Nancy Drew: The Ghost of Thornton Hall - Review

So, the last week I've been feeling a lot more energetic. This means I'm not going to bed at 9 p.m. and can afford an hour or two of "fun" (read here: should be working) time. So, I installed the last Nancy Drew game I had yet to conquer: The Ghost of Thornton Hall (GTH).

I have to admit, right up front, I wasn't as interested in this game as some. That's why it was dead last to get played. I was totally wrong and it was probably tied with White Wolf of Icicle Creek for my favorite EVER! I know the experience could be different on Master level, but I'm barely able to get through Amateur without the cheats and hints--and thank goodness for the community message boards! But...I still felt like there was no point in the game when I was totally frustrated with where I was at within the mystery and lost interest. It was a game I solved in about five nights.

The setting is interesting, the character development was good, and I even solved a few puzzles with NO help at all! (That's pretty big for me!) It was great to have the "hint" option on most tasks but also a "solution" option after so many hints are given. Sometimes, especially if I really don't click with a puzzle, I just want it done and want the clue. So having the "white flag" option so to speak is super. I hadn't noticed it in other games so it might be a newer feature? This game is a more recent product from Her Interactive, so it's likely that user input and several games to give experience and develop upon have just about perfected the GTH game for user-friendliness.

This one is really a great game to get you or your kiddo hooked on some Nancy Drew fun! If you loved the book series as a kid, you'll probably get a kick out of the games as an adult! You won't have to worry about language or lewd scenes, this is totally a wholesome collection. I'm really excited to get a few new discs and start playing the next game or two, as we take a month-long adventure across the country! Stay tuned...

* Disclosure * I received promotional items in return for my review. I was not compensated in any other way.*

Green Your Mom Event

Green Your Mom Giveaway

Welcome to the Green Your Mom Giveaway Hop, hosted by Happy Mothering, Easy Green Mom and Brittleby's Corner through the Green Moms Network! Each of the participating blogs is offering a prize package to help you turn Mother’s Day GREEN this year! We hope you’ll get some great gift ideas and win some great prizes. After entering my giveaway, be sure to hop around and enter all of the other giveaways listed on the linky at the bottom of this post!


Be sure to enter the grand prize giveaway with two winners! One winner will receive a pair of two queen sized Nature’s Perfect Pillows from Nest Bedding; an Aurorae Yoga Classic Yoga Mat, Sling Backpack and Soy Pledge Candle; a CHEWBEADS Necklace and Stanton Bracelet Gift Set; and 1 subscription box full of eco-conscious products from Yuzen. A second winner will receive an Efy Tal Japanese Cherry Blossom Necklace; 3 Nectar Essences Breathe Me Essential Oil Formulas; 1 subscription box full of eco-conscious products from Yuzen; and a Mighty Leaf Taste of the Tropics Gift Sampler with TeaTop Brew Travel Mug! Grand Prize: Enter here.

Alright Green Moms out there... This package is a little different. It's all about greening up your life while surfin' the crimson tide. I have sought out some fabulously green alternatives to conventional menstruation items. You know you've been curious! I switched to cloth pads a while ago and I haven't looked back. I'm actually have trouble using the disposables that keep cropping up -- every old purse or desk drawer it seems is hiding bleached cotton tampons and perfumed sticky pads! Oh yes, I'm happy I made the switch to greener, more economical, healthier options! You can win and try the switch without any worries! How fun is that? 

To enter the ~$70 prize package from Adventures of Mommyhood that includes a $25 Lillya Pads gift card, an item from Jade & Pearl, a bottle of Ruby's Red Wash and a bag of Femme Rock by Rockin' Green, enter on the Rafflecopter form below!!! One reader will win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Please see individual posts for disclosure information.*

*Disclaimer: This contest will run through May 10, 2014 at 8:59 pm PST (11:59 pm EST). No purchase necessary. US entries only. Must be 18 years or older to win. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Adventures of Mommyhood and not to Facebook. Please note that Adventures of Mommyhood, Happy Mothering, Easy Green Mom, Brittleby's Corner, the Green Moms Network and the Green Your Mom event bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. We will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 4-6 weeks for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.

Impact: Great Leadership Changes Everything - Book Review

I have to fully disclose here: I had my husband in mind when I became interested in this book. He's moving from technician to management in his career. He's been reading all sorts of leadership information. He just got accepted into a middle-management leadership training program for the federal government, so I'm really proud of him. And, I hope he is as great of a leader on the job as he is at home. When I'm not leading that is!

Stock Photo from

I have seen leadership fail many times. On the fireline it's crucial, life and death even. I cannot help but think of many tragedy wildfires and wonder if the folks that are no longer here put too much stock in their leadership? It's why we train in courses such as Fireline Leadership, Followership to Leadership, etc. I've read leadership books -- a favorite is Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun.

Leadership is a topic not often given the limelight and all too often ignored. In his book, Tim Irwin gets the reader thinking--really thinking about this important topic. What is in a leader? What difference does it make? He goes in-depth to discover how great leaders succeed and what creates the leadership train wrecks that many have witnessed in their own lives.

I know this book is not written to the audience of stay-at-home-moms. BUT, I found it compelling and pertinent in my own life and very much so in my part time work in the office. If you read this book with the intent of being a better leader, it will help you be a better parent. What is a parent really, if not a good leader, able to keep a family safe, efficient, functioning... I know it sounds like a stretch, but it's all about intention and improvement. I think it's a great book for moms and professionals alike!

Earth-friendly, User-friendly Laken USA Bottles and Containers

We gave away stainless steel coffee mugs at our rehearsal dinner to the wedding party. They were kinda cool, ordered online, and had caribiner handles -- perfect for attaching to your backpack or fishing vest. Well, I know that at least two of the mugs have separated from their handles. Others are collecting dust in cupboards. Some were used for a while. The point it--they weren't high quality. It's harder and harder to find quality stainless steel vessels these days, especially those that are double-insulated (we'll talk about this further on)!

So, I came across Laken USA bottles. They are a Spanish company that happens to make some excellent stainless steel vessels. They make all sorts of things from cups, thermoses, camping gear, cooking gear, lunchboxes, water bottles big and small, and even canteens and flasks.

Mini-confession: I use to use plastic bottles. A lot more than I should have or would like to admit to.

For Earth Day each year, I make commitments -- much like New Years for other folks, but for me, I plan to stick to these and they are generally more attainable. So for Earth Day I'm not losing 50 lbs, but I will be making a commitment to cut our household plastics consumption dramatically. This includes no longer supporting plastic bottles - okay - if we're in dire straights for taking meds or something away from home, on one or two occasions we might slip up. We're not perfect. But in an effort to make this a real commitment, I went on a search for great water bottles. And for my hopelessly addicted husband, a coffee cup.

I found something for everyone, all in one place! Laken carries a line of adorable kids water bottles that are cute to look at and functional for little hands and mouths. We chose the 12 oz. Thermo Kukuxumusu bottle for our son with a funny porcupine snorkeling and in love with a puffer fish on the outside. It has a flip top and a twisting spout. He is three and can work it perfectly. The inside of the bottle is 18/8 food grade stainless steel, with vacuum insulation.

So here's the part about the specs of a double insulated, vacuum 18/8 stainless steel bottle. What does all that mean, eh? So steel is an iron alloy. In the number you see for stainless, whether flatware or bottles of some other thing is 18/10 or 18/8. The 10 or 8 is the amount of nickel. The first number is the percentage content of Chromium. No liner is needed in the inside of the bottle because of these factors. Why is it important? Chromium makes things hard. Nickel reduces corrosion. So, now you know what to look for and what it means! Lastly, the 10 will be MORE shiny and lustrous than the 8. Easy, right? Right. Double-walled insulation means your hots will stay hot and your colds will not get hot! 

I chose the Laken Classic Thermo Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Wide Mouth 17oz Water Bottle by Kukuxumusu in the print Himalaya. Not only does my water stay cold all day, I can easily pick my water bottle out from the crowd at Zumba or anywhere else! The recommended use for cold things is to use ice cubes, but I honestly have not needed to. I just make the tap water cold running it a few seconds and it stays perfect consumption temperature! 

For my husband, we chose a coffee mug. I do not know why -- he has a habit of losing these suckers constantly. I have kept the same coffee cup for over 10 year now (for the record!) But, because I love him, I decided he needed a nice new one. So we went with a 17 oz. Stainless Steel Insulated Thermo Cup in the standard black color. Red is an option too. I do wish there were some "cuter" varietals in the Thermo Cup arena, but the looks take nothing from the function, so we're happy!

.The claim with this model is "keeps hot beverages hot for up to 7 hours" -- we may never be able to test this one. Like the number of licks to the center of the lollipop, we both down our coffee in under an hour, but in that time it's always perfectly hot!

So that folks is one of our many Earth Day ambitions that is being made into a new, more environmentally friendly norm in our lives. We all have reusable vessels that are safe and functional to replace all of those disposable options like plastic and the dreaded Styrofoam!

You can help too! Get yourself a reusable container, cup, or bottle at Laken USA! You can also help by writing or calling the places you frequent for coffee while out and about and letting them know you'd appreciate a friendlier option at their facility! Or, a perk for those with their own cup!

*Disclosure: This post was brought to you by a partnership with Laken. All opinions are our own.*

Hi-Tec USA Ohio Waterproof Boots - Walk in Comfort, Hike with Support

I've been on the hunt for a great all-around outdoor shoe and finally, I think I've found what I've been searching for! I haven't even rounded the corner on thirty, but after having a child and straying from my uber fit firefighter lifestyle to a little cushier mama one, I've found I need a little more cushioning and support.

I'm in love with the Hi-Tec Ohio WP!

I've lost my balance. It's bizarre and I think it comes with being a tad out of shape, but there have been times when I've been sauntering down the driveway to slip a letter in the mail and have completely piled over. On flat ground. There wasn't so much as an arrant rock in my path. I can only attribute this craziness to the need for more ankle support

The Ohio WP give me a lot of what I'm looking for in an outdoor shoe that is versatile enough to be used indoors as well. Plus, I love the colors and the little part of me that appeals to vanity is happy when a shoe is attractive!

Some of the great features:

- Waterproof yet breathable! I have notoriously sweaty dogs so anything that keeps me from having a hot-foot attack rocks! The caveat here is that when indoors for long periods of time, this is a warmer boot.

- Great maneuverability even on ICE. Yes, Old Man Winter had us in his death grip for months. This was undoubtedly the longest, coldest winter I remember in my lifetime. What does this mean for my footwear? Well it means that I've been asking a lot of my shoes and boots -- warmth, waterproofing, and of course traction. Few meet all my needs. Absolutely, truly, this boot has conquered the transition season fraught with ice and mud! As far as traction goes -- they rock! I was a little hesitant since they weren't Vibram sole -- something I've come to trust -- but they are actually surpassed my expectations and are probably the best on-ice boots I have other than my soft-soled mukluks. The multi-directional sole (pictured below) is responsible for this important attribute!

- Ankle support is something I haven't had in a shoe since about ten years ago! I remember taking the "Pack Test" for firefighting in a pair of Columbia hiking boots (it was my first time and I really should have stuck to the tennis shoes instead) but after three miles, I knew when I took off my shoes there would be a pool of blood at the bottom -- I wasn't disappointed. That hiking boot was the wrong choice for that day -- it's been a GREAT choice lately though!

My sloppy footing has been remedied by a slightly higher upper in this boot. However, there is none of the worrisome rubbing that I sometimes experience in a taller boot.

- Quality, unsurpassed. I am a baby when it comes to foot pain. Though I'm no longer on the fire line, I've learned some valuable lessons about foot care that stuck with me. I know if my feet aren't happy, I'm not happy! These boots make my feet happy. They are made from quality you can feel, something one can just expect to see from the Hi-Tec brand! The stitching, the suede/mesh upper, the sole, even the inner foot bed -- they all work with the anatomy of your foot to promote a comfortable stride.

- Looks! When I first opened the box excitedly, I was a little taken aback by the "pointed" toe of these boots. I've been accustomed to work boots, casual shoes and sandals that lately have all been rather rounded. So I didn't think I'd love the appearance of my feet from above. I was yet again surprised! Once on my feet, I really liked the 'look' of the boots. This is not a high priority for me, but it is taken into account since I probably wouldn't sport a totally hideous boot unless it REALLY hugged my feet.

Only Complaint: After about three days of use, the right instep started making a clicking noise at each step. It's only a little annoying and it in no way effects the support or function of the shoe. It honestly just sounds like clicking a Ball canning jar lid. So it kind of fits my personality and hobbies! I won't be stealthy with my clicky foot, but I'll be comfortable!

*Disclosure: I partnered with HiTec USA for the purposes of this post. All opinions are my own.*

Hurricane Golf Tour ~ A Younger Generation of Golfers

The Hurricane Tour is comprised of four components: the Junior Tour, the Collegiate Tour, the Amateur Tour, and the Tour Shop (online). Based out of Jacksonville, FL, the Hurricane Tour administers over 150 events all across the country. With three different tours, golfers of any age and skill level are provided an opportunity to play the game.

Girls and boys can play. Young and old. True, Florida is a better place to golf year - around but you've heard of snow golf, right? In all seriousness though, wouldn't it be fun to have a hobby the whole family can play together? Who doesn't love driving the golf cart?! Having high-quality venues accessible to kiddos is pretty neat!

The fourth component of the Hurricane Golf tour - the online shop - give people access to the latest and greatest the sport has to offer (at competitive prices!)

Stonyfield Pouches - YoKids, YoToddlers, and YoBaby!

I have been a fan of the super-duper portable and convenient pouch-style delivery of food since I discovered it about two years ago. You see friends, I'm not a super organized mom. As an individual, I used to be on top of my game. Now? Not so much.

There are quite a few mornings when we are flying around sometimes (I won't name names) some of us are screaming like banshees: Get dressed! Go potty! Where's the coffee? I want my truck! ... The madness is brief but intense and if we are to be anywhere before 10 a.m., it's a guaranteed show. Sometimes our family is even good for a matinee version after work and picking up the kiddo at daycare, errands, etc.

So do I love any short cut involved? Oh yes. Yes I do. I find that the NEW Stonyfield Yogurt pouches are an excellent grab-and-go snack or breakfast. Pair it with a banana or some sliced up strawberries and I feel like I deserve a star for my achievements that morning! (You're all probably thinking I'm the worlds' worst mom, right?) I assure you, the child is always fed -- sometimes it's not even on the fly!

When I have an ORGANIC option that is GOOD FOR HIM...I don't feel bad about the "fast food" option I've just given him. In fact, there are a lot of meals that we enjoy in the car. That's just our life. Stonyfield with the introduction of these pouches has just made that fast-paced life a little sweeter!

These handy pouches that can be tucked in your refrigerator until you're ready to eat 'em, come in NINE different scrumptious flavors! The only one my toddler didn't LOVE was the one that contained spinach. That went double for my husband who will usually eat anything -- except apparently anything with spinach or coconut water! The beets however that are secretly disguised by yummy berry flavors -- those got by undetected by both!

The strawberry and blueberry in all varieties were however a HUGE hit! Guess what? In addition to being a healthy serving of dairy, some of these pouches offer a bit of DHA as well -- a key component in healthy young kiddo development! The lids allow re-sealing and stowing in a cooler or fridge for later if not consumed in one sitting. They are perfectly sized for little hands, too! BUT, we all know that occasionally, and especially in the case of my yogurt-obsessed hubby, big hands love 'em too!

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.

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