Sunday, December 21, 2014

Monstrously Funny Cartoons by Christopher Hart

 ISBN: 978-0-8230-0716-5
Random House $19.99
I don't draw. But I know kids do and some more than others. Encouraging children's artistic talents is important for a parent. Sometimes kids like to draw armies, space flights, aliens, and yes, monsters. Is encouraging the drawing of monsters a good thing? I really don't think it is, but to encourage children to draw is important.

The opportunity to review Monstrously Funny Cartoons really piqued my interest so I chose the book. Once it arrived, I immediately saw the author's/artist's sense of humor and definite talent to draw (pun intended) an audience of budding artists as readers.

Christopher Hart has presented steps for drawing cartoons and explanations for each step. He shows how expressions, tilting of heads, positioning of hands can be accomplished and how important these are. This is an excellent book on drawing. The drawings are funny.

Now I frankly must share what I absolutely don't like about it. Even though the name infers monsters as the subject of the cartoon drawing book, I did not anticipate the heavy load of monsters. Kids conjure imaginary monsters all the time and the entertainment media is overloaded with monsters - zombies, vampires, and all their kith 'n kin. I was anticipating a book teaching how to draw monsters that kids conjure up in their imaginations. I am assuming this book is directed more to the teen and adult interested in an illustration career and who has a penchant for the realm of dark-side-evil monsters. The majority of these are not dinosaur monsters, ghosts, or things that go bump in the night types of drawings. These are the "dark side" monsters.

About the author: CHRISTOPHER HART is the world's bestselling author of drawing and cartooning books. His books have sold more than 6 million copies and have been translated into 20 languages. Renowned for up-to-the-minute content and easy-to-follow steps, all of Hart's books have become staples for a new generation of aspiring artists and professionals, and they have been selected by the American Library Association for special notice.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

PB2 & PB2 Chocolate: Powdered Peanut Butter {Review & Giveaway)

When I agreed to review PB2 & PB2 Chocolate I seriously thought it was a gourmet peanut butter. After all, I'd reviewed a couple of gourmet peanut butters in the last year or so and have found it fascinating how folks can take peanut butter to new levels of fanciness. You know, folks, peanut butter has really come a long way since Mr.Carver developed it along with lots of other uses for the lowly peanut. But I digress.....

Imagine my surprise when I opened the package and saw the two jars of powdered peanut butter. I thought, "Seriously! How in the world can you scoop out a spoonful and simply eat it?" and also "Seriously! This is going to take some investigative recipe hunting!"

The first thing I tried was reconstituting it with water. The directions say 2 tablespoons powder to 1 tablespoon water. This proved to be a watery mess in my opinion. Knowing that many folks use and really like this product, I thought, "Well, got to be something I'm missing here!" I'm not a smoothie drinker, so tossing a little into a smoothie for added taste and protein is not an option for me but would be a win-win for others.

So I decided to try my hand at doing a bit of cooking with it. Having cooked up many batches of fudge through the years, and to a goodly portion of those adding a scoop or so of regular peanut butter, I decided to improvise a bit with old fashioned fudge.

I used some coconut oil, some butter (real), regular cocoa powder, a bit of milk, and sugar. I reconstituted 1/2 cup of the PB2 Chocolate and water (according to the 2 to 1 directions). After cooking the sugar, cocoa, and milk for awhile I added the fats. After cooking them awhile I added the PB2. I continued cooking until it formed a soft ball in cold water (regular old-fashioned method for testing state of being ready). I then beat it awhile with my electric hand mixer and added chopped pecans.
My husband really likes this fudge!
My opinion: I really am not fond of this product for my own personal use or for cooking in our household. I will pass along my unused portion to family members who drink smoothies. I can see the value for a "peanut flour" but it is not a product I would enjoy using.

GIVEAWAY: PB2 will provide 2 jars of PB2 to one of Chat With Vera's readers. Begins Dec. 21 & ENDS January 2, 2015 @ 12:01 a.m. ET.Open for USA addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Product Description (from PB2) - PB2 is made with the highest quality peanuts that are slow roasted and then cold pressed to remove the fat and oil.  All that’s left is a delicious natural roasted peanut flavor.  PB2 with chocolate is simply PB2 blended with the finest cocoa beans to give you rich chocolate flavor. Both are all natural, made with no preservatives and are gluten free.  If you have any doubts about the benefits of PB2 versus traditional peanut butter, keep in mind that PB2 is all natural without the fat or added hydrogenated oils of other brands.  PB2 and PB2 with chocolate have only 45 calories per serving (2 Tbsp) and 0 grams of saturated fat.  When compared to traditional peanut butter which is 190 calories per serving (2 Tbsp) and 3 grams of saturated fat.

DISCLOSURE: I received 2 complimentary products to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own.  I was not compensated for this review.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Simple Health 100% Natural Yacon Syrup {Review}

I have now tried several brands of 100% pure Yacon Syrup and written reviews on them. It is a pleasure to discover and try new products especially when they are Non-GMOs, all natural, and wonderfully Made in the USA. I have found that while each of these products is 100% pure Yacon Syrup, each has differed a bit in taste, texture, and density.

I have discovered that while it may benefit some folks as a weight loss tool, it does not benefit this Southern Lady that way. However, as a sweetener it definitely has promise and it offers metabolism benefits that regular sugar and non-sugar sweeteners do not offer. I found that I do enjoy it as a sweetener in hot tea or coffee. I found, though, that the Simple Health Yacon Syrup does not actually taste as sweet as others and it seems thinner as well.

I am enjoying using it and hope that it does provide metabolic benefits to me that using regular sugars does not. I plan to keep Yacon Syrup in my pantry and definitely believe it is a beneficial product.

Product information worth pondering in my opinion (information provided by Simple Health)

  • No blood sugar spikes, as it is LOW GI and high in FOS, so it does not elevate blood sugar levels and helps regulate insulin levels. DIABETES FRIENDLY and NATURALLY BOOSTS METABOLISM. GREAT FOR WEIGHT LOSS, Yacon Syrup is very low in calories and REDUCES CRAVINGS, so you will be losing inches in no time!
  • REDUCES CONSTIPATION and digestive distress. Yacon Syrup is HIGH IN SOLUBLE FIBER, which will leave you feeling relieved, light and energized.
  • INCREASES IMMUNITY and brain function, decreases inflammation, as it is high in PREBIOTICS, which help stimulate good bacteria in the gut, and it is also known to increase absorption of dietary minerals.
  • Our Yacon Syrup is naturally grown and ethically sourced, with no added preservatives.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary product by #SimpleHealth  in exchange for a review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ozeri Artesio Electric Pepper Grinder

I've cooked for years using pepper already ground to season my food. Knowing that folks said grinding your own pepper assured better flavor (and you can even vary the texture and using various peppercorns). Little did I know! I am now a believer in freshly ground pepper to season food.

Ozeri makes life so easy and nice whether it is in health care products such as blood pressure monitors, bathroom scales, pedometers, electric fans, or electric pepper grinders. I am just delighted with each product I've reviewed for Ozeri.

This electric pepper grinder at first was a wee-bit daunting to this lady who is somewhat "builder" or "putter-together" challenged. But I did it. I opened it up and easily inserted the 4 batteries. Then I placed fresh peppercorns in the clear "bowl" of the grinder. After putting the 3 pieces back together, I tested it.

I found that I could adjust the grind for coarse or fine. A slight depression of the on button makes this one-handed operation easy to use.
The elegant design will look beautiful in any kitchen setting or you can easily use it when serving.  There is even a light that shines (much like a flashlight) while it is grinding so you can see the progress. This is an excellent feature if you're in a dimly lit area.

I am pleased to recommend this as an excellent product.

DISCLOSURE: Ozeri provided me with this product in order to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Sieva’s Hyalournic Face Glow Serumnly featuring Hyalournic Acid

Sieva Hyaluronic Face Glow Serum is a lovely product in a very nice container and packaging. It seems to perform as well or perhaps even better than other hyaluronic serums I have used.

I found it to be dense, though still a clear, semi-liquified gel that glides onto the skin very nicely. It only takes about one pump to cover the face and neck. If you do dispense more than is needed, you can rub it on your arms and hands.

I found that the Sieva Hyaluronic serum seems to dry to a "stiffer" feel than most other serums but that doesn't seem to detract from using it. After applying the serum, I apply moisturizer.

This lovely product has ingredients that are said to help keep one's skin hydrated. That would leave to less wrinkles and softer skin. I'm all for that!

Product Description (provided by Sieva)

Sieva’s Hyalournic Face Glow Serum features Hyalournic Acid along with Vitamin C. Capable of holding up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, supplementing your skin with hyaluronic acid can boost moisture levels and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  Vitamin C a powerful antioxidant takes charge over free radicals and repairs damaged skin.  This special serum softens and soothes your skin, helping you maintain a beautiful, youthful glow.

What is Hyaluronic Acid? (Highest % of HA in Industry)

HA is a natural substance that is plentiful in our bodies when we are born. Young, healthy-looking skin contains an abundance of (HA) that locks in moisture. As we get older our bodies produce less and less HA.  Aging robs us of this innate ability to hold in moisture. Skin starts to sag, lose its elasticity and fine lines and wrinkles appear.

What it is formulated to do:

  • Increases skin hydration up to 90%
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • Calms and soothes irritated skin
  • Boost collagen and firmer skin
  • Helps skin retain moisture
  • Helps leave skin feeling supple, soft and smooth
DISCLOSURE: I received this product at no cost to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Game time! Learning the wisdom of King Solomon with WISDOMANTICS (interactive DVD Board-game)--Giveaway #Wisdomantics

About the game: For 2-4 players, ages 12+

This is the actual playing board, similar to
other board games.
Wisdomantics–New King James Version (NKJV) is an interactive DVD board - game for players of various faiths who desire to gain the vast wisdom of King Solomon. Wisdomantics-NKJV utiitlizes the proverbs of Solomon and blends chance, knowledge and strategy to create a fun experience while you learn! The game’s intent is to bring individuals together to learn how to cope with numerous situations in a fun and relaxed environment. Inside the box you’ll find 2 interactive DVDs with 400 questions, score cards, blessing cards, and more!

Learning the wisdom of King Solomon is powerful AND fun!

My thoughts: When given the opportunity to take a look at the "Wisdomantics" board game with interactive DVD, I was excited yet perplexed. Frankly, I couldn't perceive of a board game that uses DVDs. When I envision board games, I have visions of family gathered around the kitchen table with a game to wile away a cold Winter evening. I think of togertherness and "face time."  When I received the game, and saw how it is structured to be played, I came away with a variety of feelings about it.

First of all let me explain that in raising five of our own children, we played games. And we played Bible games of various types. They were basically board games. These game times were family time but they were also unstructured learning opportunities for my children. They were also times for me to refresh my memory about various Bible facts.

With Wisdomantics, the computer (via DVDs) prompts a question with multiple choice answers. If the first player doesn't get the right answer (30 seconds to do so) then player #2 gets a chance (and has 20 seconds).  Mentally challenging and time based, the player's capacity to know Scripture (primarily Proverbs) is greatly enhanced. The game uses the New King James version of the Bible.

Pro and Cons:

  1. Pro: Mentally stimulating
  2. Pro: Family time - or good group activity
  3. Pro: DVDs probably afford greater capacity for larger number of questions and facts
  4. Pro: Affords a great opportunity to have fun while learning more about Scripture
  5. Con: Children and families need to disconnect from technology from time to time
  6. Con: Probably too advanced for children who are not really actively enrolled in a stimulating Christian school, Christian based homeschool, or strong church
  7. Con: May be too fast paced for those without strong, very strong, Scriptural teachings

You can learn more here: Wisdomantics game by Kingdom Games Enterprises, LLC.

GIVEAWAY: Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification by FlyByPromotions PR Group. ENDS Dec. 31 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are  randomly chosen via I received a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.