The Brylee Hawkins Saga: Secrets Review and Giveaway

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Brylee Hawkins left home five years ago when she felt her father did something unforgivable. Her new fiancè wants her to make peace with her father and fix their broken relationship before they make wedding plans. Brylee goes home to the Australian Outback to find more conflict than she could ever imagine and a tangled web of lies.

I found The Brylee Hawkins Saga: Secrets filled with drama as Brylee Hawkins returns home to find home not quite as she expected. Layers and layers of secrets and lies unfold as the story progresses. Brylee was a likeable character and it was interesting to see her outward reaction and her inward thoughts to various situations. The characters in this book are in nowise perfect and the foreshadowing not always trustworthy, which made the book seem realistic and kept me guessing. I also enjoyed the descriptions of the Australian Outback. To find out more about Secrets, click here.

The publisher, Books You Can Trust, has generously allowed me to giveaway an ebook version of Secrets.The giveaway on this blog post will run through rafflecopter until December 20, 2017 at 12 am. The giveaway is open to US residents only and 18+. The winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to respond.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 


“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Books You Can Trust for providing the prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.




A Peculiar Courtship Review and Giveaway

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Lord Jonathan Beckett's assignment seemed simple: find Lady Hannah. Finding Lady Hannah brings more complications into Lord Jonathan's life than he anticipated. Lady Hannah is determined to look out for others, learn to defend herself and not stand idle. Will Lord Beckett be able to protect Lady Hannah?

A Peculiar Courtship is the second installment in The Beckett Files by Laura Beers. There will be six books in total. I think this was one of my favorite books that I've read so far this year and I've read over 60+ books. There was action, adventure, espionage, romance and mystery. The very beginning hooked me and I couldn't stop reading. I finished it in one night. It's a clean romance. This book did push the limits by hinting at intimate relations, but not in a way that made me feel uncomfortable as a reader. I have read other books that were "clean", pushed the limits and made me uncomfortable.  I also enjoyed learning about how the French planned to undermine England's government. This is a fun and engaging read. If you love regency, romance, espionage, you need to read these books! To learn more about A Peculiar Courtship, click here. (The next installment of the series, To Love a Spy, will be released in April 2018! It's centered around Kate and Hawk. I can't wait!)

The author, Laura Beers, has generously allowed me to giveaway an ebook version of A Peculiar Courtship. The giveaway on this blog post will run through rafflecopter until December 21, 2017 at 12 am. The giveaway is open to US residents only and 18+. The winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to respond.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Laura Beers for providing the prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

PackageFromSanta.com Review

Monday, December 11, 2017

PackageFromSanta.com sent me the Silver Package to review. The Silver Package ($24.95) comes in a red box and includes:
  • Personalized Letter from Santa
  • BONUS! Personalized Video from Santa (retail $9.99)
  • BONUS! Personalized Phone Call from Santa to a cell phone OR land line! (retail $9.99)
  • Personalized Nice List Certificate
  • Autographed Santa Claus Photo
  • Autographed Rudolph Photo
  • Genuine North Pole Stamp
I personalized the video from Santa for my four-year old son. As soon as he heard the characters on the video mentioned Idaho, he perked up and sat a little straighter. His mouth dropped open when he heard his name on the video and he got excited. He couldn't wait to share the video with his dad. I personalized the phone call from Santa for my 2-year old daughter. She didn't seem to understand what was going on and what the big deal with Santa was. My son got excited for her and ran around the house excitedly yelling that Santa had called. A week or so later the "package" from Santa arrived with the Personalized Nice List Certificate, Autographed Santa Claus Photo, Autographed Rudolph Photo. The kids were excited that it was from the North Pole and liked the letter and photos, but quickly forgot about them later. I think the video and the phone call were the most exciting part of the package for them and had the most impact. I think this package is nice for older preschool kids and young elementary school kids.  The package from Santa adds a little something special for kids and adds a little extra magic to the season. To find out more, click here and use the code FAMS17 to receive 25% off.

To see a video on this product, click here.

Please note that I did receive this product for free in exchange for writing about it on my blog, however, I gave an honest opinion.

Kroger Friday Freebie

Friday, December 8, 2017

Today only you can download a coupon for download your coupon for 1 FREE Temptations® Treats for Cats (2.1-3 oz., select varieties) (you must have an online account and store card registered). The coupon is good at Kroger and Kroger Affiliates (Smith's, Fred Meyer, City Market, Dillon, Fry's, Kinger Sooper, etc) and must be redeemed by Sunday, December 24. Click here for more details.

Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Kids

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The first thing most people think of when they think about stock stuffers is: CANDY. There are many other options for stocking stuffers that won't entice your kids into a sugar coma and that won't break the bank. Dollar stores often have lots of little items that can be put in a Christmas stocking. Here are some ideas:

  • Stickers
  • Balloons
  • Marbles
  • Coloring Books
  • Water-color paint
  • Applesauce Pouches
  • Crayons
  • Matchbox Cars
  • Animal Crackers
  • Socks
  • Hair bows
  • Bubbles
  • Fun Pencils
  • Paperback Books
  • Bouncy Balls
  • Play-doh
  • Mini Teddy Grahams
  • Card Games
  • Bubble Bath
  • New Toothbrushes
What are some of your ideas?


Please note that this post contains affiliate links.

Christmas Book Recommendations for Kids

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

My kids and I love reading Christmas books! We do not do the tradition where you unwrap 25 Christmas books as an advent and read a book each day until Christmas. I like to have the Christmas books out and ready so that my kids can read them multiple times a day and pick and choose their favorites. We also tend to get a stack of Christmas books from the Boise Public Library too. Here are some of our top picks:


 
 We got Mortimer's Christmas Manger from the library and it was the sweetest story. Mortimer's looking for a new home and decides that the manger is the place for him. He kicks all the nativity figures out of the manger and does it day after day until he overhears the Christmas story. I read this a few times to my kids and each time I had tears in my eyes. To learn more about Mortimer's Christmas Manger, click here.



We own Bears Stays Up for Christmas and love it! Bear's friends help him stay up for Christmas instead of hibernating. We love the illustrations, easy-to-read story, rhyme and the Christmas message. Karma Wilson is one of our favorite authors. We own several of her books. To learn more about Bear Stays Up for Christmas, click here.



Olivia books are fun to read and are favorite of ours. Olivia decides to help with Christmas in her own unique Olivia style.  To learn more about how Olivia Helps with Christmas, click here.



Little Blue Truck's Christmas show Little Blue Truck helping his friends by delivering Christmas tree, goes over counting from 1-5 and has twinkly lights in the back of the book! My kids loved, loved the twinkly lights. To learn more about Little Blue Truck's Christmas, click here.


 
 Where Jesus Slept is a nice nativity story for young children. It's easy for them to understand and has great illustrations. To learn more about Where Jesus Slept, click here.


 
My kids love "the mouse" books by Laura Numeroff. We own several of her books. If You Take a Mouse to the Movies, is the Christmas version of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I also like that has several fun ideas of things you can do to help celebrate the Christmas season. To learn more, click here.



'Twas the Night Before Christmas on Sesame Street and cookie monster ate the cookies for Santa. Luckily, Cookie Monster has several friends that can pitch in to help. We loved the Sesame Street version of the 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Click here to learn more.



The Christmas Train is a little long for younger audiences, but I love the message that it shares about giving to others and doing things as Christ wants. My son loves the illustrations in this book. To learn more about The Christmas Train, click here.



Papa Bear gets all wrapped up in finding the perfect Christmas tree that he forgets that Christmas is something more than the decor. We loved this story. It was fairly long, but my kids still enjoyed it. Click here to learn more.



My kids like Disney characters. We haven't seen most of these movies, but they like reading about the characters and looking at the illustrations. We got this book from the library and we've read several stories from it. To learn more, click here.



Santa Rex shares tips on how to make the holiday festive. The text is great for little kids and the illustrations are fun too! Click here to learn more.



What are some of your favorite holiday books?


Please note that this post contains affiliate links.

How to Shop Smart This Christmas

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Christmas time is about giving and celebrating Christ. Sometimes in the spirit of giving and sharing our love with others, we forget to shop smart. Here are some of my tips:

1. Set a Budget: Set a budget within your means of what you can spend on Christmas (that doesn't mean putting it on your credit card). If you set a budget and stick with it then you won't risk overspending and causing more financial stress in the new year.

2. Utilize Ebates, Coupon Codes,  Coupons, Free Shipping and Sales: If you're shopping online, utilize free shipping deals, coupon codes and Ebates. The time it takes to shop smart is always worth it. Ebates is paid a commission for sending consumers to stores and splits the commission back to you. Hundreds of stores utilize Ebates: Amazon, Target, Walmart, Toys R Us, etc. If I buy anything online, I check to see if it's on Ebates before I make a purchase. I've been a member since 2010 and have gotten over $200 back on online purchases. Ebates will also list coupon codes for you to use to save additional money on your purchases. Click here to find out more.

3. Have a Plan: I've seen many people who wander around the stores trying to find the right gift. You should make a plan of what you're going to get before you walk into the store. That way you can look for the most affordable price that fits your budget and be able to shop around. You also lower your risk of overspending.

4. Utilize Reward Programs: If a store asks you to be a reward member (and it's free) I always say yes. Reward programs will often send high value coupons and sometimes your spending may help you reach an additional perk. For example: JcPenney Rewards sent me a $10 off a $10 or more purchase over Black Friday weekend to use at their store just for being a member. Whenever they send out the coupons, I usually head straight to the kid section and can usually pick out 1 or 2 items just over $10 and get them cheaper than I would pay for secondhand clothing. Other reward programs I like: Kohls Rewards, Red Robin Royalty, Eddie Bauer Adventure Rewards.

5. Spend What You Can, Not What You Can't: Spend what you can on gifts without getting yourself into financial trouble. If you only have $10 to spend on gifts, then spend $10. If you don't have any money to spend on gifts, then spend nothing. You can always make gifts, write a note of appreciation or do something nice for someone else.

What are some of your tips?

Please note that this post contains affiliate links and a refferal link.
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