18 entries categorized "reviews"

A Recipe for Brown Sugar Cinnamon Iced Coffee

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Iced Coffee

If there's anything that goes well together, it's homeschoolers and coffee.  And homeschooling and coffee.  

And life and coffee.  

Community Coffee, an American company with an awesome military matching program, sent me a couple of their bags of coffee beans.  I chose the Founders Blend and the Louisiana Blend. I like to 'foo-foo' up my coffee, dressing it up in cream and Truvia or maybesometimessugar. Both blends were nice and dark, perfectly created in my French press, and the foundation of an excellent coffee drink, like this Brown Sugar Cinnamon Iced Coffee. 



Brown Sugar Cinnamon  Iced Coffee

Serving Size: 1

Prep Time: 10 minutes



8 oz. chilled strongly brewed Community Coffee Private Reserve Breakfast Blend coffee

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

4 tablespoons condensed milk

As needed, whipped cream for garnish

As needed, brown sugar for garnish

1 cinnamon stick for garnish

As needed, ice cubes



  1. Fill a tall glass tumbler with ice cubes ¾ full.
  2. Add coffee, condensed milk and brown sugar to coffee and stir to combine.
  3. Garnish drink with whipped cream brown sugar and a cinnamon stick.
  4. Serve immediately. 

recipe by Community Coffee


Visit Community Coffee to see all of the yummy blends and especially to check out the military matching program.  It's an awesome way to give to the military! 

Giveaway & Craft Book Review: Sew Pretty T-Shirt Dresses

I was recently given a beautiful craft book to review:  Sew Pretty T-Shirt Dresses (and I have one to give away!  Hang on a minute; let me tell you about it first...). 

The book has over 25 patterns for t-shirt dresses for little girls.  Wait, even if you don't sew much!  Here is what I really really like:  the dresses all begin with a t-shirt.  All you do is add the skirt material and embellishments.  And they are cute.  


Even though the book's patterns are especially for girls aged 2 to 8, I find the patterns easily adjustable for my 10-year-old.  Even just using the concept is helpful!  

The book is a glossy, quality paperback with full-color illustrations and photographs throughout, including a 12-page T-Shirt Dresses 101 tutorial. 


To Learn More about Sew Pretty T-Shirt Dresses:  Visit

To Purchase the Book, or to View Pages:  Visit the Sew Pretty T-Shirt Dresses page on Amazon (if it's still out of stock, visit the publisher at Sixth & String Books

To Enter the Giveaway of one book shipped to one winner for free:  Enter the information into the entry form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Continue reading "Giveaway & Craft Book Review: Sew Pretty T-Shirt Dresses" »

The Croods Looks Like Such a Fun Film! 100 Seats are Reserved for Alabama Coast Readers (for you! for free!)

Mobile - Carmike Jubilee - JustPureLovely
Our 15-year-old and 10yo daughters and our 13yo son  just watched The Croods previews with me and we all cannot wait to see the movie!   Our 10yo said, "I want to see it! I want to see it!"  She jumped up and down when I said, "We sure are." I have 100 local (Alabama Coast) seats reserved, so you may join us for free!  See below for those details.  

Here's more on the movie, The Croods, which was created by DreamWorks and is in theaters on Friday, March 22nd....

THE CROODS (20th Century Fox)

Release:              Friday, March 22nd

Rating:                  PG

Run Time:           98 Minutes

Cast:                      Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman, Clark Duke

The Croods is a 3D comedy adventure that follows the world's first modern family as they embark on a journey of a lifetime when the cave that has always been their home, is destroyed. Traveling across a spectacular landscape, the Croods are rocked by generational clashes and seismic shifts as they discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures -- and their outlook is changed forever.

Learn more about The Croods here: 

Local Readers:  Want to Join Us in The Croods 3-D Screening? 

I'm excited to have you join me in my first movie screening!  Eeeee! 100 seats have been reserved just for Just Pure Lovely readers (that's you!).  They are 100% free, and each reader may have up to 4 seats.  

The location is in the Alabama Coastal area, the screening is of The Crood, in 3-D.  Our viewing is at 11am on Saturday, March 16th in Daphne, Alabama. 

Do you want to join us?  If so, just follow the instructions in the flyer below (Here's the link. FYI: GoFobo is like TicketMaster, without charges to the user.  You will need to register, as this helps them keep track of potential abuses, such as duplication of tickets.  No information will be sold or shared.  I registered, and it was quick & easy). Once the seats are gone, my code (JUSTPLF0) will be no longer active. 

Note:  I only have tickets for the Daphne location.  Look for The Croods in a theater near you on March 22nd, and watch for my review after our screening! 

Mobile - Carmike Jubilee - JustPureLovely

Here's a Free App to Help Couples Stay Connected (I really like this one!)

"If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you." - Pooh  My husband is currently taking classes four evenings a week, as well as working at his management job.  With all of that, he is working or in class at least 70 hours each week.  Meanwhile, I'm in the busiest parenting phase I've experienced, with three teenagers and a 9-year-old sending me from wind ensemble to ballet to hiphop to archery...

It's hard for Tim and I to find time to talk in person these days, even to just say "I love you." 

And so, we text in little snippets throughout the day, but the thing about texting is that it's so blah-looking and impersonal.  My biggest peeve about it is that after sending something important to each other - recently, our teen's license permit number for insurance (ack!) and a date to an event - it's hard to find the information again.  I will scroll, scroll, scroll to find the old text with the information to resend it to Tim. 

We don't lose only scheduling information, but also the "I love you" moments.  I take a screenshot sometimes of a particularly sweet text, but then it's lost among my thousands of photos.  

Well, guess what? There's an app for that!  The new app is called Twytx and it is free!


Since Valentine's Day is tomorrow, this is the perfect time to ask your Valentine to try Twytx with you!  The app lets you chat, share photos, keep track of a shared calendar, and create lists, securely, privately. 

The two greatest things about Twytx are not that we can share a calendar and lists - we can do that with other apps, too - but that everything is in one central location and that we can keep track of our relationship.  I really am excited about it because with our extremely busy schedule, Tim and I are in danger of setting our relationship aside for this time.  And that's not why we got married Besides, I become a stressy, soppy mess if I can't connect with him - he's my solid rock - so with Twyxt, we can keep track of how we feel as well as share our busy lives with each other. 

Here are the main features of Twytx: 

  • Couples Calendar:  This is my favorite feature, as the calendar creates a photobook from our messaging stream.  I love keeping track of memories!  Twyxt-CalMonth-2
  • Private Messaging: We like the Twytx messaging center.  It not only looks good, but it also has two fun additions to it:  Urgent and Freeze.  Freeze "casts a thin layer of ice over your partner's screen, making them work to talk to you."  So when Tim freezes me as a flirtation, or to cool me down (okay, that's usually the reason), I have to tap my screen to 'break the ice,' which gives me time to think - and cool.  It only takes a few seconds to break the ice.  Urgent is a handy feature, because it not only sends Tim a message through Twytx, but also an email (optional).  
  • MoodSharing: We are not only able to share normal emoticons with Twytx, but also bigger, sweeter ones like "In Love" or - for me - "Stressed!"
  • Shared Lists: This is another favorite feature of Twytx.  I'm able to create, for example, a grocery list, and Tim can edit it or cross items off in real time.  This help us keep track of what is needed while we're already at the store, or what the other already purchased. 

Since we are so busy with this parenting and work phase, I'm thankful modern technology helps Tim and I stay connected.  I like Twytx for us since everything is in one place - calendar, lists, texts - and our memories are preserved. 

To Learn More about Twytx, Visit them here.  "Twyxt is a private, intimate and useful app for capturing and celebrating a couples shared life together”  says Tyson Verstraete, Life Of Two Co-Founder and CEO.  “Twyxt cuts through the social noise so couples can focus on the story they are writing together about their most important relationship."

Download the free Twytx app here. 

Currently, Twytx is available for the iPhone so I use it on mine and my husband uses it on our iPod Touch.  Soon, the Droid version of Twytx will be released, then we can both use it on our phones. 

image from justpurelovely.typepad.com

Nevella To Go! Review & Coupon

The bag I bring on my errand runs is BIG. It can hold all the items I may need over the 1-3 hours I'm waiting on children at ballet lessons, wind ensemble practice, violin rehearsals...even archery club! Since I never know what I'll feel like doing while waiting, my bag holds a water bottle, my iPad, a crochet or knitting project, a book or journal, an art set and now, these little sweeteners to go....

With the Nevella To Go sweeteners, I can take along extra coffee or tea and with a squirt or two, my drink is sweetened (no stirring required!).

I was interested in participating in this review when I read that Stevia To Go was included. Stevia is an all natural sweetener that has 0 calories and yet is 200-300 times more sweet than sugar.

Monk Fruit To Go  was the most interesting to me, as I'm not sure I've heard of the fruit before. It also is a natural sweetener with 0 calories.

The line also includes Sucralose To Go, which is the main ingredient in Splenda. I prefer the Stevia To Go and Monk Fruit To Go over this one, but you'll have to decide for yourself!

I took the Sweetness To Go Challenge using Nevella To Go. These handy little bottles fit perfectly in my purse or pocket, come in stevia, monk fruit, and sucralose varieties, and best of all, they're calorie, carbohydrate, and guilt free! Take the Sweetness To Go Challenge yourself and click here to get your $1 off coupon!


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nevella. The opinions and text are all mine.

Living the Charged Life by Knowing What Inspires Me

On my Summer reading list was a new book called The Charge by Brendon Burchard.  It's my favorite type of book: a self-help, non-fiction (I know, I'm a nerd).  

According to Burchard, we fall into three categories:

The one living in the Caged Life asks, Will I survive? So the focus is always on whether or not I will be safe or be hurt. 

The one living the Comfortable Life asks, Will I be accepted and succeed? So the focus is on belonging and satiation.

The one living the Charged Life wonders, Am I living my truth and actualizing my potential? Am I living an inspired life and inspiring others?

 I'm living the Charged Life, most days (there are occasional days when the past haunts me and I falter into the Comfortable Life).

The Charged Life usually calls to us after we have done what we were supposed to do, become who we thought we were supposed to be, lived as we thought we were supposed to live.

Although I never thought of the title "Charged Life," that lifestyle for me did come through breaking through the past.  In my late twenties, I had to decide what believe and what want for me. I cannot be caged, and I don't like to be too comfortable, so I began to seek after inspiration by dabbling in creativity and chasing butterflies whenever possible.  Over time, I shed layer upon layer of the shoulds and found my own, my very own, musts.

When we live the Charged Life, we don't worry about making waves; we worry about doing what's right and what's meaningful. If controversy or hurt feelings happen along the way, we meet them with our full presence and care - but we march on.

I read the above quote to my people-pleasing teen yesterday.  A couple of boys have been unkind to her recently, but she worries so much over keeping everyone happy that she is on the verge of not choosing what is right - to keep those boys at arm's length, not allowing them to be unkind anymore.

People are not born Chargers. It's easy to think, "Oh, I can't do that.  I'm not like her.  I'm not creative.  I'm not that talented."  

[Chargers] consistently practice being conscious of their reactions and realities. Theywork for their charges, and they know they have to. 

How can you start living the Charged Life?  My suggestion is to chase after everything and anything that inspires you, without fear.   When I get stuck, I create lists of what inspire me, like:

  • learn how to use a spinning wheel
  • grow cut flowers
  • keep chickens
  • spend one-on-one time with the children
  • have a weekly date with my husband

As you can see, not everything is expensive or impossible.  In fact, inexpensive things are usually most inspiring to me.  Spending a lot of money makes me feel "caged," probably because I always have to pay the piper in the end.  

In The Charge, Burchard spends two-thirds of the book on how you, too, can live a Charged Life.  It's possible for anyone.

What inspires you?  Off the top of your head, what five things would be on your inspiration list?

Order your free copy of The Charge today!

Share with us what makes you feel most alive for a chance to win a High Performance Academy Online Seminar with Brendon Burchard, author of The Charge (valued at $1,000).

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Burchard Group Sponsored Conversation. The opinions and text are all mine. Burchard Group Sweepstakes and Rules.

Book Review: the Beaded Edge

As you know from my posts over the past month or so, crocheting is the craft that's getting the most attention in our house.  Our 13yo ballerina loves to join me in whatever hobby has captured my fancy, and this fall/winter, it's crocheting!  We have created hats, scarves, two purses, and more, but the one thing we haven't created yet is beaded edges and trims.  And that's precisely why we must. 

Beaded edge
Interweave Press has a new book, the Beaded Edge, coming out in the Spring of 2011. I have  a review copy of that book and, oh my, I'm so excited to pull out my beads and do something a bit different with my crochet hooks.

the Beaded Edge is not a book full of edgings one can make on guest towels.  Instead, the patterns have fashion and a modern sense of style, with ideas for edging a skirt, the back pockets of a pair of jeans, and even ideas for the home.

Since I'm always looking for ways to spark our children to learn about other cultures, I am delighted, and was a bit surprised, to find a section on Turkish Edgings, including even an essay on how the author learned about Turkish oya (decorative edgings). 

I know there are countless free patterns online for all sorts of crocheted items, but I haven't seen beaded edges that are as beautiful and varied as in this book.  Also, since the book has such beautiful photographs and is so well laid out, it's a great book for sheer inspiration.

Would I Buy It?  I would!   The only thing I wish for, is that the book had the majority of the designs in the directions section in color, instead of in black and white.  Only two designs are printed in color, but it is so much easier to follow the directions when I can see the color of the beads.  At $12.21 (the pre-order price at Amazon) I'll let that slide, but I would have been happy to pay more just to have those patterns in color.

I know it's frustrating to hear about a book that's not out yet, but you can preorder the Beaded Edge at Amazon for just $12.21 with a pre-order price guarantee (the book retails for $17.95, paperback).


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Review: Oh, Swoon. I Love Pearls.

Pearls are my favorite "gem."  I find it absolutely fascinating that nature & God can take a bit of sand, an oyster or mussel, and produce something beautiful.  So when The Pearl Source wrote and asked me to review their pearl earrings, how (oh how, oh how) could I resist?!

The pearls arrived in the above beautiful red presentation box.  Immediately, I was impressed.  This Christmas gift doesn't even need wrapping!  The pearls are as smooth and shimmery as I'd want them to be, as heavy as I'd have hoped, yet light enough to not bother my earlobes.  The 14K white gold posts don't bother my sensitive ears. 

Here is a little bit more about The Pearl Source:

The Pearl Source has been in business for over 15 years and is one of the largest wholesalers and direct importers of loose South Sea pearls in the United States. Because we import pearls in mass quantities, we are able to provide our customers with the rarest and most beautiful pearls available from the South Sea region.

There is also no "middle-man" involved, which means the entire process of designing your pearl necklace is "in-house," from the time each pearl has been removed from the oyster until the time you receive it. Best of all, purchasing from The Pearl Source means that you will be receiving the finest pearls available at 60-80% off retail prices, and 25-50% off our online competition.

Too good to be true? Check out our pearls and then take our "60-Day Challenge", and you will see why we are the #1 source for pearl jewelry.

The Bottom Line:  The bottom line is that this is one product I'm so happy to have reviewed.  I'm happy to have these pearls.  I'm happy to wear them as a farewell nod to Mrs. Beaver, who always housecleaned in pearls and high heels just as Julia Child cooked in them, and just as I would like to - and will start to - wear them as I'm cooking and cleaning.   I'll start with the pearls, I mean.  Not the high heels.

Would I Buy Them?  Yes!  Well, I'd tell my husband to buy them for me.  ;)

How to Buy These Pearls:  Visit ThePearlSource.com.  Not sure how to buy pearls?  Learn how, here.  ThePearlSource.com offers pearls at up to 75% below retail, backed by a Money Back Guarantee.   All orders are shipped free via UPS.


p.s. Visit our new Deals & Reviews site for the home & homeschool deals I find each day.

Craft Book Review: Craft Hope

It's always a fun day in our house when a book arrives in the mail, but when a craft book arrives, we're positively giddy.  "Our" and "we're" in that sentence is our 13yo daughter and I, who both love to review craft books. 

Craft Hope is an extra special book to review. 

It was written by Jade Sims, a mommy of three who created a site called Craft Hope, where readers  are encouraged to sew/knit/create a certain craft project, then send it to a charity organization.  That's a beautiful idea, don't you think?

If you get the book, you may want to jump right in and participate in Project 10, which is to choose any project from the book (or a project from Craft Hope) to complete by December 31st.  Make two, because you'll need to give one away.

Our ballerina and I are busy dreaming and creating lately.  We want to make so many of the projects, like the sock monkey, the take-along quit, the clay seed balls, and this  doll:

image from lovelyballet.files.wordpress.com
(photo by our ballerina, age 13)

Our ballerina started on that doll this week.  It doesn't have it's head just yet.  I emailed her over the weekend (yes, we do live in the same house) to request that she photograph her doll's progress, and she responded this morning with, "Oh, I already posted a photo.  It's on my blog." 

Does she sound like her mama, or what ?!

The Bottom Line:   Yes, she sounds like her mama.  And, yes, I would buy the book even if I had to choose between it and 2 Starbucks White Chocolate Mochas. It has a wide variety of crafts in it, from beading to sewing to working with clay.  And it has wonderfully unique ideas for crafting for charity. 

Where to Get the Book:  Any bookstore for $17.95;  Amazon has it right now for a great price at $9.87

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Book Review: Gifted: Lovely Little Things to Knit & Crochet

We have a yarn problem around here:   We have too much of it.  I know we could give it away, but we also have another yarn problem:  We keep buying it.   It was a manageable problem when there was only one person with a  yarn problem, but when our now-13yo ballerina turned 9 and started knitting, she came down with the problem, too.

So she and I decided, in the spirit of wasting not, to use at least 5 balls of yarn, each, before we're allowed to purchase more. Yipes.

image from www.flickr.com

One of my self-assigned projects is to figure out how to use the ribbon yarn we acquired on a clearance sale, when we no doubt had to have it for something, someday.  That day hasn't come yet, and the ribbon yarn just sits (whatever could it be useful for?), so when Interweave Press sent me their beautiful new book, Gifted:  Lovely Little Things to Knit & Crochet, and I saw a pattern for a silk crocheted scarf, I thought of the ribbon yarn.

image from www.flickr.com

I think, with a different sized hook, the ribbon yarn would crochet up easily - and quickly - into a  fancy, evening scarf.  And since I never, ever have a fancy evening (well, I probably have had one, once), I'll likely give it as a Christmas gift to someone.  But first I have to think of someone who has fancy evenings.  Hmm.

Well, think of someone or not, I'm motivated to complete the scarf because as soon as I use up this ribbon yarn, I'm one ball closer to being "allowed" to buy more yarn!


Gifted:  Lovely Little Things to Knit & Crochet was written by Mags Kandis.  It is a beautiful book. The projects are not all quick (there are some beautiful socks that would take me a fairly long year to complete, I'm sure), but they are all definitely lovely gifts that I would love to give (or receive!).

I'm planning on making:

  • the crocheted scarf above
  • the adorable felted hearts on the front cover
  • the ribbed, knitted tea cozy


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