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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Review: Great book series for reluctant young readers!



I am fortunate to have a child who loves nothing better than a good book. He comes by it honestly, from his mama!  I've literally got books started all over the place - one is always in the van, in case I have to wait somewhere. Then there's a bathtub basket of books, and one on my nightstand too! You might even spy one on my kitchen table, and one on the coffee table!  So you can understand why I'm thrilled that he loves reading so much, too.  Some days after his school work is done, you'll find us both cozied up in my bed with our books, or reclining on each end of the sofa reading.  It's definitely a passion for us both!

D's breezed through several series of books this year - including the Maximum Ride books and the Gone series, plus the Maze Runner and The Giver.  When I had the opportunity to check out the first book in a series by author Jeff Gunhus, I knew my son would be excited too! I read the description and knew he would be hooked.



The series is called The Templar Chronicles and so far, there are four books in it.  Book one is Jack Templar, Monster Hunter.  You can read more about it here!  My son gave me his mini-review to share: "GREAT characters, a plot that was fast-paced with lots of action, and I really liked reading about all of the monsters in the book!"  He was really bummed when he finished the last page of Jack Templar, Monster Hunter. Well....he doesn't know it, but he will be getting the next book for New Year's, so he can continue the series!  (there will eventually be seven books in it). If your kiddos enjoyed Harry Potter, or Percy Jackson, they are going to love this series too.  Even a child who doesn't love reading will enjoy all of the action and adventure in Jack Templar!

If you are still looking for a last minute Christmas gift for a special kiddo in your life,  this book (or all four!) would be great for young readers (maybe 5th/6th grade and up)   You can get it for kindle too - no leaving the house required!

Jeff Gunhus also has a highly rated book for parents with kids who don't love reading. It's about reaching the reluctant readers in your life, and you can find out more and purchase it here.
Over on Amazon, learn how he turned his son, a reluctant reader, into an avid reader!

You can see all of the books from Mr. Gunhus at his website.  I'm thrilled that my son loves his books so much - we are now big fans of his work and look forward to finishing this series!

I received a free copy of the book for my son to read for this review.  No other compensation was received.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Review: 2.5% Retinol Moisturizer by Body Merry




I have been using this Body Merry 2.5% Retinol Moisturizer for about 3 weeks.  I love it! It is so rich, yet absorbs very quickly.  I can apply makeup very soon after using this.  I didn't have any irritation from the Retinol when using this either. It does take time to see big results, but I am quite happy with it so far!  I'm also super-happy to share and support products made in the USA!

Product Information:
Retinol has time and again proven itself to be a potent youth reviving ingredient. Body Merry's Retinol Surge Moisturizer combines the power of 2.5% Retinol with a bunch of soothing natural antioxidants & ingredients (Wildcrafted Green Tea, Organic Jojoba Oil, Vitamins E & B5 plus Shea Butter) that work together to visibly reduce the signs of aging. Plant Derived Hyaluronic Acid hydrates and nourishes your skin. This unique formulation not only helps to provide a flawless tone and texture, but also leaves your skin feeling and looking smoother, plumper and younger.  Works its charm on discoloration, acne, hyperpigmentation and sun damage. Both men and women can use this moisturizer! Works well for all skin types.  

The formula does not contain any harsh chemicals such as Parabens, Sulphates or Phthalates. The moisturizer is made in the USA in an FDA registered and GMP compliant facility. It is not tested on animals.

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.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Review: We Choose Virtues poster






As a homeschooling mama, I love finding new resources and companies that offer products to encourage and motivate my son.  This colorful poster is a treasure!   It clearly illustrates what is expected in our home, and it's been a cute yet important addition to our homeschool room. 

According to Heather McMillan, the creator of We Choose Virtues, this poster features a complete list of all 12  Virtues, their Catchphrases and Antonyms. The Kids of VirtueVille are pictured next to each Virtue for easy reference. The Kids Virtue Poster presents a language of Virtue that is both clear and positive.  If you are looking for a precise and consistent standard for both attitudes and actions that everyone can understand, this is a great place to start. It will help you create a brand new culture in your home or classroom that will eliminate confusion and build hope. 

The 12 Virtues are: I am Diligent, I am Obedient, I am Kind, I am Helpful, I am Forgiving, I am Honest, I am Perseverant, I amSelf-controlled, I am Content, I am Patient, I am Gentle and I am Attentive!

My readers can use promo code VIRTUE15 for 15% off this item from 
http://wechoosevirtues.com/  


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.

Review: Dr Song's 50% Lactic Acid Face Peel




I was offered the chance to try Dr.Song's 50% Lactic Acid Face Peel.  I was a little nervous after reading the instructions, which mentioned sun sensitivity and other possible side effects, as some people have reactions to Lactic Acid.  I was lucky and had no such problems, other than a slight tingling on my face where it was applied.

I have only tried it once so far, as the instructions state to use once every 4 weeks.  I left it on for about one minute, and next time I do the peel I will leave it on for an additional minute, as well.  It is said to help with wrinkles and discolorations, so I'm excited to see how it works after a 2nd peel!

Very pleased with the results so far!  Hope this gives you an idea of what to expect when using a Lactic Acid peel.  Dr. Song's is great!


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.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

How to Throw a Country/Rustic/Shabby Chic Bridal Shower on a budget, part 1



My sweet daughter got engaged on New Year's Day of 2014.  So we knew a wedding was coming up, but they couldn't decide when they wanted to have it.  Initially they planned a Spring 2015 wedding, but as the summer progressed, they decided to speed things up.  I wanted to throw a shower for her, so I enlisted two of my sweet friends, Denise & Renea, to help and we got to planning!

Katie had many ideas on her wedding pinterest boards: shabby chic,  vintage, country, burlap and lace, chalkboards, mason jars, chevron stripes and hot pink.  She's eclectic like me, for sure!  I tried to incorporate each of these elements into her bridal shower.

My budget was almost non-existent.  My husband was on medical leave most of last summer and money has been tight, to say the least.  I think we managed to do a great job, despite the lack of funds, and I found that you CAN throw a great shower on a do-it-yourself budget!

For the shower, we used her fiance's church.  I never saw the room we were using until the night before her shower when we went to set up.  We had some obstacles to work around, including a long row of hooks, several doors, and a big soda machine!  But it all worked out in the end.

BRIDAL SHOWER GIFT TABLE:  I made a backdrop from a dowel I bought at Michael's, and 4 rolls of crepe paper from Dollar Tree (solids) and Michael's (polka dots).  I doubled up long lengths (maybe 8 feet each?) of crepe paper, then hot glued the strips to the top of the dowel and let them hang freely.  I alternated white/pink/polka dots. I saw many of these on pinterest and etsy and it turned out great!  I will be making these for other events - they are easy, cheap and look really cute.

I make rag garlands to sell on etsy, but also for decorating our home. When I find fabrics I like, I make several, so I had a couple of garlands in pink and green tones that I used to decorate the front of the table. I bought command hooks to use for this and they failed miserably. Don't waste your money! I ended up taping the garlands to the tables.  The plastic tablecloths came from Dollar Tree.

My precious sister-in-law Lia taught me to make tissue paper flowers.  I picked bright tissue papers and got to work. In the end we only used three above the gift table, and a few by the drink station. They are SO easy. If you want to learn to make them yourself, there are some great step by step tutorials - a quick google search will bring them up!

I did a google search to find free chalkboard printables to use for decorating as well.  This was a favorite! This was another. (I framed these and gave them to K after the shower to use at home.)


My sister let me borrow two awesome chalkboards she made from old cabinet doors.  I wrote on one that we used by the drink station, and she did the other one on the gift table!

BRIDAL SHOWER SIGN IN TABLE:  We also had a table by the door with a whole bunch of stuff going on! I have a tendency to fill every space and looking back, I can see I went SO overboard on it...


In her invitations, I enclosed recipe cards (purchased off Etsy) and asked each guest to include a special recipe for the happy couple.  So at this table, they could file the recipe cards in her recipe box,  address an envelope for thank you notes, and sign the guest book. And I added more pictures and flowers to fill in the spaces! If I could go back in time and edit this table, the basket with rose balls,  the little succulent and the square wall hanging with the heart would be gone!

BRIDAL SHOWER DRINK STATION:  As much as I wanted to buy customized adhesive labels for water bottles, it just wasn't in my budget. So I bought water bottles at Costco, and we used hot pink duct tape to cover the labels.  I found a super-cute mason jar drink dispenser, which we filled with sweet tea.  We also had sodas.  To decorate this area, I used the free printables that I framed, a mason jar of hydrangeas,a chalkboard sign, plus two smaller tissue paper flowers.  We used Chinet crystal cups to serve the tea and sodas.




BRIDAL SHOWER SEATING AREA:  We used five tables to set up our eating area.  I went with a "U" shape, seating our guest of honor at the end table with her friends. The Bride's table had a long burlap runner. I sewed lace onto the ends of it, and I also added a rag garland to the front.  All of the family members sat on either side.  The tablecloths were from Dollar Tree.  The jars in the middle have pens for our games.



BRIDAL SHOWER FLOWERS ON A BUDGET: 
Fresh flowers are one of the most expensive components of any shower, and I thought I'd have to skimp on them with the (lack of) budget I had to work with.  But luck was on my side! I had to visit three different Kroger stores, but I found amazing flowers the night before the shower.

Yes,  Kroger marks down their floral department, and I hit the jackpot!  Katie loves baby's breath - it is one of her favorites.  So I couldn't believe my luck in finding a huge bin of baby's breath bouquets marked down to 99 cents - I think I got 8!  And the hydrangeas and roses were also marked down at the second store I visited.  Cleaned them out!   Finally at the third store, I found a huge bouquet with a variety of flowers that was also marked down, and I was done.

At home, I cut them and put them in water overnight.  I ended up with probably $100+ in flowers for about $40.  Happy happy!  They didn't look old, or bad. They were gorgeous! There were a few roses that needed some petals pulled off that were spotted, but they looked great after that. When we arrived at the church Saturday, I made up mason jars for the tables with different flowers. We ended up with a variety of flowers in several colors, but I believe they all looked charming together!  So check the local grocery stores and find out when they mark down their flowers - you can find amazing flowers at rock bottom prices.

See that adorable burlap garland hanging on the front of the counter? It was made by my super-talented cousin, Morgan.  She hosted a shower for Katie in Alabama two weeks before our shower and sent it home for my daughter.  Katie wanted me to use it at this shower too.   

There is so much more to come - food, games, favors, etc - so stay tuned!  Thanks for stopping by...





























Sunday, November 30, 2014

Old Factory Candle Set Review



I was recently offered the opportunity to review a set of candles from Old Factory Candles and since I'm kind of obsessed with wonderfully-scented candles, I was thrilled! After looking at all of the choices they offered, I finally decided on the Happy Holidays set, which contained one of each scent: Christmas Tree, Candy Cane and Gingerbread.




When the package arrived, it was a little smaller than I expected.  But when I opened the Gingerbread candle, it smelled divine!  I had to smell the other two and they were just as wonderful!  The three glass jars are packaged in a cute little box - it was just perfect for gift giving.



These candles burn for a long while.  The description stated 20 hours, and I know I was able to enjoy them for several long afternoons over the course of a week.  They made the main floor of my house smell amazing.  The Gingerbread was my favorite, as it smelled like I'd been baking!  The scent was strong all the way to the bottom of the candle.  I love soy candles, and I love that these are handmade in the USA.

These would make a great gift for a teacher or co-worker, or a friend who loves candles.  I will have to try the Vacation gift set next time!

Here is more information from the manufacturer:

These candle gift sets each contain 3 different scented candles. Each candle burns clean and even for 20 hours. Hand-poured in the USA with natural soy wax, self-trimming wicks, and premium fragrance oils. Each gift set is themed around a group of related fragrances. So everyone is sure to find something perfect for every occasion, every room in the house, and all the special someones in your life.

Below are the list of Themes and their related fragrances. 
Fall Harvest
Pumpkin Spice
Cranberry
Autumn Leaves

Happy Holidays
Christmas Tree
Candy Cane
Gingerbread

Winter Wonderland
Hot Cocoa
Roasted Chestnut
First Snow

Romance
Rose Petals
Champagne
Dark Chocolate

Fresh & Clean
Lemongrass
Olive Blossom
Fresh Linen

Spa Day
Cucumber
Lemongrass
Green Tea

Vacation
Sea Breeze
Hawaiian Lei
Awapuhi

Coffee Shop
Coffee Bean
Hazelnut
Chai Tea

Man Cave
Straight Razor
Leather
Mahogany

High as a Kite
Cannabis
Incense
Bag O' Cookies

New Born Baby
Baby Powder
Baby Shampoo
First Blanket

50 Shades
Leather
Vanilla ***
Jasmine Bubbles


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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review: Number One Advanced Probiotic






I've been trying Number One Nutrition's Advanced Probiotic since earlier this month. I may have mentioned it before, but I can't swallow large capsules so I'm always nervous about trying new supplements.  These capsules are small and didn't give me any problems! I haven't noticed any major changes since starting the Probiotics but it's only been a few weeks.  I do think these are helping my immune system and that makes me happy!  I am excited to continue using this product and see how it helps!

Here is some more info from Number One Nutrition:

Being healthy and happy about your body is a matter of choice.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are good bacteria who perform a very important role in our digestive, methabolic and immune systems. They produce enzymes that break down the food we eat, regulate vitamins intake and convert sugars to the essential nutrients our bodies need.

Our GI is home to 80% of our immune system!
That´s why it is so important to take a good Probiotic Supplement!

This is how the Number One Probiotic may help you:

- Drastically improve your digestive health.
- Balance your intestinal flora.
- Improve your mood.
- Break down allergy causing proteins.
- Accelerate your fat loss.

  • #1 PROBIOTICS WORKS! Doctors everywhere say probiotics are "Essential" to the body. Many will even say that taking probiotics in pill form ensures that you consume the right probiotic strains and the right recommended dosage. Taking probiotic pills saves you from consuming excess dairy and sugar, which are present in many probiotic foods.
  • RELIEF FROM DIGESTIVE DISTRESS! Do you suffer from digestive discomfort? Bloated belly? Acid reflux? Fatigue? Do you want to improve your immune system and manage your weight? If you answered "YES" to any of these, try Number One Probiotic. Two capsules a day with a light meal and you are on your way to a healthier life! Our product is made with TOP QUALITY ingredients, is 100% safe and has no known side effects. Made in the USA at a FDA approved manufacturing facility.
  • MORE THAN JUST DIGESTIVE Improvement! Did you know that the GI tract is responsible for 80% of the immune system`s health? When we improve the digestive function we are also giving a great BOOST to the IMMUNE SYSTEM. Fighting off the bad bacteria present in the GI tract will also help the body to fight off INFECTIONS. Bringing balance to the Intestinal flora will also alleviate digestive discomfort, inflammation and BLOATING.

Does your well being matter to you?
Yes, we can be healthy and happy with our bodies.
Would you like to wake up feeling energized and ready to carry on your daily routine?
Get your health on track and the rest will fall in place. 


You can also visit the company's website  for more information!  I've been pleased with the company during my contact with them, as well as with their product. If you are having digestive or immunity issues, you may want to try this 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.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Review: Sieva Stretch Mark & Scar Removal Cream






Today I've got a review for Sieva Stretch Mark & Scar Removal Cream.  I've been applying this cream for appx 3 weeks now (not every day, more like every other day) and I've really noticed a change in the old scar I have been hoping to get rid of! I had shingles several years ago, and it left a big patch of uneven (almost bumpy), very light skin on my chin. I applied a thin layer of this cream in the morning and sometimes again at bedtime.  It is looking less noticeable and the skin seems to be smoothing out more.  

I plan to continue using this cream and hope that it continues to lessen the appearance of this scar! I've had no skin reaction to the cream, which I worry about when trying new products. I have sensitive skin and it doesn't like new things.  But this is a great cream that does what it promises, and the price is very affordable.  Shipping was fast and it arrived in perfect condition. Count me in as a big fan of Sieva!

If you want to order Sieva Strech Mark & Scar Removal Cream from Amazon you can do so using this link, or visit Amazon on your own.     (this is my affiliate link) 



Here is more info about this cream from the manufacturer:

The Affordable New Secret to Beautiful Skin

Are you Tired of those unsightly stretch marks and sagging skin? Imagine the freedom and confidence you'd feel if you had nothing to hide. Finally feeling great about how you look

UNIQUE COMPOSITION, CAREFULLY CRAFTED IN THE USA: Revolutionary Stretch mark and Scar therapy specifically designed to help in preventing and removing stretch mark and scars due to Pregnancy, weight gain, growth spurts, and bodybuilding. Precisely formulated to visually reduce discoloration and improving restoration of skin elasticity.

POWER PACKED FOR MAXIMUM RESULTS: Optimally blends Vitamins and natural moisturizers such as Shea butter, Cocoa butter, Olive oil, Jojoba oil, and Rosehip seed oil to help Prevent, Repair & Remove Stretch Marks and Scars.

BETTER ABSORPTION & PREVENTION: Fast-absorbing cream helps build collagen while reducing the appearance of red and silver stretch marks all while smoothing your skin's texture.

MADE IN USA - Every Anti Cellulite cream is manufactured for Sieva is made within a FDA Approved and GMP certified facility. We work relentlessly to provide the consumer with only the highest potency, purity, and most effectively absorbed formulations available to the consumer today 

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.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Giveaway! The Three Dogateers DVD






Hey y'all!  Have you heard about The Three Dogateers? This sounds like a Christmas family movie you'll want to watch with your kids every year!   It's about three pampered pooches left to guard the house on Christmas Eve.  They become fearless DOGATEERS when thieves break in and steal every present, every ornament—even the yuletide tree! Vowing to save Christmas, the three canines set out in search of Santa, the only one who can help them on their quest.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/39746485

#TheThreeDogateers

The Three Dogateers is Dove “Family-Approved”!



Check out the trailer in the blog app below: 





I'm excited to have another giveaway to share ~ one of y'all will win a copy of The Three Dogateers on DVD! All you have to do is enter through the Rafflecopter widget below....



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stone Mountain Christmas 2014


Last week we attended Stone Mountain Christmas  with my sister and niece.  We spent a wonderful evening getting our Christmas spirit on.  Unless you are the Grinch, there is no way you can visit and not leave feeling Christmas Joy in your heart!  Now through January 4 (on select dates) you can enjoy the Christmas glow of over two million lights, plus a hilarious 4-D movie,  live shows, a parade, the Singalong Christmas train, and so much more!

Some of our favorite things to do at Stone Mountain Christmas:

The Nightly Christmas Parade: Catch a glimpse of all of the characters and actors as they arrive in Crossroads each evening. Music, dancing and lots of fun await!  We found a place near the 4-D theater to watch and it was perfect!


Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas 4-D movie    it may be short in length, but it is jam-packed with fun. There are lots of 4-D effects to thrill the kids, so be prepared and put your phones and cameras safely away so they don't get wet!  My son and niece are 10 and they both thought the movie experience was terrific.  

The Singalong Christmas Train:  It's not Christmas if we didn't get to take a ride on the Christmas train! Sing carols, look at Christmas lights,  watch the antics of two silly elves on the monitors throughout the train cars, and watch "The Gift", a touching live presentation about the real reason for CHRISTmas.  The ride lasts about 40 minutes, and it can get chilly on the open-air cars.  Make sure you've got mittens and hats! It's one of our favorite parts of Stone Mountain Christmas.


Character meet and greets: your kids can meet Bumble, Rudolph, the Snow Angel and more characters while checking out all the great fun at Stone Mountain Christmas.  You can even visit with Santa!





We love to eat at The Campfire Grill.  The Campfire Skewers are delicious and the S'mores Skillet is amazing. They have lots of fun camping and forest-themed effects throughout the restaurant to keep the kiddos happy too.  Always good food, good service, and a good time at The Campfire Grill.

Make sure you try the  Funnel cakes and Snowflakes (basically a deep fried belgian waffle) for dessert.  Order them plain or add sauces, fruits and toppings.  The perfectly sweet ending for an evening at Stone Mountain Christmas.



Stone Mountain puts on fabulous Christmas shows ~ there is something for everyone.  From Toyrific to Forever Christmas, you will enjoy great music and entertainment for the whole family. Click here for a list of all of the shows you can see this year.

Need a shopping break? There are lots of places to shop at Stone Mountain Park.  This year we came home with a beautiful, hand-blown glass Christmas ornament from The Stone Mountain Glass Shop, made right there!  They also have a toy store, candy store, a gift shop in the train depot and other spots throughout the park.  You can find some great Christmas gifts there!

Until this year, we've never been able to stay long enough for the Finale with the Snow Angel, Fireworks and Snowfall.  We live about an hour away, so we usually ended up taking the kids home for bed before the 9:45 finale.  This year, however, we were determined to stay til the very end and it was SO worth it! The Snow Angel flies in and floats above you, then she starts a glorious fireworks show complete with snow!  To see the wonder in the eyes of all the kids there was magical! I highly recommend that you stay and experience the Finale when you visit Stone Mountain Christmas.





We thoroughly enjoyed our evening at the Park, and I hope you and your family can attend too! It's a nice way to reconnect with your family, and enjoy lots of holiday entertainment. 

Have you ever visited Stone Mountain Christmas? If not, what is your favorite Christmas event to attend?  Leave me a comment below!


Disclosure: Stone Mountain Park invited us out for an evening at the Park to preview Stone Mountain Christmas in order to review it.  No other compensation was received, and all opionions given here are my own.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My lunch with Paula Deen..

Yesterday, I got to mark off a bucket list item - I met Paula Deen! She is one of my favorite celebrities.  We've eaten at her restaurant, Lady & Sons, in Savannah each time we've visited - it is so good!  I have several of her cookbooks, and I regularly make her recipes here at home. (Her sweet potato biscuits are one of our favorites around here!)

I was invited to attend a luncheon with Paula Deen and her husband Michael Groover in Atlanta, sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms Chicken.  I will tell you right from the start - that is the ONLY chicken I buy! I tried it last year and we were hooked.  DELISH.  So I was very excited to attend! When we (rode down with another local blogging friend) arrived at Guy Gunter Home Showroom in Atlanta,  they had a gorgeous luncheon set up for us.





Guy Gunter Home is a kitchen, bath and outdoor living consultancy in Atlanta.  What a perfect place for our luncheon! It's a wonderful showroom to visit if you are going to do a renovation or update in your home. They have some really cool appliances and fixtures.  I had a great time exploring the showroom while we waited for the guest of honor to arrive!

Then Paula Deen walked in the front door.  Michael was with her and he is just as kind and down to earth as she is. Paula is teeny-tiny and she is stunning in person.  She has the most beautiful blue eyes!  First she talked with us (a group of local bloggers) about her brand new network - www.Pauladeen.com, and shared a very funny video clip with us.  As a member, you can watch shows, search for recipes, utilize the meal planner and much more!  You can get a free trial to check it all out, too.






Next she made a delicious Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya for us, using fresh Springer Mountain Farms chicken.  It was spicy, warm and delicious.  This was my first time trying jambalaya, but trust me - it won't be the last! I plan to make this often!



Here's the recipe!

Skillet Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya from Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible 

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp butter
3/4 lb andouille sausage, cut into 1/4" slices
1 lrg yellow onion, chopped
1 lrg green bell pepper, chopped
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped  (She uses Springer Mtn Farms Chicken - yum!)
Salt, white or black pepper

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tspn dried thyme
1 tspn paprika
1/2 tspn cayenne pepper
1/2 tspn celery seeds
2 bay leaves
3 c chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 1/2 c long-grain white rice
In a large skillet with lid, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, cook until browned on both sides. Set aside in a bowl. Add onion and pepper to skillet, cook until softens a bit.
Lightly sprinkle the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and garlic to the skillet. Cook until it loses raw color. Add the thyme, paprika, cayenne pepper, celery seeds, and bay leaves. Cook for a minute, then add the broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and taste for seasoning. Return the sausage to the pan with any accumulated juices and sprinkle in the rice, evenly.

Cover the pan, reduce heat to low, and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender, at least 15 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves. Serve from skillet - delicious!

You have to try Springer Mountain Farms Chicken, if it is available in your area!  Once you do, I bet you will be like me, and become a loyal customer of theirs!

After she cooked for us, Paula fixed herself a plate and sat down with us to eat.  We really enjoyed getting to talk with her about blogging, social media, her family, and even her pets. She was as genuine and energetic as she seems on TV! She also shared a bit about how she's gotten healthier since her diabetes diagnosis.  (First she got rid of everything white in her kitchen: sugar, flour, etc. - then she re-introduced them in moderation after losing weight.  Now it is all about portion control!)



Then she took lots of pics with all of us and we got to chat with both her and Michael for a bit - it was great fun!  But, that is when I started having problems...
                                                                                                                                                              The camera on my phone is usually awesome for taking picures for JKAA.  I have gotten some great pics using it! Because of that, I don't even bring my digital camera anymore.  But for some reason yesterday, as the event went on, my camera went on the fritz.  I didn't notice until I was in the car afterwards, how blurry my Paula & Michael pic was. Another blogger snapped it as well as 3 more, but they all are the same. (I did get a good one with Michael at least!) So please forgive the awful quality of some of these pics, they are all I have. Well, except for priceless memories of a wonderful afternoon spent with Paula, Michael, and some really awesome Atlanta bloggers! So honored to have been included in this event. What a fabulous Monday!




Oh, and check out my amazing "swag bag" from Springer Mountain Farms! It was a super-nice freezer bag filled with their yummy chicken! Happy girl here! 



If you are local, don't forget Paula's Live! Holiday Show this Sunday is at the Woodruff Arts Center. Please visit www.pauladeen.com to explore her new network.  Finally, check out Springer Mountain Farms Chicken and on FB (link above) to learn why they have such delicious chicken!

Thanks for letting me share this special afternoon with y'all, and check back soon for more giveaways!


I was invited to this event so I could share Paula's Holiday show and network info with y'all.  I attended the luncheon with Paula, plus received tickets to her upcoming Atlanta show (some for me, some to give away) as well as the chicken products from Springer Mountain Farms in exchange for writing this post and hosting the ticket giveaway.  All opinions are honest, and my own!