Tuesday, April 24, 2012

'Don't Panic - Quick, Easy, and Delicious Meals for Your Family' by Martinez, Howell and Garcia - Book Review

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It is not every day that there is a blog tour for a cookbook. So when the blog for ‘Don’t Panic - Quick, Easy, and Delicious Meals for Your Family’ was announced, I knew I wanted to hop on the tour bus! 

Here’s the synopsis of this book:

Great meals for your busy family! 

We’re all busy, but that doesn’t mean we have to eat like we are. You don’t have to settle for feeding your family commercially packaged meals full of sodium and preservatives or fat-laced fast food. Quick and healthy meals from your very own kitchen are easy with delicious recipes like

Southwestern Baked Cheese Dip
Thai Chicken Wraps
Walnut Spinach Salad
Homestyle Mac & Cheese
Slow Cooker Pork Chops
Oven Roasted Orange Chicken
Grilled Flat Iron Steak Sandwiches
Spicy Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry
Fruit Pizza
Mexican Chocolate Mousse

and many more

From quick meals made on the grill or in the sauté pan to crockpot dishes that require little prep and cook while you’re out for the day, the recipes in this cookbook are tasty and nutritious – and require less hands-on preparation than traditional meals. Easy appetizers and desserts; one-dish casseroles and pastas; simple soups, salads, and side dishes; and even fast breakfasts round out the selections. Meals that are freezer-friendly are marked for those who want to make ahead.

Give your family the best – the easy way.

Here are the author’s biographies:

Susie Martinez is a professional counselor with a private practice in Lakewood, Colorado. She has been married to her husband, Joe (whom she adores), for twenty-five years and has two children. Susie loves shopping and watching movies with her daughter, Cassie. She also loves talking with her son, Chris, during late-night hours. In her free time, Susie enjoys going to movies, taking long walks, and baking extravagant desserts. Susie also struggles with a particular weakness for dessert excursions and white sandy beaches.

Vanda Howell is a busy wife and mom who works part-time as a kitchen design consultant. She is absolutely in love with (aka addicted to) dark chocolate covered anything, espresso lattes, and going to chick-flick/action movies. In her free time she enjoys gardening, gourmet cooking, trying new restaurants, and wakeboarding with her husband and her teenage son, Elliott. Vanda is a Denver native, and has been married to her husband, Mike, for twenty-nine years.

Bonnie Garcia keeps busy with her husband, three teenage sons, and golden retriever, Gracie. She is a pediatric nurse and loves working with newborns and their parents in a pediatric practice in the Denver area. Bonnie is active in her local church, where her husband, Steve, is the senior pastor. In Bonnie’s free time, she loves reading, downhill skiing, and jeeping with her family in the mountains of Colorado!  

My husband, Fred, is the better cook in our marriage! He does the grilling, and conjures up interesting and tasty recipes. Needless to say, I need all the help I can get. So when I saw the title of this book, I knew I needed to get a copy!  

As part of this blog tour, the publisher asked us to prepare a recipe; not a problem! Fred chose which recipe we would sample. Last night, we had Chicago Style Beef Sandwiches, which is in the Crockpot Selections section of the book. Take a peek at one of them; doesn't it look good?! 

Here’s the recipe:

4 lbs. boneless rump roast
1 pkgs. Italian dressing mix
2 cups water
1-16 oz. jar mild pepper rings, undrained

Serving Day

18 hoagie buns, split

Recipe Yield – 18 servings
Prep Time – 10 minutes
Total time – 8 hours, 10 minutes


Place roast in crockpot. In a separate bowl, mix together water and Italian dressing mix, then pour over roast. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, until meat is tender. Remove meat and shred with two forks. Return to crockpot and add pepper rings. Continue cooking on low until heated through. To serve, toast hoagie rolls in cast iron skillet or under broiler, then spoon ½ cup of meat mixture of each roll.

Nutritional Information (per ½ cup serving of meat): Calories 234.0; Total Fat 13.8g; Cholesterol 48.9mg; Sodium 630.7mg; Total Carbohydrates 4.3g (Dietary Fiber 0.3g); Protein 18.8g

We really liked these sandwiches! Here are some of the other recipes we plan on trying:

Barbecue Chicken Wraps
Chilled Strawberry Soup
Chinese Chicken Salad
Chicken Divan
Dipped Gingersnaps
Sour Cream Cookies

This is an awesome gift for the new bride and groom, the empty nesters, or anyone else in between! This book will be used over and over in our home!

You can order this book here.

Available April 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. This book was published by Revell and provided by them for review purposes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Winner of 'A Legacy of Lies' Is....

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The Random Number Generator has chosen the winner of Stephenia McGee's 'A Legacy of Lies.' 

That blessed person is.....

Joy Hannabass!

Congratulations, Joy! I will be emailing you shortly!

If you'd like to purchase your own copy, you can do so at this link.

Many thanks to Stephenia for providing a copy of her book! 

Please come back soon for more giveaways and reviews!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Thirty-One OJ Incentive!

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As you can probably tell from my blog, I am been a Thirty-One Gifts Consultant since June, 2011. It has been a pleasure and a joy - and LOTS of fun!

Beginning today, Monday, April 16, Thirty-One is kicking off an OJ (Opportunity to Join) Incentive! You can start your own Thirty-One business for FREE! New Consultants who join anytime between April 16 and May 31, 2012, can earn a $99 rebate on their Enrollment Kit!

Please check out this fun video!:

You can join at my website at www.mythirtyone.com/andreaschultz. It will be one of the best decisions you've ever made! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Guest Blog Post - 'Five Steps to Get a Grip on Your Stress' by Karen Jordan

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In this fallen world, life can be full of stress. April is Informed Women Month. Please learn about how to reduce (dare we say, eliminate?!) stress from our lives from Karen Jordan.

Five Steps to Get a Grip on Your Stress by Karen Jordan

How can we get a grip on our stress, when life is heavy and hard to take?
The book of Lamentations offers a clear word about dealing with stress. "When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear” (Lamentations 3:28-29 MSG).

1. Go off by yourself. Jesus knew the importance of spending time alone with His Father. When He needed to listen, He would pull away from everyone. After Jesus fed the 5,000, He “climbed the mountain so (He) could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night” (Matthew 14:23).

2. Enter the silence. When we seek God, the accuser tries to distract us with fear, like in the story of Hannah. Hanna’s husband had two wives, and her husband’s other wife taunted her, accusing God for Hannah’s inability to conceive. Even when Hannah prayed, the accuser attacked. “… Hannah was praying in her heart, silently. Her lips moved, but no sound was heard. Eli jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk”…” (1 Samuel 1:13).

3. Bow in prayer. God promises that if we call on His Name, He'll listen. “… And if we're confident that he's listening, we know that what we've asked for is as good as ours” (1 John 5:15).

4. Don't ask questions. My questions often interfere with my communication with God—I’m talking, instead of listening. When Jesus taught His disciples, He asked them on several occasions, “Are you listening to me? Really listening?” (Matthew 11:15).

5. "Wait for hope to appear." The psalmist speaks of “waiting,” “I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened. He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud. He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn't slip” (Psalm 40:1-2).

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matthew 6:34).

So, remember, "When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear" (Lamentations 3:28-29).

Karen Jordan is best known for telling the stories that matter most. She has multiple writing credits and trains other writers as well. Contact her for speaking events, writing assignments, and interviews at kj@karenjordan.net or visit www.karenjordan.net.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Winner of This Weeks' Common English Bible is....

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The Random Number Generator has chosen this week's winner of the Common English Bible. Drumroll, please.....

That blessed person is jhitomi. Congratulations! I will be emailing you shortly!

There is another opportunity to enter to win a paperback copy of this awesome new translation! Click on this link to leave a comment. 

Thanks again to the Common English Bible Committee to providing the paperback giveaway copy! It is such a blessing to be able to give away the Word of God on Resurrection Sunday!

For those of you who didn't win, and would like to own or give as a gift, you can place your order here.

Please come back soon for other great blog posts and giveaways!

Hallelujah! He is Risen! Easter Sunday Slideshow from the Common English Bible + Bible Giveaway!!

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The most important day of the year is here - Easter Sunday! Please join me in celebrating the resurrection of Jesus by enjoying these scripture verses from the Common English Bible, a wonderful new Bible translation!

As part of the Common English Bible Lenten tour, I am able to give away a paperback copy of this new translation every week! What a gift (to you and to me!); thanks, Common English Bible Committee! Simply leave a comment at this post telling me which scripture verse (from the slideshow) that you most enjoyed!

One winner will be chosen by the Random Number Generator on Sunday, April 15, 2012. The deadline to enter is 11:50 pm EST on Saturday, April 14, 2012. The best to ALL of you!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Winner of 'Fruit of My Spirit' Is......

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I'm happy to announce that the Random Number Generator has chosen a winner of Deanna Nowadnick's 'Fruit of My Spirit: Reframing Life in God's Grace.' That blessed person is....


Congrats, Darby; I just sent you an email.

Special thanks to Deanna, who provided two copies of the book - one for review and one for giveaway.

This is an amazing book, and Deanna has an amazing story! I invite you to order your copy here; you will be glad you did! You will want to read it, and purchase multiple copies for family and friends! 

Thanks to everyone who entered, and please come back soon, as there are always giveaways coming your way!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Common English Bible - Good Friday Slideshow + Bible Giveaway!

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Today we remember the death of Jesus on the cross - and the hope of His resurrection on Easter! Please enjoy this slideshow featuring scripture verses from the Common English Bible and some beautiful pictures!

As part of the Common English Bible Lenten blog tour, I am able to offer a weekly giveaway of a paperback copy of this amazing new translation. Please comment at this post to enter this week's drawing. Thanks!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Guest Blog Post - 'Writing the Cards and Letters That Matter Most' by Karen Jordan

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April is National Card and Letter Writing Month. In this age of electronic communication, writing cards and letters is becoming a lost art. Karen Jordan shares with us why we should consider taking time to write down our feelings to our loved ones.

Writing the Cards and Letters That Matter Most by Karen Jordan

National Card and Letter Writing Month is an opportunity for all Americans to rediscover the timeless and very personal art of letter writing. Both in times of peace and conflict, cards and letters are the most effective way to share and permanently record our thoughts, prayers, hopes and dreams. (Postmaster General John E. Potter).

What cards and letters have you held on to over the years? As I looked through my memory box of correspondence, I discovered several categories.

·  Old Christmas cards
·  Valentine cards from my husband and children
·  Letters to my mother, when I first moved away from my hometown
·  Birthday cards from my husband and children
·  Thank-you notes
·  Letters from my husband, when we were apart
·  "Thinking of you" cards from friends after I moved away
·  Mother's Day cards from my kids and grandkids

Even though I send few cards and letters now, I still enjoy receiving them. But I’m reconsidering this lost art of letter writing. I know others appreciate receiving them as much as I do. And a few friends and relatives don't communicate online. 

I think the following messages would warrant an old-fashioned card or letter.

·  Thank-you note. I've fallen short with "thank-you" etiquette, but I know most people appreciate a written note of thanks, and many expect it. 
·  Thinking-of-you note. Often it's hard for me to tell people how I feel face-to-face; so, I seem to express myself better by writing them. 
·  Congratulations. I’m always thrilled when I receive blessings from old friends and family.
·  Love letters. These private notes can become treasured keepsakes for loved ones or even part of our recorded legacy.
·  Tribute. Words of praise might be difficult to write. But if you sense an expression of gratitude or praise is appropriate, you can be sure that you will find the words you need to express your thoughts.
·  Reconciliation. Have you written that letter to end a conflict, resolve some differences, or restore a friendship? “The moment you realize God’s purpose, which is to get you rightly related to Himself and then to your fellow men, He will tax the last limit of the universe to help you take the right road. Decide it now—‘Yes, Lord, I will write that letter to-night’; ‘I will be reconciled to that man now’" (Oswald Chambers).

What card or letter will you write today?

Karen Jordan is best known for telling the stories that matter most. She has multiple writing credits and trains other writers as well. Contact her for speaking events, writing assignments, and interviews at kj@karenjordan.net or visit www.karenjordan.net.

Karen has donated this article to be used by CLASSEMINARS to help get the word out about the next CLASS Christian Writers Conference this fall. Karen has attended every year except one, since 2004, and because of her interaction at the conference, she is reaping an expanded network in the writing industry as well as seeing amazing doors opening up for her this year. If you're interested in attending the conference, or would like to hear about their early bird special (expires the end of April), click here for more information: http://bit.ly/H4hMYu/.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guest Blog Post - 'Holy Humor, Batman!' by Deborah DeArmond

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Did you know April is Holy Humor Month?! One can never get enough humor and laughter! Please enjoy this guest blog post by Deborah DeArmond!

Holy Humor, Batman! by Deborah DeArmond

The month of April is in fact, the time set aside to celebrate a good chuckle, a guffaw or a hearty laugh as part of a faith-filled life. It’s Holy Humor Month!

The Bible is clear that God believes humor should be on the agenda as a healthy habit. Proverbs 17:22 NKJ “A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.”

The word “laugh” or “laughter” is mentioned in the Bible approximately 200 times. Much of that laughter falls into some categories that do not feed our hearts like medicine. Consider if you will:

·  The laugh of unbelief. Sarah, who laughs at the idea of having a child in her 90’s. (Genesis 18:11-12, 15)

·  The laughter of a fool. God compares the laughter of a fool to the thorns afire beneath a pot – he is so foolish he laughs and doesn’t even see his end coming. (Ecclesiastes 7:6)

·  The laughter of derision. Often this is related to God’s amusement at the foolishness of man in spiritual things. (Psalm 2:1-4, Proverbs 1:24-26)

But the fourth type of laughter is a healthy expression and brings to our lives richness, like medicine. He has given us many reasons to laugh! Here are a few good examples of why God’s people can have a good laugh:

·  Lack of fear. “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” (Proverbs 31:25 NLT)

·  Happiness and connection. “Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down.” (Romans 12:15 MSG)

·  Joy. “God will let you laugh again; you'll raise the roof with shouts of joy.”  (Job 8:21 MSG)

·  Relief. “Good people will watch and worship. They’ll laugh in relief.” (Psalm 52:6 MSG)

·  God is acting on our behalf. “When the righteous see God in action they'll laugh, they'll sing, they'll laugh and sing for joy.” (Psalm 68:3 MSG)

·  Good fortune. “We laughed, we sang, we couldn't believe our good fortune. We were the talk of the nations—'God was wonderful to them!' ” (Psalm 126:2 MSG)

·  It is a gift to God. “Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence.” (Psalm 100:2 MSG)

There is a time for laughter, according to the Ecclesiastes 3:4 “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

In other words, while life here on this planet is no joke, there are times when laughter is appropriate, healthy and pleasing to God.  

So tune up those vocal chords and let loose a giggle or guffaw, a chortle or chuckle, a snicker, a snort or a shout. Let it fly and exclaim to the world the JOY of the Lord!

Deborah DeArmond is an experienced and sought-after coach, trainer and speaker, having worked with audiences at all levels. She has 30 years of expertise, training and teaching in the areas of relationship, communication and conflict resolution. Known for her dynamic style and ability to engage her audiences with a sense of fun along with her direct style, Deborah mixes creativity, humor, and insight and delivers her message on point every time.

Deborah is co-founder and featured author at MyPurposeNow.org, an online site for Christian women 50+. Additionally she is a featured author for two online magazines, Destiny in Bloom and Living Better at 50. She is a CLASSEMINARS, Inc. graduate.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

'A Legacy of Lies' by Stephenia McGee - Book Information + Author Bio + Book Giveaway

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Yesterday, I published a guest blog post from a new author named Stephenia McGee. Today, I want to share with you some information on her debut novel, 'A Legacy of Lies,' plus her biography. I also have a copy of her book to give to one blessed reader! 

Here is Stephenia's biography:

Stephenia McGee wrote her first story from a first-grade spelling list. Many more have followed, but A Legacy of Lies is her first novel. She is a member of the Christian Writer's Guild and continues to work with other writers to hone her craft.

In addition to writing, Stephenia also enjoys painting and working with horses. She has a bachelor's degree from Mississippi State University in animal science and has worked and trained for several equestrian farms. She is the Chairman at Spirit Horse Ministries, and continues to use these skills in the youth programs.

She is a lifetime member of the American Quarter Horse Association and a member of the Fort Rosalie chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Stephenia is married to her best friend and greatest blessing, Jason, and they currently live in Mississippi with their two sons.

Here is the synopsis of 'A Legacy of Lies:'

Sarah Sanders is so stressed-out at college that she’s having fainting spells. She’s behind on the rent and facing eviction. Dropping out of school feels inevitable. Needing a break, she accepts her boyfriend’s invitation to visit his parents’ ranch out west. But she finds much more in Montana than fresh air and mountain trails.

Ranch hand Jim Anderson has suffered from night terrors for over a year. But despite this secret struggle, his life at the ranch had been a welcomed escape from his past. Until those terrifying dark shadows started coming for him in the middle of the afternoon.

Brought together by an unseen hand, Sarah and Jim must travel across the country to unravel a web of deceit and uncover Jim’s long history of lies before the evidence is sealed away forever.

And please enjoy this excerpt from 'A Legacy of Lies:'

Jim settled into the brushed leather of his ranching saddle. The saddle had a deep seat and the fenders turned the stirrups out perfectly. He was as comfortable here as most men were in a recliner in front of the television. He tried to keep his mind off Sarah's emerald eyes. No luck.

Focus on something else.

The deep indigos and golden streaks had faded from the sky, the sun now sat high enough over the white mountain peaks to start warming the air. A clear sky promised a peaceful day. It would be nice to spend the day--

What the...

A streak of color blurred past him. Ciervo lurched underneath him. Jim cursed under his breath, trying to steady his spooked mount. Up ahead he saw clods of soft earth flying up from behind galloping hooves. Panic set in.

Runaway horse.


Jim squeezed his legs as he leaned into the saddle and lowered his head. Ciervo dipped his haunches and rocketed forward. Within a stride his horse extended to a full gallop, his hooves barely hitting the ground. In mere seconds, they were gaining on the other horse. A sorrel.

Jim flung the reins around his body. The leather ends popped into Ciervo's thick hindquarters. The horse lowered his head and surged. Amazingly, the powerful buckskin found another gear. Jim's hat flew off, the leather strap catching hard against his neck. The wind buffeted his face. He squinted his eyes, leaned forward in the saddle, and gripped the reins with both hands. His body was now moving in rhythm with the horsepower beneath him.

Ciervo heaved in massive amounts of air. Pounding hooves and the horse's deep snorting breaths drowned the startled cries behind them. Ciervo's tail whipped through the air. Jim urged him on. Ten more feet. Five. He came even with the sorrel and reached for the reins, his fingers barely grazing the leather. He leaned further and Ciervo followed Jim's lead, nearly brushing against the other horse as the two animals raced across the valley. He reached out again and finally grabbed the runaway horse's rein.

"Hang on." Jim shouted above the deafening thunder of pounding hooves.

In one fluid motion, he planted his feet in the stirrups, rocked back in the saddle, and jerked Sarah's left rein down to his thigh. Sassy's head jerked, her neck curving until her muzzle met her shoulder. The mare's front feet planted into the soft earth, her massive weight tearing loose the grass underneath. As Sarah crashed into the saddle horn, a whoosh of air escaped her lips. Ciervo lowered his haunches and buried down to his hocks in the dirt. They came jerking to a halt. For a second no one moved. Jim let out his breath.

He looked at Sarah. She bent over the saddle horn, gasping for air. Her face splotchy red. When she caught her breath, she glared at him, her eyes nearly shooting daggers.

"What do you think you're doing? Are you crazy?" Sarah yelled at him and snatched her rein from his hand. Jim's jaw dropped. He could only stare at her. He'd just risked his life to save hers and she yelled at him? His fingers tightened on his reins, clenching into tight fists.

He knew it. Nothing but trouble.


Stephenia has generously offered a PDF copy of her book to one blessed person! Thanks, Stephenia! There are several ways to enter:

1) ‘Like’ Stephenia’s author page on Facebook.  Please leave a comment to that effect, and make sure you leave your email address in this format – name at domain dot com.

2) Follow my blog as either a Google Follower or a NetWorkedBlogs Follower. If you already ‘follow,’ that counts, too! Please leave a comment to that effect with your email address in this format – name at domain dot com.

3) Follow Stephenia on TwitterPlease leave a comment to that effect with your email address in this format – name at domain dot com.

4) Follow me on Twitter. Please leave a comment to that effect with your email address in this format – name at domain dot com.

The deadline to enter is Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 11:59 pm. The winner will be chosen on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 by the Random Number Generator. The next to all of you!

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