Hera Prime Colon Cleanse – Product Review

 

0b4672ede48e6846becfd7248c0004c439c23c87_1Hera Prime is dedicated to making sure you look the best you can, on the inside and outside. They have a commitment to creating the finest formulations, products and methodologies to enable our consumers to reach their goals and live a beautiful, healthy lifestyle.

 

A little more info about the Colon Cleanse:

  • Eliminates toxins from your body naturally, and speeds recovery from refined and over-processed foods.
  • Fights intestinal congestion so that your digestive system powers on; allows you to have more energy.Made with a natural blend of 9 herbs, fiber and nutrients.
  • Does not contain the dangerous chromium.
  • Free from dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.

 

The first time I tried this I got a stomach ache.  I was really nervous to take it again, but I get stomach aches so often from all sorts of things, and I knew it may be a coincidence.  I decided to give it another shot, and I’m glad I did.  The cleanse was very effective for me, but without causing cramping like so many other cleanses do.  The product is organic, and made right here in the U.S.A.  (Draper, Utah, I believe).  If you’re planning to eat a lot of junk food this holiday season, you may want to be prepared with this all natural cleanse.  A lot of people may use this for the weight loss potential, but for me it works perfectly as a gentle cleanse for the occasional detox.  I’m definitely a fan.

 

Right now you can get 20% off when you order the Hera Prime Colon Cleanse on Amazon.com.  I’m not sure how long the discount is good for since the holidays are practically here!
*No monetary compensation was received. I received the product in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are mine alone.

Zester/Grater Review

crop_0fe4d57b56d31eca7d4e92d3b855c5286a7aecc7f04995cc1c97d24b3802eecb3e345c2c250250I’ve always wanted a zester/grater, but never had one until now.  I got the Best Premium Zester Grater from Smarty Pants Supplies.  I’m pretty much in love with it!
You can use this Zester to …
– Grate Parmesan cheese over soups and salads
– Add chocolate garnish to a chocolate-drizzled angel food cake
– Mince hot peppers to make a spicy guacamole for game day
– Grate lemons, limes, and oranges to add zest to pesto sauce, dressing, pound cake, and more
– Create an enticing marinade for seafood, chicken, and meat

And the best part is, the Best Premium Zester Grater is safe, easy-to-use, and a breeze to clean up.
– Super thick handle for a safe, comfortable grip – it just “feels right”!
– Extra long, 8 inch stainless steel blade means your zest is the perfect length every time!
– Toss it into the dishwasher when you’re done for easy clean up!
– Durable, built-to-last design is backed by a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

 
I, of course, am a huge fan of the fact that there is the 100% satisfaction guarantee, and I love the stainless steel blade.  I made some soup the other day and decided to liven it up a bit with some lemon zest.  Yum!lemonzest on sopu

I’m such a geek about wanting to make my food look pretty lately.  I’ve never really cared before, but with the new diet I’m doing, I need to liven thins up every chance I get – it makes it more enjoyable to behave, ha ha!

 
*No monetary compensation was received. I received the product in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are mine alone.

Black Jewell Popcorn – Product Review

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Black Jewell is the leading grower and producer of colored, specialty popcorn.  They are a healthy snacking option that I was recently able to try out.  Let me share a little bit about them for you:
Black Jewell Popcorn grows, packages and markets natural, whole grain specialty popcorn products. Black Jewell’s heritage started with the proprietary Original Black™ colored kernel popcorn that established the Company as a leader in specialty popcorns.  Black Jewell popcorn products are available at national, regional and local retailers across the U.S. They are sold as loose kernels in 28.35 oz jars and in microwave packaging. The jar varieties include Original Black, Crimson Jewell and Native Mix. The microwave varieties include Natural, Butter, Kettle and No Salt No Oil.


  • All products are 100% natural (no artificial ingredients).
  • All products are Non-GMOProject verified.
  • Their specialty popcorns are grown and harvested from rich Midwestern farmlands to ensure that they deliver the highest possible quality and best tasting products.
  • Black Jewell does not use the chemical POFA in their microwave bags. They use proven, safe materials. Their bags are also made from a more eco–friendly “natural” brown paper as opposed to bleached white paper.
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We were SO excited to try each product out!

We tried the microwaveable Kettle Corn first.  Munchkin said, and I quote:  “This is the best kettle corn I’ve tasted.”  Nope, not kidding.  She loves the stuff!  And yes, the entire box (with 3 bags in it) was gone in a week.  My favorite product was the Crimson Jewell.  It’s so dark, and just gorgeous.  It pops pure white, and with the black kernels, my family was all worried that I’d burned it, lol.  It was definitely not burned, but the contrast color is beautiful.  I popped mine over the stove top in coconut oil, and sprinkled one batch with sea salt, and the other with sea salt, monk fruit extract, and cinnamon.  Yum!

*The kernels are a bit smaller than the “regular” popcorn kernels I’ve bought at the store, and so I’d advise watching them closely as you cook.  Don’t, say, get distracted by arguing with your son about why he needs to eat his vegetables when the bag is cooking in the microwave.  Just a random, non-specific example, I assure you. ;)

 

As you probably know, I had to make some drastic changes to my diet over the summer.  I’ve committed myself to these changes for the rest of my life, and I’m SO grateful for snacking options like these that make my diet a little easier to handle.  It’s a snack that my kids will eat, and I can feel good about them having.

*No monetary compensation was received.  I received the product in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions are mine alone.

 

 

The Divorce Papers – Book Review

Sparkling and sophisticated, this sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking debut novel tells the story of a very messy, very high-profile divorce and the endearingly cynical young lawyer dragooned into handling it.

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This book by Susan Rieger is written through a series of letters, memos, and emails between the characters.  It’s unique and witty.  The way it is laid out is fun, and I enjoyed hearing the story from different character perspectives.  There is a lot of “paperwork” included, you know, copies of negotiations from the divorcing couple in the book, and honestly, some of it is long and drawn out.  I tended to skim over the really long bits of that, as I felt the story was still complete without all the extra.  I suppose it fits well with the title, though, and therefore, has it’s place.  I enjoyed the book and read it in 2 days.

You can actually read the first few pages yourself, to get a feel for the story.  I love that authors are allowing that now!  GO HERE to do that.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Happy Lego Holidays!! Fun Way to Create a Holiday Card

Happy Holidays from my family to yours!

legoChristmas

We’ve always wanted to turn our family into LEGO Minifigures, haven’t you? :D

Create your own custom card here: http://clvr.li/LEGOMinifigure ‪#‎MinifigureFamily‬ ‪#‎sponsored‬

 

I’m curious.  Who sends out holiday cards?  My family still does it, but it seems that we get less and less back every year.  Do you send out holiday cards?  (Via snail mail)

Save Money While Cooking

With the prices of food going up (always!), it’s good to find ways to stretch things, if you can.  Fortunately, there are a lot of different ways to make the grocery budget stretch.  It seems that I learn new ideas every month, and I love it!  Need a few ideas?  Here are some of my newest favorite ways to make that grocery budget last a little longer:

 

  • rouxI make gravy after cooking meat in the saucepan.  Every time.  I sprinkle some bean flour in to thicken, and then I pour some water or homemade chicken stock into the pan, along with some onion powder and sea salt, to take advantage of the delicious drippings and bits left in the pan after cooking. You could also add milk or cream if you choose.  Meat is expensive, and so is the olive oil I’ll usually cook my meat in, and I’m not about to let any of it go to waste!  I’ll sometimes use it as a gravy, sometimes as a thickener in a soup later.

 

  • I put a filler in my ground meat.  Every time.  Whether I’m having pan fried hamburgers or meatballs, or taco meat, etc, I always add fillers.  Usually I’ll add an egg or two, but not always.  Sometimes it’s mashed potato flakes, sometimes it’s pureed beans, sometimes it’s leftover rice.  Anything to bulk that meat out is welcome.

 

  • Pop your own popcorn, instead of using the microwave popcorn packets.  Sometimes I’ll put 1/2 cup of dry popcorn kernels in a paper lunch bag and microwave it like that, and sometimes I’ll pop it over the stove in coconut oil with a little sea salt – yum!  It’s generally quite a bit healthier doing it that way as well.

popcorn

  • If you make smoothies or banana bread or things like that, no need to buy full priced bananas.  At a few of my local stores, the overripe bananas are available for sale at a nice discount.  I’m going to freeze bananas anyway for my banana smoothie, so I buy the discounted ones and freeze the entire batch immediately.  I used to buy the regular-priced bananas and then when they got brown I’d freeze them.  No more.  Now I just buy ‘em brown and save that extra cash.

 

  • imagesEat leftover rice.  This tip is from my husband.  I told him that I’ve already shared recipes for this particular tip (HERE and HERE), and he quickly replied, “how about eat leftover mashed potatoes?”  Let me sum the whole thing up for you, dear….how about we all just eat leftover FOOD in general?  ha ha.  I had a good laugh and enjoyed making fun of him. :)  I suppose it IS a good point, anyway.  In fact, you can donate a night to leftovers.  One less meal to plan for the week.

 

  • Home make your snacks.  I no longer buy chips or crackers…this is mostly due to health concerns, but it’s definitely saved money.  When I want a crunchy snack, I reach for my homemade roasted chickpeas.  And these I NEVER make from the canned chickpeas – oh no, I cook them dry and then roast them.  Using dry beans is so much more economical, and I like being able to control the sodium.  The same goes for many snacks – cook your own plantain chips, your own potato chips, your own popcorn (as I mentioned above), etc.  Tastier, generally healthier, and cheaper!

 

  •  Stick with the basics.  My diet is fairly predictable, perhaps even boring.  Every week includes at least one leftover night.  We always have a breakfast or taco night.  And you know what?  That’s okay!  If I ate the nice steak on a regular basis, it wouldn’t be very special anymore, now would it?  We definitely do our best to get a variety when it comes to produce, but we also buy in season, which means for the next few months we’ll be eating a lot more oranges.  Predictable?  Yep.  Frugal?  Yep again!

 

Of course, there are dozens of other great ways to save money in the kitchen.  What is your tried and true tip?

 

November Budget Report

I’ve been putting this post off.

Not necessarily because the numbers are BAD, more because the numbers are…well, not all there.  Friends, my LAPTOP DIED.  What a sad, sad day it was.  With it, the budgeting software (which I can recover) with all the updated numbers (which I cannot recover).  So…yeah.  Oops.

 

One thing I have found since getting serious about budgeting EVERY penny is this:  There is NO such thing as a normal month, or at least there hasn’t been so far!  I keep thinking to myself, “when we have a normal month, without surprise expenses, then we’ll really get this debt paid down quickly!”, and yet, those kinds of months don’t seem to exist.  It’s been a great eye opener for me, and I’m so grateful for that.  We had over $500 in vet bills, in addition, or course, to the laptop dying (although that’s not really an expense right now, because I ain’t spending money for a new one).  And while the gymnastics bill wasn’t unexpected, I wasn’t exactly prepared for it.  Another great learning experience:  ya gotta budget every month for expenses that don’t come out every month.  (Y’all already knew that, didn’t you?  I’m kinda slow.)

 

indexI can still give you the main gist of the month, so let’s take a look:

 

Household Income:

  • My part-time job (Para Educator) – $537.79
  • Hubby’s full time job – $2,232.76
  • Online income (blog, surveys, etc) – $276.04

Total Household Income:  $3,046.59

 

Household Expenses:

  • Mortgage – $1,035
  • Tithing – $305 (We pay 10% of our income to tithing each month)
  • Other Charitable giving – $30 (Donations, etc)
  • Gymnastics – $180 (This comes out every 3 months, so I need to remember to budget $60 each month for this, so I’m not caught off guard next time!)
  • Vet bill – $518.81
  • Credit Cards – $664.14
  • Phone bill (this includes our 3 phones and internet) – $81.72
  • Utilities (heat, water, electric)  – $122.86
  • Car Insurance – $73.45
  • Emergency Savings – $35

Total Household Expenses- $3,045.98

 

Halfway through November, I had a higher debt payoff amount…but that was before the 2nd visit to the vet with my very sick cat.  That 2nd bill was put on our credit card (BLAST!), so I had to deduct it from the debt payoff to even it up.  Does that make any sense?  :)  It’s late and I’m sleepy, so one never knows…

 

Anyway, there’s the gist of it.  The two biggest lessons I learned this month:

  1. Budget EVERY month for the expenses that don’t occur every month.

  2. NO month is “normal”!  Plan for unexpected expenses EVERY month!

 

 

UPS #WishesDelivered Campaign – What is YOUR Holiday Wish?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of UPS for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love the holidays. I love the music, the trees, and the lights. It’s all great! What I love most of all, however, are the FEELINGS. The THOUGHTS. People are more kind during the holidays. We tend to be more generous, more loving, and more accepting. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

I love that although we may still have wishes for ourselves at this time, we don’t tend to focus on the “selfish” ones as much. Instead of asking for that new iPhone 6, we can wish for someone we know/love will be able to find relief from a struggle. We can wish for goodwill and peace. THAT, after all, is really what the holidays are all about, isn’t it?

One of the deepest desires of my heart is for children, no matter where or who they are, to feel loved. I wish that EVERY child who has ever, or will ever, live on this earth, is able to experience pure, true love. To know that whatever other turmoil may be swirling around them, they are NOT alone. The best way I know how to do this is to love all the children around me (I work in a school)! To support them, to provide a listening ear if needed, and to give them a smile each day. To donate to worthy causes that help these sweet kids.

Ups_2color_shieldEvery package that ends up on a doorstep started from a wish, and UPSers work tirelessly to deliver everyday wishes throughout the holiday season and beyond. This season, UPS wants to share these magical stories and also make it more special with your help! Let me explain:

For every wish submitted with the hashtag #WishesDelivered, UPS will donate $1 to one of their charity partners (Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Club, or Toys for Tots) up to $100K!

This campaign has already begun. The specific dates for this are November 10, 2014 – December 31, 2014. All you have to do to help is submit a wish, any wish for SOMEONE ELSE that is selfless and meaningful. It’s SO easy, so fun, and it’s a great way to help raise money for charity!

How to Submit a Wish:
Post your wish to Twitter or Instagram with the campaign hashtag #WishesDelivered and it will automatically be submitted. Another option is to go direct to the #WishesDelivered site and manually submit there.

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What do you say? I’m going to submit my wish for the children of the world. Will you join me and submit YOUR wish, whatever it is? You’ll be helping a charity, and bringing more awareness to this cause, and yours! Let’s make this holiday season the most loving, kind, and generous one yet!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Feeling Financially Inadequate?

Do you ever feel financially inadequate, like you’re not providing well enough?  How about feeling like you’re being looked down on by others who have more money?

 

I promise you, you’re not alone.

 

___my_guide_to_happiness____by_moonlightfox1200-d62xbe1.pngI sometimes wonder how much of it is in my head, or just imagined.  The other day, we had some relatives over, and the kids visiting made the comment, “Wow, your house is REALLY OLD.”  They also commented to my daughter about her “ugly old” ceiling, and wondered why we didn’t have nicer toys.  Was I imagining judgement in their tones?  Probably.  They are kids, after all, and kids say what they’re thinking.  These particular children have always lived in a new house, and whenever they’ve moved, it’s been to a bigger, better house that has been built just for them.  That is enough for them to question the way others live, right?

 

And yet, when things like that happen, I have the hardest time not getting down and depressed about it.  I find myself questioning my abilities as a parent to provide for my kids.  I wonder why MY husband isn’t the head of PR, or a manager at work, or in some other leadership and high-paying position.  Guess where all these thoughts lead me?  No where I want to be, that’s for sure.

 

So, how do we prevent ourselves from feeling inadequate when we find ourselves financially strapped?  It’s easy, in theory…a little harder in practice.  We’ve got to STOP the comparison game!  I don’t generally compare my financial situation with others, because I’ve grown up enough to not really care what people think.  Every once in a while, however, someone will make an innocent comment, and I start drawing comparisons and questioning my abilities.

 

indexWhen we are able to truly appreciate that we all are different and have our own stories and situations, and that this is a GOOD thing, it gets easier.  Remember, there is no point to being the best “someone else” you can be.  Also, taking the time to notice and really see the happiness in the eyes of our loved ones is a beautiful reminder that we are doing enough.  Making memories is so much more important than making stuff…and remembering that, no matter our circumstances, can make all the difference.

Susie’s Hope DVD – Review and a Giveaway!

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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.