Friday, July 1, 2016

Sweepstakes: Jarlsberg® 60th Anniversary

Jarlsberg® Cheese is celebrating their 60th anniversary with a weekly summer giveaway of a Big Green Grill plus cheese products. Entering the Jarlsberg® giveaway is simple. Fill out the form with either a photo OR your info at #win You may also enter the contest on Facebook, at
Then, share your entry with the hashtag #jarlsberg.

Jarlsberg® Cheese was founded in 1956, and still remains the go-to cheese in the U.S. and abroad. With its slightly nutty, mild flavor, Jarlsberg® Cheese is a staple in kitchens from coast to coast, and is used as an on-the-go snack; melted in recipes or on BBQ favorites, and on sandwiches. Naturally Gluten and lactose free, Jarlsberg® Cheese is also available in many flavors, including  Jarlsberg® Lite and Smoked Jarlsberg®.

Giveaway: Would a Worm Go on a Walk

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 a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

I recently had a chance to review Would a Worm Go on a Walk,  a cute little story about being who we're made to be. With funny illustrations about out-of-place animals, the book is a perfect way to show early elementary kids that God made us all a certain way, and that trying to be something we're not is a bad idea. We are all loved and special just the way we are, even if we aren't like anyone else.

I have a chance to give away a copy of the book. To enter, leave a comment with one thing that makes your child(ren) unique. Deadline is July 8th.

Hannah C. Hall is the author of best-selling children’s books, including God Bless You and Good Night and God Bless Our Christmas, as well as an award-winning blog, Hannah lives in Prairie Grove, AK with her husband, Josh, a worship pastor, and their four children.

Mealtime Magic: Fruit Snacks Fourth of July Treats!

I was recently asked to take part in the Welch's Fruit Snacks Fourth of July Challenge. They sent me some fruit snacks and I was supposed to create a patriotic recipe using them. Now, unfortunately, between our camping and my children eating the attempts I made that actually turned out, I have no suitable pictures to share. What I can do, though, is share some of there pictures and some of my ideas that I tried (but don't expect to see on Pinterest any time soon since I fail at actually making things look pretty myself).

You can also use them for fun cupcake or cake toppings, as ice cream toppings, or on top of cheesecakes. I wanted to take a picture of me using them as the middle of thumbprint cookies, which actually tasted pretty good, but no decent picture.

Fruit snacks are an easy way to add color for holiday desserts. Welch's Fruit Snacks contain a good amount of vitamins A, C, and E, and are fat free and gluten free. They're also made with real fruit puree, and easy to find at a wide variety of stores.

Book Nook: Whole Person Drumming

As a musician, I know about how important rhythm and sound are to music. I also know how important silence is. I recently got to review Whole Person Drumming, which talks about not just the sounds, but also the silence.

Zorina Wolf has a passion for drumming and community, a passion that is evident in the book and  videos she creates, appropriate for people of all music backgrounds. She has a great deal of experience, with fourteen years of study under one of the great Nigerian drummers Babatunde Olatunji, and has also taught drumming for over two decades. The book clearly explains the three traditional sounds (bass, tone, and slap), how to build stamina to handle longer drumming sessions, and how to use your body to move or speak the syllables to learn rhythms. Not only does she explain the fundamentals of drum playing, but she also works it into meditation, using drumming as a way to relax and get your whole body in tune with itself.

As a musician, parts of the book were actually a challenge to read - from someone who is used to reading traditional notation. However, it was written so that all people, not just musicians, could learn, and she does a very could job at using non-traditional methods to encourage even those who don't read music to become proficient drummers. (Many drummers learn without any written instruction anyway, so it's more similar to the authentic way of learning by hearing and feeling.)

Zorina Wolf is the founder of Village Heartbeat ( and developer of the Whole Person Drumming® curricula. She is an advanced TaKeTiNa leader and pan-African drum teacher. Through Village Heartbeat, she is offers a variety of workshops in the US, Canada, Malaysia, and elsewhere.

Book Nook: Abracadabra! Fun Magic Tricks for Kids

My daughter has recently got interested in magic tricks (hiding coins behind ears and rudimentary sleight-of-hand), so I was happy to review ABRACADABRA! FUN MAGIC TRICKS FOR KIDS by Kristen, Ken, and Colette Kelly. My daughter loved that it was a kid - eleven-year-old magician Kristen and her magician dad, Ken. The step-by-step photographs were very easy to follow, even for her. It took a lot of practice, but it was fun for her to be able to do "real" magic.

Not only was it fun for her to be able to do magic, but now she's able to figure out some tricks by watching them. This doesn't really take out the fun of magic shows, it just makes them even more fun as brain teasers! I've found this to be true of myself as an adult as well - even though I know how some tricks are performed, I'm still amazed by the pace and pattern of a magic show, and the ones I haven't seen before really challenge me to figure out what's going on.

If you have a budding magician who likes playing tricks on family and friends, check out this book to give him or her new ideas!

Time Tidbits: 5 Tips for Saving Time and Money by Preparing a Week's Worth of Food in Advance

By Kelly Schwarze

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The amount of money that can be saved every month by smart cooking at home is staggering. Preparing your family’s food a week in advance will put quite a bit of money back in your pocket, as it saves you from needing to order takeout or dine out. It takes a bit of planning, sure, but sitting down every weekend to create a meal plan for the week and cooking a majority of those meals on Sunday will allow you to eat without worry throughout the week. With these tips, learn how to ensure that no grocery item you buy goes to waste by becoming very familiar with one of our favorite appliances in the house: the freezer. 

    •    Make a Meal Plan with Leftovers in Mind
Plan for leftovers to become key ingredients in additional meals in the week. For example, the leftovers from Sunday night’s roasted chicken can become toppings for delicious salads to bring to work, filling in Monday night’s enchiladas and a base for creating a chicken stock that you can use in countless other dishes.

    •    Grocery Shop in Bulk Every Weekend
Who can resist shopping at a warehouse store with deals like pounds of steak for under $30? Snag those deals whenever you see them, so long as you are careful to freeze the items well before they go bad. After all, you haven’t saved money if you end up throwing out spoiled, unused food. For pricier items like meat, freeze at least half of the amount you bought the moment you take them out of their grocery bags. They’ll keep longer, and you’ll get the most bang for your buck.

    •    Double the Recipe, Freeze the Leftovers
Thanks to our first tip, you’re planning for many parts of one meal to be used in future meals throughout the week. Double the ingredients in a favorite recipe to be prepared for days to come. Cooking larger portions of each of those meals allows you the opportunity to freeze a portion of the leftovers for the future, while refrigerating the rest for tomorrow’s lunch. Running out of room in your freezer? Consider upgrading to a newer, bigger model, or installing a second freezer reserved solely for leftovers.

    •    Make Healthy Eating Easy with Pre-Prepped Veggies
Staring down a refrigerator full of vegetables and fruit that need to be washed and diced might just make you turn to a pantry full of processed snacks or head out the front door for a bite. Add healthy touches to every meal by washing, chopping and otherwise preparing produce for the week during your day of cooking on Sunday. Store these ingredients in sealed storage containers and you’ll have the ingredients to create a grab-and-go salad, healthy snack options or quick solutions for dinner sides.

    •    Think Differently When It Comes to Foods You Can Freeze for Later
You may be used to using your freezer for storing pre-made foods from the grocery store’s frozen aisle, but in addition to meats and bulk-sized meals that will make for easy mid-week dinners, you can use your freezer to store snacks and ingredients. Have a favorite smoothie recipe? Put all the ingredients in plastic baggies and throw them in the freezer to make your morning routine even easier. Got plenty of chopped onion left from a recipe? Throw that in the freezer, too. If there’s one rule you should follow to save money, it’s save those scraps!

Do you have any tips for preparing a week’s worth of meals ahead of time?

Kelly Schwarze is a San Francisco-based technology writer interested in making the world of gadgets and gizmos easy to navigate. She writes about household topics for Home Depot. Kelly’s current tech obsessions are all things smart home-related. To research the many styles of freezers available for homeowners, you can visit the Home Depot website.

Book Nook: Investing Simplified

I recently had a chance to review Investing Simplified by Chuck Price. What I liked about the book is that it's not just written by one person, so as a reader, I got several different viewpoints, that still worked together to form a cohesive whole.

Investing can be a very complicated subject. Honestly, despite my love of numbers and data as a math teacher, I remember asking my grandpa multiple times to explain the stock market to me and still not quite getting it. This book aims to educate the average person to understand their investments better - to work with their financial advisor to get a better understanding of the big picture, to better investigate choices of financial products, and to ask the right questions of your financial planner to make sure you're using the right products.

Planning for your future is important - long-term care, retirement, wills and estate planning all have financial implications for you and your family. If you don't fully understand what you're doing, it's hard to maximize your earning.

Chuck Price, CRFA, CSA, is President and Wealth Manager for Price Financial Group Wealth Management, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor firm in Portland, Oregon. He has 40 years of financial experience and is a member of both the HS Dent Advisor Network and the Ed Slott Elite IRA Advisor group. Chuck is host of the popular radio show Investing Simplified® that airs live Saturday mornings on Freedom970. It is the longest running radio financial show that features a Wealth Manager, Estate Planning Attorney and a CPA. To hear some of his advice from the show go to

Parenting Pointers: Former Women’s Boxing Champ Offers Tips On Fighting Age And Gender Stereotypes

Most women put on heels and a business suit when they head out to break the glass ceiling.
Lisa “Too Fierce” Cohen pulled on a pair of 8-ounce boxing gloves.
When she was small, she and her brothers watched Muhammad Ali on TV, and she tried to mimic his moves. She even boxed at summer camp, and learned to admire the tactical aspects of the sport as much as the toughness. But she never imagined boxing would become her career. After all, as her brothers put it, she was “just a girl.”
Years later, while her family watched a pay-per-view bout on TV, the married mother of two was elated to see two female fighters on the undercard: Christy Martin and Brittany Payne. It was 1996, and Cohen knew she had to get into the ring herself.
 “When I told friends I wanted to be a fighter, some reminded me, in case I had forgotten, that I was a mother, and they asked me what my husband thought about it,” says Cohen, author of the memoir “Being Too Fierce: One Woman’s Incredible Journey from Foster Child to World Championship Boxer” (
“None of those comments bothered me. I knew I was around people who looked at life through a pinhole, and trying to change their attitude would be a waste of my breath.”
It took persistence, but she found a gym, a manager and the resolve to fight her way up in a sport that wasn’t exactly welcoming to women.
She knew Ali turned pro at 18, after winning gold at the 1960 Summer Olympics. Another idol, Sugar Ray Leonard, was 20 when he won gold in 1976, and turned pro the following year. Cohen was 29, and “hypersensitive” about her age, when she had her first pro bout.
She lost that fight in a unanimous decision, but was “proud to be standing when it was over.” And she’s been standing up for women, and pushing them to go for their dreams ever since.
Here are some of her tips for getting ahead:
• Be confident in the people in your corner. As a foster child, Cohen learned to quickly assess who was being straight with her and would help her. Over the years, she built a support system, from court-appointed counselors to fellow fighters, she could count on.
• Ask for what you want. A family court judge once asked Cohen, a third-grader, if there was anything special she really wanted to do that year. She didn’t think the judge was serious – she’d learned not to expect any extras – but she said she’d like to take dance classes. The judge made sure she got them. As a fighter, when she knew she needed to move on to another manager to keep growing, she did – even when leaving was hard or uncomfortable.
• Believe in yourself. Cohen was a shy child with a learning disability. One foster mother called her names and told her she would never even graduate high school. “I knew instinctively that I was better than what her cruel words described,” she says. Later, when boxing promoters belittled her or tried to take advantage of her, she stood up to them, eventually taking charge of her own career. And at 45, Cohen received her bachelor’s degree in English.
“No matter how your life begins, you make the final decisions about its outcome by taking chances and making good choices,” she says. “When I saw that first televised bout between two women, I couldn’t believe it was real. I wished I was one of those girls.”
Six years later, in 2002, she was the IFBA Junior Featherweight champion.
About Lisa P. Cohen
Lisa P. Cohen is the author of “Being Too Fierce: One Woman’s Incredible Journey from Foster Child to World Championship Boxer” ( She grew up as a ward of the court and lived in 13 foster homes. In 1996, at age 28, she began boxing and turned professional the next year, competing under the name Lisa “Too Fierce” Foster.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Book Nook: The Final Service

The Final Service is a new book by author Gary W. Moore, which is being made into a major motion picture scheduled to go into production later this year. I recently had to review this book, which looks at the relationship between a daughter and her veteran father.

As a veteran became older and less attentive, along with drinking problems and several failed attempts at success, his daughter becomes angry and bitter. He dies of cancer, and instead of sorrow, she's resentful that she needs to empty the storage barn of everything he left. This is too much for her to bear, and her emotions enter a downward spiral that almost lead to suicide. However, a young man shows up to help her, talking and providing insights on her father and the relationship he had with his daughter, helping her love him and realize that his actions were the result of PTSD.

The book handles a sensitive issue like PTSD with care, fleshing out the characters enough to make the book believable but leaving them generic enough that many people in a similar situation can relate. It encourages people to forgive family members, to realize that struggles have a purpose, and to see that we may not understand everything while we're going through it.

About the Author:

Gary W. Moore is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, executive businessman, and musician. He is the author of Playing with the Enemy (Savas Beatie, 2006), the story of his father's life in baseball and World War II, and Hey Buddy: In Pursuit of Buddy Holly, My New Buddy John, and My Lost Decade of Music (Savas Beatie, 2011).

Gary and his wife, Arlene, live in Bourbonnais, IL.

Caring Causes: Giving Back During the Summer

This time of year, charities are often forgot about. During summer, there are no school drives for the local food pantries and businesses put on a halt on their charitable work as people head out for vacation. Lisa Tomasi, Philanthropy Expert and Founder of e-giving site YouGiveGoods, stresses that NOW is the time to help non-profits, and has provided her insight for families who want to band together and help a good cause, while still enjoying summer.

Tips for Giving Back During Summer:
  1. Get the kids involved. Kids are home and looking for something to do. They have loads of energy, creativity and enthusiasm. Talk to your kids about ways they can make a difference in your community this summer – they are never too young to start. Fun activities like a car wash or lemonade stand can collect money for a cause. A summer food drive is a great idea. Kids love using the technology at to run an online food drive. They can tap into their social networks and learn how to use social media for good.  Setting up a drive is simple, free, fun and most importantly, gets much-needed food items delivered to local food pantries.
  2. Get the grandparents involved. Retired people are a great resource for charitable work. Many welcome the responsibility and interaction that come with volunteer work but don't know where to start. Recruit your parents, grandparents, older neighbors, and senior center patrons to help support your cause.
  3. Collect donations at your next family or business event.  Is your business holding a summer picnic? Are you planning a graduation, birthday party or just fun get together? Why not ask each attendee to bring a canned good to your event? Set up a table to drop off and showcase the goods you've collected. We promise this donation table will be a happy topic of conversation at your event.
  4. Make a difference as a family. Family time is important to many over the summer months. What better way to motivate and bond a family than to work together for a greater good? Studies show that kids that see parents and grandparents volunteering are more likely to volunteer and donate to charity as they get older. Animal lovers, call your local animal shelter and set up a time for the whole family to go in and volunteer. Families of book lovers can run a book drive for area kids' summer programs.  Outdoorsy families can grab gloves and a garbage bag and clean a local park. Active exercise enthusiasts can organize a neighborhood run or fun walk benefiting a cause. Choosing your cause, organizing and planning the event, no matter how small, will be some of the most rewarding family time you've ever spent. Imagine how you will all feel when you have accomplished your goal, together.
  5. Virtual volunteering. If it's hard for you to commit to a scheduled time and place to volunteer, virtual volunteering is a relatively new option for you to consider. Contact the nonprofit that is close to your heart and discuss virtual volunteer opportunities. A few hours of your time using your home computer can make a big difference to a nonprofit. Offer your expertise in accounting, marketing, graphic design, party planning, logistics, and more.