Thursday, July 30, 2015

Giveaway: The Apologetics Study Bible for Students

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. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
 The Apologetics Study Bible for Students is a comprehensive guide to the Bible. What I appreciated most were the questions and answers. For example, right away in Genesis comes the question, "How old is the earth?" It was handled in a way that Christians of all denominations could be satisfied. Another notable feature is the inclusion of sixty examples of twisted or distorted Scripture passages. It's not only appropriate for students diving deeper into the Bible, but for adults seeking to learn more. After all, aren't we all students? I love Apologetics, because it's a very logical way to approach faith, and that appeals to the math side of me. This Bible really does a good job of going beyond just the Word to provide deeper insight, thereby providing a stronger, more confident faith.

This summer, the gift of Confident Faith is being celebrated with 16 brand new, but energetic and brief videos featuring Sean McDowell, free resources like Bible studies and articles as well as wonderful specials on apps and Bibles. In addition, a Confident Faith Sweepstakes is being offered to give away Bibles, free mini libraries of B&H's best apologetics resources and even a trip for two to the National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA) being held October 16-17, 2015 in Charlotte, NC where some of the world's leading thinkers will offer insights and teaching.

The videos cover some pretty pertinent topics - is it ok to doubt, the Bible's view of women, homosexuality. I thought they were handled quite well, and even if your personal viewpoint differs from that of the videos, it's really a good idea to have a fully informed opinion by listening to rational arguments from the opposite side as well. Sean McDowell is an energetic educator and author who isn't afraid to tackle the tough questions.
I have a chance to give away a copy of The Apologetics Bible. To enter, leave a comment with your toughest faith question you'd hope to see answered. Deadline is July 29th.

Giveaway: Pure Canada Maple

Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

Maple syrup is kind of a gold standard for pancakes, and nothing beats the taste of pure maple (as opposed to maple-flavored). I've also used syrup in cookie and cake recipes, and once in a while in savory dishes (try drizzling it over bacon and then oven-baking - delicious!)

However, the folks at Pure Canada Maple also have some other recipes for desserts, main courses, beverages, breakfast, and appetizers. You can even use it in cocktails, such as this Maple Margarita:

Curious to try more? They have a fun interactive maple cocktail game to pair you with one of 40 refreshing cocktails. I have a chance to give away a sample so you can try your favorite. To enter, leave a comment with which drink suits you best. Deadline is July 29th.

Consumer Critique: Magic Opener

Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

Summer is a great time for camping, picnics, and barbecues, often with plenty of chances to open cans, water bottles, and glass beverage bottles. Sometimes these are hard to open, and it's easy to forget to pack an opener (or bring the wrong one). Magic Opener is a universal opener that can open two sizes of plastic bottle tops, pull tabs, and lift-off beer bottles. It's also magnetic, so it's easy to stick on a fridge or other magnetic surface so it's within convenient reach. My kids were able to use it to open their own bottles, and it would also work for people whose hand strength is affected by things like carpal tunnel or arthritis. It's bright and easy to find at picnics when you're outside, and really does make it much easier to open beverage bottles of all types.

Consumer Critique: RingSkin

Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

As parents, we often have to clean up a lot of messes, and want to play with our kids. But this can be hard on wedding rings. I often don't wear my ring, especially around the house, because I'm worried about the activities I'm going to be doing that may ding or scratch my ring. RingSkin was created by Ginny Pennell when she didn't want to damage her ring during workouts or leave it at home. This small skin provides clear barrier that is almost unnoticeable around your ring. The jewel part of the ring is still exposed, allowing it to shine, but the ring is protected with a comfortable, soft skin that won't irritate your hand.

RingSkin was easy to put on my ring. Once on, the ring still slid pretty comfortable on my hand. It's an innovative product and great for moms worried about daily activities and the impact they'll have on wedding or engagement rings.

Book Nook: 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage

Disclosure: I received complimentary products from to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

9 Thoughts that Can Change Your Marriage  is a good book for newlyweds or those who have been married for quite some time, whether the relationship is rocky or solid. When things are going well, this book helps reinforce some of the thoughts behind decisions you already make in your marriage. If things aren't going so well, this book can help reframe the mindset to hopefully change for the better.

The book is based on Christianity and the unity God wants us to have in marriage; however, the thoughts (such as sex is not the same as love) apply to all marriages, Christian spouses or not. What I like is that, unlike some other Christian marriage books, it's not just about being patient and enduring things. Part of it is a mindset shift that, yes, does make it easier to endure, but also changes how we respond to things (such as the thought that it's not the husband that makes the wife mad, that wives can stay in control of emotions). This change in response is likely to be reflected by the spouse, spurring both parties to stronger unity.

SHEILA WRAY GREGOIRE is the author of numerous books, including The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex and To Love, Honor and Vacuum. Her refreshing approach to difficult relationship topics has made her a popular speaker across North America and earned her an online following in the hundreds of thousands. She and her husband, Keith, both avid birdwatchers, are now empty nesters. They're hitting the road in an RV, pulling over for speaking engagements, free wifi, and rare hawks.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Consumer Critique: Ergo Prodigy Series Knife

Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own. 

Whether you're an expert cook or just someone who does a little bit in the kitchen, it's nice to have a knife that can handle large food (like melons or large cuts of meat). It helps when it's a quality knife that is also comfortable. The Prodigy Series 8” Chef Knife by Ergo Chef has an ergonomic non-slip grip handle over a full steel tang for strength and balance. Its lighter weight provides easy handling and control.

Ergo Chef Co-founder Scott Staib knows knives. After his career was sidelined due to carpal tunnel syndrome, he enlisted the help of his engineer brother, Mike, to help him come up with a solution. They worked tirelessly with designers, engineers, culinary professors and countless chefs to create a line of professional grade knives that would be a true extension of a chef’s hand. After three weeks of using their new ergonomically created design, Scott’s persistent tendonitis and carpal tunnel symptoms disappeared, and Ergo Chef was born. 

I don't have carpal tunnel issues, but I do occasionally overuse my hands, with typing and being a musician. Even on days when my hands were tired, this knife was comfortable to use and sharp enough to slice everything I tried to cut. It was easy to wash, too, and really nice and light weight.

Sweepstakes: Brugal® Respeto Getaway

Ever dreamed of vacationing in the Dominican Republic?  Now through 12pmEST on September 30, 2015, you can enter for a chance to win a trip for two to the beautiful Caribbean island through the Brugal® #RespetoGetaway Sweepstakes, hosted by Brugal Rum, the leading rum brand in the Dominican Republic. 

 The grand prize trip will include roundtrip flights to the DR, lodging for 4 nights, daily breakfast, 1 dinner, 1 lunch and 2 outings. To enter, Tweet or Instagram a photo of Brugal Rum (the bottle or in a cocktail) using the hashtag #RespetoGetaway. You’ll then receive an auto-response message from @brugalusa (on either Twitter or Instagram) with a link to the official submission form.

 You must be 21 years of age or older and a legal resident of the United States to enter. Full terms and conditions:

Caring Causes: National Partnership for Women and Families - Healthy Families Act

A new fact sheet on Minnesota’s workforce released today by the National Partnership for Women & Families explores the impact of more than 947,000 workers in the state not being able to earn a single paid sick day. It focuses on the individuals and industries most affected by the lack of paid sick days, including children, restaurant workers and low-wage workers and their families. The fact sheet makes a powerful case for paid sick days standards at the state and national levels.
“Our nation’s failure to establish a paid sick days standard is harming people in Minnesota and across the country,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership. “It is absolutely unacceptable that so many hardworking people and their families risk grave financial hardship if they get the flu, strep throat or another common illness because they cannot earn basic paid sick days, even after years at their jobs. Lawmakers at all levels need to look closely at what is at stake and take action.”
Twenty-four jurisdictions across the country already have, or will soon have, laws in place that guarantee workers the right to earn paid sick time. Minnesota is not one of them. To create the new fact sheet, the National Partnership compiled the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau for all of the states that do not yet have a state or municipal paid sick days law. Fact sheets for all of these states, including Minnesota, can be found in map form here.
According to the new fact sheet:
·         Nearly 190,000 people in Minnesota work in restaurants – an industry in which, nationally, 90 percent of workers cannot earn paid sick days;
·         The largest industry in Minnesota is health care and social assistance. Nationally, more than one-quarter of workers in that industry cannot earn paid sick time;
·         Overall, 22.2 percent of Minnesota jobs are considered low wage, and few low-wage jobs allow workers to earn paid sick days; and
·         Nearly 950,000 children in Minnesota live in families in which all parents work, but parents with paid sick days often cannot use them to care for children.
Nationally, more than 43 million private sector workers – nearly 40 percent of the country’s workforce – cannot earn paid sick days. That number has remained largely unchanged in recent years, despite a growing body of evidence that shows paid sick days benefit families, businesses and economies; and 85 percent of voters saying they want employers to provide paid sick time. The National Partnership fact sheet concludes that the Healthy Families Act, which would establish a national paid sick days standard of seven paid sick days per year, should be a high priority for Congress.
“State and national level data like these make it painfully clear that employers and lawmakers are not acting quickly enough to establish the paid sick days standards workers and families across the country urgently want and need,” Ness continued. “Access to paid sick days should not depend on where someone lives or what job they hold. The Healthy Families Act is a common sense proposal that has been tested in states and cities across the country. It is long past time for Congress to make its passage a priority.”
The National Partnership convenes a broad and diverse coalition that supports the Healthy Families Act. More information can be found at
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The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care, and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at

Contest: #BESTCOLLEGE Challenge

While the start of college is an exciting time, navigating new classes, friends and technology can be overwhelming for any student. This school year, Best Buy is hoping to help.

Best Buy just launched its #BESTCOLLEGE Challenge Contest to help students across America go back to school with tips and advice on how to have the best college experience ever from some of the biggest stars on the Internet.

Students can also win a fully teched-out room through the #BESTCOLLEGE Challenge. Now through August 15, students can enter to win one of six grand-prize packages featuring approximately $2,500 worth of the latest and greatest back-to-school products from Best Buy.

Entering to win one of the teched-out rooms is simple! Students just need to visit and submit their own college tip, or share what tech they can’t live without on campus, along with a photo. Best Buy will be traveling the country next month surprising winners, and some of students’ favorite Internet stars might be along for the ride.

More details on #BestCollege Challenge Contest can be found here.

Freebies: Dark Places Screening (MOA)

Interested in attending a screening of Dark Places on Tuesday, August 4 – 7:30PM at the Theatres at Mall of America?
If you are interested in attending, email with the words “DARK PLACES” in the subject line, and include your full name in the body of the email message. Your name will be added to a will call list at the door. Please be advised that seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. It’s recommended you arrive early to guarantee a seat.