Monday, July 30, 2012

Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins

Title: Midwife of the Blue Ridge
Author: Christine Blevins

Pages: 432 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction, mid 1700's
Edition: I received this book from Ms. Blevins, and believe it was one of her Author Copies. Christine - Thank you SO much!! I loved your book!



****Ok - this was another all-time favorite book, so I wanted to make sure it was featured here on What Wendi Wants - again, forgive the older writing, I did this one in 2008, and it was one of my first reviews! ***


Perfect for : Book Club Reading (Note, the author has included a list of thoughtful questions at the back of the book) , Lit or History class reading, Personal reading

In a nutshell: I couldn't put it down - literally! Three nights in a row, my poor husband woke up around midnight to find me still reading in bed with a tiny light so I could finish the book! The story begins in 1746 Scotland, and continues in America 1763. The story surrounds Maggie Duncan, a young Scottish girl orphaned at an early age due to the massacre of her village by the English. After helping a wounded Scottish man to his home, she learns her skills as a midwife from his wife Hannah, who dies and leaves her alone in a village where the people believe she is bad luck. She travels to America as an indentured servant, intending to trade four years of service in exchange for freedom. She overcomes every hurdle encountered in this new life. This is a story of endurance, hope and love. Christine Blevins has cleverly included many details from the period to give readers a very vivid dose of what life was like in those times. She also gives us a glimpse of viewpoints from both the American settler and American Indian. This was an amazing book, and I particularly appreciated the fact that she wove both the good and bad into her story, which gave the reader a better sense of the times and the realities that people faced.

Description from Amazon:
They call her Dark Maggie for her thick black hair, but the name also has a more sinister connotation. As the lone survivor of an attack on her village, she was thought to be cursed -- and unfit for marriage. Maggie is also gifted with quick wits and skilled in medicine, trained as a midwife. Venturing to the colonies as an indentured servant, she hopes to escape the superstitions of the old country -- and find a home of her own. But what she discovers is a New World fraught with new dangers.

First Paragraph:
"Its a rare thing for a child to be delivered at my convenience . . . " Hannah launched herself from the warm cocoon of her bedcovers. A midwife is never surprised by a knock on the door in the middle of the night, but Hannah Cameron was indeed surprised when she opened the door and found a strange, bedraggled mite of a girl on her stair step.

My Review:
The story begins in 1746 Scotland, right after the battle of Culloden, where a seven year old Maggie Duncan has miraculously survived the massacre of her village. She finds Alan, a mortally wounded highlander who fought at Culloden and helps him travel home to his wife, Hannah. Hannah is grateful to Maggie for bringing her Alan home, and when she loses him and finds that Maggie is alone in the world, she takes the girl in and begins to teach her about herbs and midwifery.


Hannah tries to prepare Maggie for life without her protection by telling Maggie that she and Alan had planned on going to America as indentured servants, explaining that after four years of service, they would be free and could claim land for themselves. She encourages Maggie to leave for America, adding that once she is gone, there will be no protection from the superstitious villagers who call Maggie "Dark Maggie" and think she has the evil eye.

The story continues in 1763, when Maggie is now trying to survive on her own among a people who are afraid of her. A sea captain offers Maggie the chance to sign a contract and travel to the new world as an indentured servant. She agrees and begins the long trip to America, where the story really takes off.

Maggie uses her skills to help the other travellers on board the ship, and when they land in Virginia, her contract is won by a settler named Seth Martin, who is in desperate need of help for his ailing wife who is pregnant. Maggie is the answer to his prayers. I will stop describing the book at this point as I don't want to ruin it for anyone. Needless to say, the adventure has just begun, and before it is over, Maggie will experience loss, love, heartache and challenges as she forges a new life in this New World. She will encounter settlers, hunters, black slaves and Native Americans. Throughout her experience, she makes the best of her situation and continues to add to her skills as a healer/midwife.

The story is filled with characters who have been created with depth of character, having both strengths and faults alike. Meet the characters (there were SO many wonderful characters, but I will only include a few here):
  • Maggie Duncan - learns healing skills from a local midwife/healer after her village is brutally murdered. She travels from Scotland to America with high hopes of a new life as a free person.
  • Seth Martin - the settler who purchases her contract in America. Married to ailing Naomi who is pregnant again after suffering the loss of another baby. Seth and Naomi have three other children: Jack, Winnie, Battler.
  • Tom Roberts - an accomplished hunter/bachelor who survived life with a tribe of Native Americans and now successfully hunts and trades to earn his living.
  • Cavendish - the son of a Duke, he has been sent to America by his father to escape from the consequences of some of his actions. He is a lecher and drunk. He supervises black slaves in the creation of a tobacco plantation after chasing settlers off the land he has been charged with controlling.
  • Simon Peavey - young man who was raised by Native Americans. He does not quite fit in either world, that of the Americans or the Native Americans. He comes across as a selfish young man, who is not quite mature enough to deal with the life he faces.
  • Figg - a mentally slow individual whose character develops throughout the second half of the story, and who has a large part in the conclusion. His character grows on you.
This is a story of endurance, hope and love, passion and perseverance. Christine Blevins has cleverly included many details from the period to give readers a very vivid dose of what life was like in those times. She must have done a lot of research in both the period of history and herbal lore. I learned a lot of facts I was not aware of while reading this book.

She also weaves into her story an accounting of viewpoints from both the American settler and American Indian, which I found refreshing, creating a feeling that both peoples felt they were in the right.

This was an amazing book, and I particularly appreciated the fact that she wove the good and bad into her story - this was a harsh time in history, and many books sugar-coat it by challenging the characters with getting the crop in before it rains. That said, please note that I would not recommend this book for young adults as some of the scenes within the book were appropriate for adults, but could be too graphic for youngsters (there is a rape scene, scalping, a soldier is staked and burned alive,etc.). I do believe the scenes were very well-written and an appropriate representation of the time. I am very glad Christine Blevins took the time to research as much as she did - I've got a much better understanding of exactly how dangerous it could be on the Frontier during those times!

**I apologize now for those of you reading this first posting - I will most likely return and revise the review as I recall things from the book. I stayed up too late last night to finish the book, but couldn't wait to post something about it as I loved it so much!

About the author:


This is Christine's first book. Take a moment to visit Christine Blevins website here.

Christine has posted an excerpt of her book on her website [removed due to broken link] and I encourage you to go read it - I truly loved this book!

From her site (I took this information from multiple pages):
The MIDWIFE OF THE BLUE RIDGE story combines two concepts that intrigue me – war as a catalyst that transforms lives, and the pioneer spirit – the willingness to venture into the unknown.

Being a first generation American, and knowing only too well why and how my family “came across the water”, I was fascinated by my husband Brian’s family history – Americans as far back as anyone could figure. This link to the American past belonged to my children, and so by extension, it now belonged to me. Together, Brian and I began to research the Blevins line – I was looking for my American roots. While researching we bumped into a pair of interesting fellows – Will Blevins, and his brother-in-law Elijah Wallen. These men lived in the foothills of the Blue Ridge around 1761. Both men were longhunters, and they were among the first handful of white men to venture through the Cumberland Gap into uncharted wilderness beyond the mountains.

Well, these longhunter guys drew me onto the colonial frontier, and they proved to be the inspiration for the Tom Roberts character.

The midwife Maggie Duncan is inspired by the classic immigrant story similar to my parent’s story. Maggie’s young life was disrupted by the grand events of her time – events beyond her control that eventually forced her to venture into the unknown in search of a better life.

I set out to write the kind of book I love to read รก la my favorite historical authors like Dumas, Sabatini, Clavell and Cornwell. I combined Maggie’s immigrant tale with Tom’s yearning to see what lie beyond the horizon. I threw in a few faithful friends, a despicable Englishman, a woman of easy virtue, a giant named Figg and a dog named Friday. I mixed it all up with a good portion of adventure, action, tragedy and romance and I wound up with MIDWIFE OF THE BLUE RIDGE. 


*** Special Note: This post was originally written in 2008 and was posted on my other blog Wendi's Book Corner *** 

 Disclosure: I received this book in exchange for my honest review. I am an Amazon Associate.

Book Review: Silent in the Grave (A Lady Julia Grey Novel) by Deanna Raybourn

Title: Silent in the Grave
Author: Denna Raybourn
Edition: Standard Book



****Ok, this is one of my reviews from 2008, so my writing style has changed a lot, but this book/series remains a favorite to this day, so I wanted to share it with you here on What Wendi Wants****

Perfect for : Personal reading, Book Club recommendation, Really a MUST HAVE for fans of mystery, romance, and Regency/Victorian Era books

In a nutshell: A wonderfully written first book set in 1886. The story takes place in London, 1886 and masterfully combines mystery and a hint of romance. The book begins: "To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor." From there, it flows very nicely and keeps the reader's attention. The characters are well-written and fascinating, the settings well-described, and the plot intriguing. Once I picked this book up, I literally could not put it down, to the dismay of my family (husband and one year old) - I was exhausted for a few days (read through the night . . . well . . . many nights) and picked it up every moment I could during the day - I believe I even burned dinner one night because I kept telling myself - dinner can cook for just one more paragraph over and over!

Product description from Amazon.com:
"Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave."

These ominous words, slashed from the pages of a book of Psalms, are the last threat that the darling of London society, Sir Edward Grey, receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, Sir Edward collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.

Prepared to accept that Edward's death was due to a longstanding physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggests that Sir Edward has been murdered. It is a reaction she comes to regret when she discovers the damning paper for herself, and realizes the truth.

Determined to bring her husband's murderer to justice, Julia engages the enigmatic Brisbane to help her investigate Edward's demise. Dismissing his warnings that the investigation will be difficult, if not impossible, Julia presses forward, following a trail of clues that lead her to even more unpleasant truths, and ever closer to a killer who waits expectantly for her arrival.

The story takes place in 1886 London, and centers around Lady Julia Grey, who loses her husband in the opening chapter, and meets the man who tries to help her solve his mysterious death over his dying body. Meet Nicholas Brisbane, the man who had been approached by her husband prior to his death to investigate what he thought was a murder threat.

The overall plot of the story is entertaining, and will lead you on a great adventure.

The characters were well-written and work together to create quite an interesting team:
  • Lady Julia Grey: Main character, who loses her husband and turns into an investigator to learn the truth behind his death.
  • Nicholas Brisbane: Darkly handsome and mysterious man from society who approaches Julia, offering his services as a discreet investigator to help find her husband's murderer. (He is one of my favorite characters as you continue to learn about him in bits and pieces throughout the book)
  • Aquinas: Lady Julia's proud butler
  • Morag: Julia's personal maid, with a sordid past
  • Magda: Gypsy lady who does Julia's laundry
  • Aunt Ursula "The Ghoul": Julia's Aunt, well-known in the family to be obsesses with death, who moves in with any family member who has suffered a loss in order to provide "support."
  • Fleur: Close friend of Nicholas, courtesan
I loved the twists and turns provided throughout the book, the glimpses of the character's pasts, and the feeling of anticipation that built as I read.
If you are a fan of this type of book, it is a must have, and if you aren't a fan of this genre, take a chance and give it a try - I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Other books in the series: Silent in the Sanctuary (Book 2, available now), Silent on the Moor (Book 3, available March 2009)

*** Special Note: This post was originally written in 2008 and was posted on my other blog Wendi's Book Corner ***

Disclosure: I received this book in exchange for my honest review. I am an Amazon Associate.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Book Review: Jesse (The Secret Lives of Cowboys, Book 3) by C.H. Admirand

I have read all three of the books in C.H. Admirand's The Secret Lives of Cowboys series, which includes: Tyler (Book 1), Dylan (Book 2) and now Jesse (Book 3).  I loved them all, but I think my favorite is Jesse, because while the story is focused on the third Garahan brother Jesse, you also get to read about the other two and their significant others as well.

Jesse's story is special.  He has been burned in the recent past by the same woman TWICE.  That is twice his heart was broken, and now he is fiercely loyal to his brothers and the Circle G Ranch.

One afternoon, he stops to help a woman who's car has broken down by the side of the road, little knowing that it will change his life forever.

Danielle's car has overheated and she is SO close to her beloved Uncle's home, where she hopes to be able to pull her life together and start fresh with her little pink cowgirl daughter Lacy, whose father up and left both ladies after he decided that married life wasn't for him and he wanted to focus on his bull-riding career.

It seems that fate has thrown Jesse, Danielle and little Lacy together to see if they can learn to trust and love again.

Readers will fall in love with ALL the characters, including Danielle's Uncle, but especially with little Lacy.  And we get a good peek at the Garahan brother's cousins, which I hope will lead to more books!!

I absolutely love C.H. Admirand's writing style.  She has infused her books with warmth and rugged family values.  You want to meet her characters in real life, and what I wouldn't give to visit the Circle G Ranch and eat at Danielle's Uncle's Diner.

Cowboy Romances aren't my normal reads, and I LOVE these, so even if they aren't YOUR norm, run out and give one a try - I'll bet you'll love these Irish brothers and their gals as much as I do.



Jesse (The Secret Lives of Cowboys, Book 3)  
 by C.H. Admirand  
 Sourcebooks Casablanca (July 3, 2012)  ~ 352 pages
 Fiction / Romance / Western

Edition Reviewed: ARC- Review copy received courtesy of the publisher, many thanks to both the author and the publisher for sending me a copy to review!


About the Book:
Jesse Garahan is the third and youngest Garahan brother, and has all the Irish charm. He’s had his heart broken twice by the same woman, so he no longer believes in love. Until he meets Danielle Brockway and her tiny daughter Lacey, on their way to their new home in Pleasure, Texas.

Danielle’s worthless husband left her high and dry with their little daughter, cleaning out their bank account before she filed for divorce. Now she’s alone, but she knows she can make it in the small town where life is simple… Then she encounters Jesse. She just can’t seem to help herself where long-limbed, swaggering Texas men are concerned. As the passion between them flares, suddenly, life is anything but simple.

About the Author: (from the Publisher)
C.H. Admirand was born in Aiken, South Carolina. She has published 9 bestselling novels for the library market. Her Secret Life of Cowboy trilogy, published by Sourcebooks Casablanca, includes Tyler, Dylan and now, Jesse. She lives with her husband, who is the inspiration for all of her heroes’ very best traits, in northern New Jersey, where she is working on a brand new small town romance series, beginning with in the Fall of 2012. For more information, please visit http://www.chadmirand.com/ or follow her on twitter, @chadmirand.


*Disclosure: I am an Amazon Associate. I get a very small amount for any purchases made when you click through a link from Wendi's Book Corner, which I then save up to buy more books. :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

AstroBrights Papers for All Your Paper Needs #goastrobrights

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Astrobrights Papers by Neenah Paper for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I don't think you realize how important paper is until you go to do a special craft project or work on a project for school, work or home.  THAT is when great paper makes a BIG difference, and where AstroBrights papers comes in.

AstroBrights papers come in 23 different colors, making sure you have the perfect color for your home, school or work project.  Their paper is also great to make brochures, flyers, signs, invitations, announcements and craft projects.  AstroBrights paper helps your projects stand out.  

Right now, courtesy of AstroBrights, you can help your local elementary school by entering the "Give a Brighter Year" where you could win a cash prize and supplies worth $30,000.  The winner will get to choose a local elementary school of their choice to receive the cash and prizes.

You can also participate in Astrobrights' family-friendly "Make Something AstroBright" design challenges where you can use your creativity for a chance to win AstroBrights papers and other prizes.  You are able to share your projects via photographs and video.  If you choose to share your projects and creations via Pinterest or Twitter, please include the hashtag #goastrobrights.

AstroBrights papers will be great for summer crafts projects, garage sale signs, party invitations and SCRAPBOOKING!  I've got a lot of scrapbooking to catch up on.

With school starting dates approaching (I know, you didn't want to face that yet did you?), I'll bet AstroBrights papers will come in handy for a multitude of projects: school crafts, reports, diarama projects, school notices, parent meetings, invitations, etc. 

So now I challenge you - what will you use AstroBrights papers for?  I encourage you to enter both "Give a Brighter Year" and "Make Something AstroBright."

Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Skipper's Revenge by Julie Murphy Teahan

Book Title: Skipper's Revenge
Author: Julie Murphy Teahan



I first read this book as part of a bzzCampaign through bzzAgent. I enjoyed it so much, I recommended it for one of the book clubs I participate in. We had a great time reading and discussing this book.

Back of book:

I never got my chance to be Barbie. My fate as a Skipper was forever sealed.
Since 1950, seven out of every ten girls in America have owned a Barbie doll. Paige Sheehan was not one of them. Her mother believed that playing with a doll whose breasts made up half of her body mass was inappropriate for a nine-year-old girl.

During her childhood, Paige was forced to sneak to a friend’s house for her Barbie fixes, where she was directed to play Barbie’s less glamorous younger sister, Skipper. Now more than twenty years later, Paige has a theory that women are either Barbies or Skippers—and she still longs to play the superior role. Barbie women come readily stocked with beauty and accessories galore. Skippers are the younger sisters, impatient to grow up from their awkward adolescence and fill the high-heeled shoes of their glamorous sibling.

Confronted with a failed relationship, a dying father, and a legal entanglement, Paige is forced to look beyond packaging. Unlike Barbie, born with an empire of houses, clothes, and companions, Paige discovers the value of being what she considers to be less than perfect. With a new love interest and a renewed sense of self, Paige takes on the seemingly Barbie-dominated world around her with wit, style, and determination.


I found this book to be refreshingly fun to read, as well as highly entertaining.

True to its title, the main character Paige Sheehan compares all people in life to Mattell's Barbie doll or her younger sister Skipper . . . describing herself as Skipper, lacking the perfect figure, perfect hair, great wardrobe and stylish boyfriend.

Throughout the book, Paige overcomes one challenge after another, including a rediculous lawsuit, boyfriend troubles, and a significant death in her family, showing us that it is these things that help to build her character.

I loved this book from start to finish and would challenge men and women alike to take a peak into the world Julie Murphy Teahan has created for Paige - you might find more than you expected!

*** Special Note:  This post was originally written in 2008 and was posted on my other blog Wendi's Book Corner ***

Disclosure:  I received this book in exchange for my honest review.  I am an Amazon Associate.

A Song For the Missing by Stewart O'Nan

Title: Songs for the Missing
Author: Stewart O'Nan
Available: October 30th, 2008
Edition Read: Advance Reader Copy: I received the book Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan by participating in the Barnes and Nobles First Look Program, where I got to discuss the book with other pre-readers and also got a chance to interact with the author himself. What an opportunity!



Best Read For: Personal reading, book club reading, great for discussions

In a nutshell: Stuart O'Nan has written a fictional book that reads like non-fiction in that it explores the events and emotions experienced by friends, family, neighbors and volunteers as the search for a missing girl progresses, providing the reader with great insight into what experiences might be like surrounding a missing person. I found myself viewing events going on around me a little differently after reading this book, giving a little more thought to what the friends and family of news stories are experiencing.

Synopsis from Barnes & Noble's Website:
An enthralling portrait of one family in the aftermath of a daughter’s disappearance. “It was the summer of her Chevette, of J.P. and letting her hair grow.” It was also the summer when, without warning, popular high school student Kim Larsen disappeared from her small Midwestern town. Her loving parents, her introverted sister, her friends and boyfriend, must now do everything they can to find her. As desperate search parties give way to pleading television appearances, and private investigations yield to personal revelations, we see one town’s intimate struggle to maintain hope, and finally, to live with the unknown.
Stewart O’Nan’s new novel begins with the suspense and pacing of a thriller and soon deepens into an affecting family drama of loss. On the heels of his critically acclaimed and nationally bestselling Last Night at the Lobster, Songs for the Missing is an honest, heartfelt account of one family’s attempt to find their child. With a soulful empathy for these ordinary heroes, O’Nan draws us into the world of this small Midwestern town and allows us to feel a part of this family.


My point of view:
A fictional book that seems like a non-fiction documentary. My attention was caught after reading the first chapter - I had to know what happened next! This is the heartwrenching story of a young girl about ready to leave the high school and town she has known all her life to begin her next journey in college, who vanishes.

Stewart O'Nan has done a wonderful job of engaging readers so they can gain some insight into what happens when a family member or friend goes missing. He delves into what thoughts go through peoples minds, what processes are followed and why, and the emotional changes taking place in everyones lives, from the younger sister, father, mother, boyfriend, best friend, neighbors, media, etc.

Prior to reading this book, I had never really considered just what a family goes through when a member goes missing - this book does a great job of filling in the blanks (speaking as someone who has never gone through a situation like this).

This is a thought provoking book that would make a good book club read.

**Please note that this is a copy of one of my reviews posted in 2008 on Wendi's Book Corner**

Disclosure:  I received an ARC copy of the book in exchange for my honest review, and I am an Amazon Affiliate

Exciting Upcoming Changes

Don't be surprised if over the next few weeks things seem a little different here at What Wendi Wants.  ;)

I'm in the process of changing to a self-hosted site, and I'm going to start bringing over some of my older posts from Wendi's Book Corner, so I hope you'll stick with me, and leave a few comments along the way.

~ Wendi

PS - feel free to point out anything that isn't working right too!!

Book Review: The Barefoot Executive by Carrie Wilkerson - The Ultimate Manual for Being Your Own Boss and Achieving Financial Freedom

Whether you currently have a business, or whether you are just entertaining the early glimmer of an idea that you want to see turned into a profitable business, The Barefoot Executive by Carrie Wilkerson is a great place to start.

The book contains five parts, comprised of 21 different chapters, but don't let that intimidate you - Carrie writes in a way that is very engaging and supportive, not to mention thorough and very helpful.

Part One: The Myth Busters covers the myths of traditional jobs, retirements and similar issues, and shows you why you should own your own business.  It makes you face the fact that not everyone will support your decision to build your own dreams, and also shows you how to find the support you need.

Part Two: The Three Big Mistakes covers going after the wrong priorities (following someone else's dream, trying to do too much, and simply chasing opportunities that don't fit with your goals and dreams).  I personally think that this section is so important, it is worth re-reading.  Your priorities and the focus of your planned business are so important, and Carrie really provides great insight in helping readers to narrow in on the right things... if you let her!

Part Three: The Methods covers things like changing your mindset to one of success, taking action, finding a mentor, etc.  Carrie shows you the importance of truly believing you can achieve your dreams (but keeping them realistic), and not waiting forever to take action - get going and get the ball rolling.  She encourages you to set a deadline to get yourself motivated, and brings up finding peers to be accountable to while meeting your deadlines.  She also shows the importance of finding a good mentor who can help you learn from their actions and mistakes without having to make those same mistakes yourself.

Part Four: The Models In this section, Carrie covers the different types of businesses (service-based, expertise-based, knowledge-based, goods-based and referral-based), and eventually being able to develop multiple streams of income, once you have reached a strong income level with your main focus.

And Part Five: The Marketplace, this is where Carrie talks about where you find your target-audience (and the importance of understanding them, do they have disposable income, are they online, etc), and how to engage them.  She also discusses how to transform your ideas into income without becoming too overwhelmed.

If I had to choose one word to describe this book it would be "highly."  This is a highly organized book, it is highly positive, Carrie is highly engaging, and the information in it is highly helpful.

Be sure to check out The Barefoot Executive, Carrie Wilkerson will most likely save you frustrations, wasted time and wasted resources by helping you fully develop your ideas and come up with a strong plan to fulfill your dreams.


The Barefoot Executive: The Ultimate Guide for Being Your Own Boss and Achieving Financial Freedom  
 by Carrie Wilkerson
 Thomas Nelson ~ 256 pages
 Non-Fiction / Self-Help / Work From Home

Edition Reviewed: eBook - Review copy received courtesy of the publisher and Living Your Moment, many thanks to both the author and the publisher for sending me a copy to review!


About the Book:
Don’t Think You Have What It Takes to Run a Business? It’s Time to Reconsider.

For the person who longs to run their business from home, author and highly successful entrepreneur Carrie Wilkerson says it is possible (she doesn't just say it though, she shows you how). In her new book, The Barefoot Executive, Carrie helps readers of all types understand the necessary ingredients in starting and running a lucrative home-based business. You’ll learn how to reclaim your time, determine your income, and change your lifestyle-all while keeping personal priorities intact.

Successful at running her own seven-figure business from home and being an active speaker on the subject, Carrie demonstrates business models with tables and charts in an easy-to-understand format. Chapters within the book include such subjects as finding a target markets, developing marketing strategies, and brand development. Especially important are the common pitfalls listed to avoid in starting a business from home.

The Barefoot Executive offers the opportunity to live life on your terms with the financial freedom to do it. Want to start your workday with e-mail and coffee on the back patio? Want the flexibility of joining your fourth grader on an all-day field trip? Are you ready to take that vacation you’ve been planning for years? Then you have a choice to make, and The Barefoot Executive will help jumpstart your transition.

You’ll learn:
Your “why.” The most important question. Why do you want to work for yourself?
What type of business best suits your experience and talents.
How to stay focused on your goal and avoid distractions.
Where to find the support that will accelerate your success.
How to link your business to the right market.

Whether it’s a service, a product, or your insight or expertise, you already have the raw materials necessary to transform your life. Carrie will walk you through the process of building the business you need to achieve the life you want. Her guidance is practical. No philosophical silliness, no theoretical abstractions—just concrete action steps alongside insights from fellow entrepreneurs, interactive exercises, and links to Carrie’s online video coaching segments. It’s the next best thing to working one-on-one with her. The Barefoot Executive will have you energized by the possibilities and embracing the extraordinary life that is well within your reach.

About the Author: (from the publisher's site)
From corporate life to teaching high school to sales, to information marketing, consulting, and even virtual service provider, Carrie Wilkerson has been there and done that professionally and personally. As “The Barefoot Executive,” she has quickly become the definitive resource for helping others achieve extra income and career goals while working from home and keeping their priorities intact. She is a mentor/coach/advisor to more than one hundred thousand men and women as The Barefoot Executive through videos, podcasts, masterminding, mentoring, and live speaking. Not only a business expert but also an expert in business, Carrie’s work-at home methods have inspired thousands and have earned many awards, online and off. Her passion is in teaching others to “Fill their Stadium” with fans so that marketing is easy and business is abundant. She lives in Texas, with her family.


*Disclosure: I am an Amazon Associate. I get a very small amount for any purchases made when you click through a link from Wendi's Book Corner, which I then save up to buy more books. :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Pure Pearls Freshwater Pearl Drop Earrings (US/CAN, Rafflecopter, 7/31)

Of all the things in my jewelry box, I think hands down my pearls are my favorite, because they are ageless, timeless, and have endless beauty.  When I wear pearls, they make me feel special, and I know they simply glow.

They enhance our beauty, and they give us a sense of pride and confidence...  and they make us feel really, REALLY special.  I believe I've worn pearls for every major life event (as a ballerina, graduations, family pictures, social events and my wedding).

I also believe that pearls are one of the most versatile pieces of jewelry ever.  They can be dressed up or worn with your favorite t-shirt and comfy pair of jeans.  They are great to wear on special occasions, or on a shopping trip.

I've personally got a nice variety of pearl jewelry, from my Grandmother's strand of pearls, to my newer pearl earrings, bracelet and necklace.  I even have a few pieces that were made from the fun Hawaiian oysters you open as a tourist.  I just received my first pair of Freshwater Pearl Dangle Earrings, and I absolutely love them!  The first afternoon I wore them, I had two compliments (one from a friend, one from a complete stranger) within half an hour!

Need a gift for Mother's Day, a birthday, a new ballerina, a new bride, a graduate? Pearls are perfect!  They also make a perfect gift for yourself!

I've found the selection and prices at PurePearls.com to be wonderful, and their quality is amazing.  The site is elegant, easy to navigate, and they have a huge selection of pearl jewelry in all price ranges with free shipping in the US.  They have a large assortment including: Tear Drop Earrings, Freshwater Pearls, Pearl Sets, and even some great pearl jewelry for Men.

I was given the opportunity to review Pure Pearls' White Freshwater Drop Dangle Pearl Earrings in 6.5 - 7.0mm with sterling silver ear wires.  Each set is made to order, and the hand-matched pearls are set on Sterling Silver French hooks.  Each pair also comes with a certified appraisal completed by a GIA graduate and comes beautifully packaged in a black velvet box.

I was so excited to put the earrings on, and I was very grateful that they came with tiny clear anchors to help keep the earrings on.  I've always been nervous wearing French hooks, but they look and feel so nice!  (I've got a 5 year old and a 2 year old, so hair gets pulled and jewelry gets played with when I wear it)

The earrings arrived inside an elegant velvet box, which was nestled inside a white gift box.  The earrings came with a GIA Prepared Appraisal Certificate, and care instructions.  

I had previously reviewed a beautiful Lavender pearl necklace, Lavender Pearl Earrings and a Lavender Pearl Bracelet from Pure Pearls.

Now, courtesy of PurePearls.com, one of my readers will get to feel special too... read on for more...




White Freshwater Pearl Drop Dangle Earrings, 6.5-7.0mm
  Price $65.00, Worth $325.00
Pure Pearls
Buy Pearl Jewelry
Pearl Jewelry, Free Shipping to the US, $17 Internationally

Edition Reviewed: White AAA+ 6.5-7.0mm Freshwater Pearl Drop Dangle Earrings - Review sample received courtesy of PurePearls.com, many thanks for this wonderful opportunity!


About Pure Pearls: (from the Pure Pearls site)
Welcome to Pure Pearls, where we build lasting client relationships!

Our philosophy is simple! Pure Pearls offers high quality, fine pearl jewelry at exceptional discount prices. Our team of experts bring to you the top 3% of our exclusive harvests. By sourcing pearls straight from the pearl farms, we cut the middleman and bring incredible wholesale prices to our customers without sacrificing quality. Because our customers are so happy with their purchases, we receive a high percentage of repeat customers and incredible advertising by word-of-mouth.

With extensive pearl experience, Pure Pearls' experts can always help you with any questions. Guidance is offered through our pearl buyer's guide and pearl education section. We encourage you to contact our experts by phone or email to help you choose the perfect pearls. At Pure Pearls, we make shopping affordable, safe, and educational.
We hope your experience here has been warm and inviting. Our pearls are both breathtaking and inspiring. At Pure Pearls, our philosophy revolves around personalization and remarkable quality. We make sure that each and every one of our customers are taken care of personally. We value the time that you have taken to stop in. Please feel free to browse around or contact us if you have any questions or feedback. We guarantee that our clients's experiences with us will be one-of-a-kind
Your purchase with Pure Pearls is secure whether online or by phone. We have a 90-day Return Policy so you have adequate time to consider your purchase with us.


Giveaway Details:
One lucky Wendi's Book Corner reader will win a pair of Pure Pearls AAA+ Quality 6.5-7.0mm, Freshwater Pearl Drop Dangle Earrings with Sterling Silver French hooks.

Want to Win One?: Entry will be easy via Rafflecopter!  Give it a few seconds to load.  If you have any problems, leave me a comment and I'll see if I can help!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


~ Wendi

*Disclosure: I was sent White Freshwater Pearl Drop Dangle Earrings from Pure Pearls in exchange for my honest review and the inclusion of a giveaway. The earrings for giveaway will be sent directly from Pure Pearls.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Zookt.com Review: Play Games to Win Unbelievably Low Prices on Great Products

Zookt is a new website (launched in June 2012) offering users the ability to play games to win deals up to 90% off on great products every day.  If you are familiar with the concept of penny auctions, this is similar, except you get to play fun games instead of auction-style bidding, and the winner walks away with a GREAT product at a GREAT price.

To get started, joining is free.  You can browse the site and find products you are interested in, add them to your shopping cart, and choose the game you want to play to compete for the item (currently available games include: Hearts, Zookt Bingo and Random Color, with more games to be added in the future). Zookt will show you the odds, and you pay the entry fee and play your game!!  (You can even practice the games for free against the computer - this way, you can make sure you know how to play the game)



Users can earn free Zooks by referring friends (you will earn 30 Zooks for each friend that signs up, and 2500 if they play within one week), by playing games (you will earn Zooks each time  you play games, whether you win or loose, which can be used for future games), and by providing feedback at the end of each game (30 Zooks).

Some of the great deals I've found while browsing the site:  Brave 3-Disc Collection on DVD and Blu-Ray for $4.76, Cricut Expression II cutting machine for $17.50, and an iPad 2 for $32.32.  I challenge you to find those deals anywhere else!



Zookt.com
Find Featured Deals here
Free to join
Online Shopping/Gaming Experience

What is Zookt? video on YouTube:



Disclosure: This is a sponsored post courtesy of Zookt via Karma Media.  I am providing you information on Zookt and any opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine!


Monday, July 23, 2012

BlankZ Toy Giveaway: Easy Rafflecopter Entry, 15 Winners 8/6 #KarmaMedia

Photobucket
Karma Media has teamed up with BlankZ at Always Been Creative to give away 1 amazing BlankZ animal to 15 lucky winners.   Check out the review I did here at Wendi's Book Corner here.



Giveaway ends August 6, 2012, open to US residents.

 Enter today to win and good luck!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lego Monster Fighters Giveaway (Easy Rafflecopter Entry, Ends Aug 2)


I'm really excited to be able to share this GREAT giveaway with you here on What Wendi Wants!

Mom Does Reviews, Mom to Bed by 8, The Deals and More and Powered by Mom along with Giveaway Bandit bring you the HOTTEST LEGO event of the summer!
ONE LUCKY READER WILL WIN THREE AWESOME PRIZES FOR YOUR LEGO LOVER
LEGO Monster Fighters 9463 -The Werewolf
  • Vehicles include Major Quinton Steele's hot rod
  • Tree features opening top ambush section with space for the Werewolf
  • Watch out for the Werewolf's glow-in-the-dark claws.
  • Fire the blunderbuss weapon
  • Tree measures over 5? (12cm) high, 7? (17cm) wide and 4? (9cm) deep
Major Quinton Steele spots the Werewolf's moonstone under a tree. But it's an ambush. As he jumps out of his hot rod to snatch it, the sneaky Werewolf pounces on him from the treetops above. Can Major Quinton Steele fend him off with his giant blunderbuss weapon and make off with the moonstone? You decide. Includes 2 minifigures: Major Quinton Steele and Werewolf.
 
LEGO Monster Fighters 9462- The Mummy

  • Vehicles include Mummy's chariot and helicopter
  • Mummy's chariot features glow-in-the-dark skeleton horse
  • Accessories include moonstone and 3 weapons
  • Helicopter features spinning rotors
  • Ann Lee's helicopter measures over 2? (6cm) high, 1? (3cm) wide and 2? (6cm) long
In her cool helicopter, hero Ann Lee flies after the Mummy making an escape in the ghostly chariot. If she can't stop the Mummy from handing the moonstone over to the Vampyre, the world will be cloaked in eternal darkness. Help her to stop him. Includes 2 minifigures: Ann Lee and Mummy.
LEGO Monster Fighters 9461 -The Swamp Creature
  • Features swamp boat and swamp with green moonstone and fish
  • Swamp boat features spinning rotor and dual flick missiles
  • Accessories include moonstone and 3 weapons
  • Grab the moonstone
  • Battle the Swamp Creature
On board his swamp boat, Frank Rock is on the lookout for the Swamp Creature's moonstone. If the Vampyre gets his undead hands on it first, he could use it to eclipse the sun and plunge the world into eternal darkness. Can he make it past his slimy adversary and snatch the stone? You decide. Includes 2 minifigures: Frank Rock and Swamp Creature.

Giveaway Open to: US only
The event dates: July 19th- Aug 2nd
  Enter on the Easy Rafflecopter below! Remember, you can't win if you don't enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. What Wendi Wants is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. 

Good luck!!

:) Wendi

Lego Monster Fighters Giveaway (Rafflecopter, Ends Aug 2)


I'm really excited to be able to share this GREAT giveaway with you here on Wendi's Book Corner!

Mom Does Reviews, Mom to Bed by 8, The Deals and More and Powered by Mom along with Giveaway Bandit bring you the HOTTEST LEGO event of the summer!
ONE LUCKY READER WILL WIN THREE AWESOME PRIZES FOR YOUR LEGO LOVER
LEGO Monster Fighters 9463 -The Werewolf
  • Vehicles include Major Quinton Steele's hot rod
  • Tree features opening top ambush section with space for the Werewolf
  • Watch out for the Werewolf's glow-in-the-dark claws.
  • Fire the blunderbuss weapon
  • Tree measures over 5? (12cm) high, 7? (17cm) wide and 4? (9cm) deep
Major Quinton Steele spots the Werewolf's moonstone under a tree. But it's an ambush. As he jumps out of his hot rod to snatch it, the sneaky Werewolf pounces on him from the treetops above. Can Major Quinton Steele fend him off with his giant blunderbuss weapon and make off with the moonstone? You decide. Includes 2 minifigures: Major Quinton Steele and Werewolf.
 
LEGO Monster Fighters 9462- The Mummy

  • Vehicles include Mummy's chariot and helicopter
  • Mummy's chariot features glow-in-the-dark skeleton horse
  • Accessories include moonstone and 3 weapons
  • Helicopter features spinning rotors
  • Ann Lee's helicopter measures over 2? (6cm) high, 1? (3cm) wide and 2? (6cm) long
In her cool helicopter, hero Ann Lee flies after the Mummy making an escape in the ghostly chariot. If she can't stop the Mummy from handing the moonstone over to the Vampyre, the world will be cloaked in eternal darkness. Help her to stop him. Includes 2 minifigures: Ann Lee and Mummy.
LEGO Monster Fighters 9461 -The Swamp Creature
  • Features swamp boat and swamp with green moonstone and fish
  • Swamp boat features spinning rotor and dual flick missiles
  • Accessories include moonstone and 3 weapons
  • Grab the moonstone
  • Battle the Swamp Creature
On board his swamp boat, Frank Rock is on the lookout for the Swamp Creature's moonstone. If the Vampyre gets his undead hands on it first, he could use it to eclipse the sun and plunge the world into eternal darkness. Can he make it past his slimy adversary and snatch the stone? You decide. Includes 2 minifigures: Frank Rock and Swamp Creature.

Giveaway Open to: US only
The event dates: July 19th- Aug 2nd
  Enter on the Easy Rafflecopter below! Remember, you can't win if you don't enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Wendi's Book Corner is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. 

Good luck!!

:)  Wendi

Friday, July 20, 2012

Blankz: The Toy You Can Color, Wash and Re-Color

PhotobucketI am in love with the new Blankz toys (even as an adult)! It is a new toy that you can color with special Blankz pens, then wash and re-color.

 Note: When you wash it, you put your Blankz animal in the washing machine with a DARK load.

Blankz are great for kids of all ages (younger ones will scribble!), and would be great for adults too.  I would have LOVED to have a Blankz pet on my desk for stress-free doodling during meetings, brainstorming, etc.  Why not get creative!


We've got the Blankz Seal, and find that he helps us foster our creativity.  We can make him a Police Officer or clown, we can decorate him in Army fatigues or flowers, but best of all, he can be exactly what we dream up.   We need to get a few more as we are having a hard time sharing (wink, wink).

I'll bet these would be great for an ice-breaker at a big meeting - imagine getting all meeting participants to get their creative juices flowing...

They would also be great for parties (have a Blankz party favor that the kids can create at the party), make great gifts and fun projects.

I'm going to try to re-upload my pictures shortly as I'm having technical difficulties.



Blankz Toys:
 
$14.99
Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and their website.



Edition Reviewed: Un-Sealed - Review copy received as part of this Karma Media Campaign, all opinions are 100% mine.




*Disclosure: I received a sample product in order to facilitate my honest review.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mott's Medleys Fruit Flavored Snacks: Review and Giveaway #MyBlogSpark (4 winners, Rafflecopter, 7/20)

I don't know about you, but when Summer arrives, we are on the go with the kids... outings, playdates, camping, hiking, going to the beach, going to the zoo, visiting the children's museum, road trips, visits to friends and relatives, I think you get the picture.  Along with these outings comes cranky kids when they are tired or hungry.

Mott's Medley Fruit Snacks have become one of our favorite go-to snacks!

Enter Mott's Medleys Fruit Snacks.  They are great snacks to throw in a purse or bag, and they are made with real fruit and vegetable juices (pear, apple, carrot juice concentrates).  They also contain 100% of your daily value of Vitamin C and are fat free and gluten free.

Mott's Medleys Fruit Snacks come in two flavors:  Assorted Fruit, and Berry.  The boys love them both equally, and LOVE it when we have them for snacks.  I have to admit that I've felt the need to sneak a pack or two and love them both as well, but I think I like the Berry just a little bit better.

Get a $0.60 coupon for use when purchasing a box of Mott's Medleys Fruit Snacks.

And a fun bonus: each box of fruit snacks comes with TWO Box Tops for Education labels that can be saved for your kid's school!

You can find Mott's on Facebook and Twitter as well as on their site and your local retailer!

Giveaway Details:
You can win the same gift pack that I did, which includes:

- 3 boxes of Mott's Medley Berry Fruit Snacks
- 3 boxes of Mott's Medley Variety Fruit Snacks

There will be 4 winners, and entry is easy.  Use the Rafflecopter form below (if it is not showing, give it a few moments and press F5 to reload the page, if that does not work, leave me a message)

The giveaway will end 7/20


a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: The product, gift pack, information, and additional sample have all been provided by Mott´s® through MyBlogSpark.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I See Me! Personalized Children's Books: My Very Happy Birthday

Have you seen the look on a child's face when they realize that they are in a book?  The feeling it gives you is great!  Not only are you celebrating your child's birthday, you are celebrating THEM!

When I showed B his Very Happy Birthday Book, he clapped his hands and couldn't wait to sit down and read it with me... keep in mind that he is two... so we read it over and over.  I kept showing him his name and birthday throughout the book and he was amazed.  He especially LOVED his name on the cake and on the birthday banner. (Not only is B's name on the cover and in the story, but it is also worked in with the pictures on the cake inside and on a birthday banner and a birthday invitation)


I have no idea how I See Me!, Inc does it, but the printing and addition of B's information into the book is simply flawless, it looks perfect!

The greatest thing about this book is that it is personalized, and there are actually quite a few options you can choose from:

1. You can choose between the book for boys (greens and blues) and the book for girls (pink and purple






2. You can specify the number of candles/birthday year (1st birthday = will show 1 birthday candle on the cover and throughout the book, and will say Happy 1st Birthday, 2nd birthday = will show 2 birthday candles, etc.  If you select the generic birthday, ie no 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc, you will get the cake shown, with the Happy Birthday candles.)

3. You can use your child's middle name, or choose to leave it out

4. You can create a dedication that will be printed on the inside front pages of the book.  This is really great for leaving a quick message for your child, that will later become a keepsake.  (Don't have a clue what to write for the dedication?  No worries, they have a whole list of suggestions you can use)

The book itself is 6" x 6", hardbound with a glossy cover and beautiful board book type pages.  The pages are FULL color from edge to edge, and are done in bright colors.

Looking for a personalized children's book, but not a birthday book?  GO check out I See me! - not only do they have the personalized birthday books for boys and girls, they have books for: My Very Own Name, My Very Own Fairytale, My Very Own Pirate Tale, My Royal Birthday Adventure (Girls), My Royal Birthday Adventure (Boys), Who Loves Me?, God Loves You, The Super, Incredible Big Sister, The Super, Incredible Big Brother, The World According To Me, Who Loves Me? For Siblings, Who Loves Me? For Twins, A Christmas Bear For Me, My Very Merry Christmas Board Book, and A Hanukkah Bear For Me.

My Very Happy Birthday!  (For Girls or Boys)
 by Jennifer Dewing, illustrated by Mati McDonough

 I See Me!, Inc. ~ 22 pages
Prices range from $24.95 - 39.95
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ISeeMeBooks ~ Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/ISeeMe_Maia 
Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/iseemebooks/
 Fiction / Children's / Personalized

Edition Reviewed: Hardback - Review copy received courtesy of I See Me! Inc for the purposes of this review.  All opinions are 100% mine.


About the Book: (Taken from the website)
My Very Happy Birthday is an adorable personalized hardcover book with durable board pages, especially for babies and toddlers. In this delightful story, Duck, Mouse, Turtle, Bluebird and other friends come together to prepare a special birthday party and cake for your little boy [or girl]. As an added personal touch, this beautifully illustrated book includes a personalized cover and a printed dedication from the sender.

Made in the USA, this storybook is written by award-winning author Jennifer Dewing and illustrated by Mati Rose McDonough.

Ordering Information
On the order page, if you specify which birthday the child is celebrating (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.), the number will be included on the cover and on 5 pages in the book. Take a virtual tour of the book with "1st" on the cover and throughout the book. If you specify "2nd" or "3rd", etc., that number will be printed instead. The cake will include the correct number of candles!

If you answer "any" to the question on the order page about which birthday the child is celebrating, the book will look like the one displayed in the main virtual tour. We do not calculate which birthday the child is celebrating because many times the book is given as a belated gift after the birthday.

See frequently asked questions for further information about ordering this book.

Gender and ages: Boys ages 0-10. (See our boy version as well.) Size: 6" x 6" Number of pages: 20 durable board pages Shipping Standard delivery: Receive 2 weeks after date of order Expedited delivery: Not available on this item Air delivery: Not available on this item
About I See Me! Inc: (from the publisher's site)
Welcome to I See Me! where we provide the highest quality, most personalized children's books available. We opened for business in May of 2000, after a year of active product development. My husband Allan and I received a personalized book as a gift for our first son in 1998. While we loved the fact that it was personalized, we thought that the illustrations could have been much better and the story more customized to the child. Thus I See Me! was born.

Allan, who is a graphic designer, and I developed the first book My Very Own Name as a team. Our goal was to produce an educational book that would teach young children how to recognize letters and spell their names. After I developed the concept and wrote the book, we brainstormed together to develop the characters in the book. Allan found and hired the illustrator, and designed the book, while I wrote the business plan.

We are pleased to say our books have become popular among celebrities including Courteney Cox, Brooke Shields and Jessica Alba.

Our mission is to increase self esteem in children through personalized books that celebrate the uniqueness of each child. The goal of our books is to show each child how absolutely unique and special he or she is, to teach the child how to spell his or her name, and to build vocabulary skills.

We hope that you enjoy the books!

--Maia Haag, author and CEO of I See Me! Inc.
*Disclosure: I am an Amazon Associate. I get a very small amount for any purchases made when you click through a link from Wendi's Book Corner, which I then save up to buy more books. :)

Shutterfly's Long Live Summer Photo Contest


Shutterfly (one of my favorite photo stores) is kicking off a new contest: The Shutterfly 2012 Summer Sweepstakes Photo Contest.

One grand prize winner will win a trip for four to The Bahamas and a professional photo shoot so you’ll remember your vacation forever. All you need to do is upload your favorite photo and caption based on the theme of the week. Get a gift from Shutterfly just for entering! You can enter at any point during the 5-week sweepstakes period.

ENTER HERE

The contest started July 9th and runs for five weeks.

WEEKLY PHOTO THEMES
• Week 1(7/9): Americana
 • Week 2 (7/16): Great Outdoors
 • Week 3 (7/23): Water Fun
 • Week 4 (7/30): Sports & Activities
 • Week 5 (8/6): Parties & Celebrations
PRIZES
• Instant win prizes just for submitting a photo!
 • Weekly prizes (contestants can enter one time/week)
 • Weekly featured photos: up to 5 weekly entries will be selected from the gallery and featured on the Facebook fan page and awarded a $500 gift card on Shutterfly and a copy of the new Lonely Planet travel photography book.
 • Grand prize: trip for 4 to Bahamas, 4 nights, family photo shoot
 • Shutterfly Sweepstakes - Official Rules
*** Note: This post was originally published on my other blog Wendi's Book Corner ***

*Disclosure: I am a huge fan of Shutterfly, and I am sharing this information with you in the hopes that one of us can win that wonderful Bahama's trip, and in the hopes of receiving a free code so I can go make another Shutterfly photobook :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Funky Monkey Snacks: Healthy Fruit That Crunches (My Kids Love It!)

Until two weeks ago, I was not familiar with Funky Monkey Snacks, but that has changed and they have quickly become a favorite of the entire family!

Funky Monkey Snacks are all-natural fruit snacks that are freeze dried using a special process to maintain flavor and nutrients, creating a very yummy, crunchy, healthy snack.  The snacks are also gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, peanut free, tree nut free, gmo free, are made with no added sugar, no added preservatives, no added colors, and are considered raw, vegan and are USDA Organic.

The snacks come in a sealed foil pouch with one serving of fruit per pouch.  Each pouch is 0.42oz.  They are easy to tear open, so they make great snacks at home and on-the-go.

Funky Monkey Snacks come in seven flavors: Applemon (apple/cinnamon), Bananamon (banana/cinnamon), Carnaval Mix (banana/pineapple/apple/papaya), JiveALime (pineapple/lime), MangOJ (mango/orange), Pink Pineapple (pineapple/guava), and Purple Funk (banana/acai)

Now, I know you are all wondering about favorite flavors, so here is what I can tell you:  My husband loved them ALL, but especially the JiveALime and Pink Pineapple.  The boys scarfed them all and asked for more... and if I was going to pick a few favorites, I'd go for the Bananamon, Pink Pineapple and Purple Funk.  But honestly, there wasn't one that we didn't all love.


Applemon Close-Up (Apples/Cinnamon)
Pink Pineapple - (Pineapple/Guava)

Funky Monkey Snacks: Various Falvors, 0.42 oz pouches
 by Freeze Dried Partners, LLC

 Found on Twitter, Facebook, Amazon
Where to find
 Snacks

Edition Reviewed: I received samples of each flavor in exchange for my honest review as part of this Karma Media campaign.

Click below to see what other Karma Media Reviewers had to say about Funky Monkey Snacks:


And stay tuned - the Karma Media Team will be hosting a giveaway for Funky Monkey Snacks, and one winner will receive two full sets of Funky Monkey Snacks!

Photobucket

It Just Took Two Minutes: Flowers From The Yard

We were walking in the door today from playing with some friends, when my 5 year old asked if he could pick me a flower from the grass (I haven't had the heart to tell him they are weeds...), I said yes, then told him to wait for a moment so I could grab a little vase that we could fill up (by now my 2 year old was wanting to pick the flowers too). 

I dropped everything in my hands and ran inside to grab a small vase. When I came back out, the smiles on the boys faces as they picked the "flowers" was priceless.

 I made it even more fun by having them help me pick lavender and Snap Dragon flowers to add as well.  (You can see the Snap Dragons and Lavender, the yellow are dandelions, and the white flowers peeking out are clover flowers)

 The spontaneous decision to help the boys pick flowers for a small bouquet only took two minutes total, but we all had fun.

 Next time you can spare two minutes, grab the kids and head outside... see what you can do with the flowers you find!

 PS - I'd love to see if you do, so leave a link. :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Come Explore Creative Steps Summer 2012 With Homemade Raspberry Ice Cream and Magic Drawings


I've said it before, Creative Steps is one of the best children's activity and learning magazines that I've ever seen... and I've got a special peek into the Summer 2012 issue that I get to share with you! Check out these two great activities you can do at home:  Homemade Raspberry Ice Cream (no ice cream maker required) and Magic Drawings, read on to see how to make them, then check out Creative Steps for more great projects.

Raspberry Ice Cream: (Creative Steps, Summer 2012, page 13) (note - US equivalent measurements are in (parenthesis)
What you need:
225g (8 oz)  Fresh Raspberries
50g (just under 1/2 cup powder sugar) icing sugar
150ml (2/3 cup) Greek yoghurt
300ml (1 1/4 cups heavy cream or whipping cream) double cream
Freezer-proof containers

1. Wash the raspberries and dry them on some paper towel.  Mash them in a bowl.

2. Sieve the icing sugar into the bowl of raspberries and mix it in.

3. Add the Greek yoghurt to the mixture and stir everything together well.

4. In another bowl whisk the cream until it is thick with stiff peaks.  Stir in the raspberry mixture.

5. Spoon the mixture into one or two containers, level it off, put on the lids and put them in the freezer.  Get the ice cream out about 10-15 minutes before you want to serve it.  Using a scoop dipped into hot water will help!

Magic Drawing: (Creative Steps, Summer 2012, page 16)
Store Cupboard:
Sheets of dark or brightly colored tissue paper
Selection of paint brushes
Cotton buds
Bleach & bowl

1. As this activity uses bleach, there MUST be adult supervision at all times and we suggest the children taking part should be at least aged 5+.

2. Put one tablespoon of bleach in a bowl and put the bleach bottle away.  Let each child choose a sheet of tissue paper.

3. The children should choose what they would like to 'paint' with and then dip it into the bleach.  They should gently paint as they would normally and after a few seconds, the area painted turns the paper a paler colour.  This will get more enhanced after being left to dry for a few minutes.  Mount on white paper for a greater effect.

In this issue of Creative Steps, there are 100 different activities for kids (broken down into age ranges from 0-5 Years, 5-7 Years and 7-11 Years)  and 50 Top Tips for Summer Fun.


Creative Steps Magazine: Helping Kids Learn Through Creative Play  
 www.creativesteps.co.uk  

Quarterly Publication  ~ Digital and Print Editions Available
Find Creative Steps online: FacebookTwitterWebpage


 Special Reader Discount: Get 25% off both the Digital and Online magazine editions:
For Annual Subscription to the Online Version:
After the discount, the cost would be £9.00 (GBP) or $13.50 (USD)
Use the discount code KARDIG25 and use this email - info@creativesteps.co.uk

For Annual Subscription of the Printed Version:
After the discount, the cost would be £22.35 (GBP, UK Only) or $63.75 (USD, Worldwide) (including postage)
Use the discount code KARMA25 and this link https://creativesteps.subscribeonline.co.uk/all-titles/creative-steps?offer=KARMA25

Disclosure: I had a chance to take a peek at the digital online version of the Summer 2012 edition of Creative Steps Magazine, and was given permission to share the above recipe and project with you!
 

Hit Counter
Littlest Pet Shop