Shelly's Bits and Pieces: September 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

#Mamavation Monday



For over a year now, I have been reading all about the Mamavation ladies and how they are becoming healthier and learning to take control of their lives. There were times when I was jealous of how well they were doing, but at the same time, I was very happy for them. When I turned 45 this month, several things jumped out at me. I am now the age my paternal grandma was when she passed away. She had heart disease, and a massive heart attack took her away from me when I was five. My daughter just turned 13, and I want to be around to enjoy watching her grow up, and I want to be a grandma some day.(At least 15 YEARS down the road)

I have decided to join the ladies of Mamavation, and pledge to getting healthy. This past weekend was not great for me, because we are still moving and I did not take time to cook. Hubby brought home some fast food...however...I have been working my butt off. I am going to the grocery store when my mom gets here in the morning, and purchasing some healthy food to cook! Fast food is out, and this mom is pledging to become a lean, mean, healthy machine!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One Man's Thoughts on the Boy Scouts

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Boy Scouts of America for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
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When I was a kid, I lived in the inner city of Seattle.  Although my family was not well to do, I never went hungry, and I never went without.  My mother and father both worked a full-time job and were very busy just trying to maintain a home.  Both of my parents wanted me to enjoy being a child, and they wanted me to stay away from some of the things other inner city kids I knew were doing.  This is where the Boy Scouts of America became involved in my life.
We met in a local church, and our meetings were some of the best experiences of my childhood.  My scout masters were as interested in my education and my grades, as they were of teaching me all the different areas of scouting.  Going on Boy Scout outings was a lot of fun.  There are many great places to visit in Washington State, and as a Boy Scout, I visited a lot of them.  Earning merit badges was important to me.  It was as much fun as it was hard work.  I made a lot of life-long friends, and I am so thankful today for the wonderful people I had the opportunity to work with.
Today, I am a Dad.  Scouting was important to me, and I will encourage all generations to come to do one simple thing!  Be A Scout!  It can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life!  If you are even considering it, check online and find a troop in your area.
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This post was written by my hubby, Chefy!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

HINT Water Review


About HINT:   HINT, whose mantra is Drink Water, Not Sugar® is the brainchild of Kara Goldin,
a San Francisco mother of four who was seeking a refreshing, unsweetened and no calorie
beverage to give her family. Her simple solution – HINT Essence Water. Launched in 2005,
Kara developed HINT in response to the growing wall of sugary juices and sodas. HINT is at
the heart of a healthy lifestyle™, and is available in many delicious flavors including Blackberry,
Watermelon, Pomegranate-Tangerine, Mango-Grapefruit, Strawberry-Kiwi and Raspberry-Lime.
HINT Essence Water can be found in fine grocery stores and retailers all over the United States
or purchased online at www.drinkhint.com. More information is also available at
www.facebook.com/drinkhint.  You can follow HINT on twitter to at http://twitter.com/#!/Hint_Water.


Water is a huge part of my everyday life!  I LOVE ice cold water!  I actually consume between 2 and 4 liters everyday.  I must admit that generally I am a purist.  I crave PLAIN ice cold water!  When offered the opportunity to review HINT, I was excited to try it, but I was honestly not expecting to like it!  Boy, was I in for a surprise!!  I immediately fell in love with HINT!!  My favorites were the Watermelon, Mango-Grapefruit, and the Strawberry-Kiwi!!  I probably would have enjoyed the other flavors I had to sample, but, my daughter managed to grab them before I could!  The thing I love the most about HINT is that you get a refreshing water that is not altered by sweeteners.  HINT gives me everything I want with just the essence of fruit.  I love to take a sip, then inhale...the essence of the fruit fills me! 

HINT has become a MUST on my shopping list.  My husband and daughter love it too!  If you drink water and want something a little different...I can give you a HINT on what to try!!

Disclosure:  Although I received free products to facilitate my review, my opinions were not influenced.  All opinions stated are honest and my own!  No monetary compensation was received for this review! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Moving

During a recent DIY painting job in our master bathroom, my hubby discovered black mold beneath he baseboards and underneath the wall paper.  The house we live in was flooded during Hurricane Fran in 1996, but it was repaired within 2 months, and deemed whole.  We have found out that not ALL of the framing, sub-flooring and walls were replaced, which is where the problem has come from.  We also found out that there is mold in the air ducts, so anytime the AC or heat comes on, we are getting inundated with the mold spores. With all that being said...We are MOVING! 

My father is a minister and my parents had been planning a move into Durham to be closer to our church and to my soon to be 84 year old Grandma.  The mold in my house has hastened their move, and we are currently in the middle of a three family moving spree.  My nephew and his wife are purchasing a new house, and are due to close the first week in October.  My parents are moving to their old house (which my brother owns), and we will move into my parents house here, which is only 7 minutes from the "mold house."  We chose to stay in the same area because our daughter is in her last year of middle school and I did not want to move her! 

I keep telling myself that this is a good move for all of us.  My parents will be closer to Grandma and the church, my nephew will move his family into a larger home, and we will move into a larger place!  Thankfully my new home will be mold free!  I had planned to get several posts up today, along with one or two new giveaways, but I'm behind due to packing.  I WILL get at least one review and one giveaway posted before I go to bed tonight!  Thanks for being such wonderful readers!

Til next time,
God Bless You,
~~~Shelly~~~

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bridesmaids "Girls Night In" Party Planning


Tonight is movie night and I am so excited to be watching the movie "Bridesmaids" with some friends tonight!  We decided to take some time off from packing and enjoy some fun!!  My daughter, mom and I are going to have a girls night in and and enjoy each other, a movie, and lots of yummy treats.  Three of my guests had to cancel because of weather or illness, but the three of us will have fun anyway!!  I'll be back with another post to share our thoughts and some photos!!  You can follow along and find out more by following on facebook or clicking here!!

~~~Shelly~~~

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Join the Aetna Healthy Food Fight #SSFoodFight @shespeaksup

We always try to eat healthy foods, because it  is one way to aid in staying healthy.  The main problem we have with that task is TIME!  In today's busy world, making healthy food choices is not always an easy thing to do!!  When we have time, I love to prepare a healthy meal from scratch, but some nights I'm tempted to use the processed, high in sodium, convenience foods.  I'm ashamed to admit that I use them on occasion!  They may be fast, but they aren't all that healthy!

SheSpeaksbutton
I'm lucky because my family loves fresh fruit and vegetables!  We eat salads a lot!  My hubby makes a yummy low calorie and very low fat dressing for them, and we gobble it up!  We also do a lot of other things to make our  meals healthier!  We have begun substituting whole wheat or vegetable pasta for the traditional white pasta.  I'm also using more brown rice and less white rice!  All the little things you change can add up to big benefits!  My hubby has high blood pressure, and I am diabetic, so I am very conscious of the amount of salt and processed sugars we use!  We use spices instead of salt to flavoring our meals. Being married to a chef has lots of benefits.  One major one is that he can tell me how to best flavor my foods without the salt and sugar!

Along with the fresh veggies, we also keep lots of fresh fruit around!  We love snacking on fresh berries, apples, peaches, oranges, grapes, mango, or any fruit that is in season.  We have also found that snacking on frozen fruit not only satisfies our sweet craving, but also the crunch craving!

Do you have a personal recipe that’s delicious and health-conscious? Submit it on HealthyFoodFight.com for a chance to win $10,000 worth of groceries donated by Recipe.com! You don’t have to be a professional chef—anyone can win! There are also live cook-off events to look forward to—check HealthyFoodFight.com for details.

If you think these tips are good, make sure to join in on the upcoming Twitter Party!  For this week's Twitter Party, SheSpeaks is teaming up with The Aetna Healthy Food Fight to discuss an amazing contest to find and vote for the tastiest and healthiest recipes from across the United States.  Also...a huge bonus...PRIZES!!  You can win Dutch Ovens and gourmet cookware from Circulon donated by Meyer Corporation, U.S.

#SSFoodFight Recipe Swap Party Details
When: Thursday, September 15th
Time: 8pm EST
Hashtag: #SSFoodFight
RSVP: http://bit.ly/PMTWT


Aetna is one of the nation's leading providers of health care, dental, pharmacy, group life, disability insurance and employee benefits.  They help people achieve health and financial security by providing easy access to cost-effective, high-quality health care. And continue to be a leader in building a stronger, more effective health care system by working with doctors, hospitals, employers, patients, public officials and others. Learn more about Aetna’s mission.   You can learn more about Aetna and the Healthy Food Fight by clicking HERE!

Disclosure:  My thanks to Aetna Healthy Food Fight and www.shespeaks.com for allowing me to participate in this opportunity. I will receive a thank you gift for my participation.

Wanna Know What Is in My Purse?



You can learn more about me and my bag by visiting Ask Away...
Thank you to Ellen for featuring my me in the What's in your bag segment on her blog!!  Thank you so very much!   If you'd like to show what is in your bag, simply email her at ellenr886@gmail.com
~~~Shelly~~~

Halloween Project Thoughts

Fall is almost here and that means I have an excuse to get creative!!  I love crafting projects and I love baking, so every year my daughter, hubby and I all get in the kitchen to create Halloween goodies for family and friends!  We love baking cupcakes and Halloween shaped cookies and decorating them with icing, M&M's, licorice, Nerds and other candies!  We come up with some very interesting designs!!  We also get crafty and usually make a Haunted House out of gingerbread or graham crackers, then decorate it with all kinds of goodies!  This is generally not edible, because I want it to last through Halloween, and we put a glaze over it to keep the bugs off!  We are still deciding which projects to undertake!  Do you have any ideas?  Leave me a comment below with an idea you think we should consider, or something you challenge us to do.  I can't wait to hear your ideas!!
Thanks for stopping by,
Until next time....
God Bless You!
~~~Shelly~~~

Friday, September 9, 2011

Foto Friday: Carolina Classic Cake

Every year, my hubby and I wander through the exhibits at the fair.  We always love to see the beautiful cakes that people design...This cake was a 1st prize winner at the NC State Fair last year.  It is one of my favorites!  I just wanted to share with y'all!



Have a wonderful weekend!
Until Next Time~
God Bless You,
~~~Shelly~~~

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

#MurphyUSA Labor Day Shop--buying lake goodies #cbias


On Labor Day, my hubby and I got up early!!  We would normally sleep in on his day off, but on this day, we were going to White Lake to spend Labor Day with our family.  We would be grilling out and enjoying the last vacation day of our summer!  We stopped at our local Murphy USA looking for supplies for our trip!  I was looking to purchase some propane, Frito-Lay snacks, Little Debbie snack cakes, and king-size Hershey candy bars!!

We could not believe how busy our store was this early in the morning!  I think everyone must have thought about going to the lake once last time, because there were lots of people hauling boats!  When I got out, I searched everywhere for propane.  I had no luck finding any, but I easily found lots of other goodies!!  They had a lot of items on sale!  The king-size Hershey products were on sale 2 for $2.50, so I picked up some Reese's Cups and a 3 Musketeers!  They also had lots of soft drinks that were on sale 2 for $2.22, but I had already purchased drinks!  I could not find any Little Debbie snack cakes, but I did luck out on the Frito Lay snacks!  The bags that are normally $3.49 each were on sale 2 for $4!!  I snagged some Fritos and Cheetos to take with us!  When I checked out, I asked about the other items I was looking for!  I was told that they do not offer propane, nor Little Debbie items at this location.

My hubby and I headed on to White Lake to join the rest of my family!  These lucky ducks were there all weekend!  Since my hubby had to work, I stayed at home to wait and ride with him!  We had a great time together and we were enjoying the beautiful day at the lake...UNTIL....the rains came!  We were sitting on the dock behind the cottage watching the men and children play in the water when the skies began to darken!  Clouds quickly rolled in and the rain started!  My dad went inside to start cooking out hot dogs and burgers!  Our grilling was rained out, but thankfully we had a full kitchen to use!  We gathered up the kids and took them in while our crazy men-folk remained in the lake!  We sat on the porch and watched them act like little kids, UNTIL...it thundered!  You have never seen grown men run so fast!!  They came flying out of that lake and made it inside the cottage just as a thunderstorm set in!

We ate, talked and played a game of Uno, but the storm never let up! We ended up leaving early and headed back home!  We had a great time saying farewell to summer and enjoying the snacks I picked up at Murphy USA!  Bye Bye Summer Vacation!!

Disclosure:  This shop/project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. All opinions are my own!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"Will The Courageous: A Story About Sexual Abuse" by Amy Barth Review

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Loving Healing Press (May 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1615990003
  • ISBN-13: 978-1615990009

Will is a typical six-year-old boy: he loves to tell "knock-knock" jokes, collect bugs, and play with other kids. On most school days, Will goes to Nana Winnie's until his mom returns from work. Will enjoys having his Nana as a babysitter. Recently, Nana's cousin Perry has come to visit and suddenly Will no longer wants to go there. He starts having nightmares, acting out in school and wetting his bed. Wills' parents are worried. What is wrong with Will? 

Will the Courageous: A Story About Sexual Abuse by Amy Barth is a book that every parent needs to read!  When I was offered the opportunity to review it, I was hesitant to delve into the subject matter, but I knew I had to do it!  I was personally familiar with this subject, and have only spoken to a few very close family members and my best friend about it.  Why?  I was scared, and embarrassed!  That is why this book is so important!  No child, or adult for that matter, needs to go through that!!  I grew up during a time when this was not discussed, ever!  I realize now that by ignoring what happened, I was actually keeping all the pain and hurt bottled deep inside.  I never told ANYONE about what had happened to me until I was a 34 year old woman, and going through a horrible divorce.  I never meant to tell my mom, but it just came out!  I have dealt with what happened, and I vow to do everything I can to keep it from happening to other kids!  Thanks to this book, I opened up to my daughter about what had happened to me, and I opened the lines of communication in a whole different manner! 

This book is written in a way that everyone should be able to understand it.  It is well written, and handled in a loving manner!  The illustrations by Richa Kinra are interesting go hand in hand perfectly with the story.  Small children can have things explained in a non-explicit manner, and they are shown that it is not their fault.  I applaud Amy Barth for writing this book, as it is a very delicate subject matter to explore.  Families need to be aware that these things do happen.  Parents need to watch for signs, and they need to give their children the voice to speak out and tell someone!  

Disclosure:  No monetary compensation was received for my review.  I received the book free of charge to facilitate my review from Loving Healing Press as part of a blog tour campaign with Parent Reviewers.  All opinions are my own, your views may be different!

TheraBreath Review


A few months ago, I was offered the opportunity to review a product I had never heard of before, TheraBreath.   About TheraBreath:  TheraBreath is a revolutionary premium oral care system created
by Dr Harold Katz at the California Breath Clinics. The exclusive, original formula went on the market in 1994 and has been used by over 1,000,000 people world wide to solve the problems of bad breath and unpleasant mouth taste. In that time, our original formula has gone through dozens of refinements, making it the most complete and effective solution to the embarrassing personal problem of halitosis.  Continuing his pioneering research, Dr Katz expanded on our original TheraBreath Toothpaste and Oral Rinse products to address other problem areas in personal care. We now manufacture very popular products for teeth whitening, the clearing of tonsil stones, premium periodontal therapy products, specialty chewing gums, and even bad breath treatment systems for pets!



I was blessed enough to receive a bottle of oral rinse, toothpaste and some lozenges.  I am the ultimate in picky when it comes to my oral care!   Once I find a toothbrush, I'll continue buying the exact same type, until it gets discontinued by the maker.  I'm the same way about my toothpaste!  Well, I am now that I have found one that I love!  TheraBreath toothpaste really refreshes my breath and it makes my mouth feel clean, really clean.  I feel kissable again!  I love to use the oral rinse too (when I can grab it back from my teenager), as it helps with my dry mouth.  My hubby likes it as well, and it certainly helps with morning breath. LOL!  A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Sjogrens Syndrome, and one of the symptoms is a dry mouth.  Since I have been using the TheraBreath Lozenges, my dry mouth has finally been eased!  Whenever I feel myself getting dry mouth, I simply pop a lozenge and my mouth is no longer dry...and my breath is sweeter too!  It is a win-win for me! 
You can find out more about TheraBreath by following them on twitter, youtube, or on facebook!

I want to thank TheraBreath for the awesome products I was able to try.  I also want to apologize for taking so long to post this review.  When I initially received the samples, I had some health issues, then internet issues.  I am sorry for the delay!   No excuses, just life!

Disclosure:  No monetary compensation was received for this review.  I did receive free product for review purposes.  The free product in no way swayed my opinion.  All opinions stated are honest and are my own or are those of my family. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Winner Winner!!

 Congratulations!!
Congratulations to entry #224, Holly, who was the winner chosen at random form the Lay's Regional flavors giveaway!  She responded and the giveaway is closed!  Thank you to everyone who entered!

I'm How Old Today....45? YEP! WOW!

Since it is now officially  September 1, 2011, I can post this....I'm 45 today!!   UGH...where did the time go?  It seems like just yesterday I was in junior high school being silly and talking way too much!  Now, here I am with a daughter who is in her last year of middle school!  WOW!


I have to be honest though, I'm not the least bit upset about turning 45.  One of my friends really freaked when she hit this milestone, but honestly, it is just another day.  I don't feel any older than I did yesterday, and my outlook on life is the same.  I am blessed!  Thank you, Lord, for giving me a wonderful family and for generously giving me another birthday to spend with them.  On my birthday, I'd like to say thank you to all the wonderful people who read my blog and put up with all the insanity that comes along with me!  I pray that you all feel as blessed as I do, today and always!

Until next time.....Thanks for stopping by!
God Bless You!
~~~Shelly~~~