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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Changing Formats

I'm building a new blog, much of this content has been moved. I will keep this blog active as long as I can, hope you will join me over at Lessons From The Sideline!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Bzz Report: GoGo squeeZ fruit and veggieZ pouches

As a Bzz Agent I got the chance to have my kids taste GoGo squeeZ fruit and VeggieZ pouches.  In exchange for an honest review we were given a package of 4 pouches to try and some coupons to pass along!

My son has been taking a GoGo squeeZ apple sauce to school every day in his lunch box for 2 years.  I was interested to see how he would respond to this new Fruit and VeggieZ squeeze and was pleasantly surprised to have a seamless transition.  The peach flavor is definitely the dominant flavor in this pouch. I love GoGo squeeZ pouches because they offer a chance to sneak a fruit AND veggie into lunch or on the go.  I toss these in the freezer and they are a great help in keeping lunch cool too! I also keep some in the glove compartment to help avoid stopping for snacks on those days when errands run long.   The pouch is easy to open even for my 2nd grader and it is 3.2 oz per serving, which is great for a side at lunch or a snack.

They come in 4 flavors each of which has no high fructose corn syrup, no additives or preservatives, and no GMO's!

  • Pedal Pedal Peach
     – Apple, Peach and Sweet Potato
  • Zippin’ Zingin’ Pear – Apple, Pear and Carrot
  • Boulder Berry – Apple, Carrot, Raspberry, Strawberry and Blueberry
  • Great’Full Grape – Apple, Grape and Sweet Potato
  • Sunday, February 1, 2015

    Book Review: Scary Close

    Donald Miller has finally published another book!  It's been 5 years since Miller allowed his readers into the process of his growth, but after reading Scary Close I can say that it was completely worth the wait.

    I've read several Miller books, and of all of them, I connected with A Million Miles in A Thousand Years most.  If you are like me, then this book will be a new favorite for you.  Miller writes with the same style familiar to his fans, and yet as the reader is brought in on the next part of Miller's life journey I can't help but see this book as a love letter to his wife Betsy.  

    Miller explains what he learned through his time of healing after breaking off his engagement, looking inward and beginning to do the hard work to be his best self in the context of relationship. Miller lets the reader into the journey of beginning to date Betsy, engagement and marriage and all that has been going on with his company in the last few years.  As he presents these events Miller explains all he has learned about living more intentionally, choosing love, and surrounding himself with people who encourage him to do the work to be the best version of himself.

    Miller takes a good amount of time to help the reader gain perspective on how people manipulate each other, and signs to look for in order to know when to walk away.  Overall, Miller continues to remind his readers that life is a journey, we are always learning and growing, and as our view of ourselves changes, so does our view of all around us we engage in.

    Friday, January 30, 2015

    Book Review: The Unveiled Wife

    The Unveiled Wife is the incredibly honest and well written story of Aaron and Jennifer Smith's first 5 years of marriage. Written by Jennifer, the book takes the reader on her journey to learn how to truly become the wife God called her to be. 

    If you are at all familiar with the blog Unveiled Wife you are aware that 4 years into marriage the Smith's were still unable to experience intercourse due to Jennifer's severe sensitivity to parabens. This frustration was one that touched every part of the Smith's marriage and as the disappointment of unmet expectation clouded Jen's thoughts and emotions her life path began to take her down a journey she never anticipated walking.

    I found this book to be a sensitive balance between the author's desire to be honest about a subject that isn't spoken about often in Christian settings, and at the same time it was written in a way that I found sensitive and respectful. Smith does not simply focus on sex in this book. She writes about her life and choices prior to marriage, and how her relationship with Jesus was directly effected by unanswered prayers.

    As Jen began to surrender to marriage to God she began to learn about the desires God has for wives through scripture, mentoring and sermons. Defining her desire to present herself to her husband and God as Unveiled, Jen tells her story, her convictions and what she learned. 

    I could not help but begin to desire to become unveiled myself. The picture painted of what that true intimacy could look like in marriage and my relationship with Jesus became clear and worth the effort.

    I will be writing more about what I personally learned in the next few weeks!  Stay tuned!

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    Book Review: The Skinny Gut Diet

    The Skinny Gut Diet by Brenda Watson is a meal eating plan that presents a lifestyle change.  Watson's premise for the meal plan is that our guts can have an imbalance of bacteria, which can cause us to not be able to lose weight.  More then that, Watson shows studies presenting the proof that bacterial imbalance can cause us to not be able to absorb vitamins from our foods, can cause us to feel physically bad, and can cause overall digestion issues such as chronic constipation.

    The Skinny Gut Diet has a LOT of information.  There are whole chapters presenting the basis of how Watson created her diet.  As a reader, I felt that I was presented with an overwhelming amount of information.  I couldn't read through the book quickly, and the scientific information left me feeling like I needed to further research some of the words presented.  Additionally, although Watson states she feels it is very important for the reader to understand why she suggests the foods she does, I found it to be repetitive and unnecessary.

    As for the meal plan itself, Watson does an excellent job of presenting the plan.  There are several recipes included which all seem easy enough to make.  Watson also includes pictures of nutrition labels and a breakdown of what to look for when purchasing foods, including reading labels.  The menus over a lot of variety in foods to eat each day including 3 meals and 3 snacks.

    Watson has some very specific suggestions on what types of foods to look for.  For example, she suggests that yogurt with live cultures added is the yogurt to be purchased, yet she only offers one brand as a suggestion.  Another example is that Watson suggests a plant-based protein powder be used when making protein shakes.  There is a wide variety of shakes, and yet no brands are suggested.  Personally I would prefer someone's input on how different brands taste.

    Overall, I found this book to be very thorough.  All areas pertaining to having a healthy gut are covered and the book also includes a long list of tips in order to be successful in changing to this type of eating lifestyle.  I didn't disagree with anything Watson presented in her findings, I simply found that the book was overwhelming when trying to determine how to eat a balanced menu for a healthy gut flora.

    In exchange for an honest review I was given a free copy of this book via

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

    Book Review: Living Well Spending Less

    I have been intrigued by this title since I began seeing advertisements on Facebook last year.  I'm happy to say, this book fits the title, and will not disappoint!  Divided into 2 sections, Living Well and Spending Less, author Ruth Soukup takes the reader through her personal life journey in discovering satisfaction in life and then presents lessons learned along the way.

    I really appreciated Soukup's honesty.  Although a blogger I was unaware of since 2010, Soukup has allowed her spending habits and life stressors to read a whole new audience by putting it in book form. Soukup is a Christian, and she unashamedly shares how she re-directed her thoughts away from desires to buy material posessions and instead learned to find contentment in her life through focusing on Jesus.  Each chapter finishes with a challenge.  Depending on where you personally are in your own life, some challenges will be simple, while others will take time.  Soukup takes the reader through the basics.  Figure out your personal priorities, create a budget, etc.

    The second section, "Spending Less", is a treasure of information.  Couponing, cleaning, even socializing on a budget are all areas covered.  All presented again with the same basic and honest tone that seems like a friend is chatting with you over coffee.

    I think this would be a great book for a soon to be college graduate or newly engaged person.  Learning from Soukup's experiences could help anyone set themselves up for success in life.

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015

    Book Review: The Burn

    The Burn by Haylie Pomroy is a diet book with a specific purpose.  Based on the principles presented in The Fast Metabolism Diet, Haylie Pomroy presents 3 specific diets for specific goals.  Additionally, each diet presented is written to combat a specific dietary hurdle.  The 3 diets are the Digestive Intervention, the Hormonal Intervention and the Inflammation Intervention.

    Positives: Pomroy has created lengthy descriptions of why each intervention might need to be considered.  This is helpful in making sure the reader chooses the right diet.  Pomroy also includes conversation to help guide the reader not to cheat.  For example, Pomroy writes a list of preparations that need to be done ahead of time for maximum success with the plan.

    Pomroy is specific to make sure the reader understands this is not a lifestyle change, but a diet to try to get over a weight loss stall.

    The menus presented offer wide variety and with the amount of food and liquid to be consumed assuring the participant should not be hungry.

    All the foods for the recipes can easily be found in any grocery store, nothing is pre packaged.

    Negatives: The recipes provided to not offer substitutions.  For someone with a food sensitivity, such as migraines from citrus, this will basically make at least the Hormonal Intervention diet impossible.

    Additionally, the menus are not very high in protein outside if lentils and chicken.  For those if you who are not used to including vegetables in your daily diet, these would be a stretch.

    Over all, I found this book to be comprehensive in presenting a method for losing a few pounds quickly in a reasonable way.

    In exchange for a free copy of this book via Blogging For Books I was asked to give an honest review.