Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gift Shopping at Brilliant Sky Toys!!

How many of you have started shopping for holiday gifts? Yep, me too. I'm one of those people who likes to be ahead of the last-minute rush, so I already have lists started, gifts purchased, and an idea of what I still need. Today I wanted to share a great place to shop for gifts for your youngsters. Brilliant Sky Toys and Books is a wonderful specialty toy store that carries a multitude of toys, games and books for children of all ages. 

Brilliant Sky Toys and Books was founded in Lansing, MI in 2002. Brent and Sonia Taylor had a dream of opening/running the best and finest upscale specialty toy store, and I have to say, I think they succeeded in reaching their goal! The stores quickly expanded, and they now have over 15 locations across the country, with plans to open more in the near future. I, unfortunately, don't live near one of these stores, but I will be visiting on our next trip to the Chicago area-probably next month. From what I have heard, Brilliant Sky has the ultimate customer service, with people even going so far as to compare it with a concierge service!

No matter what your child's interests or age, you will be sure to find the perfect gift at Brilliant Sky Toys and Books. As an example of the kind of toys they carry, I received a Doinkit Darts Kit for review from Brilliant Sky. This is a super fun and super sturdy darts set for kids, and the family had a lot of fun playing darts together, as you can see from the pictures below.

You can turn magnetic darts into earrings too :)

So, be sure to see if there's a Brilliant Sky Toys and Books in your area. You can use the find-a-store page on their website to check!

Final Additions To The Fall Gift Box!

Wow, I can't believe it's the end of October already! I got behind in posting the final additions to our Fall Festival gift box, so I am going to extend this giveaway a few days, and I'll draw a winner on Wednesday, Nov. 6 instead of tomorrow. A few extra days and a few extra entries for everyone! So, here are our newest and final additions to the Fall Festival Gift Box:

1. Easy Freezer Meals Book
2. Qoileez, 2 variety packs (fun way to decorate hairstyles, pencils, etc.)
3. Our Anthem CD by Tribute Quartet (some really great music here!)

So, the grand collection in the gift box is:

1. Text-UR-Foam Bailey The Bee Craft Kit
2. Text-UR-Foam 150-Piece Kit
3. Cate and Levi Princess Puppet
4. Fran Kramer Coffee Balm
5. Explore Yellowstone with Noah Justice DVD

6. Pedi-Sox Foot Cream
7. Good Earth Superfruit 18-Count Tea Bags

8. Taste of Home Magazines (3 Holiday-themed magazines)
9. Cobra Anti-Slip Double Stick Pad

10. Easy Freezer Meals Book
11. Qoileez, 2 Variety Packs
12. Our Anthem CD by Tribute Quartet

Just for disclaimer purposes, this is not a sponsored giveaway; just a fun, personal giveaway for my readers! 

Now, for the final bonus entry-
Tell me a company and/or product you would like to see featured on Hope's Cafe!!
(This will give me ideas for future reviews/giveaways)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fall Means Baking! #BobsRedMill #FF

I know I've mentioned this at least a few times in the past month, but for me one of the best things about fall is all the baking opportunities it provides. I love to bake treats for friends and family, and this time of year just seems perfect for it. Then, there are so many baked goods that just have a fall appeal, such as pumpkin, pecan, and one that I use year-round, but seems very fitting for the cool weather, oats. I love to incorporate oats into many of my recipes, even ones that don't call for it. I enjoy the extra health benefits, and the texture it gives cookies and breads. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to one of my favorite companies when shopping for baking supplies-Bob's Red Mill!

Bob's Red Mill has so many grains, flours, oats, and nuts that I use in baking. I used to have to shop specialty stores or online, but in the past year or so, our local Wal-Mart has started carrying many of their products. This makes it easier to stay stocked up with ingredients! Bob's Red Mill sent me a bag of their Whole Grain Rolled Oats for this fall baking feature, and I was excited about the "excuse" to bake some goodies! 

I decided to try adding oats to my favorite pumpkin bread recipe, and see how it turned out. It is so simple to exchange some of the flour for oats, and adds so much hearty goodness to the finished product! I think it makes breads more filling and perfect for breakfast or snacks. I also sprinkled some oats on top of the loaf for a decorative look, and I must say-the bread turned out perfectly! It was sooo moist and rich, and I love the added taste and texture of oats! I offered a piece to J, and he was somewhat skeptical about pumpkin bread. When he tasted a piece however, he decided very quickly that he liked it! 

Since the pumpkin bread was such a hit, I will be trying out some new breakfast bread recipes over the next couple weeks, with the addition of some Bob's Red Mill Oats!

One of my readers will receive a Variety Pack of Bob's Red Mill Oats!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fall Decor With Couleur Nature!! #giveaway #FF

As the weather turns cooler, leaves change color, and overall we are headed (personally I think we are actually already in) the most wonderful time of the year, home decor seems so important. I don't know about you, but there's something about autumn that just calls for decorating the house, more than any other time of year except for Christmas. I enjoy bringing the outdoor beauty of fall into the home, and I recently discovered a company that has some really stunning fall-themed decor for your home!

Couleur Nature is a company that offers linens and home accessories, exclusively designed by Bruno Lamy and then hand printed on natural fabrics, using ancient Indian woodblock techniques. This gives the linens a very unique and beautiful twist! 

I received the Couleur Nature Pumpkin Tablecloth for review. This comes in varying sizes and shapes to fit almost any table, and also in 2 color themes-orange, which I received, or red. This tablecloth literally shouts "It's fall!" and I love the style and color it adds to our table. The natural-colored cloth features a green border, and big orange pumpkins around the entire cloth. The center has another "set" of smaller pumpkins on a green background. It is the perfect way to dress up your dinner table, whether it's for an evening with friends, or just a family dinner. I was very glad to see that the tablecloth can be thrown in the laundry-simply run in a warm wash, and dry on low. I haven't needed to wash ours yet, but I like that it doesn't require a lot of special care! It's 100% cotton, so I expect this will last us for several fall seasons!

Couleur Nature is running a special Thanksgiving giveaway! To enter, simply click on this link and you will be taken to the giveaway page! They are offering my readers a special 4th entry, so after completing the mandatory entry, simply comment that you came from Hope's Cafe to receive your extra entry!

Disclosure: I received product in exchange for a review; I was not monetarily compensated for this review. I was not required to post favorably about the product or company. The opinions are completely my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I Want An Arby's Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich!!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Arby's for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Arby's is seriously in my top 3 favorite fast food restaunt list. Ever since I was a young girl and our family would enjoy bike rides, which always ended up at our local Arby's for a snack, I have been an Arby's fan. It's not just the fond childhood memories though; I simply love Arby's food (and milkshakes!). Unfortunately our closest location now is about 45 minutes away, but anytime I'm over that way, or when we're traveling, I like to stop for a French Dip-my favorite Arby's sandwich. I really like to use the Find an Arby's page when we're on the road, so I know when and where I can stop for a good sandwich, with a side of curly fries, and of course a milkshake to wash it all down!


I just learned that Arby's has a new sandwich out, and I will definitely be trying this on my next visit. A Smokehouse Brisket sandwich, with brisket that has been smoked for 13 hours? Yes please! That is going to be one tender, flavorful sandwich! The Arby's goodness doesn't stop with the brisket though; this sandwich is topped with smoked Gouda cheese, crispy onions, BBQ sauce and mayonnaise. This is all piled high on a toasted bun, waiting and ready to be devoured. Just writing about this new sandwich at Arby's is making me hungry, and if it wasn't a 45 minute trip-I'd be heading to Arby's right now! Of course, watching this short video about the new Smokehouse Brisket sandwich probably isn't a good idea for me right now :) 

If any of you have tried this sandwich already, please tell me how you liked it. If you haven't tried it, head over to your closest Arby's and try it out for me, please! 

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, October 25, 2013

Stop Bullying with Green Giant!! #Giveaway

It seems like bullying is a big issue these days. We avoid much of the problem by homeschooling, and carefully supervising the children's play with other children, but I have heard many horror stories of bullying taking place in local schools. One of the other students in our TKD school, for example, was kicked in the face on the school playground a couple weeks ago. It has certainly become a serious issue, and one that many parents seem unaware of unfortunately. So, when given the opportunity to share this news with my readers, I was happy to oblige. 

Green Giant is partnering with PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center, and We Day Minnesota, to help parents raise a "Giant" and stop bullying in local communities! I love what Green Giant is saying about this issue...

Being a giant isn’t about being the biggest or the best. Being a giant means standing up for others. It means lending a hand to those who are in trouble and speaking up for those who sometimes find it hard to speak up for themselves.
Studies show that an effective way to stop bullying is for kids to simply speak up and say, “That’s not okay” when they see bullying happening. 

Green Giant is asking parents to write letters to each of their children, sharing how special they are, and encouraging them to help put a stop to bullying. If you're not sure just how to write a letter to your kids about bullying, you can read letters other parents have written, by visiting

Along with this important and timely message about how to stop bullying, Green Giant and MyBlogSpark are offering a giveaway for my readers! 

One of my readers will receive a $25.00 Gift Card!!

PlayTown Story Time App for Children!

I don't often write reviews about apps. I use a few specific apps on my tablet-my bank, Facebook, etc. and even a few games-chess and Words With Friends, mostly. I just don't experiment with new apps and games much, but when I heard about an app for children that allowed them to create their own story, I was interested! 
PlayTown Story Time is a very unique app for children ages 3-9, that literally allows them to "write" their own story, using stages, scenes and props from the app. They can record themselves narrating a story, design and decorate the "page" to fit the storyline. Children can even use personal pictures to include in their story book! Of course, once they are done creating their story, the fun doesn't end. They can play back their story over and over again, enjoying it with family and friends. 

Travel the world with PlayTown Story Time!

Resize the props and characters to fit the screen!

Change the hairstyle, or add a crown

Change the color of the princess' dress!
Children can add their face to the story!
Honestly, I was impressed with how fun this FREE app is. It is right up M's alley; she loves writing stories, and getting to illustrate the story makes it 10 times better! It is a wonderful way to encourage creativity and imagination in children, rather than just the typical mindless games kids play. The app is absolutely free, but does offer additional play sets (for more story possibilities) for only $1.99 each. However, the extra sets aren't a necessity-your child will love playing with PlayTown Story Time no matter what! 

You can download PlayTown Story Time in iTunes or get PlayTown StoryTime in Google Play store, and works equally well on our Android tablet, and Apple iPad. Also be sure to like PlayTown on Facebook, so you can hear about any news or updates!

Disclosure: I will be compensated for this review. I was not required to post favorably about the product or company. The opinions are completely my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Who Loves Sonic?! Gift Card #Giveaway #UltimateDrinkStop

Who loves Sonic? There's a reason they're known as America's Drive-In! I believe my addiction first started about 6 or 7 years ago, when they put a Sonic in right across the street from our Church. I mean, who can resist getting a Sonic drink after church at night? Or of course, there were always times we wanted more than just a drink-maybe a chili dog, cheese tots, or an ice cream Blast. Since that time, Sonic has easily become my favorite place to get a drink; we often schedule our grocery shopping trips around Sonic's 1/2 price drink "happy hour"! I alternate between Diet Cherry-Vanilla Dr. Pepper and those amazing Cherry Limeades, depending on the mood I'm in. 

 Sooo anyways, when a really nice guy (my Dad, for those who are wondering) offered to buy a gift card for a "just-because" giveaway on my blog, I knew that Sonic would be my choice for the card. So without further ado, let's get this giveaway started!!

One of my readers will receive a $5.00 Sonic Gift Card!!

Fun Crafts For Kids with PomTree! #Giveaway

How would you like to find craft ideas for your children that didn't require messy, sticky glue? I mean, we all know how long clean-up can take, after the kids get done with a craft project, right? Well, not any more! Introducing PomTree, the craft kids for kids that are no glue or scissors required!

I received a 3-D Playtown Creativity Kit for review from PomTree; the Over The Moon Creamery kit. This amazing craft project comes with all the necessary pieces (remember, no glue or scissors needed), and allows your child to build and decorate a 3-D Ice Cream Shop! When completed, the shop is about 9 inches high, and features an open back so your child can actually play with the finished toy, using the included characters. So not only do children get the fun of creating and designing the shop, this craft is also a toy when they're done building! Young children will have a ball designing this little ice cream shop!

Instructions for building
Personally, I love how easy it was to clean up after the children got done crafting with this PomTree kit. There weren't any sticky spots of glue, and I also appreciate that the children don't need to use scissors. Especially when the young ones want to craft, I am very wary of crafts that require scissors!

PomTree has many more 3-D Craft kits, creativity kits, sticker tubs, and more craft ideas for children to enjoy. If you want a no-mess craft option for your little ones, then this is what you're looking for!

At The Fence is joining us for a giveaway on this one, and you can also check out their review of a different PomTree craft kit by clicking this link. For the giveaway, one of our readers will receive their choice from the following: Sparkle Fun Playhouse Kit, Over the Moon Creamery Playset Kit, Sunnyside Up Market Playset Kit, Feathered Friends Post Office Playset Kit, Twinkle Top Treehouse Playset Kit, Swing-A-Long Pet Playset Kit, Sweet Sundaes Treat Truck Playset Kit, One of the Sticker Tubs, Playscape Mega Creativity Kit, 'Our Day on the Town' Sticker Storybook.  You can find these on the Pom Tree website.

Enter to win a PomTree Craft Kit!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fall Fashion Fun with Kushyfoot Fleece-Lined Tights!

Over the past couple years I have really come to appreciate tights. Probably because I spent most of my life in the south, and now I've been in the midwest for a few winters-tights are now a must-have for the fall and winter months, not just a fashion accessory. However, I love when I can accomplish both comfort and style with one piece of clothing, and that is exactly what you have with Kushyfoot's new fleece-lined tights and trouser socks!

I received a pair of Kushyfoot's Fleece Tights, and Trouser Socks. My first thought was that fleece would make these too bulky and uncomfortable for wear. Boy was I wrong! These are some of the most comfortable things to ever touch my feet! My worry about the bulk was unnecessary as well; I can even pair these with my dress flats, and they're not bulging or too tight to fit in your shoes. 

I wore the new fleece tights to church this past week when it was pretty chilly out (about 40 degrees) and I really love the comfort they give, even while looking stylish! These will certainly be worn often this fall and winter, anytime I will be outdoors for any amount of time. 

Visit Kushyfoot to order your own fleece tights or trouser socks, and be sure to check out all their other awesome products as well! Their Flats-To-Go are amazing, and a must-have for anyone who wants the ability to bring a change of shoes anywhere they go!

One Stop Shopping at Beauty Stop Online!!

I love when you find a place that offers one stop shopping. You know, like going to a Wal-Mart Supercenter, where you can shop for groceries and household goods at the same time. It's a great way to save time and, when it comes to online shopping, usually money as well-because you aren't paying multiple shipping costs. I found such a place a few weeks ago, BeautyStopOnline. This is literally a one-stop shopping site for any and all of your beauty needs. From hair to nails to cosmetics to beauty tools, you will find everything you need at BeautyStopOnline!

I was given the opportunity to review the BabyLiss PRO Nano Titanium 2" Rotating Hot Air Brush from BeautyStopOnline, and after just a couple weeks of use, I am thrilled! This hot air brush has multiple uses, it's a blow dryer and brush combined in 1 tool, and by combining these-you get super results! I use this after washing my hair and letting it air dry about 75%. There are 3 settings; low, high, and cool. The cool is pretty much used for that finishing touch-sealing in the style. I typically use the low setting, and finish up with cool. The neat thing about this brush though, is the barrel also rotates, adding extra volume and bounce to your hair! The 2" barrel also uses titanium and ceramic technology, which seals the hair cuticle for extra shine. It is anti-static, so you don't have to worry about your hair frizzing out after use of this hot air brush. I have used this several times, and each time I am amazed at just how much extra volume this gives! It's definitely a must-have tool for any woman who wants voluminous, bouncy hair!

Check out BeautyStopOnline for all your beauty needs-you'll be glad you did! They offer free shipping on any orders over $59.00, plus an extra 10% off their top selling items right now. Check it out today!