Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Renaissance of the Heart - My Favorite Book of 2014!

My Favorite Book of 2014!!!

After her husband of fifteen years comes out of the closet, a blindsided, forty-year-old Amanda Lewis is forced to salvage what remains of her shattered heart and navigate a new life for herself and her teenage daughter. But will a sizzling secret romance with a famous young NFL quarterback lead her to winning the life she deserves or set her up for her biggest loss yet?

As she embarks on the journey of rebuilding her home, Amanda discovers that finding forgiveness and repairing her damaged self-worth are her biggest challenges of all. While searching her soul–and even searching inside her city's history–she finds answers. But will answers come too late and can a broken heart ever be truly fixed?

Such a great read - I could not put it down once I started reading about Amanda and her life. Her ups and downs as she started her new journeys.  Lori M. Jones did a fantastic job expressing Amanda's emotions and her struggle to overcome the many obstacles in her way.  EXCELLENT READ! I give it a 10 STAR fact I think I just might read it again.  

This is the BEST book I've read in 2014 - once I started reading Lori M. Jones had me! EXCELLENT READ!!

"Renaissance of the Heart is a light-hearted yet soul-filling story of what true love looks like" - review from Amazon

"This is the best book I have read in years! Lori Jones is an amazing author and needs to get more books out there! It's so hard to put this book down!" - review from Amazon

"This is a great book and you can't wait to get to the next chapter! The author draws you in right away with this story. The characters are amazing!" - review from Goodreads

Buy the book from....

Monday, December 29, 2014

Great Wolf Lodge ~ My Favorite Trip of the Year!!!

My Favorite Trip of 2014!

This past week I was able to spend two fantastic days with my three bestest friends! Caleb ~ Isa ~ Davey! We were off to Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells!  If you were ever wondering about taking a trip and staying at a Great Wolf Lodge location......

We had a BLAST!  From the minute we walked in the front doors of the lodge our adventure began. We arrived about one hour before check-in.  I told the kids we might not be able to register - that was not the case.  The lady was extremely nice told me our room would be ready in a few minutes. She asked for my cell phone number so that she could give me a call when the room was ready.  She also told me if we liked we could change clothes and enjoy the waterpark.  The kids eyes lite up right away.  We decided to spend our waiting time checking out the lodge. We took our map and found the inside and outside waterparks right away. Visited each restaurant and for sure checked out the gift shop. 
Within about 15 minutes my phone rang - the lady on the phone was very nice and informed me of our room number.  
When we opened the door to our room we could not have been more pleased!  We had a family suite with fireplace. Perfect for this bunch!  Living in Wisconsin you never know when you will need a fireplace. Sure enough the first night the temps dropped and we turned it on to warm up the room! 
Two queen beds ~ two TV's ~ couch ~ chairs ~ outside patio with table & chairs ~ fridge ~ Microwave ~ coffee pot .... lots of room! As you can see in the pic...Davey right away has his Wolf Ears on and he is changing his clothes for the waterpark! Caleb has picked his bed for the stay! Isa is in the bathroom getting her swimsuit on. 
For this stay each of the kids received a PAW PASS. I personality would recommend this for all families.  PERFECT way to save $$$$ and control cost for your trip. There is so much included in the PAW PASS that all three kids were totally happy!  YEP! ALL THREE!  Ages 13 - 10 - 5!!!  That is a feat in itself!  The Paw Pass is a addon you can purchase for each child. Great Wolf offers two different passes - PAW PASS and CUB PASS.  
Their PAW PASS included......MagiQuest or ShadowQuest Game - Wand or Topper or Belt for the game - Great Wolf Creation - Mike & Ike Candy Cup - Water Goggles - Glitter Tattoo - Ice Cream - Sports Bottle with unlimited refills and discounts to two local attractions.  The kids LOVED the PASSES!  The passes were perfect for the kids....with the passes they did not ask for one thing extra. It was a good combination of items that keep them all satisfied. The Great Wolf Creature was a little young for Caleb - but he got one for his niece and the MagiQuest was a little old for Davey but he enjoyed every minute playing and with older was a total WIN!! WIN!! With me not having to say "No" you can not have this and "No" you can not have that all day makes for such a fun trip!  Plus.....the PAW PASS saves about 38%! Which is awesome! Each park must have a different PAW PASS since our pass had two local discounts. When you check in make sure to ask about that locations PAW PASS...I know you will not be sorry!

Waterpark here we come!   The weather was beautiful the day we arrived so outside we headed!  

I am very very impressed with the amount of lifeguards and their dedication to ensuring every child is safe. They were definitely doing their jobs. 

Check out Davey with his new Great Wolf Lodge Goggles enjoying the water.  When we got to the outside park Caleb & Isa headed to the slide. Isa stayed on the slide while Caleb found a couple of  boys his age and they started to play basketball in the pool.  What was so nice is that all three were able to find kids their own age to enjoy their pool time with. 

I joined Davey in the pool..we headed to the moving river - as we floated on our tubes ..I thought gosh this is really really fun! 
When I got out I sat in my lounge chair enjoying the warm sun while watching the life guards and the kids. I noticed they had a outside refreshment location.....a BAR!  I thought a glass of wine would sure be nice. I got up and headed to the bar....sure enough they had a good tasting white wine in a neat plastic wine cup. Perfect for the pool! The wine was chilled and tasted very good. 

When the sun started to go down we headed inside! The inside is just as much fun as the outside! Totally different fun in the water!  My favorite is the WAVE POOL...the WOLF started to HOWL and the WAVES started coming!  FUN!
Time to go back to our room....we dried off - stopped by the Arcade then headed to the room to change and check out the MagiQuest Game! We had no idea what to expect. Their PAW PASSES were good for a game and either a wand - topper or belt. We had no
idea what that meant. Once inside we were like "WOW" what a fun place!  They each got a wand...since they needed a wand to play the games. MagiQuest is a video game that is played using a wand. 

The game is a series of task that are completed by finding objects throughout the  three story maze. Caleb & Isa LOVED it! 

Davey had fun even though it was a little old for him..he still enjoyed it! There were kids his size at the game which made it nice for him. They also had tables and chairs where I sat watching Davey play the games. 

GOSH it was late and we had not eaten dinner!  When we got back to our room we ordered a Pizza from the The Loose Moose™ Bar & Grill.  Caleb & Davey walked to the grill to pick up the pizza. The pizza was tasty and very reasonable - We all had pizza for less than $15.00 - not bad!

Time for bed..................

Day Two!
We slept great!  When we got up and opened the patio was raining!  ICK!
So we had a quick breakfast of cereal and headed to the inside park. 

The water bucket is really fun.  There is a huge bucket very high up that fills with water...when it starts to make a clicking noise it is about to tip and dump the water on everyone under the bucket. Davey and I really enjoyed the bucket.  It was also fun to sit and watch as others enjoyed the bucket water! SO much fun!   Day two Davey meet new friends and also reconnected with his friends from yesterday. He was really happy!   We keep checking outside  for the weather to change...the rain had stopped and it looked like it was going to turn into a nice day. We had our fingers crossed because we all enjoy being outside when we can. Living in Wisconsin we had a terribly cold winter and it was a long winter. We want sun!!
It was about 1pm when we decided to have lunch. Last night when Davey & Caleb picked up the pizza they said the food really looked good at the The Loose Moose™ Bar & Grill. We dried off and headed to the grill.  We were all very pleased with our choice of food. The kids all got Chicken Fingers..they had a good portion with drink for $6.00. I ordered a tasty chicken salad croissant with sweet potato fries. Check out the pics.

The food was very tasty - reasonably priced...we ate lunch for $30 - not bad!  The best part is everyone cleaned their plate! We had a nice sit down enjoyable lunch overlooking the lodge grounds and watching the cloudy sky turn into a sunny day!  When we finished eating we headed to check out if the outside pool was open! 

Outside water park here we come!

Davey wanted to play basketball with Caleb.  Great Wolf has life jackets available for the kids. Davey needed to wear a life jacket to play basketball since the water was 4-5 feet deep in that area. Check out their faces......13 and 5 years old.  Both as happy as can be!  In the background of the pic there are two children is Isa and her new friend!  
We stayed outside till about 5pm - we dried off and headed back to the MagiQuest game. I was very pleased to find that their game was still good. No need to pay for today!  That was nice. They played MagiQuest for about 2 hours then it was time to head out!
What a fun we drove out of the parking lot we were talking about when we should come back! 

Check out our souvenir ~~~~~ the perfect reminder of our fun trip! 
Oh I almost forgot ......
One of the best things about Great Wolf Lodge is that they are a Green Seal facility!  In fact they are the ONLY GREEN SEAL CERTIFIED waterpark!  CLICK HERE to read about Great Wolf Lodge's GREEN PROGRAM! They CARE about our environment and are doing great things to make a difference!
Recycle bin in each room...towel and linen program to save water.  Make sure to check out the above link to find out all the ways GREAT WOLF LODGE  is making a positive difference to our environment!

We had a BLAST and we will definitely be returning!
Thank You Great Wolf Lodge for giving us such 
Great Memories!
We had a HOWLING GOOD Time!!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Potato Soup ~ My Favorite Recipe for 2014

My Favorite Recipe for 2014!
Potato Soup
This is a delicious easy soup to make.  Perfect for cold winter nights! Last night after a busy day I wanted to make something that tasted delicious and was a feel good meal. My hubby and I are soup lovers - I honestly think we could eat soup everyday 
during the cold winter season.

3 pounds of Potatoes - peeled & cubed
2 stalks of Celery - chopped
2 cloves of Garlic - chopped
1/2 Medium Onion - chopped
2 Tablespoons Butter
4 Chicken bullion cubes
1/2 cup of chopped carrots
Real Bacon Bits
Seasoning salt
Emeril's Seasoning

Boil potatoes in large soup pot - cook till tender.
Boil carrots in separate small pot - cook till tender.
Saute celery, garlic, and onion in butter in a skillet that will hold 4 cups of water

When celery - garlic - onions are sauteed add 4 cups of hot water and 4 chicken bullion cubes to skillet. Make sure to cook and stir until the chicken bullion cubes are dissolved.

When potatoes are tender drain and return to pot. Add sauteed celery, onions, bullion water to the potatoes. Take a masher and lightly mash potatoes. When you have mashed the potatoes add the carrots.  Add spices & Bacon bites to taste.  Simmer until ready to eat.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

My Favorite King Picture Moment in 2014

My Favorite 2014 Picture Time with KING 

He was too funny while taking the pics! The looks I can shut my eyes and see him looking at me with the disgusted look on his face!!!

When Wholesale Halloween Dog Costumes asked me to review a costume for Kingers I was like sure!  I love Halloween...King not so much. Every year I dress him up. I swear that dog knows what is about to happen  when the costumes arrive in the mail. He gives me the look of "REALLY" was no different.

For Halloween this year Kingers is going to be the dog that looks like Sulley. Kingers is 100 pounds so many costumes do not fit him. The Monster Hoodie is perfect! He gets in the Halloween mood without having to wear a complete costume! Plus, it is super easy to put on. The hoodie has velcro at the base so the hoodie is very  very easy to put on Kingers head. No stress or drama from getting dressed up!

For the last few years I have been getting costumes through the mail from Wholesale Halloween Costumes.   They have such great costumes at very reasonable prices. All three kids and Kingers always get a new costume each year. Wholesale Halloween Costumes makes that a option for me because they carry so many costumes at a great prices. 

The Monster Hoodie is only $11.90 - there is no way I could even think to pick him up a costume at a pet store for that price.
Check out some of my favorite costumes.....
I was really thinking about making him Batman this year! I figured Kingers would prefer the hoodie. 

I know you are waiting for the pic of MONSTER he is! My baby as a monster......

GOSH he is cute!  He hates looking at the camera! 
I love the pic - that is the "REALLY" look!  LOL
Like Wholesale Halloween Costumes on FACEBOOK they offer great deals 
Follow Wholesale Costumes on TWITTER
Remember Wholesale Halloween Costumes is a great place for all costumes - Adults - Kids - Babies and of course your Pets!
Order Early while the selection is so good. Closer to Halloween your favorite costume might be sold out!
So now you know why I always purchase Kingers and the Kids Halloween Costumes in June...the costume selection is fantastic in June and the prices are amazing. Make sure to check out their clearance section!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Who Am I? by Megan Cyrulewski a perfect way to start the New Year

One of my goals for 2015 is to read one book a week. Less computer and less TV - more book time for me.  I am already making my list of books for the New Year! Yesterday was Christmas and here I am writing about what I plan to read in 2015. 

One of the books on  my list for 2015 is Who Am I? by Megan Cyrulewski.  
The book is about the journeys of a women through some extremely difficult times. How her daughter taught her how to live again! For more info on Who Am I? Click HERE  

I thought what a great book to start out a new year. A  book showing how we do have the power to survive! I am excited to hear how Megan was able to overcome and succeed. 

You can get your copy of Who Am I at any of these locations:

I will be sharing my 2015 Book List on my Blog. I will have a Book Page - feel free to check out my new Great Reads Page - each link will direct you to a current review of the book. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Davey's Christmas Treat

Davey's treat he is taking for his classes Christmas Party today! 
We had FUN making it!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

#martiangirl​ #sci-fi​ Aoleon The Martian Girl by Brent LeVasseur

Crop circles magically appear in Farmer Johnson’s field. A mysterious light sweeps over the night sky and awakens Farmer Johnson and Gilbert, the boy next door. 

Curious, Gilbert ventures out to discover the source of the light and stumbles into a beautiful Martian girl sitting in a crop circle. Farmer Johnson also investigates the strange light, and thinking that Gilbert and Aoléon are vandals, he chases them. But they sprint to Aoléon’s saucer and escape only to be pursued by the U.S. Air Force.

Gilbert has never been attacked by swarms of giant killer robots. Never met strange aliens from other worlds. Never skyboarded across a megalopolis hidden deep inside an extinct volcano. Never trekked across a vast Martian desert. And never been eaten alive by a gigantic slor (well, almost never, unless you count Billy the fat bully at school).

And luckily, he has never ever confronted an evil ruler of Mars bent on conquering the Earth to steal its cows.
Never...until now!
This may be the adventure Gilbert always wished for.
If only he can survive.

Aoleon is a very cute story about outer space. I know as a child outer space amazed me and still does.  I often wonder "What is out there?"  I really liked the fact that the crop circle were the fun activities of visitors to our earth. Crop circles as a way to play - made me want to keep reading the book. I kept wondering what was next? Where will this take Gilbert.  I found many meaning lessons in the story which I think are valuable for young teens. Brent LeVasseur did a excellent job of incorporating life lessons into the story. Valuable lessons that we all need to be reminded of.  I told Isa about Aoleon - The Martian Girl ...she is excited to begin reading it. I even asked Isa if she would like to be the book reviewer for the future books. She is so excited! The day after Christmas her and I are taking a train trip to my Mom's for the holidays.  Isa plans on reading Aoleon on the train. When we get back I will be posting her review of Aoleon.  Isa is 11 years old and she LOVES to read!
Buy the Book:

Buy The Martian Girl Song!
Another World - Single
Featuring Élan Noelle

 the Author:

Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

Connect with Brent:   Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Aoléon: The Martian Girl 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

4 Things to Consider Before Getting a Dog

Having a dog can bring joy to your life, and it can also provide protection. However, getting a dog is a big decision, and it’s something that will take up your time and cost you a decent amount of money. Getting a dog is something you need to think about and not something you can just do on a whim. Before you go out and get a dog, here are four things to consider.

1. The Cost
The cost of owning a dog is much more expensive than you may think. Dogs need essentials, such as collars, crates, leashes, food, ID tags, and water/food bowls. They also require annual (if not more frequent) medical care. Booster shots are needed every year, and flea and tick medication as well as heartworm prevention medication is needed on a monthly basis. And not to mention the cost of medical care if your dog is to fall ill or injured. Before deciding to get a dog, take a good hard look at your finances and determine if a dog is something you can truly afford. If there is any hesitation, don’t do it.

2. The Time
Getting a dog will take up a lot of your time. If you’re bringing home a puppy, you will need to dedicate a lot of time training the puppy. This is not something that is accomplished in one day, so be prepared to spend a lot of time with your dog on a constant basis.

Even after the training is over or when the dog is older, your dog will still take up your time. Your dog cannot live on its own, which means that you will need to make sure you are home regularly enough to feed the dog and let him or her outside to go to the bathroom. If you are constantly staying away from home, a dog may not be a good decision.

3. The Type of Dog
There are so many different types of dogs out there that you would need to determine which type of dog would make the most sense for you. For example, if you or anyone in your family is allergic to dogs, you would need to consider a hypoallergenic dog. If you live in an apartment with restrictions, you may need to stick with smaller dogs. Be sure to research the different types of dogs out there as well as the optimal conditions for that certain breed, then be sure to choose a dog that would fit well with your current living conditions and lifestyles.

4. The Essentials

Dogs need a lot of essentials in order to survive, and it’s important that you think about these items before getting a dog. For example, you will need to decide on a veterinarian to care for your dog and provide him or her with the right treatments and care. You’ll also need to consider the type of food and/or diet you will provide your dog, whether wet food, dry food, dehydrated dog foods, or any other option. You’ll also need to determine who will care for the dog while you’re out—will you leave him or her at home or will you put him or her in a doggy daycare? Having the answers to these types of questions will make you more prepared for what to expect and how you will care for the dog once you bring him or her home

Liesl’s Ocean Rescue by Barbara Krasner

Liesl’s Ocean Rescue by noted children’s author Barbara Krasner, recounts the story of Liesl Joseph, a 10 year old girl aboard the ill-fated MS St. Louis. On May 13, 1939, together with her parents and 937 other Jewish refugees they left Germany on the MS. St Louis attempting to seek temporary asylum in Cuba. 

Accomplished artist Avi Katz has beautifully illustrated this age- appropriate, yet historically accurate story. 

Liesl’s Ocean Rescue is a worthy and strong addition to Holocaust literature and curriculum at the elementary school level. An excellent bibliography of supplemental resources will facilitate teaching of a difficult but necessary subject. The poignant and uplifting account should encourage our children to stand up for what they believe is right and to make a positive difference in the livers of those less fortunate”. 
—- Dr. Margaret Lincoln, the District Librarian for Lakeview Schools in Battle Creek, Michigan, has served as a Teacher Fellow with the United States Holocaust Museum 

“Liesl’s Ocean Rescue offers a glimpse of a sweet and poignant interlude in one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the 20th Century. The book is suitable - and necessary - reading both for children and their parents.” 
— Martin Goldsmith, author of Alex’s Wake: A Voyage of Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance 

Liesl's Ocean Rescue is a excellent child's book about a very difficult time in our history. Liesl's is a young Jewish girl in Germany during WWII.  This was a very sad and difficult time for anyone of the Jewish faith. The story tells of her experiences and fear while living in Germany.  The struggles her family endured to ensure they would be safe and free. How the journey aboard the MS St. Louis changed her life forever.

I read the book to Davey & Isa.  The book was a great opportunity for me to explain the sorrows of the Jewish faith during WWII. It also opened up conversation on the importance of the right to religion and the importance of our democrat system.

I give this book Five Stars. I found it a very positive way to approach a very difficult time in our history.

If you want to be one of the first to read Liesl's Ocean Rescue check out AMAZON - the book is only $3.99 on AMAZON. 

About the Author

Barbara Krasner is a historian and professor of creative writing. She publishes the popular blog, The Whole Megillah: The Writer's Resource for Jewish-Themed Story. She runs workshops and conferences for Jewish writers at the Highlights Foundation and in conjunction with the Association of Jewish Libraries. Barbara has a B.A. in German from Douglass College, an M.B.A. in Marketing from the Rutgers Business School and an M.F.A. in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a candidate for the M.A. in Applied Historical Studies at William Paterson University.

Illustrator Avi Katz was born in Philadelphia where he studied in the Schechter and Akiba schools as well as the Fleischer Art Memorial. After three years at U.C. Berkeley he moved to Israel at age 20, where he graduated in Fine Arts from the Bezalel Art Academy. He was the staff artist of the Jerusalem Report Magazine from its first issue in 1990 until 2012, and is active in the international Cartooning for Peace program. He has illustrated over 160 books in Israel and the U.S. including the National Jewish Book Award winning JPS Illustrated Children's Bible. His books have also won the IBBY Hans Christian Andersen Honors four times and Israel's Zeev Prize six times. His art has been exhibited in Israel, America and Europe.

The Lamb's 2014 Holiday Season - Part Three

The second week in December was another fun packed week. Tuesday was Isabella's Birthday. She had her party with friends on Sunday - on Tuesday we were invited over for dinner. Isa's choice for supper was stuffed shells with a confetti cake. Papa brought the Neapolitan ice cream and his famous bottled soda's. He always brings different bottle sodas to events. The kids love them! 

Thursday during the day I made my Christmas Cards. This is my first year making all of the Christmas cards.  I wanted to make each card meaningful. This is something I will definitely be doing every year.  Each card is my gift to them made especially for them. 

Then Thursday evening was the kids Christmas Concert. Their concert is one of my favorite Christmas events. Check out the pics........the first pic is Davey's class. This is the 4K and kindergarten class.  Davey is in kindergarten...he is second row far left. The boy in the red shirt with the Mohawk hair style.

The next pic is the Kansasville choir. Isa and Caleb are both in the choir.  Caleb is the young gentleman in the back row turned the wrong way. Isa is in the second row second girl from the left in the red sweater with the black/white/red polka dot dress.  They all love singing!

Kansasville School is a small rural school. There are only 100 children for grades 4K - 8th Grade. This is the last year that all three kids will be going to the small school. Caleb is in 8th grade ~ Isa 5th and Davey is in Kindergarten.   This is Caleb's last year of participating in a annual school Christmas Concert - next year I will miss him singing.

Friday night is Fish Fry Friday in Wisconsin. We went to our favorite restaurant Home Again for their fish fry. DELICIOUS! Then Isa and I were on our way for some Isa & Nana Fun. We had tickets for the local theater groups production of Scrooge the Musical.  Scrooge was excellent - the cast did a great job. The Haylofters are the oldest running theater group in Wisconsin. Before the show we stopped at our favorite coffee shop for a tasty holiday latte.  Isa is a coffee lover like her Nana.  Isa asked "Nana can we do this every year?"  I said "Sure we can!"

Saturday was a lazy day - we caught up on household task and relaxed. Isa stayed all night and she spend the afternoon playing on the computer. A quick trip to the market to pick up Papa's special bottled soda - then we headed to Dawn & Dave's. December 13th is Davey's Birthday!!! Dinner party at his house. Each birthday the kids get to pick the dinner menu. Davey picked Sub Sandwiches & French Fries for dinner with Brownies & Spumoni Ice Cream for dessert.  Check out this Elf of a 6 year old!! Too cute in his new Christmas PJ's.

Sunday morning 8:30am it was Breakfast with Santa! Oh My Gosh what a fun time! Thursday when I was making cards I though I would make the kids a card to give to Santa.  Davey was so excited to give Santa his special Christmas Card. Home Again also gave them a sugar cookie to decorate after meeting Santa. 

Oh I almost forgot on Monday Dawn called me to ask me if I wanted to up date my phone. We have AT&T service ~ they have a great promotion. I upgraded to a New Fire Phone and I received a Kindle Fire HD for 99 cents. Phone was free and the Kindle was only 99 cents! Plus, it included a year of Amazon Prime. 
I love to read - I have a Color Nook and I wanted a new Kindle to take advantage of the many deals on e-books.  It is like I got a great Christmas gift early!!! 

This post is going live on December 18th - Yipes..Christmas is one week from today! Time is moving FAST! 
One more week of fun before the special day. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DeDa Studio's Reindeer Family

Oh My Gosh what a fun afternoon!  I made Reindeer to take to work for my department 
Christmas Party tomorrow! 
You can get the instructions on how to make your own 
Reindeer Family 

Here is a herd of Reindeer in a pan!!!