Saturday, May 30, 2015

Winners for May 2015

What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know Book Tour: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

Congratulations to the winner: Sydney A.!

Essential Travel Bib from

Congratulations to the winner: Gretchen M.L.!

Grace of God (DVD)

Congratulations to the winner: Dee S.!

Spring Gift Package of Assorted MAM Bottles and Pacifiers ($30 Value)

Congratulations to the winner: Aaron M.!

$25 Visa Gift Card and Hot Pursuit Tote

Congratulations to the winner: Sarah L.!

Mother’s Day Giveaway Hop: $50 Gift Code from UNICEF Market

Congratulations to the winner: LeAnn H.!

Gianna the Great Book Tour: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

Congratulations to the winner: Cheri O.!

Ravensburger Neuschwanstein Castle 3D Puzzle ($49.99 Value)

Congratulations to the winner: Kristen (aka couponboss)!

For the Love of Dad Giveaway Hop: $25 Gift Code from

Congratulations to the winner: Chrissy C.!

Exhale (CD), by Plumb

Congratulations to the winner: Patricia E.!

Farm Rich Smokehouse BBQ Swag Pack and Products

Congratulations to the winner: Margot C.!

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles

Congratulations to the winners: Nicole L., Trisha R., and Tracee!

Transformers Rescue Bots: Return of the Heroes and The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: Day at the Races (DVDs)

Congratulations to the winner: Susan E.!

TriDerma Pore Reducing Anti-Age Serum

Congratulations to the winner: Richelle B.!

Janine, by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Congratulations to the winners: Jennifer R. and Tara O.!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (May 30, 2015)

Welcome to this week's Super Saturday Giveaway Linky! It's really starting to feel like summer around here. My kids have just a few days left of school, and June will be arriving this week. Let's celebrate the coming of summer by entering some giveaways! Be sure to check this page throughout the week as new giveaways are added daily to the linky below and my right sidebar. And if you're hosting a giveaway (or more) on your blog or website this week, be sure to share it in the linky and let all your social media followers know about this page. Happy summer!

Movie Review: McFarland USA, Starring Kevin Costner

About the film:
In the tradition of Disney sports movies comes McFarland USA based on a true story of underdogs triumphing over tremendous obstacles. This heart-warming drama follows novice runners who strive to build a cross-country team under Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) in their predominantly Latino high school. Everyone has a lot to learn about each other, but when Coach realizes the boys' exceptional running ability, things change. Beyond their talent, it's the power of family, commitment to each other and work ethic that transform them into champions -- helping them achieve their own American Dream.

Rated: PG, 129 Minutes

My thoughts:
McFarland USA is the kind of movie I could watch over and over again. I loved its emphasis on hard work, cultivating hope, and family values. This story is about a group of kids whose future seemed predestined: They would end up in one of two places -- picking crops in the fields or in jail. After all, that was what generations of Latino families in McFarland, CA, had experienced. But teacher Jim White saw how they could use their strengths to build a better future. After being fired as a football coach from a school in a prosperous community, Jim took the only job he could find. Needless to say, it was a huge culture shock for him, his wife and two daughters. But when they looked beyond the poverty and bleakness of their surroundings, they discovered a warm culture filled with people who were doing their best to hold their families together and build a sense of community. Although he had never coached track in his life and knew very little about it, Jim saw the speed with which his students traveled between school, home and work and realized this was an opportunity for them to use these skills to get ahead.

At the end of the movie, we learn more about the real Jim White and his students. Nearly all of the boys on his first team graduated from college, and several came back to McFarland to teach, giving back to the community that nurtured them. In fact, the real Coach White still lives in McFarland even though he is retired. McFarland USA changes some of the actual events, which is why it is "based" on a true story, but it doesn't change the impact that Coach White had on his students and the community. Yes, this movie is predictable in following the same storyline as most sports movies, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable or inspirational, especially for young people.

McFarland USA arrives June 2nd on Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack, Disney Movies Anywhere and Digital HD!

Follow McFarland USA on:

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this film to facilitate my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Recipes from Finlandia Imported Butter ~ Just in Time for Summer Grilling!

Finlandia®, the internationally renowned cheese maker noted for being one of the most highly regarded cheese brands in America, introduces Finlandia® Imported Butter. Crafted from pure, fresh milk and produced on family-owned farms in Finland, Finlandia® Imported Butter is made from cows that graze as much as they can during the warm seasons, with no rBST hormones. This eclectic natural butter is perfect for breakfast, to butter a favorite muffin or croissant with its sweet, rich taste. Finlandia® Imported Butter is also a go-to choice for recipes and at dinnertime or to create delicious baked goods and decadent chocolate delights. Just in time for summer, Finlandia® Imported Butter offers that perfect final touch for your BBQ, for seafood or vegetables.

Finlandia® Imported Butter is the all-natural choice for chefs and home cooks alike. The AARP reports that butter helps with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals found in vegetables, and advises consumers to choose a butter made from grass-fed cows, as Finlandia® Imported Butter is made, with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. For many years, butter was considered a bad word. However, butter is hot again, with chefs and families rejoicing in the news, based on newly published scientific reports. Here are some exciting new recipes for your next BBQ!

Grilled Corn on the Cob
with Finlandia® Imported Butter Sauce


1 stick of Finlandia® Imported Butter, softened
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon of paprika
Fresh corn on the cob (in husks)

Optional: If you like a bit of spice, add in a teaspoon of cumin.


Mix all ingredients (except the corn) together and melt in a small pot.

Grill your corn (in the husk) for about 15–20 minutes, being sure to turn often. Once it is done, let it cool a bit before you remove the husks, wearing grill gloves to protect your hands. Then, using a brush, apply the butter sauce. Serve the rest in a bowl.

Grilled Lobster with Finlandia® Imported Butter Sauce


2 tablespoons of Finlandia® Imported Butter, melted
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon of Paprika
Lobster tails (thawed)


Before you light grill, use olive oil spray on grill.

Heat grill to high temperature.

Mix all ingredients for marinade and split lobster tails lengthwise.

Brush butter sauce on flesh side of lobster tails.

Put on grill and turn after 6 minutes, being sure to add butter sauce carefully after they are turned. Cooking time will vary, but should take about 15 minutes. Lobster when cooked is always an opaque color.

Please note: You cannot use the extra marinade/butter sauce on the lobster once it is cooked. If you would like to have extra sauce, keep some on the side to serve in a separate bowl.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post.

Heidi Bond’s "Who’s the New Kid?" Fitbit Giveaway and Facebook Party

In a world of fast-food convenience and non-stop busyness, how do we keep our kids healthy? Heidi Bond's debut book, Who's the New Kid?, is here to help. Filled with helpful diagnostic tools, easy-to-make recipes, eye-opening nutritional information, fun exercise ideas, and practical tips and advice, Who’s the New Kid? will not only show parents how to help their kids lose weight naturally but also introduce them to simple, yet effective lifestyle changes that will benefit the entire family.

Celebrate the release of Who's the New Kid? by entering to win a Fitbit and RSVPing to Heidi's June 9th author chat party!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Fitbit
  • A copy of Who's the New Kid?
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 9th. Winner will be announced June 9th at Heidi's Facebook partyRSVP here! Plus, participate in the #WhosTheNewKid conversation by pinning a family-friendly, healthy recipe (or two) to a Pinterest board!


RSVP today and spread the word -- tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on June 9th!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New CD from Michael W. Smith: Sovereign ~ Watch the Video and Enter to Win the CD! #SkySpillsOver #FlyBy

Michael W. Smith released his newest album, SOVEREIGN, earlier this month, and today he is releasing a brand-new video of a single from the album, “Sky Spills Over”! Says Michael W. Smith, "I’m really passionate about the song SKY SPILLS OVER. It was fun creating it in the studio and I’ve been overwhelmed at the response it gets when we perform it live every night. My son Ryan is a really talented filmmaker so I always enjoy working with him on a project. But what made this project even more special was that 3 of my own grandkids were in the video. This video was a lot of fun to make. I hope people enjoy it!"

Enjoy the video!

Now, enter to win a CD of Michael W. Smith’s CD, "Sovereign"!


One lucky winner will receive a copy of the CD, “Sovereign,” by Michael W. Smith. Giveaway is valid in US & Canada only. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, June 5, 2015.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

REMINDER: Please Re-Subscribe by Email

Dear Email Subscribers,
I am in the process of switching my email newsletter over to Feedburner, so it is very important that you re-subscribe if you haven't done so already. Just look to the left sidebar where it says “Follow by email” and enter your email address, then click “Submit.” Check your in-box (or spam box) for the confirmation email and be sure to click on the link to confirm your subscription.

While I’m making the transfer, you may receive two copies of the newsletter for a short time, but I'll be cancelling the other service by the end of this month. Don't miss out on all of the great giveaways and features I have coming up. Please take a few seconds to re-subscribe!

Thank you,

Friday, May 22, 2015

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (May 23, 2015)

Welcome to the Memorial Day edition of the Super Saturday Giveaway Linky. I hope you'll take the time with your family to honor those who have given their lives in service for our country. We certainly owe them and their families a huge debt. After you've done that, feel free to peruse the linky below, as well as my right sidebar, throughout the week for the opportunity to enter to win terrific prizes! If you're hosting a giveaway on your blog, be sure to share it in the linky and post this page on your Twitter and Facebook pages. Have a wonderful week!

Softsoap Fresh & Glow Body Washes Feature 100% Real Extracts for Healthy-Looking Skin!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a huge fan of using body washes rather than traditional soaps because they always smell so wonderful, and I feel like I’m pampering myself. One of my favorite brands is Softsoap because they’re always coming out with different fragrances for me to try. I recently had the opportunity to use their new Fresh & Glow body washes. They’re made with 100% real extracts and, as always, they smell incredible!

Softsoap Fresh & Glow Hydrating Shower Cream
Made with 100% real extracts sourced from milk, coconuts and almonds, this unique formula is proven to lock in long-lasting moisture to hydrate skin, leaving it soft and radiant. Coconut is one of my favorite scents, so this product smells amazing! I feel like I’m on a tropical vacation when I use it, and I love to get whiffs of this scent on my skin long after I’ve showered.

Softsoap Fresh & Glow Exfoliating Fruit Polish
Made with a 100% real extract sourced from kiwi and orange, this unique formula is packed with apricot seeds that exfoliate, giving you smooth, healthy-looking skin. I really like exfoliating skin products because they scrub away the layers of dead skin, leaving the skin very soft and smooth. And, not surprisingly, this product smells fantastic, too.

Stay away from drying soaps and pick up some amazing body washes from Softsoap for softer, better-looking skin. And look for the new Fresh & Glow scents because you deserve to be spoiled! Softsoap body washes are available at mass retail, drug and grocery stores nationwide.

Disclosure: These products were provided to me by Colgate-Palmolive for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.

DVD Review and Giveaway: "Spare Parts," Starring George Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis and Marisa Tomei

About the movie:
When four wildly different high schoolers team up to enter a robotics competition against the nation’s top tech colleges, no one believes they have a chance -- no one but Fredi, their new substitute teacher. As Fredi challenges his students to be the best they can be, they show him the power of never giving up in an unforgettable tale that shines with heart, humor, and hope.

George Lopez leads an incredible cast in this inspiring film, which arrived this month on DVD (plus Digital), Digital HD and On Demand. Based on a remarkable true story of four Phoenix high school students who come together against all odds to compete against MIT in a national underwater robotics competition, the “crowd-pleasing” (LA Times) story features an all-star ensemble cast, including George Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis, Carlos PenaVega and Marisa Tomei. Rated PG-13.

Watch the movie trailer:

My thoughts:
I watched this film with my 11-year-old twin boys, and they were definitely inspired by the teens in this movie who came from very disadvantaged backgrounds but were determined to show that they were more than their circumstances. There are some political overtones in this movie because some of the boys or their family members are in this country illegally, so this opens the way to a discussion on this hot-button topic. At the end of the movie, they show the actual people who inspired the film and tell what they have done since high school. Overall, there are many lessons to be learned and issues to be discussed in this film, which makes it a great choice for Family Movie Night.


One lucky winner will receive a DVD+Digital copy of Spare Parts! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, June 5, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this film to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Joshua and the Lightning Road Book Tour: Guest Post, "Playing on Our Fears," and Giveaway (5 Winners)

Joshua and The Lightning Road
Stay away from the window, don’t go outside when it’s storming and, whatever you do, do not touch the orb. 

Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper’s grandpa has always warned him about the dangers of lightning, but Joshua never put much stock in his grandpa’s rumblings as anything more than the ravings of an old man with a vast imagination. Then one night, when Joshua and his best friend are home alone during a frightful storm, Joshua learns his grandpa was right. A bolt of lightning strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever. 

To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark place that steals children for energy. But getting back home and saving his friend won’t be easy, as Joshua must face the terrifying Child Collector and fend off ferocious and unnatural beasts intent on destroying him. 

In this world, Joshua possesses powers he never knew he had, and soon, Joshua’s mission becomes more than a search for his friend. He means to send all the stolen children home—and doing so becomes the battle of his life.

Playing on Our Fears
by Donna Galanti

Do you love to be scared? I do, ever since I was a kid—as long as I know it’s safe. Haunted houses. Hayrides. Adventure rides. Cemeteries at night.

And when I write, I return to the magical—and fearful—worlds of my youth, where monsters and faeries roam the land. Through my stories I can become these characters, good and evil, and wield their powers. My favorite stories as a kid were thrillers that made my heart race and my fingers keep turning the page to see if the good guys would win over the bad guys.

I grew up an only child on a mountain with only nature as a playground, so my time was spent roaming the woods with my notebook and pen. I wrote in secret fields and beside hidden ponds. The woods were my home. My favorite room with a view is still one strewn with fields, rock walls, and looming mountains.

So, you can see that I was never scared to be alone and I think we as readers like to see our beloved characters alone to face scary challenges. It makes us wonder—what would I do in that situation if I were all alone without any help? Would I be too terrified to act or would I face danger head on and conquer it? And these are the kinds of situations I thrust Joshua into in Joshua and the Lightning Road while trying to blend just the right amount of scariness and tension for a children’s book. I love it when an author takes my beloved characters to the edge of no return and gives me that spine-tingling rush of “oh, nooo!” This is what I aim for in my own stories.

I am drawn to stories that play on our fears because I am fascinated by how people act when put in dire circumstances. And I love the challenge of writing a tortured hero. It forces me (and the reader) to step out of our safe world for just a bit and be uncomfortable—while in the safe place of a book.

I love to see how much torment we can pile on a character, how lost they become, how near the brink of desperation they reach—and then redeem them or not. We can relate to their pain because they are flawed, like we are all wonderfully flawed—and this reveals our humanity.

So, in reading scary stories, for a short while we can live amongst monsters without the fear of facing them in real life. Our heart pumps. Our fingers grip the pages. Then we close the book and go out again in the sunshine.

Watch the Joshua and the Lightning Road book trailer!

Praise for Joshua and the Lightning Road:

"Vividly imagined characters in a gripping action fantasy that never lets you go until the very last page." —Jenny Nimmo, New York Times bestselling author of the Charlie Bone series
Title: Joshua and the Lightning Road
Publication date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Donna Galanti
Order Links:

Donna Galanti
Donna is the author of the Joshua and the Lightning Road series and the Element Trilogy. She is a contributing editor to International Thriller Writers' The Big Thrill magazine and blogs at, a cooperative of published middle-grade authors. Visit her at and Donna wanted to be a writer ever since she wrote a murder mystery screenplay at seven and acted it out with the neighborhood kids. She attended an English school housed in a magical castle, where her wild imagination was held back only by her itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included!). There she fell in love with the worlds of C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and wrote her first fantasy about Dodo birds, wizards, and a flying ship (and has been writing fantasy ever since). She’s lived in other exotic locations, including her family-owned campground in New Hampshire and in Hawaii where she served as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives with her family and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse and dreams of returning one day to a castle.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Information: Winner will be drawn June 19, 2015
• Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Joshua and the Lightning Road by Donna Galanti (INT)
Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My New Favorite Hair-Care Products: SoapBox Bataua Fruit Shampoo and Conditioner!

I have a friend who sings the praises of sulfate-free shampoo, so I was excited when SoapBox contacted me to review their sulfate-free Bataua Fruit Shampoo and Conditioner. Sulfate-free hair products are touted as less drying to the hair and even help hair color to stay in longer. And after using SoapBox Bataua Fruit Shampoo and Conditioner, I totally agree!

Previously, I’d been using dandruff shampoo because my scalp was very dry, but it wasn’t working very well. Now after using the SoapBox products, my scalp is healthy again! No more scratching or dry patches. I’ve also noticed that my hair color seems to be lasting much longer since I started using SoapBox hair products. But I’m not the only one in the family to benefit from SoapBox Bataua Fruit Shampoo and Conditioner. My 11-year-old son is on a swim team, and his hair often feels dry and brittle thanks to the chlorine in the pool. But he loves the effects of using SoapBox shampoo and conditioner. He told me, “It smells good and it makes my hair really silky!”

Besides being sulfate-, parabens- and phthalates-free, SoapBox shampoo and conditioner are made with bataua fruit oil, which is native to the Amazon region. According to SoapBox, “The oil from bataua fruit looks similar to olive oil, but it also contains remarkably high levels of unsaturated fatty acids and oleic acid that makes it super effective at treating dry, flaky scalp. Traditionally used by natives of the Amazon as a hair loss and anti-dandruff tonic, this oil starts at the root (literally), moisturizing and calming the scalp, and works all the way to the ends of hair to promote intense hydration. Whether it is your scalp or your body, bataua fruit’s high level of oleic acid, vitamins A & E, and saturated fats can do wonders to restore and protect your skin.” And did I mention that these products smell amazing?

I will definitely be buying more SoapBox Bataua Fruit Shampoo and Conditioner. And here’s another great reason to purchase: SoapBox’s mission is to empower customers to change the world through their purchases. For every product they sell, they donate a bar of soap, a month’s supply of clean water or a year’s supply of vitamins to a child in need. I love a company that gives back. And I also love a company with a sense of humor. Here are the directions on the conditioner bottle: “After rinsing shampoo, apply conditioner generously to hair, focusing on damaged areas. Hum into the bottle/microphone. Wait 3-5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.” Love it!

If your current hair care products aren’t making you happy, I hope you’ll try SoapBox Bataua Fruit Shampoo and Conditioner. You’ll have healthier hair, and you’ll be helping someone in need. Want more good news? These products are only $4.99/bottle at Target. Head to a Target store near you or purchase online through the links below.

Purchase at

You can find SoapBox at: