Tuesday, September 30, 2014

" Life" book 1 of "Citizens of Logan Pond" by Rebecca Belliston-blog tour and giveaway!

Welcome to the blog tour for "Life-Citizens of Logan Pond" by Rebecca Belliston!

This book was gripping and fantastic! It always gives me anxiety to read "end of the world" books, but the reality is that our economy or government may crash and our way of living could change, so I like to get ideas and feel more prepared after reading books like this.

"Life" is book 1 in this series and has a good ending but definitely leaves you wanting to read book 2. The characters and situations were very well written and I enjoyed the book immensely! I would consider this book to be clean (no language or sex), filled with drama, and some romance. I couldn't put it down and I am looking forward to reading book 2! I would highly recommend this book.

Read on below for more info about the book and author.


Her home. Her parents. Her freedom. Gone.
His dreams. His sister. Himself. Lost.
Two people. 
One future.

The economy crashed, the country is floundering, and Carrie Ashworth struggles to keep her siblings alive. She has two jobs in her newly-formed, newly-outlawed clan: growing crops to feed thirty-six people, and keeping Oliver Simmons, their local patrolman, happy. Carrie’s life is almost content when Greg Pierce shows up. A man with the ambition to help them survive. A man determined to hate her.

When a government raid nearly wipes out their clan, Greg realizes the true reason behind their safety. Patrolman Simmons has fallen for Carrie. Greg takes it upon himself to give the socially-awkward patrolman what he wants. Only Carrie doesn’t like Greg throwing her in Simmon's path, especially when Greg’s brusque exterior melts, and she catches a glimpse of the real man underneath. Carrie is forced to choose: follow her heart or save her clan. Life won’t let her choose both.


Rebecca Lund Belliston is the author of the romantic suspense novel, SADIE, its sequel, AUGUSTINA, and a new trilogy, CITIZENS OF LOGAN POND. Besides writing fiction, she loves to compose music, teach piano, and read. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five children.
·         Website
·         Facebook
·         Twitter @rlbelliston
·         Pinterest @rlbelliston

The author Rebecca sent me some questions to answer for fun as part of the blog tour! Let me know what your answers would be to any or all of these questions. 

1.     What is one non-essential item you would keep? I would have to say my bible/scriptures. I would love to keep a family picture and chapstick if I had the choice for three things! ;-) 

2.     What responsibility would you have in a clan like this? It has to be something essential: food, clothing, or shelter related. Well I definitely wouldn't be the cook or gardener even though I'm sure I would have to learn. I kill plants and burn food. :-( I would be better at helping watch the kids, do chores like cleaning and laundry, teaching the kids school lessons. I not bad with building things so I could help with building shelters. Oh, and I could go hunting for food since I'm not bad with using a gun.  

3.     Would you have stayed in Logan Pond or moved back to a municipality? Why? This is a tough question. I wouldn't mind staying in an organized municipality because I don't mind structure and order and following rules even if I don't think they are fair. But if they were under the conditions as described in the book and people were dying and starving; I would take my chances going to Logan Pond. The weekly sweeps would be terrorizing though and constantly watching my back and protecting my family. If it was real like though, I would have to get use to it and do what I could to protect my family and keep us alive. 

4.       Which citizen are you? You can take the quiz at http://www.whichblankareyou.com/q/which-citizen-of-logan-pond-are-you

You got Jeff

You are confident and speak your mind easily. For you, family comes first, and you'll do anything to keep them safe. Anything. Some people see you as a bully, mean even, but that's because they don't appreciate your bluntness or problem-solving abilities. Learn to listen to the other side before flying off the handle. It will help you avoid many confrontations.
Read more about Jeff Kovach in CITIZENS OF LOGAN POND by Rebecca Belliston
YIKES! I can't believe I got Jeff!! LOL. I do agree that family comes first and I would do anything to keep them safe. I wouldn't say that I'm a bully though... hahaha. 

Win a signed copy of Citizens of Logan Pond: LIFE plus a $25 Amazon gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received this book complimentary for blog and social media review from the author-all opinions are my own! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

21 day fix EXTREME by Autumn Calabrese and Beachbody Fitness

I was so excited to see the news of this new Beachbody Fitness program, being released in February 2015!! I have done the 21 day fix program a couple of times and love it! I am not a BB coach, but I love their programs have done alot of them.

Here's the info:

Autumn Calabrese-Facebook page on 9/21/14

It was so exciting to announce my next program, 21 Day Fix Extreme at Leadership this weekend. We didn't get to talk to much about how it is different from 21 Day Fix so I want to give everyone a little bit better understanding of Fix Extreme.

21 Day Fix Extreme is the next levels of 21 Day Fix. The workouts are EXTREME, new moves, more weights, still 30 minute workouts. An all NEW nutrition plan designed to have you eating cleaner than ever before. 21 Day Fix Extreme is designed to take you to the next level, challenge your limits and GET YOU SHREDDED!

Here's a picture of the original 21 day fix containers. It looks like the extreme kit may have different ones, but I'm not sure.

I can't wait to find out more about this program!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Celebrate the Treasury of Bible Stories by entering the RhythmicalRhymes Kindle Giveaway!

I received a copy of the Treasury of Bible Stories in the mail a couple of weeks ago and my boys have read it multiple times since then. In fact, we read several stories the day it came in the mail. My 4 year old and 12 year both both liked reading it and looking at the pictures. We have read the stories before bed, at church, in the car-its perfect for them and the stories have bright pictures and are short.

This has been a great book to add to our Sunday church bag and personal book library!! 

About the book: Children ages 4-8 will be delighted by these rhyming Bible stories pairing spiritual truths with playful illustrations.
Featuring lyrical stories full of lighthearted moments, this colorful collection of Magnificent Tales is perfect for reading out loud. As families read these stories night after night, they will make memories together while learning about the Bible.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/BotGV

About the author: Kelly Pulley works from his middle Tennessee home writing and illustrating children's picture books, most recently Ten Unusual Features of Lulu McDunn and The Cycling Wangdoos. He is best known for illustrating dozens of books in the Beginner's Bible series, including The Beginner's Bible (over 1.25 million copies sold).

Find Kelly online: websiteFacebook

Treasury of Bible Stories: Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times

Part of the Magnificent Tales series, Treasury of Bible Stories: Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times will delight children ages 4–8 with rhyming Bible stories pairing spiritual truths with playful illustrations.

Enter the Rhythmical Rhymes Kindle Giveaway 9/15 – 10/12.
Treasury of Bible Stories Kelly Pulley

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • Treasury of Bible Stories by Kelly Pulley
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 12th. Winner will be announced October 13th at Kelly's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Kelly's blog on the 13th to see if you won!

I'm a blog book reviewer for LitFuse Publicity so I was given this book complimentary in exchange for an honest review on my blog and social media-all opinions are my own.

Friday, September 26, 2014

#dailyMNB Challenge with Jill Conyers and LornaJaneActive on Instagram-Fitness Friday linkup

I'm doing another FITNESS FRIDAY LINKUP today!


This past week I participated with @JillConyers @thefitswitch @jativey and @lornajaneactive for their 7 day Instagram #dailyMNB challenge.

The challenge was to post my daily goal or intention on how I would MOVE, NOURISH, and BELIEVE on that day.

Move, Nourish, and Believe is Lorna Jane's moto and they frequently have challenges to encourage women to live by those daily.

The challenge started on Monday September 15 and ended on Sunday September 21st.

Here are my daily challenge pictures I posted on Instagram:

I really liked taking the time every morning to ponder on what I was going to do for the day. Especially in the Nourish and Believe department. I constantly struggle with positive self talk, so this was a great challenge for me!! and even more exicting was the fact that Jill Conyers contacted me and said I was one of the winners! WHOOHOO!!

Shelley Shepard Gray is heading back to Sugarcreek in JOYFUL! {Book giveaway and review}

"Joyful" is the third and final book in the "Return to Sugarcreek" series. I have not read the other two books, and in fact this was my first book by Shelley Shepard Gray. However, I did not feel lost or confused with the story line or relationships, so I believe it can be read as a stand alone book.

Sometimes I find "amish fiction" hard to read because the author will use authentic amish words in their books, so I'm constantly trying to remember what the words mean but still continue with the flow of the story. This was not the case with this book! Although she used some amish words, it was not alot so I found it easy to read and follow.

The story line was very delightful and mostly followed the main characters of Randall Beiler and family; and Elizabeth Nolt. There were two other side stories using other characters which were also delightful and easy to follow. Randall and Elizabeth use to court and were expected to marry, but misunderstandings and family responsibilities got in the way of furthering their relationship. It was funny, but also true to life, to see the different communication between them and to see if they could work out their differences.

This was a fun, clean, romantic christian fiction book that I would recommend! I was left smiling and feeling good at the end of the book.

About the book: A young Amish couple gets a second chance at love in New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray's final book in her Return to Sugarcreek series.

Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm's needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.
When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious---and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth's heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.
Elizabeth wants to refuse---to stay far away from the man who hurt her---but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she's older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.
Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her---or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth---or risk losing his chance at love forever.

Purchase a copy:  http://ow.ly/BeIYd 

About the author: Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Timesbestseller, a two-time USA Todaybestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

Find Shelley online: websiteFacebook

Don't miss Shelley Shepard Gray's newest book in the Return to Sugarcreek series, Joyful. USA Today raved: "A sweet, straightforward story about how love can be tested by family, faith, and personal insecurity. Enjoyable and heartwarming."

Click the banner for a chance to win books 1-3 in Shelley's Return to Sugarcreek series! 
Winner announced on Shelley's blog on 9/30.


I'm a blog book reviewer for LitFuse Publicity so I was given this book complimentary in exchange for an honest review on my blog and social media-all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jessica Smith Barre Fitness DVD review

I was given this workout dvd complimentary for blog and social media review-all opinions are my own.

I was excited to get this Barre Fitness dvd by Jessica Smith because its one of her newest dvds and I love her workouts!

Check out this preview:


CARDIO BALLET (20 Minutes) Forget that boring treadmill; burn calories with the grace of a ballerina! This fat-burning, ballet-inspired session works up a surprising sweat in a small amount of space, no equipment required.

BARRE BURN (20 Minutes) Lift, shape and define your entire body with this cardio sculpting barre workout. A sturdy chair and a set of light hand weights (2- to 8-pounds, depending on level) are recommended for this routine.

FLOOR BARRE (20 Minutes) Cinch, tighten and stretch - without ever leaving the ground - with this total body conditioning routine. A mat and a small soft ball or pillow are recommended for this workout.

This is what the chapter menu looks like-
you can pick one workout or do all three. 

I love where she filmed her workouts! 

I love Jessica Smith workouts! She is very encouraging, clear with her directions, easy to follow, and inspiring. I've been using her workouts for years and highly recommend them! I liked this dvd because of the barre inspired fitness moves. It's great for the butt, thighs and legs!

Make sure to check out her AWESOME youtube page for free full length videos. Here's the link:

If you would like to purchase this dvd, you can use my amazon affiliate link below: 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Quilts of Love | HIDDEN IN THE STARS – $200 Giveaway & “Fall into Fall” Facebook Party!

"Hidden in the Stars" by Robin Caroll is the second book that I've read in the "Quilts of Love" series. They are all stand alone books but they all have a theme that "Every Quilt Has A Story".

I enjoyed this book that followed Olympic hopeful gymnast Sophia and Detective Julian as they work side by side to piece (like my quilt pun?) together the events leading up to, and after her violent attack.

The story line kept my interest and I liked the suspense part of it. "Could a quilt hold the secret to a serial killer?" Great story! Clean christian fiction with romance, suspense, and the power of forgiveness.

About Quilts of Love: Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. TheQuilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women's fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.

About the book: 

A quilt holds the secret to a killer still at large---and who his next victim will be.
Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother's offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn't help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer.
Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia's mother's "special" quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia's unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer---still at large---silence her forever?

Learn more about this book and the series at the Quilts of Love website.

About the Author: 

Robin Caroll is the author of 22 published novels. When she isn't writing, Robin spends time with her husband of 20-plus years, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home in Little Rock, Arkansas. She gives back to the writing community by serving as conference director for ACFW. Her books have been named finalists in such contests as the Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer's Choice Award, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year.

Connect with Robin: websiteFacebookTwitter

Don't miss the newest Quilts of Love book, Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll. September's QOL release is a wonderful combination of mystery, romance, and family love bound together by a quilt and the story it tells.

Hidden in the Stars Robin Carroll Quilts of Love

Enter to win a "Night on the Town" (a $200 Visa cash card!) and RSVP for the "Fall into Fall" Quilts of Love Facebook party on 10/7.
One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card (The perfect accessory for a "night on the town"!)
  • A Grand Design by Amber Stockton
  • Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 7. Winner will be announced at the October 7th author chat party with Amber Stockton and Robin Caroll! RSVP for an evening of book chat, quilting tips and tricks, prizes, and more!

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on October 7th!

I'm a blog book reviewer for LitFuse Publicity so I was given this book complimentary in exchange for an honest review on my blog and social media-all opinions are my own.

Monday, September 22, 2014

30 day walking challenge with #LeslieSansone and printable calendar. October 1-30

Welcome to my walking challenge for October!! 

I have attached a printable calendar for the 30 day challenge as well as links for the DVDs that we will be using for the challenge so you can plan ahead.

Leslie Sansone 30 day walking challenge calendar
download it here:

This is the Leslie Sansone walking kit that I will be using for the 30 day challenge. You can use this kit or any of her DVDS. You will need 1-5 miles for this challenge. 


Introducing the 30-Day Leslie Sansone Just Walk Off Kit!

30 days is the perfect amount of time to create new habits and this comprehensive kit gives you a step-by-step guide to walk off the weight in just 30 days!

You get three of Leslie's most effective DVDs ever for tons of different workout options. Plus, Leslie takes away the guesswork by including a 30-Day Walk Calendar that outlines which walk to do on each of the 30 days for maximum results.

Leslie: 30-Day Walk Off Kit:
  • 30 days is the perfect amount of time to create new habits
  • Comprehensive 30-Day Leslie Sansone Just Walk Off Kit gives you a step-by-step guide to walk off the weight in just 30 days
  • 3 of the most effective Leslie Sansone Walking DVDs ever for tons of different workout options
  • Walking with Leslie Sansone takes away the guesswork by including a 30-Day Walk Calendar that outlines which walk to do on each of the 30 days for maximum results
  • You also get Leslie's 30-Day Simple Slim Down Meal Plan which lets you eat real food and won't leave you feeling hungry
  • The slimming power of this meal plan combined with the easy-to-follow walk plan will put you on the fast track to weight loss and together they are designed to deliver results in just 30 days
Get ready to walk down the path to a slimmer you with these Leslie Sansone Walking DVDs

***If you don't want to buy the kit, you can buy the individual dvds using my amazon affiliate links here:

I hope you will join me for this October walking challenge!

If you feel like the mileage might be too much for you, then do the best you can, as many days as you can. Anything is better than nothing! 

Look for my Day 1 blog post on Wednesday October 1st which will also include a GIVEAWAY!! 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My weight loss pictures from 2010-2014 starting at 250 pounds!

I was trying out a new program called "This Life" by Shutterfly that takes all your pictures from different social media links and groups them all together by date, person, location, etc. I really enjoyed looking thru older pictures-ones I haven't seen in a long time.

I was amazed when I saw some pictures of myself before and after my pregnancy, and decided to share them here on my blog. My hope in sharing these pictures is to inspire anyone who is struggling with their weight. Who feel they may be too large to start exercising. Who may be discouraged because their progress has stalled, etc. As you will see further down-I'm not perfect. I've lost and gained weight. Its a journey that has taken me years and will continue to take me years!

These pictures are just showing my weight loss-not my inches lost, gaining muscle, or my improvement in my health. (That can be another blog post)

Right before I got married and pregnant with baby number 2. 

About 5 weeks away from delivery. 
I stopped weighing myself around this point when I reached 250 lbs
at this point I gained about 75 pounds. 

4 months after baby #2 is born (6/25/2010)
I think I was around 230 pounds at this point. 

Exactly 6 months after baby was born.

Baby #2 first birthday. 
I was still having alot of gallbladder attacks (didn't know it at the time) 
so still had not lost any weight at this point. I was constantly
in pain which made working, sleeping, moving
very hard for me.  

As you can see I've been blessed with a larger bottom/hips area. 
Had started losing a little weight by this time. 
Had my gallbladder removed in June or July. 

Lost more weight and exercising at this point. 
Had bought a new christmas dress to wear! 
I started with walking 10-15 minutes every day 
and then working up from there. 

6 months later-still losing weight! 



Started doing 5k races and virtual races. 


The smallest I've ever been!!
size 10, size medium tops, 151 pounds. 
Almost reached the 100 pounds weight loss but could not seem to get under 150! 
At this point I had done alot of programs like Leslie Sansone, Chris Freytag,
TurboJam, Turbofire, BodyPump


Trained for months for my first half marathon. 

Starting gaining weight after race training in fall 2013. 
Dealt with injuries, my third miscarriage, 
eliminated strength training because of focusing on running, 
death in the family-all by December. 

Gained a little over 20 pounds over winter/spring 2014 and 
got up to almost 175 lbs again :-( 
I was still exercising and logging my food but just kept 
having health problems related to food and digestion.
Back in size 12 jeans and size large tops.  


Getting my weight back down to 165.
15 more pounds to go to get back to my weight last year. 
Ideally I would like to weigh 140-145 ish. 

As I was going thru these pictures yesterday I had alot of mixed feelings. First, proud that I've come so far and amazed at my weight loss journey. Then discouraged because my 2014 year of fitness and health has not been very good in my opinion. I need to get my weight back down so I'm not considered "overweight" and so I don't have cholesterol or sugar problems that run in my family. I also never want to get my weight back up that high again-whether pregnant or not. It was so hard on me emotionally, for my marriage, for my kids, and for my body. 

I've been doing allergy treatments, going to the chiropractor, and eating mostly dairy-free and gluten-free because of all the stomach discomfort and digestion issues I've had for several months. My weight is finally coming back down as I continue to do the best I can with my workouts and eating. It's a VERY slow process for me with losing weight (will lose 1-2 lbs per month) which at times is very discouraging, but over the years I've found that if I stay consistent no matter what, I will see results! 

If you have any advice for me let me know! 

How do you deal with weight loss discouragement?