Giveaway: For Girls Like You

For Girls Like You  is a magazine written for girls age 6-11, and shares stories about interesting places, positive role models, and creative projects, without the negative imagery and advertising that often appears in mainstream entertainment.  The creators want this new magazine to entertain and inform young girls in a God-honoring way. Each issue features many opportunities (called Sprinkles) where they ask girls to contribute their own thoughts and ideas.

For Girls Like YouI was sent two issues of this new magazine, as well as a copy of their ‘maga-book’  which features lots more stories, crafts, writing prompts, and activities.  My 8 and 10 year old daughters have been poring over the magazines ever since they arrived a few days ago, and have really enjoyed the various features and stories about people.  My teen daughters have also spent some time checking the magazine out.

I love that the magazine features girls of every color in a very balanced way.  Too often magazines feature endless blonde white girls, with a light brown girl tossed in there every now and then as a nod towards folks who aren’t pale-skinned.  My girls especially enjoyed the feature about Jamie-Grace, who is one of their favorite singers.

This week I’m giving away a one-year subscription to For Girls Like You to one of my readers.  Enter the drawing by commenting below and telling me a little about the girl you’d like to give this magazine to– what does she like to read about?  What kinds of activities does she like to do?   (I’m sure the editors of For Girls Like You would love ideas for future issues!)  If you’d like an additional entry to this giveaway, go ‘like’ For Girls Like You on Facebook then come back here and comment AGAIN, telling me you liked them. Bonus points if you write on their wall and tell them where you heard about their magazine!

I’ll choose a winner on Friday!

Organic Girl giveaway


Last week when a big-ol box came in the mail, my kids all gathered around excitedly.  When I opened it to discover three boxes of meticulously packed salad greens, they may have been a little disappointed.  OK, I’ll be honest– a couple kids even groaned. But I was delighted.

In my ongoing quest to eat better, these triple-washed organic salad mixes fit right in.  Organic Girl is a California-based company that prides itself on the quality of their salad greens.  I got a chance to try out three of their varieties,oincluding the one on the left,  and liked them all.

Here’s your chance to try them too!  Today I’m giving away FIVE coupons that will allow five of you to try Organic Girl greens for free. Organic Girl will also throw in recipes for creative ways to use those lovely greens.

To enter the drawing to win one of the five coupons, comment below and tell me your favorite kind of salad.  For a second entry, go like Organic Girl  or Owlhaven (or both!) on Facebook and come back and tell me in ANOTHER comment that you did so!  I’ll pick a winner next week after I get back from Created for Care!

Loving the fatherless: 2 new movies

Read to the end of the post to find out how you can win tickets!


Two movies are coming out very soon, and both champion the cause of the fatherless.  The first is an award-winning documentary called STUCK .  It is produced by Both Ends Burning and uncovers the personal, real-life stories of children and parents navigating a rollercoaster of bureaucracy on their journeys through the international adoption system.

Stuck follows Tihun from Ethiopia, Nate from Vietnam, and Erickson and Therline from Haiti from orphanages in their native countries to their homes with families in the United States.  Some stories are heartwarming, showing incredible examples of kids who blossom after joining their families, while others offer insight into the emotional and physical impact institutional life can have on these kids. The film asks how the global community can take care of  children, safeguarding them from the very real dangers of child trafficking and corruption while also answering their need for loving homes.

This documentary began a tour of the US March 1st.  I was excited to see that it’ll be in Boise Saturday April 6th.  The tour has many other stops during March, April, and May.  Here’s the itinerary so you can check to see if it’s coming to a city near you.  Please also consider signing the petition to vote that every child should have a family.


The second movie that I’d like to tell you about is called CAMP.  Inspired by true events, Camp tells the story of a businessman named Ken who agreed to be a camp counselor at a camp for foster kids.  Ken is completely inexperienced working with any child, and ends up being assigned to the most troubled kid at camp. Over the course of camp, Ken’s heart is broken as he learns about Eli’s dark past. Eli slowly opens up to Ken as he starts to love Eli unconditionally.  An unauthorized visit from Eli’s father to camp sends everything spiraling out of control. Now Ken must decide what he is willing to sacrifice so Eli will understand the meaning of unconditional love.

I was given a screener of this movie and found the story to be touching, well acted, and thought provoking.  So many children in this world need an ally– it is the hope of the directors that  this film will inspire people to open their hearts to forgotten children who need adults in their lives.  Maybe there’s even a child near you?  This movie is being shown in several locations across the country  (including Meridian, ID beginning March 29th– hooray!) If you have the opportunity to see this movie, I hope you’ll consider it.  Here’s the CAMP tour itinerary.


Finally, I’m offering two tickets to see the movie STUCK anywhere it is being shown.  To enter the drawing, look at the tour page, find a showing near you, and comment below to tell me what you’ve found!  For an additional entry, share this post on facebook or twitter and come back to tell me you’ve done so. I’ll pick a winner on Friday!

Veggie Tales giveaway: The Little House That Stood

I’ve got a fun giveaway for you today.  There’s a new Veggie Tales video being released on March 5th called Veggie Tales: The Little House That Stood.  The movie is a remake of the classic story of the 3 pigs and the big bad wolf. My girls (ages 8 and 10) watched it the other day and really enjoyed it.  My 10 year old enjoyed the narrator’s Scottish accent, and my 8 year old says she liked the way Bob the Tomato built the wood house.  My own favorite part was the Silly Songs.  Such goofy creativity!

Do you have a little one (or a bigger one) who’d like a copy of this movie?  Enter the giveaway by telling me a bit about that person.  For a second entry, share about this contest on Facebook or Twitter using the buttons below, then comment again to tell me where you shared it.  I’ll choose a winner of the contest sometime next week.  And remember, even though the movie won’t release for a few days, you can pre-order The Little House That Stood on Amazon today, and have it next week.


My review policy

40-ish skin & a $100 giveaway



Though I appreciate the added wisdom and perspective I’m gaining as I get older, I can’t say I feel the same about the changes in my skin.  My hubby, bless his heart, looked at this picture of me and said I’ve hardly changed since we first met when I was 17.   But I see the changes in myself and can’t help but wish that wrinkles didn’t come along with wisdom.

When I was asked if I’d be game to review StriVectin-SD Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks & Wrinkles, I was more than willing. The stuff is pricey, but it comes in a huge 5-ounce tube, which makes the price per ounce actually pretty decent. It smells good and goes on nicely with just a tiny bit of tingling to signal its exfoliating effect on the skin. Some exfoliating cream is so drying that if you use it in the morning you’ll be peeling like a crocodile by noon. Strivectin-SD isn’t like that — it’s very moisturizing.

My skin care routine is really very simple. I do the oil cleansing method (I wrote about it here) and feel like it does a good job at moisturizing and leaving my skin looking fresh and feeling supple. I didn’t really expect this cream to magically get rid of my wrinkles — I’ve earned them, after all. But any improvement would be welcomed and I was really hoping to even out the brown sun spots on my cheeks.

Since the olive oil is so good on my skin, I decided to just add the StriVectin-SD Intensive Concentrate on top of that. I’ve used it for about 3 weeks now and am really happy with the results. It has noticeably lightened the sun spots on my cheeks, and made one smaller one on my forehead almost completely disappear. I need to start using it on the backs of my hands — I’d love to see if those spots would get lighter too.

 I think this tube is going to last me quite a while, but when I use it up I’ll be buying more. This stuff feels great on my skin, and has definitely improved the looks of it. It’s more even-toned and feels nicely moisturized. Love it! But I’m also glad I have a hubby who still thinks I look 17. I’ll take every advantage I can get!


 StriVectin-SD Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks & Wrinkles dramatically diminishes the appearances of wrinkles, from fine lines to deep creases (and stretch marks, too!). It’s StriVectin’s #1 best seller, a wrinkle fighting hero. Only StriVectin formulas have a patented, clinically-proven NIA-114 molecule that powers up skin to help repair damage and fight off all visible signs of aging for a youthful look and feel. For more information, visit StriVectin’s website

 What interests you most about NIA-114, a key active ingredient in StriVectin-SD Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks & Wrinkles? Leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card.


No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1.   Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2.   Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3.  Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4.   For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 2/25/13-3/24/13.  Be sure to visit the StriVectin brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

Valentine Giveaway: Gluten-free goodies

For awhile I’ve been mostly avoiding wheat, but every now and then I succumb to temptation– usually pizza or dinner rolls. Well, twice lately after doing that, I’ve broken out into a rash. For some reason, avoiding wheat has made me MORE sensitive to it when I do have it. Bummer. I guess that means I’d better be more serious about this whole gluten free thing.

All of this served to make me extra-thrilled when I got this  Nuffins Gluten-Free 6 Mix Variety Pack in the mail.  These baking mixes include sugar cookies, cornbread, pancakes, chocolate brownies, muffins and chocolate chip cookie mix.  (Amazon includes a chocolate cake mix instead of the second cookie mix that I got.)

If you click through to the link, you’ll see that this 6-pack assortment is $37 on amazon. That may seem like a fair bit if you don’t usually buy gluten free goodies, but these mixes are quite generous, I think. I used 1/4 of the pancake mix and got 5 good-sized pancakes, and the brownie mix made a full 9×13 pan, or 20 brownies. If only one or two members of your family is gluten free, just one box of any of these would probably last you quite awhile.

The mixes contain a combination of rice flour and some other flours, which means there is a very slight graininess to the texture, as is very typical of gluten free items. But I thought the flavor was excellent, and my family quite happily ate muffins and brownies right along with me.

If you know how to bake with gluten free ingredients, you’d be able to put together similar recipes for less money. But face it, eating gluten free is a lot of work– I often have to make myself meals that are a bit different than the rest of my family. Mixes like these would make gluten-free eating easier for lots of people.  You may decide the convenience is worth the bucks. And the packaging is just plain fun.

I have a 6-pack of these goodies to give away today to celebrate Valentine’s Day!  All you have to do to be entered in the giveaway is comment below and tell me what you’re doing to brighten someone’s day today. For a second entry, go ‘like’ Nuffins OR  Owlhaven (or both) on Facebook and come back here and tell me you in another comment that you did so.

In our house John and I have the tradition of giving each of our kids their own little box of chocolates.  This year, he and I didn’t communicate especially well, and BOTH of us ended up buying things for the kiddos still at home.  They’re going to be surprised this morning to wake up to TWO boxes of chocolate each.

How about you?  What do you do to make a loved one’s Valentine’s Day special?  I’ll choose a winner of the baking mixes on Monday.

Giveaway: Sparkly Green Earrings

Yesterday we had some lovely time with our grown kids, and I found it especially delightful to watch my little 8 year old play with her baby nephews. She loves them like crazy and they think she is utterly wonderfully fun. It’s just a fabulous stage of life to be at– still with my own ‘babies’ at home, but also getting to snuggle on these first grandbabies of ours.

Speaking of beautiful moments in motherhood, today I’ve got a delightful book to give away. It is called Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn and was written by the wonderful Melanie who writes the blog Big Mama. She and I traveled to the Dominican Republic together on behalf of Compassion International a few years back, and hers is one of the blogs I have read constantly ever since I started reading blogs way back in 2006.

The thing that’s so wonderful about Mel’s writing is the way she lets you into her life and shares the mundane and the wonderful and the everyday, all mixed together with her trademark sense of humor.  Her book is just as good as her blog– a mix of humor and story-telling and thoughtfulness– a sure winner for any momma who’s felt overwhelmed by her job even as she knows darned well how important it is.  If you need a dash of humorous inspiration in your life this week, I hope you’ll consider buying a copy.

If you’d like a chance to win a copy, comment below and share a moment of your life lately.  Maybe it was funny, maybe it was thought-provoking, or something to especially cherish.  I’d love to hear about it.  I’ll pick a winner at the end of the week!

Book Review: Puria (and my Mary Kay winner!)

The winner of my Mary Kay giveaway is Rena at The Girl with the Smile.

Today I wanted to tell you about a book I read recently.  I read almost no fiction these days, and so when my friend Rachael Wheeler asked if I’d be willing to read her book, Puria, I had a pang or two of concern.   Could I find time to read it?  But the idea of making time for a purely entertaining book was greatly appealing– why don’t I do that more often??– and it turned out to be a really enjoyable read. The writing is excellent and the story was engrossing.  Twenty pages in, I set the book down to go cook dinner, and found myself thinking about the characters as I cooked, and wondering what would happen next, which for me is always a sign that the story has caught my imagination.

The story is about a girl whose fiance’ is kidnapped into slavery.  She leaves her safe home and sets out into a dangerous world to rescue him.  Sacrifice is what is required in the end, and the book kept me guessing right up til the conclusion.  I had the whole book read in three days, and very much enjoyed the story.  (Parents, give this book a read before you hand it off to kids.  There is some violence, but right and wrong is clearly defined in this book, and good wins out in the end.  I’d consider it appropriate for older teens, but every family is different.)  This book is available in paperback, or you can get it on Kindle for only $3.99.

The author has given me a copy of the book to give away to one of you!   If you’d like to enter the drawing to win the book, comment below, and tell me the best fiction book you’ve read recently.  I’ve decided I really ought to find time to read more fiction, and would love some more good recommendations.

Favorite Books of 2012

Here are some of the books I read and loved in 2012

Curly Girl: The Handbook gave me great new ideas for caring for our daughters’ hair. I learned how to leave their hair down without getting insane tangles– I LOVE that look, but in the past it has just been a disaster tangle-wise. But best thing was that the book gave the girls a new appreciation for the true gorgeousness of their hair.  My 14yo daughter has always disliked her hair, but after watching the DVD that comes with the book, she voluntarily wore her hair down two days in a row.  It was great to see the new confidence in her.
Parenting From the Inside Out is an insightful look into the way our own past experiences affect our ability to parent our children with wisdom and compassion.  Many of us have past experiences that make some aspects of compassionate parenting difficult, and this book helps readers sort out their own stuff so that they can then parent their children with love and understanding.

Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial MORE  Daniel Koontz did a great blog series about this book on his blog Casual Kitchen, and half way through the series, I decided I wanted to read the book for myself.   It provides lots of great information and encouragement to help you handle money wisely.  Very worth reading!


7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess describes Jen Hatmaker‘s  seven month experiment to simplify various areas of her life.  One month she ate only seven foods.  Another month she wore only seven items of clothing.  Wild, eh?  She did it seeking to escape the excess of our culture and reduce her dependence on stuff.  Great, thought-provoking read! (Bonus:  Jen is also an adoptive mom to kids from Ethiopia!)


The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind  Lisa at One Thankful Mom is the person who recommended this book to me.  The book does a great job explaining brain function in a very understandable way, and shares how we can help our traumatized kids’ brains be less stressed and work more effectively.



What about you?  What were some of the best books you read in 2012?

Win a Mary Kay goodie basket

A few weeks ago I had the fun of getting a whole box of Mary Kay makeup in the mail. I am not a woman who uses tons of makeup, but I wear some nearly every day, and I’m always game to try something that might work better than what I’m using. So I was more than pleased to see this box arrive. Also circling the box were my 14-year-old and 17-year-old daughters, legitimate possible owners of some of these goodies, AND my 10- and 7-year-old daughters, who aren’t remotely old enough for the stuff. Here’s what we got:

  • Mary Kay® Compact Mini, a refillable magnetic compact that fits three eye colors and one cheek color. There’s even a hidden tray underneath for applicators.
  • Mary Kay® Mineral Eye Color in Golden Vanilla, Truffle, Lavender Fog, Midnight Star, Sweet Plum and Black Pearl
  • Mary Kay® Mineral Cheek Color in Shy Blush
  • Mary Kay® Ultimate Mascara, Lash Love™ Mascara, and Lash Love™ Waterproof Mascara
  • Mary Kay® NouriShine Plus™ Lip Gloss in Mango Tango, Rock ’n’ Red and Café Au Lait
  • Mary Kay® Lash Primer
  • TimeWise® Microdermabrasion Set, a refiner/exfoliator and a replenisher that together fight fine lines, refine pores and create smooth skin

Saving the TimeWise set for myself, I started by giving the big girls a shot at the makeup. They had a grand time trying out all sorts of colors and did a nice job making each other over. Not surprisingly, their deep skin tones looked wonderful with some of the brighter colors that’d never work for me. Most of the eye shadow colors sent were either a bit too bright or too sparkly for me — I prefer neutral matte shades with no sparkles. But every color sent looked great on the girls.

I really liked the TimeWise Microdermabrasion Set. It has the tiniest scrubbing beads ever, and it left my skin feeling extremely smooth and glowy. I also was pleased with the Lash Primer. It is supposed to provide definition and curl, and to make your mascara go on more smoothly, and I felt like it did all those things. Well, maybe not the curl…As far as I’ve ever been able to tell, my eyelashes don’t curl. (And boy, I’ve tried. In high school I used a little metal torture device that gave me square corners in my eyelashes–not a good look.) Both of the mascaras were also good, though I liked the feel of the non-waterproof one a bit better than the waterproof, which felt stiff on my eyes.

One of the things I’ve been having the most trouble with lately is finding a foundation that has enough coverage to even out my complexion without looking ghostly and unnatural. I currently have at least five different bottles of foundation in my bathroom cupboard, none of which I love. When the box of Mary Kay goodies didn’t include any foundation, I did what I should have done a long time ago: I sent an email to my cousin Meika, a local Mary Kay consultant. Within two days she’d mailed enough foundation samples that I was finally able to choose a color and a coverage that works well with my complexion. Three days later, she sent me a whole bottle. As I’d expected, it was a bit pricey. But I’d paid nearly twice that for the five bottles that didn’t work. So yay for Mary Kay . Here’s a picture of all four of my girls after their makeovers. I think they’re fans too, especially the ones who got to play with makeup for the first time ever.

What about you? Would you like to win a Mary Kay gift basket? For an opportunity to win, tell me the greatest beauty tip you’ve learned.


No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 19 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 12/5/1212/31/12.

Be sure to visit the Mary Kay page on where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

I was provided with Mary Kay products to use and review, and was compensated for this post. However, all opinions are my own.