Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Welcome to the Great Swag Swap Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to The Great Swag Swap Giveaway Hop hosted by Gypsy Mama Logs and Mama Goes BAM. This is a special event to thank you, our readers, and is your second chance to get your hands on some of the best swag from some of your favorite bloggers.
The event begins at 12:01 AM February 29 & ends 11:59 PM March 7th!!

Here’s the swag I’m giving away on my blog. All the prizes go to one lucky winner!

$20 Growing Tree Toys gift code
$50 Tiny Prints gift code
8 Tins of Pine Bros Softish Throat Drops
2 Tubes of Neutrogena MoistureShine Gloss
Eating Light: 400 Calories or Less! Recipe Bookazine from Hearst
Didi Pop Goes to Hawaii (CD)

The Super Hero Squad Show: The Infinity Gauntlet (Season 2, Vol. 2)
VeggieTales: Happy Together!
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil
Treasure of Matecumbe (Disney)

Writers’ Devotions to Go, by LeAnn Campbell
The Complete Guide to Getting & Staying Organized, by Karen Ehman
The 1% Solution for Work and Life, by Tom Connellan (hardcover)

All items are in new or like new condition. The DVDs and CD have been played once (except for The Super Hero Squad Show, which is still in shrink wrap). The lip gloss and throat drops are new and shrink-wrapped. Are you ready to win? Just fill out the easy Rafflecopter form below. There are no mandatory entries. The more items you do, the more entries you receive. Good luck!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On Writing "The Dad Connection: A Bridge to Your Children" by Scott Hanley

I didn’t start out with the intent to write a book. My original idea was to create a simple chronicle of my experiences as a single dad; a collection of reflections on my challenges, understandings and feelings. I thought it would be something perhaps my boys might find amusing, or at best something they could find of value when they embarked on their own journeys of raising their children.

The material for this book developed from dozens of traffic-congested trips in my truck while I was on my way to various work sites. I was able to describe my process in real time by talking into a tape recorder that I screwed to the floor of my truck as I weaved, started, and stopped my way through the infamous Boston streets and highway interchanges.

Three years later, I had thirteen 90-minute audio cassette tapes filled on both sides. I tossed them into an old Nike shoebox and put them in the closet. After moving to Portland, Oregon a few years later, I stumbled upon the box of tapes while digging out from the move. As a birthday gift, a close friend offered to transcribe them (I don’t think she knew what she was getting into). When I first began to read them, they were quite a mess. Even I couldn’t understand them! Some ten years later, with the help of a few writing classes and dozens of rewrites, my journey through fatherhood became this book.

~Scott Hanley

Read more from Scott on his blog at You can purchase The Dad Connection on Amazon.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Charm Bracelets with Class from Cutey!

Charm bracelets are the “in thing” right now. Everywhere you go, you see ladies wearing this type of costume jewelry, and it’s wonderful! It’s affordable, classy and beautiful.

I had the opportunity to work with Cutey on a review of their charm bracelets -- the Eros and the Typhon. I love how chic and classy they are. I had so many compliments on these bracelets. People loved both styles I had and commented on how well made they were. Sometimes, with charm bracelets, I find they can look cheap, but I am really impressed with the style and charms of Cutey bracelets. They didn’t go overboard with the charms. They are simple and so well thought out. They are not too heavy for my wrist and go with just about anything. I have even taken some charms off and mixed them up to go with whatever I had on at the time. They are well made, durable and beautiful.

My daughter, Sadie, has even been caught taking them and wearing them to play dress-up! Check out Cutey and the other styles of their adorable charm bracelets at They ship worldwide and accept PayPal. Be sure to like them on Facebook, too! 

BRAVE: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You from Disney/Pixar!

There hasn’t been a lot at the theaters lately that I’ve wanted to take my children to see, so I was really excited to see that Disney/Pixar is releasing BRAVE on June 22nd! This looks like a movie that both my boys and I will enjoy. Check out the trailer below!

[Email subscribers, please click on the title of this post to view the video online.]

About BRAVE: Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In BRAVE, a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts. Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Witch (voice of Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.

This promises to be another great movie from Disney/Pixar! Be sure to “Like” BRAVE on Facebook to keep up on the news about this exciting movie!

DISCLAIMER: No products or compensation were provided for this post.

Burt’s Bees Products Are Essential for Winter Woes!

I bet you have heard of -- and probably tried -- Burt’s Bees products before. I have been a fan of Burt’s Bees for a long time. My most favorite product ever has got to be the Beeswax Lip Balm. I have never found another as good. I also had the opportunity to try out their new sensitive skin care line awhile back, and it is amazing. What I didn’t realize is how many products Mr. Burt has out there!

Just in time for cold/flu season this winter, I got to try out Burt’s Bees Natural Throat Drops in honey flavor. With menthol and eucalyptus oil, they are 100% natural. They are great-tasting and really coat your throat. I find them effective for a scratchy throat as well as a sore one and a mild cough. I gave my daughter, Sadie, one during one of her coughing fits. (Note: Not recommended for children under 5.) She loved the taste, and it worked well for her, too.

Another product I love is the Essential Burt’s Bees Kit. It includes everything you need for your skin in the winter weather. The Coconut Foot Cream keeps your feet nice and smooth and moisturized. I have been using it on my feet, and I feel they will be ready for flip flop season very soon. The Hand Salve is amazing for my dry hands. Wiping snotty noses and changing diapers sends me to the sink to wash up several times a day, and my hands become really dry. This salve is great. I lather up at night, and by morning my hands are like new. I love the Naturally Nourishing Milk & Honey Lotion, too. I have used it on myself as well as Sadie. I love the smell, and it works so well on the dry areas, like the knees and elbows. The Soap Bark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream is a really nice cleanser, too. It doesn’t dry out my skin and has a nice mild smell to relax me before bed.

I really have not come across one Burt’s Bees product I did not like. Try them out. You will not be disappointed. Check out all the products at and your local retailer.

Join Us for the Friendly Followers Blog Hop!

Friendly Follwers Blog Hop hosted by The Knit Wit by Shair and Multi-Testing Mommy

Welcome to the Friendly Followers Blog Hop hosted by The Knit Wit by Shair and Multi-Testing Mommy where their goal is:

• you will find some new blogs to read
• you will gain some more followers
• you will gain some more friends
• you will get a new genuine comment or two

Each week, they will have a FEATURED FRIEND. If you are interested in having a chance of being the FEATURED FRIEND, please fill in this form. The FEATURED FRIEND will get spot #3 in the hop and it will be a requirement for blog hoppers to follow them and the two hosts before adding their link. This week, I’m thrilled that this blog, Susan Heim on Parenting, is the “featured friend”! I hope you’ll join us this week to:

1. Follow the two hosts’ links and the featured friend link.
2. Enter your link (any ONE SOCIAL MEDIA link you choose -- NOT a direct link to a blog/website).
3. Follow as many people as you can throughout the week.
4. Try to make this genuine! Leave a genuine comment after following someone new and let them know you came from Friendly Followers so that they can follow you back.
5. It would be awesome if you followed back everyone that followed you!

FRESCHETTA Is Giving Away a Whole Lotta Pizza in Its “Rally for Real Pizza” Contest!

How would you like to win free and delicious FRESCHETTA® pizza? The makers of FRESCHETTA® products are asking their fans to take a stand for FRESCH® pizza in the “Rally for Real Pizza” Giveaway! All you have to do is submit a photo to a Rally Mosaic on the FRESCHETTA Facebook Fan Page. Each week, they will select 100 winners to receive 5 FRESCHETTA® pizzas. Then, on March 30, they will select 10 winners to receive a year’s supply of FRESCHETTA® pizza!

Our family loves FRESCHETTA pizza, and it’s often on the menu for our Family Pizza Night! Head over to the FRESCHETTA Facebook Fan Page before March 30, 2012 for your chance to win free pizza for your family!

DISCLOSURE: As a member of the FRESCHETTA FRESH CONNECTION community, I will be entered into a drawing for some great prizes as a thank-you for sharing this valuable information.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

$10 Dinners or Less! A New Bookazine from Hearst

Money is tight for a lot of families these days, which is why the new bookazine from Hearst is so timely: $10 Dinners or Less! Available at your local supermarket or bookstore for only $6.99, or as a digital download from Zinio or, you’ll find 84 delicious recipes that your family will love and won’t break your budget. Chapters include:

Double-Duty Dinners (cost-conscious recipe pairs that give you one big-deal dinner and a head start on an easy meal for the next day)

Cheap-Cheap Chicken (from gorgeous roast chicken to kid-friendly crispy drumsticks)

Meat for Less (beef and pork recipes that won’t blow your food budget)

Penny-Wise Pasta (you’ll think you’re dining at an expensive Italian restaurant, but these noodle-based recipes will fit your budget)

Vegetarian Values (meatless meals full of fiber and other good-for-you nutrients)

Excellent Eggs
(these egg-based recipes aren’t just for breakfast)

Homemade “Takeout” (dishes you might typically get at a takeout restaurant but can be made cheaper at home)

Extra information includes ways to save at the supermarket, how to freeze anything, fast ways to make over leftovers, and more! If you’re looking for ways to slash your family’s grocery bill, you’ll want to pick up $10 Dinners or Less! With beautiful full-color photos and easy-to-follow directions, you’ll find it easy to make these budget-friendly dishes for your family.

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life: A New Family Film on DVD! #JeremyFink #Phase4Films

I love when I find movies that engage the whole family. With Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, from Phase 4 Films, there’s no violence, swearing or sex -- just an interesting story with a terrific message that everyone should learn. In the movie, Jeremy receives a mysterious box on his 13th birthday. The wooden box is engraved with the words: “The Meaning of Life -- for Jeremy Fink to open on his 13th birthday.” However, the box is locked up tight and requires four missing keys to open it! Thus, Jeremy and his best friend Lizzy set out on a quest to find keys to fit the box. Check out the video trailer below to learn more about this movie:

[Email subscribers, please click on the title of this post to view the video online.]

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life is based on a book by Wendy Mass. Director Tamar Halpern explains in this interview excerpt why she decided to make the book into a film:
When I read Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, I was deeply moved by the message, namely that each day is precious and it’s up to us to celebrate that gift. I love how beautifully and simply Wendy Mass (the author) illustrated the power we have to choose to be joyful, even in the face of great loss. To understand and appreciate how much love we have around us and the great possibilities each day holds, regardless of challenge and sorrow, is to understand the meaning of life! Through their adventures, Jeremy and Lizzy show us and remind us to have gratitude, and I knew it would be my great honor to bring that spirit to the screen.
As you can tell, this movie holds a beautiful lesson for children -- and their parents, too! My children and I really enjoyed watching this movie for our Family Movie Night. It’s a great way to open up discussions with your children about gratitude, loss, friendship, and other values that we want them to learn.

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life will be available on DVD, on demand and in digital release on March 6, 2012. Bonus features on the DVD include interviews with the cast, deleted scenes, bloopers, and a digital download of chapter 1 of the book read by author Wendy Mass! You can learn more about Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life at and order a copy now on Amazon!

In the Spotlight: Mindy from A Single Country Gal & Her Cat

Welcome to the weekly series, “In the Spotlight,” on Susan Heim on Parenting! Each Sunday, I post a fun interview with a blogger so you can get to know her or him better. Mindy from “A Single Country Gal & Her Cat” is this week’s featured blogger! If you’re a blogger and would like to be “in the spotlight,” please email me at smhparent [at] hotmail [dot] com with your name, blog name, and URL. Put “In the Spotlight” in the subject line. Now, here’s Mindy from A Single Country Gal & Her Cat!

Do you have a favorite author, and what do you like about his or her books?
I love to read, so I can’t pick one author. I love all genres, though I tend to lean toward Christian writers because I can’t stand the vulgar language and descriptions that could almost be considered porn.

What are you afraid of?
Mice! I can handle spiders and snakes, but let me see a mouse and I go berserk!

What is your favorite holiday and why?
Thanksgiving because I think that it is a time to reflect on what you are thankful for and what you have been blessed with.

Do you have a unique talent or skill you can share with us?
I’m double jointed in my right arm!

When you were a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A marine biologist. I have always been fascinated with under-the-sea life.

What TV show would you like to be on and why?
Criminal Minds. I think it is so fascinating to look into the heads of serial killers and examine why they do what they do. Not to mention I love all the characters on there -- especially Dr. Spencer Reid!

If they made a movie about your life, which actress should play you and why?
Umm... I really don’t know who I would have play me. That’s really a hard one. If I had to choose, I would say Kristen Stewart, maybe?

What do other people do that drives you crazy?
Lie. I hate liars. Just ʼfess up and tell the truth!

If you accidentally put a dent in your neighbor’s car and you’re certain that nobody saw you, would you ʼfess up?

Would you like to be elected president of the United States? Why or why not?
Heck no! And be raked through the mud? I think not!

The Journey and Musings of a Single Country Gal and her cat

About me:
A Single Country Gal and Her Cat was birthed from boredom. I needed something to do from home that was fun and entertaining, so I just started a blog to voice my thoughts and opinions. Along with that, I showcased my crafts. As I was surfing the web one day, I ran across a book blog and thought, “I can do that!” I have always loved to read, so why not give my thoughts on books I read? So then it started and, eventually, I met other bloggers (Jennifer, Roxanna and Melanie) who helped show me the ropes. Thanks, gals! Currently, I am hosting product reviews and giveaways and having a BLAST doing it! Follow me at:

A Single Country Gal & Her Cat

Stumble account





Google Plus

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Winners for the Week of February 19, 2012

Following are the lucky winners for this week! I’ve got some really great giveaways going on right now. Be sure to check the right sidebar and enter!


Congratulations to the winner: Krystal L.!


Congratulations to the winners: Dottie P. and Jessica E.!


Congratulations to the winners: ~dab, daveshir2005, kdkdkd, Sally - Susan Franklin, and Mj Heckert!


Congratulations to the winner: Jessica L.!


Congratulations to the winner: Gianna!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (February 25, 2012)

It's the last Saturday in February! Even with an "extra" day this month, February is flying by. Nevertheless, I hope you've had the opportunity to enter -- and win -- some great giveaways! If not, here's one more chance: check out the terrific giveaways below. And if you're hosting some on your blog, please share them with all of us! As always, you can find my ongoing giveaways listed in the right sidebar. Good luck!

Nominate a Special Person in the Field of Education for a Bammy Award!

I’m a proud member of the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences, and our goal is “to promote ‘cross-discipline recognition’ of excellence across every sector of the education field.” With that in mind, we’re holding our first annual Bammy Awards! These awards will be given “to identify, recognize and celebrate excellence in education throughout the entire field -- from teachers, principals and superintendents to school nurses, support staff, advocates, researchers, early childhood specialists, education journalists, facilities maintenance staff, special needs professionals, school board members, parents and more.”

With the Bammy Awards, we recognize that teachers are just part of a larger team that educates our children. And now you have the opportunity to nominate those special people for a Bammy Award! The winners will be invited to attend a red-carpet awards event in the fall in Washington, D.C. Head over to now to nominate someone who is making a real difference in the field of education. Nominations will be open until April 30, 2012.

P.S. I hope while you’re there that you’ll vote for a very special person I nominated: Mark Hundley! You can VOTE HERE.

New from the Bari Koral Family Rock Band: Anna and the Cupcakes!

I am sure my daughter, Sadie, gets tired of me singing to her on our drives to town to keep her awake. She is always excited to try out new music and was very pleased when I popped in the CD, “Anna and the Cupcakes,” from the Bari Koral Family Rock Band.

These 10 songs will be as enjoyable for you as they are for your child! This is one CD you won’t mind playing over and over in the house or car as it becomes your child’s favorite. The soothing sounds of the piano and guitar have a relaxing yet fun feel to them that let you sing along or just listen and enjoy. You get a mixture of jazz, blues and even pop to keep you and your little one interested from start to finish. It’s a great CD to add to your family’s music collection.

“Anna and the Cupcakes” was released on February 14, so get your copy today and start being a fan of Bari Koral! Visit the Bari Koral Family Rock Band on their website and Facebook, too.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Find Interior Designers and Decorating Inspiration at Houzz!

Thanks to the struggling economy, many people are choosing to redecorate or remodel their existing homes rather than buy something new. If you’re looking for the services of an interior designer, or even just want to look through some great photos for design ideas, you’ll want to visit Houzz

Houzz has a database of 16,942 interior designers! You can search by keyword, metropolitan area, or via various services or suppliers. Or just browse through the gorgeous photos to get ideas or help you decide which designer you’d like to consult. In fact, Houzz is the web’s largest database of design and decorating ideas. There’s even a membership feature where you can start collecting your favorite photos in your own Ideabook, and swap tips and questions with other members.

If you love home design, Houzz is a dream come true for you! And if you’ve been thinking about remodeling or redecorating your house, apartment, cabin or just a single room, this is a great place to start. Find an interior designer you love in your area or look for inspiration at Houzz!