Thursday, September 08, 2016

The Afters- "Live On Forever" CD review

The Afters Release New Single "Live On Forever," Already Playing On 40 Stations Across AC and CHR Formats. 

Street Date: September 9th, 2016 (that's tomorrow) 

The Afters are not holding back on their newest release "Live on Forever."  In fact, they are bursting through new barriers.  This latest offering is filled with innovative, cutting edge, fresh pop music that is both epic and captivating.  The group has taken life experiences, spun them into something redemptive and uplifting, and captured that transformative experience into art.  Their first single "Live On Forever" impacted radio in the Fall of 2015 and hit the top 5. Their 2nd single "Battles" went for adds on 7/22 and is expected to be a hit.  The band heads out on a 45+ city tour with the Newsboys this Fall.

About The Afters

Texas-based, four-piece band The Afters were propelled into the national spotlight with their INO/Sony Music Label Group debut I Wish We All Could Win. The project spawned the swirling, melodic hit “Beautiful Love,” earning the band an enthusiastic following when the song was selected as the theme track for MTV’s “8th and Ocean.” “Beautiful Love” was also the most downloaded track of 2006 on the iTunes ® Inspirational charts and garnered the band an mtvU award. The Afters’ sophomore release Never Going Back To OK (INO/Columbia Records) debuted in the Top 50 on the Billboard Top 200, and proved to be a sensation on the silver screen with “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC), “Dr. Phil,” “Army Wives” (Lifetime) and “Rachael Ray.” The band’s third record Light Up the Sky bolstered two No. 1 radio hits, as well as placements on “The Biggest Loser” (NBC) and “You Deserve It” (ABC). A slew of media including Rolling Stone,, E! News Live, TV Guide, Premiere Radio and more also picked up on covering The Afters. 

Sharing from my heart:

I'm a girl that likes all types of music from Country, Blue Grass, Christian, Pop, Classical and Rock so when I was asked to review The Afters newest album I jumped at the chance.  The song that spoke to me right away was "Battles" there's a line in it that says, "Your promise the hope that I cling to. My Rescue, my friend."  Such powerful words, I kept replaying it over and over. This band reminds me of U2 with their powerful ballads and guitar driven songs about faith. I don't want to give away too much about the newest CD, however I know it'll speak to you like it did to me.   On a side note, my 16 year old daughter told me she liked it and they remind her of Coldplay so that's a win in my book!

Find the Afters by clicking on any of the links below:

The Afters on Facebook




Now, on to something fun!  Leave a comment telling me what movie the song "Life is beautiful" gave these Texans a boost in popularity?  You could win your own copy of "Live on forever."

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Passion-Salvation's Tide Is Rising review and giveaway

About Salvation's Tide Is Rising:

This brand new Passion album contains new studio recordings from best-selling artists Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Matt Redman, and Kristian Stanfill.  It features new songs written specifically for Passion 2016.  Release Date is January 29, 2016.  

Track List:
1.  Salvation's Tide is Rising - Passion featuring Kristian Stanfill
2.  My Victory - Passion featuring Crowder
3.  Remember - Passion featuring Brett Younker & Melodie Malone
4.  God & God Alone - Passion featuring Chris Tomlin
5.  Simple Pursuit - Passion featuring Melodie Malone
6.  I Turn to Christ - Passion featuring Matt Redman
7.  Your Grace Amazes Me - Passion featuring Christy Nockels
8.  All We Sinners - Passion featuring Crowder
9.  Surrender - Passion featuring Jimi Cravity
10. Good Good Father - Passion featuring Kristian Stanfill 

About Passion albums:

Since the first release in 1998, Passion albums have sold over 1.3 million units while introducing the church to worship songs like "Our God", "Holy Is The Lord", "How Great Is Our God", and "God Of This City".  Passion is coming off its best charting radio success in 5 years with the single "Even So Come", which went Top 5. 

About The Passion Movement:

The Passion Movement and the messages of founder Louis Giglio have marked the lives of millions of people around the globe, calling people everywhere to live for the glory of God.  From its inception, the movement of Passion has birthed new anthems of worship, influencing countless churches and helping to define the current worship climate and establish artists Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Matt Redman, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill and others.  Louie Giglio is the pastor and founder of Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA. 

Sharing from my heart:

I've been having a lot of health problems lately which means I've been trying to take better care of myself like exercising, taking my Plexus supplements daily, eating right and listening to praise and worship music because it feeds my soul.  I was so excited to have the chance to review Passion's new CD Salvation's Tide is Rising.  As I was downloading it and listening I could tell this was going to be so soothing to my spirit on rough days during my recovery, and just what I need right now!  Do you ever feel that way?  When you're not feeling well you just want your spirit revived by awesome worship music?  Well I do!  Now, if I can just figure out how to get it moved to my iTunes account I'll be even better.  I might have my teens work on that one for me.

I'm loving this CD and with Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels and Crowder you know you can't go wrong with this one!


Giveaway info:

What makes you feel better when you've been sick?  Is music part of your feel better therapy?  Leave a comment on here or my Facebook page and you'll be entered to win your very own copy of this glorious CD!

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cast iron skillet pizza

Anytime I'm looking for a sumptuous recipe I ALWAYS go to my best friend Mika's blog first and this time was no exception.  If you've been following me for very long then you know that Mika and I met 15 years ago when we both adopted our beautiful daughters from South Korea.   We've developed a friendship that's more like family and enjoy spending as much time with them as we can.
Mika and Bailey on the right and Kenzie and I are on the left.  This was a Dillon picnic when the girls were just around 1 year.

Mika has this amazing blog called Mika's Pantry and she is definitely a foodie, if you want the most amazing recipes click on her link now!  She makes these pizza's that are so mouth watering and are to die for.  They have a pizza oven grill and make up new pizza's all the time.  Last time we visited she made a BBQ pizza that was out of this world.  Now, she's into cast iron cooking and of course she HAD to make pizza in it and I had to try my hand at it too.

First I placed the dough in a greased 12" skillet and then covered it with a disposable shower cap.  Shower cap???  I buy them in bulk for really cheap and then use them like you would those more expensive covers from the grocery store.  They're great for 1/2 a watermelon or anything that's an awkward size and shape.

 So the big secret that everyone shared with me was that you need a very hot oven like 450-500 degrees so the crust get a nice crunch to it.  For more info click here and read Mika's detailed instructions!

It's really deep dish and delicious!

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mercy Me-It's Christmas review and CD giveaway

About the CD:

Mercy Me It’s Christmas? CD will be available in Pizza Ranch locations beginning November 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015.  It has 4 exclusive songs that can only be found on the CD version being sold by Pizza Ranch.  Each CD will be sold for $5 plus tax.  Pizza Ranch will give away the CD with a $25 gift card purchase as well as sell the full album at each of its 200 locations throughout the Midwest and Great Plains states.  “We are so excited to debut our new Christmas album, MercyMe, It’s Christmas, with Pizza Ranch” said Bart Millard with MercyMe. “Pizza Ranch is a fantastic restaurant with a great mission to glorify God. It’s the perfect gift to give this Christmas season and the perfect CD to get you in the Christmas spirit.”

1. Newborn
2. Christmastime Again
3. Sleigh Ride
4. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
5. Hold On Christmas
6. A Holly Jolly Christmas
7. Go Tell It On The Mountain
8. Do You Hear What I Hear
9. Our Lullaby
10. Joy
11. O Come, O Come
12. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Exclusive Bonus Track for Pizza Ranch)
13. O Holy Night (Exclusive Bonus Track for Pizza Ranch)
14. Silent Night (Exclusive Bonus Track for Pizza Ranch)
15. Joseph’s Lullaby (Exclusive Bonus Track for Pizza Ranch)

About Pizza Ranch:
Cultivating its mission To give every guest a legendary experience since its inception in 1981, Pizza Ranch connects with its communities in a way that provides bridges for friends, family and colleagues to come together. Today, Pizza Ranch is based in Orange City, Iowa and owns, operates and franchises over 190 locations in 13 states. Consistent growth has been a Pizza Ranch staple, as the brand has become a beacon of community involvement and exceptional food. The Pizza Ranch buffet features legendary pizzas, salads and desserts, and is delivered with an unmatched service quality.  We are extremely blessed to have a very close connection with our guests, said Adrie Groeneweg, co-founder and president of Pizza Ranch. This project extends the brand’s essence to a new dimension beyond our four walls and into their lives. It’s a new kind of way for us to relate to our loyal fans.

Sharing from my heart:

Last week at youth group the youth minister asked all the kids to raise their hands if they like Christmas music, and come to find out my darling daughter didn't raise her hand.  BAH HUMBUG she doesn't like Christmas music!  Where have I gone wrong with her?  So I started asking her WHY??  What's the deal? How can you not like Christmas music?  Come to find out, she doesn't like the majority of Christmas music.  There are a few exceptions like Pentatonix and YES she likes this Christmas CD by Mercy Me!  Maybe I haven't gone wrong after all.  Although she did inform me it's still too early to play Christmas music, the appropriate date to starting listening is apparently the day after Thanksgiving!  Yippee it's almost time (according to Makenzie).  
Anyway, I really enjoyed this CD and can't wait to listen as I play taxi driver and take my kids back and forth to all of their different activities and I added it to my Christmas playlist on my iPhone. You really can't go wrong with anything by MercyMe, they're one of my absolute all time favorites.

Giveaway time:

In the comments let me know what your favorite Christmas song is.  Mine is Mary did you know?
*Open to the US and Canada.  Giveaway ends on 11/24/15 at 11:59pm CST.

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

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Kenzie's 15th gotcha day

Another year has flown by and now it's time to celebrate Makenzie's 15th Gotcha Day!  I was laying in bed thinking about how our life has changed so much from 15 years ago.  15 years ago today I woke up in LA just hoping and praying that we would finally have a child of our very own to love.  We'd been through a lot over the previous 8-9 years with 6 miscarriages, 3 failed domestic adoptions and I was full of doubt that we would finally have a child.  As we were preparing to start our day we heard a knock on the hotel room door and surprise it was Kevin's parents and my mom.  They wanted to be there to share our special arrival.  Kevin and I were both anxious and worried that everything would go ok.  We all headed to the Santa Monica pier and had a quick lunch and took some pictures on the pier and then we headed back to the LAX airport.  We must have arrived an hour or 2 early just in case their flight from Korea just happened to come in earlier than expected.  Our lives were about to change forever and we didn't have a clue. 

 We heard that the plane arrived and now we had to just wait and wait while they started their journey through customs.  Our dear friend Beverlee was bringing Makenzie to us from Korea and all of the sudden I see a Korean man carrying Makenzie and I kind of started freaking out inside because why did some stranger have my baby?  Whew, here comes Beverlee and she tells us this is Mr. Chae and Kenzie was his first baby to escort to the USA. He hands her to me and I look in those beautiful almond shaped eyes and that's it.  She's ours!  Kevin is crying and misses seeing her reach her tiny, dimpled fingers out to him and then she smiles at us and it's the most beautiful smile I've ever seen.  The next couple of hours are a blur and guess what?  We find out that she already knows how to roll over, that she likes to pop a pacifier in and out of her mouth and she can suck down a bottle in less than a minute.  That of course is the short version of our special day that we call Gotcha Day.  

We always celebrate this day for both of our children because it's not their birthday which is when most people get to see, hold and touch their baby for the first time and we never want to forget that miraculous day.  This year we made Korean food, we usually do to honor their heritage and because we love bulgogi, chap chae, pot stickers, rice and of course you can't forget the kimchi!  This year we took Kenzie to see a production that her dance studio The Legacy Project put on called "What If".  

Thanks for reading,

Monday, October 26, 2015

Popular Purple pencil sharpener review and giveaway

We've used so many different pencil sharpeners over the past 11 years of homeschooling and I have to admit that none of them were that great until we found  You might remember my review of the Firehouse red pencil sharpener a couple of years ago.  That one is still going strong, we love it and use it almost every day!  They just sent me a purple sharpener to try out and it's a beauty and I'm giving it away to one lucky reader. I wish I'd found this sharpener when my kids were in kindergarten because we would have saved a bundle on sharpeners over the past 11 years.  This one is $24.99 for one but they do offer discounts and specials if you buy 3 or more (great idea for teachers).

Here's the purple sharpener!  Isn't it pretty, I love the color.

It comes with a little tool to attach it to your desk or table

Here are my pencils before I used the sharpener

I love that you can press the two black things together and pull it out and the pencil will self sharpen, you can actually do it with one hand.  It has a nice sized drawer to catch all your shavings.

Leave a comment telling me what color of sharpener you'd like to see in future.  Be sure to go to and see what other colors they have available!
I  draw my winner on November 1st, 2015
Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

NIV Bible for Teen Girls: Growing in Faith, Hope and Love review and giveaway

 About the Bible:

Today's teen girl needs reassurance that no issue is too big for God.  The NIV Bible for Teen Girls, designed specifically for girls ages 13 to 18, will do just that.  This Bible is packed with daily readings, highlighted promises of God, challenging insights, smart advice, and open discussions about the realities of life.  This Bible is designed to help teen girls grow in faith, hope, and love.  It is as sincere about a teen girl's walk with God as they are, helping them discover his will for all areas of their life, including relating to their family, dealing with friends, work, sports, guys, and so much more.  
  • DAILY READINGS by popular Christian female authors including Bethany Hamilton (Soul Surfer), Annie DownsChristine Caine, Nicole WeiderElsa Kok ColopyCrystal KirgissBekah Hamrick MartinDenise Van Eck, and more
  • CHARACTER PROFILES of women in the Bible
  • BOOK INTRODUCTIONS for each book of the Bible
  • HIGHLIGHTED PROMISES OF GOD are verses worth remembering
  • A CONCORDANCE for help in finding verses
  • The bestselling NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV) of the Bible 

My Thoughts:

First thing when we opened the package we noticed that the Bible was a beautiful color and looked like something that would appeal to a wide range of styles.  It's not too girly but has some pops of orange and pink to brighten it up.  Makenzie was excited because this shade of aqua is one of her favorite colors right now.  I was excited because she opened it up and started reading it and looking up her favorite verses and then she realized there were daily readings by popular Christian female authors.  One of her all time favorite movies is Soul Surfers that tells about Bethany Hamilton's teen years and struggels after her arm was bitten off by a great white shark.  We saw the movie on a mommy-daughter date and it really touched her. From that point we've followed Bethany on Instagram, Facebook and cheered for and her husband on the Amazing Race.  So that was a HUGE bonus for Kenzie!

As I was looking through the thing that I liked a lot was the Book Introductions for each book of the Bible.  Look at my pic below and you can see the intro for Exodus.  It gives you a brief introduction to the book and tells when it happened, who is in the book, verses you might recognize and what's it about.  I really liked that idea and might borrow it for some of my own quiet time.  Another neat feature is the Character profiles of women in the Bible, I think this makes it easier for our teen girls to relate to the Biblical woman.  My favorite women in the Bible when I was a teen were Sarah and Esther and I read their stories over and over.  I'm still fascinated by Esther to this day and love movies and books about her. You know that question about if you could meet anyone from the past and have lunch with them?  Yep, you guessed it I'd always pick Esther!

GIVEAWAY TIME: Please leave a comment with your favorite female bible character and I'll pick a winner by October 30th, 2015


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

Thanks for reading,