The Dovekeepers - Coming March 31 on CBS

This post was sponsored by Role Mommy Writer's Network.

I'm so excited to announce that CBS will be premiering THE DOVEKEEPERS, a four-hour limited event series from executive producers Roma Downey and multiple Emmy Award winner Mark Burnett (SURVIVOR, "The Voice"), the production team behind the Emmy-nominated 10-hour miniseries "The Bible," which scored big ratings for the History Channel in March 2013, and the feature "Son of God."

CBS will broadcast The Dovekeepers on Tuesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 1, 2015 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT).

Photo Credit: CBS Television Network

The series is based on the New York Times bestselling novel The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman which has recieved widespread critical acclaim, including being hailed by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison as "a major contribution to 21st century literature."  

Photo Credit: CBS Television Network

Set in ancient Israel, THE DOVEKEEPERS is based on the true events at Masada in 70 C.E. After being forced out of their home in Jerusalem by the Romans, 900 Jews were ensconced in a fortress at Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. Besieged at Masada, the Jews held out for months against the vast Roman armies. The project will recount the events from the perspective of a few extraordinary women who arrive at Masada with unique backstories, but a common bond for survival. Additionally, these women, who work together daily as dovekeepers, are all concealing substantial secrets.

Photo Credit: CBS Television Network

 My Review Of The Dovekeepers Series

As someone unfamiliar with the story of the events at Masada, I was able to watch The Dovekeepers and learn quite a bit. I think we tend to become so familiar with our comfortable, easy lives that we tend to forget the struggles others before us have endured.

The scenery in The Dovekeepers was absolutely breathtaking. I did some digging, and found out that it was filmed in Malta, a small island off the coast of Sicily, which has certainly made it one of the top places I'd like to visit.

The Dovekeepers made it clear how horrible women were treated back in biblical times.

  • I found it sad how often they were shunned for being intimate... but the adulterous men never were. 
  • Aziza even spent the first 15 years of her life living as a boy... for her own protection. 
  • Yael's very own father always told her, "she was nothing."
While the treatment of women was crazy to watch, it did make the mini-series very good to watch. I also loved that despite what the dovekeepers had gone through, they remained strong... certainly an inspiration for women today.

Photo Credit: CBS Television Network

Stay up-to-date on all of the latest and greatest from The Dovekeepers by following them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Photo Credit: CBS Television Network

What's your favorite work of historical fiction? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :) 

An OshKosh B’Gosh Shopping Spree! (PLUS A 25% Off Coupon) #ImagineSpring #IC #Ad

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’Gosh. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

It was a beautiful, sunny day. One of those days where the birds were chirping, and there was no possible way we were going to stay cooped up in the house. We are so over winter here, and I knew just the right way to welcome in this beautiful spring weather... a shopping spree to buy the kids some clothes with lighter, brighter colors, fun patterns and prints.

I'm planning on having some new portraits of Phoenix & Ariana taken soon, and thought that would be a perfect excuse to get some fun, new spring clothes. We packed up the kids, and headed straight for OshKosh. I had been doing some browsing online, and I knew that from clothing to accessories, shoes and active wear, OshKosh is the place to go for a new spring looks.

Ariana and Phoenix had a blast exploring the OshKosh store, checking out all of the cool clothes and accessories!

I remember wearing OshKosh corduroys when I was a little kid. Now that I'm the parent, it feels like an awesome part of authentic American heritage that I'm able to pass down and share with my own kids. One of my favorite things about OshKosh is how the clothes are affordable, fun, and made to play in. These were made for kids who just have fun being kids.

For just over $100, I was able to buy Ariana and Phoenix each 4 new shirts and 2 pairs of shorts... certainly a deal in my book! This was my first time shopping at OshKosh as a parent, and while they did have the classic denim and World’s Best Overalls that I was expecting, their whole new assortment of fashionable looks for spring just blew me away.

Spring is full of reasons to get outside and enjoy the fresh, crisp air... between outdoor adventures, spring break, and Easter, we're planning on spending a lot of time outside this spring, and I hope you are too!

If there are any little ones in your life, I highly recommend checking out the adorable clothes over at Oshkosh. Not sure if there's one near you? Just check on this OshKosh Store Locator. And, before you go, make sure you download this coupon for 25% off when you go! If you know friends who would love this coupon, feel free to share this link with them. :)

What is your favorite memory of OshKosh B'Gosh? Did you wear OshKosh as a kid? Buy OshKosh for your own children? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

REAL Cloth Underwear For Nighttime Bedwetting #WalmartTRUFIT #IC #ad

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for GoodNites* TRU-FIT*. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Did you know that according to a GoodNites® brand study, it’s estimated that 1 in 6 children between the ages of 4-12 in the United States suffer from nocturnal enuresis, more commonly known as bedwetting. Plus, it's not something a child cannot control or be trained out of. (Sadly, 43% of parents incorrectly believe that bedwetting can be “trained” out of a child.)  

GoodNites* TRU-FIT*

Well, I have great news for parents looking for real cloth underwear with nighttime protection for their child. GoodNites® is introducing a completely new kind of bedtime protection: GoodNites* TRU-FIT* Underwear. GoodNites* TRU-FIT* is machine-washable, real underwear that comes with disposable, absorbent inserts that help keep sheets and PJs dry all night. The disposable, absorbent insert should be discarded after each night’s use. The underwear are washed & used again just like regular underwear. 

Confidence For Sleepovers

Did you know that more than 1/4 of parents of bedwetters express anxiety about their child spending the night somewhere and wetting the bed? Not only that, but research from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that psychologically, children who wet the bed do not want to participate in fun activities, such as sleepovers, because of their fear and embarrassment. This is why it's so awesome that GoodNites* TRU-FIT* offers a new choice for parents and children looking for a superior bedwetting product to help have a better night, every night. in face, 87% of Moms that tried the product said that TRU-FIT* will make their kids more confident.


Ready For GoodNites* TRU-FIT*

Ready to give GoodNites* TRU-FIT* a try? Be sure to download this coupon for $2 off. You can GoodNites* TRU-FIT* is available for boys and girls in sizes S/M and L/XL with colors and patterns for each size. They're available now at select national retailers like Walmart for purchase.

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave a comment. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

Aah, So THAT'S What Raspberries Are Made Of! ;)

No school the other day, but Phoenix managed to squeeze in a bit of learning anyways. ;)

Phoenix: Mom, what are raspberries made of?
Me: They just grow on a bush.
Phoenix: Maybe they're made from the same 4 elements we are.
Me: Oh, carbon... nitrogen... hydrogen and...
Phoenix: Oxygen!
---long pause---
Phoenix: Maybe berries are made from Barium.

Completely unrelated, but a picture of Olaf Phoenix drew at school. :)
Thank you so much for stopping by! Feel free to leave a comment. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :) 

The OTHER Reason We're Not Homeschooling Anymore

Three months ago, i decided to start sending Phoenix to public school after 1/2 a year of homeschooling kindergarten. In this blog post I explained that I simply wanted to know if homeschooling was really the better option for him, and the only way to truly know this was to test out the other option, and send him to public school. There was another reason that played a pretty big role in my decision to send him to public school. Antivaccers.

The longer I started to associate with the homeschoolers in our area, the more I realized that not many of them chose to vaccinate their children. Okay, that's an understatement. None of the homeschoolers that we associated with vaccinated their children. None of them. Zero. My kids were literally the only vaccinated ones running around with a bunch of unvaccinated kids. To some people, this might not seem like a big deal, but it's a HUGE deal. Basically, by homeschooling, I was choosing to have my kids in a unvaccinated cluster, I was greatly putting their health in danger. Check out the video below which explains how herd immunity works, and to see why I knew we had to stop homeschooling.

I feel much safer now that we've minimized our exposure to antivacciners. Sadly, science has proven that there's nothing you can say or do to convince antivacciners they're wrong. However, I've found that there's one question they refuse to answer... "What would change your mind?" I think it's a great question to ask about any controversial topic like this. And... I'll start. I'd change my mind about vaccinations when a majority of immunologists stop vaccinating their own children.

The Silent Majority No Longer
I never intended to hop on the whole vaccination debate, but frankly, I think it's silly. The pro-vaccine side supports the overwhelming agreement among scientists and doctors that vaccines are safe and effective. I've yet to meet a doctor or scientist who had an issue with vaccines. Not to mention the logical fallacies in every single anti-vaccine post I've ever read on Facebook... *facepalm* Enough is enough already.

I now feel it's become necessary because, as you've seen above, maintaining high herd immunity is crucial for vaccines to protect the population. If you're pro-vaccine, I encourage you to let people know and become a vocal proponent of vaccines. Challenge logic of anti-vaccers you know. (Knowing & sharing these logical fallacies are a great place to start.)

Oh, and thanks to Jimmy Kimmel for the wonderful segment he had recently on his show about the anti-vaccine movement. :)

Where do you stand on the topic of vaccination? What would change your mind? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

How To Get A Clean, Clutter-Free Home... With Young Kids!

This post was originally written 4 years ago when we just had 1 child. I thought it'd be a good time to re-share it, as our house is currently on the market again, and we now have 2 children as well as a dog living in our tiny home. :)

About 6 months ago, Ken and I decided to put our house up for sale. Our son was about 1 1/2 at the time, and we were quickly accumulating a lot of... stuff. Our house is small by many standards - 1092 sq ft - 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and one "great room" that serves as main living area, dining room, and kitchen. It's a beautiful home - it's just kinda small. And, we wanted something bigger. We were looking to upgrade into a home at least twice the size, to hold all of our new "stuff". But first, we needed to "stage" our house. Basically, this means you get rid of photos, nick-nacks, clutter... nothing... so potential buyers see your house, not your stuff. Needless to say, we relocated A LOT of our stuff to the garage, so our house would show better.

And, something happened. Our house went from feeling small and cramped to feeling amazing! I enjoyed not having a lot of clutter. I felt relaxed and calm. It changed my whole mood. Part of me didn't want to even sell anymore. I wanted to get rid of all of my junk and clutter, so I could have the picture perfect house that I was in. I realized that we didn't necessarily even need a bigger house. We just needed less junk.

Our kitchen & dining room area
So, our house has been on the market for almost 6 months now, and while we've had quite a few showing, and even a bid - we have yet to sell. And, that's fine with me. If we get an amazing offer within the next few weeks, things might change. But, I'm pretty sure we're going to stick it out quite a while longer here.

And, remember all of that junk that was in the garage? Well, it turned out that I didn't miss it much at all. We've recently started bringing stuff back into the house... and I started to feel my spirits going down. My nice house was starting to turn into a mess again. And I hated it. So, the stuff brought in from the garage quickly became "stuff to donate" or "stuff to put in the attic".

But what about ALL of Phoenix's toys? Well, they were pretty much taking over the entire house, and had quite a bit to do with our desire to upgrade into a bigger home. His closet was packed with toys. Toys were all over his bedroom. Toys were everywhere in the living room. Toys were in the computer room. And, you know what? He hardly ever played with any of them. They'd get thrown all over... and, in the end, he'd just play with his few favorites. But, his lack of interest in many of his toys is actually a blessing in disguise.

I read about this on a website - Small Notebook For  ASimple Home - and it makes COMPLETE sense. Too many toys were overwhelming Phoenix. He doesn't need 50 books to choose from. He doesn't need a million little cars. Toddlers thrive with fewer toys to focus their attention on. They're able to focus, and play with just one thing. So, keeping this in mind...  

  1. We've taken some of the "big" toys he never plays with, and are putting them in the attic. There's also a BIG bin of stuffed animals going up too. This alone has done wonders for organizing his toys that he does use. We'll bring one down every now and then... but in general, there's no sense in un-used toys taking up valuable real estate in a small house. And, since they're toys he hardly ever uses, it just makes sense.
  2. I scrapped the elaborate bin system I created (small toys, shapes, cars, balls, soft toys, shapes etc.). It just took up WAY too much space having so many boxes in his closet - and things never ended up in the right boxes anyways. Now, he has 2 medium-sized tupperware containers for his closet. 
  3. Toys that hang (like a drum kit with a strip), or can be put in a bucket with a handle - are all hanging in his closet on hangers. Instead of having tons of magnetic numbers, duplo blocks, shapes, and small parts in one "small toys" box, they're separated out - making them easier to find and play with.   
  4. I removed all but a few books from his shelf in his room, and put the rest in his newly-renovated closet. This freed up an entire shelf in his room. 
  5. He now has 3 shelfs of toys to play with at any given time. I'll rotate them out with the toys in the Tupperware bins in his closet.
And, when I was finished, something crazy happened. Phoenix got a toy of the shelf... something that had always been out - but hidden in the clutter - and he started playing with it. And, he played with it for longer than he ever had. I almost couldn't believe it - having fewer toys was working!

In fact... do you know what Phoenix loves to play with the most? Things that aren't toys. He'll play with the vacuum cleaner extension parts, he'll play with our cats, he'll climb all over Daddy or Mommy, he'll help me with laundry, and he'll jump on a matress, or review what he's not allowed to play with. Times he's playing with toys are few and far between... and it's almost always a toy car he's playing with. 

There's still more work to be done, but I feel like a switch has gone off in my head. I feel better living a cleaner, more organized, less cluttered home. I no longer have a desire to accumulate things. In fact, I only have the desire to get rid of more of my stuff. It's true what Tyler Durden says in Fight Club - "The things you own end up owning you."

And, to perhaps help you on your own journey to de-cluttering your life, I'll leave you with the following Buddhist story:

Releasing the Cows - Told by Master Thich Nhat Hanh

 One day the Buddha was sitting in the wood with thirty or forty monks. They had an excellent lunch and they were enjoying the company of each other. There was a farmer passing by and the farmer was very unhappy. He asked the Buddha and the monks whether they had seen his cows passing by.

The Buddha said they had not seen any cows passing by. The farmer said, "Monks, I'm so unhappy. I have twelve cows and I don't know why they all ran away. I have also a few acres of a sesame seed plantation and the insects have eaten up everything. I suffer so much I think I am going to kill myself.

The Buddha said, "My friend, we have not seen any cows passing by here. You might like to look for them in the other direction."

So the farmer thanked him and ran away, and the Buddha turned to his monks and said, "My dear friends, you are the happiest people in the world. You don't have any cows to lose. If you have too many cows to take care of, you will be very busy.

"That is why, in order to be happy, you have to learn the art of cow releasing (laughter). You release the cows one by one. In the beginning you thought that those cows were essential to your happiness, and you tried to get more and more cows. But now you realize that cows are not really conditions for your happiness; they constitute an obstacle for your happiness. That is why you are determined to release your cows." 

I've found a few nice storage bins have been a huge help in the decluttering process. By putting things in bins, and putting them in the attic, I'm able to see how our family does after getting rid of certain items, without getting rid of them yet. Items that have been in bins for 6 months to a year that have never been needed are safe to sell at the flea market or donate to Goodwill. Here are a few bins I recommend for storing unwanted items in the attic, basement, or garage.

My Favorite Spring Looks #StyleSaturday

The other day, as I was looking through my closet for something to wear, I came to the realization that I'm desperately over winter clothes. I'm really looking forward to some of the fun, colorful warmer weather styles. Here are a few that are a bit outside of my comfort zone, but I'm definitely going to shop for once the weather warms up a bit. :)

A form-fitting, slouchy, grey tee with coral accessories.

A casual, classic navy blue & olive green outfit.

This bright coral outfit with tan accents really make the colors pop. 

A bright & fun outfit, perfect for the first day of spring. 

A coral & mint outfit perfect for a date night. 

Everyday casual with mint & white. 

Thank you so much for stopping by! What are you looking forward to wearing this spring? Feel free to leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

Easy Bread Machine Cibatta Rolls Recipe

Bread Machine Ciabatta Rolls Cibatta Rolls - Bread Machine Recipe

Give any sandwich an instant upgrade with these easy, delicious homemade cibatta rolls... made easy with the help of a bread machine!


  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/4  cups flour (bread flour or white flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast


  • Add ingredients - liquids first to bread machine.
  • Start dough cycle.
  • After dough cycle is complete, place dough on lightly floured surface, cover with large bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Lightly flour baking sheets. Divide dough into 12 pieces, and place onto baking sheets,dimple surface, and lightly flour. 
  • Cover & let rise in draft-free place for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Dimple dough second time, and place loaves on middle rack in oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. During baking, spray loaves with water every 5 minutes for a crispier crust.
Preparation time is approximately 4 hours.
Feel free to make this recipe your own by customizing it with your favorite spices.

Recipe inspired by this Cibatta Bread Recipe.

Looking for a bread machine? Here are a few of the most popular bread machines on Amazon. :) 

Don't forget to leave a comment with any suggestions you have. :)

12 Tips To Grow Out A Pixie Like A Model #StyleSaturday

Lately when it comes to hair, I'm starting to look toward Pintrest for inspiration, especially when it comes to growing out short pixie hair. There certainly is no shortage of beautiful ladies on Pintrest growing out their pixie. Here's a collection of some model-esque ladies working on growing out their pixies... or just rockin' short 'dos that can easily be inspiration for anyone looking to grow out their pixie cut. Enjoy!

#1. Experiment With Color - Like A Short & Blonde Choppy Bob

#2. Try A Fun Textured Bob

#3. Grow Out Longer Pieces on Top First

#4. Long Side-swept Layers Make A Bob Fun To Grow Out 

#5. Keep Hair Funky & makeup Fresh Like This Adorable Grow-Out Look

#6. Grow Out Layers On Top & Keep It Trimmed To The Neck

#7. Grab Your Curling Iron For Fun Textured Waves Once Layers Have Grown Out A Bit

#8. Avoid The Post-bob Mullett... It's All In Keeping It Trimmed To The Neck At First

#9. Keep Styling Those Longer Layers As Long As Possible

#10. First Year Goal - A Perfect Chin-Length Bob

#11. Tuck Long Ends Behind Ears & Add Some Body In Back

#12. Blow-Dry Upside-down To Get This Fun Flip

Thank you so much for stopping by! Do you have any tips for growing out a pixie? Feel free to leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

Blog Archive