Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Movie Trailer Tuesday - The Debt

In 1965, three Mossad agents set out on a mission to capture a notorious, but elusive, Nazi war criminal. Many years later, they are forced to revisit that mission as events come to light that may expose the truth about what really happened. A really good, intense, spy thriller. I loved being able to see each of the three main characters "then and now."

Rated R for some violence and language.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Curfews And Older Kids

Our oldest son is 19. After graduating from high school a year ago, he is still struggling to figure out what to do with his life. He didn't immediately enroll in college - school was never his thing and until he proved to us that he was serious about it, we weren't going to foot the bill for it. He has worked part time since being in high school. But, he just hasn't managed to get on a path and figure out what he wants to be "when he grows up."

Right now, he's mostly interested in having fun and doing as little as he has to to get by. He pays for his gas (most of it, anyway), his entertainment, and his cell phone. But, he lives in our house. We pay his auto and health insurance. He eats our food and we launder his clothes, etc. So, even though he's 19, he is still very much our dependent. We've been pretty lenient with him since he turned 18. His curfew was usually around 12:30 a.m., but open to negotiation depending on what he was doing. As long as he let us know the who-what-when-where, we tried to be flexible. In the last few months, I guess you could say he really didn't even have a set curfew.

Over the last few months it feels like he has really taken advantage of that. More and more he is staying out later and later. I will get a text at odd hours saying he is in for the night but staying at a friend's house. A few occasions he even told me that he and his friends had been drinking and were staying at someones house so they didn't have to drive. I can't say I'm happy about it, but at least I do feel like he is making the right decisions about not driving. We have made it clear to him that we do not approve of his drinking at all. Lately though, it's gotten worse. There have been several weekends recently where he leaves on Saturday and we don't even see him again until Monday. He sometimes texts or calls, but sometimes not. Of course, I then spend the entire weekend worrying about what he's up to and if he's okay.

I know he is 19, but I feel like his behavior is totally wrong. He owes us more respect than he's giving us. I think he is being selfish and immature. Yes, he is 19 and legally an adult, but he's nowhere near being a responsible adult in my book. And, he does live under our roof. My husband wants to re-institute a curfew as sort of a punishment and to make him understand it's "our house our rules." I think that's just going to drive him away from us.

Because of all this, our relationship has been strained. There's always fighting and bickering - whether it be between me and my son, my husband and son, or even me and my husband. It's really wearing on me and causing so much stress. My son argues that we need to just let go and trust that he is making smart decisions; that he's just having fun like most other kids his age. I guess I'm just not ready to do that. When is a parent ever able to let go? I don't know.

For those of you with older kids, I would love to hear your thoughts. How do you handle curfews with over-18 kids? And, thanks for letting me vent.


Grand Opening of Literary Addicts - Kindle Fire Event

Literary Addicts is an online community where you can check out book reviews, contests, join groups, and connect with other book lovers. In honor of their grand opening, I'm happy to let you know about their Kindle Fire Event. Keep reading for all the details...

Welcome to the Literary Addicts Kindle Fire Event where we have teamed up with 10 Amazing Authors and several awesome bloggers to celebrate the
Grand Opening of Literary Addicts a Community for Book Lovers!
Please check out the Fantastic authors bringing the Kindle Fire Giveaway to you!

Don't miss out on these great reads even if you don't have a kindle yet. You can download the kindle app for you phone, desktop, or ipad HERE. All of these books are less than a Starbucks Coffee!

Immortal Voyage

Before the time of the great pyramids, there was a place like none other, a city of glass and metal rising from the depths of the ocean. Shrouded in mist, the island of Hy-Brasil and its capital Atlantis lay hidden from the rest of the world by its people, a race of long lived, interstellar nomads.

Read more and purchase for only $2.99

Give Me - A Tale of Wyrd and Fae

All she wanted was a vacation - but Dumnos offered a new life.

Lilith Evergreen has always lived in the California desert, but when she receives an antique ring as a gift, she dreams of a castle by the sea, a magnificent tree at cliff's edge, and a mysterious woman who bids Lilith to come to Dumnos, a land of mist and rain.
Read more and purchase for only $3.99 Paperback

Slow Boat to Purgatory (Slow Boat to Purgatory #1)

Gaspar De Rouse, an immortal Knight Templar, a man murdered by his brothers for the secret he possessed, resurrected and given a second chance at redemption. Dominicus Bureau, a renegade priest, torn between his vows and the secret he pursues, a secret protected by an immortal. Alex Donovan, a modern day warrior thrust into an ages old war, a war between good and evil, heaven and hell.Read more and purchase for only $2.99 Paperback

Mark of the Witch (Boston Witches Book 1)

Magic flows through Jillian Proctor's veins as surely as blood, but so far her life outside Boston has been peaceful. William Morgan blows into Jilly's life like a hurricane, unleashing her magic and sending her out of control. Unknowingly, William brings an enemy who only wants to posses the power of the witch. Jilly must learn to harness her magic before she loses it - and everything in her life is destroyed. Purchase for only $2.99 Paperback

The Marriage Bargain

Camille Chandler is a tabloid journalist whose career is right on track--until her boss sees a curious ad in the L.A. Trades.
Wanted: Single actress for an extended gig abroad.
France's mega-rich playboy Julian de Laurent is up to something and Camille's boss expects her to find out what. Who knew the eccentric gazillionaire was looking to hire a temporary wife?

Read more and purchase for only $2.99

Descended by Blood (Vampire Born #1)

Brooke Keller is a high school junior who has never spent much time living in one place. She is finally in a town long enough to almost snag the boy of her dreams, until her life is threatened after killing a fanged man in his attempt to kidnap her. Brooke begins a dangerous journey in an effort to find out who is after her and how to stop them. In a world with powerful and prejudiced vampires, Read more and purchase for only $2.99 Paperback

Dirty Blood

I killed a girl last night. I did it with my bare hands and an old piece of pipe I found lying next to the dumpster. But that’s not the part that got me. The part that scared me, the part I can’t seem to wrap my head around and still has me reeling, was that when she charged me, her body shifted – and then she was a wolf. All snapping teeth and extended claws. But by the time I stood over her lifeless body, she was a girl again. Read more and purchase for only $2.99 Paperback

Taming the wolf (anna avery series, #1)

Attacked by a wolf while hiking in the mountains, Anna Avery's life just got a little hairier. Living in the Big Horn mountains in Wyoming, with a group of werewolves who are more animal than human, Anna must try to hold onto her human side. It's not easy when the alpha continues to persuade her into his bed, while another wolf is chomping at the bit to become her mate. To top it all off, dead bodies are showing up and ..Read more and purchase for only $2.99

Fearless (Kings Series)

Tasmyn Vaughn didn't expect much when her dad’s job moved them to a small town in Florida; it was just another new school. But there is more to King than meets the eye, and soon Tasmyn’s ability to hear other’s thoughts is the least of her worries. Entangled in a web of first love, quirky and secretive townsfolk, magic and blood rituals, she discovers the town’s secrets aren’t just bizarre, they’re deadly. Purchase for only $3.99 Paperback

Secrets (Guardian Trilogy)

While Olivia Martin observed life through her camera, the Abyss gazed back at her. She discovers mysterious men follow her around, people close to her are dying, and her dreams are no longer her own as she falls head over heels for a perfect stranger. A chance encounter leads to an obsession that could destroy everything she has ever known or loved. Olivia is about to find out there is a lot she doesn't know and sometimes what you don't know can kill you. Read more and purchase for only $2.99

These fine authors are bringing you this Kindle Fire Event via Promotional Book Tours and Literary Addicts This contest is open Internationally! Please fill out the form below to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Deciding To Get Another Dog After Losing Our Beloved Family Pet

If you are a regular around here, you may remember that we lost our beloved dog, Emma, earlier this year. We all miss her so much and little things every day make me think of her.

Whenever I would walk in through the garage door, she would be waiting there for me, so excited that I was home. Whenever she needed to go outside, she would ring a bell hanging on our back door. At night, if I would get up to get a drink or use the bathroom, I would always have to carefully walk through the dark house for fear of tripping over Emma (she was a big dog and loved to sprawl out right in the middle of the floor). She loved to sit on the floor right next to us and coerce us into scratching her head. If we stopped, she would lay her head in our lap begging us to continue. She loved to run and wrestle around with the kids. When she was playing and having fun with the kids, I swear it looked as though she was smiling. It's those little things and more that I remember about her. I really still cannot believe she's gone.

We know we can never replace Emma and it's a little scary to even think about getting another dog. She was so good and sweet and loving!  I have fears of ending up with some crazy dog that misbehaves all the time. But, be that as it may, we are at the point where we really want another family pet. We love big dogs but when Emma was injured, it was really difficult to take care of her because she was too heavy for me or the kids to lift. So, as we start to think about getting another dog, we are taking that into consideration. But, I'm just a "big dog" person; little dogs are too yappy for me. I'm partial to terriers - I love scruffy-faced, bearded dogs! Emma was an Airedale terrier and I would be happy to get another but the kids aren't sure they want a dog that looks so much like Emma. I've been researching dog breeds on the internet and so far, here are a few that have caught my eye:

Spinone Italiano
I had never really heard of this breed but saw it on the American Kennel Club website. It's a big dog but I can't resist it's "old-soul" look and bearded face. From what I've read, it's a gentle breed that is loving to all and patient around kids. Sounds awesome!

This is a mix of a golden retriever and a poodle. They are generally supposed to be intelligent and friendly. Very cute but I'm thinking they might shed a lot?

These dogs are so pretty with their short grey coat and blue or amber eyes. From my reading it sounds like they are happy to be part of a family but can be very energetic and sometimes stubborn. I need to learn a little more about this breed.

Irish Terrier
I'm really just drawn to any kind of terrier. These with their reddish-golden coats are so pretty.

See, I told you I was partial to big dogs.

Our other option is going to a local shelter and rescuing a puppy. This is probably the route we will take. I've been spending a lot of time on Petfinder (a terrific site where you can see adoptable shelter animals from all over the country) and there are so many sweet dogs that need to find loving homes. I'm sure we could find some kind of terrier mix that would fit right into our family. I'll be sure and keep you posted and let you know if/when we do get a new furry friend.

Do you have a dog? If so, what kind?


Monday, June 18, 2012

eBook Review - Impeccable Petunia Part 1: Claws, Paws, Feathers & Jaws

I just finished reading an eBook titled Impeccable Petunia Part 1: Claws, Paws, Feathers & Jaws.

This lovely little story is about a chicken named Petunia and her adventures in the backyard where she lives. Who knew that the life of a chicken could be full of so much drama...but, in Petunia's world, there's plenty! From the bossy chickens at the top of the pecking order, to the gossip that takes place in the hen house, to the escapades with the big gray house cat - there's always something going on. Petunia is somewhat of an outsider and tries her best to go about her days unnoticed. She has a love for all things colorful and beautiful. This passion for color gets her noticed by the human lady of the house. Petunia is allowed to come into the human's house and spend time with her there. This activity does not sit well with the other chickens and leads to all kinds of trouble.

This short story is a very fun and easy read. Just like in the human world, the chickens and other animals each have their own personalities and idiosyncrasies. It can be a tough thing, living in a chicken's world! Not only is the story entertaining, but it's full of beautiful art work. The pictures are really stunning.

I enjoyed reading about Impeccable Petunia and look forward to the next story in the series. Impeccable Petunia Part II: A Tale of Two Tails is coming soon. I can't wait to find out what happens next for Petunia!

Impeccable Petunia is the creation of wife and husband team Katie Christine and Jonathan Edward. You can find Impeccable Petunia Part 1: Paws, Claws, Feathers & Jaws eBook in the Amazon Kindle Store. It's available to purchase for only $0.99. Visit the Impeccable Petunia website for more information and to see more artwork from the story.

I received a free copy of this eBook from the author. I was not obligated to write a positive review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own and may differ from yours.


Summer Patio Retreat Giveaway Event: June 18 - July 2, 2012

Summer break is well under way for us...our kids have been out of school for several weeks, we are currently getting a new pool and deck in our backyard, and have some big landscaping plans to tackle as well. We're also going to be shopping for some new patio furniture. It's going to be a busy summer, but a fun one for sure!

In celebration of summer, I'm happy to be able to tell you about the Summer Patio Retreat Giveaway Event. Keep reading for all the details on how you can enter to win an awesome set of patio furniture. And, have a wonderful summer!

Welcome to the Summer Patio Retreat Giveaway Event brought to you by Mom to Bed by 8 the ‘Iowa-Mom’, Powered By Mom and Mommy and Baby Reviews and Giveaways!
We would like to thank our special co-hosts Another Cent Saved, Giveaway Bandit, To Sew With Love and Opinions of a Moody Mama for joining us for this special event.
Gather friends, family, and refreshments and a enjoy a little patio retreat fully furnished with this four-piece set from Strathwood. The Brentwood collection includes two arm chairs, a coffee table, and a loveseat. Designed to withstand the elements, the furniture's frames are constructed of powder-coated steel in an attractive black with bronze flecks. Powder coating gives the furniture great protection against rust. Comfortable, durable seat cushions are upholstered in a polyester fabric designed for outdoors.

Cushion Care and Cleaning: Gently brush off dirt before it becomes embedded in the fabric and wipe up any spills as soon as they occur. Gently spot clean only with mild soap and cool water using a sponge or soft brush, then air dry cushions in a sunny location. Bring cushions indoors during inclement weather and store in a dry place when not in use.
Strathwood furniture has quality, ease of use, and casual elegance at its core. Each piece is rigorously tested for durability, and assembly instructions have been standardized for simplicity from start to finish. Strathwood furniture is sleekly designed, handsomely finished, and built to last. This classic style and reliable craftsmanship will weather ever-changing trends and regular use for years to come.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Swagbucks Collector's Bills and A Swag Code Extravaganza

Swagbucks has two more fun ways for you to get your reward points - through Sunday you can win five collectible Swag Buck bills exclusively through search - get them all before 11:59pm PT on Father's Day and get an automatic 10 Swag Buck bonus. Also, on June 20th they're having a Swag Code Extravanga, which is an opportunity to get Swag Bucks for nothing. They're giving away 60 Swag Bucks in codes throughout the day, so get there early and stay throughout the day for more chances to win!

I've already been able to earn all the collector's bills in this set and received my bonus Swag bucks. And, all it took was using the Swagbucks search feature while I've been online over the past few days. Easy peasy!

If you haven't signed up for Swagbucks, I invite you to use my referral link and registration code JUNETASTIC to start earning today! I'm a long time user of Swagbucks and love how easy it is to earn free gifts and prizes. I just cashed in some Swagbucks today for yet another Amazon gift card (I average around 1-2 cards per month!). Check it out!


Aloha Friday - Ice Cream Shoppe

Welcome to this week’s edition of Aloha Friday, hosted by Kailani over at An Island Life. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day to take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So, on Fridays we can take it easy on blog posting, too.

I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer - nothing that requires a lengthy response. If you’d like to participate, visit An Island Life where you can link up with your own question and also visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

What do you like to order when you go out for ice cream?

I'm not a that much of an ice cream fan, but when we go I almost always order a chocolate malt. My second choice would be a hot fudge sundae with lots of nuts.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Random Update 6-14-12

I feel like I haven't blogged much lately. We've had a lot going on around here so I thought I would post one of my random updates for you.

You may recall that I started working (a temporary position at a medical office). It was about a six week gig and now it's over. I may still work some sporadically but never more than one day per week. It was good for me to get out there and do something like that after being out of the workforce for so many years. But, I have to tell you that I'm glad it's over. I really, really missed being home with my kids every day.

On Derby Day, my husband was playing basketball with our kids. Forgetting that he was 43 and not 23, he attempted to do a backward dunk. He brought the entire basketball goal down and in the process tore his tricep tendon on his right arm. He had to have surgery to repair it and he cannot work. He will end up being off work for about 10 weeks. The crazy thing...he did the exact same thing to his other arm two years ago playing softball (same outcome: surgery, off work). The ortho doc said this is a pretty rare injury and the fact that he did it to both arms is pretty remarkable. That's my husband!

We got a pool! It's an above ground pool but we dug down about 30-40 inches to set it into the ground. My husband has been super busy building a nice new wooden fence for our back yard. He also has to build a deck around the pool. He has lots of help since his arm is somewhat out of commission. I will try and get pics posted soon. My kids are beyond excited. Me too. I'm looking forward to laying by the pool and getting lost in a good book.

Last week I went to see my very favorite band of all times in concert!...The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I went with a girlfriend and we had fantastic seats and it was just so much fun. The lead singer is my pretend boyfriend, you see. So, I was in heaven. Great show!

See, so close but yet so far!

What about you? How's your summer going so far? Any special vacation plans or home projects going on?


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pork Be Inspired Bzz Campaign - Cinnamon Sirloin Chops with Peach Sauce

We are fans of pork in my house but when it comes to preparing it, we are pretty boring. Grilled bbq chops are the norm for us. So, when I recently got to take part in a Bzz campaign about pork, I was thrilled to try out a new recipe. PorkBeInspired.com is a site that's full of all kinds of good stuff -- information on pork cuts and cooking tips, nutritional info, and lots of recipes. After browsing and reading through some of the site, I decided to make Cinnamon Sirloin Chops with Peach Sauce.

Two of my kids are pretty picky so I was anxious to see what they thought of this dish. What I really loved, besides it being something new and different, was that it was super easy to prepare.

Cinnamon Sirloin Chops with Peach Sauce (I doubled the following recipe for our family of 6)

4 boneless sirloin chops, 1/2 inch thick
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp prepared mustard
1 16-oz can sliced peaches, drained

Combine paprika, flour, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.

Sprinkle mixture on both sides of chops.

Heat oil in nonstick skilled over med-high heat. Brown chops about 2-3 minutes per side, remove from skillet.

Add peaches (I chopped them up a bit) and mustard to pan, cook and stir, scraping up any brown bits from surface of pan. Return chops to pan, cover and simmer 5 minutes until internal temperature on a thermometer reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a 3 minute rest time.

I served the chops with some brown rice and a garden salad. It had a good flavor and everyone at my table enjoyed it. One of the things I learned was that it doesn't take very long to cook a pork chop. I think in the past, I've always been prone to overcooking things, thus leading to my cut of meat being tough and dry.  But, for this dish, I actually used a thermometer to check the temperature and was surprised at how quickly it was ready. The chops were tender and juicy.

If you would like to find some pork recipes to try out for yourself, or learn more about preparing pork, visit PorkBeInspired.com

As a participant in the Pork Be Inspired Bzz Campaign, I received coupons for purchasing pork and a digital meat thermometer and bbq brush. I was not obligated to write a positive review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are my own.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Naiad Soap Arts - Product Review

I love using handmade, natural soaps and skincare products. Not only do I feel good about using products made with natural, wholesome ingredients, but, I really like being able to support artisans and crafters who create these products.

I recently learned of a shop called Naiad Soap Arts.

There, owner Erin Pikor creates wonderful soaps, scrubs, lip balms, and beauty oils. She specializes in high quality cold process soaps in a variety of beautiful designs and fragrances! She kindly sent me a bar of her Bamboo Sugarcane Artisan Soap to try out for myself. Take a look, it's such a pretty bar of soap...

Not only is the soap beautiful, but it smells really good, too. I enjoyed the mild, light lather and the way it left my skin feeling and smelling so nice. The bar is a substantial size and weight - it didn't start to melt away to nothing after only a few uses like some homemade soaps tend to do.

Some other soaps available at Naiad Soap Arts include:

Rosemary Mint Artisan Soap

Connecticut Beach House Artisan Soap

Peppermint Tea Tree Artisan Soap

You can also purchase all natural liquid soaps. Available scents include Lemongrass, Lavendar Lime Fennel, and Rosemary Mint. These are next on my list to try from Naiad Soap Arts!

Lip balms can be purchased in traditional tube form or fun tin sliders in a variety of fragrances.

Orange Rose All Natural Lip Balm

Tin Slider Lip Balms

I encourage you to visit Naiad Soap Arts, or Erin's Etsy shop to see all of the amazing products that she has for sale. You're sure to find something you like and it's a great chance to support a hand-crafting artisan who has turned her passion into a career. And, for the rest of June, you can use coupon code ALASNAIAD10 for 10% off anything at Naiad Soap Arts website or Etsy shop - coupon code is good at both shops!

You can also keep up with Erin at Naiad Soap Arts on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and her blog.

Naiad Soap Arts sent me a free bar of soap to try out for myself. I was not obligated to write a positive review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.