Shelly's Bits and Pieces

Friday, March 27, 2015

Jesus Sees Us Doll and Book Review #JesusSeesUs

Disclosure:  FlyBy Promotions provided the Jesus Sees Us Doll and Book at no charge to facilitate our honest review.  No monetary compensation has been received.  Receiving the free item did in NO way influence my review.

Like most families that I know, we celebrate Easter with our family and our children receive Easter baskets.  We have always told our children the real reason we celebrate Easter, and have shied away from the Easter Bunny story.  When I am trying to find goodies to fill the Easter baskets, it often becomes a challenge to find anything that is the least bit "religious."  I have found Resurrection Eggs and some Christian stickers, but usually all you can find as a toy is an Easter bunny, duck or baby chick.  This year, I have the perfect gift for the Easter basket, the Jesus Sees Us Doll and Book!

Never heard of it before?  Neither had I until I was offered the opportunity to review it.  My family fell in love with the wonderful book and the little ones loved having a tangible item that represents Jesus.  I had never seen a Jesus doll before, and I love it!  Want to know more?  Here is the story behind the doll and book.

How do you introduce your child to Jesus?

Imagine your children took the same interest and wonder in Jesus and the Christian message as they did in princesses, fairies, and elves… Jesus Sees Us is a packaged Jesus Christ doll that has the same comforting power as a child’s favorite toy or blanket, but is rooted in lessons that last a lifetime. Children respond to the comfort of tangible items when they are young, so why not make that item Jesus and the comfort He gives to ignite their faith? The accompanying book is a tool to assist you in engaging your child and starting the conversation about Jesus’ teachings.

By the time a child turns three years old, he or she already has the capability to relate to Jesus. Children can understand that, like them, Jesus was a baby with parents who loved Him. They can understand that Jesus grew up to be a man who loved everyone and taught people to do the same. Children become excited and inquisitive when they can master these facts, ultimately making them more open to deeper conversations and ideas about faith.

The Jesus Sees Us doll is an integral part of fostering your child’s initial introduction to Jesus. Even though we talk to our children about Jesus or take them to Sunday services, they are not always able to understand the importance of the Christian message. Jesus Sees Us is a tool that makes Jesus, His teachings, and the concept of faith both relatable and positive to young children by introducing Him as the loving and forgiving presence in our lives. The doll becomes the tangible connection to the stories and lessons in the book. He is the touchable source of comfort that a child can relate to. The Jesus Sees Us doll has a soft body and a warm, welcoming face. His arms and hands are open, inviting your child to hold him, engage with him, and pray with him. The Jesus Sees Us doll allows your child to “play out” the valuable and timeless lessons of the Bible. 

The Jesus Sees Us Doll and Book is a wonderful way to get your kids interested in learning more about Jesus.  I have noticed that they will use the doll and play out some of the Bible stories.  The Jesus doll is also perfect for them to sleep with.  It is comforting to them to have something tangible to hold on to at night and know that Jesus is with them.

Right now, you can save $10 off your purchase at Amazon.com by entering the following code at checkout---> JC10BLOG.   Why not give your child an extra special gift this Easter?  They are never too young to get to know Jesus!  

You can learn more about Jesus Sees Us by following on facebook or by visiting their website.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Easter Stories: Classic Tales for the Holy Season Review and 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 Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this 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.

Being one of the Children's Church teachers is something I truly enjoy.  The children are all so excited to hear stories about Jesus and to really learn about Him.  They are open to everything and they believe without the "seeing" that is required by so many adults.  We are often looking for other stories to read to our kids after our Bible study is complete.  I was thrilled when I received Easter Stories: Classic Tales for the Holy Season to review.

About the book:  Everyone who believes Easter is about more than Easter egg hunts will be grateful for this new anthology of short stories that illumine the true meaning of the season. Selected for their spiritual value and literary quality, these classic tales capture the spirit of Holy Week and Easter in a way that will captivate readers of all ages. Parents and grandparents will find that children love to hear these stories read aloud, year after year.

Easter Stories includes time-honored favorites from world-famous storytellers such as C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, Selma Lagerlof, Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Goudge, Maxim Gorky, Ruth Sawyer, Anton Chekhov, and Walter Wangerin – as well as many you’ve never heard before. Illustrated with original woodcuts.



This book is filled with 383 pages of delightful Easter stories that adults and children alike will enjoy.  The stories are written by lots of different authors including Oscar Wilde, Leo Tolstoy and CS Lewis, to name a few.  The children enjoyed hearing the different stories and they fell in love with one in particular.  The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde was a huge hit!  They loved how the children changed the heart of the Giant and at the end of the story, they loved how Jesus was incorporated into it.  (You must read it to find out what I'm talking about)   The stories held the interest of the kids and I have had several parents ask me where they could buy the book.

We highly recommend this book to everyone.  It will be a wonderful addition to your home library.  Would you like a chance to win a copy of this book for yourself?  Simply enter on the rafflecopter form below and you could be that winner!

Anna's Crossing Book Review and $10 Family Christian Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book and a $10 Family Christian certificate in exchange for my review.  All opinions expressed are honest and my own, and were in no way influenced by the book or certificate.

Reading is something I really enjoy.  It is a great stress reliever and it is a hobby that I have had since I was a child.  I must admit, I got my love of reading from my mom and we often share books.  I love reading historical romances and I am thrilled when I find one that has a good message behind it and does not have graphic love scenes.  Recently, I received Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher, from Family Christian.

About the book:  When Anna König first meets Bairn, the Scottish ship carpenter of the Charming Nancy, their encounter is anything but pleasant. Anna is on the ship only to ensure the safe arrival of her loved ones to the New World. 

As delays, storms, illness, and diminishing provisions afflict crew and passengers alike, Bairn finds himself drawn to Anna's serene nature. For her part, Anna can't seem to stay below deck and far away from the aloof ship's carpenter, despite warnings.

When an act of sacrifice leaves Anna in a perilous situation, Bairn discovers he may not have left his faith as firmly in the past as he thought. But has the revelation come too late?

The book is vividly detailed and I felt like I could actually visualize the conditions they were traveling in.  The Charming Nancy was anything but charming!  Reading books about the Amish is a big interest of mine.  Their beliefs and the strength of their faith has peaked my interest, and Anna's Crossing certainly fit the bill!  It is set in 1737 and it tells the story of Anna, an Amish woman, who leaves Germany for a trip to the new world.

Anyone who is a fan of historic fiction will love this book!  I had a hard time putting it down and when I gave it to my mom to read, she finished it in one day!  Would you like this book?

 Simply enter on the rafflecopter form below and you could win a Family Christian appreciation certificate for $10 to purchase this book or anything else you want! (appreciation certificates may be used in stores or through customer service, and can only be used one per order. They have no cash value so you must use the whole certificate at once or you will lose the balance.)!

The Hobbit The Battle of The Five Armies Digital Copy Giveaway

Disclosure:  No compensation was received for this post.  Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment! Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Digital Download Coupon for The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world.
Own it on Digital HD NOW
Own it on Blu-ray March 24th


 Below you'll find the official trailer for the movie!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Texas K-9 Unit Book Series Review and Book 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 Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for my honest review.

Reading is my favorite way to relax.  I get transported to other places and I find myself caught up in the characters and situations.  My hubby will try to carry on a conversation with me and I am so glued to the story that I do not even hear him. For that reason, I try to read when he is watching TV or when he is not home.

One of the books I have finished recently was part of the Texas K-9 Unit Series, Tracking Justice.

About the series:
Love Inspired Suspense authors Shirlee McCoy, Margaret Daley and Sharon Dunn will get your pulse racing with tales of Texas cops and their loyal K-9 dogs tracking down a crime ring. Enjoy three action-packed Texas K-9 Unit romantic suspense novels in one box set! When a boy goes missing from his bedroom, a police detective must assure a desperate single mother that he and his trusty bloodhound will find her son. A woman with amnesia has to rely on an officer and his border collie to stay alive when she can't remember who tried to kill her. An FBI agent is called in to protect a single mother when the rookie K-9 officer witnesses a murder and becomes the killer's target.

About the authors:
Shirlee McCoy has always loved making up stories. As a child she daydreamed elaborate tales in which she was the heroine — gutsy, strong and invincible. Though she soon grew out of her superhero fantasies, her love for storytelling never diminished. Shirlee knew early that she wanted to write inspirational fiction and began writing her first novel when she was a teenager. Still, it wasn't until her third son was born that she truly began pursuing her dream of being published. Three years later she sold her first book. Now a busy mother of four, Shirlee is a homeschool mom by day and an inspirational author by night. She and her husband and children live in Maryland and share their home with a dog and a guinea pig.

Margaret Daley has been writing for over 35 years. She started writing in the late 1970s because she wanted to see if she could put a whole story down on paper. That book is still in the drawer and will never see the light of day. But she was able to finish a book, which was her goal. She loved teaching and working with students with special needs, and recently retired from teaching to write full-time. When she isn't working, she loves to read, travel, and go to lunch and a movie with a friend. She and her husband, Mike, to whom she has been married for over 40 years live in Tulsa. Besides teaching and writing, she is also a mother of one. Her son, Shaun, is married with four daughters.

Sharon Dunn first fell in love with mystery and suspense about the time she read Nancy Drew mysteries in the fifth grade. Her first book in the Ruby Taylor mysteries Romance Rustlers and Thunderbird Thieves was a finalist for the Romantic Times Inspirational Book of the Year. The second book in that series Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante was voted Book of the Year by American Christian Fiction Writers. Her hobbies include reading, working out, hiking, trying to find things around the house and making pets out of the dust bunnies under the furniture. Before she started writing, she used to sew. Now she just collects fabric and patterns and fantasizes about projects. After nearly twenty seven years of marriage, Sharon lost her beloved husband in 2014. She lives with her three nearly grown children, two cats and a nervous border collie named Bart.

My thoughts:
Romance and Mystery books are some of my favorites to read.  The problem I have is finding a romance that does NOT contain graphic sex scenes.  That is just not for me!  The Texas K-9 Unit series of books fit the bill perfectly.  The romance is there and there is mystery.  I loved getting into the characters and really enjoy reading about the K-9 Officer and the relationship they have with their K-9 partners.  A huge bond that I think is awesome.

Currently, I am in the middle of the second book in this series, Detection Mission.  This book is as good as the first and has been hard to put down!  One thing I really like about this series is that the books are written to stand alone, yet they all go together.  You can grab any of them without feeling like you are behind on what is going on.

Texas K-9 Unit Series Books 1-3: Tracking Justice\Detection Mission\Guard Duty (Available at Amazon)

And for the giveaway, we have the latest book by Shirlee McCoy (author of Book 1 in the series), “Protection Detail.” It releases March 3rd! This is a physical copy!  Can't wait to read this book?  Here is a coupon to save $1: http://www.harlequin.com/media/images/pdf/LISCOUP0315.pdf

NAKANO Sweet Seasoned Rice Vinegars

Disclosure:  Free product was received to facilitate our honest review.  We only recommend products or services that we personally use and believe in.  No monetary compensation was received!  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

When you are married to a chef, it becoming a "foodie" is a no-brainer!  Chefy has introduced me to so many different foods and cooking techniques over the years, I now try anything.  Rarely can I surprise him with something I discovered, but I actually accomplished that when I received Nakano Sweet Seasoned Rice Vinegar to review.   I was sent the Mango Seasoned Rice Vinegar and the Citrus Seasoned Rice Vinegar and was so excited to give them a try!  Along with my vinegars, I was sent a recipe to try and I jumped right on it!


Light and Tangy Mini Baked Apple Pies  (SERVINGS: 6)

INGREDIENTS
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
3 cups (1-2 large apples) honey crisp or granny smith, 1/4” dice
1/4 cup NAKANO Citrus Seasoned Rice Vinegar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 cup granola, no fruit
6 mini Mason jars, 4 oz., cleaned

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In saucepot, add butter and brown sugar and heat until it bubbles, 4-5 minutes. Add diced apples, NAKANO Citrus Seasoned Rice Vinegar, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water and add to the apple mixture.
  3. Cook apple mixture until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and spoon into jars. Fill jars up to the bottom lip, reserving room for the granola. Add 2-3 tablespoons of granola to the top of the jars.
  4. Place jars on sheet tray and bake for 4-6 minutes, until granola is golden brown.  Serve warm or room temperature.
Knowing that Chefy and Kat would be home for an early dinner, this was the perfect dessert because it didn't take hours to make!  I followed the recipe above, using Granny Smith apples.  The only change I made was I used Raisin Bran Crunch instead of granola.  I had all of the other ingredients on hand!  The recipe was very easy to put together and before I knew it, my kitchen was smelling heavenly!  

All I can say is that all 6 mason jars were eaten that evening!  DELICIOUS!  When we had Charly, our French exchange student visiting, Kat made these for snacks one afternoon and Charly loved it! 

We have used these vinegars for several different things from salsa to salads and from fish to chicken!  Everything was wonderful.  The flavor is very fresh and refreshing.  I'm thrilled that I was able to introduce Chefy to a new product and recipe.  Give it a try and tell me what you think!


Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash Review & Giveaway #PurexInsiders

Disclosure:  Free product was received to facilitate our honest review.  We only recommend products or services that we personally use and believe in.  No monetary compensation was received!  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

During the winter, my skin gets so dry that it will crack and bleed.  I keep a lot of lotion on hand to help with this problem.  Recently, I received a new body wash to try since I am a menber of the Purex Insiders.  I received the Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash that is infused with Marula oil.  My daughter grabbed it as soon as the sample arrived and took a shower.  She LOVED it!  All I kept hearing from her was how good it smelled and how soft her skin felt.

Later that evening I decided to try the Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash for myself.   A small amount yielded a rich lather and since I needed to shave my legs, I decided to use this instead of shaving cream.  The scent is wonderful and the body wash left my skin feeling silky and nourished.  My legs did not feel like they were thirsting for lotion.  My skin felt soft and actually looked healthier.  Kat was right.  This is a product that I will be purchasing over and over.  I've recommended it to my family and now I am offering you a chance to try it for yourself!

Two lucky Shelly's Bits and Pieces readers will receive a coupon for a FREE bottle of Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash.  Entering is easy.  Simply fill out the rafflecopter form below.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Chefy Says: A Few Quick Kitchen Tips

It has been quite a while since I posted on the blog.  Sometimes life gets crazy and I just cannot find the time to do everything on my to do list, but I promised Shelly that I would start posting again.  Here are a few kitchen tips that I hope will help.  

 KITCHEN TIPS:

  1. After working with garlic, rub your hands vigorously on your stainless steel sink for 30 seconds before washing them. It will remove the odor
  2. Cook pasta 1 minute less than the package instructions and cook it the rest of the way in the pan with sauce.
  3. Instead of placing a chicken on a roasting rack, cut thick slices of onion, put them in an oiled pan, then place the chicken on top. The onion will absorb the chicken juices. After roasting, let the chicken rest while you make a sauce with the onions by adding a little stock or water to the pan and cooking it for about 3 minutes on high heat.
Enjoy!  And in the immortal words of Andrew Zimmern, " If it looks good, eat it!"

Pay for Your Summer Fun with Swagbucks

Disclosure:  I use swagbucks and will receive points for anyone who enters via my referral link.  


Pay for Your Summer Fun with Swagbucks

With most of the country still under a blanket of snow, it’s comforting to think of warm summer days. Now is the best time to start saving for your summer plans, whether it’s traveling, buying something new to enjoy at home or even if it’s just grabbing an iced coffee concoction to cool you down.  One way to have extra spending money this summer is to use Swagbucks.

Swagbucks is a rewards site where you get points called “Swag Bucks” for things like searching, watching videos and discovering deals. The you redeem those points for gift cards to places like Amazon, PayPal and Starbucks.[QUICK PERSONAL EXAMPLE, such as what you’ve gotten with Swag Bucks in the past.]

Here’s a plan for using Swagbucks to earn $25 in gift cards each month. It’s easy, and if you keep at it, you’ll have at least $75 by June to spend on summer fun without having to dip into your wallet or spend a ton of your precious time!

Swagbucks discounts your first $25 gift card of the month to 2,200 SB. That’s like getting $25 for $3 less! Here are a few things you can do that will add up to 2,200 SB each month:

1) Knock out the quick stuff - all of these activities can be found on the left-hand side of the homepage (1-2 mins a day):
  • Answer the Daily Poll everyday - also available on the SB mobile app, so you can earn your daily SB wherever you are: 30 SB
  • Do the NOSO everyday - Browse through No Obligation Special Offers for 2 SB everyday: 60 SB
  • Get your daily SwagButton SB - our popular browser add-on gives you the ability to earn SB from anywhere on the web. It also alerts you to Swag Codes AND you get 1 SB each day just for having it installed and active: 30 SB (Bonus: if you don’t have it yet, you get a one-time bonus of 50 SB for downloading the SwagButton!)
  • Do the Daily Crave - discover new content and websites to earn 1 SB everyday: 30 SB
2) Search online to earn SB everyday (no extra time needed!):
  • Use the Swagbucks Search engine - People who use Swagbucks search to find what they want online can earn 10 SB per day! Plus, members who make Swagbucks the default search engine on their browser typically earn even more: 300 SB
3) Earn BIG SB payouts (5 min - 20+ min depending on survey opportunities available):
  • Take the Daily Survey every weekday - SB amounts vary from survey to survey, but it’s very possible to earn about 35 SB per weekday: 700 SB
  • SBTV app on Android (all countries) & iOS (US only) - earn a maximum of 36 SB per day on this app: 1,080 SB
Whether you’re catching the latest blockbuster, enjoying a weekend road trip, or stocking up for your next outdoor BBQ, Swagbucks can help. It doesn’t end there, though. Keep going and you can save for the holidays, back to school, or just a rainy day. If you’re already on Swagbucks, share your own tips for earning Swag Bucks and saving up for summer in the comments!

Here is my referral link if you would like to sign up!
 http://www.swagbucks.com/?cmd=sb-trk&t0=blgTrk&t1=97391&t2=298
 I have already redeemed over $100 in gift cards to date! 

Spring Break Special at Medieval Times!

Disclosure:  Free tickets will be received as a thank you for posting.  We only recommend products or services that we personally use and believe in.  No monetary compensation was received!  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


SPRING BREAK BOGO AT MEDIEVAL TIMES – VALID AT ALL LOCATIONS!
Must mention or enter code BOGORB at time of purchase. Buy one full-priced admission and receive the second admission of equal or lesser value FREE. Not valid with other discounts, offers or group rates. Not valid for the Sat shows at the Buena Park location. Restrictions may apply. Valid thru 5/3/15. Make your reservations by call 1-888-935-6878 or visit medievaltimes.com

The Flintstones and WWE: Stone Age Smackdown #FlintstonesWWE

Disclosure:  No compensation has been received for my post.  I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe in.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment!

When Fred loses his family's vacation money, he hatches one of his hair brained plans to get it back. It's a sports entertainment spectacle that involves throwing his best bud, Barney into the wrestling ring with the likes of John Cenastone (John Cena), Rey Mysteriopal (Rey Mysterio) and even The Undertaker, with Fred himself as event promoter! The crowds roar, the "clams" are pouring in from ticket sales and even Mr. McMagma (Vince McMahon) is taking notice of all the hoopla. Including all-star appearances from The Boulder Twins (Brie and Nikki Bella) Marble Henry (Mark Henry) and Daniel Bry-Rock (Daniel Bryan), it's time to get the whole family together for hard-hitting, side-splitting laughs from the most epic event in all of prehistory!

Own it on Blu-ray Combo, DVD and Digital HD NOW!!!
 You can also create these cute paper cut-outs with your family!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Gospel for Asia's No Longer A Slumdog Book Review & FREE Book for Everyone #NoLongerASlumdog

Disclosure: A free book was received to facilitate our honest review.  We only recommend products or services that we personally use and believe in.  No monetary compensation was received!  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Children mean the world to me.  I love kids and would have a house full if it was possible.  When ever I read a story about a child being abandoned or abused, it makes my heart hurt.  Recently, I received Gospel for Asia's No Longer A Slumdog Book to review and I had mixed feelings about it.  I was interested, but I prefer reading "feel good" books, and I was not sure if this book would leave me upset or optimistic.   The book does tell some heart wrenching stories and at times, I found myself in tears.
http://gfa.name/1BBiBHh

No Longer A Slumdog is written by K.P. Yohannan and tells the stories of the forgotten children of Asia.  It is so sad to hear about the children who are tossed out like trash, abandoned in the streets, sold into slavery and the ones sold into the sex trade.  One story that particularly stood out to me was about 2 small girls who went on a train ride with their mother.  She disappeared from their lives and they were left alone.  I cannot imagine any scenario where I would leave my daughter!

There are thousands of stories just like these.  Children of poor, overpopulated countries are left starving, beaten, abused, and abandoned every day.  Some parents really want better for their children, so they give them away, thinking they will be cared for.   This happens for some, but unfortunately, not all!  The bright point in this book was learning about the wonderful things the Gospel for Asia and GFA's Bridge of Hope are doing!  GFA Bridge of Hope helps these children through education, food and medicine, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

You can help too!  The Gospel for Asia can use prayers and donations.  You can donate to them or you can sponsor a child too.  A small amount of money sent monthly will provide food, medical care, education and Jesus' love to these children.  With sponsorship, you will receive a photo of your sponsored child and you can correspond with them.

Whether you can afford to sponsor a child, or support the Gospel for Asia with prayers, do something!  You can learn more about them and the author of the book through these links:

Official WEBSITE
Official FACEBOOK
Official TWITTER
K.P. Yohannan’s FACEBOOK
K.P. Yohannan’s TWITTER

All of my readers can receive a copy of this book for FREE by clicking the link below.  The books are free so they can get the word out about the plight of these children.  http://gfa.name/1BBiBHh