Susie’s Hope DVD – Review and a Giveaway!


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 thyey 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.


wp55448163_05_06About 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!


Guys, you’ve gotta watch this film.  My gosh, it’s just so heartfelt, and so sweet.  Susie stars in the film as herself, and she’s just precious!  My 11-year old daughter watched this with me and cried her little eyes out.  I love to see how deeply she feels when it comes to animals, and it was a real tender thing to be able to watch this with her.  At the very end of the film I started wondering if it would drag on, but it didn’t.  The story is incredible, and inspiring.  I love movies based on true stories!  It’s a powerful thing to see how strong REAL people in our world are – to see how strong human (and animal) resilience can be.


Here’s the trailer:


Interested?  This website is a great resource for all things Susie related.  Oh, yeah, and one other thing…you can also enter to win your very own copy of this DVD right now.  Awesome!!  If you’re an animal lover, or know someone who is, you’d better enter this giveaway.  The story is incredible.  Open in the U.S. and Canada.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



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.

 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.

Gluten Free Crunchy Chicken Bites

Crunch to the crunch, baby.


I love a good crunch to my chicken “nuggets”.  It’s something I had to give up over the summer when I started on my anti-inflammatory diet.    Well, in the last 2 months I’ve been allowed to slowly add new foods back into my diet, one at a time.  And while nuts are allowed, they just weren’t giving me the classic crunch I was looking for.

Crunchy Chicken Bites

So I cheated.


Actually, not TOTALLY.  As of this week, I am officially allowed to test out foods of my choosing.  But instead of picking a one-ingredient food, I chose to test out Rice Chex.


I know, I’m a cheater.  But oh, I SO enjoyed it!  I made me some CRUNCHY chicken, baby!  Dipped the chicken pieces in some gluten free flour, then in some egg, and then in the finely crushed Rice Chex pieces.  Fried those puppies up and enjoyed them thoroughly.  This is most definitely a “sometimes” food, as Cookie Monster says.  But man oh man, I’ll definitely enjoy it when sometimes comes!


Gluten Free Crunchy Chicken Bites


  • 1lb Chicken breast (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour (I used buckwheat)
  • 1 cup Rice Chex (crushed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Coconut or Olive oil (for cooking)


Step 1
Get out 3 separate bowls. In the first, mix the flour and seasonings. In the second, beat the egg. In the third, add the crushed Rice Chex.
Step 2
Heat olive oil or coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
Step 3
Dip chicken pieces first in flour mixture, and then in egg mixture, and finally in the Rice Chex. Add to the hot pan and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through. It'll be crispy and delicious!







Menu Monday and Weekly Goals – Thanksgiving Week!

I’m so, SO much more excited for Thanksgiving this year than usual!  It’s all for lame, selfish reasons, too.  But hey, I’d rather be excited than not!


First of all, I’ve been cleared by my doctor to make some rolls for myself.  Granted, they have to be gluten/dairy free, but there are still tons more ingredients that I haven’t been previously allowed!  Yay for sometimes foods!!


Second, Thanksgiving week equals a 2-day work week.  I’m absolutely thrilled! :D


Lastly, we’ve got some family from out of town coming in to spend the holiday.  It will be so awesome to see them all!  Especially my cute little nieces.  I just love ‘em.


With this excitement mounding, I’m actually feeling motivated enough to create a menu plan for the week.  Like always, I keep all of MY personal meals gluten free, and therefore, most of the family’s.  I’ll sometimes give them a gluten-filled option, like a side of toast or something, but for dinner we’re usually pretty strict.  Here’s the plan:


picmonkey-1024x579Monday: Tostadas (corn tortillas fried in olive oil, topped with lettuce, beans, chicken, salsa, etc)

TuesdayHomemade Taco Bowls (use leftover beans and toppings from Monday)

Wednesday: Fried Rice with Veggies (use leftover rice from Tuesday)

Thursday: Thanksgiving meal

Friday: Leftover night (probably turkey, potatoes and pie, right?)

Saturday: Creamy White Chicken Chili (with leftover turkey instead of chicken)

SundayQuinoa-Crusted Chicken



As for the goals, well, I was able to get everything done last time I set some weekly goals.  The plan for this week isn’t anything grand, but I’m thinking baby steps are the best way to achieve the big stuff anyway:

  • Start new blog – My daughter wants to start a review site with me, where we’ll share our thoughts on fun, girly stuff:  hairstyles, beauty treatments, and products…you know, that type of stuff!
  • Post a movie review and giveaway (keep your eyes peeled!)
  • Go over November budget numbers.

Have a great week, everyone, and have a safe and happy holiday weekend for those in the U.S.!

Down With Debt Mid-November Update

I’ve gotten so behind on posting updates about our finances, but I wanted to at least do a quick check in.  So far, November has been more kind to us, in regards to surprise medical bills and unexpected car repairs.


indexOur cat recently started peeing outside the liter box and the other day we noticed blood in his urine.  I called the vet and scheduled an appointment, and $233 later, we’ve got two prescriptions that I can’t get him to take.  Because I didn’t have a budget for vet bills, it was put on our credit card…AUGH!  I was quite shocked when I saw the bill and realized that $40 was charged FOR THE PHONE CALL I made to schedule the appointment.  Don’t think I’ll be calling them again.  We’ll just have to show up, ha ha.


Other than that, things have gone about as expected.  Our pet food bill will be going up, as we’re supposed to put our cat on a wet food-only diet to help with the crystals forming in his bladder.  I just bought a pet water fountain on Amazon to try and help encourage more water drinking, but that didn’t cost anything because I had earned enough gift cards with Swagbucks.  I also have a Prime account, so the shipping is free, and I’ll get it in 2 days!  I hope it’ll help.


Another expense that we don’t have monthly occurred (it happens every 3 months):  enrolling my daughter in gymnastics ($180).  It’s the one thing I will NOT sacrifice.  She’s waited so long to start, and when I finally bit the bullet earlier this year, she was the 11-year old girl in a class with 6-year olds.  She stuck with it and has advanced every single term, and, starting December 1, she’ll be enrolled in the highest level they offer before competitions!  She’s finally learning with girls her own age, and it’s been a dream come true for her.  I’m so happy she’s found her passion.

So far we’ve been able to pay $864.63 on our debt.  Using the YNAB budgeting software has been SO helpful in helping me to know exactly how much I can put to our debt.  I anticipate that as we keep using it, we’ll be able to pay a little more each month to debt, simply as we find little extra bits of money here and there.  Of course, it’ll help to avoid some of the financial “surprises” we had in the previous 2 months!  Fingers crossed. :)





Wordless Wednesday – First Ever Birthday Party

My son has autism, and as such, he doesn’t always do well in crowds.  For that reason, and others, we haven’t ever thrown him a birthday party with friends.  Sure, we have a party every year with family, but the friends thing is new.  Invitations to birthday parties are also far and few between…so we really wanted to make this first birthday bash of his fun (on a small budget, of course).


Ninja Turtle Masks and Nunchucks

Ninja Turtle masks and nun chucks.



Rafael fruit plate

The birthday boy with his Rafael fruit plate!




Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle birthday party Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle birthday party

The sign we used to welcome people.



Pin the Mask on Mikey Pin the mask on Mikey

We made a “Pin the Mask on Mikey (Michaelangelo)” game for the kids.


Make Extra Holiday Cash From Home

We are all connected thanks to the internet now and this has allowed for a lot of new opportunities to conduct business from the comfort of your own home. Internet marketing has opened doors for anyone who wants to earn part time or full time income. There are opportunities in many areas and if you have enough skills with writing, graphic design, web design, transcripts and similar work that can be delivered through the internet, you can easily make a good amount of money from it. There is a boom in freelancing websites now and a lot of people are being able to take advantage of this.


What if, like me, you aren’t a graphic designer, or knowledgeable in web design?  What if you’re not a great writer?  (Like me again.)  Fortunately, there are still a lot of places online that you can spend some time “working” with and make extra cash.  Will you break the bank or replace your income with these places?  Heck no.  But if extra cash is what you’re looking for, especially this season, then you’re in luck, because that’s exactly what these places offer.  Here are a few websites that I do work for/with:


Online Surveys:


Survey Spot – Another survey site.  I don’t know if it’s just me, but I have a hard time qualifying for surveys here.  I don’t qualify for 80% of the surveys I try to take, and that can get discouraging.  Still, when I do qualify, the points are decent for the time spent.  You can redeem the points for cash.  I’ve made $17 since August 2014.

Zoom Panel – Earn points for each survey you take.  If you don’t qualify for a survey you started, you will get 5 points for trying.  I’ve redeemed my points for probably $100 or so in Home Depot Gift Cards, and $50 or so for Gift cards.  I earn a $25 gift card every few months here.  If you redeem an gift card, the points work out to be 1 penny each point.

Vindale – This survey site offers cash for surveys, and for studies.  The “surveys” are usually offers, like credit card offers.  I personally haven’t done ANY of these, but they pay pretty well if you are interested – between $2 and $25 each, depending on the survey you are doing.  The “studies” are more like a typical survey, and they pay between $0.75 – $1.00 for each.  These are what I do.  In addition, you can read the blog and compete for cash, as well as sign up for Reward mail – making you 5 cents each time you click on a link in the email they send you.  I’ve made $100 in the last year with this company.


Cash Back -

Swagbucks – If you haven’t joined Swagbucks yet, I’m telling you, you’re missing out.  It’s FREE money!  It’s a search engine just like google, and every time you do a search for anything, you have a chance to win 8 or more bucks – swagbucks.  These can be redeemed for prizes or gift cards.  My personal favorite is the $5 gift card for 450 swagbucks.  Easy!  You can also earn bucks for a host of other things, like taking surveys, watching videos, printing coupons, or doing online shopping.  It’s the holiday season – you’re going to be searching for gift ideas anyway, and shopping online anyway, dang, get something out of it!  I’ve earned 6,461 swagbucks, which equals out to 14 $5 gift cards, since joining.  This does NOT include any referral points.


Social Marketing:

Izea - I’m pretty new to this company, but they have different “campaigns” available.  There are campaigns for blog posts as well as Twitter posts.  I have only taken advantage of Twitter posts so far.  Last month (my first month working it) I made $9.  The time it took to make that $9 was a total of maybe 10 minutes.  Yay! :)

Influence Central/Mom Central – This is a good-paying site that allows you to sign up for campaigns based on your demographics.  If you are chosen, you follow the instructions, which usually include posting a review or other blog post about the topic (sharing only YOUR HONEST opinions and experiences), and perhaps sharing a link or two on social media.  The jobs are far and few between, but the pay is awesome and worth the wait.  I made $150 earlier this month with them.


Of course, there are many others – these, however, are among my personal favorites.  What money-making sites are you a member of?





The Skinny Gut Diet by Brenda Watson – Book Review

9780553417944The secret to permanent weight loss revealed. The real reason diets fail has nothing to do with calories and everything to do with the balance of bacteria in your gut. A simple guide to show you how to finally achieve your ideal weight.
The 100 trillion bacteria that live in your digestive tract—which make up 90 percent of the cells in your body—are the real reason you gain or lose weight. When those microbes are out of balance, chronic health conditions can occur, including irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue, and obesity. By balancing the good and bad bacteria, you can finally achieve your ideal weight—for good.


When I first heard about this book, I really wanted to read it – not for the weight loss side of it, but simply for the “healthy gut” side of it.  I recently learned about the incredible amount of bacteria in the digestive tract, and have been working with a homeopathic – style doctor to address it.  When I saw the statement about balancing good and bad bacteria, I was hooked, and knew this was a book I’d be able to really get into.

The author, Brenda Watson, CNC (learn more about her HERE), includes a 14-day start-up food plan and a bunch of recipes.  A good amount of these recipes are things I can eat on my anti-inflammatory diet, although not all.  I’m impressed by that, because I KNOW how healthy the anti-inflammatory diet is.  This woman knows her stuff, and she’s legit.  While she talks about weight loss, the feel of the book, at least to me, is more about creating a HEALTHY body/gut…not necessarily a skinny one.  That’s something that I appreciate SO much.

I won’t lie, the diet proposed is not an easy one.  Gluten is out the window.  Don’t plan on having milk.  Most oils are eliminated, as they have inflammatory properties.  That means that you aren’t going to be able to eat many processed foods, if any. (I wish companies would create organic chips with olive oil, but it’s cheaper to use canola oil, or something else not good!)  However, I HAVE GIVEN UP ALL of these foods – at the same time – and I’m telling you, it CAN be done!  If you have a support system, oh man, what a difference it will make.


If you want to learn more about The Skinny Gut Diet or the author, you can head to this website.  There you’ll find a full synopsis as well as information on where you can find the book for purchase.  It’s a book I HIGHLY recommend to ANYONE looking to improve their health – whether it’s digestive health or not.  This diet will change your body, on the inside for sure, and likely on the outside as well!  5 stars for me. :)


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  The opinions are mine alone!


Menu Monday and Weekly Goals November 10

Whew!  The weeks are flying by!  Why is it, I wonder, that the days seem to drag, but the weeks, months, and years fly by?  Time…what a concept.






We had a good time over the weekend at the Turkey Trot….it supports a local school, and I love a good cause.  Munchkin wasn’t really smiling though – she got ran over by a biker.  Poor kid.  Yesterday we did a mega cleaning of the house.  The kids were miserable, and I was thrilled!  We’d hit a room, and then we’d take a 10-minute break (the kids were, after all, miserable, ha ha).  Then we’d get another room, and so on until the entire house was clean.  I’m loving it, and I’m sure it’ll last for a day. :)

Oh hey, don’t forget:  I’ve got 3 giveaways currently running.  Two of them end this week!  Be sure to enter.

Their Name is Today – ends tomorrow!

Manic Drive CD – VIP – ends today!

Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas Prize Pack
As we head into a new week, I want to at least pretend try to keep organized.  Thank goodness for the menu plan, right?  Here’s what we’re having:


  • cheese-enchiladas-3-picturesMonday:  Chicken and Dumpling soup (with gluten-free dumplings)
  • Tuesday:  Pigs in a blanket, lettuce salad
  • WednesdayEnchiladas
  • ThursdaySlow Roasted Persian Chicken,
  • Friday:  Leftover night
  • Saturday: Roasted Potatoes (Sweet and White), leftover chicken
  • Sunday: TBD


And the goals for the week?  Well, let’s be honest, I’m not shooting for the moon. :)  It’ll be a good week, though.

  1. Pick up, separate and freeze 40 lbs chicken (the chicken from Zaycon was delayed, so I’m getting it tonight.)
  2. Activity Days Reward activity
  3. Get ready for and hold Buddy Boy’s birthday party.
  4. Munchkin gymnastics
  5. Update the budget.


Have a great week!