Friday, August 30, 2013

Woolzies Dryer Balls

I like to take time to write a good review.  Tonight I remembered this one was due.  My mother is in the hospital and I have been preoccupied for the last couple weeks, but I still have had to do laundry.  When I received the box of six Woolzies Dryer Balls I threw them in the dryer.  There they have stayed.  I have never timed how long it takes for a load of laundry so I'm not sure if that really reduces drying time or not as the company claims.  Likely it does because it makes sense to me!  I just throw a load in and get it at a later point in time and I honestly have no clue how long it takes. 

However, I have lots of allergies and I can't use fabric softener.  The Woolzies Dryer Balls were perfect for me because of that.  They make a great re-usable fabric softener.  I can't use fabric softener, but I had a house guest who said they were fantastic because they were fragrance free and they softened some fabrics that traditional fabric softeners don't.

Because of them being reusable, they are economical as they are guaranteed for 1000 loads.  How much would you spend for traditional fabric softener to do 1000 loads of laundry?  Much more than the price of a box of Woolzies.

Do I recommend this product?  Yes.  Because of the events of the last couple weeks I haven't done as much laundry as usual but I have been pleased with the way my clothes are fragrance free -- and for one of the first times ever my clothes are soft because I have never been able to use traditional fabric softener.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Book Review: Consuming The Word

Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church by Scott Hahn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I was in high school, I was the top Bible quizzer for the northern half of my state.  We had to memorize an entire book of the Bible and be able to answer some of the most obscure references out of it and give chapter and verse.  But did you realize that chapter and verses were not part of the original text?  St. Matthew wrote his book as a whole, and someone added the divisions later.  I knew that for some time.

What I didn’t realize until much later was the same is true for the Bible.  Dr. Scott Hahn in his book Consuming The Word explains that the Bible was written as a whole.  The early Christians didn’t see a huge division between the Old and New Testaments as we often do now.  I’ve heard people say, “Oh, that’s not important because it’s only in the Old Testament.”   Can we honestly say that anything in the Word of God is not important? 

Dr. Hahn explains how the Bible as we know it came to be.  This is something that growing up Protestant I never really understood.  It was just told to us that the Bible was the Word of God and for all I knew it was always in the exact form we have now.  Imagine my surprise when I saw that Catholics accept more books in their Bible than most Protestants do!  Dr. Hahn explains why this is as well as explains the lectionary, which is another thing I never knew anything about in my Protestant tradition as a child.

This is an excellent book about the Bible as the early Church knew it and how they saw the Eucharist as the New Testament.  I have enjoyed every book I have read by this author, and this one is no exception.  As someone approaching the Catholic tradition with a strong background in Scripture, this was a wonderful book for me to continue to understand how Jesus is the Word, the Word became flesh, and how the Eucharist relates.  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Catholic theology or if you have an interest in the early Church.

FTC disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Please rate my review here:

You can purchase this book here:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Book Review: Why Diets Don't Work

Why Diets Don't Work: Food Is Not the Problem by Joyce Tilney

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Losing weight is all about balance.  There’s a balance of eating right, exercise, and the spiritual aspect of it.  That said, I was excited to be able to review the book “Why Diets Don’t Work Food is Not the Problem”.  My excitement, however, was short lived.  This is nothing but a book on the spiritual aspect of losing weight.  I don’t believe you can only focus on one aspect of something and expect results.  Exercise is not mentioned until page 83 (out of 84 pages of text, not including appendices.)  Even then what is said about exercise is the author “heard the words”  (I’m assuming from God but it doesn’t say) to “walk on purpose for His purpose”  (whatever that means!) and she followed.

On page 62 she admits she has never studied nutrition.  Let me remind you the title of the book is “Diets Don’t Work:  Food is Not the Problem”.  If she never studied nutrition, I question anything she states in this book because if I am looking for information on weight loss I believe it needs to include nutritional information.  One piece of advice she has is to say aloud, “No, devil, I’m not hungry.”  (page 37)

On page 17, she asks how did we “get saved?”.  The answer she gave was based solely on Romans 10:10 but her emphasis is on us.  “The words we spoke out of our moth had the power to deliver us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light” [sic]  While that is what Romans 10:10 says, I believe this is prooftexting because the author’s statement leads me to believe OUR words are responsible for our salvation.  If that is the case, why did Jesus even die for us?  Ephesians 2:8 tells us it is by faith we have been saved and not by works, that it is the work of God and no human can boast.  It appears she put the emphasis on us speaking rather than on God doing the actual work of giving us salvation.

This book could also use some editing.  The author never uses the Oxford comma and because of her excessive use of three items in a row that made me pause nearly every time wondering if the last two were combined or if she meant three different ideas.  The phrase “lightbulb moment” was used more than it should have been in a book this size.  A final note, if you are not familiar with Pentecostal terminology you may not find this book easy to read as she often uses phrases that are more unique to those churches, nor do I need to hear rhyming phrases.  (An example is on page 10 “A lack of perception leads to deception.”)  This book may make a good sermon with cute phrases, but as something to read, it fell short.

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, August 19, 2013

My Samsung Galaxy S 4

FTC disclosure:  I am a U.S. Cellular Better Moments Brigade Blogger and received compenstation for this post.  All opinions are my own.

U.S. Cellular offers a FREE PRINTABLE Parent Child agreement to help you discuss safety of the Internet, cell phone usage, limits, and courtesy with your teen or tween.  You don't even need to be a U.S. Cellular customer to access this, although I have been for 10 years and highly recommend them. 

I upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy S4 in June.  My friends were quite happy that I did because I had complained for about two years about my previous phone.  My Samsung Galaxy S4 is a dream.   I have used it in six states thus far and have had only great experiences with it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review: Set Free The Authentic Catholic Woman's Guide to Forgiveness

FTC Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book to review from The Catholic Company.

Who do you need to forgive?  Many times the top people on the list of people we need to forgive is ourselves and our parents, yet those are often people we overlook when we start thinking about who we need to extend our forgiveness.

In this beautifully written book, Genevieve Kineke takes us on a journey of forgiveness.  In just 145 pages and seventeen chapters she shows us the healing that can take place if we but extend grace to others.  We aren't perfect, yet sometimes we expect or at least hope others to be.  

This book was a joy to read, and I believe it will help many women who are struggling with bitterness.  Just the way it was written seemed to be soothing to read as she shares her heart about how we can bring ourselves closer to God by forgiving others.  She doesn't pretend that this is easy, she acknowledges the difficulty and the heartbreak of situations that we need to fully give over to God.  She mentions sexual abuse, an accident that might be over in a minute to the person who caused it but leave behind a lifetime of pain for the victim, and she even talks about when the person who hurt you does not apologize nor acknowledge the harm that was caused.

As someone who did not grow up Catholic, I was surprised when she mentioned how if we are disappointed and hurt by our earthly mother, we can look to Mary as the perfect Mother.  I'd heard about turning to our Heavenly Father to make up for what we were lacking in an early parent, but had never heard of seeing Mary as someone who could help heal wounds.

Another passage from this book that really stuck with me was how the author mentioned that some churches are excellent in trying to keep people from sinning, but only the Catholic Church has a way for them to express their guilt and know they are forgiven.  As someone who didn't grow up going to confession this is something that really rang true to me.  I remember once thinking how wonderful it would be to have someone say to me that I was forgiven of my sins.  Although I know that God forgives sometimes hearing it does wonders, and I liked that she made that point.

I highly recommend this book and give it five stars.  If you or someone you know is struggling with trying to forgive someone, this is the book for you.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Set Free.   The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion Gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Are You Pressing the Lever on McDonald's Monopoly?

I love entering sweepstakes.  I love the thrill of winning, the hope of winning, just imaging I might win.  It's McDonald's Monopoly time again, and so I will eat at McDonalds maybe once or twice with the hope of winning something.

But did you know that you can send off for free game pieces?  Do the math.  You can send off for game pieces with a self-addressed stamped envelope, costing around $1.00 in postage, plus the cost of the envelopes.  Or get the same amount of game pieces by buying large fries ($2.09).  Of course you would get the fries, but who needs almost half a day's amount of calories to get a couple game pieces?

The rules say 1 in 4 win.  Last year I sent off for a number of game pieces, as I have done in years past.  In previous years I won more food than I could eat (and ate more than I should!)  I won nothing larger than an Extra Value Meal, but I still won tons of food when I sent for thousands of game pieces.  (Of course this was YEARS ago when they had the Best Buy dollars with the pieces and I had quite a bit I was able to spend at Best Buy, but I'm talking just the Monopoly section of game.)  This meant I ate at McDonalds a lot more often, and in so doing that wasn't a good choice nutritionally to eat there so much even if it was free.  After all, keep in mind the results of the University of Wisconsin study that showed that while upsizing a meal costs 67 cents at the register, over a lifetime it costs up to $7.72 in added medical costs.  Is that really a value for your 67 cents?  You can read that study here.

This week I had some free egg white McMuffin coupons if you made a purchase.  So I decided that my mother and I would use them.  We each ordered a hash brown, and an egg white McMuffin.  We did this two different days.  We did not order drinks.  Had we not had the coupons, I would have paid right about $15 for four muffins and four hash browns.  So paying $4.24 wasn't bad in terms of financial outlay when we got breakfast.

Each food item had two game pieces on it, for a total of sixteen pieces.  From those, I won three medium fries.  (value $1.69 if you are going to be eating fries.  I'm trying to go for healthier options overall these days.  This size fries has 380 calories in it.)  I also played all my codes online and won a Redbox movie rental.  (Value $1.50, but I won't use it so will give it to a friend.) 

The odds of winning are remote.  I think many times people don't realize how remote it is because there's the "reward" of free fries.  I studied psychology in school and I remember a study where if a rat was fed at random times when it pressed a lever,  it would press the bar much more often than a rat that was fed when it pressed the lever every X number of times.  So we peel a game piece, win free fries, and we're ready to press the lever again, so to speak, since we're rewarded at random intervals.   What if we knew that we'd only win every other time we visited?  Or every third time?   In addition, there's the collect and win, and while I know people who have won cars, cash, trips in sweepstakes I don't know ANYONE who has won in the collect and win portion of McDoanlds Monopoly.  But we peel a game piece and we get excited because we don't have Pacific yet, and we faithfully paste it to our board feeling accomplished even though we'll likely never see the rare game piece that will allow us to win a sports trip we probably might not even want to pay taxes on.  You will also see posts on Facebook with people asking for a rare game piece and saying they have the others in the grouping and if you have the piece they need, then they will split the prize with you.  (Having a rare game piece is the only reason I would say to start eating at McDonalds until you get the other pieces you need, but the easiest prize to win in the collect and win game has odds of 1 in 152,520,645.  It goes up to 1 in 5,945,378,686.)  That's almost one in six billion.  Your odds of winning Powerball are much better than that!

Read the rules of a contest, see what the odds are then enter wisely.  With no Best Buy dollars on this one anymore, I might decide to eat at McDonalds during the Monopoly game, but it's not going to make me eat at McDonalds more often.

Has anyone else figured out what they have spent at McDonalds above what they normally would have during Monopoly and what they have won from that?  Yes, some people will win, but to me it's not a wise financial move nor wise health move to be eating at McDonalds more often than I normally would in hopes of winning. 

You can check out my other related blog posts here:

How to Win Sweepstakes and Prizes
How to Win a Skill Contest
How to Win a Voting Contest
How to Win in Twitter Parties
How to Win Amazon Giveaways
How to Win Blog Giveaways
Where to Find Sweepstakes to Enter
What to do when you wi n a prize.
Should You Keep the News of Winning a Contest Prize a Secret or Tell Everyone?
Are People who Win Prizes Just Lucky Ducks?
Entering Sweepstakes and Public Assistance Like SSI and and Disability
WIN your Christmas
Are you Pressing the Lever on McDonalds Monopoly?