September 28, 2010

"A Memory Between Us" by Sarah Sundin *Book Review

Memory Between Us, A: A Novel (Wings of Glory)Lieutenant Ruth Doherty fiercely guards her heart against all prospective suitors, especially the proud and handsome Major Jack Novak. As a WWII nurse, Ruth faces marriage proposals and interested suitors on a daily basis. No one has been able to break through her defenses. Will Jack succeed?

I thoroughly enjoyed the story. You can tell that Sundin did her research. In fact, her great-uncle was an Air Force pilot who flew B-17s during the attack on Pearl Harbor and who also achieved many of the same feats the story's hero Jack Novak also attempts. The novel is rich in historical details, especially in regard to the details on flight and nursing. The characters were engaging and interesting. I easily read the entire book in a couple of days. There were times that it was hard to put down because I wanted to know what would happen next.

This book would be of particular interest to those who enjoy historical fiction set during World War II. The author brings the battles to life and enlightens the reader to the challenges faced by the hundreds of servicemen and women during the war. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the story interesting. A delightful read, I look forward to reading more of Sundin's work in the future. This is the second book in the Wings of Glory series.


I received a complimentary copy of the book to facilitate my review. I was not obligated to give a positive endorsement. The opinions expressed are my own honest thoughts of the book.

September 14, 2010

Welcome to BLOGMANIA!!!


Hi, I'm Sarah from Mommy's Minute. My site features family-friendly product review and giveaways (I'm currently giving away a $142 flat iron) along with the occasional rant and rave. I'm an imperfect wife and mother happy to share the journey with you!

I'm so glad that you've stopped by my blog on your quest for Internet treasure!
My prize pack features a wide variety of goodies valued at almost $300. Although this is geared as "Mommy's Must Haves" I've tried to include a little something for everyone:

It includes:
  • Powermat for iPhone (adapter and charging mat) $50
  • 1 year subscription to Readeo ($100 value)
  • Safety First Monitor $25
  • Safety First Cabinet Locks ($4)
  • Safety First Adapter and Plug Cover ($11)
  • Safety Gate Power outlet protector ($20)
  • Isabella's Journey San Remo Chanille Tote bag  ($40)
  • Isabella's Journey San Remo Hanging Toiletry Bag ($22)
  • 40 Year Old Virgin DVD (brand new, never opened) ($15)

For my Canadian friends I am offering a $20 Amazon gift card. Please include "Canada" in your entry so that I know which prize you are eligible for. 

Mandatory Entry:
Follow me on Google Friend Connect, Facebook, or Twitter (you can get one entry for each one you choose).

Extra Entry:
Subscribe by e-mail or RSS feed.  

Please include your e-mail address in your comment or have it visible in your profile. Please complete a separate comment for each entry.


Contest open to 18+ US and Canada (Canadian entrants eligible for separate gift card drawing). Contest Ends at Midnight on Sept. 16th. Winner will be notified by e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond. Failure to respond will result in the selection of an alternate winner. 



The Skin Map - by Stephen Lawhead *Book Review

The Skin Map (Bright Empires)
What if there's more to this universe than meets the eye? What if there are gateways and pathways to other dimensions where people live their everyday lives oblivious to visitors. In this first book of the Bright Empires series, author Stephen Lawhead introduces us to Cosimo and his great-grandson Kit. These two adventurers are on a quest to recover the mysterious Skin Map which reveals the mysteries of the unseen worlds.

I really enjoyed this book. There is plenty of adventure and intrigue to keep me interested and involved. I did not care for the way the book ended. It left a TON of loose ends. Initially I didn't realize that this was the first book in the series. My first reaction was "You can't end a book that way!!" But I was relieved when I realized there was more to come. I am definitely looking forward to the release of the next book! I found the first one fascinating even if the ending was frustrating. I'm sure all my questions will be answered by the end of the trilogy.

I've read some of Lawhead's works before, principally the Song of Albion trilogy. If you've read his "ley" travel books before you'd be pretty familiar with his premise. I enjoy his writing style, and look forward to following these characters on their adventures.  


I received a complimentary copy of the book to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my honest thoughts of the product.

September 9, 2010

Welcome to BlogFest 2010!!!

Welcome to Blog Fest! I am blog #153, Mommy's Minute. I'm so glad that you've stopped by! My blog is an inside look at life as an imperfect wife and mother. I feature family-friendly product reviews and discussions on a wide variety of topics. I do hope that you'll come again!

I'm giving away a great assortment of books and cds!:
Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them TogetherThe Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesThe Lightkeeper's Daughter (A Mercy Falls Novel)The Shunning (The Heritage of Lancaster County #1)The Confession (The Heritage of Lancaster County #2)

  • Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
  • The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews
  • The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Colleen Coble
  • The Shunning by Beverly Lewis
  • The Confession  by Beverly Lewis
The Music of Shelter CoveCrown Him With Many CrownsSolace
  • Adore: Be Still My Soul
  • Solace: Listen and Rest
  • Adore: Teach Me Your Way 
  • Re:fresh - You Satifsy
  • Adore: Crown Him with Many Crowns
  • The Music of Shelter Cove 

  • Follow me on Google Friend Connect (use the button on the right hand side) AND/OR "Like" me on Facebook. (I'll give you an entry for each!) Leave me a comment telling me which entry you completed along with an e-mail address. 
    • Example: I follow you on Google Friend Connect - Sarah.Mommys.Minute at gmail dot com
Giveaway open to US. The winning comment will be selected through The winning entry will be verified. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to e-mail notification or an alternate winner will be selected. 
Check out my other current giveaways on the right hand side. Most have VERY LOW ENTRIES!

Good Luck!
To follow the Blog Hop to the next giveaway stop follow this link. #154 Two Little Cavaliers

THE BIG GIVEAWAY: (from the folks of BlogFest)

Don't forget about the massive BlogFest 2010 grand giveaway!  Head on over to and click on the Tracking Site link to head to our own exclusive tracking site.  Once there you can register with a valid email address (to be used solely for the purpose of contacting the winner).  This site will allow you to track your progress through BlogFest 2010!  You can log on from anywhere at any time and continue where you left off.  The best part is that every blog that you visit and mark off through this tracking site will give you one entry into the massive giveaway!  We have a great collection of books, goodies and other swag that is looking for a new home!


For Time & Eternity by Allison Pittman * Book Review

For Time and Eternity (Sister Wife)Camilla is certain her parents must be wrong about the Mormon strangers camped near their family farm. After all, they have never met the handsome, charming, Nathan Fox. How could someone so kind be dangerous?

I loved, loved, loved this book. I literally read the whole thing in 24 hours (and that's saying something coming from a busy mom). I have always been fascinated by the beliefs of Mormons. It was interesting to see a glimpse into some controversial areas - primarily the issue of polygamy.

The book is set in the 1800s, before the Mormon church reversed its stance on plural marriage. I think Pittman did an excellent job of presenting the challenges and emotional impact of such a family state. As a wife, I can't even begin to imagine sharing my husband with another woman, let alone having her live with me under my roof. Pittman fleshed out these issues through the struggles of Camilla Deardon. I was impressed with the plot, drama, and emotional power of this book.\

The only thing I didn't like was the fact that I have to wait until NEXT YEAR to find out what happens next. This is the first book in the Sister Wife series, and I personally hope that there are many more to come.


Bio Ionic Straightening Iron - Review and Giveaway

My hair has a mind of its own. Seriously. Sometimes I wonder where it thinks it's going and why it can't seem to go in the same direction.

A straightening iron has become my new best friend. Even on days where my hair seems out of control, a few minutes with a hot iron and it is once again tamed into submission.

I recently had the opportunity to try the Nano Cermaic "OnePass" Straightening iron from Bio Ionic. This straightening iron allows me to straighten my hair in half the time of other, more traditional, flat irons. The unique Silicone Speed Strips increase shine and decrease the number of passes required to get the smooth, straight look I'm after.

The iron also includes these great features:
  • Instant heat, up to 400°F ; instant recovery
  • Nano-Ionic™ Mineral fused to cushion plates
  • High levels of negative ions; Far infrared energy for silky smooth conditioned hair
  • Bio Ceramic 5 Second heaters
  • Multi-level heat controller
  • 9 ft swivel cord
It did not take long for the iron to heat up, which is a definite plus for a busy mom. It retained the heat well. Initially, I wasn't sure if the silicone strips were going to make a difference, but I was impressed by how easily I was able to get my hair to cooperate. The long cord is also a definite plus!

Overall, I was very pleased with the OnePass from Bio Ionic. It definitely delivered on it's promise of silky, smooth hair. I got compliments on my hair after using the product. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars!

Bio Ionic OnePass Nano Ceramic Straightening Iron 1.5"
One lucky reader will have the opportunity to win a flat iron from Bio Ionic ($142 ARV)! Bio Ionic also offers a fantastic line of hair dryers and curling irons. The nano-ionic technology helps produce smooth, conditioned hair.

Mandatory Entry (must be completed in order for extra entries to be valid)
  • Visit Bio Ionic and tell me which product is your favorite
Extra Entries
  • "Like" Bio Ionic on Facebook
  • Follow Mommy's Minute on Google Friend Connect.
  • Subscribe to Mommy's Minute by e-mail or RSS Feed. 
  • Follow Mommy's Minute on Twitter and leave your twitter id.
  • "Like" Mommy's Minute on Facebook.
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook (daily entry).
  • Tweet this giveaway and leave your tweetlink(daily)
    •  I entered to a flat iron from Bio Ionic and Mommy's Minute! 
US, 18+. Giveaway ends September 23, 2010 at 11:59 PM Mountain Time. Winning comment will be selected via Winner will have 48 hours to respond to winning e-mail. Please make sure your e-mail is visible in your comment or profile. All winning comments will be verified.


    I received a complimentary product to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my own honest thoughts of the product.

    September 7, 2010

    Want some free Pampered Chef stuff?

    I'm am soooo super excited about the new products in the fall catalog. There are some really cute Christmas plates and serving dishes. It's hard to believe it's almost that time of year!

    They've also come out with a great, new assortment of  bamboo bowls and utensils, and some of the most amazing chocolate raspberry sauce I've ever tasted - I ate the whole jar by myself, seriously.

    There are also some great affordable Nylon Knives and Slice 'n Serves for your non-stick pans! New cutting mats, biscuit cutters, and cookbooks are all available in the new Fall Catalog.

    But I'm most excited about giving you the opportunity to win free host rewards! I've decided that as a special thank you I am going to be offering someone the host rewards for an upcoming party at my house. Since you are my friends, you are invited!! Here's how it works:
    • Earn 1 ticket - Simply place an order online before 12 PM (Mountain time) on September 11. You can order by visiting Enter Sarah Brooks as the host.
    • Earn 3 tickets when you book a catalog show (I can mail you catalogs or we can send e-vites and your guests can order completely online! I'd be glad to help! It's an easy way to help friends get their Christmas shopping done without ever having to leave their home! Plus you get tons of great stuff, too !!) Use the Contact Me tab on the Pampered Chef Site!
    • Earn 5 tickets for joining my team as a Pampered Chef Consultant. Earn hundreds of dollars a month - set your own schedule, get paid to go to parties. No fancy cooking skills required. If you can push the buttons on a microwave you can prepare a meal for a show! Visit my website and click on the "join my team" button.
    Even if you've placed an order recently, The Pampered Chef is always coming out with new and improved products! Someone is going to win. Will it be you?
    Also - as an added bonus anyone who places an order over $60 also gets a FREE cookbook of their choice. There are also some super cute ceramic Pumpkin plates for only $5 - great for Halloween or Fall decorating!

    In the month of September, Hosts will receive cutlery at 60% OFF!! That means if you buy the complete forged knife set you can save $249!!! Coming up in October, hosts can select their choice of executive or stainless pots or pans for 60% off! I have a stainless saute pan and love it.

    Have any questions? Feel free to leave me a comment or send me an e-mail!


    The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews

    The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters"Every single thing you do matters." That's the message of Andy Andrew's latest release The Butterfly Effect. I remember hearing about the Butterfly Effect in one of my liberal arts classes in college. The thesis by Edward Lorenz proposes that a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the globe could cause a hurricane on the other side of the planet. In essence, even the smallest movement can have significant implications.

    This small 109 page book from Andrews applies the butterfly effect to human history. Using the story of Union soldier Joshua Chamberlain, Andrews demonstrates that human beings have the ability to have a ripple effect on future generations. If you're still living, you still have a purpose for being on earth.

    Those who have read Andrew's book for Children, The Boy Who Changed the World,  will also recognize the name of Norman Bourlag, who invented a grain that has been used to save the lives of millions who would have otherwise starved. We may not have supernatural gifts or abilities, but we do have the ability to influence and impact those around us. We may never live to see the impact of our legacy, but it will still carry on.

    It is a quick and easy read, and like most of Andrews works, it is inspirational in nature. Although the butterfly effect premise could easily taken to the extreme (What if I was supposed to choose Turkey instead of Roast Beef today?), the message is true and good. We are on earth for a reason. God has a plan and purpose for our lives. We didn't get here by accident. Ordinary people can have an extraordinary impact. In fact, they might even change the world.


    I received a complimentary copy of the e-book from Booksneeze to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my own honest thoughts of the product.

    "The Boy Who Changed the World" by Andy Andrews- Book Review

    The Boy Who Changed the World

    What if one little boy had the power to change the world? In this beautifully illustrated book written by Andy Andrews, we follow the story of several little boys each of whom had a part in changing the world.

    The Boy Who Changed the World is a beautiful reminder of the influence one person can have on the life of another. We may not understand how our choices have the power to influence the next generation. This book was a pleasant reminder that even though the world faces enormous challenges, we have been placed on this earth to make a difference - even if it's only in the life of one other person. You never know - that one person may be the boy who changes the world.

    Even though this book is geared for children, the story is valuable and relevant for individuals of all ages. We were all placed on this earth to serve a purpose. No decision, no effort is inconsequential. Even the smallest choice can hold the power to bring about tremendous change.

    I also love the history this book covers. Although the story begins in the current age, the author leads the reader on a journey back in time to discover how they arrived at their current situation. Children will be able to recognize figures from history as part of the story.

    I would definitely recommend this book to family and friends. A beautiful story. A great reminder. We all have the power to make a difference.


    September 4, 2010

    Yoplait Splitz - The Yogurt That Tastes Like a Sundae! Review and Prize Pack Giveaway!

    I'll admit it. Sometimes I get in a snack rut. Often, I'll have the same snack everyday, so I was excited when Yoplait introduced their latest yogurt product!

    Yoplait Splitz is a delicious new treat that tastes like some of my favorite frozen deserts! They are only 90 calories, which means I can have the tasty flavors of an ice cream split with the added benefits of yogurt. Yoplait Splitz contain no high fructose corn syrup and no artificial flavors or sweeteners. I also love that they provide my family with a tasty source of vitamin D and Calcium.

    Oh those hot summer days when I'm craving something cool, I can pop a Yoplait Splitz into the freezer and my yogurt snack becomes a frozen treat. These make great after-school snacks for kids! You can even put them in the freezer the night before and place them in your child's lunchbox. They'll be cool and ready to eat at lunchtime!

    They come in three flavors:
    • Rainbow Sherbet
    • Strawberry Banana Split
    • Stawberry Sundae.
    One lucky reader is going to win a fantastic Yoplait Splitz Prize pack which includes a coupon for FREE Yoplait Splitz*, an insulated picnic bag - perfect for keeping your yogurt cool, and a fantastic picnic blanket!

    I absolutely love my picnic bag. There is a LOT of space inside. Perfect for taking the family on a picnic! The blanket rolls up neatly and is a great size for taking to football games or your favorite outdoor sporting event!

    One lucky reader is going to win this fantastic prize pack! Here's how to enter:
    Mandatory Entry:
    • Tell me which Yoplait Splitz flavor you would like to try!
    Extra Entries: Optional
    • FB fan Yoplait- 1 extra
    • FB fan of Mommy's Mintue - 1 extra
    • Follow Mommy's Minute on google friend network- 1 extra
    • Subscribe by e-mail or RSS Feed - 1 extra
    • Follow on twitter @Sarahtex06 & @YoplaitYogurt tweet- 1 extra per day per tweet (leave url in comment)

    US, 18+. Giveaway ends September 17, 2010 at 11:59 PM Mountain Time. Winning comment will be selected via Winner will have 48 hours to respond to winning e-mail. Please make sure your e-mail is visible in your comment or profile. All winning comments will be verified.


    Yoplait Splitz, the prize pack, information and the prize package for giveaway were all provided by Yoplait through MyBlogSpark. *This coupon offer for a free pack of Yoplait Splitz is not valid in some states, including California, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, North Dakota and Tennessee

    September 2, 2010

    Ten Ways to Make Your Favorite Foods Healthier

    I don’t know how it happened. Well, actually I do. Since the birth of my son last year that remaining layer of baby fat has refused to disappear, and I haven’t done much to help show it the door. It can be so frustrating to battle those pounds and also balance a busy life as a wife and mother. I’ve watched in dismay as the scale has gone from five to ten to now thirty pounds above my healthy weight goal. There are days I just want to throw in the towel, go grab a tub of cookie dough from the fridge, and just resign myself to the fact that things are never going to change.  But I do have the power to make a difference. It’s not impossible to make healthy changes to my diet without forever surrendering my favorite treats and dishes. It’s all about healthy compromise. I know if I take these tips seriously, I will begin to see the change I’m so desperately looking for.  Here are my ten tips for making my food healthier.

    1. Select the proper portion size. If “Location, Location, Location” is the mantra for a good real estate investment, then “Portion, Portion, Portion” is a key to a good healthy weight. I can say with complete honesty that I often eat more than I need to in one sitting. Sometimes, it’s because it tastes good and for some reason I think that the tastiness of the food will disappear if I don’t cram it all into my face in one sitting. I forget that proper portion sizes mean that perhaps my favorite restaurant meal can feed me for two or three meals instead of just one. I can still enjoy tasty things when they are eaten in the proper amounts. 
    2. Season with herbs and spices instead of salt and butter. I’m guilty here. I was raised in the south. We are notorious for our oh so tasty, but not so good for you, buttery delights. Just ask Paula Dean. However, I am learning that you can add a wide variety of flavors to foods by taking advantage of fresh herbs and spices. Try a new curry or sprinkle some rosemary and garlic on your chicken breast. You’ll be surprised at the wide assortment of flavors you can get for a minimal amount of calories. 
    3. Steam your veggies. Maybe you thought steam was only good for facials and cleaning. Did you know that steaming your vegetables is a great way to prepare your side dishes? There are a wide variety of steamers on the market. Everything from microwavable Ziploc bags to high tech electric contraptions. The key is to cook your vegetables in such a way that they maintain the highest level of nutrients. Steaming allows you to enjoy crisp tasty veggies, a great low cal alternative to high fat sides.
    4. Use Applesauce instead of oil when baking a cake. You can cut out some of the extra fat and calories and you add in an extra dose of fruit. It’s a pretty good trade off. The cake still remains tasty and moist. Nobody has to know your secret. 
    5.  Sneak some veggies in while your kids aren’t looking. Fortunately, my one-year-old is not old enough to verbally protest the peas I put on his plate (for now he just throws them on the floor), but I know a day is coming when vegetables become the evil enemy, and I become the evil tyrant for forcing them to be eaten. There are clever ways to sneak veggies into your diet without your kids (or husband) noticing. Cookbooks like Deceptively Delicious offer tips to sneak those extra vitamins and minerals into favorites like chicken nuggets and brownies.  
    6. Make smoothies instead of milkshakes. I enjoy the cool tastiness of a milkshake or malt, but I’m often shocked into reality when I notice how calorie-laden they are. Fruit smoothies mimic the cold, refreshing nature of milkshake, while supplying vitamins and minerals instead of guilt.  
    7. Cut back on the cheese. Now to a cheese lover like me, this statement is almost blasphemous. In my opinion cheese is the ambrosia of the gods. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of overkill, but it is very good. I’m learning that I can still enjoy the flavor of cheese without overloading my plate with it. A few sprinkles on top of a taco are sufficient. I don’t have to turn my taco into a cheese volcano.   
    8. Bake don’t fry. Yeah, yeah. You love your fried chicken, your French fries, and your deep fried funnel cakes. Don’t we all. But there are some great recipes online and in cookbooks for making mock friend chicken and oven backed fries. You can get a tasty crispy chicken by coating the breast in panko bread crumbs or cornflakes. You can even make healthy sweet potato fries in your oven.
    9. Make an egg white omelet instead of using the whole egg. It may take a few extra eggs, but you can get the tasty protein of an egg while limiting cholesterol. Some recipes even offer tips on cooking with egg whites or egg substitutes. 
    10. Enjoy a few vegetarian meals. When I got married I learned that it’s not a meal unless it includes meat. Until that point I was content with the occasional bowl of rice and veggies, or plain pasta with olives and tomatoes. I’ve learned that removing the meat from a few meals helps cut back on the fat and calories, but if, like in my family, cutting out meat is not an option,  I can substitute lean healthier meats like chicken and fish into my diet. I often use ground turkey instead of ground beef in dishes like tacos, spaghetti, and soups. It’s hard to tell the difference when it’s covered in spices and sauces.
    It’s hard to change your diet overnight, but there are a few simple steps you can take to help create a healthier you (without eliminating flavor and taste).


    “I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and WeightWatchers SmartOnes blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

    September 1, 2010

    Blogger Burnout

    Have you ever had times in your life when you were doing a ton of things, but you weren't doing many of them well? The ole cliche "Jack of all trades, master of none" comes to mind. You may have noticed a decrease in the amount of posts and giveaways in the last couple weeks. Honest answer - I'm pooped, my house is a dirty mess, and I keep adding tons of additional responsibilities on top of my already busy life as a wife and mother. Now don't get me wrong - they are all things I enjoy (volunteering at my church, working with my Pampered Chef business, spending time with my MOPS group), but I've been running a million miles a minute for the last couple weeks and I needed a little bit of a breather, and I'm afraid Mommy's Minute has been an easier place to cut back.

    I hope you'll stick with me. I will continue to do my best to round up some great reviews and giveaways, but there may be a few dry spells here and there. It takes a lot of work to review products and promote giveaways, and although I absolutely LOVE doing it, my family needs to come first. I've been neglecting my family at times to help build Mommy's Minute into a site I hope you enjoy visiting.

    I'm a real mom - with real time constraints. Most of my days are spent calming a toddler, wiping boogers, and figuring out what's for dinner. I wanted to let you know that you guys are important to me. I am so blessed to have gotten to know some of you guys through forums, and e-mails. I am so thankful that God has given me a "voice" and a channel to communicate my struggles and His strength.

    I'm not giving up. I'm not throwing in the towel, but I may lie low for just a little while so that I can regroup and recharge and come back better than ever!