Friday, November 17, 2017

Tune In...Season 3 of Spirit Riding Free Premieres Today on Netflix + Check Out These Great Spirit Toys Sure to Delight Fans of the Show This Holiday Season (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent samples from DreamWorks Animation in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

My girls have been waiting for today, since I told them last month that Season 3 of Spirit Riding Free would be premiering on Netflix.  They are huge fans of this popular Netflix Original Series, and have already watched the first two seasons over a dozen times each so far.  So, a fun-filled season 3 is just what my girls have been waiting for, as have other fans of this cute animated.  If you are not familiar with Spirit Riding Free here is a little background on this streaming series only available through Netflix...

About Spirit Riding Free:

"This popular Netflix series is inspired by the Oscar®-nominated film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and follows the heartfelt journey of a gutsy 12-year-old girl named Lucky who befriends a wild mustang whom she aptly names Spirit. With her two best friends (and their horses) by her side, Lucky and her friends explore a world filled with endless rides, magnificent horses and and never ending fun! Together they’ll push their own limits, harness the power of friendship and discover what it truly means to be free.

Each episode of Spirit Riding Free is filled with frontier adventures and fun -- from inclement weather like flash floods and blizzards, to human malfeasance from train robbers and banditos, to kid-centric capers like treasure hunts and secret sleepovers. And some stories are even be told from the horses’ point of view!

Even the most action-packed episodes are grounded in the emotional realities of being a kid -- stories that will resonate with any kid, anywhere, in any era, whether they go to a one-room country school house or a mega modern high school; stories about fitting in, finding your place, figuring out who you are and who you want to be, and all the other weird, wonderful, alarming, and amazing parts of growing up.

Spirit Riding Free is a coming-of-age story for Lucky, but also, in a very different way, for Spirit. Over the course of the series, each will realize their truest selves. Lucky will learn she is far more than just a city girl with a wild streak, and Spirit will learn that his freedom is only as real as the choices he can make. Together Spirit and Lucky will illustrate both sides of the same theme: only by doing, can we truly become what we are meant to be."


Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Season 3 of Spirit Riding Free, the hit Netflix Original Series from DreamWorks Animation Television, premieres today.  My girls woke up extra early this AM so that they could get a head start on watching some of the new episodes.  I guess they are like us adults when a new season or original series premieres on Netflix...we all clear our schedules so that we can binge watch them all.  Come on, you know you do it.  While my girls will not be binge watching the complete series, even though they would if I let them, they will watch a few episodes.  Then, they will probably spend the rest of the afternoon playing with the new Spirit toys we were sent yesterday in anticipation of today's Season 3 premier on Netflix.

Here is more about the new Season 3, which premieres today on Netflix:

"Season 3 of Spirit Riding Free begins with Spirit and Lucky desperately trying to find one another and finally reunited in Miradero. Once together, the PALs and their horses set out on all-new thrilling adventures - racing to stop an oncoming train, helping a horse deliver her foal, trying to stay one step ahead of pesky Snips and cousin Julian or embarking on daring rescue missions. Amidst all the excitement, we will see the PALs exploring environs beyond Miradero, making wonderful new friends and meeting some new horses from Spirit’s herd. Join the PALs for an action-packed journey that above all celebrates the unbreakable bond between Lucky and Spirit."

You can see some clips from the new season below: 

I wish you could have saw the girls faces when I opened the box yesterday. I told them on the drive home from homeschool co-op that I had a Spirit surprise waiting for them.  They had no idea what was in store, and when they saw a big box in garage they couldn't wait to see what was inside.  My girls have already sent Santa their wish lists, and Spirit Riding Free toys were top on their list.  Bella got a stable and barn set for her birthday last week, and hasn't stopped talking about how her Spirit horses and toys that Santa would hopefully be bringing her would fit perfectly in the stables. She even got started on welcome signs for the ponies. :-)

So, when Bella saw me pulling out the different Spirit toys, she was so excited.  She told me that we would have to write another letter and send to Santa to let him know he didn't have to bring the Spirit toys we received, and give them to another fan of the show.  :-)

I told the girls they would have to wait until after school today to play with the new Spirit toys.  And, this AM after getting up early to watch a few episodes the girls were quick to ask to start school.  They weren't asking because they love school...nope, they wanted to get it out of the way so that they could play with their new Spirit toys all afternoon.  I can't blame them, as these Spirit toys are really cool looking, especially the Deluxe Feeding Set one.

With the holidays fast approaching, why not pick up a few Spirit toys, to surprise that special Spirit Riding Free fan in your life?  With the new season 3 available starting today on Netflix, the toys from this popular series will be on the minds of fans of the show.  We already own a handful of Spirit toys and I am impressed with the quality of the toys.  

The girls really enjoy playing with them, and whenever they watch the show, they gather up their Spirit toys and line them up, so that they can act out different scenes from the episodes they are watching.  

You can find Spirit Riding Free toys at most major retail stores as well as online.  I picked up a lot of them at Toys 'R Us  a few weeks ago, and their shelves were stocked.  I didn't see the Breyer paint a pony there, but was so happy this was included in the goodies the girls were sent as they really love arts and crafting and they thought that painting their own Spirit pony was a cool idea. I guess I know what we will be doing after we watch another episode or two of the new Season 3 Spirit Riding Free on Netflix. :-)

Disclosure: I was sent samples from DreamWorks Animation in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Lego Fans Will Love Receiving a Brick Loot Box Each Month -- Save 12% on This #LEGO #subscriptionbox from @brickloot Now! (Reivew)

Disclosure: I was sent a sample from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Invented by a 9 yr old, this box is fun for ages 6 - 99!

My youngest daughter, Bella recently celebrated her 6th birthday and instead of a birthday party she wanted to go into Boston and check out the LEGOLAND Discovery Center.  This attraction has been open for a couple years now, but we haven't made it down there yet to visit. Both of my girls are really into LEGO building.  If you were to visit our house, you would see different shrines or areas around the house and in their bedrooms dedicated to their LEGO builds. They are really good at making houses or landscape scenes, but really love making build kits, where they follow the directions to make a cool LEGO piece or structure. 

We had so much fun at the LEGOLAND Discover Center in Somerville, MA.  The only thing I would have done different is not go on a "no school" day.  We went down the Friday before Veteran's Day.  And, because we homeschool, I don't keep up on public school day off schedules.  We showed up and the place was crazy busy.  But, that was also a good thing, as it showed that there are so many LEGO fans out there, young and old.  I couldn't get over how many parents were pulling up a seat next to their child and building things.  It was really nice to see, as we love to do LEGO building with the girls.

Before leaving the LEGOLAND Discovery Center, we stopped into the store and picked up a few LEGO sets for the girls.  They love the Best Friends series, as well as the new Ninjago movie, so those were the sections the girls gravitated towards.  As soon as we got home the girls got right to building their new LEGO sets.  By the next day we had new finished pieces to add to their growing LEGO shrine area -- you can look, but don't touch the girls tell us when we are near their shrine areas. :-)  The girls asked when we would be going back, or if we could go to the store one of these days to spend Bella's birthday money on more LEGO set.  I guess they are addicted...and, I can't blame them as I also loved LEGO kits growing up, and love being able to sit down and help the girls build them.

You may recall a couple weeks ago me sharing about Brick Loot and a special 12% off coupon code just for Inspired by Savannah readers.  In my post I said I would be sharing a review of one of their monthly boxes, that are a must have for LEGO and Brick fanatics, like my family.  

What is Brick Loot?:

"Brick Loot is a box subscription company for LEGO and Brick fanatics! Subscribers will receive a monthly box filled with unique, custom and never-before-seen items including Custom LEGO Kits, LEGO Minifigures and more."

Our November Brick Loot box showed up the other day, and I couldn't get over how much stuff you get in these monthly subscription boxes.  It was filled to the bring with LEGO kits, mini figure and accessory packs, and more.  Both of my girls' eyes lit up when I showed them the LEGO goodies we got, and they couldn't wait to dive right in and get building.

Check out what was included in the November Brick Loot box...

Here is the double-sided card that is included with each Brick Loot box letting you know about each item in the box...

And, here is everything you get in the box...

"Brick Loot boxes are filled with 4-8 items that were hand picked by Brick specialists who scour the world for the newest and coolest products for you to collect."

So much stuff, right?  I really was impressed with this subscription box and will definitely be extending my subscription so we don't miss out on future boxes.  My girls were quick to grab thing from the box as theirs.  Bella chose the mini figure and accessory, along with the cotton candy cart building set shown below.

See, these are full size LEGO pieces and not knock off pieces.

Savannah wanted to do the Mini City Candy Shop, and also snagged up the Candy Shop sticker and mini picture, to display in her room...

I was left with the LEGO ice cube mold and a 50% off coupon to shop over at the online Sweet Pete's candy store.  Even though I called the Lego mold, I did end up sharing the ice cubes I made. 

I also experimented with the mold and poured melted chocolate into them and let them set.  They came out great, and as a chocolate lover, I thoroughly enjoyed my own homemade LEGO chocolates. :-)

It didn't take us long to complete the two build kits in this month's Brick Loot box.  And, we can't wait to see what will be included in the December box. Do you have a LEGO or Brick fanatic in your life?  Why not sign them up for a Brick Loot subscription as part of their holiday gift?  You don't have to go crazy trying to figure out which build kits they already have, or which ones they would like best. Instead, let the folks at Brick Loot surprise them every month with a jam packed box of LEGO and brick goodness. My girls really enjoyed the box especially the surprise aspect of it -- not knowing what was inside was a big draw for them.  And, once they saw what was included in the box, they were all smiles and couldn't wait to dive right in.

Like I mentioned about, right now Inspired by Savannah readers can save 12% on a Brick Loot Subscription.  All you have to do is head on over to and use promo code "usfamily12" to take advantage of this limited time savings.  So, what are you waiting for?  Head on over to Brick Loot today and sign up so you don't miss out on the December box.

Disclosure: I was sent a sample from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Give the Gift of a Good Night's Sleep When You Surprise Them with a New Nectar Memory Foam Mattress -- Mattress Includes Full Comfort Guarantee and Forever Warranty (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent a sample from the vendor in exchange for an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.



With the holidays fast approaching, have you started going crazy thinking about your shopping lists?  Have you checked your lists like Santa does to make sure you have everyone on the list, and jot down ideas next to their name for gifts?  Or, has your significant other asked you what you want for the holidays?  Has a new mattress crossed your mind?  Probably not, especially with people eagerly awaiting Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales.  You don't usually see mattresses in the deals.  But, when you think about it a mattress is a great gift idea, as everyone needs a good night's sleep each night, and if your mattress is not up to par, you can experience back and neck issues, find yourself tossing and turning through the night trying to get a comfortable spot, thus loosing precious hours of sleep.  And, with the holidays fast approaching, sleep will be key if you plan to get everything done for the holidays, so that everything looks effortless. You know what I am talking about..moms are supposed to do everything -- the meal, shopping and wrapping gifts, and everything in between, so that everyone has a great holiday.  But, with all the running around you will be doing, wouldn't it be nice to lay down at night in a comfortable bed?

How long have you had your current mattress?  Do you know how long an average mattress lasts before you should replace it.  I never really gave replacing a mattress a thought before kids, unless the mattress wasn't comfy anymore, or I noticed a dip in it from the mattress wearing out.  It wasn't until I did research online earlier this year due to back and leg issues I was having, that I started thinking about my mattress not helping the situation.  I found that most mattresses only last about 5-6 year, even though they may carry a longer warranty.  Because we sleep in our bed, the kids play and jump around it, etc., your mattress really takes a beating.  It wasn't meant to last forever. But, with the prices we pay for mattresses nowadays we all wish they will last a long time, as they can cost a fortune for a good mattress that feels comfortable to you.  

My husband and I bought our last mattress back in 2007 when we moved from MA to CT.  We spent over $2000 on the name brand mattress because we let ourselves get sold on the mattress while out at a mattress store.  Ugh, I am still kicking myself about the purchase, as it was a headache from the start.  I don't know about you, but buying a mattress is up there with buying a car, in regards to having to deal with sales people.  I always hate walking into furniture stores as they have their sales team waiting for you at the door, and then you walk a few steps in and have someone following you around before they pounce and ask if you need any help, hoping to make a sale.  Not my favorite thing to do.  Thankfully I don't have to deal with pushy sales people when it comes to buying mattresses as you can order them online and have them shipped right to your door.  But, with so many online retailers and brands online, which one is the best one to go with, seeing that you can't go in person to try them out for yourself.  I have heard horror stories from friends who bought mattresses online and when they arrived they had a chemical smell that never went away, the mattress was so firm they couldn't sleep on it, or the mattress came damaged...and all these issues were so hard to rectify.  So, when it came time to move my girls from their twin beds to a big girl bed (partly because we find ourselves ending up in their beds in the night, and a twin bed is not comfortable for an adult and child who loves to do 360 degree spins through the night), I spent countless hours online researching and reading reviews about the best mattress out there.  Time and again I kept seeing Nectar mattresses raved about by people.  


I couldn't get over how Nectar was rated #1 by reviewers and acknowledged as “the best mattress money can buy” by customers, Nectar is a better bed at the best price. Everyone left glowing reviews about how comfortable these mattresses were, and how they arrived at their door and within 24 hours they were getting a great night's sleep -- something they had been missing out on for so long. 

I made a point to note Nectar for mattresses for the girls, but first I wanted to find the right full size bed frame for them.  Last month, when I found the bed frames for the girls, I was contacted by the folks at Nectar and asked to review a mattress.  I jumped at the opportunity as I was eager to get to try their memory foam mattresses firsthand.  I had to decide if I wanted to get a mattress for one of the girls, or one for my husband and I.  With continued back issues, I decided that it was time for us to replace our 10 year old mattress.  And, I am so glad I did something for myself for once, as I have been enjoying the best night's sleep each and every night I lay my head down on the Nectar pillow (we received 2 with the queen size mattress we were sent to review), which is included with the mattress. Before I go on about how great this mattress is, I wanted to share some photos and videos I took.  It is like a little unveiling in case you were curious about how you get a mattress delivered to your door. It really is a neat thing to see a mattress expand and become full size in a matter of minutes.

First, this is how the mattress arrives at your door -- in this blue wrapping...

As you can see once you remove the blue packaging , the mattress is enclosed in a zipper bag show in white...

It take a little bit of maneuvering to remove the blue wrapping, but this was good and it keep the elements away from the actual mattress in the zipper bag.

Once you remove the blue wrapping, you are left with this...

The blue handles above are great to have in case you have to carry the mattress to another floor or room in the house.  We were going to take the blue packaging off outside, but I wasn't sure how the mattress came, so I had my husband bring the whole thing as is in the house.  But, if you needed to, you could remove the blue wrapping and then use these handles to easily carry and transport the mattress to where you want it.

Now, the fun part, removing the bag to expose the mattress, which has been vacuum sealed in plastic...

Nectar has the whole unpacking thing thought out as they include the little tool shown below to cut the plastic to expose and let the mattress expand...

Be sure to read the instructions above and have the mattress flipped to the right side, so that when you tear into the plastic, you aren't having the mattress flop open upside down.  Even though our floor was clean, I had my husband open the mattress and lay it on the plastic wrapping that it came in.  I didn't want any dust to get on it while it expanded overnight. The instructions said to give it up to 24 hours to expand to full size.  And, if you smelled a chemical smell from it being in the packaging, that this would dissipate over the course of a few days.  We didn't notice a smell, which I was happy about, as like I mentioned above other friends who ordered mattresses and had them delivered through the mail, complained of a chemical smell -- not from Nectar mattresses, but from other so-called name brand mattress companies.

Here is my husband starting to tear into the plastic...

I captured the mattress unveiling as I called it on video.  You will here me talking about the Nectar warranty, that you don't get with other mattresses on the market.  You can learn more about their forever warranty by visiting the Nectar website Here is the video of the mattress expanding. I have to say it was really cool to see it go from this rolled up mattress into a fully expanded queen bed in a matter of minutes..

 And, here is more about the Forever Warranty...

We followed the instructions and let the mattress and two pillows which came with the mattress expand over a 24 hour period.  My daughters were so eager to see the new mattress and try it out that my youngest, Bella, woke at 5 AM to be the first to lay on it.  Here is the video I took of her telling me how comfortable it is and how she gives the Nectar mattress 2 thumbs up. :-)

She wouldn't get up off the mattress and kept telling me to snap photos so you could see just how comfy it was.  Two thumbs up comfy she kept saying. :-)

Don't mind Bella's bed head :-)  She was all smiles as she laid on the new mattress.  

Look how full this memory foam mattress is... 
You would never think it came rolled up like it did.  

Bella finally let me try out the mattress and I could see why she was giving it two thumbs up and saying it was comfy, as it really was.  I have owned a handful of mattresses in my day and can say hands down that this one is the most comfortable.  Even though it is a memory foam mattress, like my old mattress was, you don't sink deep into it.  Instead, it is like the mattress is hugging your body in the position you lay.  I usually start on my back at night and wind up laying on my side.  I found that with these shifts in the night, I wasn't dealing with a lumpy mattress that did conform to my new position in the bed. The Nectar mattress has really made a difference not only in my overall sleep experience, but my back is feeling so much better.  I was diagnosed with bulging and slipped discs in my L4 and L5 spine, and thanks to my new mattress from Nectar, I am getting some relief because of such a well-made mattress.

We have been sleeping on our new queen size Nectar mattress for over 3 weeks now, and I can report that I am still getting a restful night's sleep each and every night.  Now I look forward to going to bed as I know I will have a comfy bed waiting for me.  And, for the times I sit up in bed and blog or watch television, I can't get over the mattress.  Sitting or laying down, the mattress feels great.  And, my girls are loving it, too.  They will lay in my bed in the morning after getting up to watch one of their shows.  As they lay there, all I can hear is them raving about how great this bed feels and how they want one of these mattresses for themselves.  I guess Santa will be surprising the girls with new Nectar mattresses along with their new bed frames this Christmas. And, the prices are amazing for the top-quality mattress you get, along with the unprecedented forever warranty.  


Prices above include...



Want to compare Nectar mattresses to other top mattress brands? Then, head on over to Nectar and see how their mattress stacks up against the other brands -

I could go on and on raving about just great the Nectar mattress was that I was sent to review.  But, instead, why not give it a try for yourself.  You can do a home trial with the bed.  Try it out and if some any reason you are not satisfied with the mattress, you can return it for a full refund.  

They even offer no hassle pickups. Try saying that about other mattress companies you have dealt with in the past.  With a Forever Warranty and a home trial offer, there is no reason not to give Nectar a try today.  Like I said, the holidays are fast approaching, and why do something different this year, and gift yourself or someone you love with a good night's sleep.  Once you lay down on your new Nectar mattress you will see why Nectar is rated #1 by reviewers and acknowledged as “the best mattress money can buy” by customers.  I can't stop raving about it to family and friends.  And, whenever someone comes to visit, I make a point to have them try out my new mattress. They all agree it is comfortable, and can't believe it came rolled up like it did.

So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to the Nectar website and place your order for a new mattress today.  Then, sit back and wait for it to be delivered right to your door.  Say goodbye to pushy sales people at the mattress store, and hello to your new favorite mattress brand, Nectar, as you fall peacefully asleep and get the best night's sleep you and your body have been craving.

Disclosure: I was sent a sample from the vendor in exchange for an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2017: The Legacy Letters: His Wife, His Children, His Final Gift is an Inspirational Love Story About Life That is Not to Be Missed (Review)

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

The Best Gift is to Leave a LEGACY

The Legacy Letters Can Be Purchased at:

Usually this time of year I don't have time to read a book for myself due to all the products I am reviewing for my gift guide, as well as the craziness of holiday shopping and prepping.  But, I was sent "The Legacy Letters" by Care Papritz recently and couldn't put it down after I read the introduction.  I had heard about this book before and planned to pick it up after the holidays to read, but then I was given the opportunity to review the book for inclusion in my gift guide, and jumped at the opportunity.

Here is a little bit about the book:

"An Award Winning Timeless and Inspirational Love Story about Life.

Our definition of success and happiness is largely shaped by society; whether it be wealth, climbing the corporate ladder, being famous, etc. Our lives have become so complicated and cluttered that we seem to have forgotten the basics. When you dig deeper, the values of empathy, tolerance, compassion, and trust are missing.

The Legacy Letters teaches us how to go back-to-the basics, enjoy traditions, and be in the moment.

Rediscovered private letters from a dying father to his children--and his wife--uncover a passionate and powerful guidebook to life.

The letters reveal to us the stories, memories, and music of the father, which ultimately becomes the practical, moral, and spiritual gift and guidebook for his children he'd never live to see, and for his wife, his redemptive story of love.

By combining the best elements of such inspirational books as Tuesdays with Morrie, The Last Lecture, and Chicken Soup for the Soul, author Carew Papritz, has created an intense and thought-provoking book, filled with  life instructions that The Huffington Post calls: "A Must-Read Book of Wisdom for Life... exquisite, intimate, passionate, humorous and genuine..."

Who Reads This "Everybody Book?"  

Romantic and pragmatic, old-fashioned and new-fashioned, life- questioning and life-altering, The Legacy Letters is an "everybody book."  It appeals to new parents and parents-to-be for its detailed life instructions.  Parents are reading it to and with their children.  Teenagers are rediscovering timeless values and ideas still relevant for a new time.   Grandparents read it for the nostalgia of an earlier time and to read to their grandchildren.  

The Legacy Letters Makes Publishing History-- 

The Legacy Letters and its author, Carew Papritz, recently achieved publishing history by becoming the first book ever to win awards as both a nonfiction book and a fiction book!  Because of its universal appeal, The Legacy Letters is a wonderful book for almost anyone in your life,--a true "everybody" gift book that is universal gift for all."


What would you do if you have a falling out with your spouse and after you move out you find that you have a terminal illness and don't have much time to live.  And, on top of this devastating news, you also find out your estranged wife is having twins.  This is what happened to the man in this book.  He made the hard decision to move to the mountains into a family cabin and live out his remaining time writing letters to his unborn children and his wife.  He was afraid if he shared the news with his wife about his illness that she may lose the babies.  So, he did what he thought was best and stayed away, even though he still loved her, and hoped for a reconciliation.

After reading this, I had to read the book and see the different letters he wrote to his children.  I don't know about you, but I don't think I would be able to have such a clear head to write such poignant and moving letters like this dying father did.  But, I did relate to the father as I was diagnosed with cancer back in 2008 and found myself in a stand-still in my life getting radiation and chemo treatment to beat the rare stage 2 cancer I was diagnosed with, all while everyone around me continued on with their life.  Even though he was still alive, his life was not what he had expected for himself.  And, he used what time he had left to do something for his wife and unborn children.  He took to writing and sharing fatherly advice, stories about himself so that his children will know of him through his letters to them.  He wanted them to know that he even he would never get to meet them, he already loved them and their mom, and would continue to love them after his death.  

In addition to hundreds of letters written, he also left mementos and personal artifacts for this son and daughter including his guitar, music he had written and recorded him singing for them.  He left specific instructions as when the kids would get the letters and when they could read them. These letters were never meant to be shared but his children after reading them and connecting to their father, decided that his spiritual guidebook he left for them through these letters should be shared with others to enjoy and help guide them in life.  Not all the personal letters were shared, but there were enough of them included in the book that you found yourself being moved emotionally and spiritually. 

There were many letters I read and found myself tearing up as I read them, as I felt bad not only for the dying father as I knew he would give anything to be able to be present in his children's life, and also for his kids who would never get to meet a man who spent the final months of his life dedicating it to them by writing them letters that would help shape them as a person and guide them through life, in the absence of a father.

This definitely is a must-read book for parents, grandparents and even teens and young adults. No matter your age, you will be moved and take away so many valuable life lessons from this book.  I couldn't help but pass this book along to family and friends to read. And, when they are done they can't help but thank me for sharing such a wonderful book to them. Their heart, like mine broke when we read in the book that the father died in a cave he went to to die.  It was even more gut-wrenching when we read that he didn't succumb to his terminal illness, but died instead due to hypothermia.  I could never imagine dying alone in a cave. But, his family knew where he was, and they worked to get his body back home and laid to rest in a proper burial.  I truly hope that this book filled a little bit of the void left by this father's passing in his childrens' life.  And, that this book showed them and his wife just how much he loved them, and only wanted the best for them.



The Cowboy Philosopher,  also known as Carew Papritz in day-to-day life,  is the author of the multi-award winning book The Legacy Letters. This best-selling author left his career as a filmmaker in Hollywood, and returning to his ranching roots, worked as a cowboy on a cattle ranch in the Southwest where he began writing the book. He is now known as the "Cowboy Philosopher" and  The Legacy Letters recently gained notoriety in the press for being the only book in publishing history to win awards for both fiction and non-fiction categories.  A Renaissance Man in an age that lauds the specialist...

...The Huffington Post says Papritz "intrigues and enlightens, charms and catalyzes change for every reader."

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2017: "Love Welcome Serve" by Amy Nelson Hannon - Available Now + Delicious Chicken Chili Recipe from the Book (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the vendor in exchange for an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Is there one thing you can't have enough of? For me, it is cookbooks.  If you were to visit me and see my bookshelves in our upstairs area, you would be shocked at how I have two full bookcases full of cookbooks, and then a walk in closet that my collection spreads into.  Whenever I take the girls to the bookstore, I find myself gravitating to the cookbook section to see what new cookbooks have come out.  And, when I do receive a cookbook, I read it like a novel, cover to cover, admiring not only the photos of the recipes, but I really like cookbooks that share the cook's personal back story on recipes or about how they entertain family and friends.  

Having an Italian grandmother, I was always seeing her in the kitchen cooking up something to warm our bellies, or making a fresh plate of Italian cookies to satisfy our sweet tooth.  A trip to Nana's never disappointed, and you always left full, and with a doggie bag. :-)

Recently, I was sent a copy of Love Welcome Serve by Amy Nelson Hannon, and really enjoyed this cookbook.  I have over half the book's recipes flagged to try soon -- if I ever find extra time.  What drew me to this cookbook was how Amy shared a personal story about the reason for each recipe.  When I see things like this, it really makes me want to try out the recipe as I can relate to her stories of family and friends and enjoying a good meal together.  Amy Nelson Hannon reminded me of my grandmother and her love of food and sharing her gift of cooking and baking with family and friends.  

There are so many great recipes in this book, each has their own full color photo of the recipe, so we warned if you plan to look at this cookbook on an empty belly, as you will find yourself wishing for certain dishes and desserts.

Here are just some of the recipes you will find in this cookbook, which arrived in stores back on Tuesday...

  • Preacher's Chocolate Cake
  • Homemade Sweetened Whipped Cream
  • Homemade Chicken Stock
  • Cheesy Garlic Potato Gratin
  • Bacon and Brown Sugar Collards (what I plan to serve at Thanksgiving
  • Mama's Mexican Skillet Casserole
  • Sam's Smoked Pulled Pork
  • Grilled Corn and Feta Salad (I made this and it was amazing!)
  • Tomato, Cucumber and Mozzarella Salad
  • Mama's Cranberry Salad
  • Texas Firecrackers

I was excited when I given permission to share a recipe from this book with you, so you could see the types of dishes you can cook up and enjoy with your family. I ended up making this chicken chili the other night and it was a hit with my whole family, including my oldest daughter, who is a picky eater.  She even asked for a second helping.  It has been cold here in New England, so it was nice to serve up a nice hot chili for dinner with homemade Italian bread for soaking up the leftover liquid in the bowl.  Everyone left with happy bellies, and I couldn't help but think of my grandmother, saying "Mangia Mangia" as everyone couldn't stop talking about how great the food was, and that I had to make this chili again soon.  

Here is the chicken chili recipe which was a hit in our house, and that is easy to cook up.  I wish I could tell you that leftovers tasted better on the second day, but we ate the whole pot that night. :-)


"Oh my word. Y’all, it’s finally Fall! Fall is my favorite! If I had to list all the things I love about Fall in order of what I love best, it’d be nearly impossible. Football, crisp mornings, jeans and boots, apple everything, pumpkin everything, adding more blankets to the beds, and the anticipation of the holiday season! I mean, how’s a girl to choose?!

One other favorite of mine during this season is sturdy soups - a bowl full of earthy, warm goodness that gets at my soul. What’s the difference between regular soup and sturdy soup you might ask? Sturdy soups have girth. They are spoonfuls of hearty bites. And they fill bellies way up. You know, they’re sturdy. They can stand alone served with only a few fixins on top. Have I got a sturdy soup for you!

This recipe is an adaptation of one found in my church cookbook. Y'all know that if you can ever get your hands on a church cookbook, then it's a keeper. Church cookbook recipes are those tried-and-true, time-tested, crowd-pleasing dishes. I know, because I'm a pastor's wife, and I've been feeding people for more than 20 years. So you learn what's good, what people come back for, and what people request recipes for. And this White Chicken Chili meets the criteria for sure! It is so creamy and loaded with flavor, and the texture is divine with hearty bites of tender chicken and white beans. Sturdy. This recipe is the first soup that my family asks for when the weather officially turns cooler and there’s football on TV. Here’s to fall! And here’s to full bellies and full hearts! - Amy Nelson Hannon, author of Love Welcome Serve: Recipes that Gather and Give"

{serves 6-8}

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ - 2 cups yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
3-4 cups chicken stock
½ cup dry white wine like Chardonnay (optional)
1 bay leaf, broken in half
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
3 cans white beans of your choice, drained
3 jalapeno peppers, minced
3 cups fresh grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
Salt to taste
3 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped (plus more for topping)
The juice of 3 limes

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven (around 5-6qts). Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until they're tender and just starting to get color.  Add the garlic oregano, cumin, and ginger, cooking for one more minute. Stir continuously so the garlic doesn't burn!  Add stock, wine (if using) and bay leaf.  Cook uncovered for 5 minutes over medium heat until somewhat reduced.  Add chicken, beans, and jalapenos. Simmer uncovered for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.  Over low heat add a little cheese at a time, stirring until melted.  Add pepper, and taste for salt; add if needed.  Stir in fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro. Simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaf and serve! Garnish with fresh chopped tomatoes, green onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, or sliced avocado.


So, with the holidays fast approaching, why not consider picking up this new cookbook by Amy Nelson Hannon to give you ideas on new dishes ad recipes to try and serve up to family and friends.  This weekend I plan to get in the kitchen to try out a few of the side dishes that I plan to make and have on the table at Thanksgiving.

LOVE WELCOME SERVE is a cookbook of Southern comfort food from Amy Nelson Hannon, the owner of Euna Mae¹s, a destination kitchen boutique in Northwest Arkansas. Find out more info here. As a cookbook lover myself, I can say that this cookbook would make a great gift idea for that cookbook lover in your life.  This is one cookbook they will be pulling from the shelf time and again to make new recipes and ones that become family favorites, like the chicken chili recipe I shared above.



Amy Nelson Hannon is the owner of Euna Mae's, a one-of-a-kind kitchen boutique that has become not only a special place to locals but has quickly become a destination shop for many around the country. In addition to her kitchen shop, Amy has an expansive media platform that includes a cooking show on KNWA Northwest Arkansas' NBC station, a food blog, and an engaging social media presence. Amy lives in Springdale, Arkansas in the thriving Northwest Arkansas metro area with her husband Sam Hannon and their children Grace, Luke, and Isaac.

This title is available as of November 14, 2017
Hardcover | 256 pages

Center Street Books
a division of Hachette Book Group
New York & Nashville

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the vendor in exchange for an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.
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