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Family-Friendly Entertainment

Litfuse Blog Tour The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

2/29/12
About the Book:



To escape a scheme to marry her off to a dishonorable man, Margaret Macy flees London disguised as a housemaid. If she can remain unwed until her next birthday, she will receive an inheritance, and with it, sweet independence. But she never planned on actually working as a servant. And certainly not in the home of Nathaniel and Lewis Upchurch--both former suitors.

As she fumbles through the first real work of her life, Margaret struggles to keep her identity secret when suspicions arise and prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall. Can she avoid a trap meant to force her from hiding?









About the Author:


Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

For more information, visit www.julieklassen.com



Where to Buy:

You can purchase The Maid of Faibourne Hall on Amazon



My Review:

I am a die-hard Jane Austen fanatic, so whenever I find a story that is written in the same period, I am definitely intrigued.   This is my first time reading a book from Julie Klassen, but definitely not my last!   


This story had me hooked from the first few pages.   How could you not be with a wicked step-father trying to marry off Margaret to an equally wicked good-looking young gentleman who wants her for her money?    That alone kept me turning the pages.  But the twist of Margaret, the perfect "lady", disguising herself as a lowly maid in the home of her former suitors equally grabbed my attention.


I was thoroughly entertained and my Janeite heart was giddy with glee throughout Margaret's journey.   Watching Margaret evolve from haughty refined "lady" to humble lowly housemaid Nora was definitely characterization worthy of an Austen comparison.  I truly felt like I was watching a Jane Austen adaptation leap off the pages.  It also reminded me of one of my latest obsessions Downton Abbey.


I definitely recommend this novel for not only Jane Austen fans, but also period drama addicts.  You will not be disappointed!  




See What Others Have To Say On The Blog Tour:


http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13456522/julieklassen



Contest:

Don't miss the perfect blend of Regency-era romance and mystery in The Maid of Fairbourne Hall! Grab a copy and then be sure to enter Julie's Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVP for her Author Chat party on Facebook! Swoon.




One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • A Julie Klassen Library (The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess)


Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/14/12. Winner will be announced at Julie's Fairbourne Hall Book Chat Party on 3/15. Julie will be hosting an evening of chat, trivia and a sneak peek of her next book - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books and a Downton Abbey Prize Pack (Seasons 1 and 2)!

So grab your copy of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and join Julie and friends on the evening of March 15th for a book chat party.


Enter via Twitter

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook



Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on March 15th!


Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity for the purpose of review.


Three Hearts DVD Samaritan's Purse Review and Giveaway

2/28/12




Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.

About Children’s
Heart Project

Children’s Heart Project brings children with congenital heart defects to North America for life-saving surgery. Since 1997, Children’s Heart Project has helped hundreds of children from more than a dozen developing countries.

About Three Hearts:




A passionate team of people work to save the lives of three Mongolian children with life-threatening heart defects.


Graduating college senior, Cissie Graham Lynch, granddaughter of evangelist Billy Graham, takes on an internship at Samaritan’s Purse working with the Children’s Heart Project. This project is dedicated to saving the lives of children by providing medical procedures that aren’t available in many countries. Cissie is charged with supervising the arrival and surgeries of three Mongolian children suffering from fatal congenital heart defects.


But the task is not easy and filled with unexpected challenges. Cissie balances responsibilities as a newly married wife to a professional football player and her tasks with the internship. Meanwhile the Children’s Heart team turns to a Texas family who travels to Mongolia for the adventure of a lifetime to help bring the children to San Antonio for their surgeries. In Texas, two host families make sacrifices to care for these children and their mothers, while a team of doctors and nurses volunteer their time only to stare directly into the face of life and death. How far would you go to save a life?


It’s a fight for survival, a fight of faith, and a fight for a new life for these three hearts.




Trailer:









Review:


I had heard about Samaritan's Purse through my church, but was not aware of this particular project.  This documentary follows three children from Mongolia and their families' journey to get life-saving heart surgery through the Children's Heart Project.


This is a very moving film!  As a parent, I couldn't help but feel for these parents who felt helpless to do anything for their sick children.  I can't imagine being in a place that does not have the technology to help your child.  This project is a wonderful way to reach out to these parents and not only help them financially, but also as a way to minister to their spiritual needs and share with them God's love.


It also gives a perspective from those that are involved in the project and how it impacts their lives.


I couldn't help but grab some tissues at several points in the film.  It grabs you by the heartstrings!


I highly recommend you see this documentary with your family.  It is also a great project to show to your church group, Sunday School class,  or youth group (especially Middle School and High School) to inspire them to get involved in helping others either in their community or far away.




Where to Buy:


You can purchase this DVD at Christianbook.com





Want to win a copy of this DVD for yourself (or give as a gift)?




GIVEAWAY:


One of my readers is going to win a copy of Three Hearts on DVD.




Required Entry: (don't forget to leave your email address if it's not in your profile):


Visit the Three Hearts Movie website and tell me something you learned.



Extra Entries: (leave a separate comment for each thing you do):


1.  Follow my blog on Google Friend or on Google+  
(tell me how you follow and leave the name you follow with)


2.  Subscribe to my blog via email on Feedburner  (confirm)

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner



3.  Follow me on Twitter (leave Twitter ID)



4.  Tweet about this giveaway and leave a direct link to your tweet (one tweet per day).  You can copy and paste the following tweet:


#Win Three Hearts DVD from @SamaritansPurse via @atticgirl76 Ends 3/13/12   http://tinyurl.com/6t52fqf   #giveaway 





This giveaway Ends 3/13/12 at 12 Midnight EST and is open to US Residents 18 and older only. Winner will be chosen randomly, emailed, and will have 48 hours to respond or another will be drawn. This prize will be directly shipped from the sponsor.  

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising


Book Review Offspring by Scott Appleton

2/27/12



About the Book:

Summary from the publisher

The Hemmed Land is changing...and so is the daughter born out of the ultimate sacrifice...

With Ilfedo's beloved wife buried, the Hemmed Land is destined to change, as is he. The sea serpents have again invaded the land and Ilfedo must discover the power behind the sword of the dragon, even as he accepts his people's call to become their Lord Warrior. His daughter grows into a beautiful young woman whose wisdom and love endears her to the people, and sets her on a journey to find a race of unique and powerful creatures. But far to the north an evil long ago stirred, and Letrias's workings soon threaten everything Ilfedo holds dear.


About the Author:

Scott Appleton is a Christian freelance fiction writer living in northeast Connecticut.

He was homeschooled through high school. He developed a love for reading and writing from his mother, and a love for science from his father. In high school he became involved with an astronomy group out of North Scituate, Rhode Island. His first published piece was a theoretical article for their newsletter. Upon graduating from high school at seventeen he traveled to Thailand as a student missionary and stayed for three months.

Upon his return to the United States he studied Math and English at a community college and later obtained a certificate in Creative Editing through an online course.

Over the course of several years he created The Sword of the Dragon series and published multiple news articles, as well as works of poetry, and short fiction. Currently he divides his time between writing his novels, and spending time with his wife and son.





Review/Thoughts:


Offspring is packed with action, adventure, and suspense.  The author uses rich language to describe the classic struggle of good and evil.  His creation of the Megatraths and the mysterious entity trying to control Ilfedo adds to the adventure and suspense.


My twelve year old son was very impressed by the story line, characters, and the action-packed plot.  Though we both agree that it would have been a little easier to follow the characters if we had the background from the first book.  We plan on going back and reading the first book soon.


I was pleasantly surprised that this book kept my son occupied for at least two full weeks.  He usually devours books in a couple of days.  But the complicated twists and turns of this novel (we don't want to give away any spoilers) slowed him down and made him really think about what was going on in the story.  (It takes mom a lot longer to read a book of that size with a tot at home)


Although this is written with a Christian perspective, it is not preachy and is subtle in its subtext.  I recommend this for older kids 12+ due to the vocabulary level.    


Definitely a must read for fantasy fans who enjoy a great story with well-described characters that feel like they are right there with you.




Where to Buy It:


You can purchase Offspring on Amazon 






Connect With The Author:


Scott Appleton's Blog

Scott Appleton's Facebook Page


Disclaimer: Thank you Scott Appleton for providing me with a copy to review.

Bee Friendly Friday Follow Google+ Blog Hop

2/24/12

Today I'm linking up with the Bee Friendly Friday Follow Google+ Blog Hop.

 Welcome to Bee Friendly Friday Follow!
Co-hosted by Crazy about My BaybahFamily and Life in Las Vegas, and Crazy and Cool with a side of Crafty! This hop is about meeting new friends and finding fun blogs to read. So link up, grab our button, and BEE FRIENDLY!!
Google Friend Connect will be a thing of the past for WordPress blogs starting in March. in an attempt to get a jump for out pages, we decided to embrace the change and work on connecting with everyone on their Google Plus Pages too!

Here are a few simple guidelines we encourage you to follow:

1. Add your Google+ Page to the linky below.
2. Follow the hosts in the #1, #2, and #3 spots. Leave a comment, and we will follow you back! (Please be sure to leave your Google+ Page url too!)
3. Grab our Bee Friendly button to share the fun.
4. Bee Friendly, and visit the pages that catch your eye.
5. If you get a new follower, Bee Friendly, and return the love!
6. If you would like to post this link up on your blog as well, you can do so by clicking this link!

** Please make sure to link up your Google+ Page only. Other links will be deleted!**

* When pasting your page url, do not put the https://the linky or it will not work.









Target Dr. Seuss Storytime The Lorax

2/23/12
Calling all Dr. Seuss fans...


As part of the NEA's Read Across America, Target stores will be hosting a live reading of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax this Saturday, Feb. 25th 9-11AM.



Amazon.com


They will also have free goody bags and fun activities.


Target's site has a reader's guide, Quiz: Which Dr. Seuss character are You?,  and free printables to make your own Lorax puppet and hat.   


Click HERE for details about this free event.


For follow-up activities, check out Seussville for online games and more Dr. Seuss fun!


Disclosure:  This is not a compensated post.  I found this information online and thought I'd share it with other Dr. Seuss fans.

Wordless Wednesday: For the Love of Popsicles

2/22/12


For more Wordless (or not so wordless) Wednesday, visit Five Minutes for Mom. You can also leave your W/W post link below.



Teaser Tuesdays: The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

2/21/12



Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.


Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My Teaser:


"He shook his head to clear his vision and his mind.  Dear God in heaven, help me.  The iimage seemed burned into his brain, unshakable."


pg. 254 The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen


What are you reading? If you have a teaser, you can head on over to Miz B's blog or share it here by leaving a comment.

Children's Advil Coupon

2/20/12
Cold and Flu season seems to continue into spring time. It's important to have some fever-reducing meds on hand just in case it strikes your home.   No one wants to take a late night run to the pharmacy with a sick child.






Children's Advil® is there to offer the relief you and your child can depend on! Children's Advil® provides up to 8-hours of fever relief in just one dose, relieving fever faster and keeping it down longer to help kids get back to feeling like kids again.



Dye-free Infants' Advil® is available for children ages 6-23 months and Children's Advil® is available for ages 2-11 in four great liquid suspension flavors including Grape, Blue Raspberry, Fruit and Dye-Free White Grape, as well as convenient Grape Chewables.

For more information, visit www.childrensadvil.com.


Click here for an online coupon link for Children's Advil.  (You will have to put in your address and date of birth to get the link to the coupon)

Disclosure:  I did not receive any compensation for this post.  I received this information from Children's Advil through MyBlogSpark.

Winner of I Just Can't Take it Anymore!

2/17/12
Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway for Anthony DeStefano's book I Just Can't Take it Anymore!


The winner according to random.org is:
#32 AshleyS
Congratulations!

Love, Whipped Cream, and Tears

2/16/12
On Valentine's Day, I thought I'd try a fun activity with the Attic Baby.  It didn't quite go as I planned.


Sensory experiences are supposed to be fun for toddlers, right?  So I got out the whipped cream and started painting it onto the high chair tray.

Baby girl put her hands in it at first...I even let her try a taste.  She seemed to like it...

whipped cream, toddler sensory activities



I even made her a cute little heart.  But I guess she wasn't so thrilled about getting messy...

toddler crafts, whipped cream crafts, preschool crafts


Sensory activities for toddlers, toddler crafts, Valentine's Day crafts for toddlers


whipped cream, valentine's day crafts for toddlers


sensory activities, toddler crafts, valentine's day crafts for kids
                                     





Hopefully we'll have better luck next time.

Teaser Tuesdays Valentines Edition: Dreaming of Mr. Darcy

2/14/12



Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.


Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My Teaser:


"Adam watched as the cat ate.  How simple life was when you were a cat.  One didn't get knotted up by emotions such as love.  One ate and slept and occasionally stalked about in the fields."


pg. 254 Dreaming of Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly


What are you reading? If you have a teaser, you can head on over to Miz B's blog or share it here by leaving a comment.




Happy Valentines Day! 


Reminder: I Just Can't Take it Anymore! Giveaway Ends Tomorrow

2/13/12


If you're looking for an encouraging book for yourself or to give as a gift, stop by and enter the giveaway for I Just Can't Take It Anymore! by Anthony DeStefano.


Can a small slim book change your life?

This one can! Pairing hilarious photos of children with beautifully simple words, I Just Can't Take it Anymore will cheer up even the most discouraged people. In a lighthearted yet profound way, Anthony DeStefano, author of the bestseller, A Travel Guide to Heaven, conveys the essence of the Judeo-Christian teaching on suffering, all the while making readers laugh out loud and sigh "Aww." At once straightforward and funny and yet deeply moving, the book depicts challenges we all face: “Messy” lives, feelings of loss, abandonment, frustration, and despair. Then, step by step, DeStefano gently nudges readers into seeing the wholepicture—life with all its beauties, joys, challenges and pleasures.  If you know anyone who can use some encouraging words or just needs a reason to smile, I Just Can’t Take It Anymore! offers plenty of both.
 



To Enter, Click HERE.

Cupcake Cuties Designer Cupcake Kits Review

2/10/12
Take Your Cupcakes from Ordinary to EXTRAORDINARY!



I have to admit that I have a major sweet tooth.  I love cake, especially the icing.  My hubby's birthday was coming up and I happened to stumble upon a review on another blog for Cupcake Cuties.  When I saw how adorable these cupcakes were (and how yummy they looked!)  I knew I had to try them.







Mind you, I may have a sweet tooth, but I am not a baker.  Those moms with the perfectly decorated homemade cupcakes that come to parties or classrooms....nope, definitely not one of those moms.  My homemade doesn't usually turn out pretty, so I end up buying something already finished.  


Everything on their website said that these are as "easy as 1, 2 ,3" with "busy Moms and Dads in mind."   And I am a busy mom with a 1 yr old in need of something easy.  




The kit arrived in this cute box with pink tissue paper.  Even in packaging, these are just plain cute.


This is one of the kits I was sent (the other I am saving for Easter).  I have never seen cupcakes that look like cheeseburgers.  This was perfect for my hubby's birthday celebration!



Complete BBQ/Cheeseburger Cupcake Kit Contains:

  • (24) Cheeseburger Cupcake Sleeves/Wrappers
  • Brown Food Coloring
  • White Jimmies Shaker
  • Easy to follow How-To decorating instructions and illustrations

(you will need to buy your favorite cake mix and icing ahead of time, they are not included in the kit)




We took out all of our ingredients and our instructions and got to work.






My 12 yr old son helped me make the cupcake mix and bake them.  




Some of the cupcakes turned out bigger than others, so it was a little tricky getting the sleeves around some of them.  We put the sleeves on before icing the cupcakes so we didn't mess up the icing.  






I have never worked with gel food coloring before (only the liquid drops).  I only needed a very small bit to get the color of the cheeseburger bun.  At first, it looked like chocolate ice cream.   I'm glad I only tried a little icing at first and then kept adding more in so it finally lightened up.  You only need a little bit for one tub of icing.  The color wasn't perfect, but we were pretty pleased with it.


After adding the icing, we sprinkled on the jimmies and voila!  We had cheeseburger cupcakes.  And let me tell you, they tasted just as good as they looked!  






These took a bit of time to ice on our first try, but I'm sure it will go more quickly the next time around now that we have done them once.


My hubby brought several of them to work the next day.  He received compliments as well as comments like "those are cute!"  "that's a cupcake?"  and "I've never seen those before."






The cost of the kit right now is $12.99 (regular $16.99).  Yes, this is a bit pricey for our family, since they don't include the cupcakes and icing.   It's something for a special occasion and not something we could afford to do when we get a sudden craving for sweets (which happens often in our house!).  








Where to Buy:  


You can purchase kits directly from the Cupcake Cuties website.


You can find their latest designs and news on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.






If you're in need of something special for a birthday party, office party, holiday, or fun occasion, you definitely want to check out Cupcake Cuties.  They have kits for Valentines Day too!


Disclosure:  I received the kit mentioned above for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.


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