Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Susie's Hope" DVD Review & GIVEAWAY (11/30)

*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.


About the movie: Run time 105 minutes:
Based on the true story that successfully passed Susie’s Law in North Carolina, which seeks stricter punishment for animal abusers, Susie’s Hope brings to life the inspirational relationship between pit bull attack survivor Donna Lawrence and Susie, a pit bull-mix puppy found beaten, burned and left for dead. Recognizing reflect and abuse were to blame for the tragic attack that nearly claimed her life 10 months earlier, Donna resumes the battered animal and accepts her as family. Together, they learn to heal, love and forgive as they lead a historic effort to seek justice and protection, not only for Susie, but all animals. Starring Emmanuelle Vaguer (40 Days and 40 Nights), Burgess Jenkins (Remember The Titans) and Andrea Powell (Ender’s Game, The Twighlight: Breaking Dawn Saga: Part 2), Susie’s Hope is an incredible story of love, loss and redemption.

Take a peak at the trailer:


About Susie:
Susie was found nearly dead in Greenfield Park in Greensboro, North Carolina on August 20, 2009. Just a puppy, Susie had licked the face of her owner’s newborn baby. Her owner became violent—she was beaten so severely her jaw was broken. That wasn’t enough, though. She was then set on fire and left for dead. Incredibly and against all odds Susie survived. Donna Lawrence adopted her two months later. Susie is now a trained therapy dog and event won the American Humane Association’s American Hero Dog this year!

Head on over to YouTube to see the Hero Dog Award Video for Susie:
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0743TukkrZY

My Review:
"Susie's Hope" was almost hard to watch in a few places.  We allowed the kids to watch with us.  Having read the story I knew there were places where they'd have to cover their eyes and ears, but those places were even a little tough for me.  It was not only hard to see Donna being attacked by the dog, but also to see the abuse that poor Susie had endured.  Of course, they kept the images to a minimum, but I think my imagination of how bad it must have been for both Donna and Susie is probably what really made me cringe. :-(

Thinking of Donna, I can't imagine almost being killed by an abused dog, while trying to care for it, then gathering the courage to take in another abused dog and nurse it back to health.  It seems impossible, but Donna was able to do it with God's strength.  Not only was she able to overcome her fears, but she was also able to do some amazing things with the bond they created!

I highly recommend seeing this film.  I think it's important to bring awareness of animal abuse and to make sure there are laws out there to help protect our furry friends.  I also felt that it was good for the kids to see the importance of being careful around dogs they don't know.  We have talked about safety around 'strange' dogs with our kids on several occasions, but this film gave us a good opportunity to reiterate it.  :-)

Buy It!
The "Susie's Hope" DVD can be purchased through the website for $24.99.

GIVEAWAY!
One lucky reader is going to win a copy of "Susie's Hope"!

To enter to win leave a comment below. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address with the comment, so I can contact you if you're the winner.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Extra Entries:(1 extra entry per method. Leave a comment for each.)

*Subscribe to my blog in the upper left hand corner.
*Follow me through Google Friend Connect
*Follow me on twitter.
*Tweet this giveaway and leave the URL in your comment
*Follow me on 
Pinterest
*Pin an image from this post to one of your boards
*Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post and let me know which post.

Open to U.S. residents 18 years and older. Giveaway will end Sunday, November 30th, 2014 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be chosen shortly after and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Melissa & Doug's Terrific 25 Holiday Gifts Giveaway!

*Disclosure: I received an entry to a blogger giveaway in exchange for this post.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way.
http://www.melissaanddoug.com/terrific25
I've always enjoyed Melissa & Doug toys for my kids.  I think they're made well, they are either educational, or promote imaginative play, and the kids think they're wonderful!  With how much we enjoy their toys, I'm always excited to see when they come out with their "Terrific 25 Gifts", where they feature their best new toys for the Christmas season.  Not only can I enjoy browsing through the new toys, but I also have the chance to win some on their facebook page as well!  The chance of winning is just too exciting not to share, so I hope you take a moment to stop by each of the 25 days of giveaways.  There is still plenty of time to enter as the last day is November 27th!

Monday, November 17, 2014

"Growing Up Social" Book Review & GIVEAWAY! (11/26) #growingupsocial

*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.



About "Growing Up Social":
Is technology bringing your family closer together or driving you farther apart?

Children today are no longer playing hide-and-seek outside or curling up with a good book—instead they’ve been introduced to a world of constant digital entertainment through television, video games, and mobile devices. And while technology has the potential to add value to our lives and families, it can also erode a sense of togetherness and hinder a child’s emotional and social development.

In Growing Up Social, Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane will empower you with the necessary tools to make positive changes…starting today. Through stories, wit, and wisdom, you’ll discover how to take back your home from an over dependence on screens. Plus, you’ll learn to teach the five A+ skills that every healthy child needs to master: affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention.

•Equip your child to be relationally rich in a digital world
•Replace mindless screen time with meaningful family time
•Establish simple boundaries that make a huge difference
•Discover what’s working for families that have become screen savvy
•Learn healthy ways to occupy your child while you get things done

Now is the time to equip your child to live with screen time, not for screen time. No phone, tablet, or gaming device can teach your child how to have healthy relationships—only you can.

About the authors:

Gary Chapman- author, speaker, and counselor—has a passion for people and for helping them form lasting relationships. He is the bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages series and the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. Gary travels the world presenting seminars, and his radio programs air on more than 400 stations. For more information, visit 5lovelanguages.com.

Arlene Pellicane- is a speaker and author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife and 31 Days to a Happy Husband. She has been featured on The Today ShowThe 700 Club, and Family Life Today and formerly served as the associate producer for Turning Point Television with Dr. David Jeremiah. Arlene lives in Southern California with her husband, James, and their three children. Find out more at ArlenePellicane.com.

Learn more about growing up social on the website: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/growingupsocial

Take a peak at the book trailer:


My Review:
I feel like I've received a gift by having the opportunity to read "Growing Up Social".  I knew technology has an affect on all of us, but I always wondered what the extent of the limits should be.  For example: The kids have been wanting an iPad and I've wondered if I should give in and get them one.  Many kids already have access to them at home and I wasn't sure if my kids would fall behind on their knowledge of technology if they didn't have access to one at home as well.  "Growing Up Social" touched on the subject, saying that technology is made to be so user friendly that it could be picked up and understood, just as much as those who have always used technology, in basically no time.  (In reference to a study that was done.)  Problem solved...the kids don't 'need' an iPad!

"Growing Up Social" discusses limiting screen time as well.  No more than 2 hours/day, including the time that they've used screens at school.  I am extremely thankful that we don't have video games, only have one TV (to promote watching as a family), and the kids are rarely on computers/smart phones.  (My husband and I made the decisions a long time ago about one TV and no video games because we didn't want them having a negative influence on our family.)

I found the whole book of "Growing Up Social" to be extremely interesting!  I had no idea of all the negative affects on children/families that too much screen time creates.  I found myself having a hard time putting the book down, as if I were reading a novel, because I was just intrigued by all the useful information and interesting scenarios and studies.  I could go on and on telling you about everything I learned!!  I honestly feel that "Growing Up Social" is a book that EVERY parent, raising a child today, should read.

Buy It!:
"Growing Up Social" can be purchased at several places in several formats.  (Check out the stores here: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resource/growing-up-social/#purchase)  A paperback copy can be purchased through amazon.com for $11.46.

GIVEAWAY:



One lucky reader is going to win a copy of "Growing Up Social"!

To enter to win leave a comment below. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address with the comment, so I can contact you if you're the winner.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Extra Entries:(1 extra entry per method. Leave a comment for each.)

*Subscribe to my blog in the upper left hand corner.
*Follow me through Google Friend Connect
*Follow me on twitter.
*Tweet this giveaway and leave the URL in your comment
*Follow me on 
Pinterest
*Pin an image from this post to one of your boards
*Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post and let me know which post.

Open to U.S. residents 18 years and older. Giveaway will end Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be chosen shortly after and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

Friday, November 14, 2014

2014 Garden Harvest

We had a wonderfully productive garden this year!  It's always exciting to see what kind of harvest we get after all the work we put into it.

The asparagus is always ready first and we definitely look forward to having it.  We had countless meals with it, but our favorite way to cook it was on the grill...delicious!  It came on the strongest it's ever been this year, so there was definitely more than enough to keep us happy. ;-)

We had a lot of summer meals that looked similar to this.  I can't tell you how many times I made 'Zucchini Scramble' (top left)!  It was a wonderful way to use up all the zucchini, onion and eggs that we had.  We actually had zucchini growing into October, so I just made the last zucchini scramble a few weeks ago!  The 'Zucchini Fritters' and 'Fried Cabbage' are also favorites and we ate those numerous times as well.
 I'm pretty sure I made all my favorite zucchini recipes at least once and this bean dish was also requested by Rich.  It's something I look forward to as well.  It doesn't use a whole pound of bacon, so I decided to use up a tomato and have BLTs to make up a meal. :-)
 I don't think I canned as much as I have in the past, but I still have a lot of beans and tomatoes (the main things I can) from previous years and didn't need much.  I canned 36 pints of beans (4 batches), 56 pints of zucchini salsa (7 batches) and 18 quarts of spaghetti sauce (2 batches).
 When the sweet corn is ready, things really get exciting!  The kids LOVE corn-on-the-cob and couldn't wait to help husk.  The cattle were more than happy to help as well!  We ended up with 20 pints of corn that I froze along with a few meals worth of corn-on-the-cob.  I think I counted about 120 ears of corn that we picked this year. :-)
 The sweet corn is in it's own garden with the pumpkins.  We ended up with 5 pumpkins this year, but one had rotted before we got to them.
 Blake was a 'pro' at picking pumpkins.  Morgan and I struggled to get one off the vine...trying not to get picked by the vines while still trying to grab them.  (Gloves would have been smart.)  Blake just held onto the stem with one hand, stomped the vine with his foot and the other 3 pumpkins were off the vine in no time!  He amazes me with his ingenuity sometimes. ;-)
 Posing with their pumpkins.  
 We've cooked and eaten three of the pumpkins.  I've tried several recipes, including mini muffins, pumpkin snicker doodles, pumpkin pie, a pumpkin roll cake, pumpkin french toast bake and pumpkin pancakes.  The only thing the kids liked were the snicker doodles though. :-/

I tried a new kind of popcorn this year called "Glass Gem", instead of the 'Indian', aka 'Rainbow', popcorn that I usually grow.  The instructions said to wait until the stalks were no longer green to get the most vibrant colors, so we were picking them a good month later than usual, but it was well worth the wait!  Of course the kids were wonderful helpers!  They love opening the beautiful little surprises. :-)

We absolutely LOVED these colors!
 I quickly got them all bunched and hung to dry before they molded.  I'm excited to see how they pop up and what they taste like!  Of course I'll be holding onto some to replant next year as well. :-)
We ended up with 13 butternut squash.  (I found another hiding in the garden after these were picked.)  I'm hoping to eat them all before they go bad...but that would be A LOT of squash!  LOL! 
The kids helped Rich dig ALL THESE potatoes too.  The top view doesn't do the amount that is there justice.  Rich said it's about 7 milk crates worth.  I think we could eat them every day for the next 5 months (they don't last much longer than that) and still have plenty left to plant in the Spring!
The gardens have all been cleaned out now.  We had a new addition, some ever-bearing strawberries, that I have covered with straw and ready for winter.  I have to admit it's such a huge relief to be done with the garden until the Spring.  I don't know why I let it stress me, trying to use up everything so it doesn't go to waste, but I do.  It's a good feeling to have made the most of our garden and have plenty to eat through the winter, though. :-)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Halloween 2014

Our Halloween was a little more relaxed this year.  We did at least 2 or 3 fewer trick-or-treating events than we have the last couple years, but we were able to fit in some other fun things that we usually miss out on... and it was absolutely wonderful!

The kids participated in the library's costume contest.  Neither won, but all the costumes were great!  The magic/juggling/comedy show that followed was awesome!  Lots of laughs from the kids and adults. :-)
 We made it a local corn maze for the first time this year!  They have these cute signs to get pictures with so of course we had to get pics at each one!

 Only 15 months apart and Morgan is over 6 inches taller than Blake!

 The Corn Maze!
 There were signs throughout to learn about farming in Michigan.
 The kids excitedly ran ahead almost trying to get lost.  We were ALL SMILES the whole maze.  Loads of fun! :-)
 We picked out a pumpkin, then enjoyed some tasty donuts and cider.  (We were one pumpkin short from me cooking the ones we grew...oops!)  
We don't always find time to carve pumpkins, but the day was just too nice to miss out on the opportunity this year.  And, of course, Rich and the kids had to get silly with them.  (Ew!  LOL!)


 The kids did the design, and most of the carving, themselves and the pumpkins turned out super cute!
 Blake had also painted this pumpkin in Cub Scouts.  (Can you see it's a TMNT Mikey?)
A fun little 'spooky' mouth snack we made.  I think the black 'teeth' make it look spooky anyway ;-)
 Speaking of spooky...Morgan walked out into our mudroom to see this one morning just before Halloween.  She said she jumped thinking someone was behind the curtain. (Blake checked it out for her and it was all clear.)  No one place the shoes/curtain that way, so we think the wind must have done it at some point and she just happened to notice it that morning.  We had a good laugh about it :-)
Besides all that, we enjoyed Halloween day going to the kids school.  They dressed up, paraded through the school and ended at a magic show in the gym.  That evening we went around to five family members to trick-or-treat...we usually try to do a few more, but everyone had lost power due to high winds/rain....made for an extra eventful Halloween for sure! :-)