Pampered Chef Show–with a giveaway!

Hi Friends,

I’m having an online Pampered Chef show–which ends at 5 p.m. CST on Tuesday 6/30/15. Everyone who places an order (assuming we get at least 5 orders) will be placed in a drawing for my favorite Pampered Chef product, the Garlic Press!  I love using fresh garlic in my recipes, and the Garlic Press allows me to “minced” it with lightening speed and not get garlicky-smelling fingers. :)

Go here to browse the catalog and place your order.  All products will be sent directly to you, the guest.

And if you have $70 in orders, you can choose a free BBQ tool or Quick-Stir Pitcher for free.


Free Photography Tutorials!

Here are 2 very special free photography tutorial downloads just for those of you who love taking pictures!

For the Beginner – Free Guide to Photo Composition by Katie Evans:


And for the Intermediate/Pro – Free Mastering Lightroom (Develop Module) by Andrew Gibson:


(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links)

T-Tapp Deep Discount Tuesday specials: January 20


Today is the T-Tapp Deep Discount Tuesday: January 20, 2015 only!

Enjoy the following specials:

Get 2 workouts that are normally $39.95 per DVD for only $46.50:
Finger & Foot Fitness Workout DVD (Retail $39.95)
NEW Brain-Body Fitness Turn Back Time Workout DVD (Retail $39.95)
1. Finger & Foot Fitness DVD:  50% off $19.98 Finger & Foot Fitness is a Master Level Educational Clinic filmed at the 2007 Safety Harbor Fitness Retreat which educates and demonstrates several movements for fingers and feet to help improve flexibility, lessen pain and decrease inflammation. Maintaining optimal function of fingers and feet is not only important for lymphatic function but also help your body lose weight easier and get fit faster. This DVD also has a special menu that allows you to choose exercises individually from both Finger Fitness and Foot Fitness sections.
2.  Brain-Body Fitness Turn Back Time DVD:  20% off $31.96 This recently filmed DVD features two workouts.  The Standing Workout is similar to the T-Tapp Total Workout but features new tweaks from Senior Fit Workout and T-Tapp More – Level 2 to help maximize muscle activation and not allow your body to take path of least resistance. The Floor Workout is similar to Critter Crunch 2, Brain-Body Fitness Floor and Brain-Body Fitness Core Floor but with additional tweaks as featured in Hit the Floor Tempo.  Each workout is effective alone but packs extra power when done back to back.  Discover the difference how full fiber activation of multiple muscles and leverage isometrics in a special sequence for lymphatic function and fascia fitness can make… inside and out!
Or get both for only $46.50!  Just click on the “Deep Discount Tuesday icon” over at T-Tapp!

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.)

My “Get Healthy in 2015″ Update #1

I’m really excited!  As you may remember I have decided to get healthy for 2015.  I have already lost 4 pounds and 7 1/2 inches after 8 days of T-Tapp exercise and 5 days of clean eating (Daniel Plan 10-Day Detox diet: no sugar, no gluten, no dairy)!  This was really a challenge for me because I doubt I have ever gone a single day in my life sugar/gluten/ and dairy free.  I love my sweets, bread, and cheese!  But having the great recipes and meal plan in the Daniel Plan 10-Day Detox diet has kept me fully satisfied!

I learned to buy all kinds of new ingredients and prepare many meals that are healthy, fun, and delicious. Even my kids tried some of them, so maybe a transition to a healthier home won’t be as difficult as I originally thought. I also froze some of the meals I made in single servings so if others are eating something I shouldn’t, I can easily eat something that’s good for me.

One funny story was that last Monday I was supposed to chop a jicama into sticks to eat with hummus. I remember fondly that my grandmother used to serve us jicama.  :)  My husband helped me grocery shop last weekend, so when I went to the fridge to get it, realized I didn’t know what the jicama looked like.  There were 3 things I couldn’t identify; I knew one had to be a beet, one a turnip, and the other a jicama.  Google Images to the rescue!

For exercise, I mostly did the T-Tapp Basic Workout Plus Tempo DVD (18 minutes).  Two days I did some random T-Tapp exercises.  And one day I didn’t exercise at all.  Today I’m entering the 60-Day T-Tapp Challenge.  I’m hoping that by having to enter my measurements again in 60 days, it will motivate me to be consistent!

By the way, you can get the Basic Workout Plus DVD and start getting fit and fabulous in 15 minutes!  It’s only $35.95 in January and comes with 3 bonus items: Barefoot Basic Plus DVD (Retail $29.95),Basic Plus Tempo DVD (Retail $29.95), and Yes You Can with T-Tapp DVD (Retail $19.95)

The T-Tapp Deep Discount Tuesday special is next week on January 13, so stop back by to see what’s on sale that day.  And be sure to enter to win the T-Tapp Prize Pack of the book Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes, 4 DVDs, and 2 CDs (ends 1/14/15).

I love the Facebook accountability group I’m a part of.  We’re doing a 21-Day Sugar Fast.  So, after 10 days on the Daniel Plan Detox Diet I still have to stay off sugar!  Oh, I miss my husband’s chocolate chip cookies!


(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.)

Christmas Presentation at an Assisted Living Center

Our public speaking class (through the Institute for Cultural Communicators) did a Christmas presentation at an assisted living center a couple of weeks ago.  It was a blessed event for all involved!

Our group is very young this year.  In fact, my 14-year-old son is the oldest!  But the kids are working hard and learning fast.

Here is what we did at the presentation:

The younger kids recited the poem by Christina Rosetti “In the Bleak Midwinter.”


Several kids recited Scripture verses.  (My 6-year-old who is new this year started her memory verse, and a resident yelled “louder, I can’t hear you.”  So, without skipping a beat, she started over– much louder the second time! We were all very proud of her for keeping her composure!)

Several kids played songs on the piano or string instruments.

Three older girls recited “Minstrels” by William Wordsworth.

The same boys also told the Story of the Three Trees.


The older boys did a neat presentation about the 1914 World War Truce/ Silent Night.  There was a neat commercial made of it that tells the story.  It’s so beautiful!
Video of the ad:

The Story behind it:

The whole group sang Silent Night and Joy to the World and used sign language.

Afterward the kids mingled with the residents.  We met a dear lady who was in her nineties!




Then we had a family picture taken–since everyone was dressed up!



10 Gifts to Buy for the Men in Your Life

Ten Top Gifts for the Men in Your Life

Men and older boys can be difficult to buy gifts for, huh?  I’ve been brainstorming some ideas for Christmas presents for these guys (and asking some friends for their ideas). Here are a few gifts that you might be able to get for those wonderful men and older boys in your life!

Gifts for Men:

1. Phone and Tablet Cases

2. Season Tickets (or just one ticket!) to a sport or musical activity they enjoy

3. An Experience they can enjoy with a child, like registration to a Father-Son Camp or Father-Daughter Dance.

Father Son Camp 103

4. Clothing Items they don’t like to buy–like socks or thermal underwear!

5.  Tools (even for teens–they can save them to use for the rest of their lives!)

6. Golf Gift Certificates

7.  A Book or gift card for books or ebooks

8.  An Accessory for a Hobby they enjoy, like this smartphone mount for a bicycle or motorcycle

9.  Candy from the year they were born

10.  Grilling Accessories, like these great Grilling Gloves


And now for the awesome giveaway!

Christmas Blessings Giveaway date 300x300

I’m so excited that we will have 2 winners for this giveaway.  The first place winner gets $500 Paypal Cash, and the second place winner gets a $100 Amazon gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Check out some other great gift guides here:


(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.)

New Product Giveaway: SQUILT Christmas Carols (and a Sale!)

Christmas background with sheet music

I’m so happy to introduce the newest SQUILT volume today!  SQUILT Christmas Carols by Mary Prather is being released today!  (And there’s a giveaway of it–read to the end of the post!)

SQUILT stands for Super Quiet Uninterrupted Listening Time and is a method for EASY teaching of music appreciation for your kids!  It’s perfect for homeschoolers or any kids and for all ages!


All SQUILT volumes (including the new Christmas Carol volume) will be discounted 25% using the code BIRTHDAY at checkout. This sale will run 11/3-11/10.

Here’s how it works.  SQUILT is a downloadable file, so it’s available as soon as purchased.  Christmas Carols is 24 pages long and teaches about 5 Christmas carols: Carol of the Bells, Away in a Manger, The Little Drummer Boy, Angels We Have Heard on High, and O Come, O Come Emmanuel.  You’ll find everything you need included–what to teach, links for more info (including special sites like how to draw something), and links to the music to listen to (on YouTube)!  It’s so easy.

SQUILT Christmas Carols 022

SQUILT Christmas Carols 021

Mary suggests using SQUILT twice a week and doing the same song for each day.  There are notebooking sheets for the kids to fill out. The one for the older kids is more detailed and asks them to white about the dynamics, rhythm/tempo, instrumentation, and mood.  For the younger kids, they simply “draw what they hear!”

I use my computer to look at the curriculum and click through to listen to the music:


SQUILT Christmas Carols 018

Or you can watch/listen/read about it on your tablet!

SQUILT Christmas Carols iPad

Here is my daughter working on SQUILT Christmas Carols:

SQUILT Christmas Carols 019

For “The Little Drummer Boy:”

SQUILT Christmas Carols 023

You might want to check out my other reviews to read about Volume 1 Baroque, Volume 2 Classical, and Volume 3 Romantic.  These are great for introducting your children to composers and music of those musical time periods!

Remember the sale with coupon code BIRTHDAY to get 25% off any of the volumes!

And enter the giveaway of SQUILT Volume 1, 2, or 3  (your choice) here.  Enter on the Rafflecopter app below.  Winner will be chosen on November 9, 2014 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linked to Trivium Tuesdays

(Disclosure: I received a copy of SQUILT Christmas Carols and Volumes 1,2, and 3 for help in writing honest reviews. I am also an affiliate of SQUILT and this post contains affiliate links.)

$1650 Christmas Cash Giveaway


Thanks to some amazing bloggers we were able to come collectively together with a
 CASH PRIZE of $1650.  
Yes, you read it correctly, $1650!
What could you do with a little extra cash 
this holiday season? 
Let’s see, if I could win. . .  I would book a little Christmas trip for husband and me!  I’d love to know what you would spend the $$ on.  Presents? Clothes?  A special Christmastime surprise! Please leave a comment below!
 Enter our giveaway.  Someone’s going to win the $1650 Christmas Cash Giveaway!  It might be you!

Giveaway to run November 1st – November 22nd  with the winner receiving their cash on Black Friday so they can start shopping for the Christmas Holiday.
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 Sew Crafty Angel      Cuddlebug Cuties      God’s Growing Garden                      
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Natalie Loves Beauty       VMG206          The Weary Chef                        
Crsytelle Boutique           100lb Countdown            Saving 4 Six
bumblebreeblog             Magenta & Lime                  Everyday Hayley

Many THANKS to our Sponsors too!  Please stop by and tell them hello.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please read the rules of sweepstakes and contests held at Sew Crafty Angel.
Giveaway is open worldwide to participants with a verified PayPal account.
All entries will be verified. In the event an entry can not be verified participant chooses to forfeit that entry and another winner will be chosen.
Winner has 48 hours to respond to the winning email.
Giveaway will run from October 31st 11:59 PM CST to November 22nd, 12 AM CST
Any taxes or fees associated with the winnings of this contest are the sole responsibility of the winner according to their county, state and/or country laws.
Prize money to be distributed by Angel Allen from Sew Crafty Angel.
CASH prize is in US Dollars and will not be converted to any foreign currency.
Void where prohibited by law.

Awareness: Dangers of the Power Morcellator


September is National Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month, and I am helping to raise awareness this month about some alarming statistics on power morcellators.

  • What is a Power Morcellator? A device used in hysterectomies to cut tissue into small pieces to be removed from the body. However, uterine cancers sometimes go undetected prior to the procedure. In these cases, the morcellator dices up and spreads unsuspected cancer inside the woman’s body.
  • Hysterectomy is the 2nd most common surgery among women in the United States
  • By age 70, one out of three American women will have had a hysterectomy
  • 90% of these surgeries are done to remove Fibroids (non-cancerous tumors found in the uterus)
  • The average life span following accidental morcellation of sarcoma is only 24-36 months
  • Only 15% of women who have leiomyosarcoma (LMS) that has spread (stage 4) will be alive after 5 years
  • Women with sarcoma who are morcellated are about 4 times more likely to die from sarcoma than if they had not been morcellated

Please visit the power morcellator website for more information.

I encourage you to always do due diligence in researching before consenting to a major surgery or medical procedure.  Stay healthy!

Win a Vera Bradley Backpack!



I don’t know about you, but we’re going to need some new backpacks before the fall.
Would You like to win a Vera Bradley Campus Backpack?  There will be 95 winners!
Winners can pick from the following colors: Pink Swirls, Ziggy Zinnia, or African Violet.
Each backpack is valued at $109.
Enter the giveaway by heading to  and submitting your email address on the form at the top of this page.

You will also receive an exclusive coupon code for $20 off $75!
The giveaway ends Wednesday, July 9th at 9:00 PM ET.

The winners will be chosen via a lottery drawing on Thursday (7/10) and notified via the email address they used to enter.

Here’s the link to enter!

(Disclosure:  this post contains affiliate links.)

Read a Great Story by Diana Waring

Diana Waring


Here is a great story by Diana Waring.  She has written a fun American history through folk songs curriculum called Experience History Through Music that I’ll be sharing about next week!  (And she’s part of an awesome giveaway of over $700 worth of Homeschool products!)

From Diana:
So, more back story. . .this one brings us up to the present—with a bit of a miracle thrown in!

Sometime in the mid 1990s, the partnership that had produced “America,” “Westward Ho!” and “Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder,” decided that it was time to let a “real” publisher take over. So, we signed contracts with a company that was quite large in the homeschooling movement at the time. We were excited to have others taking over the day-to-day details, as I had moved from the Portland area to South Dakota, and this was going to make things so much easier for us all.

However, when this business went bankrupt in the late 1990s, something happened that was past my comprehension. I still don’t know why, but when they declared bankruptcy they simply threw everything in the dumpster—including our masters. When I heard this, it utterly devastated me. These wonderful projects were gone, and to reproduce this again seemed too hard without the audio masters. Between having to start over from scratch with all of the images and graphic design and having no audio masters, I thought the entire project was gone forever.

People would ask us about them from time to time, as they had read about them, or heard of them, or had owned the original cassette tapes, but we always told them sadly, “I don’t think they will ever come back into print.”

Then, several years ago, Gena Suarez of The Old Schoolhouse contacted me to see if we might have any remaining stock of this product. She had heard of a family who had gone through a fire and lost everything, and her company was trying to help them rebuild their lives. I guess that the mom specifically talked about these American folk music in history books/audios, and this prompted Gena’s call to me.

I contacted the former partner who owned the recording studio to see if he, perchance, had somehow saved the audio files to digital. At the time, Tad was quite busy with other things, but he told me that he thought he might have saved a FEW songs. Since it didn’t sound promising, I thought it was probably a dead end. And I was sad all over again. It seemed like such a waste of a really fun product, that families had thoroughly enjoyed for years!
And, of course, these were the first books I had ever written. . .

Why I tried again two years ago is a mystery to me. I just took the notion to contact Tad once more and ask if he had discovered whether or not he had saved any of the songs. This time, as we talked, Tad realized that there were possibly some ways he could “pull out” the recordings from the antiquated DAT machines. However, he was in the midst of some medical issues, and was not sure how much time he would have to devote to the project.

It took two years. And then, suddenly, I had an email in my inbox. The songs had ALL been digitally restored, remastered for CD, and were ready to go!! I could hardly believe my eyes. After fifteen years, these products were going to have a new life.

I can hardly describe what this means to me, personally. But, maybe I can share with you what happened a few months ago to illustrate. Our business phone rang one day, and a woman began excitedly talking to my husband. As he heard what she was saying, he suggested that I would like to hear her story directly. When I took the phone, this is what she said:

“Diana, I met you fourteen years ago at a convention. When I told you that our family absolutely LOVED ‘Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder,’ you told me what had happened when the publisher threw your masters away. You asked me to pray that somehow it would all be restored. . . And, I have been praying!! Each time I walked by the cassette tape, I was reminded to pray. . . for FOURTEEN years!!”

She went on to say that she had just read on social media that the products were coming back into print, and she was so excited to see that her prayers were finally being answered. Together, we shared a few tears and a few amazed words of joy at what was taking place before our very eyes.

And, now, YOU are all a part of this restoration!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

After Diana posted this on her Facebook page she received this message:

“That lady with the house fire was ME! We so miss our “Yankee Doodle Tells A Tale” cassette! I’m so excited about the launch! My first round of kids loved these and now we are homeschooling our second round since we adopted two little ones out of foster care and I know they are going to love these songs, too.”

Can you believe it??? For all of these years, I have wished that I could give the three books/CDs to this woman, but I never knew her name and I didn’t have the products!!

So, please check back next week to read about these wonderful products of Diana’s.  I’m sure your family will love them as well!

New Sponsor: Homejoy- House Cleaning Atlanta



I have a new sponsor today:  Homejoy Atlanta which does house-cleaning in the Atlanta area.  If you live around there, be sure to check them out!

Thanks to Homejoy for supporting I Choose Joy!

How to Become #CartonSmart!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carton Smart for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

 photo 1898ca76-3272-4baf-a8df-07abf60e15e3_zps1bf425e9.jpg

I was excited recently to be introduced to Tetra Pak cartons.  I received 3 different food items that were not packed in cans, but in Tetra Pak cartons.  

These foods are great for making your holiday meals, whether it's soup using organic chicken stock

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pumpkin pie,

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green bean casserole,

or simply having a lovely cranberry loaf on your table.

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The package of Cranberry also had a great recipe on it for making Cranberry Pecan Crunch Squares.  Yum!  I'm going to make it next week.

I used the package of Organic Pumpkin Puree to make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins for my boys to take to their early morning band party.  They turned out really yummy!  There is also a recipe for pumpkin pie on that package.

Here's my recipe:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

(makes about 24 large muffins)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 t. baking soda

2 T. pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 t. salt

1/2 cup butter (softened)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla

16 oz. package Pacific Organic Pumpkin Puree

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Mix dry ingredients (first 4 listed) in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Alternately add some of the flour mixture and the pumpkin puree, mixing well after each addition. After thoroughly mixed, stir in the chocolate chips.  Fill muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees.  

Why Tetra Pak cartons are pantry stables for those that enjoy living smart: 

• Tetra Pak® cartons are made of 70% paper, a renewable resource, from selectively harvested, re-grown trees that are FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) 

• Cartons use 1/3 of the packaging compared to cans…or even an egg! 

• Cartons are space saving, easy to store and open. Keep your pantry neat and toss your can openers, stackable and space saving. 

• The unique packaging process preserves the flavor and nutrients of food without the use of preservatives.Product quality is exactly the way it was intended to be. 

• Recycleable and in fact result in 60% less landfill waste than cans 

• Cartons are re-closable so you can use what you need and save the rest for later.

See how the packages open? 

Be #cartonsmart and follow along with Carton Smart's social pages:

Become Carton Smart

Tweet @CartonSmart

Follow #CartonSmart on Pinterest to see some "Smart" ideas!


Leave a comment below of how you are trying to live #CartonSmart this holiday season, with great tasting food, but less waste!

Visit Sponsor's Site

May Flowers Giveaway Announcement Post

May Flowers Giveaway Event Announcement Post
Famous Free Samples’ May Flowers Giveaway Event

Sign-ups are now open for this great new giveaway event!

  • Event is free to join with an announcement post. If you don’t wish to post the announcement, please send the $5 non-post fee to
  • You’ll receive 1 free link for participating (either Twitter or Pinterest)
  • Additional links (RSS/Email, Twitter and Pinterest) are available for $5 each
  • Sign-ups for this event end on April 29th
  • Event runs from May 1 – 15
  • Prize: $100 Home Depot gift card

Please send all payments to as a “gift” via PayPal.
Sign up for this event here.

Curves– Get a Free Consultation



Do you have a Curves nearby?  Get a free consultation!

More details:

Welcome! You’re just three quick steps away from burning more fat than diet alone!

This year, be the star in your own Success Story. Every day, women who thought they couldn’t get fit find out that they can at Curves. Burn up to 500 calories with our 30-minute workout, which combines strength training and cardio for a workout that works your entire body–from head to toe. It works every major muscle group and gives you results that last. Now’s the time to take the first step toward YOUR success.

* The consult is absolutely FREE!
* Your personal information is PROTECTED.
* Curves Complete is the ONLY whole solution to weight loss.

Some restrictions may apply. Valid only at participating locations in the US and Canada.

(Post contains affiliate links.)


Funny Friday–Beware of the Doghouse!

Did any of you receive a Christmas gift like this?

(Click through to my website if you don’t see the video.”


Six Months Old!

Today our sweet baby E turned 6 months old!  She has been such a fun baby.  All her brothers and sisters love her so much.  She is never lacking in attention!  Here are a few pictures to see how she’s grown.

By the way, I’ve never mentioned that she was born with a hemangioma birthmark on her right arm and hand.  You can see somewhat in the pictures how it has changed in the last 6 months.  It has already started to fade and should be completely gone by the time she is 10 years old, if not sooner.  It doesn’t hurt her at all.

Also, she started out with brown hair.  It all fell out, and is now growing in blonde!

















Circle of Moms Top 25 Big Family Blog

Thanks for your votes, everyone!  We made it!

God’s Beautiful Sky

These photos were taken by my second son.