such insignificant vegetables and Khalil is disappointed that he finds no treasure.

They develop a friendship and soon find a way to ease each other's disappointment. Also, while not verbally indicated as such, young Kahlil eases Mr. Hagerty through his forgetfulness of vocabulary. Perhaps, early dementia. Sweet.

A subtle yet sweet message of caring.  

About the book: Khalil lives in the upstairs apartment with his family, which is big and busy and noisy. Downstairs lives Mr. Hagerty, who is quiet. Khalil and Mr. Hagerty don’t appear to have a lot in common, but hot summer days have a way of bringing people together. As Khalil looks for buried treasure in the yard, Mr. Hagerty tends to his garden. Both help each other navigate language — whether it be learning new words or remembering those seemingly forgotten. Before long, an unlikely friendship is born, full of treasure, thoughtfulness, and chocolate cake. Through well-cultivated details and vibrant cut-paper collage, author Tricia Springstubb and illustrator Elaheh Taherian nurture a heart-tugging tribute to the love of good neighbors and to the strength of intergenerational and intercultural bonds.

Begins June 13
Ends July 10 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA and CANADA addresses
(No P.O. Boxes & NO business addresses)
Canadian winners must provide phone number
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies from the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copies are provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Parable of the Sower (Free downloadables)

The Parable Of The Sower Bible Story Summary For Christian Parents, Teachers & Children

What a lovely, gentle video of a retelling of the Biblical Parable of the Sower. I love the speaker's delivery and his drawings are really nice.

Included are beautiful coloring pages provided for free (see samples below but download from link provided).

Download it from here -

Be sure to check out. These are 100% FREE bible story coloring pages and study activities for kids/teachers/ Christian family, Sunday school resources.

DISCLOSURE: I will be compensated to share this information with my readers. Opinions are mine, alone and represent my true feelings.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Biographical picture books from Candlewick Press: Ben Franklin & Alfred Russel Wallace [Review/Spotlight & Giveaway US/CANADA]

A Ben of All Trades: The Most Inventive Boyhood of Benjamin Franklin by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Matt Tavares

ISBN: 9781536201215
Hardcover | $16.99
Candlewick Press
Ages 5-9
My thoughts: 
Another superb early reader's biography that will promote interest in reading non-fiction books. A Ben of All Trades recounts in prose the young reader will find easy enough to read, well constructed, and informative enough that it will capture their attention providing entertaining education.

This is a retelling of information gleaned from Ben Franklin's own memoirs. While history aptly records the famous and varied life of Mr. Franklin, A Ben of All Trades provides a look at the activities and likes and dislikes that shaped the young Ben. It also, subtly, provides a look at life in general for a young boy of that time in history.

The artistry of Matt Tavares is beautifully done capturing the period and joy and disappointments of young Ben. I love the entire layout of the book and the pleasant, classic sense of illustration.

I highly recommend this book.

About the book: Young Benjamin Franklin wants to be a sailor, but his father won’t hear of it. The other trades he tries — candle maker, joiner, boot closer, turner — bore him through and through. Curious and inventive, Ben prefers to read, swim, fly his kite, and fly his kite while swimming. But each time he fails to find a profession, he takes some important bit of knowledge with him. That tendency is exactly what leads him to become the astonishingly versatile genius we remember today. Inspired by The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Michael J. Rosen’s wry tale captures Ben’s spirit in evocative yet playful language, while illustrations by Matt Tavares follow Ben from the workbench to the water in vivid detail. A love story to the value of variety, A Ben of All Trades sheds light on an unconventional path to greatness and humanizes a towering figure in American history.

Darwin's Rival: Alfred Russel Wallace and the Search for Evolution by Christiane Dorion and illustrated by Harry Tennant

ISBN: 9781536209327
Hardcover | $24.99
Ages 10 & Up
Candlewick Press
My thoughts: 
Fully recognizing that this picture book biography is about a man's search and endorsement of Darwin's evolution, I still believe that I, who does not embrace the evolutionary concept, can benefit from reading about early scientists and their discoveries. I also think that in non-evolution households that children should be able to learn from books such as this.

The travels and experiences of Alfred Russel Wallace were daunting when he pursued his search for beetles and they are daunting to read about today causing one to marvel and, yes, appreciate the obstacles  encountered and his tenacious spirit to forge ahead through various wildernesses throughout the world and make discoveries and comparisons of his findings.

Not only were his travels fraught with discomfort, hardship, and dangers he did not have a wealth of scientific tools with which to work or much scientific basis and discoveries on which to build. It was new. It was hard. It was astounding. He marveled at his findings. 

The illustrations are nicely done and representative of Wallace's discoveries.

About the book: Everyone knows Charles Darwin, the famous naturalist who proposed a theory of evolution. But not everyone knows the story of Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin’s friend and rival who simultaneously discovered the process of natural selection. This sumptuously illustrated book tells Wallace’s story, from his humble beginnings to his adventures in the Amazon rain forest and Malay Archipelago, and demonstrates the great contribution he made to one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time.
Begins June 2
Ends July 1 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA and CANADA addresses
(No P.O. Boxes & NO business addresses)
Canadian winners must provide phone number
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies from the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copies are provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist.

Cross Shadow (Shepherd Suspense Novel #2) by Andrew Huff [Giveaway]

My thoughts: From the very first scene in this second book of the Shepherd Suspense series, CROSS SHADOW, the action captures the reader's attention and doesn't let up until the very last of the book.

If you like contemporary fiction that is loaded with suspense, fast paced action, and an adrenaline charged story, then you certainly won't want to miss this book. I encourage reading book one first, but it isn't a must do for reader's enjoyment.

John Cross is "retired" from the CIA and he is now a Baptist pastor in a small church located in a small town. That is the setting for a sedate life after the action charged life he led in the CIA. But things happen. Cross is there. And the action accelerates.

Christine is a news journalist from a major station and somehow she, too, seems to get tangled up in situations that will leave a story reader saying, "Wow!".

I totally enjoyed this book and am looking forward to Author Andrew Huff's next installment. Wonder what John Cross will get into then?  

About the book: All journalist Christine Lewis wants is the truth. All pastor John Cross wants is to avoid it.

Former CIA agent turned evangelical pastor John Cross is busy caring for the small community of believers he ministers to in Virginia. Journalist Christine Lewis is busy with the demand for her talents from top news agencies in New York City. Neither has any time left for their relationship, which began eight months before when they paired up to prevent the detonation of a chemical bomb in the nation's capital.

But when Christine hears that her stepbrother has been arrested for murder in Texas, they team up again to discover the truth about the crime. Untangling a web of conspiracy, the couple finds themselves in the center of another dangerous situation-and in trouble far deeper than they expected.

With an assassin on the loose, a trusted colleague acting as a double agent, and unreliable artificial intelligence connected to mercenaries who have Cross on their hit list, these two may not get out of the Lone Star State alive.
About the Author

Huff spent ten years in local church ministry as a youth pastor and creative arts pastor before pursuing God’s calling into creative storytelling and media production as the product director at Igniter Media, a church media company (

He is a two-time finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Genesis Contest for unpublished authors (2014, 2017) and also won the best screenplay award at the 2015 48 Hour Film Festival in Richmond, VA. A Cross to Kill and Cross Shadow in the Shepherd Suspense series are his first releases.
Huff holds a bachelor of science in religion degree from Liberty University and a master of arts in Christian education from Dallas Theological Seminary.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Giveaway is hosted by Read With Audra (a blog tour giveaway) who will provide with the publisher winner's prize and send it directly to the winner.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Ella Freda Organics Facial Moisturizer [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: Ella Freda Organics Facial Moisturizer was surprisingly effective for a product in this price range. It has been said that Retinol is a standard go-to product for results in the care of your skin and to slow the signs of aging we all disdain. No one wants dry, wrinkled skin. We don't want tiny wrinkles and we most definitely don't want those deep wrinkles.

This new product from Ella Freda Organics is a Facial Moisturizer. It has a texture somewhat between serum and cream in density. I apply a moderate amount to my entire face (avoiding close to eyes), chin, neck, and ear lobes and behind ears (neglected area). It goes on smoothly and I use smoothing upward strokes that rotate massaging the tension away and the moisturizer into the skin. My hands have a slight "tacky" feeling to them as does the face, but it soon dissipates. 

After moisturizing my skin, I cream around my eyes (using whatever current product I have) and occasionally use a nice skin oil to further moisturize. After caring for my skin, I apply my makeup for the day whether it is a stay-at-home day with little or no color added or a one of my full-out makeup days. Beauty products work well with the Ella Freda Organics Facial Moisturizer.

Anti aging skin care is a multi step process. Genetics plays a part in how our skin ages and we can't control that. Stress and living in a highly emotional state is highly detrimental. You need to protect your face from sun damage while still getting sun to maximize your Vitamin D - balance is key. Also, a healthy diet is good. I prefer a pretty well rounded diet that provides the nutrients we need without the extra calories and harmful foods and additives. Then finally, one needs to protect the skin from the elements and environmental pollutants by using a good moisturizer. Use the best you can afford looking for those with preventative and anti-aging ingredients. 

As with the Ella Freda Retinol Moisturizer Cream used in the evenings, this Facial Moisturizer used in the evenings prior to bedtime, has my facial skin looking amazingly good with the wrinkles surprisingly diminished and the "sleep wrinkles" pretty nonexistent. The product has a caution warning about getting it too close to one's eyes, but of course I don't use it real close to the eyes - that's a definite no-no for me because I have very sensitive eyes. But I  apply it liberally all over my face and chin and then a bit on the ear lobes and just under the ears. Using this Facial Moisturizer in the morning and evening works very nicely.I can only imagine what regular, long-term use could do. (Find on Amazon)

Ella Freda Organics Facial Moisturizer (anti-aging) is pictured here with their Retinol Moisturizer, and Hyaluronic Acid Serum.
Find at
Use Coupon Code - BOGOHP (Buy one get one half price)

I think this is a good product and suggest you give it a try. Check out the Ella Freda Organics website.  Click Here

Product information: This anti wrinkle cream gently and thoroughly moisturizes without stripping, pore minimizer, drying or leaving build-up. Softens, repairs and reverses damage with natural healing, anti-aging ingredients. Our Face Moisturizer, an acne scar cream is perfect for all skin types. Improves condition of the pores and latisse. 

What we put into our products is just as important as what we leave out. This anti aging cream is formulated with 5 proven Bio-Active ingredients: Retinyl Palmitate -the ester of retinol, Aloe Barbadensis, Sodium Hyalurate. Green Tea & Licorice root Extract.

Suggested Use: Liberally apply to clean, gently-dried skin twice daily.

Caution: For external use only. Avoid direct contact with eyes.Rinse with water if direct eye contact occurs. Do not use on broken skin. For adult use only. Keep out of reach of children. If swallowed, get medical help right away. Stop use and ask a doctor if rash or irritation develops and persists.Use sunscreen and avoid long term exposure to sun.


  • Deionized Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice,
  • Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid,
  • Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract, Collagen
  • Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Allantoin
  • Sodium Hyaluronate, Polydimethylsiloxane, Carbomer,
  • Triethanolamine, Panthenol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate,
  • Glycosaminoglycans, Disodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate

Can't wait to see if you win the giveaway? Order now  


BOGOHP = Buy One Get One Half Price 

Ella Freda Organics Facial Moisturizer
Begins May 30
Ends June 23 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: I received a product cost free or highly discounted to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own, alone after using the product and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided by Ella Freda Organics and shipped directly to the winner.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy

My thoughts: 
A  wonderfully well written and interesting foray back to the 1880s showing the restrictions and obstacles facing women during those times. Nora, the leading lady, was lovingly raised by her mother  and her professor father who was key in developing her sense of presence, worth, and intelligence. He introduced her to his field of study - entomology, which she found great joy in sharing with him. This eventually led to her  attending Cornell University and studying the world of insects. 
This career goal of Nora's was dismissed as frivolous by her step-father. He tries to rule with an iron fist, making decisions and giving orders to Nora impacting her future college education, employment, and marriage - and to whom she will be married and when. She goes into full-Nora mode.
This means Nora is a free-thinking, highly-vocal, quite opinionated, impulsive, precocious lady that is quite ahead of her time. 
She does manage to be included in a field experience for several months where she traveled to India along with her fellow classmate, Her experiences in India are beautifully described and well articulated by the author. I am definitely not an insect enthusiast, but the author's descriptions of the country with its beautiful scenery and vast population of various insects, butterflies, and other living creatures was well written and I enjoyed reading it.
Nora learned that women and girls in India had less freedom than she herself. Her friendship with a young Indian girl was lovely and permitted Nora to grow personally. It also was her major pitfall as she made some rash decisions that placed her in danger.
A lovely read and a tremendous first publication by this new author, Kimberly Duffy. 
About the book: Determined to uphold her father's legacy, newly graduated Nora Shipley joins an entomology research expedition to India to prove herself in the field. In this spellbinding new land, Nora is faced with impossible choices—between saving a young Indian girl and saving her career, and between what she's always thought she wanted and the man she's come to love.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishing to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Ask a Southern lady what makes the South different

From my rambling thoughts in 2013.

Did you ask a Southern lady what makes the South different?

Ah, you ask a Southern lady what makes the South different? Well, we say "Yes Sir" and "No Sir" in these parts. We show respect. We call someone older than our self Mr. and Mrs. XXX and we hold the door for ladies and old folks.

We still expect baggers at the grocery to bag groceries and help the eldery get them to the car. Of course, the budget and the yanks have just about taken that away from us.

We like our tea strong and we like it sweet and we like it cold and not diluted too much with ice. Just enough to break a sweat on the glass if its warm outside.

We like our vegetables cooked tender and soft - not tender crisp (or raw). We do enjoy a nice cool salad but salads and cooked vegetables are two entirely different things.

Most of us talk slow enough so you can understand what we're saying and take it in. It usually gets pretty warm down here and we just can't rush things as much or our "boiler" will burst wide open.

Here in the "new South" we enjoy other things and foods as well as the next person. Just keep within the bounds of proper cooking. No "wave offering" of warmth over that food. We like it cooked hot and long. We like our grits - morning and night. We enjoy them with butter and we enjoy them with cheese. I don't like sugar and milk on mine and have never known a Southerner who does.

Now if you're from the North or from California (or Seattle) you might think we're a bit slow around here. Not so. We just take it easy because as I said..... that boiler might just explode in the heat. But if you'll be patient with us, we'll try to be patient with you and your fast talking, fast driving, fast living (well, they're doing that everywhere aren't they). We'll let you tell us about your ways and maybe you'll be courteous enough to let us share a bit about us, too.

Now, what 'r you having for supper tonight? Grits?

Saturday, May 23, 2020

WHERE IS WISDOM? by Scott James

ISBN: 9781535965965
B&H Publishing
My thoughts:  It is surprising how much "theology" one can glean from a children's book. The author, Scott James, delves into Job 28 (click to read) to pull a nugget of wisdom for young readers or listeners.

The book of Job in Scriptures is difficult to comprehend. All that pain and suffering. All that advice. All that seeking. In Where Is Wisdom? the search (of Job 28 for wisdom) begins with an understanding that men are smart and searchers. Man searches for food from the Earth. For minerals that glisten and gleam from the depths of the Earth. And still he won't find Wisdom.

Beautifully illustrated the book begins with man seeking for hidden things. The text tells the story of man searching and working hard to find. And then the story, as does the Bible, brings home the truth that man can search but what he finds is a generous gift from God. And man needs to seek after God. The God of all. The one who will help man find wisdom.

A lovely book and one that can take parents and children deeper in understanding with each reading.

About the book: Where can we find wisdom? Down in the deep caverns? At the bottom of the ocean floor? This visual tour through the poetry of Job 28 parallels Scripture and leads readers on a treasure hunt through the wonders of God’s creation.

Among all the dazzling treasures this world has to offer, we learn of an even greater treasure—wisdom—and of the mighty God who alone can lead us to it. Beautifully illustrated, Where Is Wisdom? is a unique celebration of the words and imagery of Job, one that guides young readers high and low to marvel ultimately at the true end of wisdom, Jesus Christ.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from B&H Publishing, B&H Kids, to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Madame Badobedah by Sophie Dahl & illustrated by Lauren O’Hara - Walker Books US [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

ISBN: 9781536210224
Hardcover $18.99
Ages 5 - 8
Walker Books US
A Division of Candlewick Press
My thoughts:  This is sheer delight to read. You must read it aloud to a child or group of children who will certainly listen with rapt attention. Mabel is a precocious child and is the daughter, only child, of the owners of the Mermaid Hotel.

The hotel is Mabel's home, her playground, her fascination. And Mabel is fascinated or consumed with being a quirky, vocal, spying imp that is everywhere finding things and doings that fascinate her and of which she forms far-flung opinions of who, what, when, where.

And Mabel spies on Madame Badobeday and determines that she is an ancient (hint - old lady) spy who is currently hiding from those whom she has spied upon. The conclusion is simply she awaits her next assignment.

The story is in three sections and would make great read aloud sessions to build the suspense. Or your older youngish reader will be enthralled to read it all by themselves. It is a lot of fun reading about just who Madame Badobedah is (or was) and discovering about all the fascinating, odd, and beautiful items she has. Meanwhile, quirky, inquisitive Mabel is a darling going about in her inquisitive manner ferreting out information.

The real charm of the book is the multi-generational friendship that forms between the two. How a child can grow to like (even love?) an older, non-family person who is at the sunset moment of their life and needs someone to care is a gold nugget to pass along to children.

This book is a winner.

About the book: There’s a strange new guest at the Mermaid Hotel — a very old lady with a growly voice, bags stuffed with jewelry and coins and curiosities, and a beady-eyed pet tortoise. Mabel, whose parents run the hotel, is suspicious. Who is this “Madame Badobedah” (it rhymes with "Oo la la") who has come to stay indefinitely and never has any visitors? To find out, Mabel puts on her spy costume and observes the new guest. Conclusion? She must be a secret supervillain hiding out from the law. The grown-ups think Madame Badobedah is a bit rude — and sad — but when she invites “dahlink” Mabel for a cup of forbidden tea and a game of pirates, the two begin a series of imaginary adventures together, and Mabel realizes that first impressions can sometimes be very wrong. Conjuring two quirky heroines that young readers will love, Sophie Dahl adds her talented voice to a grand tradition of books that celebrate the alliance of the old and young in the face of humdrum adults, while Lauren O’Hara’s illustrations are as packed with intriguing details as Madame Badobedah’s suitcases.
GIVEAWAY - 2 Winners
Begins May 19
Ends June 15 at 12:01 a.m EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
NO P.O.Boxes & Canadian winners must provide phone number.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize copy is provided and sent directly to the winner by publisher or publicist.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Hungry for delicious beef stew

Occasionally I get a hankering for something that I cooked when my family was growing up. Of course, it was in larger quantities than I need these days, but still I sometimes just simply get hungry for some old fashioned comfort food.

So the other day when I was putting together an online grocery order that I would pick up nearly a week later, I thought of stew. What's not to like about a good pot of stew beef slow cooked for hours. Of course, sometimes it is a flat out bust when the meat isn't tender. But I had high hopes.

I ordered a pound of rather expensive stew beef. Angus beef. Grass fed. That's good stuff!

Of course, you don't always get what you order these days. It can be a missing item (sold out) or it can be a substitute. But I had faith that it would be the good stuff and would be in-the-bag. And it was! Not only was it there, the quantity was 1 1/2 pounds! Banner shopping day!

Since it has been a long time since I've cook stew and since this was such a premium item, I Googled for tips. Here's what I decided to do.......

I put a bit of plain flour in a nice, clean brown paper sack (no seasonings). Tossed in the chunks of beef a few at a time. Shook the bag after each addition. When all the beef had been coated with the flour. I placed a few chunks, spaced a bit apart so they would brown nicely, in my slow cooker that sautes as well as steams and slow cooks. A fabulous piece of kitchen ware to own.

I browned them at 400 degrees in 1/2 stick of butter and about the same amount of extra virgin olive oil. I like the taste of butter and I like the health benefits of olive oil. So I strike a good compromise. As each batch was browned, I gently lifted the pieces out - avoiding piercing them because I didn't want to let those juices escape.

When all was browned, I returned them all to the slow cooker. I added one envelope of Lipton Onion Soup Mix (beefy one) and one standard size can of Muir Glenn Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes. I rinsed the can with about 1/3 of a can of water. Stirred the mixture gently and put the lid on.

I simmered and slow cooked this for about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. I didn't keep track.

This makes a rich, thick stew that will go with lots of veggies and perhaps rice or mashed potatoes.

I ate some and it is rich, tasty, and very very tender! I share some with my son and his wife.

Who are you going to bless with a bit of comfort food today? What will you cook?

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Yoga Animals: A Wild Introduction to Kid-Friendly Poses - National Geographic Kids [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781426337529
Hardcover $16.99
National Geographic Kids
My thoughts:  Get ready for a super heaping load of cuteness as you and your little ones read this adorable book, with rhyming text and animals of all types reaching, stretching, slither and sliding and then you and your little one do the same thing.

A bit of yoga or simply exercises that promote flexibility and strength for both you and your little ones.

The book is a delight to look at. Straight forward in design with bright colors and flowing text. Explanations for the poses for humans (you and your young ones) to follow. And then at the back of the book, a few pages devoted to telling about the animals featured in the book and more on the various poses.

A winner! Hey, National Yoga Day is June 21.

About the book: Get ready to reach like a giraffe, curl up like a cat, and bounce like a bunny!  Rhyming text and stunning photos of animals in their natural habitats encourage young yogis to stretch along with nature-inspired yoga poses. Learn all about your favorites animals, practice mindful movements, and unleash your inner animal.  Named the “Coolest Yoga Instructor Ever” by Vanity Fair, Strala Yoga founder Tara Stiles assures yogis young and old to have fun, go with the flow and do what feels right and informational back matter make this a perfect introduction to yoga for little ones. 
Begins May 17
Ends June 11 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publicist or publisher.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Standoff (The Natchez Trace #1) by Patricia Bradley

My thoughts:  I never thought of park rangers as having to face dangers like murder, drug traffic, etc. but "Standoff" reveals the hazards of the job in this fast moving, suspense story. As the first in a series, "Standoff" delivers a compelling read that excites one to upcoming books along the same theme.

The Natchez Trace is a park ranging from Nashville, Tennessee, to Natchez, Mississippi. The setting is real and the reality that crime on the trail truly exists is vividly painted in word pictures in Standoff. So while totally fiction, you have the feeling you're reading the behind the scenes saga of a major crime investigation and the off shoots of criminal acts associated with it.

The dirty deed is an undercover investigation into major cartel players.

Brook Danvers is a second generation Park Ranger and is about to be promoted. The death of her father throws her life into disarray as she copes with the fallout from that and her upcoming promotion. But then things get really complicated and convoluted.

I had a hard time keeping the characters straight and was surprise at some of the endgame results. Keeping the good guys and the bad guys straight in my mind and drawing conclusions as to who-dunnit was difficult.

Loved the book and am really looking forward to seeing what else is afoot on The Natchez Trace.

Read an Excerpt - Click Here

About the book: Brooke Danvers wants to learn the truth about her father's suspicious death, but she'll need the help of Luke Fereday--a National Park Ranger and her ex-boyfriend. Keeping Brooke safe will take all of Luke's skills, and falling in love with her will only complicate matters.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Two STEM titles from a middle school teacher that use real-world scenarios to make scientific inquiry relatable: THE ACADIA FILES SPRING and GEOMETRY IS AS EASY AS PIE

The Acadia Files: Book Four, Spring Science by Katie Coppens and illustrated by Holly Hatam (Tilbury House Publishers; 3/2020; Hardcover $13.95; ISBN: 978-0884486107; Grades 3-7; 88 pages) 

My thoughts:  This is a delightful series of books for inquisitive readers. My granddaughter simply loves the earlier books in the series and I know she will love this Spring Science book as well.

Acadia is an inquisitive child that simply absorbs information and turns it around in her mind to comprehend what she is learning. As each of the chapters closes, Acadia has experiments and conclusions of her own. She records her thoughts and how she derives the conclusions. Then she poses a question or so that presents "What if's?" to contemplate.

The Signs of Spring chapter is beautifully written and illustrated. Acadia tells her friends about triggers for the Spring awakening of flowers, trees, frogs. And then the chapter on Ticks is informative presenting what ticks are, how to find and identify them, and the danger they present to people.

The dangers of DDT are also covered in a different chapter and this provides information on how to care for our planet and the dangers that toxic chemicals are to the environment and to people.

A must have series for homes with precocious readers.

About the book: There are five stories of spring, each one followed by Acadia’s science notebook pages with her simple explanations and lively, whimsical drawings of natural phenomena by New York Times bestseller Hatam. The Acadia Files is a fun introduction to the wonders of science, using real-world scenarios to make scientific inquiry relatable and understandable. Parents and educators can use The Acadia Files to let kids discover for themselves what it’s like to be curious about the world and to satisfy that curiosity with scientific thinking.

Acadia Greene has done science in summer, autumn, and winter. In the fourth and final book of this series, she carries her search for answers into the spring, investigating meteors and mass extinctions; germination and pollinators; parasites, ticks, and Lyme disease; and pesticides and malaria. Finally, looking back through her notebooks, she puts together her scientific inquiries from all four seasons into a holistic understanding of the natural world. Acadia is curious, determined, bold, and bright―a wonderful STEM ambassador!

Geometry is as Easy as Pie (Tumblehome; 3/2020; Hardcover $17.95; ISBN: 978-1943431526; Grades 3-6; 40 pages) 

My thoughts:  This is an absolutely perfect introduction to geometry for the middle school student or precocious younger student. Readers will step into the kitchen and learn with real hands on experience how geometry is real in the real world and not just lines and equations on a sheet of paper.

Slowly, with clear and understandable terminology, the child will discover how making a pie has more than fruit, sugar, and flour to appeal to one's senses. How the beauty of presentation and construction of the pie is geometric.

I am simply awed that the author has so aptly presented this oft difficult concept and applied it in such a way that students won't ever see the world in the same way. They will mentally catalog the veggies on their plate. They will view the table laden with pie, cake, and other goodies in the world of polygons, triangles - acute and obtuse, and open and closed circles.

This is a must get book for homes with bright and inquiring minds to place on their home libraries shelves. In fact, it can easily pass as a recipe book since recipes using geometric discoveries are also included so the student can apply and discover these concepts.

About the book: With scrumptious-looking photos, easy recipes, and a variety of pies to bake or just ogle, this book provides a fun and memorable approach to thinking and learning about circles, polygons, angles, parallel and perpendicular lines, tessellation, symmetry, area, volume, and more. This book will leave the reader with a taste for geometry!

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of each book to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Hand Lettered Truth by Debbie Bratton

Such a pretty, inspiring book. God's Word beautifully scrolled, lettered, colored brings comfort at a glimpse. I enjoyed reading through it and envy the talent displayed.

I like displaying a two-page spread of the book. It brings inspiration and joy to me as I pass it throughout the day.

A quiet moment of relaxation with a cup of tea and spiritual inspiration!

About the book: See Scripture in a whole new way with this inspiring gift book that includes 60 hand lettered verses by Instagram sensation Debbie Bratton.
Whether you are new to the Bible or are a seasoned reader, you'll see Scripture with new eyes through these elegant hand lettering designs from artist Debbie Bratton. Debbie began lettering in 2014 as a way to meditate on the word of God, using art to bring the Bible to life in a fresh way. She has since carved out a following on Instagram and Etsy of other creatives who find inspiration in her unique, artistic treatment of Scripture. Debbie's attention to detail and creativity make this a treasured and meaningful gift for any occasion.

Displayed on the piano for brief glimpses and inspiration.
Turn page daily to change. 

  • Beautiful gift book featuring hand lettered Scripture
  • Full-color interior design
  • Presentation page for personalization
  • A meaningful gift for any occasion

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.