Friday, February 24, 2017

Come to Mardi Gras with Imogene in New Orleans by Hunter Murphy

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge,from the author, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it 


Well somehow or the other, I didn't realize that my review for this book didn't post....

grrrrrrr,,blame it on a crazy month...

Between dealing with my mother in and out of the hospital, training people at work, homeschooling (whoever said it was EASY, they LIED, course having a dyslexia diagnosis of the kid didn't help either, in having to turn curriculumn upside down and back again),handling some promotion for the dance team, dance team craziness, being sick with the flu (not once, but twice), having kid sick with flu, and basically trying to keep it all together while working full time... UGH

So forgive my lateness, BUT if you want to get into the flavor of NOLA this Mardi Gras weekend, 
THIS is the book to do so!

imogene in new orleans cover


Synopsis:

At the ripe age of 73, Imogene Deal McGregor has a penchant for following her own instincts, as well as more grit and spunk than her hypochondriac son, Billy McGregor, and Billy's impulsive partner Jackson Miller can handle. The boys take Imogene to New Orleans with their devilishly handsome English bulldog Goose, hoping to visit friends and attend a second line parade, but moments after arriving in the French Quarter, they find their friend Glenway Gilbert murdered in his art gallery. Immediately, Imogene and the boys run into a temperamental and ethically-challenged lieutenant who appears hell-bent on neglecting the crime, compelling them to seek answers themselves. As they delve into Glenway Gilbert's murder, Imogene and the boys realize the deceased artist was surrounded by suspicious friends and lovers. With Goose the bulldog by their side, Jackson and Billy seek answers among old friends and new enemies, while Imogene follows her own ideas on the case. But the sooner they solve the murder, the sooner they can get back to catching beads and eating pralines.


Review:

This book actually came out in 2014, and is the first novel in the Imogene and the Boys series. It is the precursor to The Curse of the Bridal Chamberwhich you know I adored! Hunter was SO sweet to send me an autographed copy of this book, and I feel SO bad for the delayed review! But this book is JUST as charming as Bridal Chamber, as the boys bring Imogene to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and get embroiled in a rather messy mystery involving their friend. As the mystery gets messier, the reader is taken to the 4 corners of the NOLA area, and you really get a feel for NOLA's many facets. 

Once again, you have to appreciate Hunter's humor, as Billy and Jackson are such SOUTHERN characters through and through. Imogene. Well Imogene is special. We ALL have an auntee like her. For good or worse, LOL. But her relationship with 'the boys' is honest and pure, and one we all hope we could have with our older relatives! As much as the book is a mystery, it is also a tale of relationships and friendships-how much do we really know about our friends? And how only upon their deaths do we come to understand there were secrets kept. In so many ways, I'd love to see this series brought to life (mini-series?), but I don't know if the dialogue would really come across the big screen correctly. So much of the allure of the book is picturing you own family members/people you know, as the characters, or involved. And that doesn't always translate well. In many ways it is like the Tales of the City series from Armistead Maupin- which didn't really translate well (with the exception of one or two characters).

So if you are looking for a fun, kitchy, campy way, to experience NOLA and Mardi Gras, give this book a chance. I bet you'll run out and get the 2nd book too!


About the Author:

Hunter Murphy is a writer from Florida. Some of his literary heroes include P.G. Wodehouse, Eudora Welty, Christopher Morley, Eugene Walter, and Agatha Christie. He's a fan of good storytelling, no matter the medium. 

He released Imogene in New Orleans, the award-winning first novel in the Imogene and the Boys series, in 2014 and has followed up the book with The Curse of the Bridal Chamber (September 2016). He works and spends a lot of time in libraries.

Get a TRUE Spring Clean With P2 i Clean Everything All-in-1 Surface Cleaner!

isclosure / Disclaimer: I received this product, free of charge,from Probitoic Power,for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it 

spring cleaning banner

It's SPRING! 

And you know what that means- you;ll be opening the heavy drapes, opening the windows, and turning around and going "Eek!", as you realize a thorough Spring cleaning in very much needed!

And I have a new product that is perfect for helping you do just that, 
but in a way that is SAFE for the whole family!

 P2 i Clean Everything All-in-1 Surface cleaner

The new P2 i Clean Everything All-in-1 Surface cleaner concentrate cleans EVERYTHING!! From porous and non-porous materials such as glass, granite, marble, wood, stainless, tile, concrete, laminates and Formica. 

P2 controls mold, mildew and fungus with detergents, enzymes and probiotics. i Clean Everything cleans at the microscopic level, going beyond conventional cleaners, to remove biofilm and protect surfaces against harmful, pathogenic bacteria, like EColi, Staph, MRSA and Salmonella for up to three days.

According to the NIH (National Institute of Health) & the CDC (Center for Disease Control) "90% of harmful bacteria live in biofilm that cannot be cleaned away by the strongest disinfectant."

And did you know it's even on your FRUIT and MEAT?

 Without biofilm, bad bacteria cannot survive. 

And that means your surfaces are CLEAN!!

This concentrate is not only biodegradable, but non-toxic, non-flammable, non-allergenic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten free, and not tested on animals! Which means it is 100% safe for you to use around your children and pets, It has no harsh chemical,s but cleans naturally! In fact these are the ingredients: a proprietary blend of FDA GRAS probiotics, enzymes, water, biosurfactant, and proprietary organic scents.

This concentrate is also super easy to use- For smaller jobs add 4 pumps to 8 oz of warm water.  I used an old spray container, as I wanted to use it on counters and the stove first. It worked extremely well. All the counters FELT and looked cleaner than ever! For larger jobs, you double up and add 8 pumps to 16 oz of water.  I put it into a large spray bottle and used for the shower and tub, and WOW did it CLEAN! I had been using a vinegar mix, but this concentrate outdid it! 

Courtesy of Probiotic Power
In fact, one of the things I learned from testing this cleaner is that Vinegar takes a long time to biodegrade and doesn't remove the biofilm! And that while bleach can remove it, it takes it a while, AND it only works for an HOUR! Now I don't know about you, but I don't want to keep having to clean my surfaces every hour, so I'm all about using the P2 i Clean Everything All-in-1 Surface cleaner concentrate instead!

You do have to keep in mind that you have to mix up a fresh batch every 7 days to keep the probiotcs active, so you might want to start with a smaller bottle and only make the large amount if you know you will be cleaning the whole house with it! 

I would definitely recommend this is you have babies and small children, to get deep cleaning, to cut out the risk of infection and exposure to germs that younger kids can't combat well. It came in after we had all had the flu, and I really thinking using it was the most effective in keeping us from all getting it again, when we got re-exposed! 

The P2 i Clean Everything All-in-1 Surface cleaner concentrate is part of a family of products from Probiotic Power, including laundry agents, pet care, body care products and allergy products. in fact they have complete kits on sale right now, that will allow you to REALLY Spring clean like you mean it, and make your home as healthy as it can be before Spring colds and allergens hit!

So check out the full line, and grab your kits today, like I did!




Recipe Weekend: Celebrate Mardi Gras' BIG Weekend with Mocktails!

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this post, free of charge, from News and Experts, for blog posting purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about them,  all opinions are my own.

mardi gras beads

This weekend is our BIG Mardi Gras countdown, with endless parades, leading up to Tuesday's frenzy of all day parading!

Have you gotten your parade tailgate pack ready?

I've got some great additions to it, from our friend Cherie Calborn,
that you might want to consider-

Mocktails!

Mocktails are non- alcoholic cocktails (also known as mock cocktails). They can contain a wide range of ingredients like fruit juices, veggie juices, spices, herbs, mineral water, ice and sweetener. They’re a delicious, refreshing alternative to an alcoholic drink, which makes them perfect for the parade route- no worries about driving home, needing a designated driver, and EVERYONE can drink them without worry! 

But that’s just the beginning.

king cake and mask

They’re also the perfect answer for weight loss. If you ditch the alcohol and choose healthy ingredients, including a healthy low-calorie sweetener such as stevia, you can avoid a boatload of calories not to mention a hangover. And you KNOW you have to start worrying about what all those Friday King Cakes did to your figure, now that Mardi Gras is ending and the dreaded swim suit season is mere months away!

Did you know that alcohol is one of the worst options when it comes to belly fat?

 Just one alcoholic drink per day can cause you to gain weight. Though studies are conflicting as to just how much weight or belly fat is gained from how much alcohol, alcohol does cause weight gain. That’s because alcohol is a toxic substance that puts a big strain on the liver. It can clog this major organ and even contribute to fatty liver. A challenged liver can make it difficult to lose weight.
So if you want to get rid of the winter “pudge” and that muffin top, add mocktails to your spring shape up plan. 

You may also want to try a short juice fast with mocktails before dinner. You can lose at least a pound a day juice fasting, get rid of foggy brain, and recharge your energy.

SO there you go, enjoy them for Mardi Gras season and get a head start on getting ready for swim suit season! Don't you love it when things do double duty?

Here are 3 recipes, one savory and two sweet mocktails, to enjoy!

Icy Spicy Gazpacho

Icy Spicy Gazpacho

2 tomatoes, cut in chunks
1 cup fresh carrot juice (about 5–7 carrots)
lemon, juiced, peeled (if putting it through a juice machine)
1/4 cup cilantro, rinsed and chopped
1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 small jalapeño, chopped (more if you such as it hot)
3 radishes

Place the tomato chunks in a freezer bag and freeze until solid. This is optional.
(Or you can use fresh tomatoes placed in the blender; then you would need to add ice cubes.) 

Pour the carrot and lemon juices into a blender and add the frozen tomato chunks, cilantro, salt,cumin,  jalapeño, and radishes. 

Blend on high speed until smooth but slushy; serve immediately. Serves 2.

Twisted Ginger Berry

Twisted Ginger Berry

This one just LOOKS like Mardi Gras to me!

2 green apples juiced or 1 cup apple juice
1 cup blueberries
1-inch-chunk ginger root. peeled
4-6 ice cubes

Pour apple juice in a blender along with the berries and ginger root. 

Add the ice cubes and blend. Serve your icy cocktail with a sprig of mint.

leom zipper

Lemon Sipper

With less than 10 calories, this is an ideal low-calorie, vitamin C–rich thirst
quencher.

1/2 lemon, washed or peeled if not organic
1 cup unsweetened mineral water
2–3 drops liquid stevia
4 ice cubes

Juice the lemon and pour the juice into a glass over ice. 

Add the mineral water and stir to combine. Sweeten with stevia to taste.

So there you go! Some great tasting mocktails for this weekend and all march long!

guide to fasting cover

About the Author:

Cherie Calbom MSN holds a Master of Science degree in whole foods nutrition from Bastyr University. Known as “The Juice Lady” for her work with juicing and health, she is the author of 32 books including her latest The Juice Lady’s Guide to Fasting and Sugar Knockout. She and her husband offer juice cleanse retreats throughout the year, 30-Day Detox online and Garden’s Best Juice Powder. She has lectured worldwide on juicing, detoxing and fasting including consulting for the Royal Family of the UAE. Winner of the TTAC Lifetime Achievement Award for her work with juicing and detoxification, her blogs and books on juicing, cleansing and health have helped thousands of people live healthier lives. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for her free newsletter at www.juiceladycherie.com.

Children's Book Review: Your Magnificent Chooser by John Ortberg, Illus by Robert Dunn

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge,from Tyndale House Publishers, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it, all opinions are my own.

EASTER GIFT IDEAS


It hardly seems like it should be Easter already!

And while it isn't QUITE here yet, it is time to start thinking about helping ol EB out when it comes to stocking the baskets full of NON-sugary items for the kiddos!

Here is a new book that is PERFECT for including in the basket this Spring!

Your Magnificent Chooser 1 cover

Synopsis:

We all have choices to make every day, even the youngest children. The choices we make play a large part in forming who we grow to be as adults. For kids, those choices can include whether to be obedient or disobedient, to share or be selfish, to have a good attitude or not, and more. John Ortberg addresses the ability to choose in a whimsical way by inviting children to use their “magnificent chooser” that God gave them to make right choices daily. Parents will love reading this book to their kids, and kids will enjoy the content while learning lessons that will stay with them throughout their lives.

Your Magnificent Chooser 3

Review:

This is a LOVELY book that really gets at what kids can understand. THEY make choices every day. And those choices can be good or bad, and have consequences-many of which they can deal with, but some they can't/ But this book shows them that God has the ultimate chooser, and if you can't decide what to do, then asking God is always the best option!

Your Magnificent Chooser 2

This is a lovely book, perfect for Easter giving, as it goes along with the choices that Jesus made, and how we still have that free will because of it. Aimed at kids ages 3-8, this book would really work even for older kids. Miss Grace thought it was quite cute, showing God as a type of balloon always hovering over us, and we had a lively discussion after reading the book about making decisions! So, I would say that it really is a family book for the under teen ages! We highly recommend it as well!

Your Magnificent Chooser 1

About the Author:

John Ortberg is the senior pastor at Menlo Church, an author, and a speaker. John's teaching centers around our everyday life with God and how God cares more about who we are becoming than what we do. He has written books on spiritual formation including, The Life You've Always Wanted, Faith and Doubt, Who is This Man?, and Soul Keeping.

Born and raised in Rockford, Illinois, John graduated from Wheaton College with a degree in psychology. He holds a master of divinity and doctorate degree in clinical psychology from Fuller Seminary.  Prior to joining Menlo Church, John served as teaching pastor at Chicago's Willow Creek Community Church. John is a member of the board of trustees at Fuller Seminary and the board for the Dallas Willard Center for Spiritual Formation, and he has served on the board of Christianity Today International. 


About the Illustrator:

Based In Scotland, Robert works as a freelance Illustrator for the children's book industry. Between commissions he spends much of his time working on a way to suck the images out of his head in as quick and painless a way as possible.... You might recognize those images from Bedtime Read and Rhyme or The Littlest Bunny Lives in....(city)!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

2017 Krewe of Erin Crowning, Pt II

st patricks day banner

As promised, earlier today in Pt I, here is part II of our look back at 
the 2017 Krewe of Erin Crowning and Announcement of the Court!


carved shillelah

One of our prior Grand Marshall's has an amazing wooden carved shillelah (walking stick). 

Isn't he amazing?

queen and princesses

"Why yes, the crown is heavy!"

One of my fav pix of the day- I love catching the Queen in an unguarded moment with the little princesses, there is always such sweetness!

crossing to city hall

The court being escorted to city hall for the Mayor's Toast and formal presentation of the court.

So glad I let Miss Grace skip shoes with any heels! The girl in blue behind her broke a heal on the way over (and the other one at the luncheon!)!

2017 krewe of erin court

The 2017 Krewe of Erin Royal Court!

And yes, the water is only changed twice a year- the day of the crowning and the day of the parade!

hiding

"Ok, SO done with the paparazzi imitation Mom, even if you are taking formal pictures for the Krewe, I shall hide my face with my shillelah while we are toasting the mayor...."

And she did for ALL the toasts....SIGH...

with pops

Miss Grace and Papa! 

Won't be too much longer, she may be as tall as him!

2012 2015 collage

WOW- 5 years!

Her crown back then wouldn't even fit on her head, she was SO tiny!
Where HAS time gone?

tea cups

Time for one last cup of tea, before time to take everything down and get ready for the Queen's luncheon! It was a long day and we deserved it!

Hope you enjoyed checking out these pix too!








Follow Bless Their Hearts Mom