Wednesday, December 18, 2013

DIY Christmas Star Ornament made with recycled Toilet Paper Roll, WW

I was browsing Pinterest and found a great tutorial on how to make a DIY Christmas Star Ornament made from recycled Toilet Paper roll.  I had fun making mine and took photos of the steps I took to create my shining star!
First, I cut the roll into five sections.
Second, I painted each one white.
Third, I got out my hot glue gun and some sparkly blue glitter.
Fourth, I glued all the pieces together.
Lastly, I added the finished star to my Christmas tree.
Have you ever made an ornament?  If so, what kind did you make?

If you participate in Wordless Wednesday, leave your blog link. I'll be sure to visit your blog and leave a comment too! 

Nicole Flothe
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review on Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish

Last week I finished a book by Christa Parrish called Stones for Bread that I was asked to review from Booksneeze. I have to say the cover captured my heart! I have made homemade bread with my husband before and the results are delicious and heartwarming.

Stones for Bread (Thomas Nelson, 2013)
Liesl McNamara’s life can be described in one word: bread. From her earliest memory, her mother and grandmother passed down the mystery of baking and the importance of this deceptively simple food. And now, as the owner of Wild Rise bake house, Liesl spends every day up to her elbows in dough, nourishing and perfecting her craft.

When Wild Rise is featured on television, her quiet existence appears a thing of the past. And then a phone call from a woman claiming to be her half-sister forces Liesl to confront long-hidden secrets in her family’s past. With her precious heritage crumbling around her, she must make a choice: allow herself to be buried in remorse, or take a leap of faith into a new life.

I was intrigued by the story and really enjoyed the exciting part of her being on a television show.  I love watching cooking shows on tv and the opportunities that came her way were awesome.  Throughout the book the author intermingled bread recipes and the story of bread.  I thought it was interesting but I'm not much of a bread baker so I skipped through some of those parts.  I did read enough to understand the title of the book.  The story of Liesl's life was what captured my heart and I would recommend you check your local library or buy it at the bookstore!  

Here are a few Quotes I loved from the book:
But I stay, I want to be kissed again and washed with warm water.  I want my mother's hands on me, tender and strong at the same time, shaping me as she does the bread.

The starter I use is more than eighty years old, cultured by my grandmother and brought from Germany when she came here, widowed, her nine-year-old daughter in tow.

But then Oma tells me of bread, of the six hundred kinds made throughout her homeland, white and gray and black in color. 

He's the artist.  He makes me brave enought to try.  With his encouragement, I've focused on the creativity of bread, writing my own recipes, exploring nontraditional flavors and shapes.

"People change." "That they do." Sometimes right in front of your eyes.

Yes, the irony of all ironies; the hearty, dark bread once considered fit only for thieves and livestock is now some of the most prized of all.  

Bread brings them comfort.

Nicole Flothe
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Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Lights

Holiday Lights, Christmas Tree, and Santa Claus
Christmas lights are always so beautiful, there are so many varieties.  I enjoy seeing my neighbors lights and their holiday decor.  In Naples, there are communities that run Christmas light events, you can drive through at night and see the gorgeous display.


The first display of Christmas lights on a tree was by Edward Johnson in 1882, he worked under the direction of Thomas Edison and became Vice President of Edison's Electric Company.  Below are a few of my favorite Christmas Tree lights photos.

What type of Christmas lights do you like?
Nicole Flothe
Get more Tips, Savings, & Heartfelt News : Subscribe to Heartbeat Magazine News

This post is part of the Sharing is Caring Christmas Blog Hop hosted by Life With Lovebugs,  Powerful Mothering and Pam’s Party & Practical Tips!
All of the blogs listed below are sharing Christmas themed posts as part of this event, so click on one or all of the links below to find some great recipes, tutorials, crafts and more!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Heartbeat Magazine November 2013 Cover, WW

The latest issue of the Heartbeat Magazine is online. Enjoy your Thanksgiving everyone!
This month's copy is featuring Elizabeth Flothe. Elizabeth loves to pose when I have props to use and she makes it fun. I took several photos of this shoot and she was ever so patient. Read more in the Dream Now story on page 9.

Be sure to enter this months giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you participate in Wordless Wednesday, leave your blog link. I'll be sure to visit your blog and leave a comment too! 

Nicole Flothe
Get more Tips, Savings, & Heartfelt News : Subscribe to Heartbeat Magazine News

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What is Bloglovin?

Do you have a Bloglovin account?  Bloglovin is a website that offers you the opportunity to follow the blogs you love all in one newsfeed.  The company was created in Sweden and they wanted to offer a blog reader to their fashion industry bloggin friends.  After launching one week later they had 1000 people signed up and now they have popular blog posts and so many other great features.  My favorite icon from the site to post on your blog is the Eifell Tower logo!

I got an email from Bloglovin after I joined and here are David's top 5 tips on how you can grow your Bloglovin following:

1) Add a Follow Button. Add a Bloglovin follow button on the sidebar of your blog. This will encourage your readers to start following your blog, and as your followers grow, your blog will rank higher on Bloglovin. You can create your own follow button – or you can use one of our standard follow widgets here. Pro Advice: The sidebar is great – but a Bloglovin link in the header works wonders to grow your followers. Pro Example:

2) Add a Bloglovin Link at the Bottom of Your Blog Posts. Bloggers that add a link at the bottom of every post grow their followers and ranking 5X faster than those that don’t. Pro Example:

3) Put Yourself Out There. One of the best ways to grow your followers is to create a post explaining what Bloglovin does – your readers will also appreciate the tip on better blog reading! Pro Example:

4) Connect Your Blog to Facebook Make sure to connect your blog to Facebook. Bloggers that do get on average, 120 more visitors per post than bloggers that don't. Connect your blog here:

5) Invite Your Friends to Follow Your Blog

I’m so happy to be a part of the bloglovin’ family!

If you have any questions you can check out 

I've also recently joined a Bloglovin Blog Hop for the month of November!  

1.  Follow your host and co-hosts (you can click on the profile pics above or find them in the linky).
2.  Enter your link directly to your Bloglovin' profile (remember, you will have to manually upload your photo).
3.  Visit 3-5 other bloggers in the linky.
4.  Tweet and share this hop!
5. Let me know if you add the button below to your blog (provide a link). I'll give you some social media touts!

Happy Kids, Inc

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Book Review, To Know You by Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel, WW

I finished my book from Booksneeze this week titled, To Know You by Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel.  It was a whirlwind of a story and I felt like I was going full speed to try and figure out who would be able to help the main character Julia's son. I really enjoyed learning about Julia and her families life and I felt her pain as a parent of young kids.  The cover of the book caught my eye, a perfect fit for The Heartbeat Magazine Blog!

In To Know You, Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel explore how the past creates the present . . . and how even the most shattered lives can be redeemed.
Julia Whittaker’s rocky past yielded two daughters, both given up for adoption as infants. Now she must find them to try to save her son.
Julia and Matt Whittaker’s son has beaten the odds for thirteen years only to have the odds—and his liver—crash precipitously. The only hope for his survival is a “living liver” transplant, but the transplant list is long and Dillon’s time is short. His two older half-sisters, born eighteen months apart to two different fathers, offer his only hope for survival.
But can Julia ask a young woman—someone she surrendered to strangers long ago and has never spoken with—to make such a sacrifice to save a brother she’s never known? Can she muster the courage to journey back into a shame-filled season of her life, face her choices and their consequences, and find any hope of healing?
And what if she discovers in her own daughters’ lives that a history of foolish choices threatens to repeat itself? Julia knows she’s probably embarking on a fool’s errand—searching for the daughters she abandoned only now that she needs something from them. But love compels Julia to take this journey. Can grace and forgiveness compel her daughters to join her?

My mother was adopted and this book is a great support for those that may have been adopted to understand why their mothers made the decisions they made. It also gives hope to people that one day may meet their parents and other siblings and connect with them.   Lastly, for those of you that have ever had relationship problems this book shares how each person deals with their troubles and resolves their situations.  

What book did you just finish or are reading now? 

If you participate in Wordless Wednesday, leave your blog link.  This is not so wordless but sometimes that's the way it works.  I'll be sure to visit your blog and leave a comment too!  

Nicole Flothe
Get more Tips, Savings, & Heartfelt News : Subscribe to Heartbeat Magazine News

Friday, November 1, 2013

Finding Beautiful Free Fall Photos Online

I was listening to a podcast over the weekend and they mentioned a service they use for finding beautiful photos for posting on their blogs and media sites.  The recommended site was, it's so easy to use and since I was doing some research on creating a fall blog post I thought I'd share my top 10 photos I found on the site.

Which one is your favorite?  I think the funniest one is Kermit the frog in the leaves!


This post is part of the Sharing is Caring Thanksgiving Blog Hop hosted by Life With LovebugsThe Jenny Evolution and, Chicken Scratch NY!
All of the blogs listed below are sharing Thanksgiving or Fall themed posts as part of this event, so click on one or all of the links below to find some great recipes, tutorials, crafts and more!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Heartbeat Magazine October 2013 Cover, WW

The latest issue of The Heartbeat Magazine is online for viewing!
This month's cover is Melinda Nagy of Melinda Nagy Photography. Her photo was taken by Angelina Arts Photography.  Melinda has such a sweet presence and I was so thankful to be able to use her beautiful photo for our cover.  Read more in the Just Imagine story on page 8.

Our Giveaway is from PoBoys Shrimp Shack, they are offering one lucky diner a $25 gift card to enjoy a meal at our local Naples restaurant. The restaurant features Fish, Shrimp, and Baby Back Ribs!  Mmm!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get more Tips, Savings, & Heartfelt News : Subscribe to Heartbeat Magazine News

Monday, October 28, 2013

College-goers can Save on Textbooks and Help Donate to Operation Smile

Recently I had the opportunity to review and to share the good news about how college students can get great savings on their textbooks and also help support

Here are few of the perks for college-goers on renting textbooks: 

-save 40-90% off of bookstore prices 
-free shipping both ways
-can highlight in the textbooks 
-flexible renting periods
-they donate to Operation Smile with each textbook rented
-you can find more perks on their website

Their Making a Difference program is an important part of what they do.  They're keeping their partnership with Operation Smile and have committed to donate a minimum of 80 additional surgeries between June 2013 and June 2014.  

What is Operation Smile? Operation Smile is an incredible organization that forever changes children's lives through reconstructive cleft lip surgeries.  The long-term improvement in quality of life for the children that receive these surgeries is almost incomprehensible.  What a great honor Campus Book Rentals has in supporting the children of Operation Smile. Find our more information about Operation Smile at:    

What if college students have textbooks they own?  RentBack ( is a new initiative that allows students to rent the textbooks they own - to other students.  This is awesome because it makes them 2-4x more money compared to what they'd make through buyback options! (selling their books back at the end of the semester)  I love the feature on the website where you can check how valuable your textbook is.  I wish I had this option back when I was going to college!  I remember the days when I spent so much money on my books and kept them in perfect condition so that my school would give me a few dollars at the end of the semester. What a perfect way for college students to help support themselves during the school year by making a little extra money!

I'm glad to know about this company and hope that once my kids begins college in the coming years they will be smart and resource them!  For those that have kids starting college soon or have kids in college make sure and do your own review and check out their site for more information!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

6 Ways Great Leaders Are Different

Originally Posted on on April 6, 2012

For more than a decade, I’ve used the metaphor of an iceberg to talk about leadership – the 10% above the water line represents the skills of the leader and the 90% below represents their character. However, the question I have gotten consistently ever since I started using the iceberg illustration is this, “What are the character traits of great leaders?”

On more than one occasion, I’ve answered the character question by asking, “What are the traits you are trying to instill in your children?” Typical responses would include: dependability, honesty, integrity and hard work. I would say, “That’s what leaders need.”  Now that I look back, my answer was incorrect. Dependability, honesty, integrity and hard work are needed by EVERY employee – including the leaders; therefore, none of these are distinctives of leaders.

So the first question I’ve been wrestling with is: Are leaders really different? My answer is yes. Clearly, we all want our leaders to be dependable, honest, show integrity and be hard working, but our organizations demand more from leaders. Therefore, my next question was – How are leaders different?

Here’s a short list of six attributes that I believe you’re more likely to see in leaders than non-leaders. It’s not an exhaustive list, but most of the great leaders I’ve known personally, and those I’ve studied, have demonstrated some measure of the following traits.

Optimism – Men and women in leadership are generally optimistic. They see a preferred future and can envision a path to make it a reality – despite the obstacles.

Judgment – The best leaders have the ability to make good decisions – even when the data is incomplete.

Ownership – Great leaders are willing to take responsibility for their actions, the actions of those they lead and the outcomes of their efforts.

Initiative – Good leaders are known for being proactive. They are willing to act – and often, they are the first to act.

Courage – To lead well requires bold decisions, decisive decisions – to stand alone if necessary. To lead well requires courage.

Servanthood – The best leaders are motivated by a heart to serve. They want to serve the organization, their people, their customers and all their stakeholders.

What character traits do you see in the best leaders?

Mark Miller, well known business leader, best-selling author, and communicator, is excited about sharing The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow with those who are ready to take the next step. You can find it on Amazon and in bookstores everywhere.
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