Month: March 2016

And It Was Beautiful Book Review

Litfuse Book Tour

“I was here. I saw beauty. I embraced it.” -Kara Tippetts.

And It Was Beautiful Book Review

About And It Was Beautiful

How do you live out extravagant love in the everyday moments? How do you celebrate grace when your life turns out differently than the one you dreamed?

Kara Tippetts discovered how to find joy in the small moments of life. She learned how to hold tight to hope even while battling intense physical and emotional pain. And she lived out the truth that God can redeem any story.

In her final book, Kara offers gentle reflections on living and dying well. She invites us to cultivate soft hearts even when we face great disappointment. Her ideas for living are hard-won, wrestled with in the crucible of family, illness, and faith. And her constant reminder is that whether we are in the midst of dark days or mundane moments Jesus is always there, life is surprisingly beautiful, and God is forever good.

My Thoughts

Kara Tippetts was an amazing Mother, Wife and individual. Her first novel, The Hardest Peace touched my deeply, I cried, I laughed and I learned so much about my own life. I realized those dark moments could always be darker and that even in those moments we can glimpse moments of light.

And It Was Beautiful is a wonderful compilation of her work and her story. She had this honest and open way of writing that makes you laugh, cry and want to reach out to her. She let you into her life without hiding over the ugly moments, instead she celebrates these moments for what they are. She found the light in each of these moments and shared it with us. I feel blessed to have read both of her books, the lessons of love, family and living with grace are precious. She guides you and teaches you by showing her own struggles.

The world has been blessed to have Kara Tippetts walk among us for such a short time. Her words of wisdom, love and grace will live on in her work.

You can find more reviews on the Litfuse Blog Tour Page. You can purchase a copy of the book here.


About the Author

Kara Tippetts was the author of The Hardest Peace and the co-author of Just Show Up. She blogged faithfully at Since her death in March 2015, her husband, Jason, has been parenting their four children and leading the church the couple founded in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Make It A #GrandMarchBreak with Crafts from Grand & Toy

Make It A #GrandMarchBreak with Crafts from Grand & Toy

March Break is only a few days away and while the kids are super excited for a week off of school, if you are like me you can probably already hear the dreaded, “I am SO bored!”. It’s inevitable that every year we hear this at least once during the week. We do not go away during the March Break, mostly because of the cost of travelling during this time period so we have to think of unique and different ways to keep the boys active and enjoying themselves throughout the week every year.

Over the last six years, we have learned some pretty good ideas on how to keep them active not only physically but mentally too and that wont break the bank!

Two weeks before March Break, we always create a five day calendar for the week with an am/pm slot for each day. We sit down as a family and talk about what we really want to do during the week, what is a must and what is a maybe. Then we start putting the items into place.

Every day we choose one physical activity (swimming at our local pool, playing at the park, indoor family gym) to do in the morning or if the weather is bad we can switch it to the afternoon. Keeping them physically active is necessary so they get their energy out in a constructive manner. Our local community centres have fantastic swim and open family gym times that work well for our schedule.

Have a #GrandMarchBreak with Crafts from Grand & Toy

In the afternoon, we like to keep their minds and hands busy with crafts. I don’t think anyone ever stops loving the feel of making something with their hands whether it be a painting, colouring a pre-drawn picture, cut and pasting and even using model clay. My personal favourite is painting, I can paint for hours on end! These are fun, simple and inexpensive ways to keep your child creative and their minds active during the week. You can pick a daily theme for your crafting activities to keep things varied and encourage your child to try new things when it comes to crafting.

Grand & Toy has all you need to stock up your crafting drawers and keep your children (or grandchildren!) occupied throughout their vacation. You can conveniently order online and have all of your crafting (and office supplies if you like to multitask like me!) shipped to your home. Make it even more exciting for your kids by letting them join in the ordering process, picking out what they want to use to make their creations. Then watch their excitement grow as the parcel is delivered to your door!

Here are some of our crafting creations that we made with our supplies from Grand & Toy:

Make It A #GrandMarchBreak with Grand & Toy

Watch out for more creations coming this week on Twitter and Instagram with the #GrandMarchBreak hashtag. Share your crafts with me and Grand & Toy online too! We love seeing what you are up to too.

My Canadian readers can now enter to win their own Grand & Toy #GrandMarchBreak Survival Kit, that includes: modelling clay, hot chocolate, scented markers, Elmer’s glue, scissors, pencil crayons, construction paper, exercise book and prang paint. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below – good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a March Break survival kit from Grand & Toy, all opinions expressed are my own.

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The Hearts We Mend

Litfuse Book Tour

In The Hearts We Mend, planning and Post-It notes are the epitome of Evie’s life. But when she meets Jack, her life gets more than a little complicated.

The Hearts We Mend Book Review

About The Hearts We Mend

Thirteen years ago, Evie’s firefighter husband was killed in the line of duty, leaving her to raise their young son, Cody, alone. Now, Cody is marrying the love of his life, and as he packs up his belongings, the house feels as empty as Evie’s heart. But for all her planning and mad organizational skills, Evie could never have anticipated the dramatic shift her life is about to make.

Tattooed, rough-around-the-edges Jack raises quite a few eyebrows in the tight-knit community of Banister Falls. Where Evie’s life is stream-lined, Jack’s approach to living is moment-by-moment. But as Evie gets drawn into Jack’s world—a world that isn’t as safe or predictable as the one she’s worked so hard to create—he challenges her to open her eyes to the problems outside the walls of the church.

Jack doesn’t make Evie feel comfortable, but he definitely makes her feel something. Something she hasn’t felt since Max passed away—or, maybe ever. Because even though Jack isn’t anything like her late husband, he just might be everything she needs.

My Thoughts

This is the second book by author, Kathryn Springer, following Evie and her son Cody. This second book is just as fantastic (if not more!) as the first novel. In this novel, we see Cody marry his highschool sweetheart and pregnant girlfriend,watching this transition from depending on Evie to being his own man. This has a huge array of effects on Evie and she struggles at first with these changes until she meets Jack. Jack challenges her to get out of her comfort zone, to realize her potential and want more. But does she really have the courage to accept his challenge? Can she look beyond tattoos and the outer appearance of Jack to see the person inside? A fantastic novel from start to finish! It leaves you wanting that much more.

You can find more reviews on the Litfuse blog tour page. You can purchase a copy of the book here.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Kathryn Springer is a USA Today bestselling author. She grew up in northern Wisconsin, where her parents published a weekly newspaper. As a child she spent many hours sitting at her mother’s typewriter, plunking out stories, and credits her parents for instilling in her a love of books — which eventually turned into a desire to tell stories of her own. Kathryn has written nineteen books with close to two million copies sold. She lives with her husband and three children in Marinette, Wisconsin.

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Find Your Lampe Berger Personality with The 2016 Collection

The Lampe Berger brand has always been committed to eliminating odours with sophistication and style. The company is taking this to a new level in 2016 with four unique lamp styles to match your personality and six brand new scents that will take you on a journey through countries, mountains and fields.

Are you ready to meet the four new unique lamp personalities?

Discover Your Lampe Berger Personality with the 2016 Collection

The Passion Lamp: Prestige

This is the lamp that we received in the mail and we fell in love with the clear glass design, wide rounded curves and the generous room for the scented perfume inside the lamp. This is Lampe Berger’s elegant, refined scented lamp and comes in three colours; red, black and transparent. It’s elegant design and transparent glass allowed us to easily move the lamp from our dining room table, the bathroom and to the living room and still match the decor from room to room. Setting up the lamp is as simple as removing it, filling it up, placing the cord inside and putting the lid on. We love starting the lamp (which is flameless and an even bigger bonus: no cords!) as soon as we get home from work and leave it for roughly ten minutes in each room. It covers our whole living room no problem in that time and even into the main hallway (where our dog loves to sleep and you can smell her the most in this area) and effectively eliminates any of the off odours from our dog or smelly socks and shoes. The top of the lamp never becomes too hot and we have never had a time where we have forgotten to turn the lamp off.

Discover Your Lampe Berger Personality with the 2016 Collection

The Athena Lamp: Sophistication

This is the brand’s famous look, which was given a slight update to have an even more sophisticated and assertive look to it. The trendy vintage look comes in two colours: honey with bronze mounting and smokey grey with aged tin mounting (I love the honey and bronze look!). These combine to give these lamps a timeless yet contemporary look that will fit the vintage personality in your family.

Berlingot Gift Set: Pop Art

This sweet lamp has a modern look to it that will appeal to the artist in you. The lamp comes in lacquered glass in red and green that gives an instant pop of colour in your home. This lamp is definitely for the person in your life who loves that pop of colour, who is free-spirited and lives life on the edge.

Ovalie Gift Set: Gentle and Feminine

For our romantic users, the Ovalie Boxed Set comes in a gentle rose colour with a simple oval shape that will fit into your home decor easily. Simple, romantic and stunning! This would be a perfect gift for the young lady in your life who is going off to school or heading into her first place (either renting or owning). It is sweet, romantic, soft and welcoming with its oval shape.

Find Your Lampe Berger Personality with Four New Lamps

Now that you have met the four personalities, meet the new Lampe Berger perfumes: Timeless Rose (an ode to Spring), Bergamot (Mediterranean style) and mineral oakmoss (between seas and mountain). Each scent is unique (you will not find them in any other product!) and cleans the air in your home leaving a breath of fresh of air in its wake.

Discover Your Lampe Berger Personality with the 2016 Collection

For those not familiar with the way the lamps work, once the scent is in the lamp, you light the mounting wire piece allowing the flame to burn for a few minutes. Once you blow out the flame, the lamp diffuses the perfumed scent throughout the room.

Discover Your Lampe Berger Personality with the 2016 Collection

With two boys and a dog, our lamps have been a life saver for bad smells! Our lamps leave our rooms smelling fresh, relaxing and inviting while looking stylish, using no flames (a big no-no for two young boys who love kicking balls in the house) and with no attachments (no plug-ins, no charging!).

Connect with Lampe Berger online to find out more about their product lines and fragrances. Make sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date on new releases.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product free of charge in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Take Back Your Life and Gain Confidence While Dealing with SUI

Take Back Your Life and Confidence While Dealing With SUI

As women, we are led to belief that our bodies need to be perfect, that the body image outside of societal norm is wrong and that we should be ashamed of our bodies if they don’t function the so-called ‘normal’ way. But the real definition of normal ranges greatly from woman to woman and body type to body type. We need to let go of the societal image when seeking help for women’s health concerns, especially with an extremely common condition called Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI).

My first experience with SUI came while I was pregnant with my second son. I had gained quite a bit of weight and the first few times it happened, I was in so much shock, I just ignored it. I did not want to believe my body had betrayed me and I most certainly did not want to talk about it with my husband or doctor (how do you even begin to have those conversations??). Instead of confronting my fears and seeking help, I suffered in silence and tried everything I could to ignore and control others from noticing it.

Take Back Your Life and Confidence while Dealing with SUI

This clearly did not work. I kept believing it would get better after giving birth to my son (it just had to) but instead it became worse. SUI was beginning to affect my life so much that I did not want to go yoga out of fear of leaks; I had to ensure I was constantly wearing a liner just in case and if I forgot to wear one; I was clenching my legs shut out of sheer fear alone. This had such a negative toll on my mental health, I was so unhappy and it showed in my self-confidence and self-worth. I didn’t want to go out, I didn’t want to get dressed up and I most certainly did not want to exercise in public because of my shame. That was when I knew I had to stop this vicious cycle and only I had the power to do so.

My first step was letting go of the perfect body image I had in my mind, I had to let go of expectations and embrace my body for what it was. Sure it leaked but the more I accepted this, the easier it became easier to seek help. I found I wasn’t alone and I actually had someone to talk to my fears about. Taking the time to reach out to your doctor is key as you need to make sure there are no underlying factors causing SUI symptoms such as a bladder infection. My doctor made me feel so comfortable and she even shared her own stories.

The next step is to take charge of your health, surgical options are definitely not a desired treatment plan for most (at least not in my case) so start with the basics, such as losing weight, exercising, taking bathroom breaks, using a panty liner.

Take Back Your Life and Confidence While Dealing With SUI

Even these simple steps can sometimes not be enough and that is where Poise Impressa comes in. Poise Impressa is an intravaginal device that helps to manage SUI. It works by pressing against the urethra which helps stop urine from leaking out, eliminating the need for liners and being self-conscious about a smell or that anyone would notice that this has happened to you.

I was really curious about the actual design of the Impressa, how would it look and how to insert it. I was surprised to see that it is just slightly longer than a tampon, slightly wider and inserted the same way you would a tampon by pushing the device from the bottom which inserts the Impressa into the vaginal canal. This gave me so much relief as I get nervous using tampons sometimes – I worry about string length, if it will be difficult to insert or hold the device to insert. The insertion was simple and I had no problems with that part.

At first I felt conscious of the Poise Impressa being in place as I could feel the pressure it placed towards the front of the vaginal wall and I wanted to keep checking the strings and making sure it was in place properly. But this pressure is a good sign as the device was doing what it should be doing by putting slight pressure on the urethra to prevent leaks. Soon I found that the more I kept moving, it quickly became forgotten and it was just there similar to the same feeling of a tampon being present. It did not interfere with any of my daily activities from work to yoga to walking the dog. It remained in place all day and I put it to a daily challenge for the entire week by not wearing a panty liner – to my surprise (and relief!) I did not have one leak. This was pretty impressive for such a small device.

Take Back Your Life and Confidence While Dealing with SUI

The Poise Impressa comes in three different sizes so if Size One doesn’t fit properly or starts to displace then simply try the next size up and so on until you hit size three. Remember, all of our bodies are different! Let go of any expectation and ensure the size is comfortable, fits properly to your body and does the job. You can wear the Impressa for up to eight hours and you do not have to remove it if you have to urinate which is a bonus. If I had to remove it every time I went to the bathroom I would be going through them like crazy! Removal is simple and does not hurt, I was worried once it expanded it would be difficult to remove but with the slightest pressure on the strings, the Impressa popped right out and in the garbage it went.

I am a number person and I found these statistics shocking. Clearly women are embarrassed and uncomfortable talking about a common problem that has easy solutions to help you manage it.

SUI Statistics:

  • 75% of Canadian women experience SUI when they sneeze.
  • 72% of Canadian women experience SUI when they cough.
  • More than 4 in 10 Canadian women experience SUI post pregnancy or childbirth.
  • 72% of women aged 45-54 feel self-conscious as a result of SUI.
  • 59% of Canadian women feel self-conscious.
  • 53% of Canadian women feel embarrassed.

Take Back Your Life and Confidence while Dealing with SUI

Now that you know you aren’t alone, it is so important to seek the help you need. Talk to other women, talk to your doctor and try Poise Impressa as a step to controlling your SUI symptoms.

Have you ever dealt with SUI? What have you tried that seems to be working? Would you use a device like Poise Impressa?

Disclosure: I received a sample of Poise Impressa in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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