Giving Thanks - Day 12

Today I am thanking God for my day of rest. I got to sleep in until 10 o'clock, snuggled up next to my husband. Both teenage boys got themselves up and out the door this morning for various things they needed to go do without disturbing us once. The phone did not ring. The doorbell stayed silent. Even the dog didn't whine to go out. I am blessed!

Lot of Winners and More Giveaways

Thank you so much to everyone who enters my giveaways and leaves comments. It is so much fun to be able to offer you these great products to you. Here are some more lucky winners. Everyone, please feel free to enter more of my giveaways HERE!


Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon When You Take the North "Poll"

Melissa & Doug want you to tell them which of their educational toys you think is the best! Just click on the image below to place your vote in the North "Poll!" You'll Get a Melissa and Doug 25% Off Coupon** to use at MelissaAndDoug.com just for voting!

Giving Thanks 11/11/11

Today I give thanks to God for all our veterans.
Including my father, my stepfather, my uncles and many others in my family, my Christian family, and all the Americans who sacrifice to keep our country free.

Elephant vs Man - Close Encounters of the Worst Kind

Sent to me by my husband:

What an amazing story!!

In 1972, Joe Miller was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Tulsa Junior College.

On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Joe approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee, inspected the elephant’s foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Joe worked the wood out with his knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot.

The elephant turned to Joe, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Joe stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled.Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Joe never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Thirty years later, Joe was walking through the Tulsa Zoo with his family. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Joe and his family were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Joe, lifted its front foot off the ground, and then put it down. The elephant did that several times, and then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1972, Joe could not help wondering if this was the same elephant... Joe summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Joe's legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.


$50 Friday Now Open

Everyone loves cash, right? How would you like a chance to win $50 EVERY FRIDAY? Well, I am very excited that I have joined with an amazing group of bloggers to offer you a WEEKLY cash giveaway! Cool, yes?

Well, there is only one catch, the giveaway begins THIS FRIDAY (November 11th) and is ONLY opened from 12:01 am  and will close at 12:01am on Saturday, so it is only OPEN ONE DAY!

$200 Target Gift Card Giveaway

It's time for another big giveaway and this time we are giving away a $200 Target gift card! This gift card is sure to come in handy with Christmas shopping.

To enter, simply follow each of us on Facebook and Twitter using the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway starts 11/11 at 12:00 am EST and ends 11/25 at 11:59 pm EST. This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Don't forget that there are several daily entry opportunities as well, so bookmark this giveaway and come back every day to claim yours! Good luck!

Nutrisystem Delivery Day - Month One

My Nutrisystem food has been delivered and unpacked! I got my frozen food this morning and was quite happy to see things like pizza and ice cream. I had to kindly threaten my teenagers NOT to eat my Nutrisystem food because there are some really tasty items in there!
My shelf food arrived after dinner tonight, saving me an evening of guilt since my husband made homemade spaghetti tonight and I made bread this afternoon to go with it. I cleared off half a shelf in the pantry so I can keep my foods separate (and inventoried). I even get to eat muffins and pancakes on Nutrisystem.
I also received a meal planner to keep track of my food, a on-the-go meal planner to help me select my dairy and fresh food at the grocery store, and guidelines for the occasional dinner out. I set up my online Nutrisystem member page in the community a few days ago, so I'm ready. I am very motivated and will begin tomorrow morning. Skinny jeans, here I come!
Want to lose weight and get healthy on Nutrisystem? 
Join today by calling 1-888-853-4689 or 
by visiting http://www.nutrisystem.com/nsblog

Disclosure: The Nutrisystem program is being provided to me at no charge in exchange for my participation in the program as a blogger.

Extravagonzo Gourmet Foods - Review and Recipe

One of the few luxury items that my family buys is gourmet olive oil. In this economy, many families are very focused on saving money, and this is one way we can "splurge" without feeling guilty. I received four bottles of Extravagonzo Gourmet Infused Culinary Olive Oils and decided an Italian dinner was in order tonight. For tonight's menu, I selected the Roasted Garlic Olive Oil and created a delicious bread in my bread machine this afternoon.
Recipe Name: Lisa's Extrava-Garlic Bread
Put into bread machine in this order: 1 cup warm water, 3 tablespoons Extravagonza Roasted Garlic Culinary Oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 cup white flour, 1 1/2 cups wheat flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast.
Select wheat bread cycle, medium color, and press start.
Cool slightly, serve warm with Olive Oil dip (shake garlic and herb spice on small plate, add a bit of black pepper, pour Extravagonza Roasted Garlic Culinary Oil over spices).
My amazing husband made his homemade spaghetti sauce for dinner and added 1 teaspoon of Extravagonza Roasted Garlic Culinary Oil to the sauce pot. While the spaghetti noodles rolled to a boil and the sauce simmered gently, I sliced the bread and set the table.
When everything was ready, my husband blessed the meal and the three of us (one teen boy included) sat down to an amazing night of Italian delight. The Extravagonza Roasted Garlic Culinary Oil is superior to any other oil I've ever used. The taste is superb - the bread was delicious, the oil dip was awesome and his spaghetti has never tasted so good.
The set of four Extravagonzo Olive Oils would be a fabulous gift for someone (or even for you). I cannot wait to try the other three flavors - Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, Blood Orange Olive Oil and Red Chili Olive Oil. I'm including these in my Holiday Gift Guide AND you will get to enter to win some in the 12 Days of Gifts Galore giveaway event! FOUR winners will get to select their choice of a 200mL bottle of Extravagonzo Gourmet Oil.
Get a head-start on giveaway entries by doing the following now:
FTC Disclosure: I received these samples at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

I'm Featured on the Feed Me Friday Hop

Welcome to Feed Me Friday Blog Hop, hosted by Oh So Savvy Mom and Nap Time is My Time!

Feed Me Friday is a Blog Hop to help you meet new bloggers and build your email subscription. Want to be a part of Feed Me Friday? Just follow these simple rules:
- Add your blog link to the linky
- Subscribe by email and follow via GFC the two hostesses (Oh So Savvy Mom and Nap Time is My Time and the Featured Blog of the Week. Make sure to leave us a comment and we will return the favor. Visit as many blogs on the list as you can. If you like the blog subscribe to their email (feel free to follow on GFC too, if you want)
- Leave them a comment with your blog link so they know you are subscribing from Feed Me Friday. Be sure to confirm your subscription! Subscribing back is not mandatory, but it is recommended. It is a great way to build blogging relationships.
Since this is an email subscription blog hop, your blog must have a place for people to subscribe to your email. If there isn’t an email subscribe option, your link will be removed from the linky.

Every Friday we will put up a new Feed Me Friday linky, so be sure to stop by and add your blog. Each week we will choose one participant from the previous week’s blog hop to be the Featured Blog of the Week.

This week's featured blogger is...

Planet Weidknecht is written by Lisa who is living in her own little world - sharing fabulous giveaways, honest product reviews, amazing deals and coupons, real humor from my every day life, parenting tips to help you survive, food and recipe information, home improvement and decor ideas, and so much more!

The I Like Book - Great Gift Idea

The I Like Book is a wonderful gift idea...
a book in which parents write down the things they like about their child.
What a meaningful keepsake item for a child of any age!
This is a great self-esteem building activity for parents and children.
The I Like Book comes in a variety of colors,
so parents can even personalize the color of the book for each child.
Meet the creators of this book:

The I Like Book is on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: I will be receiving The I Like Book at no charge in exchange for this post.

Little Tikes Half Off Cozy Convertible - Four Hours Only Friday


Taking Blogger Sign Ups for January Giveaway Hop

Click HERE
to join in the New Years Giveaway Hop
hosted by Just Married with Coupons and Sweep Tight

-The Giveaway Hop will take place January 10 - 17
-The minimum value of each package will be $25.
-You can divide into as many prize packages as you would like as long as the min. value is still $25
-You can also always sponsor your own giveaway, as long as its valued at $25 or more.

We Are Real Moms

Mom Rule Number One - Forgive yourself.
Mom Rule Number Two - Forgive your kids.

Confessions from Real Moms:

I live and die for nap time. I love my kids, but sometimes I revel in my alone time. I count down the minutes to naptime.

When my five year old won't stop talking to me, I pretend to be on a phone call so I can shush her.

I rocked my first baby to sleep every night for two years. My second baby was my cry it out baby. I prefer the second method.

Sometimes when they aren't looking, I sneak a piece of their Halloween candy. 

I lock myself in the bathroom sometimes and pretend not to hear them knocking.

As a mom, I sometimes crave "me" time and hire a babysitter to just get out solo. I also love nap time.

When I tell my kids that they have to be in bed by 9 because I can't handle being a Mama after 9 PM~ I really mean it. They think I'm joking, though.

I yell far too often and don't play with my kids nearly enough.

I forgot to pick up my daughter from kindergarten once. Just plain forgot, until the school called me an hour later.

My four year old said she was going to run away from home, so I packed her a suitcase and set her on the front doorstep. Ten minutes later she was knocking and crying to come in.

I was attending Octoberfest with my three youngest and my husband called my cell. As I was talking to him I didn't realize one of my youngsters had wandered off. I was in a panic..I lost my child. Thankfully he was safe and sound, a worker spotted him and took him to security. It was the worst day of my life.

When I read to my preschooler, I sometimes skip pages to make it go faster. I hate to read out loud to him, but I know I'm supposed to.

I once let my son play too close to the stove and he burned his hand. It still eats me alive today, two and a half years later.

I missed one of my daughter's Senior Concerts!

Giving Thanks - Day 10

Today I give thanks to God for my big beautiful backyard. I have plenty of room for all the kids to run and play, room for a dog run, room for a swimming pool and lots of extra space for plants and flowers and trees. The Texas weather is superb today and the black hawks are coasting all around the sky! I love it that my job allows me to spend an hour outside in the morning and another hour outside in the afternoon.

Tangoes Jr - MindWare - Review

I remember being totally fascinated and totally frustrated by tangram puzzles when I was young. The origin of the tangram is Chinese and includes seven flat shapes that fit together to form a picture. It's a simple concept but the puzzles can be very challenging. There are also endless possibilities of the pictures that be created, so it's also an excellent toy for encouraging imagination. I was so thrilled to see Tangoes Jr on the MindWare website. This set is specifically made for young children!
As Tangoes Jr was removed from the box, I immediately had children clamoring around me to see the new toy. I love that this is a self-contained toy. It includes the desk, seven puzzle pieces and 12 puzzle cards. To me, that says "not a huge mess." (Ever walk into your child's room and see twenty thousand pieces of something all over the floor? Either you have to pick them all up, or you have to stand there for an hour to make sure the child picks them all up.)
The top of the Tangoes Jr desk is magnetic and the seven puzzle pieces are also magnetic. That makes it a perfect toy to take along in the car. The desktop also has a handle so your child can easily carry it. The desktop flips open to store the twelve puzzle cards inside. It also closes securely so no danger of everything spilling out while being carried around.
The puzzles cards are sturdy and laminated to hold up against the many years of use your children will get from this educational toy. Each puzzle card has two sides - side one is level one of difficulty, showing the outline of each shape; side two is level two of difficulty, the shape shadows fused together on the card to make the puzzle more challenging. There are also additional card sets you can add to the toy for even more learning and fun.
The desk has a little side drawer where all seven puzzle pieces fit and store. I love this toy! There is so much learning going on....fitting shapes, putting things away where they belong, and looking creatively at pictures to discern what smaller shapes create it. At the same time, he physical fine motor skills developed by manipulating the desk, the cards, the magnetic pieces, and even the little puzzle piece drawer. Plus there is a creative element because the child will soon figure out they can make pictures on their own from the seven pieces.
Puzzles are an excellent way to build early math skills and critical thinking skills. Tangoes Jr has won several awards - Best Toy Award by Oppenheim Toy Portfolio and Dr. Toy Smart Play Smart Toy Product of Excellence. In the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holiday season, this is the perfect toy to get your child to sit down and focus quietly on something for a good long time. I personally give this toy five stars!
FTC Disclosure: I received this toy at no charge in exchange for my honest review.


Wedne$day Wealth - Giveaway Linky

New linky every Wednesday where you can find a great list of prizes to win, from all over the internet!
Please list your giveaways and enter a few.
Please use this format on the linky (PRIZE NAME, ENDING DATE).
Thank you!

FREEBIE Digital Scrapbooking Designer Pack Download *NEW

Here is this week's FREE digital scrapbooking designer pack download from My Memories. Just click on the image (or HERE) to download the pages and the elements.
Please note, you do NOT need to purchase My Memories Suite Software to use these downloads. If you would like to purchase their full digital scrapbooking program (which I LOVE by the way), you can use my special $10 off discount code of STMMMS93122

Bottled Up Designs - Review

I just received the prettiest pair of earrings! I LOVE THESE. Since I wear blue jeans most of the time, I will be wearing these often. Laura Bergman designed and handmade these earrings from reclaimed antique glass and bottles. Yes, friends, you are looking at a fusion of 1930's Mason Jars and 1950's Noxzema bottles. How cool is THAT?
This incredible transformation came from Laura's desire to clean up the environment around her house and reuse the old treasures she found in the woods around her Pennsylvania home. Her beautiful jewelry designs include dozens of earring styles, necklaces, rings and pendants. But this amazing line of jewelry is only part of what she designs.
You can also find unique home accessories like a flattened wine bottle platter to serve crackers and cheese. I love the glass coasters made from amber beer bottles and the mini ruffled bowls too. I think this is a wonderful way to protect the environment, recycle old items, and express creativity!
To share the history of these beautiful broken treasures, each piece comes with "The Story of the Glass" explaining what the glass was and the approximate age of it. What a unique gift for the holidays! Be sure to visit (and Like) the Bottle Up Designs facebook page so you can get special discount codes and visit her webpage to enter to win $200 in products (limited time only).
Disclosure: I received this product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Giving Thanks - Day 9

Thank you God for my home. Thank you for the many wonderful things you provide me to make my life easier....air conditioning, heating, lights, appliances, a constant source of clean water. Help me to remember those who have no home, no heat, no clean water, no food. I believe you are the source of everything good in my life. Remind me to share what I have been given.

I Need Your Confessions!

Okay, this is totally anonymous. Send me an email for my article on Confessions of a Real Mom. Tell me something about being a Mom that you would never tell anyone! I will never reveal who you are!

1. As a mom I ......
2. The worst thing I ever did to my kids was.....
3. My kids don't know I do this, but.....
4. I'll never tell anyone I know that I have done this.....
5. My worst moment as a mom was......

Subject: Confessions of a Real Mom

Send to [email protected]


Bloggers Needed for Mother's Day Event

Seeking blogger signups! It is a perfect time to find what gifts you would like to give to your mother. Makobi Scribe is proud to present Mother’s Day Gift Ideas Carnival Event from May 10 12:01 PM EST to May 18 at 12:01 PM EST and is accepting signups now.

Zoobies Blanket Pets - Review

As soon as the kids arrived this morning, they spotted Flavio the Frog perched on my shelf. I had already taken a few "out of the box" photos of him because I knew they'd want to hold him as soon as they arrived. He is so cute you have to smile when you look at him. He is so soft and squishy that you cannot help but hug him. The best part is, while you're wrapping your arms around him, he's wrapped around you too. Flavio is a darling plush toy, a super soft pillow and a heavenly soft blanket.
To turn this frog toy into a big soft pillow, you just open his two velcro straps on his tummy and give him a hug to fluff him up a bit. The thought that went into designing this toy is impressive. He is silky soft all over and the materials are obviously high-quality. Extra stitching ensures this toy will hold up well to all the love and hugs he's going to receive.
His four legs are floppy but not flimsy. His eyes are stitched and sewn on for safety. His head is filled with wonderful little microbeads, providing a multi-sensory experience for any child. I cannot find anything on Flavio that disappoints me. I can see many social-emotional benefits for children in this toy and would certainly recommend it for a child with autism or sensory issues.
I opened his tummy zipper and pulled out the softest fleece blanket I've ever felt. I didn't expect the blanket to be very big, so I was really surprised how much blanket actually fits inside this sweet frog. I absolutely love this blanket!
It was time to test him out on the kids. All eight of them wanted a turn to play with him, to use him as a pillow, and to wrap up in his blanket. They even decided the green blanket was a great lily pad for Flavio! There are dozens of different Zoobie Blanket Pets to pick from and I had a hard time choosing between the frog, the moose, the zebra, and the monkey.

Flavio the Frog has quickly hopped into our hearts and will definitely be a favorite in my classroom. I'm sure you can think of several children in your life who would love to have one of these. They are wonderful gifts that will bring years of love and warmth to any child. Christmas will be here soon!
FTC Disclosure: I received this product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

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Giving Thanks - Day 8

Today I am thanking God that Joey is
I'm on my way outside to take down my yellow ribbon!!!!
Thank you Lord for keeping him safe.
Thank you Joey for risking your life to defend the USA.