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Hundreds of dollars in cash and prizes
just waiting to be won!


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Blogorama Bonanza WINNER

the winner of the
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from gifttree.com is
Entry #102 - Minta

enter more giveaways HERE


Follow Frenzy September - WIN $165

Welcome to Follow Frenzy September!

Follow Frenzy! Win cash!
Welcome to September's edition of Follow Frenzy! 

This month you have a chance to win $165 paid via PayPal or an Amazon gift code! Each entry is another chance to win, so check out the Rafflecopter form below and get clicking to visit all of the amazing blogs participating in this event! You will be able to enter until 11:59pm EST on Sunday, September 25th. Following the conclusion of the event, a winner will be drawn and notified via email. The winner will have 48 hours to confirm their win or another winner will be drawn.

Prize: $165 Paypal cash or an Amazon GC

When: 9/23 to 9/25

How to enter: Fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Do one, some, or all! Each entry is another chance to win. Please note, you only need to enter at one of the blogs. Duplicate entries will be removed. Comments will not count as entries.

Good luck!

Recipe - Honey Whole Wheat Bread

My first loaf of bread in my brand new West Bend bread machine turned out perfect! It looks perfect, it tastes absolutely amazing, and my husband said "Don't lose that recipe! It's a winner!" This looks like a good resource, www.onlinecookingschools.net in case I want to learn even more about cooking and baking.
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
an original Lisa Weidknecht recipe

Dump into bread machine in order: 1 1/8 cups warm water, 3 cups King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour, 3 tablespoons of local honey, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon King Arthur Whole Flax Meal, 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast. Set bread machine to 1 pound loaf, wheat bread setting, light color setting. Push start button. When bread cycle finishes, lift bread pan out and let cool ten minutes, turn pan over and bread will fall out easily. Slice with bread knife when cool.

I also bought the two tools below with my bread maker. I'm so glad I did! Next time I make it, I'm going to try it without the vegetable oil, so that it meets the Vegan Diet guidelines we're following. Hubby has requested a cinnamon raisin bread next! I highly recommend this bread machine. I love it! I was also really happy when my slicer guide came because the picture below just says "bread" on the side, but some of the other pictures say "our daily bread" and I wanted the latter, which is what came. YAY!

Cerra - Seven Intentions - Creative Energy - #SSCerra

What wonderful timing! Yesterday I started with the Grounded scent in the Cerra program and in the afternoon I received a wonderful package of Cerra materials! Inside is a journal (which I guess bloggers don't really need since we spill it all out online), tea packets, lotion, dissolving notes and a marker, keepsake notes, and a bottle of scented oil.

Today, my fragrance card is the Creative Energy card. My affirmation on the card reads: I am opening up to new things that spark my creative energy. I love this scent!!! The Creative Energy scent is a fresh, fruity citrus with Cardmom and Juniper Berry.

(Be Aware) As I mulled over my thoughts about creative energy, I think that pretty much describes me most of the time. As a home daycare provider I have to use lots of creative energy to keep my eight kids busy and happy and learning. As a wife and mother I have to use creative energy to run my household and juggle a full time career. Now that I'm blogging daily, creative energy comes in quite handy as I plan my posts, hunt for reviews, join in giveaways, and much more!

(Act with Intention) I think my newest acts of creative energy have taken place in the kitchen, since we've become vegan. I'm having to recreate the way I've eaten for over 40 years. By using this diet we are trying to reverse heart disease and improve our lives. I'm learning to make recipes from fresh fruits and veggies and whole grains, with no oils, nuts, dairy, or meat. How appropriate that the fragrance card smells like fresh fruit today!

(Reflect) Reflecting is exactly what this Cerra program is helping me to do. I'm really enjoying all the inner searching and also the products I've received as part of the program. Using the scented oil on my pulse points will help to remind me today of my creative energy as I make the most of the meager 24 hours a day I'm given to organize my life of joyful chaos.

2000 Follower Party Sponsor Added kt collection

Katie Thompson mixes metals to create pieces that are classic and easy to wear with just a touch of an edge to make them stand out. Formal studies in silver smithing at Indiana University and 92nd Street Y. Her jewelry is influenced by her travels throughout India, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and South America. Most of all, she is influenced by the New York City streets. Katie likes to mix New York's edgy street style with timeless gold and silver designs. She hunts down rich stones and brings meaningful pieces from her travels to her line. And because ktcollection sells in locations all over New York city, the jewelry reflects the trends of Manhattan while being amazingly easy to wear. The trends of the season may change, but ktcollection's pieces remain classics, made to last beyond just one season.
Enter to win these fabulous Gold Twirl Earrings
from the kt collection

Photo Journal Huntsville, Texas Visit #travel

We spent Saturday with my beautiful daughter in her college town of Huntsville, Texas. There is not much to do in the little town, but we had a great time just being together! This is her fourth year at college and she's excelled every year. We are so proud of her. (Love you, baby girl!!)

2000 Follower Party Sponsor Highlight BottleHood

I love amazing companies that do more than just sell stuff. BottleHood makes amazing products from recycled items!!! Here's what their website says:

BottleHood’s recycled glassware is made from wine, beer, liquor and soda bottles recycled from restaurants, bars, homes and events in the community. Our repurposed tumblers, juice glasses, vases, pendant beads and light fixtures are all eco-friendly products. Created out of a passion to create local jobs, stimulate our local retail economy and help our environment, BottleHood’s success is a reflection of neighborhood sentiment and support for what BottleHood stands for… a pride in our neighborhood, our local craftsmen and entrepreneurs, and our social responsibility.

BottleHood makes tumblers, glasses, shot glasses, vases, bowls, dishes, lighting, jewelry, candle accessories, cheese trays, and oak wine barrel trays. I love these products because every single piece starts a conversation! BottleHood sent me a set of two recycled Coke Bottle Glasses that are so cool.
I love these and since our entire game room is decorated in Coca-Cola merchandise, these recycled glasses are the perfect conversation piece to add to our collection of memorabilia! They are also perfectly sized for our evening drinks.
I also received this beautiful Recycled Jack and Coke Bottle Necklace on a Silver Chain. It looks just gorgeous against my dark green sweater. I've laid it against several backgrounds so you can see how it picks up different hues. It's very well made and I'm so pleased with it. I got lots of compliments about it when I wore it out the other night!

You can buy your own on the BottleHood website. You can also enter to WIN a set of four glasses and this fabulous necklace HERE at my 2000 Follower Party Giveaway! Connect with BottleHood on Facebook and Twitter too. Many thanks to BottleHood for sponsoring prizes at our party!
Disclosure: I received these products at no charge in exchange for my honest review.


Quit Eating Like a Pig Diet - Day 16

No weight change from yesterday.
Total weight change in 16 days: -8.4 pounds

Today's menu:
Breakfast: Oatmeal, Coffee
Lunch: Leftover Vegan Mexican Sweet Potato Stew (I added a 1/8 cup of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce to it before I reheated it, and it was awesome!), Coffee
Snack: Banana, Slice of homemade wheat bread, Water with lemon
Dinner: Veggies (lettuce, pickles, red onion, black olives, romaine, spicy mustard) in a Wheat Tortilla

You can win this awesome Country Bob's
Gift Set by clicking HERE
to enter my 2000 Follower Party Giveaway!!!

Cerra - The Seven Intentions - Grounded - #SSCerra

Cerra Experiences can help to lead you on your journey to a happier, more balanced life by helping you be aware of your thoughts and feelings, act with thoughtful intention, and reflect on your experiences.

I received a package of seven Cerra fragrance cards, designed to help facilitate personal growth through the Seven Intentions...Grounded, Creative Energy, Gratitude, Loving Kindness, Courage, Wisdom and Inspiration. I decided I'd use a different card each day for seven days during the daycare children's nap time to help me to focus on these important virtues.

I opened the Grounded fragrance card, closed my eyes and smelled the combination of woodsy, mossy, Patchouli, and yling ylang scents. On the Grounded card this is printed: I am becoming more deeply grounded. My roots are strong and are connecting me to my source of security. 

As I reflected on this and I thought about my family. I know that no matter what else goes on in this crazy world, I can always depend on them. I can also tie my spiritual beliefs to this Intention, knowing my roots in Christianity give me the ultimate sense of security. My roots are truly strong.

I chose a Cerra Moment from the website and did the Three Deep Breaths exercise to help me feel more relaxed and grounded. And then the kids' nap time was over and my normal life of chaos began once again.

Recipe - Mrs. Fields Cookie Creme Pie

Take 20 Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip nibbler cookies and crumble them into a trifle jar. Press them down to form a crust. Layer 1/2 inch of whipped creme over the crust. Mix 1/2 cup milk with 1/4 cup Amaretto liqueur. Dip eight Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip nibbler cookies and eight Mrs. Fields Chocolate Cookies into the milk mix and lay on top of whipped creme. Repeat the whipped creme layer, then the  cookie layer, and then another whipped creme layer. Then crumble a Mrs. Fields cookie on top as a garnish. Cover and chill in fridge overnight. Enjoy!!!
Click HERE to win Mrs. Fields cookies, along with lots of other amazing prizes in my 2000 Follower Party Giveaway!

Hot Deals Right Here Right Now

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Justin's Nut Butter - Review and Recipe

Peanut butter. It's a staple in diets all around the nation. But you've never had peanut butter like this! Justin's Nut Butter goes above and beyond ordinary. I received a case of peanut butter packages in four of the eight flavors...Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, Chocolate Peanut Butter Blend, Honey Peanut Butter Blend, and Classic Almond Butter. I love these little packets! You soften them up between your hands, tear the corner, and squeeze. It also comes in jars and I even saw one person on their Facebook page asking for 10 gallon drums of it because it's so good.
I put it on some crackers and served it to my seven preschoolers. They went nuts over it (funny, eh?)! Seriously, though, they loved all four flavors. They voted the Honey Peanut Butter Blend their favorite, but the Chocolate Hazelnut Butter was a close second. We even made a graph for our classroom!

Then we decided to make a recipe. We created Justin Oatmeal Butter Bars. We took 3 cups of oatmeal, mixed it with 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 cup of melted butter, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Then we pressed it flat onto a lightly oiled pan and baked it at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes.
After it cooled, we cut it into bars and squeezed Justin's Chocolate Peanut Butter Blend on each one. We got about 2 dozen absolutely delicious homemade oatmeal bars!
Justin's Nut Butters are natural and organic, so you can feel good about giving this product to your family. Try it for yourself! Be sure and check out Justin's Facebook and Twitter pages for special offers, great recipes, and the latest news. Pssst....they also make organic peanut butter cups!!
Disclosure: I received these products at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

ENTER NOW Rafflecopter Round Up

Yeehaw!!! Time for the
Rafflecopter Round Up!!!
Over 150 Blogs with Prizes
Worth at Least $25 Each!!!
Come Lasso Some Great Wins!!!
Planet Weidknecht is giving away
an autographed copy of
both of Lisa Weidknecht's
children's books!!!
"Raindrop Dream" and
"E is for Emotions"


Quit Eating Like a Pig Diet - Day 15

No weight change from yesterday.
Total cumulative weight change: -8.4 pounds

Menu 9-20
Breakfast: Wheat Toast, Coffee
Lunch: Whole Wheat Rice, Black Beans, Salsa (mixed together), Coffee
Dinner: Vegan Mexican Sweet Potato Stew (leftovers from last night), Coffee
Snack at Bunco night: Couple of raw carrots, couple of raw broccoli and cauliflower florets, Water
*Oh yeah, I almost forgot to list the four nibbler cookies from Mrs. Fields that I ate for my review in the afternoon. I was tempted to eat a whole lot more!

I've recovered quickly from the weekend illness and Monday's back injury and feel fantastic today. My mood and energy are excellent.

GiftTree.com Four Seasons Gourmet Gift Basket

Time is running out to enter to win!
Click HERE and enter now!

NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup

It's time for all you NASCAR fans to settle in for the Chase for the Sprint Cup! It all comes down to the top 12 drivers in points. Who will it be this year? Ready to celebrate? Get the goods now so you can celebrate the NASCAR way! Go #18!!!!

2000 Follower Party Sponsor Highlight Mrs. Fields Cookies

I've never had a cookie from Mrs. Fields. I cannot believe I lived this long without them. They are so scrumptious! I received a 112 Nibbler Mrs. Fields Classic Cookie Tin, the exact same one I get to give one lucky winner in my 2000 Follower Party.
I opened the package and the smell of sweet chocolate wafted out into my kitchen. I unwrapped the plastic and nibbled just one. Okay, maybe four. Mrs. Fields makes the softest, freshest, most delicious cookie ever! I can hardly believe they arrived in the mail instead of right out of the oven.
It has an assortment of classic flavors and not a single one of my daycare kids turned down a cookie. Imagine that. These arrived in such excellent condition that they would be an awesome gift for anyone! Their website has dozens of darling cookie gift baskets and dessert assortments, perfect for any occasion. Be sure to link up with Mrs. Fields on Facebook and Twitter too so you can keep up with special promotions. And don't forget to enter to win this 112 Nibbler Mrs. Fields Classic Cookie Tin right HERE on Planet Weidknecht!
Disclosure: I received this product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Step2 All Around Art Tower

I've been on the hunt for a new art table for my home daycare for a while. Caring for eight children means I need something sturdy and rugged. At the same time, I want something easy to clean that looks good too. The children just want ease of use. I'm so happy that I found everything we all wanted wrapped up into the Step2 All Around Art Tower!
The kids were so excited when the delivery man rang our doorbell and left this box with us! They could hardly wait for my husband to come home so he could assemble it for them. Okay, I was excited too. It's been awhile since we retired our old art table and I've just been leaving a basket of crayons and some paper out for them. It just didn't have the same appeal as an "art center."
The assembly was very easy and straightforward. The directions were simple to understand and he had it together in about ten minutes, the two little stools included. He even remarked that he was very pleased with the design and he's a hobbyist carpenter!

Did you know that many children enter kindergarten without ever having used scissors and glue? Art is so important, not just for emotional expression, but also for all the fine motor skills that develop with the use of small items. Being able to grasp crayons is a skill children can learn at 12 months (with supervision). Even Picasso scribbled as a toddler!
I love the art material holders that hug the center pole....no more fighting over who has the marker basket too close to them. Be sure to notice the slight lip around the edge of the art table....no more open markers rolling onto the floor. There are four clips at the top to display completed art, but I'm thinking I might buy some little clear bags to hang on them....to store scissors, glue sticks, chalk, etc. I could even loop a string around all four clips and hang supplies and artwork!
I loaded it all up with markers, colored pencils, stencils, and a tray of paper, plus a little basket of crayons (two of each color). Since there are two chairs, the plan is for two children at a time at the art table, which was what it was before our last table was retired. I couldn't wait to see their faces the next day!
The table is a huge hit with the kids! The stools are sturdy and work for my 23 month old as easily as for my almost five year old. The table is sturdy and doesn't tip when the children lean on it. It cleans easily and looks great! I love that the stools are detached because I can move it to different areas of the room if I want and put the chairs on another side.
Now I can provide them a variety of art supplies, giving them more choices and more control over their creativity, and I have the peace of mind that it's Step2 quality and design. It's a perfect choice! Did I mention the All Around Art Tower costs less than $80.00?? But wait, it gets even better! Shipping is only $4.99 right now on this art table at Step2.com! This one gets FIVE STARS!!!!!
Disclosure: I received this product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.


Vegan Mexican Sweet Potato Stew

Vegan Mexican Sweet Potato Stew
an original Lisa Weidknecht recipe

Peel and dice three large sweet potatoes. Put in crock pot. Drain and rinse a can of black beans. Add to crock pot. Dice one large portabello mushroom, toss in crock pot. Dice 1/4 large white onion, toss in crock pot. Drain one small can of green chilis, add to crock pot. Add 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp red chili pepper, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 pressed garlic clove, and 1/8 cup chopped cilantro to crock pot. Pour 3 cups of water over ingredients in crock pot. Stir well. Cook on high for five hours, stirring occasionally. Serves six. Liked by 3 of 4 of my family members.

Quit Eating Like a Pig Diet - Day 14

I missed posting a few days since I was out of town and then ill. Lunch on Saturday was a challenge, at a Mexican restaurant. I ended up eating a salad with salsa, and a side of mashed potatoes with pepper. Dinner was a buffet, so I gathered fruits, veggies, and whole wheat roll. Sunday I was ill all day, so I didn't eat anything all day. I just slept all day. I had a slice of dry wheat toast around 9pm with some water. Then I slept all night. Now my back is out. I think I will be missing tonight's walk. I've scheduled time with the heating pad.

Weight change from day 11:  -2.8lbs
Cumulative weight change from day 1:  -8.4lbs

Today's menu:
Breakfast: Bowl of cinnamon shredded wheat in soy milk
Lunch: Veggies (lettuce, romaine, spinach, pickles, tomato, olives, spicy mustard), between two slices of whole wheat bread, coffee
Dinner: Vegan Mexican Sweet Potato Stew (new recipe - see separate post), Coffee
Water throughout the day.

AWFUL Experience Best Western Hotels.com

I reserved a room at BEST WESTERN PLUS HUNTSVILLE INN AND SUITES HOTEL through HOTELS.COM and prepaid. I chose this hotel because the information on Hotels.com says "Best Western Plus Huntsville Inn & Suites is a smoke-free property." In addition I reserved a nonsmoking room. The room was absolutely disgusting with smoke smell. The hotel manager was rude to me and told me "That's all we have" and that "Hotels.com lied to you if it said we're a smoke-free property." 


Within 5 minutes of being in that room, I developed a severe headache. There were no other rooms at any other hotel in town because it was parents weekend at the college. The manager told me that they refused refunds paid in advance on Hotels.com. I called Hotels.com who called the Best Western who said they are not giving me my money back. Hotels.com also said they refuse a refund to me. I'm horrified about all this. I am sharing this awful experience with everyone who reads my blog.

I hope my experience influences you to NOT use either Best Western or Hotels.com EVER.


Please feel free to share this, to tweet this, to copy and paste this, and share this awful experience!

UPDATE: As of 11:30a.m. CST on 9/20/2011 I received a phone call from Hotels.com informing me that I can expect a full refund to my credit card within 5 business days.