Adventures in feeding, parenting and generally managing a household of five boys

Adventures in feeding, parenting and generally managing a household of five boys

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cafe Escapes Review

 I have the great pleasure of being a BzzAgent.

What is a BzzAgent you ask?  Well . . . by being a BzzAgent I get to have the experience of trying new products and services when they are first being marketed.  I then give my honest review and promote those products that I like.  Oftentimes, BzzAgent will send me full-sized products, samples and coupons.  They tailor the items that they send me based on my profile and quick surveys that I complete.

What does it take to become a BzzAgent?  Nothing, really.  It's free!  All they want from you is your honest opinion.  Check it out . .

Recently, BzzAgent sent me some product from the new Cafe Escapes line of Kcups.

I love my Keurig brewer!  (I actually got introduced to the Keurig brewer through House Party, but that's a different story.)   I like the ability that I have with my Keurig brewer to brew a cup of coffee, hot chocolate or tea at a whim.  I love that I can brew iced coffee and iced tea in the summer.  So I was very excited to try the Cafe Escapes line of Kcups that BzzAgent sent my way.

My samples!

I was sent samples of their Chai Latte, Cafe Mocha, Cafe Vanilla and Cafe Caramel.  I also received samples of their Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoas.  My family and I have tried them all and enjoyed them all greatly.

I was already a big fan of their Chai Latte and Cafe Mocha.  Their Cafe Vanilla was very yummy and a good substitute for a cappuccino.  Their Cafe Caramel is to die for.  I just needed some salt to make it like a salty caramel from that famous store down the street!

The kids enjoyed the hot cocoas the other day after I made them walk home in the cold!  With the added marshmallows, they finished their drinks in no time.  I do have to admit, since I usually make my hot cocoa with milk, that these were not quite as creamy, but at least I didn't have to worry about burning any milk in my pan.

Waiting to be warmed up!

All in all, the Cafe Escapes line is a big hit!  I certainly plan on replenishing my supply of Cafe Escapes Kcups and the $2 coupons that I was provided will definitely help.  

Are you a BzzAgent already?  What great products have you tried?  If not, what are you waiting for?!  Go check it out!

Need a coupon?  Just ask!

Disclosure:  BzzAgent sent me samples and coupons to review this product.  No other compensation was received.  My review and opinions are my own, as always.

Monday, March 4, 2013

What I Read - February 2013

February was another great month of reading for me.  I had two great books that I read for my two (!) book clubs and one other book that I squeezed in.

Two books clubs?!  Am I crazy or what?

Yes, I am cheating . . .

My first book club, which I adore, is filled with ten incredible, accomplished, fun, beautiful and very busy women.  So busy though, that we hardly read any books anymore.  We still meet once every couple of months for dinner and drinks.  We have great discussions.  We just rarely talk about books.  That is okay with me, because I enjoy these women and the time that I spend with them.  I don't want to lose my commitment to them.

But, it leaves me wishing I had someone to talk books with.

Lo and behold, I started talking books with a friend.  One thing led to another, and we started our own little book club of two!  Very low key, but I love it!  And it fills that desire I have to discuss books on an intellectual level.

Such a slippery slope cheating is.  The justification.  The "it's not you, it's me".  Oh, my!

Seriously, though . . .

For my new book club:

11/22/63 by Stephen King - 

This is the first book that my friend and I decided upon as our inaugural read and there is nothing like starting off with a bang!  I used to read a lot of Stephen King in high school.  He was definitely a favorite author of mine, but I fell off the King bandwagon in college and beyond.  This novel, despite it's almost 900 page size, was incredible.  I loved the story line, the characters, the dilemmas, and eventually even the length.  It is the somewhat familiar question of what would have the world been like if JFK not been assassinated?  King takes the question a bit further though and you get to see the ripple effect ("butterfly effect") of some other smaller events as well.  Time travel, combined with love story and historical fiction proved to be a real winner for me.

If you could go back in time and change an event, would you?  Your answer might change after reading this!

My Goodreads rating:  5/5 stars

For my "old" book club:

Chanel Bonfire by Wendy Lawless -

Now,  after totally dissing my "old" book club, this was my other book club read for the month.  Only a couple of us actually read the book, but I was impressed a book was even chosen (usually we don't even delude ourselves).  Points given.

This is a memoir along the lines of Mommy Dearest.  I actually liken it to The Glass Castle with money.  In Chanel Bonfire we have an addicted, mentally ill (I would guess manic depressive) mother with two daughters that provides a lot of fodder for a novel. While the novel doesn't necessarily give a lot of depth, it does score highly on the train wreck/entertainment scale.  I found myself turning the pages quickly if only to see what other horrible things these poor girls had to endure.

The novel does invoke a lot of questions/discussion about the powerlessness of children in situations of addiction and mental illness.  I also think it is interesting how oftentimes the fathers are not held to a higher standard of protecting their children when this is going on.

If nothing else, you will walk away from this thinking, "hey, my childhood was not that bad!"

My Goodreads rating:  4/5 stars

And lastly for this short month :

Heft by Liz Moore -

My own pick for the month, Heft is the interwoven story of 4 people who all carry a burden on their soul.  Be that burden 550 pounds, mental illness, addiction, parental desertion, loneliness, whatever . . .  and the toll that weight takes on your life.  Loneliness is a big theme in the book.  It is how the various characters deal with that loneliness, and how the others in their lives confront it as well, that was so interesting.  Do you embrace your aloneness?  Do you wallow in being lonely?  All very singular reactions.

I loved this book and the character development.  My heart ached for the figures depicted.  I had a difficult time when it ended for I wanted to continue with their lives.

My Goodreads rating:   5/5 stars

What is Goodreads you ask?  Only the most awesome place to connect with your friends and fellow readers!  Get great book recommendations.  Read interesting book reviews.  Share your love of reading!  Join me, I'd love to be your reading friend!

Did you read anything great in February?  Any wonderful books to recommend to me and my new book club of two?  Who do you cheat on?!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Deep Breath

It's amazing how quickly life gets away from me sometimes.  I blink and suddenly I am behind ten loads of laundry and have no food in the house.  How does that happen when I don't feel as if I ever stop moving?

The mental challenges of parenting older (adult?!) children have been interesting lately.  Eighteen is definitely not an adult, except in the legal system, and particularly when still being full supported.  Just a number, right?  Combined with the knowledge that there are the watchful eyes of four younger siblings, we have had a time navigating this new territory.  Lines of communication, trust and lots of prayers are being worked on.  More on this later?!

Also, the funny dichotomy of teenagers pulling away and not allowing you to be involved, but then angry when you don't have the answers abound here.  I love this (not).  Don't talk to anyone, but why weren't you sitting near the other parents?  Come to the game, but you're not allowed to cheer.  I need a ride, but don't get out of the car to find me even when I don't answer my phone.  My only consolation is the fact that I navigated this once and that child allows me to talk to his friends now.  Sometimes!

It makes me long for those physically exhausting days of making sure that they didn't run into the street, drown in the bathtub, fall down the stairs, or choke on the perfectly cut-up grapes.  Instead of falling into bed in an exhausted stupor, I'm awake all night with my stomach in knots over "issues".

All good problems to have though!

I have some great boxes I received this month to review, yet.  Some wonderful books I read last month that I have to suggest.  I am also considering to start posting some of my favorite things.  If Oprah can . . .   Oh, and we have birthday hell week this month too!  Fun, fun, fun!!