Holiday Is Over

Hello-Im-back

Well folks my holiday is over and it looks like I’m back to my regular scheduled programming.  I’ll update everyone on my hiatus and some changes that have been happening the past couple weeks.  Right now though, I am beat and need to catch up on some much needed sleep.  Just wanted to make sure everyone knew I was still around!

Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.


Have you heard of Matcha Green Tea?  Previous to doing this review I had heard a lot of talk about it but had never actually tried it and thought it was probably more hype than anything.    Kiss Me Organics offered me the opportunity to review their Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder and I was extremely interested in doing so.  I am always on the quest for ways to improve my health and natural, organic products are on the very top of my list.  Especially when the product makes the following claims.

ALL DAY ENERGY WITH INCREASED FOCUS

Matcha provides 4 to 6 hours of mild steady energy as it acts as both a stimulant and a relaxant. This is ideal for focusing on whatever the day throws your way.

METABOLISM BOOST

Consuming matcha green tea can increase thermogenesis (the body’s own rate of burning calories) from a normal 8%-10% of daily energy expenditure, to between 35% and 43% of daily energy expediture.

IMPROVED SKIN HEALTH

​Scientists have discovered that Matcha Green Tea helps protect the skin from harmful UVrays, while improving blood flow and oxygen levels lifting the overall quality of the skin.

137x THE ANTIOXIDANTS OF BREWED GREEN TEA

Antioxidants are essential as you age to boost your body’s natural defenses against oxidation. Researchers have found that a high level of dietary antioxidants can prevent many age-related diseases.

To review the product I had to order the product online from Amazon just as all their regular customers would do.  The process was quick and simple.   I was completely impressed with the shipping speed.  I ordered on March 14/14, it was shipped out the same day!  The very next day I received an email from the company thanking me for my order and a link to download a free Matcha Green Tea recipe guide.  I had a chance to peruse the guide and get excited about all the ways I could use my new product.

71TnIaMQfyL._SL1500_Within a few days my product arrived!

matcha green teaI immediately opened the pouch.  The pouch doesn’t weigh very much as the green tea is ground into a fine powder sort of resembling icing sugar in texture.   I took a big sniff and to me it smelled very similar to fresh cut grass.  I was Hesitant  but I decided I should try it right away. The package recommends a daily dose of 1/2 – 1 teaspoon per day.  I thought what the heck and added 1 teaspoon to my yogurt.  I really should have read more before I jumped right in.   The Matcha green tea powder is the whole leaf ground into a powder form.  So unlike the green tea I am used to drinking,  this form is very strong and I wasn’t prepared for that strong taste.  I was a little taken aback by that first taste.  I have since learned that 1/2 a teaspoon in my yogurt is the perfect amount so that the green tea taste does not overpower.   The taste does take a little getting used to – it’s not horrible by any means just different and you really need to watch the amount you use because as I’ve mentioned the green tea powder is very strong.  You want it to enhance whatever you are adding it to not over power.  You want to reap the benefits of the product but you also want to enjoy it at the same time.

I have really come to enjoy my evening latte.  The recipe was supplied in the recipe guide I was sent.

latte

KissMe Matcha Green Tea Latte
Ingredients
1 tsp. Matcha powder
¾ cup almond milk (or soy or cow or goat milk)
¼ cup boiling water
1 tsp. agave syrup
Instructions
1. Place matcha in the bottom of a coffee mug or other heat-proof cup.
2. Bring almond milk to a simmer in a small pot.
3. Whisk boiling water slowly with the matcha powder in the mug, then pour in almond milk.
Tip the cup to up the foam factor.
4. Sweeten with agave syrup if desired. ( I use Yacon syrup)

Mine doesn’t look as fancy as the one above but it is creamy and smooth.   There are a lot of other recipes in the book you would enjoy.  You can get the benefits of the Matcha Green Tea Powder in many different ways including baking and cooking.   If I don’t have the green tea in my yogurt, latte or adding it to my morning smoothie I have found I really enjoy adding a teaspoon to any of my favorite recipes.   In cooking you really don’t notice any change in taste, you just know you are adding extra health benefits to your meal.   The recipe book that is included with your order offers a lot of great recipes to try.  I have only tried a couple so far but I have been very pleased with them and look forward to trying more.   Here is one of my favs.

Matcha Butter Cookies

Ingredients
¾ cups fine sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 ½ cups flour
3 eggs
1 ½ cup butter
2 tbsp. matcha
¾ cup powdered sugar
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, fine
sugar, water and Matcha.
3. Add vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time.
4. Slowly add in flour to wet mixture until combined.
5. Chill cookie dough for 10 minutes.
6. Scoop cookie dough out in rounded teaspoons onto non-stick baking sheet.
7. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set. Remove to baking rack to cool.
8. Using a sieve, dust powdered sugar over cookies.


My grandkids love these!  Although I’m sure they don’t need the energy boost!!

I have only been using the product for a few weeks so I can’t be 100% certain that all the claims they make are true but I can tell you that I have lost 7 lbs in the past 3 weeks.  I have not changed my eating habits or done anything differently than I was previously so I  can only assume that it’s the Matcha Green Tea Powder.

Kiss Me Organics offers 110% Hassle free money back guarantee – no questions asked.  So it’s definitely worth it to give it a try and see if it works for you.  One bag should last you almost a month or a little over a month depending on the amount you use daily.  In my normal every day use I use about 1/2 a teaspoon in my yogurt, smoothies & lattes just because that is my preferred taste.  For recipes I used the amount called for in the recipe.    As I mentioned earlier the taste does take some getting used to so you may want to start out using a little less until you get used to the flavor.  I increased my amount 1/4 of a teaspoon every couple days or so to acclimate my taste buds.  Due to my significant health problems, I really need the metabolism boost and I do believe that this product is working for me in that area.   I am going to continue to use it and see if I can also reap some of the other benefits.


You can purchase Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder on Amazon

You can also find more information about the company and the product on their website.
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.

Chest By The Bay: Children’s Book Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

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I originally chose to review this book because of the title “Chest by the Bay”.  We live on a bay so I thought my little guy would find the book interesting.   When it arrived I took a quick glance and loved the artwork I saw and decided it would be our bedtime story that night.    We do things a little differently for bedtime stories.  My little guy reads to me instead of my reading to him.  He is only 7 so we give him every opportunity we can to improve his reading skills.   When I presented him with his new book he was very excited to read something that he could connect with.  We found the story very detailed and very exciting.  The illustrations were perfect for the story and really helped my little guys imagination soar.   There were a lot of uncommon, descriptive and sometimes large words used throughout the story, however, there is a glossary conveniently included in the back of the book so your child can look up the word.  I thought this was a great feature of the book because he was able to learn some new words not yet in his vocabulary and was able to understand what they meant by reading the definition and by using them in the context of the story.   My little guy loved the story and really had fun using his imagination about what he thought might be hidden in that chest.  What surprised me most was reading about the author.  Given her current age and quality of her writing, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with as she grows older.  With this much creativity and imagination she is a rising star!   I would definitely recommend adding this book to your child’s library.

About The Author:

Chest by the Bay is the first book from Tessa Beauchat. Tessa is currently 12. She is in the 7th Grade at Saint Francis Xavier School in historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Chest by the Bay grew out of poetry project Tessa did in the 4th grade. Tessa has a passion for both writing and reading. Her favorite authors are Veronica Roth and Rick Riordan.

Tessa participates in the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University. She also has a passion for volleyball. This season Tessa is playing for the Revolution Volleyball Club of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. She is a defensive specialist and plays the position of libero.

When not busy with academics, volleyball, and writing, Tessa loves water sports, horseback riding, and snow skiing. Tessa loves to travel. Her favorite places to visit are Lake LBJ in Texas and Sanibel Island Florida. At Lake LBJ she loves to wake board, knee board, tube, and do anything that keeps her on the water from sunrise until bedtime. On Sanibel her favorite thing to do is bike to Poco Loco and be the first customer of the day.

Visit her on the web at www.bestsinceslicedbread.com

You can purchase this book in paperback or kindle version through Amazon



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.

Hamster Island by Joan Heartwell: Book Spotlight

 

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About the Book:

 

Hamster Island is Heartwell’s story of growing up ordinary in family that embodied dysfunction. Her childlike shame for her special needs siblings is balanced by a fierce love that, occasionally, enabled her to shed her diffidence and perform extraordinary feats of pluck and valor. Funny and heartbreaking simultaneously, Hamster Island is a coming-of-age in the tradition of such darkly comic memoirs as Mary Karr’s The Liars Club and Augusten Burroughs’ Running with Scissors; it delights while exploring issues of identity, transformation, and responsibility.

What people are saying:

“Bittersweet, engagingly written, and populated by a household of strong-willed, idiosyncratic characters, Hamster Island has, at its core, a conflict familiar to us all: How can we be good to others while also being good to ourselves? …This tale of caregiving and self-actualization is unique, but it abounds with insights for us all.”
Rachel Simon, New York Times bestselling author of Riding The Bus With My Sister 
and
 The Story of Beautiful Girl  

 

About the Author:

Joan Heartwell makes her living as a pen for hire, writing, editing and ghostwriting for a variety of private and corporate clients. She has had four novels published under another name and has a fifth one due out later in 2014.

www.joanheartwell.com

https://www.facebook.com/hamsterisland

 

 

Guest Post:

The Story Behind ‘Hamster Island’

 I grew up with a mostly absent father, a religious fanatic mother, a kleptomaniac grandmother, and two special needs siblings. As a really small kid, I didn’t give much thought to my circumstances, but as I got older I began to see how “unique” my family was. Their uniqueness became even more evident after we moved from a river town where everyone was downwardly mobile to an affluent town that would have the special ed classes that my brother, who we had by then discovered was a person with developmental disabilities, would require. The only house we could afford was a corner house that adjoined one parking lot and backed up to another, a property owned by the town’s largest supermarket. When the supermarket lot was full, people parked on the side or in front of our house. They left their shopping carts all around our small property. My grandmother said we lived in a fishbowl and everyone could see in. When my father and brother were arguing, which was whenever my father was home, my grandmother would run from window to window with her cigarette trying to determine who might be out there trying to look into our fishbowl to see what was going on.

 I was ashamed of my family, and I was ashamed of myself for feeling ashamed. This made for some complicated feelings for a kid/teenager to handle. Because I was painfully shy to begin with, I lived in dread of doing anything that might be construed as abnormal, because I feared the onlooker would think there was something wrong with me too. First I attempted to become an overachiever academically, but once I transferred from Catholic school to public and found I could pass tests without studying and that nobody cared about my grades anyway (I was on the non-college-bound track), I attempted to become an overachiever socially. This took some doing in the late sixties and early seventies. My mother was very strict, and simply getting out of the house required enormously creativity.

  As a young adult I discovered that I loved writing. I began to write for a living and I also wrote four novels. I planned never to write about my life, because I still carried around some of the shame from my childhood, but some friends talked me into it, and once I got started, it actually became a fun project. So I opened my heart, and then I opened my closet and let all the skeletons tumble out, and now I’m actually finding out that a lot of people can relate to my story. Their stories of familial dysfunction may have different details, but the bottom line is that growing up is challenging for many people, and living in the world as an adult can be tricky too. Those of us who survive are bound not so much by answers as by questions, and we have some great stories to tell.

Excerpt:

 From first chapter Hamster Island

 Grandma doesn’t give a hoot about shrines, but if visiting some means getting out of the house for a few days, she is all for it. She hates the house—especially on weekends when my father is home. She hates my father. He is loud and dirty and he pisses like a racehorse. The bathroom is centrally located, right between the room I share with my brother and my parents’ room, right at the end of short hall that joins both bedrooms with the living and dining rooms. We can easily hear him pissing, and grandma is right: it does sound like something big—as big as a horse—is in there. A worse offense, in her mind, is that he takes the long-sleeved shirts she feels obligated to buy him every Christmas and on his birthdays and cuts the sleeves off. Since he doesn’t bother to hem them, the edges fray, more and more over time, and she hates him most when she sees him wearing faded shirts with sleeves that have frayed edges. Still, she goes on buying them, and he goes on accepting them without a word of complaint.

 It is Tyla Topal who has invited us to go to Montreal to see shrines. Tyla is a widow like my grandmother. She lives across the street in a tidy brick ranch-style house with her three children, the youngest of whom is Denise, my best friend. Since it has already been decided that Denise will go on this trip with her mother, it is all important to my grandmother that I be allowed to go as well. That way we will be matched sets—two widows, two little girls to keep each other company.

But when we leave the Topal house and go into our own, my mother says no. No, I can’t take off time from school. She is sitting at the dining room table, her face puffy and unhappy looking, her short dark hair looking like it was cut with a hatchet. She has the appearance of someone who has been freshly insulted. Her eyes blink out the code for her confusion. She doesn’t get us, Grandma and me. We are a mystery to her. David, my brother, who is two years older than me, is sitting on her lap. On the table is a checkerboard. We have caught them at play.

 My mother and grandmother argue for a while. “Why the hell…?” my grandmother asks. That is how she starts all her questions. Grandma reminds my mother that my grades are perfect, that taking off a few days from school will not make much of a difference. My mother says there is not enough money for me to go on such a trip. Grandma says I don’t need money, that she will cover my expenses herself. My mother says it’s not fair for me to go since David has not been invited.

 Grandma stops arguing for a moment to look at him. We both do. He is squirming on my mother’s lap, getting cranky because while she’s still playing, still moving pieces around the board, she’s not really paying attention anymore. David has terrible allergies, and his big beak of a nose is red and his eyes are watery. He breathes through his mouth. His bottom lip hangs loose, as if it weighs too much for any normal lip muscle to support it. Sometimes a string of saliva will drip from one side of his mouth, though nothing is dripping just now. “What the heck’s the matter with that woman, anyway?” my mother finally asks, breaking the spell. “Doesn’t she have enough to do with a house and kids? Who the heck does she think she is, with her highfalutin trips? You want to go, fine, but she stays here.” And with that she casts an angry glance in my direction.

For all that my mother’s domestic routine is based almost exclusively on my grandmother’s guidelines, when it comes to my brother or me, once she makes a decision, she will not budge. “I guess you’ll have to stay home, Joan,” my grandmother says. But when I look at her, I can see in her eyes that she is only egging me on, letting me know that she’s done what she can and now it is my turn to go a round in the ring.

 At first I’m not sure what more can be said to change my mother’s mind. But then it comes to me, loud and clear. “Ma,” I say, approaching. As if he thinks I am coming to steal some of the checker pieces, my brother raises an arm threateningly and emits a sound that is midway between a growl and a hum. “Ma, this is not just any old trip. This is a trip about God. This is the kind of trip God would want me to go on, because He wants me to be closer to Him. And this is a trip He would definitely want Grandma to go on, since she’s not close to Him at all.”

 While my kickoff is dignified enough, as I continue, I collapse into a shameless whine: “And if you don’t let me go, then Grandma can’t go either, because Mrs. T already told Denise she could go, and she’s not going to want Grandma tagging along if only Denise’s going, and then you’ll be responsible for Grandma’s soul not getting saved. This is Grandma’s big chance. If she goes to hell, it’s all your fault.”

 My mother’s eyes flood slowly with tears of frustration. She doesn’t raise her hands from the checkerboard to wipe them away. She lets them pool there. She lets us have a good look at them. Once again I have filled her with unhappiness, and now it is running over. It is palpable, unavoidable, soaking through everything in the room. Her head droops. “I know God wants us to go on this trip,” I add gravely, through my teeth.

 My mother has broken. Grandma and I exchange a quick look that confirms we both know this, but we stay quiet and wait. My mother is the most devout Catholic on the face of the earth. She will deny God nothing. Nothing at all. “Go ahead and go,” she snaps, lifting her head. “Go ahead. Go. I don’t care anymore what you do.”

 *

Title: Hamster Island

 Genre: Memoir

 Author: Joan Heartwell

 Website: www.joanheartwell.com or www.hamster-island.com

 Publisher: Twilight Times Books

 Purchase link:

 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I78I9YG

 BN.com

 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hamster-island-joan-heartwell/1118461185

 OmniLit

 https://www.omnilit.com/product-hamsterisland-1411337-0.html

 

Busy Birthday Weekend

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I had a  very busy but fun weekend.   My granddaughter turned 1 this past week and we celebrated by having our family over on Saturday.  She is such a cutie and it was nice to see everyone.  It was also nice when the party was over and everyone went home – lol!  It’s not so much the party as it is the preparations before hand and then the clean up afterwards.  Preparations take a couple of days by the time you add in shopping for supplies and then making the food, setting up & decorating.  Don’t forget the mad rush to make sure your house is clean enough to meet the approval of your guests!   My daughter had to do it all twice!  She had the party at my home for her side of the family and then at her own home on Sunday for her better half’s side of the family.  She had wanted to do both together but the families are just too large unless she rented a hall.   My grand-daughter is an Elmo nut so she wanted to do a Sesame Street them.   It was so cute and she was extremely excited with all the attention.   One of my son-in-laws family members made an Elmo cake and Sesame Street character cupcakes which turned out amazing.  My grand-daughter wanted them all for herself!

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Ooooh! Look At My Cake!

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Don’t Take My Cake Away!!!!!

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Adorable Cupcakes!


Next will be Easter where we’ll do it all again!  To be honest, I can’t wait.  I do love having my family all together.  I love all the holidays and I love entertaining.  I just wish I had a larger house and more money to spend so I could be myself and go overboard on the decorating and the food and adding in all those extras that I see on Pinterest.

Hope you had a great weekend too!