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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Blessings from the Most Destitute of Places


Debtors' <b>Prison</b> Makes a Comeback

I hope each and everyone of my readers has a great Thanksgiving!  Even with all the challenges I have faced this year, I have so many things to be thankful for.  But most notably, I am thankful for one young man in prison.  This is the young man who killed my best friend 2 years ago.  I know this may sound strange to some of my readers, especially since I haven't shared what has transpired since my friend's death.  (For those of you who don't know the story, you can read more about it HERE or search "Chris" on my blog.)

Chris was murdered by his foster son who was I think 21 at the time.  I had only met his foster son twice as I had moved out of state prior to Chris fostering him.  He had fostered the young man for about 10 years.  Mental health and substance issues plagued the boy and one night, he did the unthinkable.

So, it sounds strange that I would be counting this young man as a blessing in my life, but I am.  The day I found out that Chris died, I wrote this young man a letter telling him I forgave him...because I did.  He had a horrible past history of abuse, compounded with mental health issues.  Chris loved him unconditionally, but this child could not accept it due to his history.  In my mind, Satan had a hold of his heart.  Not forgiving him would lead me to anger and hatred, and we already have enough of that in this world.  Chris wanted the best for this young man.  He wanted him to find God and be successful.  But in an instant, it was gone.  And I knew Chris would want me to take over.  I felt charged with his care.

Chris' family was pretty much all this young man had.  And although it took months before I finally mailed the letter to him, I did.  And he wrote back.  We continued writing back and forth over the past two years.  He, not understanding how I could forgive him, and me, trying to lead him to God.  He not forgiving himself, and me, forgiving him.  He feeling angry at God and the world, and me, encouraging him.

It has been a long road.  But a few months ago, he starting understanding and accepting love.  He understands God can forgive him.

And so, as I finish another letter to him, I feel blessed.  Blessed that maybe for the first time ever, this child of God can feel His great love.

Some day, some day, I will share the full, beautiful story, Letters With Perry.  Until then, God Bless!

#Fitness Must Have's from Gaiam #eco

Disclosure: I received product in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are mine.

Gaiam is well known for their quality fitness products.  Quality and comfort define their products.  They have some wonderful clothing in their latest line.   Here are some of my favorites:

Petal Back Racer Tank
The Petal Back Racer Tank which features a trendy cowl neckline, built in shelf bra with removable cups.  The back has mesh inserts for cooling.


Curve Legging The Curve Legging, specifically designed for yoga, hugs your curves and have a hidden key pocket.  They also feature a 3"comfort band and anti-chafe seams.



Cinch Wrap  The Cinch Wrap is the perfect cover-up to wear on the way too and from classes while looking totally adorable.  I love the flowing wrap with the extended thumbhole sleeves.  This is the next item on my wish list.


I chose to review the Follow My Line Jacket.  Seems most of the year, I need some type of jacket to wear on my way to working out.  This is a stylish jacket with a snap collar cowl neck.  The zipper is adjustable from either the top or bottom.  The long arms and curved pleated back enhance your figure.  It is made of a soft, breathable nylon spandex from sustainable fibers (yeah, eco-friendly!) that provide natural wicking.  I love that it is both functional and stylish.  In fact, it is so cute that I find I am wearing it for more than fitness!  See how fun it is?  And it is so comfortable!


You can shop Gaiam online for not only a great selection of fitness wear, but also videos, wellness, fitness equipment and even home goods.

Disclosure: I received product in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are mine.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

20% Off Velvetwire Power Slayer Charger #eco

Remember my review of the Power Slayer Charger by Velvetwire?  Right now, they are running a sale for 20% off  everything in the Velvetwire store, including premium USB braided cables, Powerslayer in a variety of colors and hand-made travel cases.  Enter code TURKEY20 at check out, but hurry, offer ends December 1, 2014.

Visit Velvetwire to see all their charging accessories.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Printable Random Act of Kindess Advent Calendar


It is hard to believe that Advent begins in a little over a week.  This is the time of year where things get crazy for most people.  Their schedule fill up with special activities and events.  There are gifts to make and special foods to prepare.  There is shopping galore and decorations to be hung.  Children are excited at the thoughts of candy and presents.  Through all the hustle and bustle, sometimes we forget the true meaning of Christmas.  I love this printable Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar I found over at Coffee and Crayons.  Each day is filled with a suggestion of a kind act to do for the day.  These acts of kindness will help your family to truly celebrate the meaning of Christmas.

Free Printable Random Acts of Christmas Kindness Calendar for Kids!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

FREE Kentucky Roadside Assistance

If you live in or travel through Kentucky, you may want to bookmark this post.  The Safety Assistance for Freeway Emergencies (SAFE) Patrol is designed to aid motorists and help with incident management.  There services are free of charge, unless a wrecker is required--then the motorist is responsible for payment.
Services offered:

  • Gasoline and oil for those in need
  • Add air to tires or change flat tires
  • Provide a "jump" for dead batteries
  • Other minor automotive repairs
Hours:  6:00 AM to 10:00 PM 7 days a week.
Coverage

Interstates:
I-75
I-64
I-65
I-24
I-71
I-265

Parkways:
Louie B. Nunn
Wendell H Ford Western KY
Audubon
Edward T. Breathitt
William H. Natcher
Bert T. Combs Mountain
Hal Rogers
Martha L. Collins Bluegrass
Julian Carroll Purchase

Other Roadways:
US-23
KY-80

Contact Info
Kentucky Office of Highway Safety
Division of Incident Management
200 Mero Street
Frankfort, KY 40622
Phone: (502) 564-2080
FAX: (502) 564-2978
Safe Patrol: (877) 367-5982 (877-FOR-KYTC)
Traffic and Travel: Dial 511

Sunday, November 16, 2014

bistroMD’s Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe Transformations #Recipe #Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving around the corner followed by Christmas, many are already hoping not to put on a few extra pounds, but often don't know how to avoid all the calories during Thanksgiving Day dinner.  However, with the right recipes, it is possible to have delicious meals without having food regret.  Dr. Caroline Cederquist and the bistroMD kitchen have prepared great recipes that are healthy.  You can check them out right here.  Enjoy!

bistroMD Cranberry Chutney



Cranberry Chutney

· 3/4 pounds tart apples, (chopped)

· 2 1/4 pounds of cranberries

· 2 cups light brown sugar

· 1 1/4 cups cider vinegar

· 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

· 1/2 tablespoon salt

· 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger

· 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

· 3/4 teaspoon pepper flakes

· 1/2 pound dark raisins


Directions

1. Place all ingredients in saucepan.

2. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes.


bistroMD (Mashed) Cauliflower

A great substitute for mashed potatoes, this dish packs all the flavor of mashed potatoes while slashing carbs and calories!




· A medium head cauliflower. Trim it and cut into small florets (about 6 to 7 cups)

· 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

· Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

· Low fat sour cream

· Chives

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes.

2. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain well and transfer cauliflower to a food processor. Add oil and reserved water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and puree until smooth. (Or, mash cauliflower with a potato masher).

3. Season with salt and pepper and fold in the sour cream. Blend until smooth and then mix in the chives.


bistroMD Roasted Turkey Breast



· 2 lbs. boneless turkey breast with shin on

· 1/4 tsp. of fresh thyme

· 1/4 tsp. of fresh oregano

· 1/8 tsp. sea salt

· 1/16 tsp. Black pepper

· 1 tsp. of olive oil

Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 325'F.

2. Mix the seasonings together with all of the other ingredients.

3. Gently lift up the skin of the turkey and rub 3/4 of the mixture underneath the skin and under the turkey, rub the remaining seasoning mixture on top of the skin and then place in a roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165’F.

4. Remove and cool slightly. Discard the skin. Slice turkey and plate.

bistroMD Pumpkin Pie



Per Serving: Calories 152, Calories from Fat 2, Total Fat 0.2g (Sat 0.2g), Cholesterol 2mg, Sodium 85mg, Carbohydrate 32.1g, Fiber 1.7g, Protein 5.4g

· 1/4 cup water

· 2 1-ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin

· 2 cups fat-free evaporated milk, divided

· ¾ cup packed brown sugar (or can use 1/3 cup packed ©Splenda Brown Sugar)

· 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin

· 1 tsp cinnamon

· 1/2 tsp ground ginger

· 1/4 tsp nutmeg

· 1/4 tsp cloves

· 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

· Spray a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.

· In a large bowl, sprinkle gelatin in water. Leave to stand for 5 minutes.

· Pour 1 cup of fat-free evaporated milk into a small saucepan and heat until almost boiling.

· Remove from heat and whisk into gelatin. Don't worry if it the gelatin has hardened, the hot milk will liquefy it.

· Stir in remaining cup of evaporated milk, sugar, canned pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla extract. Stir until well blended.

· Pour pumpkin mixture into pie plate. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serves 8.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

#Giveaway: General Mills Prize Pack including $50 Target Gift Card

 
Disclosure: I received promotional boxes of cereal and Mega Bloks cars to facilitate this review.


As a kid, I remember how much I loved it when there was a surprise toy in the cereal box. I had no idea that General Mills has been putting free prizes in cereal boxes for more than 80 years! Right now, General Mills is doing something extra special--offering free customizable premiums for both boys and girls through a partnership with MegaBloks.



Honey Nut Cheerios, Reese’s Puffs, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, Golden Grahams and Cinnamon Toast Crunch is offering a free Mega Bloks car with a set of Hello Kitty and Power Rangers stickers. There are also instructions on the box itself for a pattern to construct a cardboard jump from the cereal box.

   

I love this cool video where General Mills partnered with Maker Dad – Mark Frauenfelder – to rev up the breakfast table with a Rube Goldberg contraption made entirely of General Mills Mega Bloks cereal boxes.


Here are some great tips from Mark for creative contraptions to foster family fun, especially for dads and daughters.  (Love it!)
  • It STEMs from Somewhere: As an illustrator and journalist, my girls are exposed to creative arts all the time, so exploring activities rooted in science helps promote learning in other areas. Plus, I learn a lot from my kids about creativity, experimentation and improvisation in the process. 
  • Building the Bond: Creating something together and seeing it daughters. In fact, I wrote the book Maker Dad, because I saw the need for a resource that gives dads and daughters ideas for activities they both enjoy doing.
  • It’s What’s Inside That Counts: General Mills putting a free, buildable Mega Bloks car in its cereal boxes is a nostalgic experience for me and one I love to share with my daughters. We’re all excited for the free prize inside.
  • Try and You Shall Succeed: Building an elaborate structure like this shows that it’s okay to fail, just try again! These kinds of challenges will stretch your mental muscles, and are also a great way to give your kids an introduction to real-life challenges.
  • Get Creative: Making a Rube Goldberg contraption leverages the it to our extreme. You can build small ramps and simple structures 
To get the word out, General Mills is offering a $50 Target gift card, an exclusive Mega Bloks collective car kit and participating Mega Bloks cereal boxes to one lucky reader.  Enter below to win!


Disclosure: I received promotional boxes of cereal and Mega Bloks cars to facilitate this review.

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