Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie #Recipe featuring Carrington Farms Flax Paks

Disclosure: I received samples of Flax Paks at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Finding ways to incorporate healthy foods, like organic milled flax seeds, is so easy with these single serve Flax Paks from Carrington Farms. The individual packets are pre-measured for a daily dosage and they are easy to take along anywhere...school, work, traveling, or lunch with friends. Flax Paks come ready to eat and can be sprinkled on any food or if you prefer, mix them in. They are gluten-free and offer 2800mg of omega 3 per serving.
The milling and micro-cleanse process used by Carrington Farms assures that only the finest flax seeds are thoroughly cleansed by natural means, and then surgically sliced, resulting in a delicious coarse flax seed grind that retains the maximum amount of healthy nutrients. Plus, they are delicious! I've been enjoying smoothies on a regular basis lately, so I created a recipe to share with you.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie #Recipe
In a blender, combine one cup almond milk, two tablespoons cocoa almond butter, one tablespoon honey, one banana, six ice cubes, and one Flax Paks packet. Blend on high for 3 minutes and enjoy.
The consistency of this smoothie reminds me of the delicious (not-so-healthy) malteds I used to love to drink as a child.
Visit www.carringtonfarms.com for more information about their entire line of products, the benefits of adding them to your daily diet, and more recipes. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter too!

Bloggers Join Us - Great Gifts Giveaway Hop

Join us for the 
Great Gifts Giveaway Hop
from November 7-17, 2013

By adding your blog link below, you agree to:
Post a dedicated giveaway for this event, from November 7, 2013 at 12:01a.m. until November 17, 2013 at 11:59p.m. Giveaway may be company-sponsored or self-sponsored. Giveaway prize must be worth at least $25.00 and be something that is a great gift for someone. Blogs without giveaways posted by noon on November 7 will be removed from the linky list. Signups close on November 5.

You do not need to post in advance of the giveaway hop, but if you'd like to add the button to your sidebar please link it to this post so that others may join in too.
Please also join the Weidknecht Events Facebook Group at:

Your giveaway post (on November 7) must include:
Great Gifts Giveaway Hop button
Link to the hosts http://www.weidknecht.com and http://leahsaysviews.com/
Provided linky list of all participating bloggers
Your giveaway and contest form

Sign Up Here:

Giveaways Ending Soon


Monkeybiz - Art That Makes a Difference

I love finding companies that believe helping others is more important than making a fast dollar! If you're looking for gifts that give back, check out Monkeybiz South Africa.
Monkeybiz is a nonprofit organization that has revived the ancient African tradition of beading and beadwork The recently introduced a new line of cute miniature animals to their collection. The range of animals, each a unique piece of contemporary artwork, will include birds, owls, turtles and bunny rabbits. The animals are available in a variety of small sizes and as holiday ornaments in select stores and online.
Monkeybiz is a nonprofit income-generating bead project started in January 2000 by ceramic artists Barbara Jackson, Shirley Fintz and Mathapelo Ngaka. Through creating sustainable employment, Monkeybiz focuses on women's economic empowerment and health development in the most economically under-resourced areas of South Africa. The project, which has established a vibrant community of more than 450 bead artists, many of whom are the sole breadwinners within their households, has transformed the beaded arts market in South Africa.
Departing from the culture of mass-produced curio craft, each Monkeybiz artwork is unique and is signed by the artist, ensuring that individual artists receive recognition for their work. All of the profits from the sales of artworks are reinvested back into the community. Visit, shop, and make a difference today at www.monkeybiz.co.za.

Wines of South Africa - #Austin Event #Travel

Looking for something to do? 
Come and join me on my birthday at this fun event!

Wines Of South Africa: Austin Edition takes place on Sunday, October 27th at 3pm-6pm at VUKA (411 Monroe Street West) and will be a $20 ticketed event benefiting Amala Foundation. You will enjoy unlimited Braai and South African wine! 

Tickets are available now at austinbraai.eventbrite.com. Austin is the second stop on the WOSA - USA Braai Tour 2013/2014 which sets out to explore American cuisine, cities and culture while infusing an experiential touch by promoting South African wines, traditional Braai (or BBQ) and specialty side dishes by Chef Uys.

Included in the $20: South African wines, traditional Braai (BBQ) and yummy specialty side dishes by Chef Uys, on the notes of DJ Xander who will be spinning crossover eclectic mixes that will take you to Cape Town! 

USANA Protein Snacks - Fudge Delite / Choco Chip / Peanutty Bliss

Disclosure: I received USANA product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
If you find yourself craving delicious comfort foods this time of year, but hate all the empty calories, USANA Protein Snacks can help you curb the desire for treats in a guilt-free way! I received one each of their Fudge Delite, Choco Chip, and Peanutty Bliss snacks and they are more like frosted brownies than protein bars.
These delicious, healthy snacks from USANA are low glycemic, gluten free, and packed with protein. The Peanutty Bliss and the Choco Chip each have 11 grams of protein and just 160 calories. The Fudge Delite has 12 grams of protein and 180 calories. It's a delicious way to get a boost of energy and satisfy your sweet tooth.
The individually wrapped snacks make eating healthy more convenient because you can toss a few in your purse, your desk, or your car console. Your kids will swoon over them when they find them in their lunchboxes! One USANA Protein Snack is the perfect size for a snack, so leave some out for after-school snacking that is mom-approved. I love them, especially the Fudge Delite!
Visit www.usana.com to shop and for more information about their entire line, including more yummy snacks, plus nutrition and personal care products. Stop by their Facebook page and Twitter page to follow and tell them congratulations on being awarded #1 Overall Merchant and #1 Merchant in Direct Sales for Customer Satisfaction for 2011.

Bring Balance to Your Dog's Life with Purina ONE #IngredientsForGood

Disclosure: I received product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
My dog Buddy has enjoyed Purina Foods in one form or another the entire time he's been part of my family. We've always fed him dry food, so this package full of wet foods was going to be a true experiment, especially since he's over 10 years old now. He was 3 when he rescued us, so I'm not even sure if he's ever had wet food. I've learned through Purina ONE  that a balance of wet food and dry food is really good for dogs and if there are more things I can do to bring balance to his life, I'm open to it.
Buddy is apparently open to trying new things too. I have NEVER seen him clean his bowl so thoroughly. He ate every single bite and licked the bowl so clean I thought he was going to like a hole in the bottom of the bowl. Then he spent the next hour muzzling me in appreciation. I offered him all four varieties over a period of four days and he loved every single flavor. We're definitely going to add wet food to his feeding schedule!
Purina ONE SmartBlend wet food goes beyond AAFCO requirements to deliver two times the recommended antioxidant level in every bowl, with zinc, selenium, and vitamins A and E. These antioxidants help support a dog's healthy immune system. The protein comes from real chicken, lamb, turkey or beef. Vegetables are important for a dog's nutritional needs too, so these foods are accented with real spinach, carrots or potatoes.
Finding balance for your pet makes for a happier pet, which makes for a happier owner! Exercise and play are just as vital to dogs as it is to people, and when you do it together with your pet it helps to create a better bond between owners and dogs. Your dog can actually teach you about maintaining a balance too. Dogs are naturally relaxed and content most of the time, and who among us can be stressed out when greeted with a tail wagging in excitement? Petting a dog even produces oxytocin (also known as the "hug hormone") in your brain, which reduces blood pressure! Studies show that loving a dog brings balance to those dealing with loneliness, like the elderly, as well as those dealing with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), such as our beloved military members. 
How do you bring balance to your dog's life? 
How does your dog bring balance to yours?

The Fifth Estate Clip Gets 10,000 Hits an Hour

opens in theaters on October 18th!
The Fifth Estate refers to citizen journalism. “Fifth Estate” is used to describe media outlets (including the blogosphere) that see themselves in opposition to mainstream media (the official press), any class or group in society other than the clergy (First Estate), the nobility (Second Estate), the commoners (Third Estate) and the press (Fourth Estate). It has been used to describe civil society, the poor or the proletariat.

Win a Universal Cell Phone Car Mount

I recently reviewed the Universal Cell Phone Car Mount from Do Good Have Fun and I'm so excited to announce that the sponsor has now authorized me to give one away! You can read my review HERE, then enter below to win on the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway open to US residents, ages 18+. Ends on 10/27/2013. Good luck!

Delicious Fall Baking Recipes

offer expired


La Quinta - Joplin, MO - #Hotel #Travel

*includes affiliate link

Last week, my husband and I headed out from Hutto, Texas to attend my niece's wedding in St. Louis, Missouri. It's always amusing to me that it takes longer to drive to get out of central Texas than it does to drive across just about any other state. As we rolled across the Oklahoma border into Missouri, we decided it was time to find a place to sleep for the night. We seldom make hotel reservations along the route to our final destination because there is no telling when we'll be ready to stop. We exited the highway in Joplin, Missouri, and stopped at the first hotel we saw. As I walked into the lobby, I was enveloped in the smell of stale cigarette smoke, so we left. The next hotel offered us a basic room with a queen size bed for well over $115 and since we're on a very tight budget, we went on.
The third time's a charm! I walked into the La Quinta lobby and was immediately and cheerfully greeted by a young man named Grant working at the front desk. He set us up in a huge room with a king size bed for a very sweet price. The room featured a sofa and table, a desk, microwave, fridge, 46 inch flat screen television, free high speed internet, and a huge bathroom. After a quick check-in, we even enjoyed a spot of well whiskey in the hotel bar before turning in for the night.
Our room was spotlessly clean and we slept soundly on a fabulously comfortable bed. The next morning, we enjoyed a free hot breakfast of scrambled eggs with just a touch of country gravy, fresh orange juice, and some of the best sausage patties we've ever had. Since we're eating healthier, we avoided the carb foods, like cereal and bread, but there were probably more than two dozen breakfast items to choose from. Sadly, the coffee was awful, but I have yet to find a hotel coffee anywhere that I like. I definitely recommend the La Quinta in Joplin, MO!

Disclosure: I received no compensation of any kind for this post. I just wanted to share my great experience!

Win $100 Amazon - Whole Mom Spooky Sweepstakes

$100 Amazon Gift Card!
1st Annual Whole Mom Spooky Sweepstakes.
No Tricks! Just Treats!
Win a $100 Amazon Gift Card from Whole Mom this Halloween!
Winner announced on Halloween.
The entry period for the 1st Annual Whole Mom Spooky Sweepstakes
is from October 2, 2013 to October 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm PT.

Health Warrior Chia Bars - Review

Disclosure: I received product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
One of the hardest things about trying to lose weight is the urge to snack. I do just fine without snacking between breakfast and lunch, but mid-afternoon my stomach makes enough noise to drown out my thoughts. I can almost tell time by it! I've learned to choose only the healthiest of snacks to satisfy my cravings because it's too easy to eat more than just a snack.
Health Warrior Chia Bars are tasty and nutritious. Packed with chia seeds, this amazing superfood is loaded with omega-3, fiber, antioxidants and plant-based protein. Chia Bars are available in six flavors - Banana Nut, Coconut, Acai Berry, Apple Cinnamon, Coffee, and Chocolate Peanut Butter. My favorite two of the four I received are the Acai Berry and the Apple Cinnamon. One Chia Bar for my afternoon snack defeats my hunger, giving me energy and focus for hours!
A Chia Bar has only 100 calories (110 in the Coconut) and just five grams or less of sugar. They are 100% natural, vegan, and free of dairy, gluten and soy. Check out the chart below to see how much nutrition comes in these little seeds. Each Chia Bar is perfectly portable and individually wrapped for the ultimate convenience. Kids love them too, so they are a great addition to a lunchbox!
Visit www.healthwarrior.com to learn more about Chia Bars and their other chia products. The website even offers chia recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even puddings and smoothies. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Preserve Your Baby Face - Throwback Thursday #TBT Blogger Link Up

*contains affiliate link

It's Throwback Thursday!

Sponsored By:
Take a stroll down memory lane with us and join in!

I thought it would be fun this week to share one of my baby photos. I'm in the process of transferring all my photos from print to digital. Okay, realistically, I'm planning on beginning that process very soon. I've got over 30 scrapbooks I've created over the past 12 years so it will take me a while. I'll probably start with my photos and then work my way through the kids' photos. I can save them to flashdrives and stash them in our safety deposit box. My husband has very few childhood photos because most were lost in a fire, so it's a task I've been meaning to complete. How are your old childhood photos preserved?

Top 5 Reasons to see Enough Said

Disclosure: I attend a screening at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Enough Said is in theaters everywhere right now! If you haven't decided whether or not you should go see this movie, here are my Top 5 Reasons to encourage you to go see Enough Said.
  1. James Gandolfini - This is the last movie that James Gandolfini will headline. He passed on June 19, 2013, of cardiac arrest and we will no longer be blessed by his unique style of acting. Whether playing a crime boss in the Mafia on The Sopranos or a gentle divorced father in Enough Said, James certainly made his mark on Hollywood. His role as Albert is heartwarming, funny, and even sweet.
  2. Julia Louis-Dreyfus - As a longtime fan of Julia in her role on Seinfeld, I was surprised to find myself relating quite so much to her character, Eva, in Enough Said. Her portrayal of a middle-aged, divorced mom trying to make ends meet, relate to her teenager, and navigate the waters of dating was very realistic. 
  3. Timely topics - Enough Said deals with the many issues of today's families. It's not difficult to find yourself immersed in a story about adult dating after divorce, dealing with moody teenage girls about to head to college, and trying to build friendship relationships while juggling a past full of baggage.
  4. Surprising twist - The story is about Eva, who meets Albert at a party and the dating fun begins. In her day job as a masseuse, Eva befriends her newest client named Marianne, who is divorced from an obviously horrible man. Eva later discovers Marianne is Albert's ex-wife. The resulting comical interactions between all the characters are hilarious.
  5. Great date movie - You will find yourself laughing aloud, cheering along, and even choking back a few tears here and there. It's the perfect opportunity to learn that no relationship ever really goes as planned and the importance of honesty and forgiveness. I truly enjoyed it!

Government #Shutdown - Making American Women Mad Everywhere

How angry are you? Angry enough to yell at the news? Angry enough to call your congressmen and women? Angry enough to fire them all? Millions of Americans are financially impacted by the government shutdown and the majority of women are feeling disappointed in Congress and concerned about how it will affect the country. According to a new survey, 76% of women feel worse about the country’s future and 73% believe Congress should have found a compromise before allowing the shutdown to happen.

Not Cool, Congress
73% of women are feeling less favorable towards Congress and 36% say they will vote differently next year because of the shutdown.

My opinion - I think we should replace them all!

Deep Concerns
The majority of women (76%) are concerned about the impact the government shutdown will have on the country’s future and 43% say they will spend less money because of it.

My opinion - I am spending less and think it's a shame this is occurring right before the holiday shopping season begins!

When asked the question "What would you do if you were in charge," women responded with a mixed range of comments such as:
“Cease Congress paychecks! Have a mediator come in”
“Find a compromise at any cost”
“Kick ‘em out and start over”
“Legalize marijuana to get out of debt”
“Make ‘brunch’ a food group”

My opinion - If I were in charge, I would require all of Congress to participate in Obamacare or make it optional for every American, stop paychecks for Congress until the shutdown is over, and keep Congress in session twelve hours a day until they resolve it!


Legalese - The “Lippe Taylor/SheSpeaks Government Shutdown Study” was fielded online among the 1,047 SheSpeaks panel members on October 2nd, 2013. The sample is comprised of U.S. women aged 18 years and older. Women in the SheSpeaks panel are socially active, both online and offline.

20 Reasons the 2014 #Kia Sorento SX Ltd AWD is the Smart Family Choice! @DriveSTI

Disclosure: Car provided for one week at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Car Review:
20 Reasons the 2014 Kia Sorento SX Limited AWD
is the smart family choice!
1. This Kia Sorento has the snazzy design of a sport utility vehicle, the seating capacity of a minivan, the engine power of a truck, and the handling of a sports car, all rolled into one. 
2. The backup warning system and rear camera display on an 8-inch screen protects drivers from running over bikes, skateboards, and the neighborhood kids who won't stay off your property.
3. The roomy interior with 3rd row seating can seat up to seven, with a variety of ways to fold seats for hauling around the entire family, the groceries, suitcases, large pets, bulky sports equipment, band instruments, playpens, hunting equipment, and more.
4. It has the prestigious designation of 2013 IIHS Top Safety Pick, plus Kelly Blue Book named the Sorento one of the Top Ten Best SUVs under $25,000.
5. The panoramic sunroof with a power sunshade is perfect for airing out the vehicle of the assorted aromas that children and pets create, while allowing parents to still feel cool (pun intended).
6. The fully-adjustable front seats are extremely comfortable, even on those long road trips to visit the grandparents who live eight states away.
7. With lumbar support, heated front seats, ventilated front seats, and dual-zone climate control, the Sorento has an answer for everything, even when parents can't agree.
8. The seats fold down quickly and easily, without the usual frustration, tears, broken fingernails, scraped knuckles, and pseudo-cursing that parents do under their breath when kids are around.
9. The interior features lots of storage compartments (some are even lighted) for toys, snacks, tech gadgets, extra diapers, picture books, and that moldy baby bottle that never seems to make it into the house for washing.
10. Safety and beauty are combined in the 19 inch tires with Chrome-Finish Alloy Wheels, topped off with the security of 4-Wheel Anti-Lock Brakes, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control System, and Brake Assist.
11. The EcoMinder fuel efficiency indicator lights up on the dash to alert parents when it's time to celebrate maximum fuel economy (also known as saving money).
12.  The key fob gives parents control over power locks, the "way back" door, and the panic button (not intended for teenagers who are having a bad hair day).
13. The AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM Audio System and Infinity Speakers allow parents to easily drown out unwanted noises from the backseats, including whining, arguing, complaining, and talking back.
14. The Display Navigation System with Sirius Traffic helps families find their way around town (or out of town) to doctor appointments, dentist appointments, haircut appointments, orthodontist appointments, garage sales, and high school football games.
15. The Sorento has a power liftgate with programmable height, which really comes in handy when you're carrying five bags of food and your preschooler runs away across the parking lot yelling "Catch me!"
16. This AWD Sorento gets an average of about 20 miles per gallon; more specifically 18mpg city and 24mpg highway, plus the fuel tank holds over 17 gallons. 
17. The feature of power-folding side mirrors is perfect for going through car washes, parking on the street, and deterring neighborhood teens with baseball bats looking for mirrors to whack.
18. The rear child-safety door locks and Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) help to ensure your kids stay in the vehicle, even if your toddlers believe they are escape artists.
19. Parents can start and stop the engine at the push of a button; just another way Kia is making life easier for families!
20. It's a fabulous vehicle at a great price! Both my husband and I really enjoyed driving it. The Sorento certainly exceeded our expectations.

Ready to test drive one?
Visit www.kia.com 
to locate your closest dealer!