Sunday, May 31, 2015

‘The Proposal at Siesta Key’ 5-Book Giveaway

Click on the button below to enter to win!

Proposal Siesta Key Shelley Shepard Gray
Details and rules on the sponsor's site.

No compensation provided. Information and button was provided through Litfuse Publicity for Shelley Shepard Gray.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend

*information for this post was in part supplied by Hormel Foods through their Hormel Extended Family Blogger program. No compensation was received for this post.
Memorial Day weekend was always a weekend of parades, picnics, the top 500 on the radio (in honor of the Indy 500) and the indicator that school would soon be out. I can remember sitting at my stereo with my fingers ready on my tape deck in hopes of catching my favorite song and recording it - of course, there was always that risk that the dj would talk over part of the song...but at least I had the song captured. It really is funny to think about now. I can remember fast forwarding and rewinding through those random radio tapes to find the right song. Then, I got a new stereo that had two tape decks and then (wow!) I could make a mix tape of the best of what I captured from the radio. That way, I could take my walkman and listen to my tape while I was out and about. Ah, but I digress...

Memorial Day has changed for me over the years. Now I can choose to buy a song or an album online and not worry about 'catching' my favorite one on the radio, besides which the radio stations I listen to featured a flashback to the 80s weekend this year. We only go to the parade if the kids are marching in it with one of their teams or scouts. We always loved to host a picnic, but with a busy baseball tournament weekend, we can't 'commit' to a time for a picnic because the schedule comes out a few days ahead for pool play and the playoff brackets aren't determined until the night before play and you play until you lose (not necessarily consecutive games, but close enough that coming home isn't always an option). And, when we are invited to a picnic, there isn't as much time to plan.

As much as I have always been a fan of homemade, there are times like this where convenience rules.

Want to bring a quick and easy main dish? Simply prep a couple packs of hot dogs in water in a standard crock pot. Prepare a can of Hormel Chili No Beans in a small crock pot (I have one of those dip warmers that works perfect). Grab a couple bags of buns and some shredded cheese. Voila! You have tasty and easy, Coney Dogs. (you can find a 'recipe' for chili dogs and more on their webpage.)
For a quick bleacher snack, grab a Hormel Gatherings Party Tray. We always bring a cooler with us to the game and the snack pack size gives us an option for a snack that is more than just chips or candy (which seems to be what my kids want to buy at the concession stand) and one that is easy to share with fellow fans. When ready to enjoy and share, open the crackers, cheese and pepperoni and place into the tray and serve. You can even keep the lid in place to help prevent the baseball field from becoming part of your snack - have you seen the amount of dust that the kids kick up when they slide into the plate? Of course, the Hormel Gatherings Party Tray is also great for an impromptu post game gathering to celebrate too. When the kids are done playing, they are usually hungry and a quick picnic or evening gathering is a high potential.

Of course, if you have time for a traditional picnic, that doesn't mean that you want to spend your time in the kitchen prepping, so I still recommend a coney dogs and cheese trays.

We had fun at our tournament this year. We went 1-1-1 in the tournament; even though we should have done better, the boys still enjoyed it. My daughter had a soccer game and the team won. We even found time to picnic at a friend's house on Monday.

How did you spend your Memorial Day?

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are mine or those of my family. I am completing this post as a participant in the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger program. Hormel Foods provided some product and some of the information for this post.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial Day!

Thank you to all the men and women who have bravely served our country.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Constant Fear by Daniel Palmer #review

No compensation was received for this post. A complimentary ARC was provided for the purposes of review.
CONSTANT FEAR, Daniel Palmer's newest thriller, hits stores Tuesday! "It's the story of Jake, a father who's gone to extreme lengths to keep his diabetic son, Andy, safe from dangers that might never come. When narcoterrorists take over Andy's school, though, Jake may have the only real tools to fight them. How far will a father go to save his son? Read CONSTANT FEAR, and find out."

When Daniel Palmer reached out to announce that his newest book would soon be out, I was very excited for a chance to read it. You see, I'm a huge fan of Daniel Palmer and found his books because I was also a huge fan of his father, Michael Palmer. It all started on a college trip called Dayton to Daytona that I joined in after my senior year of college. It was a great adventure that several friends and I had gone together for - taking a huge conversion van for the drive down. During that trip, I had read through the books that I brought along and headed to the gift shop at the hotel in search of a book to read. The one that I selected was Natural Causes by Michael Palmer. It was such an engrossing read, that I had to read more. I started picking up his other books and then got to a point where I read them as they came out. When Daniel started writing, I started reading. His dad wrote terrific medical thrillers and Daniel writes terrific techno-thrillers. Both father and son have a great ability to develop their characters, mix in a bit of love, and write a book that is just too believable that it is scary.

Having already started the book and trying to fit in time to read in my busy schedule, I was glad to have a nice extended break between kid's activities on Saturday that gave me over a 6 hour window for whatever I wanted to do. And with the perfect weather this weekend for sitting out on the back deck while the kids played with friends and read, I had the right combination to have some quality me time and read. I was so engaged in the book that when we did run out for an early afternoon movie, I took the book with me. My husband mocked me for bringing it along for a five minute car ride when one of the kids said 'hey mom...' as soon as I opened the book to start reading. But, when a book is that good and you are getting to the climax of the story, the last thing you want to do is to wait to read it.

One thing that I thought was unique about this book was that the person that was 'involved' in the techno part of the techno-thriller was not what I considered the main character, and in his other books they have been. Of course, Andy and his group of friends are part of the main group of characters, but it is Jake, Andy's dad, that is the main character in this story.

The suspense begins within the first few paragraphs, and although there is a short break where the back story is developed, the intensity only grows from there. As a reader, the suspense in the first chapter heightened my want to read quicker...I wanted to understand why we were where we were and what exactly was going on. I love it when a book draws you right in and then takes pause to start to build the background. Daniel Palmer successfully shares enough about Jake and Andy's past and allows the reader to really get to know them and understand where they are coming from.

If you are a fan of suspense and thrillers, this is a definite must read.

From the back cover:
When Jake Dent’s dreams of baseball glory fell apart in a drunk-driving incident, his marriage did too. In those dark days, a popular survivalist blog helped to restore Jake’s sense of control. He’s become an avid Doomsday Prepper, raising his diabetic son, Andy, to be ready for any sudden catastrophe.

Andy, now a student at the prestigious Pepperell Academy where Jake works as a custodian, has a secret—he’s part of a computer club that redistributes money from the obscenely wealthy to the needy. Usually, their targets don’t even realize they’ve been hacked. But this time, they’ve stolen from the wrong people: a vicious drug cartel that is coming to get its money back…

Staging a chemical truck spill as a distraction, the cartel infiltrates the Academy, taking Andy and his friends hostage one by one. Jake, hidden inside the school’s abandoned tunnels, knows that soon the killing will start. With his training, and a stockpile of weapons and supplies, he’s the last, best hope these students—including his son—have of getting out alive. But survival is no longer an abstract concept. It’s a violent, brutal struggle that will test Jake to the limit, where there are no rules and no second chances…

Want to check it out? You can download the first chapter on Daniel Palmer's website and buy the book at your favorite book store or online.

No compensation was received for this post. A complimentary ARC was provided for the purposes of review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.

Monday, May 18, 2015

New from Becky Wade | ‘A Love Like Ours’ $100 Cash Card and Prize Pack Giveaway

Information for this post was provided by Litfuse Publicity
Fall in love with Becky Wade's new book, A Love Like Ours, a story of healing, romance, and cowboys. A glimmer of the hope Jake thought he’d lost returns when Lyndie lands back in Texas, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

To celebrate the release of her new book, Becky is giving away a $100 cash card and a book-inspired prize pack!


One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A $100 cash card
  • A copy of A Love Like Ours
  • A copy of the Secretariat DVD
  • A scarf
  • A dog-tag/cross keychain
  • A pair of earrings
  • A Scarf
  • A Texas-shaped cutting board
  • A Jake Porter mug
love like ours - prize pack 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 26th. Winner will be announced May 27th on Becky's site.


A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade #Review

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
I really enjoyed Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade when I read it, so when I heard that she had another book out and it was part of the Porter Family series, I jumped on the chance to read and review it. (I have been so busy reading, that I haven't had the chance to pick up the first one in the series, but that's okay)

The author has created some very real characters in this book. As a reader, I felt such a connection with the characters and their feelings. There was such a chemistry between Lyndie and Jake. The type of story that draws you in from the start. The story tackled some deep issues - PTSD and disabilities - that are being faced by every day people. The book appeals to the romantic side with the great love story, but it also shares a message. As with Meant to Be, the characters are challenged and flawed and in need of God's Grace and through the story their faith in God helps them to heal and learn to trust again.

I enjoyed this book and even though it is the third in the series, there is nothing lost in the story line if you haven't read the other books, so feel free to jump in with A Love Like Ours. As always though, the chance to see a glimpse into the ongoing story of Ty and Celia is something that I enjoy about reading books in a series.

A Love Like Ours
by Becky Wade
Contemporary Romance
Bethany House

Becky Wade has written another heart warming love story in the third installment of the Porter Family series.*

Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake's childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion's reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake's will, Lyndie's sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he's built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he'd thought he'd lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

*While this is the third book in a series, it is written as a standalone.

Meet the Author
Becky Wade is a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children. When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance! She's the Carol Award and Inspirational Reader's Choice Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, Undeniably Yours, Meant to Be Mine, and A Love Like Ours.

You can learn more about Becky Wade and her books on her website.

You can find more on this book, on the blog tour home page.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Star Wars Vintage Posters - Big G cereals

No compensation was received for this post. A gift pack, information about the partnership, and the giveaway package have been provided by General Mills. All opinions expressed are entirely my own or that of my family.
My son is a bag fan of Star Wars, probably because my husband is a fan and has shared those movies with my son. With the upcoming launch of the new movie later this year, my daughter is looking forward to watching all of the movies with my husband and son, as they 'count down' to the new movie.

At our house, cereal is something that we enjoy on a regular basis. Not only is it our go to for breakfast most mornings, but we also have been known to enjoy a bowl of cereal for dinner and even as a snack. But, beyond that, I have several meals and snacks that I prepare using cereal as an ingredient.

So, when General Mills reached out to share about how they have teamed up with Star Wars to offer vintage movie posters in specially marked boxes of Big G cereals, I was excited to have the opportunity to participate in the promotion. We received a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Reese's Puffs. The next morning, shortly after arriving at work, I received a text from my son asking if they could open the new boxes of cereal. Of course, I told him he could and asked that he leave it on the counter, rather than putting it away. We lucked out and got two different posters - I was disappointed that they were from the 'newer' movies and not the original trilogy...maybe in the next box!

Cereal Crusted Chicken
canola oil for frying
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups cereal
1 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c milk
salt and pepper, to taste

Slice chicken breasts into long slices, like chicken fingers. Crush the cereal (or put through the food processor) and place in a baggie or on a plate. Combine egg and milk. Place flour in a baggie or on a plate. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Preheat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Dredge each piece of chicken, first in the flour, then the egg mixture and then coat with cereal. Fry the chicken for about 4 minutes per side, being sure to cook through.

We enjoyed this last week served with a mustard sauce and a side of oven baked potato wedges. The chicken has a nice caramelized, crunchy delivery - it is a kid favorite. Kix has been a favorite cereal for this recipe in the past, but I think that next time I will try it with Cinnamon Toast Crunch...I think the cinnamon would give it a nice flavor.

General Mills and Star Wars are teaming up to offer exclusive vintage movie posters in every specially marked box of General Mills cereals!

General Mills is once again connecting fans with what they love. Hidden inside each box, you will find one of six timeless movie posters featuring your favorite Star Wars films.

Star Wars and cereal fans alike can collect all six classic posters in each participating brand of General Mills cereals, including Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Honey Nut Cheerios, Trix, Cookie Crisp and Reese’s Puffs. The specially marked boxes of Big G cereals hit store shelves this month, for a limited time only.

Check out the #CerealWars Tumblr page that launched this week for more fan fun surrounding the General Mills and Star Wars partnership.


Courtesy of General Mills, one A Busy Mom of Two Reader will win 2 boxes of participating General Mills cereals and an exclusive Star Wars vintage movie poster. It is open to US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway will remain open through May 10th and is open to residents of the US only. Winners will be selected through Rafflecopter. The winner will be contacted by e-mail and will have 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected.

No compensation was received for this post. A gift pack, information about the partnership, and the giveaway package have been provided by General Mills. All opinions expressed are entirely my own or that of my family. The recipe is from my personal collection.