Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Back to School Tips for Busy Moms

I'm not sure how it is around your place, but this busy mom is balancing work and getting the kids ready to go back to school. Here are links to some back to school tips for all us busy moms.

Time management tips:

Great list of links for all kinds of good stuff: New School Year Resolutions, After-School Routine Checklist, Must-Have Apps for Moms, and more!

Ways to avoid Back to School signup chaos: 

Storage solutions:

Friday, August 21, 2015

As A Busy Mom Thinks: How I Embraced My Messy Bessy Side

I recall what a neatnik I used to be. That was long before the girls came along and way before I returned to work full time. Even when it was just John Boy and me or Paddy (what the girls call their dad), John Boy, and me things were fairly neat around here. As soon as the Lil' Diva and Lil' Princess arrived, my house exploded into a place filled with things, and lots of them too.

It wouldn't bother me so much if the girls would willingly part with the toys, games, and other kid stuff they outgrow or no longer play with; but they get their sentimental side from their dad, so they keep everything. And once I returned to working outside of the house, there was no way I could keep up the regular household chores, never mind bug them to donate some stuff.

So, for the time being, I am embracing my Messy Bessy side: keeping things just clean enough to be hygienic, but certainly not up to par with what the house used to be.

Now, if I could just reconcile myself to the garden full of weeds out in the back yard, I could be happy.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mailbox Monday - August 10

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

It's Monday again. My, how time flies when we're having fun. The real estate world is moving fast and furious. I am working 60+ hours and still can't keep up. Good thing I love it.

My girls are going on a short vacation with family on Wednesday, so at least I don't have to feel guilty they will be bored while I am working my tail off. We are also celebrating a birthday this week. The Lil' Diva turns 14 on Tuesday. Don't know how that happened.

Two books arrived this week. I'll let you think about what's been on my mind lately. The first one is for a virtual book tour that I am participating in.

The Paleo. The Zone. The Gluten-free. Another day, another diet. We’re caught in a never-ending merry-go-round of weight loss plans, fueled by celebrity endorsers, TV doctors and companies angling for a piece of a $60 billion industry. But do these diets really work? And how healthy are they?

Registered Dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen examines dozens of the most wildly popular diets based on medical facts, not hype. And along the way, she reveals tried-and-true weight loss strategies, relying on her years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars and community outreach efforts. With insight and humor, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off shows that the best answer is often not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but easy-to-follow guidelines that are best for our health and our waistlines.


My girls are huge Restaurant Impossible fans. The show was actually here in town not that long ago. Sadly, we weren't chosen as volunteers to help with the remodel and weren't able to get in to eat that night, but we knew the family whose restaurant was being renovated and got to see how much they were helped.

When my youngest heard that Fit Fuel was coming out, she insisted we pre-order so we could have an autographed copy.

With more than 25 years in the culinary profession, Chef Robert Irvine has cooked his way through Europe, the Far East, the Caribbean and the Americas in hotels and on the high seas. He's best known as the host of one of Food Network's highest-rated shows, Restaurant: Impossible, but equally recognized for his muscular physique and healthy lifestyle focus that once earned him recognition as one of the top 25 Fittest Guys in America by Men's Fitness magazine.

With the release of Fit Fuel: A Chef's Guide to Eating Well, Getting Fit, and Living Your Best Life, Chef Irvine translates his tough love tactics from the failing restaurant owner to the everyday man and woman struggling to get their health and fitness goals on track.

Developed from Robert Irvine's lifetime of training and nutritional knowledge, with support from distinguished fitness writer Matt Tuthill, Fit Fuel is packed from cover to cover with equal parts inspiration and information that can change your life forever.

The book is divided into three parts, the first of which examines the mental aspects of goal setting, habit forming, and long-term maintenance. Here, Chef Irvine provides encouraging, digestible ideas of how to change the way we see and think about food, ourselves, and our own unlimited potential. Just as he's done in season after season of Restaurant: Impossible, Chef Irvine provides readers with the same no-excuses encouragement and mental coaching in Fit Fuel, motivating with tools, resources, and inspiration every step of the way.

The second section of the book focuses on training, with an easy-to-follow resistance training program, demonstrated through A and B photography and well-defined techniques that the 49-year-old British Royal Navy veteran considers fundamental to his own lean and muscular physique. In addition to the main program, there are time-saving workouts, as well as a full starter s program for any beginner who might find the main program too daunting off the bat.

In its final section, Fit Fuel provides recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, all illustrated with realistic photography and step-by-step instructions. Few dishes or main ingredients are overlooked, despite their unmerited reputations as no-no foods. From pancakes to salads, beef to fish, Chef Irvine challenges the idea of good vs. bad as it pertains to the everyday diet, emphasizing the fact that healthy eating does not require deprivation.

When you're finally ready to achieve your full potential, Fit Fuel awaits.

What did you receive this past week?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Book Blast & Giveaway: Love, Defined by Leila Tualla

Author: Leila Tualla
Book Title: Love, Defined
Paperback: 242 pages
ISBN-10: 1680582313
ISBN-13: 978-1680582314
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Genre: Christian YA Romance

Into their final summer before graduating college, three childhood friends, Alex Makapulo, Lori Hanson, and Andy Taylor had each expected an uncomplicated transition to adulthood.
Alex had recently professed her love for Christ and is toying with the idea of leaving the Catholic Church and becoming a member of her best friend, Jack Page’s church. Jack wonders what is keeping Alex from being baptized and fully accepting a new life with Christ. Alex wonders the same thing and believes that she needs to be 100 % in her conviction before fully committing to a new Christian life. Like everyone she has doubts and wants to make sure she’s doing the right thing in her spiritual walk. Her new found beliefs disconnects her from her roommates and while they feel she is intentionally separating herself from them, to Alex, she is trying to figure out what is Christian and what isn’t.

For Lori’s twenty-second birthday, her grandfather Pete Hanson presented her with a summer vacation to England. While looking up various tourist spots, she meets and befriends Colin Watson, a British musician, online who then suggest they meet when she lands in London. They hit it off instantly but Pete is angry and believes that she only used him as a means to meet Colin. When he finds out that Lori met Colin online, he forbids Lori from seeing Colin entirely. Lori, who has fallen in love with Colin, is heartbroken. Pete threatens to leave England with Lori’s passport. Colin and Lori try to arrange meetups where they can see each other but Pete catches on. Lori takes this as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be. She unhappily finishes her trip with Pete and goes home vowing not to forgive her grandfather.

Andy reconnects with her old crush, Miles Webber and decides she wants a more meaningful relationship with him. She tells Alex about the situation and Alex truthfully tells Andy that Miles only wanted her for sex. This angers Andy and she walks out of the apartment.

Andy ends up walking to the coffeehouse and comes up with an idea to throw a surprise birthday party for Alex. She believes that if Alex and Jack were to hook up, the focus would shift from Miles and her. Andy spikes all the drinks for Alex’s party and leaves her friend while she goes in search of Miles. He shows up at the bar with another girl. In an effort to soothe her wounded ego, she goes home with someone else. When she wakes up the next day, she realizes she’s in bed with Alex’s young boss from the coffeehouse, David Roberts, Jr.
They return home from their trip with Alex asking Jack to baptize her. Andy confronts David and Lori both forgives and asks for forgiveness from Pete.

Leila Tualla is a Christian blogger and writer. She blogs at and writes about her misadventures in faith, in motherhood, and whatever else inspires her. She holds a membership to the American Christian Fiction Writer. Her current project is a YA Christian Romance.

Social Links:
Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble:

Follow the tour here:
Enter Giveaway: One winner will receive an autographed copy of Love, Defined

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author Leila Tualla and is hosted and managed by Paulette from Write Now Literary Book Tours. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send an email to Paulette @

Monday, August 3, 2015

Mailbox Monday: August 3

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Would someone please tell me where the summer is going? By this time next month the girls will be in school. How scary is that?

Another busy week in my real estate world: signed up three new buyers and managed several showings. Might have another sale coming soon. Fingers crossed.

This is a book that was gifted to me as a prize from a reading challenge. This concept fascinates me.

Second Editions: Revised with some new material gathered through 13 years of teaching these concepts at writers conferences. ------------- Want to bring characters to life on the page as vividly as fine actors do on the stage or screen? Getting Into Character will give you a whole new way of thinking about your writing. Drawing on the Method Acting theory that theater professionals have used for decades, this in-depth guide explains seven characterization techniques and adapts them for the novelist’s use. You’ll discover concepts that will lead you to understand and communicate the motivation and psychology of all your characters. These highly effective techniques will help you: ~ create characters whose distinctive traits become plot components ~ determine each character’s specific objectives and motivations ~ write natural, meaningful dialogue that moves the story forward ~ endow your characters with three-dimensional emotional lives ~ use character motivation to bring action sequences to exuberant life ~ write convincingly about any character facing any circumstance.

So, what was in your mailbox?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off! Release Day Blitz with Lisa Tillinger Johansen

We're happy to be hosting Lisa Tillinger Johansen and her STOP THE DIET I WANT TO GET OFF RELEASE DAY BLITZ today!

About the Book:

Stop the Diet, I Want To Get Off!

Author: Lisa Tillinger Johansen

Publisher: J. Murray Press

Pages: 275

Genre: Nonfiction/Nutrition/Health

Purchase at AMAZON

The Paleo. The Zone.  The Gluten-free.  Another day, another diet.  We’re caught in a never-ending merry-go-round of weight loss plans, fueled by celebrity endorsers, TV doctors and companies
angling for a piece of a $60 billion industry. 

But do these diets really work? 

And how healthy are they?

Registered Dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen examines dozens of the most wildly popular diets based on medical facts, not hype.  And along the way, she reveals tried-and-true weight loss strategies, relying on her years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars and community outreach efforts.  With insight and humor, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off shows that the best answer is often not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but easy-to-follow guidelines that are best for our health and our waistlines.

Book Excerpt:

The idea for this book began at a wedding.

Who doesn’t love a good wedding? The clothes, the flowers, the romance, the food…

Ah, the food. As we moved into the banquet hall, the culinary feast was on everyone’s minds. It was all anyone seemed talk about. But for some reason, guests weren’t conversing about the dishes being served; they were swapping stories of diets they had heard about from friends, magazine articles, even celebrities on talk shows.

I’m a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutritional science and years of clinical and health education experience. I’ve counseled thousands of patients and clients on all of these diets. But hearing the guests only momentarily distracted me from my horrible faux pas of wearing white (gasp!) to a friend’s wedding.

“I’m on the Blood Type Diet,” said a woman with an impossibly high bouffant hairdo. “You’ve heard of that, haven’t you? It’s the one where you choose your foods based on your blood type. I’m an AB, so I’ll be having the fish.”

“Really?” her friend replied. “I swear by the gluten-free diet. I’m on it, my daughter’s on it, and my granddaughter’s on it.”

I happened to know her granddaughter was six and didn’t have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

Then there was the stocky guy who was trying to impress one of the bridesmaids. “I’m a paleo man myself,” he said, piling his plate high with beef kebabs. “It gives me more stamina, know what I mean? It puts me in touch with my inner caveman. There’s a restaurant near my apartment that’s paleo friendly. Maybe we can grab a bite there sometime, or…Hey wait, where are you going?”

And there were three Weight Watchers sisters who typed furiously on their phones and argued over their meals’ point values. Apparently there was some discrepancy between their various apps, and the sisters’ discussion was becoming more heated by the moment.

I’m past the point of being surprised by the wide range of weight-loss strategies—some worthless, some crazy, some quite reasonable—being tossed around. In the past few years, there has been a tidal wave of diets washing up on the shores of our nutritional consciousness. Celebrities prance across our screens, promoting a variety of weight-loss schemes on talk shows and infomercials. Medical doctors star in their own syndicated television programs, exposing millions to weight-loss techniques, often unsupported by medical research. Other diets get traction on the Internet, racing all over the globe in social media posts, YouTube videos, and annoying spam e-mails. It’s hard to walk past a shopping center vitamin store without being approached by salespeople trying to pitch the latest weight-loss supplements. It seems that everyone wants a piece of the pie; the American diet industry tops $60 billion annually.

It’s classic information overload. You can’t blame people for being confused by all the diets out there, even as crazy as some of them may sound. I didn’t speak up to my fellow wedding guests that day, but it occurred to me they would benefit from some hard facts about the diets they so ardently follow.

So during the toasts, I thought to myself, I should write a book.

I counsel clients on these matters each week, giving them information they need to make the best choices for their health and waistlines. I find that all too often there’s nothing to the diets that are presented to me in my counseling sessions and classes. They just plain don’t work, particularly over the long term. And some of them are harmful, even potentially lethal. But it’s also unhealthy to carry extra weight on our frames. So how do we separate good diets from the bad?

In the chapters to come, we’ll take a good, hard look at the various weight-loss plans out there. I’ll pull no punches in my professional evaluation of some of the most wildly popular diets, both bad and good, of the past few years. And along the way, I’ll explore tried-and-true strategies for losing weight, based on my years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars, and community outreach efforts. More often than not, the best answer is not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but instead a few easy-to-follow guidelines that I’ve seen work in literally thousands of cases.

Enough is enough. It’s time for the madness—and the diets—to stop.

LISA TILLINGER JOHANSEN, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian who counsels clients on a wide range of health issues. Her debut nutrition book, Fast Food Vindication, received the Discovery
Award (sponsored by USA Today, Kirkus and The Huffington Post).  She lives in Southern California.

For More Information