How To Monetize a Small Blog by Luke Weil – Review

I received a free printed copy  of the book, How to Monetize a Small Blog by Luke Weil for the purposes of this review.  The opinions are mine alone.

monetizeI know that the topic of making money from home is one many of my readers are interested in.  While I make a little extra change from home currently, I don’t make enough to really write a lot about.  Maybe when I’m not working full time anymore (one day, right?) I will be able to put more effort into this type of income.  It is still, however, a topic that I’m interested in, and a topic that I want to share with you.

When I was given the opportunity to read and review this book, How to Monetize a Small Blog, I jumped on it.  I was very excited to receive a printed copy, so that I could “mark it up” as I found new information.

The book is a good one for beginners.  It’s a small book, so you don’t have to worry about becoming overwhelmed with hundreds of pages of information.  The author, Luke Weil, shares a lot of different methods that are used to monetize blogs, and he explains how each method works, and the pros and cons of each.  He shares specific information on  HOW to implement the different methods.  He does not, however, give specific examples of WHERE to start.  Does that make sense?  Let me give you an example:  He talks about direct marketing, and the pros and cons of that.  He gives details on how to set prices.  He does not provide specific companies and websites that you can utilize in order to do direct marketing.

Over all, it’s a pretty easy read, and fairly thorough.  I felt like I learned more about the different methods available.  I think this is a good book for a beginner blogger, probably not so great for an experienced blogger.  Good, basic information.   You can check it out HERE!

Personal Water Filters – Emergency Preparedness

*I received the product mentioned free of charge for the purposes of this review.  The opinions are mine alone.  I will NEVER recommend something I don’t truly believe in.



320px-FEMA_-_37174_-_Emergency_Preparedness_^quot,ready_to_go^quot,_kit.Most of you know that I am into emergency preparedness.  I don’t go as far as to worry about living in tent cities or storing items I don’t use for barter, but I do like to have items around to keep my family safe if something were to happen.  We have a food storage, and I keep several first-aid kits throughout my home and in my cars.  I also keep a 72-hour kit for each of my family members.


A few months ago, I read about water filter straws.  The idea intrigued me, and I wanted to learn more.  They are pretty cool, it turns out!  After hearing about the woman who survived for 9 days in the wilderness in the Sierra National Forest, I’m betting that there are others who are curious about these water filters as well.  What an amazing story that is!  I’m so glad it had a happy ending.  :)


I actually received an Acquapura water filter straw about a month ago so that I could review it.  Let me tell you a little about how these things work:


  • Triple Layer Filtration System – makes water 100% safe to drink; Softens Water and Eliminates Water Odor
    Features a Unique Cap with an Innovative Dust-Free Design; Protecting You from the Secondary Pollution of the Outlet Mouthpiece.
    Certified By the WQA and the TUV-SUD; the Most Respected Ranking Organizations for These Types of Products.
    Filters 99.999% of Waterborne Bacteria Greater Than .01 Microns
    Exclusive Antibacterial GAC “Damping System” with UF Membrane Ensures that Raw Water is Completely Filtrated.
  • • Compact and Light-Weight at just 2.12 Oz (60 Grams)

These things are genius!  I wish I’d learned about them before, but I am certainly grateful that I have not been in a position in which I needed one for survival.  I have already purchased more so that I can add one to each of our 72-hour kits.  I’m thinking they are a must have for any wilderness camping and hiking too.  You just never know, and they don’t take up any space or weigh a thing…so why not?


This is just another item that I think is a must have in our emergency kits.  When disaster hits, water can quickly become a vital resource, but not if you can’t filter it.  Buy yourself some peace of mind and look into these; I really recommend it.  You can click HERE to purchase this specific brand (NOT an affiliate link; I won’t get a penny if you purchase), or search for other brands online.  There are many options, and I really feel that they are worth every penny!




Getting in Shape on a Budget – Jump Rope, Anyone?

I am a person who will never own a gym membership.


I simply can’t justify the cost.  I know there are cool exercise machines that I don’t have at home, and I know that going to a gym helps you really be in the zone while working out…but I just can’t convince myself that it’s worth the cost when I can get a perfectly good workout at home.

There are SO many affordable options out there for getting in shape at home.  Some products require a one-time purchase, and then you’re working out for free.  Other options are completely free.  It doesn’t cost a thing to walk around the neighborhood in shoes you already own!  It doesn’t cost a thing to do push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, or burpees!

I won’t lie, I do have a few small pieces of equipment that I use and love.  I own a couple of exercise DVDs.  They’ve been well worth the cost.  I own a couple sets of dumbbells and an exercise ball.  I own a jump rope.  I LOVE to jump rope, but my wrists tend to get sore when using them a lot….until I found this one:

The rope rotates inside the handle so smoothly that there is no need for me to turn my wrist to compensate the rope turning. I LOVE that about it. It’s really easy to cut to your own personal size, too. Simply unscrew the “cap” from the handle and cut the actual rope to size. My kids both love it and keep trying to steal it from me, but I guess I’m okay with that. :) It seems like a durable rope, and I am getting a lot of use out of it!  The best part is that you can get it on Amazon for a little over $12!


Still need some ideas?  Here are some of my favorite free or affordable workout options and gear:



*I received the jump rope free in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions are mine alone.  NONE of the links posted are affiliate links; I will receive NO compensation if they are clicked on.  I simply like the products. :)
What are YOUR favorite ways to get exercise?


Freedom’s Child By Jax Miller

11046168_10207560230662652_4094302550331875429_nFreedom Oliver has plenty of secrets.  She lives in a small Oregon town and keeps mostly to herself.  Her few friends and neighbors know she works at the local biker bar; they know she gets arrested for public drunkenness almost every night; they know she’s brash, funny, and fearless.

What they don’t know is that Freedom Oliver is a fake name.  They don’t know that she was arrested for killing her husband, a cop, twenty years ago.  They don’t know she put her two kids up for adoption.  They don’t know that she’s now in witness protection, regretting ever making a deal with the Feds, and missing her children with a heartache so strong it makes her ill.


I wasn’t sure how I felt about Freedom’s Child and the main character, Freedom, at the beginning of the story.  I felt that the author was spending a lot of energy showing what a troubled individual Freedom is.  Her troubled past and issues are important to the story, but it seemed that sexual innuendos or other crude language was used more than it needed to be in order to make a point.  Once that was established, however, the story was pretty good.  It’s fast paced, and soon I discovered that Freedom’s issues were nothing compared to the issues other characters in the story had.  I enjoyed the second half of the book much more, and was enthralled throughout.  I’m glad that in the end Freedom turned out to be a more likable character than I would have initially thought, and her wit and attitude can be kinda funny, when it’s not offensive.


I’m giving this book 3.5 stars.  I liked it, but didn’t love it.


*I received a complimentary copy of Freedom’s Child by Jax Miller from Blogging For Books for the purposes of this review.  The opinions are mine alone.

Got Kitty Liter? Two Meows Cat Litter Mat Review

* I received the product discussed below free in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions are all mine.  


We’ve got two cats, and two stresses come with it:  Cat fur all over, and cat liter boxes.


Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE our cats.  My kids love the cats.  They are fun and cuddly and friendly, and cuddly, and very cuddly.  But man oh man, I don’t always love that liter box. :)  One of the issues we (and all cat owners around the world, I assume) have is liter tracking.  It’s always a mess around the liter box.  Which is why I was really excited when I received the opportunity to try out a cat litter mat!



resize_d9f2178956945d873ea59f0aa054478a0a6770fe2a9601cffe62061a56d63d673643d8db128128Here’s a little information about the product:

Our cat litter mat is a cute paw shape and is very effective and reducing cat litter scatter. 

The benefits to our litter mat is:

1. It’s extremely effective at reducing the amount of litter scatter around your box. 
2. It reduces the amount of litter that gets tracked in your carpet and furniture.
3. Very simple to clean, just fold in half and dump litter back into the box. You can also sweep it and rinse it. 
4. It’s very soft on your cats paws.
5. It’s fun to use. 
6. We back our product with a 100% satisifaction guarantee.This mat is adorable, and it really does help with excess liter leaving the kitty liter box.

It traps the liter right in the mat.

It traps the liter right in the mat.

As mentioned, I have two cats, and the one mat by itself isn’t enough to keep up with the liter they both use, so I’ll be purchasing another one shortly. In the meantime though, it’s working and it really does help!  My cats really seem to like it.  My daughter likes it so much she thought I ought to buy another mat just for her to have a “welcome mat” for her bedroom, lol.  That’s how cute the thing is.  If you’ve got cats, I think it’s a worthy purchase.  I’m grateful for anything that helps with mess management.


Now to find an automatic litter box pooper scooper. :)


*You can learn more about the product HERE.  It’s also available on

My River Trip – Cleansing for the Soul (And Stinky Shoes)

*I received a sample of the product discussed in exchange for an honest review.  NO monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are mine alone.


Not the cleanest river ever...

Not the cleanest river ever…

When I went on my river trip, I had such a blast!  I’m totally afraid of water too, so in addition to getting away for a few days, I had the opportunity to really face some fears, and to cleanse my soul.  It was incredible.


My shoes got very wet on multiple occasions, which didn’t bother me, cause hey, it’s a river.  However, I noticed them getting more and more smelly.  Upon arriving home, I found I had a package.  It was this all natural shoe odor eliminator.  Talk about good timing! Ha ha.


This odor eliminator is safe for the whole family.  They use proven science to eradicate the stench and keep resize_d968c9c321c7f418fda3a479a5d0308fb7df2fbb4c90909cb64374d19b50e6c62217ae42256256shoes smelling fresh.  They offer a “Stink Free Guarantee.” 100% Satisfied or your money back.  In addition, 10% of all sales go to build a well in Africa. Sweet, right?


I knew I had to try it out immediately.  On all shoe types.  My daughter’s shoes tend to get kinda smelly, so we tested it out on those.  The smell was eliminated.  NOT covered, but gone!  We tried another pair.  Same results.  But we hadn’t given it the real test yet.  I hadn’t tried it on my smelly river shoes.  They were so bad that I couldn’t bring them in the house.  They just sat outside, stinking away, and I forgot about them for a few days.  I tried this odor eliminator and it helped, but they were still smelly.  So, I tried again.  I figured I’d keep spraying them each day until the smell dissipated.  It was a great idea except for the fact that I left the shoes outside while waiting.  That wouldn’t be a problem if we hadn’t had all the rain.  It rained every day for a week or so.  That doesn’t happen often in our area.  Oh yeah, so those poor shoes got wet and dry and wet and dry over and over.  lol.

After about 5 applications (twice per day for 2-3 days), the smell was….GONE!!!  I brought my shoes back in and even wore them for the first time in 2 weeks!  This stuff really works.  You can buy 2 bottles for $12.95, so about $6.50 each…not bad.  You can also buy higher quantities for an additional discount.


Have you ever gone on a trip that you felt just cleansed you on the inside?  This trip was that for me.  We had a lot of challenges and struggles, and I think it was just what our group needed.  Having challenges to overcome, and then overcoming them, was a powerful thing.  Facing my fear of water was freeing.  In addition to them providing all the meals for us and rafting us, the volunteer guides provided presentations and activities designed to help us to empower ourselves as mothers of kids with autism.  Stress relief, self empowerment, and more was discussed.  It was a trip I’ll never forget!

sanjuan52 sanjuan98



Wordless Wednesday – Capitol Reef 10 comments

We went on a mini-vacation last week to Capitol Reef National Park.  Hardly crowded at all, and totally beautiful!



This is the cabin we stayed in.


view from the front of our cabin.

Actual Native American ruins at the Anasazi State Park museum


Replica of ruins at the Anasazi State Park museum


Scenic road in Capitol Reef National Park


Picture my daughter took just outside a slot canyon along Scenic Highway 12.


Just outside the slot canyon


Inside the slot canyon. This was my kids’ favorite part of the whole trip!


Scenic overlook along highway 12


It rained most of the time, so the time in the pool was short.

0708151044a 0708151309c


I hope you all have a great week!  Feel free to link up your awesome photos below. :)



WAVEstream Wireless Speaker – Review

*I received the product free for the purposes of this review.  NO monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are 100% my own.


11403413_10153737014175353_7891874408194885858_nAbout the speaker:

WAVEstream Wireless Bluetooth speaker system

Designed for your work and play lifestyle. Audio fidelity is clear and sharp with nice deep bass tones. Keep WAVEstream in the conference room at the office for phone call meetings with the team or use it in your home and take it with you from room to room with ease. 

Product Features: 
– New Bluetooth 3.0 Technology 
– Change tracks from your phone or directly from WAVEstream track buttons: works on Pandora, Spotify, Tidal, Sound Cloud & more music apps! 
– Two 40MM drivers deliver deep, rich clear sound 
– Built-in Phone Conferencing Microphone for Taking Calls 
– Line In input gives you a wired listening option (great for non Bluetooth device connectivity) 
– Audible Low Battery alerts notification sound 


My Thoughts:

I love the speaker.  You can see my video review below:


So, I’m pretty new to bluetooth technology.  I’m quickly learning to love it, however!  This speaker produces a nice, deep, rich sound.  And it’s so dang easy to use!  I simply turn it on and then turn the music on my phone on…it connects automatically and provides me a better sound experience.  There are some negatives as well, in my opinion.  The cord to charge the speaker is REALLY short.  I also feel like the battery life isn’t as long as I’d like it to be.  Here’s a good summary:



  • Connects automatically
  • Deep, rich sound
  • Connects  to my phone from 25 or so feet away, so I can be in another room and still hear it.
  • Awesome sleek design
  • Really easy to use
  • Good deal at $24


  • Really short charging cord
  • It sometimes takes awhile to connect
  • Needs to be recharged quite often – at least daily
  • When it connects, it beeps really loudly – scares my son.

I’ll keep using it, I’ll tell you that!  I kinda want to get another one for my daughter so she’ll stop stealing mine, but then again, two loud speakers playing two different melodies in one house might be rough….maybe I’ll get her some bluetooth headphones instead. :)

Homemade Nut Milks and a Nut Milk Strainer Bag Giveaway! 7 comments

I received the product mentioned below for a heavily discounted price, for the purpose of this review.  NO monetary compensation was received.


Y’all know how I can’t ingest much dairy, right?


I think I’ve figured it out.  I think it’s the lactose.  I seem to do okay having whey, and the hardest cheeses don’t cause me too much grief.  Drinking straight milk, however, is NOT an option.  Since buying myself a BlendTec, I’ve been having a hay day with making homemade coconut and almond milks.  It’s really, really simple, and the taste is great!




To make my coconut milk, I start by drilling a few holes in the coconut.  You know, where those indents are at?  Then I drain the coconut water from them.



Once they’ve been opened and rinsed off, I stick them on a cookie sheet and “bake” them for 15 minutes or so….this is simply to loosen the hard shell and make it easier to remove the meat from the shell.


Once you’ve got your pieces of peeled coconut, blend it with the coconut water and added filtered water.  I usually do about 2 cups of water with one coconut.  (Two cups of filtered water, this is in addition to the coconut water I drained from the coconut.)  You’ll want a high-powered blender for this.  Blend it for a good few minutes, and then strain.  I used a Nut Milk Strainer Bag for this, and I couldn’t believe how much better it worked than other methods I’ve used in the past.  My favorite coconut milk recipe can be found HERE.




To make almond milk is similar.  Simply soak 1 cup of raw, organic almonds in water for a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight.  Rinse them and blend with 4 cups of filtered water, a pinch of sea salt, and a bit of sweetener of your choice (optional).  I’ve added a few Medjool dates, and also stevia for sweetening.  Both are delicious.  Strain with the bag and enjoy your milk!  Two of my favorite recipes for almond milk are here and here.


8cc0c31ba8f2538a914535beae79f94b07a43e2bThis is the strainer bag I used.  It is from My Nut Milk Bag‘s website.  It comes in a 2 Pack (1 Large 12″x12″ & 1 Medium 12″x9″), and the bags can be used in place of cheesecloth for making your own fresh/healthy soy milk, nut milk, almond milk, juice or for sprouting. These multi-purpose nut milk bags are made of food grade, commerical, strong, high quality fine nylon mesh that does not stretch out in the same way that cotton cheesecloth does and can be reused over and over again.


Reused over and over!!  No more cheesecloth for me.  I wish I’d gotten one of these YEARS ago.  It has made the process so much easier, so much less messy, and I’ll never go back.  I’ll also probably never want to go back to commercially prepared coconut and/or almond milk, either. :)




I like these bags enough that I’d like to host a giveaway for one of you, my awesome readers.  YAY!!  Enter below, and good luck!!  Ends July 17.



Nut Milk Strainer Bags Giveaway

Konjac Facial Sponge with Activated Charcoal – Review

*I received a complimentary product for the purposes of this review.  NO monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are 100% my own.

2a1f770e62447b99912ebfc1950e299e811a0d26About the sponge:

Gently yet effectively exfoliates dead skin cells, removes toxins, oils and impurities from your skin. Furthermore, it removes fatigue appearance and customers have amazing results with acne skin. 

100% SAFE FOR EVERY DAY USE BECAUSE it is luxuriously gentle, pH balanced and doesn’t damage your skin as other harsh products do. You will even save your money, because this sponge doesn’t require a cleanser and does all the job of removing blackheads and breakouts.

100% NATURAL ECO-AND-ANIMAL FRIENDLY BIODEGRADEABLE – We have evaluated dozens of sponges on the market before putting our name below it. The konjac fiber is grown on a very high altitude in Japan, Korea and China, thus being very pure and pollutant free. It is filled with precious nutrients such as protein, carbohydrate, iron, phosphorus, copper, zinc, vitamins A, E, D, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and folic acid. Your skin will thank you every day!



My Thoughts:


Okay, people…this is the real deal.  Everything that the description says about your skin feeling amazing afterwards is true.  Holy cow, it feels so smooth and soft!  It’s so weird, because you’re just rubbing a sponge on your face, but it feels like you’re putting on a moisturizing product.  It’s silky…it GLIDES.  I kid you not.  I’m in love, I really am.  There is minimal packaging, which I appreciate.  It seems to lose its shape after a few uses, but it still works, so I’m cool with it.

One of my favorite things about this sponge is that it tricks my son every time I get it wet.  He sees it and asks, “Mom, why are you rubbing a brownie on your face?”  It cracks me up. It does kinda look like a brownie when it’s wet, I guess!  It’s only $10 at Amazon!