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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Exciting, mysterious journey {book review}

When I first began reading the advance reading copy of Guardian of the Gate, which is the second book of Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. In the beginning,  it seemed as if I needed to have read the first book to understand what was going on, but I was mistaken. As the book progressed, enough of the background was revealed to make it an interesting novel to stand on its own.

Guardian of the Gate, which was released in August 2010, tells the story of Lia Milthorpe who journeys to the uncharted isle of Altus to continue her search for the missing pages of the Book of Chaos, which are supposed to tell her how to end the prophesy that has turned generations of sisters against each other as it has already done to her and her twin Alice.

It is a book of ancient myths and legends that includes romance, danger, betrayal and intrigue. And it’s a book that keeps you wanting more. Will Lia find the missing pages, will the darkness win, and will her twin’s growing powers and dark nature beat out Lia’s light and goodness?

A little bit of a SPOILER follows…

The answers to those  questions won’t be answered in Book II. You won’t get to the end and find out if Lia defeats Alice, if her powers get any stronger or  if she ends up with her true love James or Dimitri who she seems to have an undying passion for.

…end of spoiler.

I like the details of the book and the fact that you – as the reader – don’t have to be too knowledgeable of ancient myths and the like. Although I like a book that sets you up to want to pick up the next one, I don’t like a book where you have to get the next one to find out what happens. On the other hand, after reading the press materials that arrived with the book I understand why the Zink takes this approach. The book is published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers for ages 12 and up; that demographic of readers are loyal to authors and normally collect books in a series.

I found Guardian of the Gate to be a truly interesting read even as an adult, and given the opportunity I will definitely pick up a copy of Prophecy of the Sisters and look forward to the release of the next book in the series.

To learn more about the author  and her fascination with ancient myths and legends, visit Michelle Zink online.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink free of charge to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. Any opinions expressed here are my own. If you make a purchase through the above Amazon link I will receive a small commission. For more information review my complete policy.

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Do you need a personal trainer?

A lot of us had taken the time to share what we’re thankful for this holiday season. Thanksgiving Day has come and gone, but we’re still basking in the love, family, friendship and food! The food, for some, will continue on for several days and some of us may gain a little weight or get off track of our healthy and weight loss programs.

Now would be a good time to hire a personal trainer. A personal trainer is someone who embraces your goals and pushes you toward them. I’ve been surprised at home many people are taking advantage of the service and the areas you can find one. In fact, I recently learned of a Vancouver personal trainer who comes highly recommended.

Whatever you do to get back into or stay in shape during the holiday season, be sure to continue on that path.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and don’t eat too much sweet potato pie.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Have a joyous, fun-filled Thanksgiving

It dawned me a few minutes ago that I should have scheduled a Happy Thanksgiving post, but I didn’t so I just popped on here to wish you all a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving day. I’m not going to stress about what I haven’t finished or didn’t get to, and I’m hoping you maintain a stress-free, joyful day filled with family fun and laughter.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Here’s to a day of family, love and turkey-day goodness.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How to take care of your lips

I’m not one of those women who has to put on makeup before I leave the house. Even though I go through stages of wanting to “put on a face,” the stage doesn’t last long. So I resolved myself to maintaining the health of my skin, putting on mascara to define my eyes and applying lip gloss to keep my lips moisturized.

I find that I like to use lip gloss and lipstick along with some type of lip balm. Using two products instead of just one makes lip color last longer as well as assists in keeping my lips moisturized.

One of the best products on the market is lip lacquer, but they aren’t all created equal. The first time I used that type of product was in 2002, for my wedding, which is when it was just becoming popular. Although I liked the concept and it lasted longer than regular lipstick it was difficult to remove. Lip lacquer has come a long way since then. It can now be used alone or with your favorite lipstick and it maintains its shine and prevents color from bleeding. An added benefit is the natural ingredients: vitamins A and E, avocado oil, sesame seed oil and jojoba seed oil.

Take the time to at least add a little color and shine on your lips. What is your one beauty must-have?

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Wordless Wednesday – Anna’s best friend from school

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Imagine Anna’s delight when her little friend came over for the Mega Blok play date.
Aren’t they cute?

Check out  pictures of all my children.
And visit 5 Minutes for Mom for more Wordless Wednesday.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Welcome home…

PetAmber08 On June 23, 1991 I gave birth to my first child, my first daughter, and up until the time she graduated from high school we hadn’t spent more than a week or two apart. And we have rarely went more than 48 hours without talking on the phone.

Amber came home for the summer and went back to school to begin the fall semester and, believe it or not, I’ve only seen her once in the past three months. The longest we’ve ever been apart. As she gets older, and makes a life for herself, I’m sure those time periods may get longer and longer… But I don’t have to think about that right now.

me and amber summer 2010 Sometime this evening my first baby, Munchkin, will be home for the Thanksgiving holiday. I relish in the time we’ll have together this week and I’m already anticipating the laughs, jokes, sharing and getting on each others’ nerves (LOL) that’s sure to accompany the visit. It’s something – and someone – I’m really thankful for.

Welcome home, Amber…

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Mega fun with Mega Bloks {play date re-cap + review}

One of the reasons I love blogging is I can do things for myself and my children that are either entertaining, educational or necessary. Another of the reasons is I thoroughly enjoy sharing products and information with my friends (including my blog readers and friends) and family. So when MommyParties contacted me about hosting a party sponsored by MegaBloks I jumped at the chance.

DSCF5392 The MegaBloks party was this past Saturday and, despite my nervousness, it was a huge success. Not all of the children showed up that were scheduled, but it worked out perfectly. My youngest, who was the official host, greeted her guests at the door and they all went right to the Play’n Go Table that was set up in the middle of the floor. Before the children started their building and playing, I told all the mommies (and a couple of grandmas) about the Play’n Go Table.

DSCF5389 I love that little table, which you can see here without the Bloks on top. Those four pieces – the yellow, green, blue and orange ones – lift off and there’s a little storage area within for the MegaBloks. It’s easy for children to unlock the table, with a little knob in the center, and get ready for play all by themselves. If you want to take the table to go, all you have to do is push two tabs on each leg and all four legs fold down and you’re ready to go. No assembly, no mess and no fuss. Just the kind of toy I like!

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The party was planned for children in Anna’s age range (she’s 3), but when everyone didn’t show up that allowed the three older kids (my two ages 7 and 5, and a friend’s daughter also age 5) to participate in the fun. I was amazed at how long the children played with that table. The built cities and buildings then tore them down, they built again and knocked them down… over and over again.

 

 

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Most of the children had noticed the Lil’ Vehicles (Lil’ Pink Bus, Lil’ School Bus, Lil’ Boat, Lil’ Dump Truck and Lil’ Tractor) sitting off to the side and it wasn’t long that they all tired of waiting to get their hands on them. Once they all decided on which vehicle they wanted, we set up races two by two.

 

Here are Anna and Aries, looking very serious, waiting for the signal to go (no, we didn’t let Aries get a jump on Anna. LOL… She scouted back a little)…

DSCF5401…  And they’re off!

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These boys (who I call Little J and Big J) are cousins. Here they prepare to race.

DSCF5402 My two middle children, Andre and Amareah, got in on the fun again. I think they tied each time they raced each other!

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Each of the children raced two or three times, if not more, and by the time they tired themselves out it was juice pouches and a Mega Munch snack for everyone. Stopping for a snack and a drink did not stop the children from playing; they continued to roll around their vehicles around the room as some continued to play with the Play’n Go Table (retails for $39.99).

DSCF5387 One of the most exciting parts of the play date was the drawing at the end. When the adults arrived they filled out an information card that was put into a bag for a drawing of the raffle gift, the Pull Along Musical Pirate Ship (retails for $29.99).

 

 

 

And the winner was… Giselle and her son Jalen (please forgive me if I misspelled names). The mom, who really only came to bring her sister and her son (Damien, one of Anna’s favorite friends at school), was thrilled when she won. And, of course, her son was as well… such a cutie who was excited to find out that he had won.

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My review: The Mega Bloks Play’n Go Table is a fabulous choice for children ages 3+. The table is sturdy –  one play-date guest decided to slam it up and down – and versatile. The children at the party made so many different structures, buildings, towers, bridges and scenarios that I lost count; and my children have since found other blocks that also fit coming up with hide and seek for the little play people and a variety of other structures. The ‘Lil Vehicles, which include bloks inside of them, also proved to be sturdy against dropping, continuous rolling and crashing.

One of the things I like about Mega Bloks is how easily each separate toy fit with whatever you purchase. For instance, if you get the play and go table and later get a vehicle, the bloks inside the vehicle are easily incorporated. And the bloks can be bought unisex in the Classic 80-piece bag or strictly girly in the Pink 80-piece bag.

Now Anna wants to know when her friends are coming over again… Oh boy, I think I and MommyParties have created a “play-date loving monster!”

To check out the toys I mentioned here, as well as others, visit the Mega Bloks site. Be sure to surf around after you take a gander at the Maxi toys because there are all kinds of Mega Brands that your kids will love.

Disclosure: I received, free of charge, a Mega Bloks MommyParties Kit that contained enough Mega Bloks and information to share with 10 children and their moms.  No monetary compensation was received. Any opinions expressed here are my own. For more information review my complete policy.

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