Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011.

So of course my kids were spoiled this year as you can tell by the picture!  In all fairness there's nothing under the tree, it's all in front but that wasn't all they got either.  Hubby and I were up first with the baby waiting on the toddler to get up.  He's only 2 so doesn't quite understand the whole Christmas and presents thing so he doesn't know to get up early but I know what to look forward to in later years!  We had to help him open gifts but he pretty much loved everything he (and his sister) got.  Hubby and I exchanged very little because we already have too much stuff and really don't need anything more.  I think my favourite part of Christmas though is the stockings but in our case we use Santa sacks which are exactly what they sound like, mini Santa sacks!  It's been tradition in my family since I was about 5 or so, I don't really ever remember using the traditional stockings.  After we opened gifts, let the kids play and had lunch we headed off to the inlaws for a family turkey dinner then it was home early as our little family has been sick so it was important to me to get the kids in their own beds at the early times they're used to.  Thanks to all my friends and family for spoiling my kids though I think they deserve it!

Hope all my readers had a great Christmas and looking forward to everything 2012 has to bring!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Silver Smoke Blog Tour.

To celebrate the release of a new novel to the Seven Halos series, author Monica Leonelle is doing a Kindle Fire giveaway for Silver Smoke, the first novel in the series! Silver Smoke is the highly-rated (4.8 stars on Amazon) debut novel about the Hallows and the Nephilim, the descendants of archangels and humans. Here's a description of the book:

Brie van Rossum has fame, fortune, and beauty, but there’s one thing she doesn’t have–the name of her mother’s supernatural killer.
The Hallows, descendants of the archangels, don’t think Milena was murdered.. but can Brie trust them when their government, the New Order, wants her dead?
She’d better figure it all out soon…
… because when Brie finds out who she really is, the hunt will begin.
And Milena might not be the only casualty.
Like mother, like daughter…

We'll get to the contest details in a minute, but first, Monica gave us an exclusive excerpt of the book for the blog tour:

Rykken woke with a puddle of fresh water in his bed and the drumbeat of a downpour banging against the tin roof of his room. The rain must have seeped through while he was sleeping, falling onto his face, his hair, his skin.

He didn’t normally mind submersion, as long as it was the right kind of water—the kind that burned. Like pool water, filled with chlorine, burning his nose and eyes. Like sea water, filled with salt, organisms, and sand, chapping his lips and smoothing his skin.

But rain water had no burn, aside from the burning in his throat when it filled his lungs.

It pattered balefully onto his sheets, pooling in the center and engulfing his body. He couldn’t move. He tried to roll over, to escape the water, but he was paralyzed. The water inched toward his mouth, covering his ears.

He was going to drown. He tried to scream for help, but his lips couldn’t form words, only soft whimpers that didn’t carry over the pounding rain on the roof.

Something hammered against his bedroom door as the water entered his nose and mouth. He swallowed what he could, letting the cool, fresh liquid slide down his throat. But the water kept coming.

Rykken held his breath and closed his eyes, wishing he could slow his heart rate.

“Rykken.” He felt his body shaking under someone else’s grip. “Ry, wake up.”

Rykken shot up, gasping for air. His skin felt clammy and chilled all at once. He threw off his covers and catapulted out of his bed.

His foster mother looked sad, a v-shaped crease between her eyes. “Another bad dream?” She held up the damp bed sheets streaked with his sweat. 

“I’m fine,” he said, pacing the floor in front of his closet. “Nothing new in the dream, at least.”

She pulled the sheets from his bed. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Rykken shook his head. “No. Thanks though.”

“You shouldn’t nap in the middle of the evening anymore.” She handed Rykken his cell phone. “This keeps going off. I think you better answer it.” She stripped the pillows of their cases. “It’s Friday anyway—isn’t there a football game tonight?”

Rykken pulled a fresh t-shirt over his head. His foster mom had a strict idea about what normal teens did, and spending time alone on a Friday night was not normal. Rykken liked his time alone though; after an entire week of water polo and school, he wanted nothing more than to relax by himself, or maybe with a close friend. But his foster mom always had other plans for him.

Rykken glanced at his phone—there were four texts from Justin, each one escalating in urgency from “What are you up to tonight?” to “Where are you? Picking you up in 10.” He sighed. It seemed like Justin had other plans for him too.

An obnoxious honk outside confirmed his suspicions. “That’s where I’m going,” he said to his foster mom, even though he had no idea what Justin had planned. It didn’t matter anyway—if they weren’t going to the game, it meant they were going to a party, and the game was as good a cover as any. He hugged his foster mom and jetted out the door and down the steps to Justin’s Lincoln Navigator.

“What the 'ell?” Justin smirked at Rykken from the driver’s seat. The vehicle smelled new and the air inside was cool. “You don’t text me back anymore?”

December 20th thru December 31st (12 days long)



  • Grand Prize Winner: Kindle Fire (or cash-equivalent Amazon gift card)
  • 2nd Place (two winners): Kindle Touch (or cash-equivalent Amazon gift card)
  • 3rd Place (three winners): Kindle (or cash-equivalent Amazon gift card)
  • Special Bloggers-Only Winner* (for blogger entrants – must enter via the web form): Kindle Fire (or cash-equivalent Amazon gift card)

Winners will be selected using on January 1, 2012 and announced on How To Be An Author by January 2, 2012.

*To enter the Bloggers-Only drawing (in addition to the regular drawing), you must forward a link to your post to AND add your name to this bloggers-only email list (not for promotional purposes… just an easy way to distribute promised items):

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Menu Plan Monday!

I didn't get to posting this on time yet again!  I have a house full of sick people so you'll just have to forgive me.

Savoury Sausage and Rice Skillet - got a great deal on sausages a couple weeks ago
Tomato and Spinach Pasta - uses more sausages.....
Chicken Nuggets/Veggies
Turkey dinner

I only planned for 4 meals as there will probably be leftovers and I usually have something in the house that can be thrown together like frozen pizza.  It'll probably be a busy week so better for quick meals.  These sick people aren't eating a whole lot either.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Great Gift Idea - My Friendship Bracelet Maker and My Ribbon Barrette Maker Review

I remember back in grade school making friendship bracelets much like the ones in the picture.  It wasn't an easy process having to tape the end to a table or use your mouth.  Quite often the strings would get mixed up and it could be difficult trying to figure out where you were in making the bracelet.  My Friendship Bracelet Maker makes this process a lot easier.

David Crorey came up with the idea for this when babysitting his granddaughters.  They wanted him to make friendship bracelets with them and he quickly saw what a difficult task it could be so that's how the Friendship Bracelet Maker was born.  The bracelet maker has a butterfly at one end that holds the end of the bracelet for you then a place at the other end for each thread so they don't get mixed up.  The kit also comes with 56 precut threads in 14 different colours and there's a slideout storage tray to keep them in.  There's easy to follow instructions and the website has video tutorials and more patterns.  This kit is great for travelling and recommended for ages 6+.

 The Ribbon Barrette maker, shown above, is another one of Crorey creations.  It includes everything you need to make beautiful barrettes such as different coloured ribbons, beads, barrettes and the instructions and they're really easy to make.  I don't remember making these when I was young but I'm sure they'd look wonderful on any little girl.  It's perfect for girls ages 6+.

I think kits like these are great for kids as it gets them off the computer, away from the TV and forces them to use their hands and their imaginations.  I can't wait until my daughter is old enough for crafty stuff like this.  To find out where to buy these kits check out the website here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Holidays Everyone!!

I got this today and had to share!

Menu Plan Monday!

I'm trying to use up stuff from my overcrowded cupboards and freezer for meals and not have to buy much.

1.  Many Beans Chili - my new fav chili
2.  Shepards Pie - I don't use a recipe, I just layer cooked ground beef mixed with gravy, frozen veggies then mashed potatoes with cheese on top and bake at 350 for 20 min.
3.  Stove Top Chicken Bake - chicken was on sale last week and so were frozen veggies so I have lots
4.  Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken -  really easy

December is a bad month for me and food therefore I don't diet in December.  Hors d'ouevres are too tasty, chocolate is everywhere and it's cold so fattening comfort foods are often on the menu.  Oh and it's a busy time so eating out happens more often.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Diane Lai Product Review

Diana Lai for soft skin is a Canadian made skin care company that produces products for highly sensitive skin.   The company started because Diane's son as an infant had extreme eczema and she wanted to be able to use something on his skin that didn't have the preservatives, fragrances and other harsh chemicals often found in lotions.  Her products are great for babies, infants and toddlers and are recommended for all skin types.

I was lucky to be sent the Rejuvenate daily moisturiser, Soothe spot treatment and the Fresh daily body wash to try and well as samples to give away.  My family is lucky to not have extremely sensitive skin though we do have problems with dry skin, extreme in some areas.  My cheeks, especially in the winter, tend to get dry and flaky and feel like alligator skin.  My 5 month old daughter's legs are also quite dry to the point of cracking,  especially around the ankles and the Aveeno that worked for my son's skin wasn't working for her so far.  She also has cradle cap on the very top of her head.  I used the Soothe spot treatment on my cheeks and her legs, the body wash in the shower for the both of us and the daily moisturiser in other areas.  My cheeks feel softer after a few days and her legs were also a lot softer.  I also absolutely LOVE how the products smell especially the body wash.  It smells really fresh and gives you that fresh, clean feeling after using it.  My daughters cradle cap is not gone though it is getting noticeably better with using the body wash on her sensitive scalp.  My son and husband who seem to have been blessed with better skin are also using the products because it's just feels good knowing you're using gentle, all natural products on your skin and it has made their skin softer.

Diane Lai products can be purchased on her website.  I received free product from Diane Lai for soft skin for the purposes of this review.  All opinions on this blog are my own.