Posted in Book Reviews

Sweet Southern Sleuths: Episode 2: Bag of Bones: Hope Callaghan

Loretta & Lacy Sweet are trying to settle in to their new surroundings. After receiving a substantial inheritance of a trailer park & home, they’ve divided the duties of running both. On their arrival in town, they had discovered a corpse in the bathtub. Not exactly a welcome how-do-you-do. But, apparently, the park has more secrets than they know.

When a trailer park resident leaves, a discovery is made on their lot. No one expected to find a bag full of skeletal remains. It seems that the ladies & Uncle Ichabod will have another case to crack. Ichabod wonders how much the find has to do with a local mobster who recently arrived back in town.

Along with Loretta’s new friend, Officer Gatlin, everyone is crossing their fingers that the trailer park has unearthed its last secret.

Book 2 in the series is as good as it’s predecessor. I’m still confused as to why the mystery starts off strong and then is put on the back burner. This installment also focuses on Loretta the most with Uncle Ichabod a close second. It’s good read, but I wanted a little more mystery in the plot.

As I did with the first, I give it 3 stars.

Posted in Book Reviews

Sweet Southern Sleuths: Episode 1: Teepees & Trailer Parks: Hope Callaghan

Twins, Loretta & Lacy Sweet, arrive in the little town of Misery to collect their inheritance. Aunt Tess has passed away & left them a little something to remember her by. Both girls think they’re getting a house. Instead, they receive a house, a trailer park, & some tepees. Of course, the tepees are part of a tourist attraction.

Unfortunately, the twins are also about two receive a few extras. First, the house comes with a stipulation. Uncle Ichabod is the stipulation. Thinking ahead, Aunt Tess added a clause that Lacy & Loretta must allow their Uncle to live out his life in the house. Neither twin had ever even heard of him. But, the bigger shock is surprise number two- a dead body in the bathtub.

Local bad boy, Delbert Rucker, is deceased & lying in the bathtub. Being new to the town, neither lady knows him let alone who might want to kill him. Uncle Ichabod senses a new purpose in life & decides he & Loretta will crack the case. Reluctant Lacy just wants to go home. Never having been close sisters, this development is just too much to handle. Can they get it together enough to solve a murder, run a trailer park, & handle their newly discovered uncle?

This is the first in the ‘Sweet Southern Sleuths Cozy Mystery Series’. I had to laugh as the only other Delbert I knew of worked at my very first job. He was, more or less, my mental picture of the deceased in our story.

Hope Callaghan has crafted a very clean cozy mystery. I was a bit surprised that her story started out as all about Mr. Rucker’s death then switching a more of a story about Loretta. She appeared to be the main character though both sisters were said to be the stars. Poor Mr. Rucker fell to the wayside. However, it’s a good cozy mystery & presented a strong start for the series. It’s 3 stars from me.

Posted in Giveaways, Health

Hydrate and Energize Giveaway

This giveaway will run from now – 5/9 at 11:59pm Eastern Time.

It is open to US residents ages 18+

1 winner will receive 2 Ultimate Sample Packs from E-hydrate (a $50 Value)

Hydrate and Energize Giveaway Sponsored by Moms Meet and E-hydrate

Hosted by Pea of Sweetness

Hydrate and Energize Giveaway

You know the old saying, “you are what you eat?” Well, it’s true. The vitamins, nutrients, and sources of your daily fuel are what your body uses to rebuild itself—every day. It’s really no wonder why so many people struggle to feel better when their choices are packed with processed sugars, artificial ingredients, and unpronounceable chemicals. That’s why E-hydrate set out to create hydration, nutrition, and energy products that are natural with great tasting, real flavors born in the kitchen, not a laboratory.

Emilee at Pea of Sweetness was excited to discover products to help them and their kids hydrate and energize without the chemicals! See what they thought in her E-hydrate review.

One winner will receive 2 E-hydrate Ultimate Sample Packs: 4 Protein On-the-Go Pouches, 8 Hydration Drink Mix Sticks, and 8 KIDS Hydration Mix Sticks (a $50 Value). This giveaway runs through 5/9/16 at 11:59pm Eastern Time and is open to US residents ages 18+. Winners are subject to eligibility verification and will have 48 hours to confirm before a new winner will be drawn. For any questions/concerns please email emilee.roberts (at) peaofsweetness (dot) com (consider adding this email to your “Safe List” as winning email notification will be sent from this email). Please refer to the full terms and conditions in the Giveaway Tools.

 

Disclosure: Emilee at Pea of Sweetness received complementary products to facilitate her review. No additional compensation was received. Pea of Sweetness and any additional participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

 
IF THE GIVEAWAY FORM DOESN’T SHOW, CLICK ON THE WORDS/LINK THAT SAYS ‘ENTRY FORM’. A NEW TAB WILL OPEN.’

Posted in Book Reviews

The Beggar King: Oliver Potszch

1662: Jakob Kuisl, The Hangman of Schongau, is summoned to visit his little sister in Regensburg. According to the letter, she’s quite ill & needs her brother along with all his medicinal knowledge. Without a second’s hesitation, Jakob takes off for Regensburg where his sister & brother-in-law operate a bathhouse.

Meanwhile, in Schongau, Magdalena & Simon are being terribly persecuted. Because the Hangman & his family are considered cursed, they’re treated as outcasts. Likewise, Simon’s town standing has diminished due to his relationship with Magdalena. Desperate to protect her mother & siblings, Magdalene urges Simon to run off with her. Under the premise of starting a new life, they, also end up in Regensburg. However, Jakob initially has no idea they’re there too.

Soon, Jakob will be tremendously glad to see them! After his arrival, he discovers a murder has occurred & the powers-that-be are convinced Jakob’s done it. Now the tables have turned on the hangman as he has become the condemned. It’s up to Simon & Magdalena to save the day. No one was aware of the corruption & underhanded tactics swirling around Regensburg. Before it’s all said & done, Simon & Magdalena will get caught up in world of underground beggars, repercussions from The Great War, & shady dealings with the Bishop. But, can they save Jakob’s life?

‘The Beggar King’, apparently titled after a character who appears midway through the book, is definitely an unexpected turn in the series. Readers see a more in depth look at what took place during the Great War. Prior to Book 3, we have little info about Jakob the Mercenary. By far, this one is the most brutal to date. There is a lot of death & a ton of torture.

For the most part, the majority of the plot is cloak-and-dagger as Magdalena & Simon launch their rescue plan for Jakob. The cast of supporting characters is at time creepy & definitely a unique bunch. There a quite a few subplots, too, which adds to the original plot without overshadowing it. However, there wasn’t enough mention of him to justify the book’s title. I definitely could think of several more relevant titles.

As for the violence, there was probably a bit more included than was necessary for plot development. The series itself is violent to a point, but many of the details could’ve been reduced. Again, the novel is very lengthy. Perhaps leaving out some of the violent, torture descriptions would have shortened it a tad.

For the most part, if one ignores the gore, it’s a good plot continuation for the series. I definitely liked that the author included so much character development. It certainly takes skill to make a villain (The Hangman) into a hero. I give this one 4 stars.

 

 

Posted in Giveaways

TeenyTinyStar Giveaway

This giveaway will run from now – 5/4 at 11:59pm Eastern Time.

It is open to US and Canada ages 18+

1 US winner will receive a personalized DVD, Music CD and $25 Visa Gift Card. 1 Canada winner will receive a digital personalized video.
IF THE GIVEAWAY FOR DOESN’T FORM DOESN’T SHOW, CLICK ON THE WORDS/LINK ‘ENTRY FORM’. A NEW TAB WILL OPEN.

TeenyTinyStar Giveaway Sponsored by TeenyTinyStar

Hosted by Pea of Sweetness

TeenyTinyStar Giveaway

Would your teeny tiny child like to be a star? With the fun, personalized nursery rhymes movie from TeenyTinyStar they can! They can enjoy their favorite nursery rhymes while feeling like a star when they watch themselves as a unique character in all the videos! See what Emilee at Pea of Sweetness thought of the fun personalized videos for kids!

One US winner will receive a Nursery Rhymes Personalized DVD for 1 child + Music CD and one Canadian winner will receive a Nursery Rhymes Personalized Videos Digital Download for 1 child. Please be sure to enter on the correct giveaway form. This giveaway runs through 5/4/16 at 11:59pm Eastern Time and is open to US and Canada ages 18+ (One to US only and One to Canada only). Winners are subject to eligibility verification and will have 48 hours to confirm before a new winner will be drawn. For any questions/concerns please email emilee.roberts (at) peaofsweetness (dot) com (consider adding this email to your “Safe List” as winning email notification will be sent from this email). Please refer to the full terms and conditions in the Giveaway Tools.

*US Giveaway*

 

 

*Canada Giveaway*

 

Disclosure: Emilee at Pea of Sweetness received complementary products to facilitate her review. No additional compensation was received. Pea of Sweetness and any additional participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

 

Posted in Beauty, Giveaways, Health

National Stress Awareness Month Giveaway

This giveaway will run from now – 4/29 at 11:59pm Eastern Time.

It is open to US residents ages 18+

1 winner will receive a bottle of Raspberry-Lemon Natural Calm

National Stress Awareness Month Giveaway Sponsored by Natural Vitality

Hosted by Pea of Sweetness

Natural Calm Giveaway

April is National Stress Awareness Month. Natural Vitality has produced a free ebook for a way to experience more calmful living! Plus they’re offering a giveaway for a bottle of Natural Calm! Would you like to win?

One winner will receive a bottle of Natural Calm Raspberry-Lemon Flavor. This giveaway runs through 4/29/16 at 11:59pm Eastern Time and is open to US residents ages 18+. Winner is subject to eligibility verification and will have 48 hours to confirm before a new winner will be drawn. For any questions/concerns please email emilee.roberts (at) peaofsweetness (dot) com (consider adding this email to your “Safe List” as winning email notification will be sent from this email). Please refer to the full terms and conditions in the Giveaway Tools.

 

Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. Pea of Sweetness and any additional participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

 
IF THE GIVEAWAY FORM ISN’T VISIBLE, CLICK ON THE LINK THAT SAYS ‘ENTRY FORM’. A NEW TAB WILL OPEN.

Posted in Food, Product Reviews

Give Mom a Happier Mother’s Day with Johnsonville Sausage!

Two things moms worldwide will never turn down are handmade presents & meals their children have cooked. If the moms in your life are anything like me, than they cook at least one meal each day of the year. This Mother’s Day, help the kids take over the kitchen & give Mom a break.

With young children, it can be difficult to organize a meal that they can safely prepare. Obviously if they can’t reach the stove top, then they can’t use it. However, they can safely peel a banana, pour orange juice and now, cook Johnsonville Sausage. No grease burns or spills to be concerned about when you can microwave Johnsonville Original Recipe Fully Cooked Breakfast Sausage. Adult supervision will still be required, especially with timing, but it certainly makes them feel more independent. By utilizing this handy breakfast item, the sky’s the limit for breakfast options.IMG_0048

In 40 seconds, faster than the kids can yell ‘Happy Mother’s Day!’, sausage is fully heated & ready to go. For once, there’s no worry about how long the sausage will take in the pan or when to begin the other breakfast elements. When they say 40 seconds, it really is 40 seconds! They only problem you’ll have is trying not to eat them before the meal is served. As a mom, I love that Johnsonville is a name I know & trust for my family. Each of their products is made of high-quality meat, tastes delicious & is priced just right.

When we started teaching the kids their kitchen independence, we began with breakfast. My husband taught them eggs & sausage on the stove about the time they started Kindergarten. Now, at 13, our youngest is the household’s breakfast aficionado. Although all 3 boys cook admirable breakfasts, the youngest just has a special knack for it. He makes a spot-on sunny-side up egg. I humbly admit that it is one egg dish I never mastered. Often, he’ll create his own breakfast sandwiches. Now that sausage can be prepared in a mere 40 seconds, he’ll be able to experiment with new sandwiches even on school days.

A number of terrific combos come to mind for the sausage. Mini pancakes with a sausage patty in between would mimic a certain ‘Mc’sandwich. Either homemade or heat & serve pancakes would do. French toast is always a winner so paired with these patties it becomes protein-packed perfection. Even cutting the sausages into quarters & adding to an omelet mix would be tasty. But, we decided that our ideal, Mother’s Day breakfast would be: Johnsonville Texas Toast Breakfast Sandwiches (feel free to substitute another, catchy name here!).
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Ingredients:

1 box, any brand frozen, Texas Toast

1 Package of Original Recipe Fully Cooked Breakfast Sausage
4 eggs

Cooking spray

Feel free to use the Turkey Sausage instead. We used Eggland’s Best eggs, but any brand will do.

1.Preheat oven to 425 (or per toast package directions.

2. Arrange toast, one slice high, across an ungreased baking sheet.

3. After preheating, put sheet in oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until your desired shade of gold brown is achieve on the toast. Our bread had a 5 cheese mix. It took about 8-1/2 minutes total.

4. Spray skillet with cooking spray.

5. Heat skillet until spray is not longer visible.

6. Prepare eggs per personal preference. One egg per sandwich. With 8 pieces of toast, you’re looking at 4 sandwiches.

7. Place a paper towel on a microwave safe plate. When first egg is almost finished, place Johnsonville Sausages onto microwave safe plate. Per package directions, cook 2 at a time.

8. Remember, it’s only 40 seconds until awesome sausage!

9. After removing bread from oven, place one egg on 4 of the toast pieces.

10. Add 2 pieces of sausage on top of each egg.
11. Put another piece of bread on top.

12. Viola! Johnsonville Texas Toast Sandwiches!

*Kid & Dad tested and given thumbs up from all!!!

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Visit: http://www.johnsonville.com/home.html

Johnsonville products are always a staple in our refridgerator due to their versatility. I’ve used their products for more dinners then I can count. We can always find them at our local Giant Eagle, but visit the Johnsonville site to locate them near you!

Whether you’re a mom, grandma, caregiver, guardian, or a nurturer in general, I wish you a wonderful & peaceful Mother’s Day. If you are looking to bless one of the above for their special day, above all else, make them feel appreciated. No gift can compare to that. Happy Mother’s Day!

*We were blessed by the fabulous folks at Johnsonville with product/comp in order to complete the post. ALL opinions are my own.

 

Posted in Beauty, Product Reviews

No Foolin’! April’s Beauty Box is Here!

IMG_0036Don’t let the snow throw you off. Spring really has sprung. With it comes April’s delivery from Beauty Box 5! As always our favorite subscription service delivers us 5 new or new-to-you products each month via USPS.
IMG_0040For $12 each month, we get to sample, love, like or dislike beauty products. Generously, this month’s box provides 3 full size products rather than a sample size. I love when they do that! Let’s jump in!
IMG_0039First up, we have Soapbox’s ‘Sea Minerals Body Wash’. A quarter-sized amount will do ya. Aloe vera, shea butter, & sea minerals give you a mental picture of a summer beach vacation. Each bottle purchased for the MSRP of $5.99, results in Soapbox donating a bottle to someone in need, Nice! Don’t you love companies who give back?
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Next is a new-to-me company. Jelly Pong Pong send along a full size item- their ‘Paradise Pigments’. Dual-purposed, it works for cheeks & lips. ‘Fig Jam’ was the color I received. Brutal honesty here: it is way to bright for me. Attracting attention to a facial feature is one thing. I felt like I had a neon sign on my lips. Bold is a great adjective to use for it. While I love 2-in-1 products in the beauty aisle, for an MSRP of $19.95, I’m walking right by it.
IMG_0037Lip service continues with Chella’s ‘Passionate Pink Moisturizing Lip pencil’. Again, they’ve been generous with providing a full-sized pencil for us. Does it hydrate? Yes, it does. Does it last? No, it doesn’t. Some lucky ladies can work the color pink like no one’s business. Others of us cannot. I cannot. However, the color in & of itself is nice. For springtime, especially, it would look great on somebody, just not me. Also, for an MSRP of $18, I can’t justify it being more extraordinary than other brands.
Allergy issues or lack of sleep give us nasty puffiness & dark circles around our eyes. Ask most women & they’ll say they have one or the other of these issues. Some of us have both! So, the eyes need more TLC than other facial zones. Maskeraide (cute name) believes they’ve solved these dilemmas with ‘All Eyes on Me Hydrating Eye Gels’. Brightening, hydrating, & firming come together in these all-in-one patches. After using them, I did notice that it moisturized & the skin looked a bt grighter. I’m not 100% on whether it made a difference in fine lines. But, for a home spa day or pampering, they serve their purpose. That is if the $25 MSRP isits right with you.
Last, but not least, we have a full-sized version of Global Beauty Care’s ‘Green Tea Makeup Remover Wipes’. I liked them. For $1.99, you get 30 makeup wipes which is a pretty good deal. Great for gym or tote bags, they definitely took off make-up and fulfilled their promise to bust leftover eyeliner.

Subscription boxes are very popular & it’s easy to see why. But, in the steep competition, it’s easier to pick one than it is to decide on a Presidential candidate! Beauty Box 5 gives the most bang for your buck! Add it all up. You save a lot of money & a lot of time having these delivered for your door. Try new things before making a commitment.

You can find out full product info as well as ordering details by visiting http://www.beautybox5.com. Here you’ll also see how to enter their Instagram contest to win 5 full-sized products. *I received the aforementioned products in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Posted in Giveaways, Health

Essential Anniversary Giveaway

This giveaway will run from now – 4/25 at 11:59pm Eastern Time.

It is open to US residents ages 18+

1 winner will receive a 5ml bottle of Peppermint and Basil essential oils

Essential Anniversary Giveaway Sponsored and Hosted by Pea of Sweetness

Essential Anniversary Giveaway

Essential Oils offer a variety of great benefits, and Emilee at Pea of Sweetness decided to not only use them occasionally in DIY products, but she decided to make them a part of their every day lifestyle 2 years ago when she became a Young Living Independent Distributor.

Their family has been enjoying the essential oils and supplements Young Living offers, and to celebrate her 2 year anniversary she would like to share some with you!

One winner will receive a 5ml bottle of Peppermint and Basil essential oils. Experience all their unique benefits or add them both to fractionated coconut oil after a workout or a busy day for a soothing massage!

This giveaway runs through 4/25/16 at 11:59pm Eastern Time and is open to US residents ages 18+. Winner is subject to eligibility verification and will have 48 hours to confirm before a new winner will be drawn. For any questions/concerns please email emilee.roberts (at) peaofsweetness (dot) com (consider adding this email to your “Safe List” as winning email notification will be sent from this email). Please refer to the full terms and conditions in the Giveaway Tools.

 

Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. Pea of Sweetness is solely responsible for prize fulfillment. Any additional participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

 

IF THE GIVEAWAY FORM DOESN’T SHOW, CLICK ON THE WORDS ‘ENTRY FORM’. A NEW TAB WILL OPEN.