Thursday, December 13, 2012

Focus on the Family Radio Drama "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens Review

Tyndale House Publishers recently provided me with another of their great products to review. Being the traveling season of the year, holidays and all, I was excited to be receiving the latest radio drama presented by Focus On The Family Radio Theatre: "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens.

to another place & time with this full-cast audio dramatization of the Charles Dickens' timeless tale set in 1830's London. This powerful story will not only entertain you, but draw you into the timeless drama of compassion, corruption and redemption as a single orphan changes the lives of everyone around him. Featuring cinema-quality sound, award-winning writers, an original music score, and a stellar cast of some of England's best actors. Radio Theatre isn't just storytelling or a book on tape. It's an audio movie that plays on the biggest screen of all...your imagination! Includes a bonus video documentary featurette with "behind the scenes" footage and stories of real, modern-day "Olivers". " ---Focus On The Family Website

Head over to the Focus On The Family website for an exclusive behind the scenes look at the making of "Oliver Twist"! Order by Dec. 24th, 2012 and receive a FREE Radio Theatre Christmas Carol download!

Radio drama is such a fun way to change up your traveling routine, or even a great change for your  family's evening routine. This is the perfect time of year to settle in with a warm cup of cocoa and let your imagination take flight with the help of Dickens and his classic tale. It's perfect for in the car after the sun goes down for the whole family or just for mom and dad who may not get to enjoy that DVD screen the kids have in back. We usually take my husband's vehicle to see his folks a few hours away, which has no DVD system anyway. The approximate 5 hours of "Oliver Twist" was perfect for a recent round trip over the Thanksgiving holiday.

I love radio theatre and as a family we have enjoyed other radio dramas from Focus On The Family. We knew just what to expect when we popped in the CD. The quality of the drama presented was amazing. Character voices and narration flow together easily, the sound effects are amazing and sound as real as if you were right there, or playing a movie instead of a CD. Passage of time is well indicated by musical breaks so you don't feel like you jump too quickly from one moment in the story to the next. The talent of the actors is also outstanding. We loved the accents and the different voices, each character had such personality.

The only downside is that the story can be depressing at times. Oliver does not live an easy life. My husband was brought down enough at points that he felt he needed a little break from the story for some lively Christmas music. I think this story would break up well into portions for evening listening sessions over a few days or weeks as a family. There is also much to discuss about the culture and the people, so breaks might be neccessary or welcome among adults and older children to discuss the portrait of humanity at that time as painted by Charles Dickens. We had a few things to say about it for sure. There are lots of great lessons to be found in this work.

Overall, we really enjoyed it and will be passing it around the family and recommending it to friends!

"Oliver Twist" is also available on Amazon 

***Please note that I received no form of monetary compensation for this post. I did receive a sample of the product to try in order to write a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and were not influenced in any way.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tech Lovers Giveaway!

 And a Special Thanks to our Co-Host: Route 249 | Mom Blog Society | Jackie's Reviews | Geeky Gamer Mom | Tinkle Monkey | Country Stew | She Informed | S.O.S Mom | Inside My Head | Building Carpenters | Mom Does Reviews | Aunt Maggie Rocks | A Medic's World | Spend With Pennies | Bay Area Mommy | Mom's Living Thrifty | Sister's Saving Cents | My Vegan Gluten Free Life | Always Searching For Savings | What's Up - Giveaways, Contests, Promos and Deals | Don't Make Me Nuts | My Style Spot | Wife Mom Work Life | Counting To Ten | Coupons In Motion | First Place Winner Xbox Bundle: Xbox 360 4GB Console
  • Xbox 360 has blockbuster games, HD movies and controller-free fun for everyone
  • Built-in Wi-Fi for easy connection to Xbox LIVE
  • Super quiet with sleek new design plus matching controller
  • Ready for the controller-free fun of Kinect
Microsoft Xbox Live Gold Subscription Card Boaderlands Game: In a distant future, the planets at the outer edges of the galaxy have become a beacon to fortune seekers and those yearning for a better life off world. 2nd Place Winner Google Nexus 7 Black Wi-Fi 16GB Tablet - ASUS-1B16 The Google Nexus 7 tablet computer is the world's first Android tablet that combines the latest Android 4.1 mobile operating system with a powerful quad-core processor for high-performance computing on the go. An eye-catching 1280 x 800 high-definition display is your touchscreen interface for this Google tablet. The Google Nexus 7 tablet computer's LED-backlit IPS panel is made from scratch-resistant glass to offer crisp images, wide viewing angles and 10-finger multi-touch support. 3rd Place Winner: Blue Hue" Laptop Bundle with optional matching accessories:
  • Blue Laptop
  • Case/Bag
  • Mouse
  • USB Flash Drive
  • Headphones
The event dates: 11/30 - 12/10 Open World Wide. If the winner is outside the use they will receive and online gift card in the prize amount in place of the physical prize. NO EXCEPTIONS.

 For a chance to win one of these three amazing prizes enter the Rafflecopter below    

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Your Heart's Desire, Book & Bible Study Guest Post #3

Featured authors

We Are on the Same Team and Fighting the Same Enemy
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach

learn more ▶

Think about what makes your heart melt when you watch a great love story. It's not the hero's physical strength or his beloved's beauty, is it? No, you and I are drawn to the power of true love and its inexplicable ability to prevail over tragedy and adversity. The greater the conflict, the stronger the love must be in order to resolve the issue. When the hero does whatever it takes to save the relationship, our hearts soar with renewed hope. Likewise, as we seek to truly listen and understand our men when differences between us create friction, we set ourselves up for more satisfying and loving relationships.

The Author of love and life and the Designer of our differences knew there would be conflict between men and women. The real problem comes, though, when we get accustomed to seeing relational problems solved in the time it takes to eat a bag of popcorn. Our hero and his beauty have less than two hours to defeat the dragons and overcome unspeakable challenges. You and I are not going to magically resolve deep relationship conflicts in our own wisdom and definitely not in less than two hours.

When I met my husband, Steve, I was sure we were a match made in heaven. In fact, we have had the privilege of being in ministry together for most of our marriage. I wish I could tell you it's been an effortless, wonderful life for the two of us, but I would be lying to you.

I learned to fight loud and strong by watching my parents. My brother and I would hide together in my bedroom as our parents tore into each other during arguments, often screaming and throwing things. Because of my broken family, when I first got married I was sure that every conflict between me and Steve would end our marriage.

Steve was raised by parents who had stayed married, so it was impossible for him to relate to my fears and worries. He was raised in quieter surroundings. His parents dealt with conflict quite differently from mine. There was no rage. No yelling. No broken furniture. His parents rarely fought—and never in front of their children. But his family also had no system to resolve conflict. That meant issues went unresolved—though not unnoticed.

Steve's and my fighting techniques were drastically different. However, neither of us had been equipped to deal appropriately with marital conflict. That led to major challenges early in our marriage whenever we attempted to resolve a disagreement. To make things even more difficult, when I married Steve I was a new Christian and had not yet learned how to channel my anger properly.

I tried everything to get him to react or resolve conflict with me, and as I waited, I became more bitter and he became more distant. One day I couldn't take Steve's calm, cool responses anymore. From my perspective, he obviously needed some lessons on how to fight for our marriage. I'd had enough of his "let's work it out peacefully by ignoring our problems" act. In my mind, he was being polite only to annoy me.

"Why don't you ever show some emotion and prove to me you care about our marriage?" I yelled.

Steve stood there quietly, shaking his head and looking down at the ground. Then suddenly, he turned toward the mirror on our bedroom closet door and kicked it as hard as he could, smashing it to bits.

Wow, I thought, what a performance. He sure learns fast.

Suddenly I began to laugh hysterically through my tears. I was so shocked I wasn't sure if I was relieved or ready to run from what I saw. His toenail was jutting out at a bizarre angle as he asked me, "Is that enough emotion for you? If it would help, I could probably throw myself on the floor and work up a good cry." We both began to laugh together as we attempted to pick up the glass fragments scattered all over our bedroom floor. In that moment I realized how much we had shattered each other just because we were different and had not been trained on how to resolve conflict. Our marriage was not the problem; it was our hearts. Neither of us had a teachable spirit.

It took several years, a lot of tears, and one expensive closet door mirror to repair the damage inflicted during those early years. We still have conflict, as all couples do, but we now understand that we are on the same team and that it's okay not to agree on everything.

After twenty-five years of marriage, we've decided it's worth letting go of the little things and fighting to understand one another. Conflict comes no matter who we marry. We may be fighting about different things with different men, but there will always be major differences between men and women. I once heard a pastor say that if spouses agreed on everything, only one of them would be needed. Let's not allow our differences to divide us any longer!

For a sneak peek of Sheri Rose's Your Heart's Desire Group Experience, or to learn more about her ministry, visit

Watch the trailer:

Watch the trailer

Friday, November 9, 2012

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway

I am so excited to get started Christmas shopping! My son's birthday also falls in December so he is deffinately at the top of my shopping list. I love to shop for Melissa & Doug toys for my son. I enjoy that their toys are educational, often made from wood, and most of all - FUN!

Melissa & Doug has just released their Terrific Twenty: Holiday Gifts for 2012 list and I am so excited that my readers and I will have an opportunity to enjoy my favorite item from the list!

Not only are we giving away a great toy here, but you can win over at Melissa & Doug's Facebook page! They are giving away a toy a day for 20 days from their terrific twenty list! (Promotion started Nov. 6th).

It was so hard to choose which toy to share with my son and my readers, they have everything he loves on their list! From trains and trucks, animals and fuzzy friends, to learning activities for as he grows, my choices were all so exciting! So what did I pick?! Well, I honestly couldn't resist sitting my toddler in my lap and seeing what he gravitated towards, and he really liked the Big Rig Building Truck Wooden Play Set:

 Enter to win on the Rafflecopter form below!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Paula Deen Thanksgiving Giveaway


Kaeli's Kiwis is excited to help bring you this giveaway!   The event dates: 11/3 - 11/13 Open World Wide, Sponsored by: Mom Blog Society | Geeky Gamer Mom | Route 249 | Mom Does Reviews | My Vegan Gluten Free Life | Oh! My Heartsie | Carries Rambles | Dirty Truth Reviews | Giveaway Bandit | Lovez 2 Read | This bakeware goes straight from the oven to the table

Paula Deen Cook Book

There's no holiday Paula Deen loves better than Christmas, when she opens her home to family and friends, and traditions old and new make the days merry and bright. Filled with Paula's trademark Southern charm and happy reminiscences of Yuletide seasons past, Christmas with Paula Deen is a collection of beloved holiday recipes and stories interspersed with cherished family photographs.

Paula Deen Cookwear

Professional Paula Deen Stainless Steel 10-Piece set with a fully encapsulated stainless steel disk for even heat distribution, dual riveted silicone comfort handles, tempered glass lids and durable nonstick coating for easy clean up. Aluminum skillets feature easy cleaning DuPont Teflon Select nonstick coating for long-lasting food release. Suitable for use on all stovetops including glass and induction.

Paula Deen Knife set

Get all the tools you need for down-home cooking with this 14-piece knife block set from Paula Deen, which includes 8-inch chef, 8-inch slicer, 8-inch bread, 6-inch utility, and 3-1/2-inch paring knives. It also includes a pair of kitchen shears, an 8-inch sharpening steel, and six 5-inch steak knives, all conveniently housed in a handsome hardwood block that's made from sustainable acacia wood.   For your chance to win, simply enter via the Rafflecopter below. GOOD LUCK!

Your Heart's Desire: Book & Bible Study Guest Post #2

Featured authors

There Are a Lot of Reasons to Give Up, but There Are Greater 
Reasons to Finish Strong
The Grand Finale

By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach

learn more ▶

When you have dedicated your life to loving, encouraging, praying for, and pouring yourself into your husband, only to watch him, in a moment of weakness, destroy the foundation you worked so hard to build, you may feel as if your entire world has been wiped out. If this describes you, I invite you to read a real-life love story that I believe will give you the passion you may need to persevere under any and every trial. It will also give you a true picture of what love looks like when lived out with a legacy perspective. I call this story "The Grand Finale."

John and Marie were college sweethearts who dreamed of furthering God's Kingdom together. During the first decade of their ministry, God blessed them with a growing church, two beautiful children, and a strong and loving marriage. Because of their commitment to God and each other, they became one of the most respected couples in the community. Their marriage was a beacon of hope to other young couples who wondered what marriage could be. John loved the ministry, and he loved the life God had given him. He was passionate about the call of God on his life, and he truly loved his wife.

One day as John was busy working at the church, a young lady burst through the door of the church office. She was crying hysterically, and John came out of his office to see what he might do to help. As she struggled to catch her breath, she told John about her desperate attempts to escape from her abusive husband. She was sure he would kill her if he found her, but she didn't feel safe going to the police because they had failed to help her in the past. John quickly called Marie and asked her to take the young lady to a safe place. After Marie helped this distraught young mom gather her kids and some clothes, she brought them home to spend the night with her and John.

In a matter of days, Marie and John's love for this young woman led her to become a Christian. After spending a few weeks in their home, she seemed like a new person. She was hungry for God and at peace. John and Marie felt great, knowing they had made such an impact on this young woman and her kids.

When this woman and her children were still staying in John and Marie's home several weeks later, many of his good friends and family approached John and recommended that the woman find housing with another single mom. He was blinded, saying, "Marie is really helping her. I can't ask her to leave now; she may fall away from the Lord."

John's good intentions without wisdom and his unwillingness to heed the warnings of others left him unguarded against the enemy's attack. One night when Marie was out leading a Bible study, John was home alone with this woman. She had fallen for Marie's husband and was determined to have him for herself. Tragically, Marie walked into her home to find John and the young woman in their bed together. Everything John and Marie had built was destroyed.

Unable to handle his guilt, John felt like such a failure that he left his marriage, his children, and his church to marry this young, attractive woman. Two years into his new marriage, however, he was diagnosed with acute leukemia and given only ten weeks to live. His second wife, who was still in her early twenties, decided she did not want to take care of a dying man. After emptying his bank account, she left him alone to die. He had no family and no loving church body to rally around him. In fact, he had nothing to show for his years of hard work and dedication to ministry.

As tragic as this story is, the ending is proof of God's amazing grace. Marie decided that when John died, he should be free of guilt and shame. She went to his bedside, not gloating with condemnation, but offering to care for and forgive him. Her kids seemed almost angry at her for loving her ex-husband after all he had done. Her friends from church asked her why she was helping him. However, Marie wanted her children and church to remember, not how John had left them, but how she took care of him, never leaving his bedside until he drew his last breath.

On the day John died, his children and members from his church gathered around his bedside with Marie. They held hands and shared memories of how John had touched others' lives when he was walking with God. Marie got a greater gift. By her sacrifice, she began the healing in her own heart and in her children's hearts. Today they can all live free of regret and anger because they said a final good-bye to their father in a setting of God's glorious love.

Marie finished strong in spite of the devastation, and she gave John and their kids an amazing final gift: she gave him her forgiveness and the opportunity to finish what he had started, even if it had to take place on his deathbed after their marriage had ended.

If you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. (1 Peter 4:19)

For more teaching from the Your Heart's Desire book and Bible study, visit

Watch the trailer:

Watch the trailer

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Giveaway! Shutterfly Holiday Card Credit!

It's time to start thinking Christmas Cards! Planning photo sessions or combing through this years pictures now will save you time when you get ready to order those beautiful glossy (or matte!) keepsakes for your friends and families.

We love using Shutterfly for all our photo cards and other photo keepsakes. We have been more than pleased with how quickly our cards have arrived in the past, accompanied by envelopes, making it super easy for us to stuff and send in time for the holidays! Even when we waited till our son was born on December 4th, 2010 to get our photos, we still ordered our cards and had them to our relatives by Christmas!

Here is what our card from 2 years ago looked like:

 I love all the convenience features over at Shutterfly. Pricing is always very clear, and the more you order, the cheaper rate you get for your cards! I also love using the favorites feature to keep track of cards I like:

Here is my favorite card for this year:

 If you don't celebrate Christmas, they have lots of other seasonal selections, also be sure to check out their special offers!

Connect with Shutterfly, then enter to win $50 off order of $50 or more!
  (excluding tax and shipping & cannot be combined with any other promos (expire 12/14/2012 – no extensions)

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