Ten Essential Oils
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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

2015 Summer Reading Suggestions - Week 2


This week I'm going to include a very old CLASSIC from the 1800's! Yep, that's right! I read THIS book when I was about 8 and just starting to read on my own comfortably.

Princess and the Goblin.jpg#1 - The Princess & the Goblin
by George McDonald (1824-1905)
ISBN: 978-0060095529
Purchase on Amazon for $3.99-9.99 here

About the book:
She immediately took off her ring and put it under her pillow. As she did so, she fancied she felt a finger & thumb take it gently from under her palm... and then, feeling with the forefinger of her right hand, (she) soon found her grandmother's thread, which she proceeded at once to follow...

Irene is still a very young princess, but she must grow up quickly when she and her mountain home are threatened by goblins who dwell below it. Fortunately, while the goblins are busy planning their attack, Irene's mysterious grandmother is also busy spinning her a magic thread which will always lead to safety. Even so, the Princess & her loyal friend Curdie, will need all of their courage & ingenuity to outwit the cunning goblins.

(My original review:) Irene is 8 years old and a princess living in a country house and bored with all her toys (after being stuck indoors for several days and no other children to play with) begins to wander the house. Eventually she becomes lost walking down corridors with lots of closed doors and after walking up several flights of stairs until she comes to one last staircase that leads upwards - where she hears humming.

She eventually meets Curdie, the little miner (all of 12 years old and already working) who saves Irene and her nurse who get lost on the mountain after dark (her nurse was told by Irene's King-Papa to NEVER have her out after dark - and of course this one time they are VERY late). Curdie discovers a plot by the goblins to find a "above world" princess for Hare-Lip the Goblin prince and off the story goes.

The book is filled with much adventure and your children will empathize with Irene's boredom with her life and Curdie's adventures underground will stir their imaginations. It's an outstanding book for kids 8+ and even grown ups like you and me!

Many of the lessons that Irene learns in this book are lessons that children would of learned as a matter of course several generations ago. Honesty, Obedience, Trust and Faith and more. The writing is older of course, the book was originally written in 1872, but it's easy to read and written as though George McDonald is telling the story himself. There are small paragraphs and sections where he is referred to as "Mr Author" and he refers to every little girl as a princess. And as we all know, little girls ARE princesses right?

Why is this STILL one of my favorites?
I could talk about how I love George McDonald & haven't read a single book of his and been bored. I could talk about how I love the classics, the writing and how they make me think. I could write about how this was one of the first books I ever really "connected" with (and that's a Very Good Thing) - but I won't do that.

The Princess & The Goblin is one of the FIRST Princess stories - the same class of writing as A Little Princess, The Secret Garden and The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. It's a book that should be on every child's bookshelf - Girl or Boy. When I reread it again a few years ago I was surprised that there is a mystery involved that includes a bit of a TANG of fear - not only the children in the story are scared of what is outside in the dark of night - even the King Papa is scared and that feeling really brings this story to life. Your little ones shouldn't have night mares over this story - but it will bring questions, will be a great introduction to one of the GREAT writers and introduce your children to Quality Writing & Storytelling. Please read this story with your kids - you can read it while the kids are doing the dishes, on a rainy afternoon or as a bedtime story - its a perfect re-aloud story!

I first received this book when I was about 8 years old and just starting to enjoy reading. I have enjoyed George McDonald ever since and have read many of his books some for children and some for adults. Other books you might enjoy that I have enjoyed are:
  • Sir Gibbie, also called The Baronet's Song (my favorite of all his writings)
  • The Marquis of Lossie
  • The Princess and the Goblin
  • The Princess and Curdie
  • Donal Grant
About George McDonald:
Learn more about George McDonald here:  The Inklings
George McDonald was born in 1824 and was one of the most beloved Victorian authors throughout Great Britain and the US. He wrote over 50 volumes (children, adult and also theological) over the span of his life. Originally a Scottish minister he eventually retired and continued as a poet, novelist w/ a very vivid imagination!

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Regardless I only recommend products or services I have personally read or used & think my readers will enjoy. Thanks for reading GivingNSharing.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Confident Mom 2015 Summer Survival Calendar

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.

“Dirty hands, iced tea, garden fragrances thick in the air, and a blanket of color before me, who could ask for more?” ~ Bev Adams

For the last few years I've been participating in The Confident Mom's Summer Survival Calendar activities with my daycare kiddos. I firmly believe it's important to keep kids busy with park days, picnics, Summer Reading Club @ the Library, water play days - using the Summer Survival Calendar helps me fill in the blanks.

This year I have a 17 month old and I have no idea HOW I'm going to do as much as I usually do. I don't think we are going to have the opportunity to do as much as in the past. Nap Times, Temper Tantrums, fighting about getting in the car seat is going to take away from the fun of magic shows, puppets, Dinosaur Days, Science Learning and more.....

The Confident Mom's Summer Survival Calendar is coming to our rescue!

The Confident Mom 2015 Summer Survival Calendar offers boredom-blasting activities, creative craft projects, kid-friendly recipes & more! You'll find at least 1 suggested activity each day from May 1 - August 31 - Rainbow Ice Box Cookies, Crayon Canvas Art, Knot Tying and Homemade Quicksand to Spaghetti Slime, Blooming, Dirt Cups, Magic Milk & making a Terrarium. 120 FUN activities for the whole family to enjoy together!

You'll receive a Digital PDF with a calendar page for each month, clickable links for most projects, photos & instructions as well as supply lists. At the end is a full list of websites where you'll find more ideas and activities for those rainy days that are sure to come up.

You have 3 choices:
  • Option #1: 2015 Summer Survival Calendar & Supply List - $7
  • Option #2: 2015 Summer Survival Calendar, Supply List, 10 Strategies for Your Best Summer Ever Action Guide & Audio Workshop Bundle - $9
  • Option #3: 2015 Summer Survival Calendar, Supply List, 10 Strategies for Your Best Summer Ever Action Guide + 2014/2013/2012/2011/2010 Summer Survival Calendars - $12
I'm sure you'll enjoy this awesome, time saving and energy boosting calendar. It will save you a lot of frustration when you can pull out an activity & your kids will think you are a Wizard because you ALWAYS have something FUN and interesting to do!

Click Here to Order:
The Confident Mom\\\'s Summer Calendar

Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Confident Mom 2015 Summer Survival Calendar in exchange for my honest opinion. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. Thanks for reading GivingNSharing. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2015 Middle Grade Summer Reading List Suggestions

For the next few weeks I will be sharing some older reviews of books that easily became my favorites. These reviews were on an old Children's Review blog that I no longer run - but still own. So, I am re-sharing them here on GivingNSharing to help you find some GREAT books for your kiddos to read this summer.

Book #1 in my Must Read List is....

The Luckless Prince
by Rie Sheridan Rose
ISBN: 978-1612710143
$16.20 (paperback)
$6.99 (kindle)

About the book:
"Do I have a choice, Mendana? He is my brother - maybe not by blood, but my brother just the same. And I swore to his father on my honor I would protect him." ~ by Steavil, pg 170

From the time he is found wandering the forest as a 5 year old, Stefan has been the constant companion of Prince Roland, heir to the throne of Irthlan. So, when Roland decides it's time he saw more of his future kingdom, Stefan isn't about to let him go alone. It's the moment Roland's ambitious cousin Norfulk has been waiting for, and the adventure becomes an exercise in life-threatening danger. Stefan is determined to keep his friend & prince safe, but in the process he discovers a secret that will change his life.

My thoughts:
(my original review:) The Luckless Prince is the story of Steavil found in the woods by a King, brought back to the palace as a playmate and eventually as a squire to his son Roland. A boy who has spent his life not knowing who he is, protecting the prince from his scrapes, acting as a "conscious" to the prince and saving his life and giving up the ability to walk with ease and grace when the king's own dogs attack them after Roland loses his temper and throws a spear in their direction.

This book is very well written, full of action, adventure and even a love story or two. I would say it's for older teens and adults due to the love story (but no love "scenes"), language (not a ton) and the battles. There are no graphic scenes so depending on your kid's maturity I can see teens 16 and older reading it. I loved it (LOTR's & Progeny fan that I am).

The world of Steavil and Roland is very reminisent of LOTR's. The Elves are dying off and the world of men believe they have vanished. Rie has created a wonderful "Elvish" language even as brief as it is within the book and the poetry and music is beautifully written. Roland's kingdom is in danger of being taken over by his cousin, Norfulk, a madman and wizard who ultimately wants Roland and his father dead and the world of the Elves destroyed and to be placed as "King" of both Kingdoms.

My thoughts NOW (4 years later):
The Luckless Prince is one of those books that get under your skin. At $16.20 it's a little expensive (it's 356 pages long!) but it's also one of those books that your kids will read again and again. The story 4 years later is still in my head and honestly I'd love to read more Stefan & Roland adventures. The characters are easy to connect with and the story draws you in with all the different story lines and the surprise twist of who Norfulk is and the thought of who he could of been if certain things had never occurred & he had not let jealousy.... well, I won't say anymore about that.

This would be a great book for your kids to read this summer on a rainy day - or read it as a family in the evenings or on road trips. I'm going to change my suggested reading age to 13-14. The "love" story is clean & yes there are a few "words" but personally I found I could skip over them and not change the story one iota. The words are not said in anger but more frustration, the kids in the book are not disrespectful or kids you wouldn't want your own kids to be around - I love this book and it is one of the few of the last 5 years of reviewing that has stayed on my bookshelf. 

I'd love to see this book become a kid's movie - I'd be buying it for myself because I'm finding I'm a big kid at heart. =D 

You can read an excerpt from the book (here) and if you would like to order it would you please consider ordering on my amazon page (here) - Thanks so much!

You can learn more about the author HERE.


Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Regardless I only recommend products or services I have personally read or used & think my readers will enjoy. Thanks for reading GivingNSharing.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Nature Valley - Breakfast Biscuits

I don't usually share foods that I found in the grocery store - but these are delicious! 

Nature Valley Blueberry Breakfast Biscuits

Last week I purchased Nature Valley Blueberry Breakfast Biscuits and LOVE them! They are rather crumbly but very tender & crispy and not over sweet. 4 biscuits come in each package (6 packages per box) an with a pricetag around $3.50 I thought very well priced. I do need to say that none of my daycare kiddos will eat them (but they are rather picky and about to start having a very bland, no sugar diet introduced to them very soon if complaining continues) - but I love them and I think any normal child that loves cookies and blueberries will love these as will their parents!

There are Blueberry & Honey Breakfast Bars available at all stores & I picked mine up at Walmart. Delicious!

Disclaimer: I was not asked to post a review by Nature Valley or any marketing office on their behalf. Regardless I only recommend products or services I have personally read or used & think my readers will enjoy. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Soup Club Cookbook ~ Review

The Soup Club Cookbook
by: Courtney Allison, Tina Carr, Caroline Laskow, Julie Peacock

ISBN: 978-0-7704-3462-5

$15.62 (paperback)
$11.84 (kindle)

About the book:
Food-sharing is the hot new thing in the "getting dinner on the table" conversation, and in The Soup Club Cookbook, four busy moms share not only their formula for starting a soup club--which gives you at least three meals every month when you don't have to worry about dinner--but also 150 fantastic recipes for soups and sides and storing tips for stretching those meals across the week.

Soup is forgiving, versatile, and perfect for sharing; it can be spiced to taste, topped elaborately or not at all, and dressed up or down. It travels well and reheats beautifully.  The Soup Club Cookbook also has dozens of tips for cooking in quantity and for tailoring soup to individual tastes and needs. Here, too, are simple guidelines for starting your own soup club, anecdotes, and a few cautionary tales that will inspire anyone to share food and eat well. 
Recipes include quick and easy's, classics, twist on favorites, and dozens of flavor-rich new crowd pleasers:  

   • Carrot Coconut and Chicken Chili, 
   • Senegalese Peanut Soup 
   • Faux Ramen 
   • Red Lentil Curry Soup 
   • Potato Cheddar Soup 
   • Sun Dried Tomato Soup 
   • Jeweled Rice Salad 
   • Cheddar Cornbread, 
   • Summer Corn Hash 
   • Soy Simmered Chicken Wings

My thoughts:
The title of this book intrigued me. Who wouldn't love to have dinner delivered to them at least 3 times a month by a friend? That's NO cooking, No shopping, NO asking "What the heck am I going to make TONIGHT???? The soup club is similar to a Freezer Cooking Party where several friends get together and prepare 10 recipes to throw into the freezer for another day. The difference is that with the soup club everyone makes up a soup recipe, jars it up and then everyone who wants to try that soup gets to take one home - its ALREADY MADE! The hostess can serve a light snack or one of the recipes from the cookbook for a luncheon.

Personally I think it would be better to can the soups in Pint or Quart Jars so they can be kept on the pantry shelf - however, if I planned on eating them up in the next week then I could just put them in the fridge & then use other containers to package up the rest for the freezer....  

The recipes are healthy, using many ingredients that you can get from your garden, the local farmer's market or your grocery store. I did like that the cookbook isn't limited to just soups but also includes side dishes, rolls, salads, veggies. The downside to the cookbook is: The recipes are large - so if you are a small family & not participating in a Soup Club be prepared to possibly need to freeze some, 1/2 a recipe, share with friends or have company. You'll need a large Stock Pot and possibly an immersion blender and some have lots of ingredients. Always remember, with soups it's hard to ruin a recipe - if you are missing an ingredient likely you can substitute or leave it out. Don't be afraid to have fun with this and try something new. =D

The Soup Club Cookbook would be ideal for a new cook, a wedding gift - even Mother's Day. I'd even suggest a copy of the book with a basket full of the veggies to make one of the recipes as a hostess gift or a birthday gift. Another idea: the soups could be prepared for shut ins, families with a new baby - or perhaps someone that needs a little Tender Loving Care.

Free Recipes available: There are several recipes from The Soup Club Cookbook posted on Amazon - Click here to find one you'd like to try!

Note: Due to the beauty of this book and the detailed recipes I highly suggest you treat yourself to an actual copy of this book. Unless you have an iPad or large notepad/laptop you will find it very hard to utilize the recipes and actually read this book. It's very detailed, some of the recipes you will have to refer to many times while cooking and the pictures, color detail and sketches in the book only add to the enjoyment you'll find with reading this particular cookbook.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review. Regardless I only recommend products or services I have personally read or used & think my readers will enjoy.

I Love You Blankie ~ Review

It's been a while since I last did a review for a cute baby/toddler storybook. Many of you know that until last year I also blogged on Classic Children's Books and last year I made the decision to consolidate both blogs onto GivingNSharing and know the kids books are starting to come in again. =D My kiddos are excited and I have to say: So am I!

I Love You Blankie
by Sheryl Haft
ISBN: 978-0316283564
$8.99 (board book)

About the book:
A flowing sail, a hot air balloon, a fluffy cloud, a glowing moon... with a little imagination, a blankie can be anything!

This sweet and playful board book will encourage little ones to think big as they head off into dreamland. As bedtime nears, the blankie turns into a balloon, a cloud, and a shooting star, eventually placing him safely into bed where he can keep dreaming and snuggling, too.

Debut author Sheryl Haft and artist Jane Massey have crafted an adorable story around a universal bedtime theme. Featuring a soft padded cover, this is the perfect book to inspire sweet dreams.

My thoughts:
Gianna (15 months) and I opened a surprise book from a publisher about 3 weeks ago and she was so excited! Everyday the minute she walks in my door (she is a daycare kiddo) she immediately heads to a little bookshelf & reading nook that I set up just for her that has books for her to dump on the floor bring to me to read. Besides Animal Noises and a book about colors the other book that she needs to read everyday (several times a day) is I Love You Blankie! by Sheryl Haft.

The pictures are big, the colors attract her attention and while she doesn't understand that the child in the book is pretending she loves to "talk" about the whale and the balloon (Boo) and she also loves to point at the blankie. I see this storybook being a favorite for a long long time. 

I Love You Blankie is available NOW to order: http://bit.ly/ILoveYouBlankie

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest review. Regardless I only recommend products or services I have personally read or used & think my readers will enjoy.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Need a GREAT Kids Book?

Please visit my other blog for GREAT Books
to read with your kids! You'll find adventure
and excitement for a wide range of ages 0-15. 

I am no longer blogging on that site (at
least for now....) but you can still find awesome
books on THIS site for kids approximately 14-15 through
adult in a range of genres: romance, christian, 
cooking, health, adventure & more!

Mom Bloggers Club & Friends! ~ Welcome

Hi everyone! 

This last year has been a struggle financially and with my health. I run a daycare from my home and keeping it full has been interesting but I still feel like I'm doing the right thing and right where God wants me to be. I've learned to be patient and lean on God for all my needs and over time my fibromyalgia has gotten under control more and more. In the last 7-8 months my pain has disappeared at least 70% thanks to using Lavender. (read my story here)

Please continue to pray for my exhaustion and back pain. This weekend I'm TIRED and my pain has increased with it. Standing straight sometimes is difficult until I walk a few steps and then I'm fine. Other times I have to get in a HOT shower and then the pain disappears for several hours so long as I'm not sitting or standing still for long. Good thing I have a 15 month old to chase hmmm?

I've started sewing Therapeutic Hot/Cold Rice Packs, Eye Pillows with Lavender, Bath Teas and Sachets to sell this summer at the farmers market as well as online. I thought I was going to focus on Essential Oils sales but feel more relaxed and comfortable being creative and I feel like I'm where I need to be. It helped that I sold tons of rice packs over the fall & holiday season too. =D

Visit me on Facebook HERE to see the therapy packs that I'm making. They are awesome for gifts, with kids in the cold car (I throw them in the car seats to warm them up - or let the kids hold them to keep their hands warm). I love using mine to keep me warm during the day or at night (I'm always cold!) and you can also use them straight from the freezer for sprains, bruises and aches & pains. I'll be adding other versions for kids & adults as well as other products this month too. 

Please leave your name & blog link below if you follow me on bloglovin'. So, SPAM me with your family friendly blog (nothing else please) or FB page - and I'll return the favor!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Clean Slate ~ Book Review

Clean Slate: A Cookbook & Guide
Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body & Feel Your Best
ISBN: 978-0-307-95459-6
$17.10 (paperback)
$11.99 (kindle)

About the book:
It’s time to hit the reset button. This book emphasizes eating clean, whole, unprocessed foods as part of a primarily plant-based diet, with delicious and healthy recipes that make it easy to do just that. Refreshing juices and smoothies, savory snacks, protein-packed main dishes, and even delectable desserts will keep you satisfied all day long; among them are plenty of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and allergen-free options, each identified by helpful icons. Comprehensive, informative, and utterly satisfying, Clean Slate is the complete go-to guide for boosting your energy and feeling your best.

More than just a cookbook, Clean Slate, from the editors of Martha Stewart Living,provides you with the nutritionally sound information you need to shop for and prepare food that nourishes body and mind. You’ll find guidelines for restocking your pantry with whole grains, beans and legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats; glossaries of the best sources of detoxifiers, antioxidants, and other health-boosting nutrients; and menus for a simple 3-day cleanse and a 21-day whole-body detox, with easy-to-follow tips and strategies for staying on track.
Get inspired by more than 160 beautifully photographed recipes organized into action-focused chapters, including: 

My thoughts:
I have a confession. I LOVE just sitting and looking at cookbooks. I don't actually cook out of them much anymore as my fibromyalgia advances and I don't have much energy but this book caught my eye because of the cover and the text on the front. 

I choose this book for a couple of reasons. 
1) I feel better when I watch my processed foods and while I don't do it 100% (and not even 80%) I do feel better when I cook my own food and eat healthier. It seems to help me control my symptoms & I'm not nearly as tired.
2) As the years have gone by I've gained weight and as I've gained I've gotten sicker and I'm ready for that to end. The phrase "Detox Your Body" caught my eye and I'm wondering if Detoxing will help me feel better in the long wrong as the chemicals & preservatives in processed foods, our everyday produce and meats leaves. I've been told it will - and it just might.

When I took it out of the package I was excited to find a book that was interesting, beautiful and caught my attention. I immediately fell in love with this book. It's truly beautiful. I don't say that lightly - the pictures are gorgeous and the information that is contained is interesting, well written and concise. It is not a DIET book - but more of a lifestyle change type of book. You will not find a book full of dry scientific facts like "why this works and why you shouldn't have.....". 

I found several weeks of menus - there is a 3 day and a 21 day Detox plan that is easy to use. The detox itself uses a variety of smoothies & salads that are filling and has enough flavor so you don't get bored. I think the thing that most impressed me is 10 pages of Smoothies with easy recipes that don't need special ingredients - there are mangos, pineapple, apples, kale - and that most dreaded veggie in MY house BEETS! Ugh. 

Breakfast was my favorite chapter and I even purchased some Quinoa to use to make Cardamom Quinoa Porridge. I haven't tried it yet - but will soon. I found chicken and fish and several side dishes I want to try.  One thing I always look for in a cookbook anymore (I am dairy, whey & soy intolerant & Baby is Gluten Free) is whether the recipes are labeled vegan, dairy, nut or gluten free. I found plenty of anti-inflammatory ingredients & recipes that will help with the pain and discomfort of a Chronic Pain condition. =D 

A few good recipes:
Replenish: Get off to a good start
Whole-Wheat Waffles with Strawberries and Yogurt; 
Poached Eggs with Roasted Tomatoes
Reboot: Drink to your health
Grapefruit, Carrot, and Ginger Juice;
Green Machine Smoothie
Recharge: Load up on vegetables
Roasted Mushroom Tartines with Avocado; 
Steamed Vegetable Salad with Macadamia Dressing 
Reenergize: Choose your snacks wisely
Warm Spinach-White Bean Dip; 
Trail Mix with Toasted Coconut
Restore: Make meals with substance
Wild Salmon, Asparagus, and Shiitakes in Parchment; 
Grilled Chicken with Cucumber, Radish, and Cherry Tomato Relish
Relax: Have a little something sweet
Dark Chocolate Bark with Hazelnuts; 
Berry-Almond Crisp

I'm planning on trying out the 21 day detox program and will let you know how I do. The only reason I'm waiting at this point is that I don't have a juicer for the smoothies. 

Anyone have any suggestions for a good juicer that is $50 or less? (that is easy to clean?)

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review. Regardless I only recommend products or services I have personally read or used & think my readers will enjoy.

Book Tour: Have I Told You Today How Much I Love You?

Have I Told You Today How Much I Love You?
by Cheryl Sturm
ISBN: 978-1500356804
$9.26 (paperback)
$3.99 (Kindle)

About the book:
Have I Told You Today How Much I Love You? is one way to express love - beyond an inch, foot, yard, mile, the moon, stars, and Mars - to anyone dear to you. It was written by Strum as a bedtime story for her nieces and nephews, but given that it teaches children some fun facts about measurements while reinforcing how much you love them, this book is an ANYtime story. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents, and friends will enjoy telling the children in their lives how much they are loved.  This colorful book is a fun, quick read with both basic and profound lessons.

My thoughts:
Have I Told You Today How Much I Love You is a quick read for kids that explains the units of measurements and then uses those to talk about how much a parent loves their child. It starts with a inch, showing it on a ruler and showing 3 different items that are a inch in size - from there it builds up to a foot, yard, mile and the distance to mars and always ends with the parent saying "I love you this much!" or "I love you much much more." I would suggest this book for kiddos about 4-5 years old and using it as a lesson about measurement. They can use a ruler to measure different things in the house and out. 

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest review. Regardless I only recommend products or services I have personally read or used & think my readers will enjoy.