Posted by: suzan | November 8, 2017

Choosing Hope Author Book Tour

ChoosingHopeTourBanner (2)

Relationships and marriages. Some are great and memorable, some are despicable and detestable. In the story of Choosing Hope, by author Holly Kammier, all of these fit the description of Hope Sullivan’s idyllic relationship and marriage. What she thought was a perfect thing became her downfall.

The synopsis of Choosing Hope by Holly Kammier:

A broken marriage.

A love affair.
A lie that changes it all…

Hope Rains Sullivan is living the dream—a successful husband, two beautiful young boys, and a charming home in Northern California. She should be happy. She almost convinced herself she was, until Adrian came along.

Adrian, appears to be everything her husband isn’t. He works with his hands, and is even willing to use them in a fight. He’s sexy, strong and fit, with warm brown skin that alludes to his Spanish background. Best of all, he lives for spending time with his kids. Feeling alone in her marriage, Adrian offers her a way out

Hope’s affair is just the beginning. Her journey inward will require untangling her complicated past and surviving an astonishing revelation. Her lover is not who he pretends to be.

She’s searching for her happily-ever-after, and no matter how painful the journey, she’ll find what she’s been looking for all along—the chance to choose Hope.

Choosing Hope is currently on sale at the following retailers:

 
Xpresso Book Tours is also offering a giveaway through November 16, 2017! The prize will be a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner. Enter here for the giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251232131/

 

My review of Choosing Hope by Holly Kammier:

Wow, this book really talks about the struggles of a relationship. It makes you wonder who people really are and what they may be hiding underneath the surface. While parts of the book were really intense, other parts felt unnecessary. But I suppose in a book that talks about abuse in a way, there are certain topics you must understand fully in order to grasp the horrors of abuse.
Choosing Hope is a great title as life really is about choosing oneself in order to be at peace. In a perfect world we would all have perfect relationships and perfect families. But in the case of Hope Sullivan, her idyllic life of a perfect marriage was just that – a dream since childhood. As she slowly peels back the layers of her marriage, she realizes that love is an obscure thing, an image that can be conjured up to live a life of luxury and bliss. When Hope becomes fed up with her husband and her marriage, she turns to the one man who had her back when she was younger.
But oh, the heart and the mind do deceive indeed! What she thought could be a perfect new life with her lost love doesn’t necessarily work out as planned, Hope realizes that self love is more important than any love with a man. As she journeys through shocking revelations, Hope unravels but eventually picks herself up, dusts off the bitterness, and begins a new life on her own.

Holly (2)

Author Bio:
Co-owner of Acorn Publishing, Holly Kammier is a UCLA honors graduate and an accomplished content editor. With a background in journalism, she has worked everywhere from CNN in Washington, D.C. and KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, to the NBC affiliate in small-town Medford, Oregon.

Holly is the best-selling author of the novel, Kingston Court, and Could Have Been Hollywood, a memoir. She recently completed her third book, Choosing Hope, a spin-off from Kingston Court. Choosing Hope is a harrowing story of passion and deceit, and the things we do for love.Holly resides in her hometown of San Diego, California, close to family and friends. A world traveler in her younger years, these days when she isn’t writing or working with new authors, she spends much of her time hanging out with her two boys, Josh and Alex. Holly is an avid reader with a passion for timeless books and beautiful writing. She also enjoys long walks with her Jack Russell Terrier, romantic movies, and making her mischievous sons smile wider.

Author links:
Choosing Hope is published by Acorn Publishing.
Thank you Xpresso Book Tours and Holly Kammier for the ARC and being a part of the author’s tour!

The giveaway is not given by Happymomblogger nor is it a part of Happymomblogger.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

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Like everything else in life, there must be a balance in order to prevent stress. But stress more or less can be at times unpredictable and it effects virtually everyone. For me, if I let stress accumulate over time instead of finding ways to relieve them, I feel completely drained and my usual good humor flies out the proverbial window. I suffer, my husband suffers, my son suffers, my household suffers, and then I just feel completely depleted. I’m sure I’m not alone here when I say I’ve had stress burnouts in my life where everything felt utterly helpless. But through time and years of experience I was able to find ways to help me deal with stress. I’ve made a list of 10 ideas but you can always find safe and sensible ways of helping you relieve stress. These ideas can also be used on children as kids can accumulate stress depending on their age.

10 Ways of Relieving and Dealing with Stress:

1- Write things down – This is by far my most favorite. When you write things down to help you remember, you have an actual tangible thing within your reach. You can just pick up that piece of paper (or your phone if you write notes on it) and reference it anytime. Or if you have the time, start a personal journal and write in it as often as you can. Just like in school, writing things down helps connect your brain to the words. That’s why writers can just go on writing for days on end because writing can be a form of catharsis that liberates you.

2- Make a list – I’m a total list writer and I learned this trait early on from my mom. Perhaps I was kind of forgetful when I was a teenager and when I moved away from home to study for college, I remembered my mom’s sage advice. Writing lists help you focus and bring everything back in front of you. Your list can be anything to help you deal with whatever stress you are feeling.

3- Go outside –  There’s something about being out in nature that just calms the soul. But you’d have to literally go someplace where it’s not stressful or strenuous for the eyes. Our eyes connect us to our feelings so try to go to a park or the ocean or lake. Anywhere that takes you away from your daily life stress.

4- Read a book – I always say, read a good book and your spirits will be lifted. Choose a book from a favorite author or a bestseller from a favorite genre. Books can create vivid images in the mind and take you to other places in your soul. For children, pick a book that’s funny and touching. Or adventurous and daring. Anything to help them take their minds off their troubles and sadness.

5 – Dance – Dancing around whether you’re an expert or have two left feet always seems to get the jitters out. When you’re stressed, your body releases certain stress hormones that can be damaging to your health. When you’re feeling happy or want to feel happy, your body releases oxytocin, which is a mood lifter and a natural antidepressant. So crank up the tunes, let your hair down, wiggle your arms and feet, and dance your butt off!

6 – Sing – Like dancing, singing either softly or belting your lungs out gives you a sense of freedom and euphoria. It’s because music has a connection to your brain that triggers emotions. Sing a happy song or a favorite song when you’re stressed and soon those pressing troubles will float away.

7 – Talk – Talking to someone you trust is a good way to beat stress. You don’t necessarily have to see a psychiatrist to get your emotions out. When you talk to a trusted person, they can help you see things from a different perspective which is often the case to why you’re feeling so stressed – you can’t get out of your own stressful mind. For children, let them talk out their feelings without interrupting them. One of the things I find kids dislike is being interrupted when they’re trying to talk to you or when they’re angry and they can’t express their feelings properly.

8 – Volunteer – The old adage about feeling better when you’re helping someone else is pretty much true. When you’re helping others you are thinking of them instead of yourself. You no longer feel the need to think about your own troubles when you see that you’re lifting someone else’s troubled mind. For children, check out local charities that take children as volunteers. It could be an animal shelter, a beach cleanup, or a fundraising event. Volunteering your time and effort is in itself, a reward.

9 – Garden – Gardening is like bringing in new life. Dig your hands into the soil and you connect with an intrinsic part of your soul. When gardening, you’re touching flowers, leaves, and soil. Nature brings their own form of magic that is mystical yet almost anyone can feel a connection to. It could be something as simple as a sunflower or a pot of herbs. Giving even a small part of your effort into your garden (whether indoor or outside) can bring unparalleled results.

10 – Sleep – Sleep is one of the best ways of reducing stress. In fact, less sleep can induce stress because your body hasn’t gone through its crucial cycles during the night. The body goes through several stages of sleep cycles and when you don’t go through all the cycles, your body and mind becomes disruptive and unclear throughout the day. Even taking a nap during the day helps too. Kids especially benefit from full sleep and naps. Because their minds and bodies are constantly changing and growing, sleep helps their body catch up to their active mind.

So, remember that stress can drain your health and leave you with long term health problems. While some experts may argue that a little bit of stress is good for the adrenaline, I personally don’t abide by that theory. Stress, even an innocent part of it, can accumulate over time and when it’s not dealt with properly, eventually you’ll feel overwhelmed and incapable of relieving that stress.

Children should learn to deal with stress at an early age. Get them into the good habit of thinking positively and making positive outcomes. And while you’re at it, take that advice and apply it to yourself. When you feel stress so does everyone else around you.

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

Posted by: suzan | November 2, 2017

Breathless Book Review and Book Tour

Breathless, by author Leigh LaVelle is one of those stories that leaves you with a happy feeling at the end. If you’re looking for a feel good story that’s full of heart and redemption, you’ll enjoy Breathless. Currently on the Xpresso Book Tour, Breathless, written by USA Today Best Selling Author Leigh LaVelle, can be purchased through Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072C7FR4D/.

Synopsis:

A sassy new romance from a USA Today Bestselling Author… Breathless (Yoga in the City, #1)

After moving cross-country yet again, Hannah Roberts wants to put down roots in Colorado. She’s sunk her life savings into a share of Bloom Yoga Studio, but the studio is losing money, and fast. The building is undergoing a messy, noisy renovation–and the hot carpenter in charge is distracting her yoga students in more ways than one. If Hannah can’t talk the hard-bodied builder out of his power tools, she might as well kiss her dreams goodbye.

When Jake Marshall returned from Afghanistan, he brought back an injured knee and a lot of bad memories. He just wants to finish this renovation, rehab his knee, and head for Alaska to leave it all behind. A sexy yoga teacher doesn’t fit into his plans. But when Hannah offers him private sessions in exchange for quiet hours—he’s all in.  He doesn’t expect that while she’s healing his knee, Hannah will poke at all his hidden wounds…and come dangerously close to breaking open his heart.

My review of Breathless:

I have to begin by saying I haven’t read a really good Contemporary Romance story in a long time and when I read Breathless, I was so glad to be a part of this blog tour. Leigh LaValle’s Breathless is one of those books that leave you with a deliciously warm and happy feeling at the end. Breathless is a sweet, touching, and inspiring book filled with many funny dialogue and moments. The main characters, Hannah and Jake aren’t your traditional couple but their struggle to find themselves and each other makes you hope to have a relationship like theirs. Love is never easy especially when you’re trying to avoid it. And with Hannah and Jake, their relationship went from great to rocky to finally an ending that left me completely happy and satisfied. They are the couple that you want things to work out for them because they struggled so much between not wanting to be dependant to needing each other because of their independence.

Hannah Robert’s life wasn’t easy. She was raised by a single mom and left on her own when she was twenty years old. She struggled to live on her own and to essentially learn that she couldn’t depend on anyone else except herself. After failing at several romantic relationships, Hannah swore off men – especially hot and troublesome men like Jake Marshall. Jake was your quintessential golden boy, a man admired by many and adored by women. Hannah tried hard not to fall for his charms and persistence but sometimes love comes when you don’t want to love.

Jake Marshall lived a meaningful life when he was younger. Talented and intelligent, his life literally spiraled out of control when the Afghanistan war left him bitter and scarred. He vowed never to fall short of his promise to his fallen soldiers and thus never letting anyone get too close to his heart. But with Jake, love and acceptance were two of the main things he felt he didn’t deserve yet ultimately found with Hannah.

Breathless was an extremely well-written story that was so easy to read from beginning to end. I felt the struggle with these two characters and I cheered them on when they needed it. Not often do writers have that talent of letting you feel what the characters feel and be a part of their journey throughout the story. In Breathless, I felt like I was there with Hannah and Jake and cried, laughed, and felt the same frustrations as they did. Their journey in life wasn’t easy yet when they both allowed themselves to accept each other, they realized that loving oneself first was the most important path to take.

Breathless was also such a funny read! Ms. LaVelle’s words are comical, endearing, and straight forward. I instantly liked Hannah because of her own self-deprecation. She was a Yoga instructor yet didn’t fall into the typical “yoga instructors” that you might see in Yoga studios and advertisements. She was beautiful inside and out and it was the love and desire from Jake that finally brought her out of her own fears.

And Jake. Sigh…he was described as a total hunk but with a heart of gold. Full of talent and bravery, Jake was every woman’s dream and desire. I loved Jake’s character as well because he was fallible even with his good looks and charming personality. He felt real and genuine and although he didn’t let anyone in close enough to see his true pain and guilt, he didn’t let it hinder him from being a great person.

Breathless will leave you breathless with wonder and fulfillment. You’ll learn a lot of things about Yoga and climbing mountains and architecture. And in the end, you’ll be happy and satisfied that Jake made the right choice and finally dealt through his pain and guilt.

Giveaway:

Xpress BookTours is also running a wonderful giveaway during the Breathless Book Tour. The prize is as follow:

  • $25 gift card to Amazon or BN

  • 3 Kindle copies of Breathless

Enter here by November 9, 2017: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251232103/

Author’s Bio:

Leigh LaValle is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and historical romance. She lives in Montana with her family. When she is not chasing kids, bemoaning the laundry, or carving out time to do yoga, she is sneaking away to write. She would rather read than sleep, and cannot imagine a better job than writing romance. She is also a certified yoga teacher, but is not nearly as flexible as she once was.

Awards and Nominations
RT Book Reviews 4 stars…..TOP PICK Night Owl Reviews….Nominated BEST HISTORICAL The Romance Reviews….Nominated for Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award…Nominated Best Historical Romancing Rakes

Author links:

http://www.leighlavalle.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5432973.Leigh_LaValle

https://www.facebook.com/leigh.lavalle

https://twitter.com/Leigh_LaValle

Thank you to Xpresso BookTours and Leigh LaValle for the opportunity to review Breathless and for the Book Tour.
*The giveaway is not hosted by Happymomblogger or connected to Happymomblogger.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

 

 

Posted by: suzan | October 23, 2017

Halloween Screams and Frightening Things

Halloween owl wreath

Halloween is literally my most favorite holiday of all the holidays. Although I’m not sure it can be categorized as a “holiday” because schools aren’t closed and neither are banks or post offices. But the day itself is a long-standing tradition and it’s pretty much celebrated throughout the world.

I’m not a big candy eater but my son and husband can get a bit crazy come Halloween time. The sweet treats and costumes have already been in stores back in September so it’s tempting to want to buy some traditional candy. I have to admit I do love to indulge on some candies during Halloween but I have to reign it in when it comes to eating the entire contents of candies in the trick-or-treat bag. Because if I left my son to his own devices, he’ll probably do just that – eat the entire bag of sweets.

So this Halloween I’m going to start a new tradition on my blog: finding creepy and scary stuff that can be both entertaining and frightening. Enjoy yourselves this Halloween!

HALLOWEEN COSTUMES GALORE!

Because we all love the royalty (right?), this year why not dress up like England’s royalty? Real Simple magazine came up with some fun ideas on how to dress like members of the royal family for Halloween: https://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/halloween/royal-family-halloween-costumes

And because I love books so much, here are ideas for literary costumes: https://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/halloween/book-character-costumeshttp://www.readbrightly.com/19-book-inspired-halloween-costumes-kids-parents

And some fun and easy last minute costume ideas: http://www.womansday.com/style/fashion/g490/20-clever-last-minute-costume-ideas

Prince William CostumePrincess Kate in white suitQueen Elizabeth II Costume

YUMMY TREATS THAT AREN’T TOO SCARY:

When it’s time to serve up some sweets and treats for the kiddos, try these easy and fun recipes. To make them healthy, use natural ingredients and avoid artificial food coloring and flavor: http://blog.mabelslabels.com/halloween-recipes-for-kids/

Yummy Mummies

http://www.parents.com/recipes/scoop-on-food/fun-ideas-for-healthier-halloween-class-parties/

https://www.marthastewart.com/1502343/halloween-treats-desserts

http://www.foodnetwork.com/healthy/photos/healthy-halloween-recipes

http://deliciousliving.com/products-we-love/hauntingly-healthy-halloween-swaps

HALLOWEEN ENTERTAINMENT FOR EVERYONE:

Besides the usual trick-or-treating and parties, there are lots of other fun things to do on Halloween too. So if you’re not too keen on dressing up for Halloween, check out these fun ideas instead.

Pretty Pumpkin Decoration Candy

http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/everything-kids/13-nights-of-halloween-is-back-heres-the-movie-lineup/

http://www.parents.com/parents-magazine/parents-perspective/12-halloween-happenings-for-families-around-the-country/

http://www.parents.com/holiday/halloween/decorating/deck-the-howls-with-these-easy-halloween-crafts/

And of course we can’t leave without any scary and bone-chilling books to read!:

 

Chosen (The Urban Legends Series Book 1) by [Broadhead, R.S.]

 Chosen – An ultra-creepy novel written by R. S. Broadhead that you should read with the lights on and definitely not late at night! This book isn’t for the kiddos though (or the faint of heart). Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fYFlux

Three Heart Echo – Another bone-chilling novel written by Keary Taylor that will have you wondering about spirits and the paranormal. This book isn’t for kiddos either. Amazon: http://amzn.to/2uFj117

Roald Dahl – Celebrated author of both children and adult books. A list of books for any age but the adult ones will have you wondering about his fantastical mind! https://www.roalddahl.com/global/roald-dahl-titles

Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler and Will Terry

These ones are definitely okay for kids: http://www.readbrightly.com/frightfully-fun-halloween-stories-kids

http://www.parents.com/holiday/halloween/games/books-and-movies-to-get-kids-ready-for-halloween/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/b/books/holidays-festivals-kids/halloween-kids/_/N-29Z8q8Zu22

HALLOWEEN FUN FACTS:

The tradition of Halloween has been around for centuries. Originally called All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints Day, the Halloween of now incorporates some of the old traditions as well as some new ones. Whether or not you believe in scaring off ghosts by dressing up to confuse them, Halloween can be a fun and safe holiday with lots of learning potential.

Learn about the tradition of Halloween: http://www.parents.com/holiday/halloween/traditions/fun-facts-about-the-history-of-halloween/

And some cool ideas for the whole family: http://www.parents.com/holiday/halloween/traditions/halloween-traditions-for-family/

So this Halloween, scare up some fun for you and the family with these awesome and cool ideas!

 

 

 

 

*photo courtesy of marthastewart.com

Posted by: suzan | October 17, 2017

The Rise of the Dawnstar Book Tour

A beautiful cover with a sweet story. The Rise of the Dawnstar is the second installment to The Last of the Firedrakes. Set in a fantasy land, there are magic, mysteries, and twists and turns along the way. Magic is both renowned and forbidden and the heroine, Aurora Firedrake must conquer an evil queen, make nice with several kingdoms, and take back what is rightfully hers.

In The Rise of the Dawnstar, expect to read some exciting world building, longing romances, and lots of magic. Throw in many deceptive characters and you have a well-written novel that’s great for anyone who loves a good YA Fantasy story.

Here’s the synopsis:

Aurora Firedrake returns in the spellbinding sequel to The Last of the Firedrakes.

The seven kingdoms of Avalonia are crumbling and evil is spreading across the land like a plague. Queen Morgana is close to finding a way to open The Book of Abraxas and it’s only a matter of time until she uses the power trapped inside its pages to enslave the entire world.

With Avalonia growing more dangerous by the day, Aurora must travel through war-torn lands and deep into the heart of the fae kingdom of Elfi. Her goal is to find a legendary weapon infused with the last of the realm’s ancient magic—the only weapon in the world powerful enough to stop the queen.

Aurora might have survived her first battle against Morgana, but the true fight to save her kingdom and restore her throne has only just begun…

Xpresso Book Tours is also running a GIVEAWAY during the blog tour for The Rise of the Dawnstar! Prize pack includes print copies of books 1 and 2 and swag. Contest is open to both US and Canada. Enter here for the fabulous giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251232091/.

For more info about Xpresso Book Tour’s The Rise of the Dawnstar book tour, check out where everyone will be at! http://xpressobooktours.com/2017/08/03/tour-sign-up-the-rise-of-the-dawnstar-by-farah-oomerbhoy/

*Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours and Farah Oomerbhoy for the ARC and the opportunity to be on the book tour!

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

 

 

As parents, we know that giving our kids proper nutrition helps them become stronger in body and mind. We prefer our children to be successful in all areas of life but sometimes part of growing up is dealing with all the complexities and pitfalls that may appear. However, we could help our kids bridge the gap between being successful and not knowing how to reach their goals. That’s why nutrition plays such a crucial role in our children’s lives and how eating the right types of food can help their minds and bodies.

In a perfect world our kids would do exactly what we tell them and eat wholesome, nutritious food all the time. But, the reality is that most kids don’t really know the difference between an artificially-colored cereal with 30 grams of sugar per tablespoon and one sweetened only with natural fruit juices. Eating well means eating food that are rich in vitamins, wholesome nutrients, and less artificial flavors and colors. But to help little minds grow exponentially, kids need to eat certain types of food found to have targeted benefits for the mind and body. Below I’ve listed a few that can be beneficial as well as fun for kids to eat.

      Eggs – Eggs are full of nutritious benefits and most kids enjoy eating them. Eggs contain high-quality protein and the egg whites are rich in selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper. Egg yolks contain more calories and fat. They are the source of cholesterol, fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and lecithin. While moderation of egg yolks is recommended, the yolks contain important minerals and fats that are necessary for brain and muscle growth. Try scrambled eggs with chives or green onions or egg salads with some mustard and mayonnaise made with olive oil.

           Leafy greens – Green veggies such as spinach, kale, and mustard greens are full of great health benefits that are important for kids. Green vegetables contain magnesium, Vitamin K, lutein and zeaxanthin which are crucial for eye health. Green veggies are also full of antioxidants so kids can stay healthy and learn well at school. Try a basic stir-fry with bok choy or spinach and garlic. Or bake them in the toaster oven for a crispy and healthy treat.

          Nuts – Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, and pecans are rich in omega fatty acids which are considered the “healthy” fat and have numerous health benefits. Walnuts in particular, are particularly rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which boosts brain health and are abundant in antioxidants. Try a mixture of nuts for a unique flavor and boost in vitamins and nutrients. If your child doesn’t fancy nuts as much, try having them drink non-sweetened almond milk, replace peanut butter with almond butter, or blend them into fruit smoothies.

           Fish – Fish is filled with Omega-3 fatty acids for increased mental health and tons of great vitamins and minerals. Fish contains vitamins D and B12, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium. Try giving your kids grilled fish and fish sticks made with a light batter. For lower calories and more health benefits, try fish sticks that are baked with rice flour or quinoa.

     Berries – Berries contain a whole assortment of health benefits. Dark berries such as blueberries, cherries, and blackberries contain higher amounts of polyphenols – which helps prevent certain diseases and illnesses due to its antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberries and raspberries also contain lutein which is important for healthy eyes and sharp vision. Try dark berries frozen or fresh. Chop up some fresh berries and put them in yogurt (which is also great for kids) or make popsicles using frozen berries and organic almond milk. Most children enjoy eating berries so serve them up whenever possible!

          Whole Grains – Whole grains contain all of the parts of the original kernel—bran, germ, and endosperm and are essential to growing a healthy mind and body. Whole grains contain essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc. Whole grains also contain the important B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate, and certain whole grains such as amaranth also contain vitamin C. Try whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa. Stir-fry brown rice with eggs and green onions for a delicious and healthy fried rice. And try quinoa in soups and stews.

        Spices – Spices can do so many wonderful things. Spices are usually dried forms of various seeds, roots, and vegetables so they are fairly easy to add into any meal. All spices have health benefits but certain kinds have specific targeted benefits. Certain spices such as cinnamon and vanilla bean are fun to add into sweet foods and have delicate flavors that kids enjoy. Most of the health benefits of spices are anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, and antibacterial. Other spices also help with cognitive function, eyesight, and induce sleep. Not all spices are safe for young children however, so it’s best to stick with ones that are commonly sold in supermarkets. Whenever possible, buy organic spices to ensure they have not been treated with toxic chemicals. Try sprinkling cinnamon and nutmeg into hot cocoa for a very unique and flavorful warm beverage. Add some bay leaf into your spaghetti sauces or chicken soup and make it a regular routine to include it in your dishes.

For kids, when it comes to finding the right balance between eating right and eating junk food, know that most junk foods have no nutritious qualities or benefits. They are essentially just fillers in your child’s day and can often fill them up so quickly that real meals don’t get eaten. Junk food should be avoided as much as possible and the best way to do that is to not keep them in the house. Choose and buy healthier snacks and keep in mind that the sooner kids eat healthier, the better chances they’ll have at maintaining a healthy outlook on life.

For some great ideas on kids supplements for a healthier mind and body, check out Delicious Living’s article: http://deliciousliving.com/supplements/how-choose-best-supplements-kids?cid=nhbc

*photo courtesy of abouthealthyfoodguide.

Posted by: suzan | September 27, 2017

Perfect Love Book Review and Blog Tour

I always say that the key to a well-written book begins with the first page. And the key to getting readers to buy the book is with a distinctive cover. Perfect Love, by author Amanda Cowen has the talent for both and her new book in the Perfect Series is definitely attention grabbing. Directly following the first installment, Perfect Love is the continuation of Perfect Sense and readers are immediately drawn back into the tumultuous world of Quinn and Cash. Love and deception pushed them apart but will their undying love bring them back together again?

I was given the opportunity to read and review Perfect Love and be a part of the Perfect Love author blog tour. Amanda Cowen is a very talented contemporary romance author as it’s clearly written in Perfect Love. As with any great romance novel, I felt drawn into Quinn’s world as she struggled to find herself in a world surrounded by men. She’s the daughter of a famous sports icon and sought after by several men in the story. However, it was the relentless pursuit of a handsome and troubled hockey star that won her heart and branded her soul. Following the story from the first book, Quinn is dealing with the aftermath of the big “mystery” and is trying to forget Cash. But like most fated love stories, Quinn just can’t quite get Cash out of her mind nor forget the intense love they shared.

Cash wasn’t perfect, nor was their relationship perfect, and at first I really disliked Cash’s character. But as the story started to unfold, Cash’s vulnerability and sincerity came through and it was easier to understand why he did what he did. Of course that didn’t make me forgive him for hiding a couple of secrets from Quinn – a woman who he supposedly loved more than anything else. But the way the author wrote the reasons why he had to hide those secrets revealed themselves nicely. Other times I would have liked Quinn to have more of a backbone instead of constantly being manipulated by the men in her lives, especially Cash. But, when it comes to love, rationality usually gets tossed out the window.

Here’s the description of Perfect Love, by Amanda Cowen:

Cash Brooks held a secret from Quinn that destroyed any chance they had at a happy ending.

Everything she believed their relationship to be was a lie.

Quinn left heartbroken for Harvard, unable to stop loving him even though she knew his past ruined any chance they had at a future.

Now, she’s in Boston completing her MBA and learning to move on without the only man she ever loved. Starting over isn’t easy… especially when an unlikely circumstance pulls her into Cash’s world once again. The truth will come out, hearts will be broken, and Cash will have to battle the mistakes from his past and fight for a second chance to be with the woman he loves.

Their love isn’t perfect, but will it be enough for Quinn to learn to trust him again? Or will the burden and mistakes from his past keep them apart forever?

 

If you’re looking for a romance story with lots of angst, turmoil, and passion, then be sure to pick up Perfect Love. It’s best to read Perfect Sense first, but not necessary. The story in Perfect Love will take you on a thrill ride and leave you with a HEA ending. You can purchase Perfect Love wherever books are sold. We’re also running a contest during the Perfect Love book blog tour where you can win a $25 Amazon gift card to purchase your very own ebook version of Perfect Love: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251232043/

Author’s Bio:

Amanda Cowen can be found eating cupcakes, singing off-key, or watching a good RomCom when she isn’t trapped on her computer writing stories and delighting her imagination. She has been writing since the ripe age of twelve about ponies and princesses in brightly colored duo-tangs with metallic pens. Thankfully, she now has a Mac with a keyboard where she can write about love, sex and relationships. She is an “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” fanatic, a hater of roller-coasters and a country music junkie. She lives in Thunder Bay, ON where the summers are short and the winters are long.

Amanda would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website, http://www. amandacowen.com, become a fan on Facebook, follow her on Goodreads, or visit her blog.

Author links:

http://www.amandacowen.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6913682.Amanda_Cowen

https://www.facebook.com/Amanda-Cowen-600953916598286/

***Thank you Xpresso Book Tours and Amanda Cowen for the ARC copy of Perfect Love.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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Posted by: suzan | September 25, 2017

Week 7: 2017 Healthy Start – Organic vs. Non-GMO

Once upon a time there was a perfect little grain. He was natural, untouched by the greed of mankind. But as years grew by, his children, and his children’s children became tainted and the original little grain lost his perfect little DNA.

We live in a world where vast fortunes of wealth and consumption are prominent in one part of the Earth, while devastation and famine dominates the other areas. And while food source can be scarce in many countries, the true nature of food has greatly changed throughout the years. Once when farmers knew very little of the word “genetically modified” now has to fight for territorial rights along neighboring farmers who are less inclined to grow healthier crops. While non-genetically modified organisms are important to preventing health problems and destroying the environment, people are often confused with the difference between the term organic and non-gmo.

When shopping for non-GMO products, it’s important to look for the Non-GMO Project (https://www.nongmoproject.org/) verified label. The Non-GMO Project started in 2007 with the intent to educate and verify the status of GMO products in the US food industry. Before the Non-GMO Project, consumers naively purchased food products from stores assuming they were somewhat if not entirely safe to consume. If you weren’t growing your own food you had to rely on what was sold in markets. But when organic foods became more readily available in markets, so was the term “Non-GMO” popping up almost everywhere. Consumers started getting even more confused. Because wait – wasn’t non-GMO the same as organic? Well, that’s where the confusion lay.

So what exactly does non-GMO infer? GMO, or genetically modified organisms, refers to plants, animals, and other organisms whose genetic material has been changed in ways that do not occur naturally. Such instances would be products that have been manufactured in a “lab” rather than from traditionally-grown seeds from original crops. In order for food to be labeled as “non-GMO”, the food must be made without ingredients that derived from genetically altered or manufactured organisms. For meat, poultry, dairy and eggs, the “non-GMO” labeling indicates animals were not fed a diet containing genetically engineered crops.

But which is better for you? Organic or non-GMO? Well, organic products go through strict guidelines under the USDA organic certification process. There are so many steps to ensure your products are indeed organically made and grown that sometimes products can get quite costly. Below, I’ve outlined the vast differences and how you can make wiser decisions in the food and products you buy. Buying organic is always best but sometimes it’s not possible so always look for the non-GMO Project verified label to ensure your food does not contain “frankenstein” organisms.

 

As you can see from the info above, choosing organic products is always a safer choice and while non-GMO products are just a standard, it isn’t always regulated. The Non-GMO Project does their best to test and identify brands that are certified under the Non-GMO Project label, but there are still companies out there who hide under the radar and bypass many steps to ensure a safer and healthier product.

But organic doesn’t always mean that it’s healthier for you either. Organic products have to contain at least 75% of organic ingredients in order to be approved by the USDA and wear the USDA Organic label. That means the other 15% or so could contain not so healthy ingredients. Of course companies who strive to produce organic products usually do so with honorable intentions because they have a reputation to uphold, after all. Regardless of whether you buy mostly organic products or not, always read the labels.

If you’re concerned about buying food that are grown using genetically modified organism, watch out for these top 10 most common GMO foods:

1. Soy – Up to 90% of soybeans in the market have been genetically modified to be naturally resistant to an herbicide called, Round Up. 

2. Corn – Half of the US farms growing corn to sell to the conglomerate, Monsanto, are growing GMO corn.

3. Canola Oil – Canola oil is derived from rapeseed oil. It is considered one of the most chemically altered oils sold in the US.

4. Cotton – Cotton has also been on the rise to be genetically altered.

5. Sugar Beets – commonly found in food that contains sugar.

6. Papaya – 77% of Hawaiian papayas are grown genetically modified.

7. Squash – squash are readily grown in the US and other countries for faster growth and resilience to insects.

8. Zucchini – like squash, zucchini contains a toxic protein that helps make it more resistant to insects.

9. Tomatoes – tomatoes grow abundantly and can be found in many types of food in the US and across the world. Insecticides are also used for resistance in crops.

10. Aspartame – Aspartame is made from aspartate, methanol, and phenylaline. All are highly carcinogenic which can cause drastic health issues.

So when it comes to the argument of whether to buy organic or non-GMO, try to buy organic whenever possible. Organic ingredients are strictly and often tested and must be certified on a regular basis. These testing include not only the final product, but the soil and seeds used as well. But if buying organic isn’t always possible, then be sure to look for the non-GMO Project verified label (or the “butterfly” label).

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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Posted by: suzan | September 21, 2017

Week 6: 2017 Healthy Start – Eat Your Crayons

***First, I’d like to apologize to my readers for posting this so late. It’s been a hectic and crazy few months for me and I just didn’t have enough time to fully devote myself to a comprehensive post. But here is the next installment of my 2017 Healthy Start. Please enjoy!

 

Have you ever heard of eating Crayons? Well, when you consider the myriad of colors that come inside a Crayon box, think about fruits and vegetables that match those colors. The idea is to eat a colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables for optimum health benefits and when you think about Crayons, you can find various colors similar to all the colors in fruits and vegetables.

Telling children to eat their crayons might be something they’re already doing (when you’re not looking of course 🙂 Crayons are fascinating things). But if you explain to them that, just like all the colors in a Crayon box, all the wonderful colors in fruits and vegetables are just as fun and interesting. Take a purple Crayon for example: you’ve got sweet grapes, plums, eggplants, and fun purple carrots. With red Crayons you have red apples, pomegranates, watermelon, radishes, and all-time favorites strawberries. And with green Crayons you’ll get kiwis, broccoli, spinach, and green apples. With all the assorted colors in a Crayon box, you can definitely find fruits and vegetables to match those colors. Have your kids bring their favorite colors to the grocery store with you and see if they can find fruits to match them. Make it a fun game and they’re sure to enjoy more fresh fruits and vegetables. Children need to know early on that eating an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables are not only beneficial to their growth, but will lead them to make healthy food choices forever.

Below I’ve listed some various fruits and vegetables that are great eaten raw or cooked. Take the list with you when you’re grocery shopping and see how many of these items your kids can find:

 

Getting kids to eat a whole spectrum of colorful fruits and vegetables can be challenging. Children will eat almost anything we put in front of them so it’s important to teach them early on about making healthier food choices. At the grocery store have your kids pick out one of their favorite fruit or vegetable, one of the fruits or vegetables that look interesting or are oddly shaped, and one that they’ve never tried before. Then when you take your purchases home, engage your child into cooking those 3 types of fruits and veggies. Eat them raw, baked, or stir-fried. Let your children enjoy what they picked out and have them help you prepare the ingredients. The more they are used to choosing healthier foods the more chances they’ll eat healthier when they’re adults. Help your children make smarter food choices whenever you’re eating out or at home.

So engage your kids to make healthier food choices by having them pick out a few of their favorite Crayon colors. If they don’t have crayons, then bring along colored pencils or even markers, just as long as the colors are an equal assortment – blue, green, red, orange, etc. Then have them go around the produce aisle and compare the colors to the various fruits and vegetables. They will have so much fun and be amazed at how colors are important in nutrients and taste. Try this when your kids are young so that you can do this for at least a couple of years until they grasp the concept of buying fruits and vegetables in an assortment of colors.

Happy shopping and eating your Crayons! 🙂

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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Posted by: suzan | September 14, 2017

Three Heart Echo – Author’s interview and review

To semi-quote what Forrest Gump famously said, reading is “like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get”. That’s kind of like picking up a new book to read. You never know how the story turns out and if you’ll instantly fall in love with it or hide it in your desk drawer hoping it’ll magically get interesting on its own. Well, in the case of author Keary Taylor, she falls into the first category. Every.Single.Time. Of all the books I’ve read by Ms. Taylor, I have never been disappointed. Her words are engaging, enigmatic, and you’re instantly thrust into the world of her characters, joining them in their tumultuous ride whether you’re ready or not.

If you’ve ever read any books by Keary Taylor, you know you’ll get transported into the world of her characters. Her words can either be a slow burn or an instant combustion of turmoil and angst. Although I’m more accustomed to Ms. Taylor’s stories of the supernatural and dystopian, Three Heart Echo is a complete step away from her other books. I went into reading Three Heart Echo with a complete open mindset, knowing that by her description of the book it would be a major step away from what she normally writes. Three Heart Echo is not a fantasy book. And it’s not a science fiction book. In fact, Three Heart Echo is a frightening, spine-tingling, can’t-quite-put-this-book-down kind of novel that leaves you breathless at the very end.

The demented thing is that this evolved from the most sickly sweet, heart-wrenching love story you’ve ever heard. I went to Sully because I just couldn’t get over Jack’s murder. I couldn’t deal.

Iona came to me for the same reason most did: because there was no closure. A love cut too short. She begged me to open the gate between the living and the dead.

We should have left it shut.

This. This is not a love story. This is a possession story. A story of lies. A story of two faces. This is a story of death and violent echoes from the other side.

And there will be no happy endings.

As the synopsis tells you, Three Heart Echo begins with a very oddly possessive couple. The heroine is a sweet, mild, and gentle woman who, under suspect circumstances, becomes entangled in a very possessive romance. I won’t give spoilers here, but I guarantee you won’t want to put the book down because each page leads you deeper into the mystery. Oh, and did I mention about the ending being quite a shocker? Yeah, it’s a very huge shocker that makes you wonder about everything you have just read!

Three Heart Echo is reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe’s writing where the words are so mesmerizing that you can’t help but read on until you’re completely satisfied. And then, you still want more. Ms. Taylor has that unique talent where her words draw you in, everything flows along smoothly and you’re aching to know what happens to the characters throughout the story. When I first read Ms. Taylor’s, The Eden Trilogy, I knew I found a new favorite author to follow. When I was offered the opportunity to promote her new book, Three Heart Echo on the author’s blog tour I jumped at the chance. Please continue below with a explicit interview with Ms. Keary Taylor.

Q. What inspired you to write Three Heart Echo?

3HE was actually the blending of two VERY different ideas.  The first was that of a grieving widow after her fiancé has died, starting with his death, and going backward through their relationship.  And the other was that of someone who went to someone who could speak to the dead to contact a loved one.  Somehow the two ideas merged.

Q. How did you come up with the title?

There are three key “hearts” in this book: Iona, Sully, and Jack.  This is about the concussion of grief in this world and reaching beyond the gate, echoing through all of their lives.

Q. Do the “hearts” in your title represent the main characters?

Indeed.

Q. As a reader, I read Three Heart Echo as more of a horror story. Is this your first horror/paranormal novel? Or how would you categorize it?

I’ve written lots of paranormal, and some of it certainly toes into creepy territory.  But this is much different than my others.  It is a little more horror, a lot more suspense.  I guess I’d call this a paranormal suspense.

Q. When did you first begin writing? How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since middle school, but I published my first book in 2010.  So it’s been seven years, and here we are, 23 books later.

Q. What are some of your favorite authors?

I wouldn’t be a writer without J.K. Rowling.  Pierce Brown’s RED RISING had a huge impact on my own writing.  I love a good contemporary romance every now and then.   I love Kelly Creagh’s NEVERMORE series.  April Genevieve Tucholke’s writing is fantastically chilling.  Just to name a small few.

Q.If you were any character in your books, who would you be? And why?

Probably either Eve from THE EDEN TRILOGY or Sage from MOMENTS OF JULIAN.  They’re both incredibly bold and brave.  They do whatever they want and don’t necessarily care what anyone thinks.  Those are traits I’m trying to work on in myself.

Q. Most of the heroines in your stories tend to be strong and take on a leadership role. In the case of Iona, what inspired you to write her as more frail and submissive?

Iona was indeed VASTLY different than most of the women I write.  But I think she is indeed like a lot of women, and I think a lot of women will be able to relate to her.  She kind of conformed to the social expectations on her, and in reality, it’s okay to not be an alpha female.  She has her vulnerabilities.  And she has her own strengths.  Determination.  Devotion.  The will to try again. 

Q. What inspired you to write Sully as a recluse instead of using his gifts to make money?

Oh wow, the thought that Sully using his ability to make money NEVER once crossed my mind!  Sully is the result of generations of cursed compression.  Everything in his life, everything in his ancestor’s lives has just pressed down on one generation after another.

Q. Do you believe there are people like Jack in this world?

Of course.  There are always going to be people who think it is okay to hold control over others, in varying degrees.

Q. Without giving away the ending, what inspired you to end the book that way?

There was no other way it could end in my head.  From the moment the two story ideas merged, I knew that the book would end this way.

Q. Do you think there is a second book for Three Heart Echo or is this pretty much a standalone novel?

3HE is very much a standalone.

Q. What are your dreams and aspirations for the future?

I want to keep writing as long as I can.  I love creating worlds and characters who inhabit my heart.  So I’ll keep writing and hopefully the readers never get tired of them!

You can find Keary Taylor’s Three Heart Echo wherever books are sold. The following links are provided for you to the most popular book sites:

Barnes and Noble bookstore

Amazon Kindle books

So be sure to check out Keary Taylor’s Three Heart Echo as well as her other magnificent stories! Thank you to Ms. Taylor for the interview and to Xpresso Book Tours for the ARC.

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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