New Winner Selected

Due to non-response to repeated emails,
I've selected a new winner for the
$25 Gift Code to Hadaki Bags!

Way to go, Ju P.!!!


Just Once I'm Aiming Low

Anyone who knows me, knows I always aim high. It's never enough that I just do something, I have to put everything I have into whatever I do. Just once, I'm Aiming Low. WHAT? Yes. Okay, well sort of, aiming low. Actually I'm aiming high to be Aiming Low. Confused? See, there's this amazing writer's conference called Aiming Low, The Perfectly Mediocre Non-Conference, that I'd love to attend, but I have to convince the lovely ladies of Simply Sassy Media to pay for my weekend. So in the spirit of competition, I've written the (hopefully) winning post below, in the form of an Ode. I hope you enjoy it!

Ode to Aiming Low
by Lisa Weidknecht of Planet Weidknecht

"Oh, Aiming Low, I've avoided you all my life 
and yet I yearn to reach you.
The Gardens of Georgia are calling me
to make some friends anew.
I will try my best to behave myself
and represent Simply Sassy,
But even non-conferences get out of hand
so Aiming Low is classy.
I'll be packing my sponsored clothing
into a branded travel bag,
I will blog all I learn from the non-con
and maybe score some swag.
Yes, I'll be Aiming Low all weekend
and sending out Sassy tweets,
I'll update my status with photos galore
and share all the gossip sweets.
I admire the Simply Sassy Media team
for helping bloggers grow,
Send me, dear ones, send me for free
to frolic at Aiming Low!"

Fiction Untitled - 1.1

Read my first novel as I'm writing it. Updated!


Opinion Place - Where You're the Expert

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$2 Kids' T-Shirt



Fiction Untitled

Read my first novel, as I write it.....

Chapter One


Falling Stars

Last night, I was sitting on the deck with my husband. I was facing out away from the house and he was sitting facing me. As I was gazing out, I saw a star explode to my left and then arc down towards the earth to my right. It was stunning. I could hardly believe I actually saw it. I've never seen a falling star. It was bright at first, fell towards the earth, fading as it fell, then burned out as it reached the top of the tree silhouette in the distance to the north. My husband said he could see the star falling in the reflection of my eyes. It was such a moving experience. I wondered aloud if anyone else in Austin or Pflugerville saw the same thing. Did you see it?

How to Fight Childhood Cancer #AflacKids

Join the Aflac Duck at the Swim with Friends virtual rubber duck race! When you donate $12, you’ll receive a rubber duck and entry into the Swim with Friends virtual race. Each entry is a chance to win a family-friendly vacation for four to Orlando! Your $12 donation is also matched by Aflac and all proceeds go directly to pediatric cancer research. 

On October 9th, the Swim with Friends virtual duck race will be held on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/aflacduck. The owner of the winning rubber duck (chosen at random) will win a family vacation for four. Swim with Friends and donate to get your rubber duck today at www.aflac.com/friends.
Follow on Twitter at http://twitter.com/aflacduck. Plus for every tweet with the #AflacKids hashtag, Aflac will donate $2 directly to pediatric cancer research! Thanks to SheSpeaks.com for allowing me to share this opportunity with my readers!
sponsored post for Aflac/SheSpeaks

Emma Rose Plaid Ruffle Purse - Review and Giveaway

Fall is just around the corner and it's always such a comforting feeling to see plaid materials edge their way back into wardrobes. This Emma Rose Plaid Ruffle Purse from Alexa's Angels instantly charmed me with its colors of gray, black and wine.
The plaid material is like a soft flannel and the satin ruffle edging around the top makes it feel so flirty. The handles are a soft, flexible patent leather and I definitely love the relaxed shape of this Fall handbag. I immediately connected with the style and fashion of it.
It's very roomy on the inside and closes with a magnetic snap. There is also an inner zipper pocket as well as an open side pocket. I had more than enough room for all the things I generally carry...wallet, pen, check book, keys, cell phone, and lip balm. It's classic and cute at the same time. I absolutely love it!
Alexa's Angels has a huge selection of gifts on their website, from handbags to jewelry to clothing, all designed to delight someone with something meaningful. You can purchase this Emma Rose Plaid Ruffle Purse and other great items at http://www.alexas-angels.com. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter so you can be first to hear about promotions. Be sure to enter below to win the Emma Rose Plaid Ruffle Purse right here on my blog too!
Disclosure: I received this product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Enter to win the Emma Rose Plaid Ruffle Purse from Alexa's Angels!
To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. You must be at least 18 years old and reside in the USA. Only the first entry is mandatory, but bonus entries increase your chance to win. This giveaway ends at midnight ET on 9/21/12. Good luck my friends!


A Mother's Pride

I cannot even begin to tell you how proud I am of my son. It's only the beginning of his senior year in high school and he's already been accepted at his first choice college....Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Tonight was his senior year open house at the high school and we walked past the library and I noticed the window display they put up each year to celebrate the seniors who have been accepted to college.
Not only is his name displayed, not only is he accepted into the college of his choice, but he is the first (and only current) senior who has been accepted into college. I have to admit, I really got choked up about it. He is my "baby" boy and I'm so proud of all he's achieved. I can't wait to see where God leads him next! Way to go, Ryan!!!!

Frankenweenie Monstrous Sweepstakes

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Jumbo Safari Counters - Review

Working with toddlers and preschoolers means counting often. We count each other, we count fingers, we count snack plates, and well, we count pretty much everything around here. One of the things I've always wanted for my mixed age classroom is a set of counters. I've seen some bear counters, but they are much too small in size for my age group and I have to be aware of choking hazards. This new set of 30 Jumbo Safari Counters from Learning Resources is the perfect solution!
Each one measures over two inches tall and there are five different animals in six bright colors. We've been using them to sort by color and by animal. We've been counting by ones, twos and fives. We've even used them as measuring units to see how many "giraffes" long and how many "rhinos" long the big books are in our classroom. Open-ended learning materials can be so much fun!
The Jumbo Safari Counters have been a great launching point for a safari preschool theme too. We spent time on each animal, learning about their habitat and eating habits. The best part of all is that my preschoolers and toddlers can both use these counters with no worries for me about safety.
The plastic tub they arrive in is also the perfect storage tub. Since it's clear, the kids can easily see through it when it is on an upper toy shelf. There's even a lid for long term storage. I love that each one is hollowed out because the kids can use them as finger puppets for dramatic play too.
Learning Resources has a huge selection of educational toys that are fun and engaging. See their full line at http://www.learningresources.com. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Google+. PLUS - Be sure to enter to win a set of Jumbo Safari Counters below!
Disclosure: I received this product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Win Jumbo Safari Counters from Learning Resources!
To enter, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below. You must be at least 18 years old and live in the USA. Only the first entry is mandatory; bonus entries increase your chance to win. This giveaway ends at midnight ET on 9/21/12. Good luck!

Guidecraft Roadway System and Traffic Signs - Review and Giveaway

Cars are ever-entertaining to young children. Actually, most adults love their cars too! Since children are constantly transported around in cars, having role play learning materials that relate to transportation offers so many benefits. The Guidecraft Roadway System is a wonderful 42-piece hardwood set of road sections that can be assembled in hundreds of different ways.
The pieces are similar to giant jigsaw pieces and interlock for smooth and seamless play. Pre-marked with lines, dotted lines, and even white stop lines, these durable pieces will last for generations. I set up the first roadway for the children on our two big preschool tables and I had an absolutely blast configuring the roadway. When the kids arrived to see it, they screamed with delight and played for hours.
The Guidecraft Traffic Signs are a fabulous addition to our new roadway set. We've been working on the letter D and I did a quick-change of our curriculum that day to include "drive" in our lessons. We talked about each one of the traffic signs, what the signs meant, and where we might see them. Each wooden sign is 7 inches tall so they are perfect for young children's hands.
I loved the interactions between the children as they discussed the cars driving around their "town" and took turns flying the little airplanes off the "runway." Since I set it up on the table the first time, it gave the children the opportunity to use large motor skills walking around, stretching across, and zooming airplanes over the tables. At the same time, by pushing cars around and turning corners on the roadway, they were strengthening their fine motor skills in their fingers.
As the children cleaned up the roadway and traffic signs for lunchtime, they stacked the pieces together that matched in shape and size. They have already decided that next time, they will be building the road on the carpet, which I think is a great way for them to work together and learn to plan. Perhaps I'm teaching the next Austin city planner!
ENTER TO WIN the Guidecraft Roadway System and Traffic Signs HERE

Check out what the other Guidecraft Educators have to say about these great toys too. You can find many fabulous educational toys at http://guidecraft.com. Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest too!
Disclosure: I received these products at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Football Party Coupons

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Just Eyewear Prescription Glasses and Sunglasses - Review

Just Eyewear offers a great selection of prescription glasses and sunglasses! Ordering glasses online has become very easy and helps save you loads of money. I've been looking for something new for the fall season and these awesome rhinestone purple sunglasses were the perfect complement to my fall fashion purchases.
Just Eyewear has a very easy online ordering system and they will help you every step of the way, from selecting the right shape to figuring out the right size. Plus if you're unhappy for any reason, they'll help you take care of it immediately with free returns.
Just Eyewear has frames for men and women! My sunglasses purchase arrived very quickly and I even received a hard clamshell storage case and a polishing cloth to keep my glasses clean. They are very high quality frames, just like the ones I can get at the mall, but much less expensive because online stores don't have all that overhead that raises costs.
Just Eyewear even offers bifocals, reading glasses, computer glasses, and a whole range of lens materials and coatings. You can get your glasses prescription from your eye doctor and save yourself some money at Just Eyewear. I love my new sunglasses!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


Celebrate International Literacy Day September 8

On September 8th, the world will celebrate International Literacy Day. It’s not only a time to remember that literacy remains a challenge for many parts of the world, but also to be thankful for the life-altering skill that is so easy to take for granted. To help ring in the holiday, Better World Books is having a sale September 4th to September 14th.

With the little ones back at school, it’s a perfect time to stock up on your library while also helping other kids around the world. Better World Books recognizes that literacy remains a challenge to many parts of the world. According to UNESCO, there are 793 million adults, about one in six of them are not literate. Additionally, 64.7 million children are not in school.

Let’s recognize National Literacy Day being thankful for the life-altering skill that we so easily take for granted. To celebrate, Better World Books is offering 4 books for $11 dollars and $3 each additional book from their special selection. For international orders, they will offer 20% off 4 or more books from the special collection. Remember, every time you purchase from Better World Books, you support high-impact literacy efforts around the world. You support the funding that Better World Books provides to their nonprofit literacy partners, the Book for Book donations, or the yearly LEAP Grants. Better World Books has raised $12 million for literacy so far, so just by buying a book you are making a difference!

At the Round Rock Express Game

Don't have a cow, man!

Monsters, Inc. 3D

MONSTERS, INC. is returning to U.S. theatres for the first time in 3D on December 19th!

Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

My son loved the Harry and David Almond and Peanut Butter so much that he wanted to make some cookies. His recipe made the most delicious peanut butter cookies. I almost didn't get any photos because the cookies were disappearing so quickly!

1 cup Harry and David Almond and Peanut Butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large baking sheet. In a mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, egg, and vanilla. Stir well with a spoon. Roll the dough into 2 inch balls. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. With a fork (dipped in sugar to prevent sticking) press a criss-cross design on each cookie. Bake for 12 minutes, remove from oven, and sprinkle the cookies with some of the remaining sugar. Cool slightly before removing from pan.

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Barbara's Cookie Pie - Review

I just knew it was going to be a good day when the delivery driver rang the bell and handed me a Barbara's Honey Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Pie. This dessert of pure decadence starts with a buttery cookie dough crust and then it's filled with delicious, high quality cookie and candy mixtures. It's like a cookie in a cookie.
I cut a single piece of this cookie pie and popped it in my microwave for 20 seconds to warm it up a bit. It is so good and simply melted in my mouth. These incredibly delicious cookie pies are made in small batches by hand with lots of love. Delivered free across the US, these cookie pies will make fabulous gifts for someone you love!
Barbara's website offers cookie pies, butter cookies, and even ingredients to make them at home. There is also a Treat of the Month Club available. Find out more at http://www.barbarascookiepies.com/.
Disclosure: I received this product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Palmolive Fresh Infusions Dish Liquid - Review

Palmolive is one of those trusted brand names that has been around as long as I can remember. They have created a new line of Fresh Infusions in the scent of Lime Basil, Ginger White Tea, and Lemon Thyme. They smell fantastic and provide the same kind of clean I've come to expect from Palmolive.
I put just a drop of each Fresh Infusions dish soap in a bowl and filled it with warm water. It suds-up wonderfully and the scent is amazing. I really liked all three scents, but the Ginger White Tea is probably my favorite.
I noticed after I used these new products that my entire kitchen smelled fresh and clean, especially the stinky kitchen sink drain that never seems to smell good. The pretty designs on the front of the bottles even make them attractive enough to leave out on the sink edge!
I definitely recommend the new Palmolive Fresh Infusions. Find out more at http://www.colgate.com.
Disclosure: I received these products in exchange for my honest review.

Clear Scalp and Hair Shampoo and Conditioner - Review

The new Clear Scalp and Hair Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner is a new type of total hair care that cleanses and nourishes both the scalp and the hair. I got to participate in the SheSpeaks Clear Scalp and Hair Beauty Therapy Program and try out both of these products.
I've been using them for about two weeks and I really like them. The shampoo foams up nice and thick, but easily rinses clean. It smells fabulous too! The conditioner is very creamy and I was able to work it smoothly into all my curls. It also rinses clean and leaves my hair smooth and soft. I've never really had a scalp problem, but I noticed that when I combed through my wet hair I lost much less hair than I usually do. I attribute that to the combination of vitamins and nutrients in Clear - vitamin B5, vitamin C, vitamin D, sunflower oil, almond oil, soybean oil, coconut oil and aloe vera.
You can find Clear Scalp and Hair Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner at stores nationwide, including your local Walgreen's. Find out more at http://www.clearhaircare.com/ and like them on Facebook!
Disclosure: I received these products at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

Victoria's Kitchen Almond Water - Review

Almond Water? Never heard of it! Wonder what it tastes like? Me too! I popped these bottles of Victoria's Kitchen Almond Water into my fridge so they'd be nice and cold. One hot, steamy, Texas afternoon, it sounded like the perfect drink. Created in France by a loving grandmother, Almond Water is one of the most unique and refreshing drinks I've ever had!
Made of 100% all natural ingredients, Almond Water is lightly sweet and crisp. This specialty drink contains only water, pure cane sugar, natural almond flavor, citric acid, and love. There are no preservatives, artificial colors or artificial flavors. It's even Kosher! I love the taste and so do my teenagers.
I was browsing around the Victoria's Kitchen website and there are some amazing recipes on it. You can purchase Almond Water online and in stores, plus follow them on Facebook and Twitter too!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.