Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fabulous Fall Tablesetting Finds!

Fall is here! Woohoo! As my official favorite season, I always get super excited this time of year - the trees become beautiful canvases, the air is crisp and cool - perfect for cozy sweaters - and just think of all the amazing baking! Pies, breads, soups - yum!

And to top it all of I love Fall decor - making beautiful table setting every night becomes so enjoyable when you serve a nice Autumn meal. I just love the look of a nice roasted chicken with veggies next to some hot rolls and apple pie on a beautiful plaid table cloth, surrounde by classic seasonal dishes.

So I've put together a post of some Fall favorites just for you guys - beautiful table setting ideas that you can check out and incorporate yourself. Have fun coming up with your own too!

Plaid Tablecloth and Napkin Set

Fall tablecloth

Plaid is the perfect way to bring out Fall colors when it's done nicely - just like this cozy looking tablecloth and napkin set! Cloth tablecloths wash easily I find and last for years and years - I still have some of my mothers from 20 years ago.

Harvest Shimmer Tartan Set Pumpkin Plaid - $79.99, 10.49 shipping - Available at Marketplace

Table Runner

Fall Autumn Thanksgiving Harvest Embroidered Cutwork Leaf Table Runner

I love this embroidered table runner - it just screams Autumn! Embroidery gives it that extra homey touch.

Fall Autumn Thanksgiving Harvest Embroidered Cutwork Leaf Table Runner - $14.99, 4.81 shipping - Available at Marketplace

Autumn Waves-Pumpkin Dinner Plate

These plates are absolutely gorgeous! WOuldn't they just be perfect with the tablecloth? And with a piece of pumpkin pie on them....

Autumn Waves-Pumpkin Dinner Plate - $23.99, 8.99 shipping - Available at Replacements

Hausenware Dinner Plate Pumpkin

These dishes are cute for everyday use - I love the little Pumpkin and know my kids would too!

Hausenware Dinner Plate Pumpkin - $23.99, 8.99 shipping - Available at Replacements

Apple Dish

Williams-Sonoma Botanical Pumpkin Oval Serving Platter

Apple picking is another great thing about Fall, and this plate makes me think of just that! Would love to use these to serve some hot apple fritters.

Williams-Sonoma Botanical Pumpkin Oval Serving Platter - $139.95, 11.99 shipping - Available at Replacements

Set of 4 Pumpkin Soup Bowls

I flipped when I saw these soup bowls! How cute are those! We eat soup almost everyday so they`re an addition I definitely want to make to our dinnerware.

Set of 4 Pumpkin Soup Bowls - Ceramirupe - $90.00, 10.50 shipping - Available at Neiman Marcus

Orange Bowl

Tabletops Unlimited Pumpkin Bowl

Here`s another nice bowl, perfect for soup or salad. Would also go great with that tablecloth!

Tabletops Unlimited Pumpkin Bowl - $25.99, 8.99 shipping - Available at Replacements

Candle Tree

Light Golden Branches Candleholder

This candle holder would be perfect for any Fall tablesetting. I actually have a Christmas one like this with holly leaves and it always looks amazing n the table.

Mikasa - Mikasa 3 Light Golden Branches Candleholder - $79.99, 7.95 shipping - Available at Mikasa


Fall Bouquet

If you`re having a special dinner, flowers always make it perfect! Or setting them on the entryway tale makes a nice, welcoming gesture to your guests. - Fall Bouquet - $49.99, -1.00 shipping - Available at

Candle Centerpiece

Fall Berry Candle Centerpiece

This candleholder would be lovely for a harvest type table setting. Its berries just make me think of a big, gorgeous cornucopia.

Fall Berry Candle Centerpiece - $40.30, Free shipping - Available at


Fall Wreath

This wreath can be really versatile - it could be used as a traditional door wreath, or you could put it under a plate of food, making it look especially plentiful!

International Tableware - Melrose International 18-Inch Fall Wreath with Grape Leaves - $24.99, 6.49 shipping - Available at Marketplace

Hope you enjoyed this post and it inspires you to make your own beautiful tablesetting this Fall!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links provided by Postpresso.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Reads: Joyful by Shelley Shepard Gray

Don't miss Shelley Shepard Gray's newest book in the Return to Sugarcreek series, Joyful. USA Today raved: "A sweet, straightforward story about how love can be tested by family, faith, and personal insecurity. Enjoyable and heartwarming."

Click the banner for a chance to win books 1-3 in Shelley's Return to Sugarcreek series! 

Winner announced on Shelley's blog on 9/30.


My Review
If you read my blog often enough, you'll know that there's nothing I love more than a great Amish romance, and this book is just that! I hve never read any of Gray's books before, but I am definitely a new fan. 
This is apparently the last book in her 'Return to Sugar Creek' series. The book has followed the same characters, as most Amish series do since the community is so tight-knit and small. 
In Joyful, Gray really captures the spirit of the Amish people while telling a great story of love that is 'ferhoodling' and simple all at the same time - all about when people from the 'simple life' face the same life difficulties we all must face - questioning faith, testing love and wondering why.
Gray's writing is wonderfully descriptive and joy to read. She truly brings you into the story and paints a picture of the characters and surroundings, as well as the spirit of the people.
A highly recommended read!


Giveaway: $250 of Family Fun!

We are launching a brand new giveaway worth $250 in prizes celebrating family fun!

It is in celebration of the book, 101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever!

win a family fun ice cream night

Good luck everyone!

-Debbie Jean

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  • Popcorn Scoop
  • 100 Popcorn Bags
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These are affiliate links.

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Simply use the box below to enter to win this prize pack worth $250. This contest is open to North America only due to shipping costs. Each entry helps spread the word about the fun we have here at Kids Activities Blog...and we thank you!

$250 Family Fun Night Popcorn and Ice Cream Goodies Giveaway From Kids Activities Blog

Good luck!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Reads Release: Medical Billing Horror Stories by Sharon Hollander

Author Bio:
Sharon Hollander is an author, entrepreneur, and a healthcare
consultant in the area of practice management
for over 30 years.
She is a leading expert in the area of physician billing and
reimbursement. Currently the President of STAT Medical Consulting,
a comprehensive medical billing service in Encino,
California providing billing services to physicians and surgeons
in solo practice or small group practices.

Author Links - 

Linkedin Sharonhollander
Goodreads: Sharon Hollander Medical
Billing Horror Stories
Amazon: Sharon Hollander

Book Genre: Non Fiction
Publisher: Abbott Press
Release Date: July 2013

Book Description:

Anecdotes and real case studies ripped from the headlines about what
doctors did which got them into trouble either with Medicare, HIPPA,
The Office of Inspector General or worse the FBI.

The case studies presented within these pages are true stories of
medical professionals: Some are about providers just like you. Many
doctors are just trying to navigate the maze of the medical billing

Many providers thought that if they only bill just 99213’s, they
could stay under the radar. What they didn’t expect is that by
doing this and not varying their coding appropriately, they were
raising red flags about their billing practices which led to them
being audited by Medicare.

With the changing rules and regulations and challenges facing
healthcare, you cannot afford to miss this information.

If you submit even one claim for reimbursement this is a
must read!


winter morning a doctor, called Dr. Winters received a phone call
from one of his patients.
Winter, I am really upset.”
why is that Mr. Jones?” the doctor asked innocently.
recently got hired by a new company, and well they are requesting a
pre-employment physical.”
I have seen you recently, has anything changed for you? You were in
good health when I saw you last.”
here is the thing, doc, I am feeling fine, actually better than
ever,” said Mr. Jones
so what’s the problem?”
denied my employment, and told me to contact my doctor.”
unusual. Did they tell you why?”
just that I better call you as soon as possible.”
why don’t you schedule an appointment with my office, and we can
run some tests to see what if anything is going on.”
thank you doctor.”
patient had a battery of tests and a complete physical and all were
normal. Dr. Winters released Mr. Jones back into the world, and told
him if he develops any kind of symptoms to contact him. As one would
expect three months went by and Dr. Winters never gave Mr. Jones and
the mystery of why Mr. Jones was denied employment another thought.
three months later, Dr. Winters received a note from Medicare
requesting about twenty of his charts for a post-payment review, sort
of a mini audit. He was upset. A doctor hears audit, and well it
would be the same as if the IRS came a knocking. His staff pulled
the twenty patient files and Dr. Winters reviewed the patient’s
clinical notes he had well documented in the medical records.
first patient had been congestive heart failure, and the patient was
anxious about whether to undergo a CBBGE bypass surgery. The next
patient had a rotator cuff injury and was also worried about his
ability to play pro-baseball if he had his surgery. The third was a
patient that had experienced symptoms of a heart attack, but it was
deemed to be just anxiety.
careful review, he copied the records and sent them off to Medicare.
Another three months passed, and then he got a notice from Medicare
to refund two thousand dollars, based on their audit findings.
to say, Dr. Winters was pissed. Of course, Medicare requested this
information on the day before he was to leave on a much deserved
vacation. Well, he cut the check and sent the funds to Medicare.
Most physicians may have left it at that, but Dr. Winters was peeved
at Medicare, and personally resolved to get to the bottom of this
had his staff call Medicare, but they were not able to determine the
cause of the problem. Finally after his own frustration escalated he
resolved to solve the case of the audit himself. Two hours and
countless phone transfers he finally spoke to a live representative
at Medicare who told him, in all of the twenty cases he billed for
he yelled at the Medicare representative. “There is no leprosy
outbreak in Canoga Park.”
am looking at the copies of the screen on my computer, and the claims
were all billed with a Leprosy diagnosis.”
obviously this is just a simple billing error” Dr. Winter’s
hanging up the phone and finding his biller, Dr. Winter’s
determined that his biller had transposed the ICD-9 code and instead
of anxiety using the code 300.0 she had submitted the bills to
Medicare with the code 030.0 for leprosy.
Jones was contacted and Dr. Winter’s office had to contact a few
other non-Medicare patients to notify their commercial insurances of
their office’s mistakes. Fortunately, for Mr. Jones he did seek
new employment however his insurance company still shows a history of
Leprosy in the patient’s database of coverage. When he changes
insurances it rears its ugly head again.
moral: It is the physician who is responsible to make sure his staff
is accurate especially when submitting claims on his/her behalf. Dr.
Winters was flagged at Medicare and from that day forward he had to
often submit medical records every quarter to justify his level of
billing and for diagnostic accuracy. Over the course of the next
couple of years he got audited by Medicare three times.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Reads: Funny Books by Rich Leder

Author Bio:
Rich Leder

Rich Leder has been a
working writer for more than two decades. His
screen credits include 18 produced television films for CBS, NBC,
Lifetime, and Hallmark and feature
films for Paramount
Pictures, Tri-Star Pictures, and Left Bank Films.

He has written four funny
novels to be released in 2014: McCall & Company: Workman’s
, McCall & Company: Swollen Identity,
Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey Wrench, and Let There Be Linda.

He has been the lead
singer in a Detroit rock band, a restaurateur, a Little League coach,
a literacy tutor, a magazine editor, a screenwriting coach, a
commercial real estate agent, an indie film director, and a
visiting artist for the University of North Carolina Wilmington Film
Studies Department,
among other things, all of which, it turns
out, were grist for the mill. He resides on the North Carolina coast
with his awesome wife, Lulu, and is sustained by the visits home of
their three college kids.

Rich loves to hear from
readers and writers. Please don’t be shy.

You can write him directly

Or you can visit him at

Author Links - 

Release Date: AUGUST 2014
Buy Link(s): Amazon

Book Description:



Off-off-off-off Broadway actress
Kate McCall inherits her father’s New York private investigation
business after he’s a whole lot of murdered in a life insurance
company elevator.

A concrete-carrying,
ballroom-dancing construction mule says he fell off the scaffolding
and can never work—or dance—again, and then sues the contractor
for a whole lot of money.

Kate assembles the eccentric tenants
of her brownstone and her histrionic acting troupe to help her crack
the cases, and they stir up a whole lot of trouble.

But not as much trouble as Kate, who
sticks her nose in the middle of the multi-million-dollar
life-insurance scam her father was investigating and gets a whole lot
of arrested for murdering a medical examiner.

Will Kate bust the insurance scam,
prove who really killed the examiner—and her father—and get out
of jail in time to pull off the ballroom sting of the decade?  She
might, but it's going to be a whole lot of hilarious.



Way-off Broadway actress and NYC PI
Kate McCall had promised the police and the Assistant DA—her
son—that she was all done investigating any damn thing in New

Meaning beautiful billionaire
socialite Brooke Barrington says someone has stolen her identity and
the corporate assassin who murdered Kate’s father has shot the eyes
out of the CEO of Superior Press...

Meaning McCall & Company is back
in business...

Meaning Kate enlists the help of the
eccentric tenants of her brownstone—the House of Emotional Tics—and
her melodramatic acting troupe, the Schmidt and Parker Players...

Meaning things spiral hilariously
and dangerously out of control...  

Meaning she is confronted by
Brooke's demonic identical twin, Bailey, accosted by international
counterfeiters, and arrested for impersonating a hooker.

Will Kate stop Bailey from murdering
Brooke? Or will she stop Brooke from murdering Bailey? Or will she
figure out how to tell one from the other in time to survive the
wrath of the Bulgarian mob men hired to protect the counterfeit cash?

And will she finally find her
father’s killer?  

She might, but it's going to be a
fast, funny, furious ride.


My name is Mark Manilow. I am a
Hollywood screenwriter. Here’s my recipe for a cocktail called
“Romantic Hollywood Sex Comedy.”

Start with my estranged wife, who
left me two years ago to become a juggler.

Pour in the ensuing emotional
tailspin conjoined with a brutal case of writer’s block.

Mix with my last-gasp writing job, a
ridiculous porn flick called Broken Boner.

Add in the Broken Boner porn star,
who seduces me into an ill-fated relationship.

Blend with the gun-toting producer
and eccentric Montecito billionaire, who hire me to adapt the
phonebook into a movie.

Toss in the return of my headaches
and a trip to an ancient Chinese healer, where I meet the healer’s
beguiling granddaughter—my monkey wrench.

Serve with wonderment as to
whether or not I’ll find a way to settle things with the juggler,
break it off with the porn star, and fall in love with the monkey
wrench...or if anyone will stop laughing long enough to notice. 



father’s dead, Miss McCall. Got himself murdered.”
thought I might hear that sentence one day, but I was even less ready
for it than I imagined I would be. I blinked a few times, then
walked to one of the toilets, sat down, and gestured at his
cigarettes. “I’ll take one of those now.” Some bad news is
simply too big to process right away.
gave me a Camel, lit it, and moved back to the sink. “I work for
Mel Shavelson, your father’s attorney. I’m the bearer of bad
news. That’s my job.”
talked about how my father got himself murdered—something about
sticking his nose someplace it had no business being, something else
about the police finding him late last night (actually, at three
o’clock on Friday morning) tied to a chair in an elevator in an
office building, two big fat bullet holes where his eyes used to
be—but I wasn’t listening.
I was thinking about the final curtain of the last performance of Bye
Bye Birdie
. My father had given me flowers, handing them to me
on the stage while the audience applauded. They were roses from a
Korean market and smelled like ginger.
going to read the will, and you’re supposed to be there,” Barnes
said. He put his cigarette out in the sink, tossed the butt in the
trash, and crossed to the toilet, where I sat watching the Camel burn
down to my fingers. (I don’t smoke). He handed me Mel Shavelson’s
business card and said, “Date and time’s on the back. Monday
morning, ten thirty.”
took the card, still smelling the ginger roses, grief growing inside
me, building, building, getting ready to bust through the wall of
shock that had been constructed in the same second the fire hydrant
had delivered the bad news, which, as he said, was his job.
knew your old man,” Barnes said. “He was a hell of a PI.” And
then he left.
had been a voicemail for me from a Detective Harriman earlier in the
day, but it was just a general “Please call me as soon as possible”
sort of message. I had been busy, and usually the police only
contacted me to verify something or other about Jimmy getting into
trouble on the job. Jimmy always worked that kind of thing out for
himself and had told me, “Never cozy up to the cops unless you’re
impersonating one.” I deleted Harriman’s message and didn’t
call him back. Maybe that’s what he was going to tell me, that
Jimmy had been murdered. Anyway, now Barnes had told me.
dropped the Camel in the toilet, looked at the card, and wept like a
seventh-grade girl.


September 7 - Introduction at VBT Café Blog

September 8 - Spotlight at Debbie Jeans

September 10 - Spotlight at Words, Words, Words

September 12 - Guest Blogging at PubSlush

September 15 - Interviewed at A. Literary Mafia

September 17 - Guest Blogging at Lori's Reading Corner

September 19 - Interviewed at Bikers With Books

September 22 - Review & Guest Blog at Lilac Reviews

September 24 - Reviewed at KimberkyandCompany

September 26 - 5 Things I Know For Sure at CAT Magazine

September 29 - Interviewed at BK Walker Books Etc.

October 1 - Review & Interview at My Life, Love, & Passions

October 3 - Guest Blogging at The Avid Reader

October 6 - Interviewed at YAH Did Radio 6:30pm EST

October 8 - Spotlight at Black Coffee, Brown Cow

October 10 - Spotlight at A Cup Of Tea & A Big Book

October 13 - Author 2 Author Marketing at BookIt BK

October 15 - Interviewed at Ghost Rider Book Promotions

October 17 - Review & Interview at AG Lang Writes

October 20 - Spotlight at Dalene's Book Reviews

October 22 - 6 Besties at BK Walker Books

October 24 - Reviewed at BK Walker Books

¡Sabor! Spanish - Making Language Learning Musical!

¡Sabor! Spanish Learning Songs
My Review

Get ready to shout "¡Sabor!" That’s what people call out in Spanish when they hear great music. Once children sample these playful original songs and beloved family favorites, they'll want to sing and dance to them again and again (and they’ll be learning Spanish as they do!) From the producers of the award-winning CDs Cha, Cha, Chaand A Bailar! (Let's Dance!), comes this festive new collection of interactive Spanish learning songs with the emphasis on active, whether it's making animal noises, playing games, calling out responses, singing, or dancing. Internationally beloved singer-songwriter Jorge Anaya and keyboardist Didier Prossaird are your musical guides to this fabulous fusion of world music styles, including cumbia, calypso, salsa, and merengue, that keep the Spanish language-learning party going. From “Uno, Dos y Tres” and “Mi Día (My Day)” to “En El Rancho de MacDonald (Old MacDonald)” and “Cuando Sea Grande (When I'm Big)”, each lively song introduces Spanish vocabulary for words and phrases children use every day. A Translation Guide is included, providing an easy reference for parents and teachers who are first-time learners of Spanish. Get ready to be immersed in irresistible rhythms and pulse-pounding beats, and get ready to shout, "¡Sabor!"

My review

Where we live, we are required to know two languages to attend college (which is bilingual), work anywhere and just to get around, since our official first language is French. So whenever I have the opportunity to expose my kids to language in a fun way, I take it! For my two younger ones right now, no matter what language it is, we love to let them hear it - just to get used to hearing different languages and not thinking its strange or weird :)

When I was given the opportunity to review a spanish-language songs CD I took it for two good reasons. The first being that we often visit the US to see the kids grandparents. There being a lot of Spanish spoken there, it's always good to be able to at least meet people halfway as far as languge goes - if you know a little of theirs and they know a little of yours, you can communicate!
The second reason would be that I just want them to listen to different languages as much as possible. I personally have difficulty learning other languages and if my children do too, I want them to have early exposure to as many different ones as they can.

So, one hot summer afternoon, I popped in the CD and told my kds it was time to dance! (we often take 'dance breaks' during the day, putting n loud music and spinning in circles - great stress relief!) My 3 year old first reaction to it was "Hey mom, it's in French" WHich of course made me laugh :) Any foreign sounding language must be Frenc to her I guess. Then I explained to her it was a different language, Spanish, like Dora speaks. She has also heard Spanish before from my mother-in-law who took SPanish courses for a few years. SO once she knew what language it was, she got into the music!

The music was fun to listen to and upbeat - it had classic childrens song lyrics - just in Spanish! I love that the CD contains a vocabulary guide that translates literally every word in the song - really great for someone who doesn't know any of the language! My little Baby A - 9 months old - loved the songs too! She bounced on the floor in her cute baby-dance and babbled along - all the while hearing different words and absorbing different language.

I love this CD for language learning and my 3 year old still asks for it to be played - a very good sign!

You can pick up your own copy by checking out Whistlefritz online here , or by buying from Amazon here


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Reads: Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma

Cleaning House
By Kay Wills Wyma

Do your kids expect clean folded clothes to magically appear in their drawers? Do they roll their eyes when you suggest they clean the bathroom? By racing in to make their lives easy, have you unintentionally reinforced your children’s belief that the world revolves around them?

Dismayed at the attitude of entitlement that had crept into her home, Kay Wyma got some attitude of her own. Cleaning House is her account of a year-long campaign to introduce her five kids to basic life skills and the ways meaningful work can increase earned self-confidence and concern for others.

With irresistible humor and refreshing insights, Kay candidly details the ups and downs of equipping her kids for such tasks as making beds, refinishing a deck chair, and working together. The changes that take place in her household will inspire you to launch your own campaign to dislodge your kids from the center of their universe.

“If you want your children to be more responsible, more self-assured, and more empathetic, Cleaning House is for you.”
—Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family

My Review

I read this book with an open mind because I honestly have kids who help. My son did smaller chores when he was younger, and now dies the dishes, his laundry and helps me around the house cleaning and with watching his sisters all day. The girls are young - 3 and 9 months, but my 3 year old helps me put clothes in the wash, sweep with her mini broom, puts away utensils and tidys up her toys.
Cleaning House interested me however just because it sounded like an inspiring story, and I was interested to read about Kay's system to get her kids inspired to clean.

I was very impressed with what she came up with - it was creative and got her kids wanting to do things. The neat thing about this book is that it doesn't just tell you what to do - it tells  about her family's experience with her reward system. Like anyone else's family, they had ups, downs and life'
s unexpected twists and turns. It just shows how a typical family can implement something similar without completely changing their individual lives.

I found the book to be helpful - especially to someone who might be wondering how to get their kids more involved in housework and helping the family.
I especially loved what she did with meals -  you'll have to read it to see that though :)

You can grab yourself a copy of Cleaning House on Amazon here (Kindle or Paperback)


*I was provided with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest  review. All opinions are my own.