Tuesday, April 28, 2015

West Virginia Ramps (Wild Onions)

I think most people think of inclines when you say "ramps", but that's not the case if you're from West Virginia.  It's the end of ramp season right now and in this part of the country, when people say "ramps" they are often referring to a wild onion.

These have a very strong and distinct flavor.  Legend has it that when my dad was in high school, there was a test he wasn't prepared for, and he put ramps behind the radiators in some of the classrooms causing school to be let out early because of the smell.  Some of his stories were a bit outlandish, but I tend to believe this one.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Seven Takes Friday April 24, 2015 #7QT #SQT

Most of my posts contain affiliate links where I get a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you when you purchase something through a link.  Thank you for starting your shopping here at Books, Bargains, Blessings.

Yesterday marked one month until I get married.  Here's a few quick takes of what has been going on around here.

1.  There was an eight hour manhunt in my small town of 1500 last week.  A man murdered someone and then was on the run.  I don't know what of the rumors were true or not, but my fiance and I holed up in an upstairs room, with the lights out, checking social media, and had a couple knife blocks with us.  The suspect was either captured or turned himself in the next morning.  

2.  I've been sick, and my fiance has been sick.   I was supposed to have my teeth cleaned this week, but had to reschedule.   I get to do that next week.  I also binge watched Bulloch Family Ranch on gMovies.  (I have a giveaway going on for a six month subscription to gMovies.  Open to the US and Canada and ends 4/26.)

3.  Yesterday was one month until the wedding.  Being sick for a week this close to the wedding?  Ain't nobody got time for that!  I've had a virus and then immediately developed a cold, barely over the viral infection.  

4.  Our premarital counseling was this week.  All I have to say is I hope the minister was wrong when he said that we'll always have things happen like last year and will never be done renovating the house.  (Last year 10 family, friends, and neighbors passed away, there was a breast cancer scare, diabetes diagnosis, false police report against me, blackmail that I didn't give into, burst water pipes, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.)   Renovating the house has been going on since November.  It's been an expensive process, lots of surprises (and none of them good), and even having to saw through a floor to get to the main water shut off.  Why it was put under a floor I don't know.  But I hope the minister actually meant small home repairs and not that we would always have projects like this going on:

5.  I was feeling so bad yesterday that one of my blogger programs announced they would be opening an amazing blogger opportunity later.  I read that, and fell asleep and dreamed they gave us ice cream and that it helped my throat from being sore.  (Needless to say when I woke up, I got some of the strawberry cheesecake ice cream that is in the freezer.)

6.  I registered to attend the National Sweepstakes convention in Boston.  I can't buy my plane tickets yet because I'm not sure if my name will officially be changed by then or not, but I'm excited.

7.   I found out that a roommate from college is flying in for my wedding.  I was on a Campus Crusade summer missions project in 1996, and three of my four roommates will be coming in even though they live in Montana, Kansas, and Tennessee.   It is very sad my parents wont' be at my wedding (they are both deceased) but these girls will help add so much joy to my wedding.  I can't begin to tell you what a blessing it is they will be there.  Yes, I'll miss my parents greatly, but there will still be so much love surrounding me.  I haven't seen them since 1998, 2005, and 2006, and we will Skype with the one girl who won't be here.  Its going to be amazing.

For more Seven Quick Takes, visit This Ain't The Lyceum

Thursday, April 16, 2015

G Movies review, Free trial and Giveaway

FTC disclosure:  I received a free subscription to gMovies to help facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

I love my tablet.  There's so many things it can do from entertainment to educational, encouraging me spiritually, and helping me track finances.  It is usually with me at all times.  One thing I often like to do is watch something to help me fall asleep.  With no cable service, it is sometimes hard to decide what to watch.  So when I had an opportunity to review gMovies, I was excited.  After all, a movie streaming service with family friendly options?  What's not to like?  Plus, there is no contract and you can cancel anytime!

Of course, I use my tablet, but gMovies can be accessed from an iPad, Android, or PC.  There are 300 Christian movies and TV shows you can choose from with new titles added monthly.  It's powered by the UP Network for UPlifting entertainment.  At only $4.99 a month, this would be great to allow children to pick their own shows because you know everything on this app is wholesome entertainment.   Wait -- did I say entertainment?  They also have some documentaries.  I'm a documentary junkie and that was the first section I checked out when I downloaded the app.

Another thing I really liked was the selection of shows.  I was happy to see they had some Davey and Goliath.  But the very first thing I watched was Mandie and the Forgotten Christmas.   I was always a huge fan of the Mandie books when I was a child, and I hadn't known there had been Mandie movies made.

I have a special treat for my readers.  gMovies has given me a code for a TWO WEEK FREE TRIAL!   That's right, every one of you can try out gMovies for two weeks.  Just go to gMovies and enter code: FREETRIAL56

That's not all, one reader will receive a six month subscription to gMovies.   Just enter the giveaway below.  Giveaway open to the US AND Canada.  

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Taxes, Smart Phones, and Finances

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post.  I am part of the U.S. Cellular Better Moments blogger brigade.  All opinions are my own and I only recommend items I think are helpful and beneficial.

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. 

When I first started blogging, I wrote mainly about deals I got from coupons, freebies received in the mail, and other small money saving items.  I was a coupon queen before it was cool, and once popularity hit, seemed like deals dried up, so I started looking for other ways to save money.  One of them which really surprised me, is to do my taxes myself.  Did you know that many accountants charge by the number of papers you have?   Last year I earned a small amount of interest in a few different accounts, won a sweepstakes prize, blogging income, and I had a whole slew of 1099s.  There was one for three cents!  That would have cost me an extra $20 or more at the accountant in town just because I earned three cents in interest.  So I did my taxes myself.  I was even able to do them on my tablet with TurboTax -- and if you are lucky enough to get a refund you can track it with MyTaxRefund if you e-file.  Some might think that because I like to save money I should have gone with IRS Free File but that only allows you to file federal and I wanted to file my state taxes as well.  Another app that will help you file federal taxes is H & R Block for iPad.  While not free, TaxAct Ultimate Bundle for $17.95 uses an interview process to help save you money.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Why We Are NOT having Dancing at Our Wedding Reception

This post contains affiliate links.

I have never dreamed of having dancing at my wedding reception.  I grew up in the Church of the Nazarene and in that era, they frowned on dancing.  Square dance was not even allowed as a phys ed class.  I never learned to dance, and although I don't see it as a sin (at least depending on the type of dancing), I just had no desire for it at my wedding reception.  Growing up, I always thought I'd probably have the type of reception where everyone went downstairs in the church basement and drank punch, ate mints (and if was really fancy, wedding cake), and as entertainment watch the bride and groom open their gifts.  I have no desire to dance at my wedding reception.
Then I met and fell in love with someone from the city.  Country and city people are radically different.  The first time I mentioned no dancing to my fiance, he was surprised, but we both decided that given the situation, we wanted to come up with a fun alternative.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Pants? No Chance! Book review and Giveaway! Ends 4/21

FTC disclaimer:  Many of my posts contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission of your purchase price for you starting your shopping here at no extra charge to you.  I won a copy of this book in a giveaway, and received no compensation for running this giveaway.

I love books!   I especially love children's books.   In fact, I love children's books so much that when I was a senior in college, I needed an elective.  I decided to take children's literature so I could get college credit for reading children's books.   We did have to study about what made a children's book quality literature, but I loved spending so much time in the children's section of the local library.  A few of the books we were required to read were ones I already owned even though they were published after I was a child.

I also love entering giveaways online.  I recently saw a giveaway for the book Lulupop Pants! No Chance! and entered.  I won, and when the book arrived, I settled in to read it.  I was instantly charmed by the delightful illustrations.

As I started reading, I realized this book had absolutely every trait of a good children's book according to my children's literature professor.  Plus it is one of the most fun books I have come across in a long time.

Lulupop never wants to wear pants -- she always wants to wear dresses.  This is a great book with repetition with difference which we learned was very important as children love to anticipate what is coming next.  The same thing happens every day for a week.  Lulupop's mother brings her some type of pants.  I loved how each day it was different -- leggings, jeans, overalls, etc.  The days of the week are mentioned in order as well, starting with Monday.  Each day Lulupop says "Pants!  No chance!"   (I love how she created a sing song way of saying no.  I love rhyme.)  Then Lulupop says something so silly and crazy that she would love to do instead of wearing pants.   While I don't have children, I know this is something I would have giggled at to no end when I was a child.  

This is a book that teaches consequences of our actions.  Sometimes it's best to wear pants, sometimes it's best to wear a dress.  Lulupop has a week of things that aren't as fun as they could have been if she had worn pants.  

The end of the book Lulupop comes up with a solution and even creates her own word.  I loved that because I was always creating my own words when I was little.

I have to say Susan Layni hit the bullseye with with book.   Often when I win a giveaway for a book, I will then pass it on to my library.  This book, however, has been added to my personal collection and I hope to share it with many little girls over the years.  My only complaint?  Where was Susan Lanyi when I was a preschooler?  I can tell you now that this would have been my favorite book!

I loved this book so much I contacted the author and offered to do a giveaway for one copy of Pants! No chance!  This giveaway ends April 21, 2015.  It is open to the USA and Canada.  One entry per person per day.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Orphan Song CD is only $5 at Family Christian

Most of my posts contain affiliate links where I get a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you when you purchase something through a link.  Thank you for starting your shopping here at Books, Bargains, Blessings.  I received a free Orphan Song CD from Family Christian to help facilitate this blog post.

Recently, I received the CD Orphan Song from Family Christian.  Would you believe this is a great CD that is only $5.

What is so great about it?  Well, I'm glad you asked!  It has fifteen songs on it from artists like Newsboys, Jars of Clay, and Nicole Mullen.  (My Shepherd by Nicole Mullen is my favorite on this album!  This is a great song with a very applicable message with a very catchy tune)  This compilation album was produced by David Mullin.

This is a StorySong CD.  That means you can listen to the music, share the music, and your purchase empowers those who are less fortunate.  The purchase of this CD helps orphans in Africa go to school -- sometimes they even need housing.  It says on the back of this CD "Help us build a better story for the world".   

One thing that struck me about this album was the photo inside the cover.  There is a teenage girl smiling and the biology book in front of her is in such bad shape schools in the United States would replace the book.  Yet to her it is a blessing.

You can buy  Orphan Song at FamilyChristian.com or in store.   I also have a giveaway for a $10 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate going on currently.  Be sure and enter, and this is one of the items you might decide to buy if you are a winner.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

When I met Darryl Talley

As part of my "voice and story" posts, I'm going to be posting some memories from life.  Not one person experiences life the same way, we all have unique experiences, and some are worth sharing.  This is one I truly believe is worth remembering.

In 1983, I was in 4th grade.  I was, as of then, undiagnosed with a learning disability in math.  I could get the answer, but not show my work.  We took a test that required us only to come up with the correct answer, and I did so well on it that I was a math field day alternate.  Me!  The one who barely could keep up in math class!  To celebrate, my grandmother told me to pick anyone in Morgantown, WV and she'd try to arrange dinner with them for me.  She expected me to pick a photographer from the paper, but I chose Darryl Talley, who was a senior at WVU.  I'm not quite sure why I picked him, I wasn't a huge football fan, but did watch it when I was in the room and Dad had football on TV.  I surprised everyone then with my pick, and it still surprises me.