Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Book Review: The Battle for Cannibal Island

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Beth and her cousin Patrick are once again sent on an adventure in the Imagination Station. This time they find themselves on a ship sailing through an area that is known for its cannibals. After being labeled as stowaways they find themselves in danger around every turn. During a storm and in the midst of a prison break the cousins are separated and become desperate to find each other again. Through this adventure the cousins learn about bravery and the importance of relationships - caring for others more than themselves, as Mr. Calvert demonstrates to them.

Unlike some children's books,  this book kept me on my toes trying to figure out what might happen next! Just when you think Beth and Patrick are safe, more trouble seems to find them. I really liked the character of Mr. Calvert who willingly sacrificed and put himself in harms way so that the cannibals could hear the gospel. He showed little concern for himself, and so much more concern for the souls of the lost.


I received a copy of this book from the Tyndale Blog Network. All thoughts, comments and opinions are 100% mine.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy Birthday!

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Yesterday, was my birthday. It's hard to believe that not only another year has gone by, but that so much can change in just that short amount of time. In the past year, I've lost friends and my grandma passed away.  I've gone through some really dark times. My world started caving in around me.

On the other side, I've gotten to know some really amazing people and I'm lucky enough to call some of them friends. I've been blessed to do some travelling to spend time with those friends. I've had friends who have stuck by me for years remind me that they're still there and willing to kick me in the ass when necessary. There's a certain bonus that comes with knowing people who won't feed you a line no matter how down you're feeling.

It is thanks to the amazing people in my life that I'm coming out of the dark period and into a new and far more fun period. They've pulled me, sometimes kicking and screaming along until I've remembered the good things about life. I'm a much stronger person than I was a year ago and perhaps it's because of the bad times but it's also because of the support that I had through those times.

The year ahead may hold some more tough times, but I'm more prepared for them. I have goals and that's a great first start for me. I already showed you the start of the barn project. I've actually done a bit more out there and it's coming along nicely. It's just the start in a long line of goals that I want to share with all of you...this isn't a new years resolution kind of thing, but more a list of what I know I can do and what I want to do before my birthday rolls around next year.

Outside of the house:
1. Clear out all of the flower beds - They're all overrun and it's time to give them a fresh start.
2. Build up the flower beds again. - The rails on them have fallen down and it just looks a mess.
3. Put in a small vegetable garden. - A couple of the flower beds would be great for that.
4. Clip the bushes into shape. - I dislike these things but unless we buy the house, they have to stay. There's no reason they can't look semi-decent though.
5. Clear the front porch. - It still has things on it that need to be put away.
6. Get the front porch roof repaired/replaced. - This will be a job for the owners.
7. Clear out the trash from under the front porch. - Not mine but it looks a mess.
8. Put in a new compost bin & area.
9. Complete barn re-organization
10. Clean out the van.
11. Get cable rehooked up to barn.

Inside the house:
1. Replace bathroom flooring.
2. Complete kitchen redecorating (clean, paint, flooring, cupboard organizing)
3. Complete wall redecorating (clean, new shelving, organizing)
4. Complete living room redecorating (clean, paint, new shelving, area rug?)
5. Get desks & hope chest into house.
6. Repaint boys bedroom.
7. Repaint master bedroom & get light repaired.
8. Empty out laundry room and put new flooring in.
9. Purge until we're only surrounded by the things we need and the things we love.
10. Get dryer repaired. - Owner job.
11. Get plumbing repaired. - Owner job.

In life:
1. Continue to build up my websites, including the new baby of the family, Geek-o-Rama
2. Continue to build up my friendships.
3. Travel.
4. Spend as much time with the boys, doing things we love.
5. Learn Spanish (again) with Ben.
6. Learn Irish (again) on my own.
7. Continue to do what makes me happy even if it doesn't make everyone else happy.

I think that's a pretty good list for the upcoming year. Maybe from time to time, I'll revisit this and cross things off as I get them accomplished. I'm eager to see what the next year has in store.


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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Clean Home, Clean Life Challenge Update

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 Ok, I admit it. I totally dropped the ball on posting the weekly challenges here on the site. I hope that you can forgive me. If you're ever wondering what they are (because I yet again forgot to post them), they all are up on the Facebook group. It's pretty quiet over there but don't let that put you off. Just jump right in!

This week's challenge was to tackle our hobby supplies. Since I feel like the queen of hobbies, I chose just one and decided to tackle it. Since it's going to be getting cold here soon, I decided I ought to try to make some sense of our barn/garage. It's a total disaster and you're lucky if you can find a path through it. Don't believe me? Here's the corner that I decided to turn into our gardening/tool area before I started:

See what I mean? Things are stacked everywhere! Right after I took this picture, I spent about 20 minutes just rearranging things and throwing some stuff out.  This got it to here:

It's amazing what a mere 20 minutes can do to a space, isn't it? I created a path and discovered that there really was a workbench under all of that, just like I remembered! The next steps required three..yes, three trips into Lowes. I decided to tear down the old peg board (it was cheap and filthy and badly hung) and replace it with some new and improved peg board. Then, I decided I didn't want it to be brown...and here's where I made my mistake. For some unknown reason, I thought it would be easiest to spray paint it. So, I bought one can of spray paint...yep, just you see where this is going right? One can got me this far:

Another trip into town and 4 more cans of spray paint later and I had this :

Yep, this required a 3rd trip into town and 2.5 cans of spray paint more and finally all of the peg board was painted :

Then, I grabbed the gallon of yellow paint that we had bought for the kitchen (right before I decided I wanted to paint it red!) and I painted the top of the work bench. It took 3 coats and needed a 4th but since it's a workbench, I don't mind it looking a bit scruffy.

Today, I headed back out to the barn and after...well, we won't say how long or repeat a few of the words I may/may not have said...I managed to get the peg board hung up.  It's not the prettiest job but my nails kept bending and I was trying to hammer and hold at the same time :

Ta da! Badly seamed peg board! That's ok because I promptly went to work covering all that up. First, I added this cabinet that I picked up on the side of the road last summer. It was missing an interior shelf, but a quick look around the barn/garage and I came up with a scrap that fit perfectly!

Up next was sorting out the tools and getting things onto the workbench itself.

Last but certainly not least, I hung up the tools that I saw laying around (I'm sure there are more somewhere!) and put those pretty flowers into a larger vase. They probably won't survive too much longer but I'll enjoy them while they do.  When it was all said and done, here's the final look:

Oh! I forgot to mention that I did do one little side project while I was doing this. I had 2 partial and 1 full bag of potting soil laying around. Since nobody has invented a bucket on wheels, I bought a 5 gallon paint bucket, wrote potting soil on it and put it on top of a plant dolly. Now, whenever I need potting soil, I can just pull it out. I filled it with both of the partial bags. The full bag is going to end up in my composter as soon as I drag it out back.

My thanks go out to the guys at Lowes who good naturedly teased me every time I walked back in the door to buy just a few more cans of spray paint. I hope y'all enjoyed this little step by step walk through of the first but certainly not the last of the home improvement projects I have scheduled for around here!


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Kmart's Big Layaway Giveaway

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This post brought to you by Kmart. All opinions are 100% mine.

BLG_Logo_Horizontal.jpg (3 documents, 3 total pages)  Christmas is coming up faster than some of us are ready for. This year, like so many others, will be tight. I'm still not working outside of the home, due to needing to make sure that my oldest son makes it to all of his specialist appointments and that someone is there with them for homework. Not to mention that, at the rate this year is flying by, summer will be here soon and they're just not quite old enough to be left home alone all day.

So what does that bit of a single mom sob story mean? It means that I'm thankful that Kmart is currently doing free layaway. It means that I might be able to put back a few special holiday gifts for the boys and if I'm really super lucky, I might even win Kmart's Big Layaway Giveaway! Each week (up until 11/17/12), some lucky person will have their layaway balance paid in full! It reminds me of the Secret Santas that hit up some of the local Kmarts last year and paid off balances. 

Plus, Kmart doesn't limit what you can put into layaway like some stores. This means that I don't have to worry about getting the boys their Christmas Eve pajamas or even a new set of sheets for their beds. Not sure how Kmart layaway stacks up? Neither was I until I saw this handy chart: 

Kmart Free Layaway Grid 09_12.jpg

Now, I guess I should ask the boys what their big Christmas wishes are for this year...It wouldn't surprise me if I see some of these items on that list:

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

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If I've learned one thing while Roger has been playing football, it is the advantage of a good pair of sunglasses! It can get unbelievably bright out on the practice field and sometimes even worse out on the playing field.

That's where the awesome sunglasses over there on the left come in. When you combine those with a baseball cap, I can actually see the action and not lie to the kid when he says, "Hey mom, did you see me tackle that girl?" *

As you may have noticed, that fancy picture up there (my thanks go out to for the image) says on it. That's because that's just where I got these from! If you're not familiar with Firmoo, it's an online store for prescription and non-prescription, tinted and non-tinted glasses. Most of their sunglasses can even be made into prescription sunglasses! 

Wow, I really need better photos!
My experience ordering from them was really nice. The ordering process was very easy. They shipped quickly and when they came, they came with a hard case, soft case, cleaning cloth and a tool kit. All in all, I was very pleased and if I ever need a new pair of sunglasses, I think I'm going to skip the discount aisle and go straight to these guys. 

Sadly, the sunglasses that I have are being discontinued but go ahead and check out their other frames. It looks like they've added some new ones since I picked mine out. Plus, if you're a new customer, you can get your first pair free!**


*In their last game, a girl was on the opposing team and he tackled her twice. He doesn't just go around randomly tackling girls.
** Just pay shipping.

I received the pair of glasses in these pictures in exchange for this review. You can get a pair too! All thoughts, comments and bad pictures are 100% mine unless otherwise noted.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Review: Band of Sisters

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"Maureen O’Reilly and her younger sister flee Ireland in hope of claiming the life promised to their father over twenty years before. After surviving the rigors of Ellis Island, Maureen learns that their benefactor, Colonel Wakefield, has died. His family, refusing to own his Civil War debt, casts her out. Alone, impoverished, and in danger of deportation, Maureen connives to obtain employment in a prominent department store. But she soon discovers that the elegant facade hides a secret that threatens every vulnerable woman in the city.

Despite her family’s disapproval, Olivia Wakefield determines to honor her father’s debt but can’t find Maureen. Unexpected help comes from a local businessman, whom Olivia begins to see as more than an ally, even as she fears the secrets he’s hiding. As women begin disappearing from the store, Olivia rallies influential ladies in her circle to help Maureen take a stand against injustice and fight for the lives of their growing band of sisters. But can either woman open her heart to divine leading or the love it might bring?"

Wow. It's been quite some time since I picked up a book and had a hard time putting it down. However, this book broke that streak. I started reading this book before bed one night and it was about 4am when I looked up and noticed what time it was. Man, I was tired the next day but the next night, I was back at it! 

I loved the characters in this book. Maureen was so amazingly relatable. From the first time I met her in the book until the final pages, she was someone that I wanted to know. Olivia was just the same way. As I watched their journeys throughout the book, I felt as if I were making friends. When I turned the last page, I sighed. Closing the cover was like losing a friend. 

I cannot encourage all of you enough to go out and find yourself a copy of this book. Start with the author's website and don't stop until you have this book in your hands. I promise that you won't regret it.
I received a copy of this book via the Tyndale Blog Network. All thoughts, opinions and comments are 100% mine.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012


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This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of RealtyPin. All opinions are 100% mine.

realtypin How many of you would like to move in the next year? If you said yes, how many of you have homes that you would need to sell or the desire to buy a new home? I know that I would love to move and the dream of owning my own home again is alive and well. Of course, we all know that I can't move but for those of you who can, have you heard of RealtyPin? 

Their website has over 1 million listings plus an interactive map to help you find just the right house in the right location. Plus, if you intend on selling your home, you can sign up using your Facebook account and put your house listing up in front of hundreds of thousands of people searching for their new dream home. 

Let's face it, real estate can be scary for those of us who don't have a lot of experience. RealtyPin also includes a mortgage center (to find loans from trusted nationwide lenders and to get the best mortgage rates possible) as well as free tools, tips and advice. 

Right now, we're in a buyers market which simply means that there are more homes to sell than there are buyers. If you're looking to buy a new home, it's a good time because you have plenty of options out there! You won't have to take the first one you look at. If you're looking to buy or sell, why not check out RealtyPin and see what they have to offer?

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Comic Book Review: Brutally Frank

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Have you ever looked at the cover to something and thought, man, this just isn't for me without even picking it up and looking inside? Yeah, that was my reaction to this book, at first. Then, I picked it up and looked inside....

"A mysterious race known as The Koans have brought enlightenment, salvation and peace to weary humanity. But somewhere, hidden away beneath the surface of a perfect life, a paraplegic named Frank is being hunted for a secret he doesn't even know he holds by someone he once trusted the most. His journey will reveal courage he never thought he had and introduce him to allies that will become his truest friends."

The Good: I know this might sound geeky, but I loved the layout of this book. It was so easy to read and your eye flowed (yeah, that doesn't sound gross at all!) from one panel to the next without any effort of trying to figure out what was next. The story held my attention and soon I was forgetting my pre-conceived notions in my desire to find out how Frank had gotten where he was and what was going to happen next.

The Bad : I know that usually I can find something but in this case, nothing jumped out at me. I know that shocks so many of you who consider me to be on the critical side of things at times, but trust me, I looked. Then, I looked again.

The Summary : Frank is one of those characters that you're not sure if you should love him or hate him. He gets the tar beat out of him and yet he never loses his attitude or spunk. His life is one thing after another and yet he still seems to come back for more. The artwork in this book is good and when I flipped through it, my first thought was finally, someone who knows how to do black and white. If you pick this one up, it might surprise you by becoming one you want to read more.

For more information, check out the Facebook page and blog.


I received a copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts, opinions and commentary are 100% mine.

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Comic Book Review: Mark of the Pterren

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I usually start out my reviews with the publisher's description of the book. However, I'll be honest and tell you that I had to turn to my good friend Google to find much of anything for this book. Sadly, I didn't find a synopsis so you're stuck with me telling you about the book in my very own words. Don't worry, I promise it shouldn't be too painful...fingers crossed...

The Good : This story intrigues me. Why, you ask? The lovely lady on the cover over there is the narrator and through out this first issue, she fills you in on the history of her race, the Pterren. She tells of how the current king came to power and hints she states that she intends to go up against him.

The Bad : As with anything, there is a down side to this book. In this case, it's a two part issue. The first issue lends itself to the second issue. The lines on the artwork are especially thick and when you combine that with the fuzzing of those same lines..well, it took away from what might have been rather nice artwork. My other problem with the art work came in the faces. There seemed to be a lack of detail and definition in some of them.

The Summary : All in all, this is a good book. The history leads me to want to know the present and then the future. With any luck, future issues will have a better printer and we'll be able to find out what happens when our heroine confronts her king.

For more information on it, check out their Facebook page. For information on how you can purchase a copy for yourself, either leave them a message or drop the letterer, Andy Bohn a message. His was the only fan page that I could find.


Our thanks to Jesse James Comics for sharing this book with us. All thoughts, comments and opinions belong 100% to the reviewer.

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Comic Book Review : Fatima #1

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Comics luminary Gilbert Hernandez envisions his strangest, most thrilling future yet! A drug called “spin” offers the wildest trip imaginable, followed by its users’ inevitable, rapid deterioration into undead flesh eaters. Despite the side effect, the drug is so popular that the human population is dying out! With no cure to be found, the beautiful, lovesick Fatima may be the only thing standing between the survivors and the apocalypse. Get ready for four issues of zombies, drug lords, and gorgeous women!

The Good
                My 1st thought was a more sarcastic “yay, more zombies” theme. However, I ended up really enjoying the premise to this breed of zombies.  This world is filled with terrible things that people can be addicted to, so, to me, the plot is a natural progression. What if people did this to themselves because they thought their addiction was worth it. The story has a great line “they will do what they are going to do.” I just found that to be so poignant.

 The Bad
                This style of art is so not my style.  I enjoy comic art with some type of detail within the work. This comic has none of that. I just find this style way too undeveloped, like what you would see in a story board of a still developing animation. 
                The uniforms of the task force.  They were not seen very much but when they show up, it is so noticeable. They wear the stereotypical black task force outfit but, so some reason, they  appear to be wearing cotton thongs over their clothing. I just found it distracting to the art I wasn’t already a fan of.

The Summary
                As much as I did not enjoy the art, I oppositely enjoyed the premise. The story works in 2 ways- a quick “ooo zombie, kill it” story and a “huh, never thought of it that way before” story.  There is still some character development that needs to occur but, overall, the story was enough to make me care to wonder what happens next.  If you enjoy zombies, this goes right with the genre. Or, if you enjoy thinking about the human psyche while reading comics, this could spark a thought or two. 

For more information regarding this book, check out the Dark Horse website, their Facebook page or your local comic book shop!

Life With Katie received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions belong to the author and not the site or publisher.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Comic Book Review : Black Mass #1

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"A story told before the Salem Witch Trials that takes you deep into the truth of what really triggered the trials. Magic, Spells, Revenge, Death and Love. Don’t miss this nonstop thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat... wanting more."

I have to say that I just love when a friend of mine comes to me and says "Hey, we have a new book coming out, would you review it?" It's even better when he says to me that the release date is my birthday. (September 23rd for those unaware.) How can I say no to that? I couldn't and so I bring you...*drum roll*...Black Mass!

The Good: I have to say that I love historical fiction and this storyline, written by David Sandoval and Adriana Mendoza, caught my attention from the first panel and carried it all the way to the end. The pencils in this book (Stefano Cardoselli) captured the story and helped to convey the myriad of emotions that flowed throughout this part of the story.

The Bad: This is another of those books that really would be so much better done in color than black and white. Unfortunately, there are times when the inks on the pages are overwhelming and distract from what's happening on the page. I think this could be alleviated with the addition of some grey scale or the addition of a colorist.

The Summary: Black Mass is a book that I'm going to be adding to my list of books to follow. The story is intriguing and I'm very much looking forward to the next in this series. If you pick up this book, I do warn you that the topic may not be appropriate for children. In fact, I would rate this as a teen, leading into mature title.  I would also warn you that in the copy I received, page 14 is especially not child friendly. It's wonderfully drawn, but not something my boys need to be looking at.

Now, I have some good news for those of you who don't want to wait until September 23rd for the release! This book is actually now available in digital format! It can be purchased at DriveThruComics and Indy Planet. If you so desire, it is also available for pre-order from Comic Flea Market.

If you would like to learn more about Black Mass, check out N.A.S. Studios on Facebook or on their website.


I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and drooling are 100% mine and had nothing to do with the fact this book is coming out on my birthday or that the author is pretty cool. 

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Buffalo Wild Wings

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This post brought to you by Buffalo Wild Wings. All opinions are 100% mine.

bdubs_newlogo_black_hor.jpg Football season is upon us, people! Are you like me and happy for Fall and yet a bit like ugh, this means how many weeks of my oldest taking over the television? Ok, truth be told, I like football. Unlike other people I know (looks pointedly at her oldest child), I'm ok with not watching every single televised game by our favorite teams. If I catch a few games each season and the Super Bowl, I'm pretty content. It could be from years of being in marching band, but I get grumbly when I don't get to see half time shows and instead have to listen to commentators.

It's been brought to my attention that there might be a solution to this problem. Instead of staying home and playing couch quarterback, I could load the family up in the van and head into Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and the game. The boys could happily watch the action on the numerous tvs..and I could enjoy some food while they're surrounded by other rabid sports nuts. Hmm...this could work...

Then again, I could send the boys off with their dad for dinner (he likes eating out still, I think!) and mom could curl up on the couch with a book. Who knows, if I asked really nice, they might even get me some wings or something to go! Yes, I can see this plan working out. They'd get the game, the chance to eat out while being surrounded by televisions and other sports fans and mom could get in a long shower followed by some me time...

What are your plans for this football season? Will you stay home or go out? Drop me a comment and let me know!

And don't forget...Protect the football. Get to B-Dubs!

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Comic Book Review : Knightingail #1

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"The adventure begins here!  This all-ages fantasy-adventure tells the story of Eloa, a Forester princess born with healing powers and how she becomes Knightingail – the leader of the seven tribes of Aeonius and controller of nature itself.  In this debut issue, Eloa confronts her father about the secrets he’s been keeping about both her mother’s death years earlier and his interactions with a Dracon spy!"

When I first saw this book, my inner girl squealed. I'm not ashamed to admit that. I saw the adorable redhead on the cover and went ooooh..this is a book I want to read. Of course, that same inner girl scoffed at the high heeled boots. She's still of the opinion that no self-respecting forest type heroine would wear boots like that. You just can't convince her that forest societies would have a good cobbler.

The Good: This book is a lot of back story which carries you right until the end of the book and leaves you wanting to know what happens not only next but in the past with Eloa's mom. The artwork is on the cartoony side but don't let that fool you into thinking that it's not fabulous. It is wonderfully executed and the easy style just pulls you further into the story.

The Bad: I had to look really hard to find a downside to this book. The only thing I could come up with is really kind of silly, but here it is. At the beginning of the book, Eloa (now in the form of Knightingail) is 31. Yet, when speaking to Kaeli, she speaks as if she's closer to the 16 that she is in the rest of the book. Yep, that's all I could come up with.

The Summary: This really and truly is a book for all ages. My inner girl loved the artwork and the fun. As an adult, I could relate to the frustrations that Eloa is dealing with at the age of 16. While I wasn't a princess dealing with counsels at 16, I had similar problems within my own family. This is another book that I can't wait to see the other 5 issues in this series.

If, like me, you want to read this whole series, you're in luck! This title was recently picked up by Big Dog Ink! Rumor has it that they will be releasing all 6 issues in one trade paperback. We only have to wait until December. This would make a fantastic present for anyone under the Christmas tree.

Don't want to wait until December to learn more? Check out their website or Facebook page.


My thanks go out to Jesse James of Jesse James Comics for this book. If you live in the Phoenix area, this is where you should be finding your comics. He's a major supporter of the Indie comic industry as well as the locals involved in the industry. Even though he gave me a copy of this book for the purpose of this review, all thoughts, comments and opinions belong solely to me.

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Soft Scrub Review & Giveaway

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One of the biggest challenges that I face when I go through a depressive period is making an attempt at keeping our home clean. For me, when I'm caught up in the mental chaos, my home quickly turns into physical chaos. That's why I'm so thankful that we live in a period where finding good cleaning products is as simple as walking to any store.

Recently, I received a bottle of Soft Scrub Total Bath & Bowl to try out. I have to say that I like this product. It works upside down, which is great for those tight areas. It can be used  not only on the counter tops and outside of the toilet, but also inside the toilet. Plus, it has a handy dandy flippy thing on the nozzle so that you can switch it from spray to foam.

Today has been a good day around here. I'm feeling mostly healthy and completing one project yesterday inspired me to start tackling my bathroom today. I won't get into the details of how icky it was..let's just say I have two boys and one of the cats had a field day knocking things over in there. Enter this product. Quite literally within about two minutes, I had my bathroom counter shining and happy again. The smell isn't overpowering and my lungs don't feel as if I spent ages inhaling chemicals. All in all, a happy counter makes for a smiling me. Up next....the toilet....

But, before I go and tackle that, I want to share a couple of things with you! Soft Scrub is currently holding a sweepstakes with $3000 in prizes. First place gets a lovely $1000 plus they're giving away 50 other prizes where the winners will receive $40 each. If you'd like to enter The Tough & Gentle Sweepstakes, simply click this link and fill out the form.

But wait, there's more! (Haven't y'all always wanted to say that like a cool infomercial person?) Not only are they doing a sweepstakes, but I'm doing a giveaway! That's right! Two lucky readers will receive a coupon that will allow them to get their own Soft Scrub product for free!

To enter, simply check out the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Soft Scrub provided me with a bottle of their Total Bath & Bowl for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are 100% mine.
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