1000 Places to See Before You Die - Review

It's very easy for me to see how this book became a #1 New York Times Bestseller. This is the ultimate "bucket list" book for travelers. I have had such a wonderful time reading through 1000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Shultz. With 600 full color pictures and very detailed information about the most intriguing places in the world, this book is a journey all its own! This book would be a fabulous gift for anyone who loves to travel or wants to travel. It's also a great resource for studying about unique and beautiful places all over the world. What a great Father's Day gift idea!
This second edition has 200 more entries than the first edition, plus each entry has been rewritten to include so much more information. It's a wonderful travel guide with practical tips on where to go, where to stay, where to eat, along with great information about festivals and special events. I've been marking the pages of places I've always wanted to see and highlighting new discoveries that I've added to my life list.
The publisher, Workman Publishing, is also releasing a brand new iPad application with the release of the book. Find out more information at http://www.1000beforeyoudie.com/
Disclosure: I received this book at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Buffalo Jackson Bi-Fold Leather Whiskey Wallet - Review

There's just something rugged and sensual about leather. I love to see my husband pulling on his leather boots and strapping on his leather belt. I especially love to see him pulling out his leather wallet...HAHA. Sadly, he lost his wallet that my daughter bought him last Christmas. It sure is a nightmare to scramble around trying to cancel and change the financials when that happens. Being able to review a leather wallet from Buffalo Jackson Trading Company is both a timely rescue and a welcome treat!
This is one high quality bi-fold wallet. The leather is absolutely gorgeous and feels as smooth as butter on the outside. It also smells amazing. This tough, strong leather is just calling out for a man to stuff it full of dollars and credit cards, and soften it like a baseball glove through years of handling. A man's wallet truly is as important to him as a woman's handbag is to her. Buffalo Jackson Trading company understands the manliness and pride that comes from being what they call a "rugged gentleman."
This is a wonderful Father's Day gift idea. I found it especially ironic that it's called their Whiskey Wallet, because that's our drink of choice in this house. My husband is going to absolutely love this wallet and I can't wait to surprise him with it. Buffalo Jackson offers many different styles leather wallets, leather keychains, leather checkbook covers, leather belts, and even leather laptop cases. Beyond all their quality leather products, you can also find clothing, shoes, hat and so much more. Visit http://buffalojackson.com and be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
Disclosure: I received this product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Enter to win a Buffalo Jackson Bi-Fold Whiskey Wallet!
Buffalo Jackson is my sponsor for the 
Makobi Scribe Father's Day Event and 
one lucky Planet Weidknecht winner will win the 
Buffalo Jackson Trading Company 
Bi-Fold Leather Whiskey Wallet
valued at $54.95!

Mouth Man Hoodies - Review

Your clothing should always make a statement about you. Personally, I like clothes that are fun! Mouth Man Hoodies definitely fit the bill. My new XOXO shirt is so much fun. Anyone who knows me knows I love PINK. As a childcare provider, kisses and hugs are a big part of my job. Mouth Man Hoodies go way beyond just fun though. 
These shirts are made of recycled plastic bottles, so they are eco-friendly. The material is different from anything else I've ever felt, sort of a blend of polyester, cotton, and silk. The fabric is UPF 50 so it's an excellent choice for at the pool or the beach. It's lightweight and moisture wicking so it can be worn year round. It's really comfortable to wear!
Mouth Man Hoodies are for children and adults. They were invented by rock band Journey founding members Ross Valory and Prairie Prince. Oh wait! I haven't shown you the best part yet! Check out this video! And then ENTER TO WIN!

Happy 11th Anniversary to my Soul Mate

I love you,
Johnny Weidknecht!


Welcome to the Weekend Hop

Welcome to the Weekend Hop
sponsored by Planet Weidknecht
and Beck Valley Books!
Link up your accounts and find some new friends.
While you're here, enter to win some great prizes!

Hemp Hearts - Review

I am always up for trying something new! That's part of the fun of being a blogger. I was invited to try Hemp Hearts from Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods and Oils. Having absolutely NO idea what they were, I said SURE! Luckily for me, Hemp Hearts are not like I pictured. They are raw shelled hemp seeds and I was very intrigued.
The packaging says to sprinkle on salads, yogurt and cereal. I tossed together a salad of spinach leaves and cherry tomatoes, with a calorie-free sweet onion dressing. They can also be eaten alone as a snack. I opened the package of hemp hearts and scooped out some Hemp Hearts. A serving size is 3 tablespoons and is packed with 10 grams of protein. Hemp hearts have no trans fat, no cholesterol, and no sodium, and have just 3 grams of carbs.
I sprinkled them around on my salad and took a bite. They are light on flavor, but have a crunchy, nutty taste. They lend great texture and a pleasant taste. I like them. I also like that they are full of nutrients...110% Manganese, 45% Magnesium, 8% Folate, 6% Riboflavin, 20% Iron, 20% Zinc, 45% Phosphorus, 8% Vitamin B6, 25% Thiamin, and 2% Calcium, plus Omegas and Rare Omegas...in just a 3 tablespoon serving. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seeds come in natural or organic varieties. You can get Hemp Hearts and many other hemp products, as well as recipes and more, at http://www.manitobaharvest.com/. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.
Win Hemp Hearts by entering below!
Just fill out the Rafflecopter form; only the first entry is mandatory, but entering bonus entries will increase your chances of winning. You must be at least 18 years old. Ends at midnight ET on 6/16/12. This giveaway is open to US and Canada! Good luck!

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Lots to Cuddle Baby Doll - Review

As a childcare provider, I love to watch the kids play mommy and daddy with the baby dolls. It is so sweet to watch them hold and cuddle a doll, talking to it like they hear their parents talking to them. It's important that children (both girls and boys) have access to role playing toys like dolls because it's a great way to teach them to be kind and gentle with others. This Lots to Cuddle Baby from JC Toys is absolutely adorable and the realistic details immediately draw children into play.
JC Toys has a huge selection of realistic dolls for children's play and for collectors. For many decades, they've crafted high-quality, affordable dolls, play sets, and doll clothing. There are five new doll collections available including the Lots to Cuddle Babies, La Newborn Collection, Mini La Newborn, Lil' Hugs, and Lil' Cutesies Collection. You can find JC Toys at http://www.jctoys.com/ and be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
This little two year old was completely enraptured when I handed her the Lots to Cuddle Baby. The soft snuggly body of the baby is easy to hold and the chubby cheeks call out for kisses. The sweet baby expression with a slightly open mouth encourages children to try to feed baby with spoons and bottles. The extended thumb can also be placed in baby's mouth. The clothing is removable and even two year olds can dress baby with the hat and booties.
One lucky Planet Weidknecht winner will get to choose a brand new JC Toys baby doll! 
Check out the potential prize choices!
Lil' Hugs # 48000 (three clothing color choices) or
 Lil' Cutesies #16936 (three expression choices)
Disclosure: I received this product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Win a JC Toys Baby Doll!
To enter to win, please fill in the Rafflecopter form below. Only the first entry is mandatory; bonus entries increase your chances to win. You must be at least 18 years old and live in the US. This giveaway ends at midnight ET on 6/22/12. Good luck!

Win a Child's Lifetime Picnic Table

Lifetime Products Inc. has applied innovation and cutting-edge technology in plastics and metals to create a family of affordable lifestyle products that feature superior strength and durability. The world's leading manufacturer of folding tables and Chairs, Lifetime was founded as the maker of portable basketball systems that revolutionized the industry with patented technology. With new offerings such as outdoor sheds and utility trailers, Lifetime continues to develop innovative products that outfit the lifestyles of today's Americans.

Summer is finally here and the weather is perfect for a nice picnic. Children adore picnics (so do I) and what could be more adorable than their very own Lifetime Picnic Table. Enjoying back yard BBQ's the 4th of July with this kids picnic table.
Give your kids a place to call their own with a Lifetime Kids Picnic Table. Seating up to four kids comfortably, the Lifetime Kids Picnic Tables fold flat for easy storage and transportation. Constructed of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and powder-coated steel, our picnic tables are stain resistant, easy to clean, and UV-protected.

Seats Four Kids Comfortably
Folds Flat for Convenient Storage
Stain Resistant and Easy to Clean
UV-Protected Tabletop and Benches
Will Not Crack, Chip or Peel
Superior Strength and Durability
32.5" x 19" High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Top
Durable Steel Frame with All-Weather Finish
Some Assembly Required
2-Year Limited Warranty

Note: Check out Lifetime 365 Blog to win an adult size picnic table too!!

Thanks to Lifetime Products Inc. for sharing and sponsoring this fun summer giveaway in with conjunction with Life Is A SandCastle. One Reader will win the Lifetime Picnic Table. Giveaway ends June 24 at 12:01am, open to US residents only, ages 18+, one entry per household. Use Rafflecopter Form below to enter.

Disclosure: My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Some information and photos from sponsor site. Life Is A SandCastle is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.  I received no compensation for this publication. 


2012 Venus Transit set to Music


Hurry Less Worry Less for Moms by Judy Christie

Judy Christie is a professional life coach with 20 years experience. She truly understands the role of stressed out, overworked mom. Her book "Hurry Less Worry Less for Moms" offered me great practical ideas on managing my busy life. I especially liked the mom's quiet corner segment in each chapter, because it gives me inspiration and hope through a short prayer. The positive little reminders throughout the book validated me that I'm doing the best I can as a parent.

Balancing everything perfectly is impossible for any parent and in our busy lives we often feel overwhelmed. Knowing I'm not alone and having this handbook nearby is very valuable to me. The discussion guide in the back is an excellent review of each chapter's main points and would be a great blueprint for a group to read this together. A very good read!

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Give Dad a Home-Cooked Meal

Brought to you by Maria Zoitas, creator of Westside Market NYC’s “Maria’s Homemade” line of prepared foods.
·         2 lbs. pork shoulder cubes
·         1 tbsp. kosher salt
·         ½ tbsp. black ground pepper
·         ¼ tbsp. red crushed pepper
·         ½ tbsp. dry oregano
·         ¾ lbs. mixed peppers (red, yellow, green) cut 1 inch cubes
·         ½ tbsp. paprika
·         1/4 lbs. white onions ( cube 1 inch)
·         2 tbsp. lemon juice
1.       Marinate pork cubes for about 6 hours, or leave overnight, place in refrigerator
2.       Skewer vegetables and pork, grilled or B.B.Q. grill
3.       When kebabs are done drizzle an additional olive oil with lemon on kebabs.

·         2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
·         1 small eggplant, cubed
·         1 small zucchini, cubed
·         1 red bell pepper, seeded and cubed
·         2 tbspn. balsamic vinegar
·         1 tspn. dried Italian herb seasoning
·         Salt and pepper
·         1 cup broccoli florets, blanched

1.       1 9-ounce package fresh cheese-filled tortellini, cooked and drained according to package directions
2.       Heat 2 tablespoons oil in skillet
3.       Add eggplant and zucchini and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
4.       Add red pepper and cook 1 minute
5.       Whisk together ¼ cup oil, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper in large bowl
6.        Add tortellini, broccoli, and cooked vegetable mixture
7.       Toss well. Chill before serving.

·         1 9-inch double piecrust
·         6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
·         3/4 cup sugar
·         3 tbspn. all-purpose flour
·         3/4 tspn. ground cinnamon
·         1/2 tspn. ground nutmeg

1.       Preheat oven to 425˚F
2.       Mix together sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg
3.       Sprinkle over apples and toss to coat
4.       Spread apples evenly in pie shell and cover with other crust
5.       Crimp edges and cut a few decorative vents in top crust so steam can escape
6.       Bake pie for 20 minutes, then lower temperature to 350˚F and continue baking for another 45 to 50 minutes
7.       Cool on a rack.

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Xtrema 4 Quart Covered Ceramic Soup Pot - Review, Recipe and Giveaway

I immediately fell in love with the Xtrema 4 Quart Covered Ceramic Soup Pot. It looks like a little witch's brewing pot! It's perfect for soup, chili, and beans. The big, thick side handles make it easy to carry even when it's full. Xtrema Ceramic Cookware is made by Ceramcor and it's scientifically proven to be the healthiest cookware, with no trace metals or chemicals leaching from the cooking surface.
Xtrema Cookware is very versatile and can be used in the oven, on the stove top, in a broiler, in a barbecue grill, and in a microwave. It can go from freezer to oven to table. It's dishwasher safe and this high temperature cookware is so strong that even steel wool won't scratch it. I decided my husband should make his amazing chili recipe! (Do you like how I got out of cooking? After all, someone has to take the photos!)
Andouille Chili Recipe: 16 oz Red Kidney Beans, one 29 oz can Tomato Sauce, one 12 oz can Tomato Paste, one Serrano Pepper and one Jalapeno Pepper (chopped), 1/4 Onion (chopped), 2 medium Andouille Sausages (sliced and peeled from skin), one Garlic Clove (pressed), 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons Chili Powder, 1 teaspoon Sea Salt, pinch of celery salt, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Mix all the ingredients together in the soup pot, cover, and heat in 400 degree F oven for two hours.
I recommend you try not to fill the pot as full as we did! We used two 29 oz cans of tomato sauce and it was just way too much, so that's why the recipe above says to use just one can. As the chili heated up, it expanded (of course) and we had to remove some of the liquid halfway through cooking. Xtrema Cookware heats evenly all around, inside and out, so food is healthier and tastes better.
We also made some mini cornbread muffins from a boxed mix in our pantry. I like mine on the side but Johnny crumbles his up and stirs it into his chili. It was absolutely delicious! Cleanup was really easy. There was a bit of burned-on chili where it had bubbled up a bit around the lid, so I used a steel wool pad and in two swipes the burned food was gone. I rinsed it with hot water, then put the soup pot and lid into the dishwasher and it came out squeaky clean. I highly recommend Xtrema Ceramic Cookware!
Xtrema Cookware Online  ~  Xtrema Cookware on Facebook 
Xtrema Cookware on Twitter  ~  Xtrema Cookware on Pinterest
Disclosure: I received this product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Win an Xtrema 4 Quart Covered Ceramic Soup Pot!
To enter, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below. Only the first entry is mandatory; all other entries are bonus entries to increase your chance to win. You must be at least 18 years old and have a US address. This giveaway will end at midnight ET on 6/24/2012. Good luck and bon appetit!

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Winner Announcement

The Shake, Rattle and Roll Giveaway Hop is over
and the winner of the Happy Healthy Baby Prize pack
has won a Golden Eel Onzie and Bib, 
ZeroWater Pitcher, and Halo Sleep Sack!

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Liquid Vitamin B12 Complex - Review

Are you exhausted? 1st Step Pro-Wellness set out to create a women's natural energy drink without caffeine or stimulants. After years of development, they have released Liquid Vitamin B12 Complex at retailers nationwide. A delicious all natural cherry or tropical fruit flavored liquid that helps women achieve achieve lasting energy, strong bone and joints, toned muscles, healthy hydration and healthy weight.
Just one drink per day gives women the boost they need without unpleasant side effects. I received two tropical fruit B12 Complex drinks to try and I decided to try one mid-afternoon to see if they would help me avoid the sleepiness that always sets in towards the end of the daycare kids' naptime. It actually worked for me, two days in a row! It tastes pretty good too.
Vitamin B12 also helps promote red blood cell formation and helps convert food into energy. There is also research that indicates there may also be a link between Vitamin B12 and improvement in brain function.
To find out more visit http://1ststepprowellness.com/healthy_energy.html. Check out more about 1st Step Pro-Wellness on Facebook and Twitter too!
Disclosure: I received these products at no charge through Family Review Network in exchange for my honest review.

Asher's Chocolate Covered Potato Chips - Review

Yes, you read that right...Chocolate Covered Potato Chips. You cannot imagine what a divine combination this is unless you've actually tasted it. Asher's Chocolate has smothered thick-cut rippled potato chips with a decadent milk chocolate layer. It's the perfect blend of salty and sweet like you've never experienced. The only ingredients are potatoes and milk chocolate.
My daughter updated her Facebook with: "I found my new sin - Asher's chocolate covered potato chips." She says she just cannot quit eating them. I have to agree. So does my husband. And my sons. They are SO good! Need a unique Father's Day Gift? This is it.
For just $14.95, you get 16-ounces, as four 4-ounce bags so you can give one as a gift and disappear into your bedroom with the other three. After all, sharing is really important, right? You can buy these delicious Chocolate Covered Potato Chips at http://www.ashers.com/. You can also enter to win some below! Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter too.
Disclosure: I received these products at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
(Yes, my son dyed his bangs red. His girlfriend's idea.)
Win Asher's Chocolate Smothered Potato Chips!
To enter to win, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below. You must be at least 18 years old and live in the US. Only the first entry is mandatory; but all those bonus entries increase your chances of winning! This giveaway ends at midnight ET on 6/22/2012. Good luck!