8/31/14

Social Wokers: An Asset to the Community


This post is brought to you by Case Western University.

Social workers play an important role and a variety of roles in the community. They are often the resource that people turn to when hardships arise and situations occur that they are not able to handle on their own. There are numerous niches for someone with a degree in social work. Some of those positions put you upfront and make you and the work you do a visible part of the community. Other social worker positions place you in a less visible position, yet the work you do benefits both the community and the individuals you counsel and assist.

If you're looking for a way to make a difference in someone's life and to play a vital role in the community, pursuing a degree in social work from a place such as Case Western University may be just the place to start. When you commit to pursuing a degree in social work, you have a variety of specific areas in which you can specialize. You may find it beneficial to explore the diversity of options within the field of social work to find the area that you are most passionate about.

As a social worker with a specialized interest in working with children, youth and families, you can serve a dual role of assisting individuals with issues involving drug abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence and numerous mental health issues. Helping one person or one family at a time, ultimately helps the whole community.

Social workers can play an important role in helping substance abusers find the treatment necessary to overcome their addition and become prosperous citizens in the community. Whenever someone is experiencing overwhelming stress, whether it be from personal problems, family problems or any type of hardship issue such as homelessness, a social worker is often their link to a life changing experience.

Adults who have the responsibility of caring for mentally or physically challenged children may feel overwhelmed with their role. A social worker can help them find resources to ease their burden. They can help them arrange respite care and possibly adult day care so that they are able to go to work or leave home for a while knowing that their family member is being cared for. Social workers can provide counseling and a listening ear for those who feel that they have no one to turn to and no one who understands their situation.



8/29/14

Immaculate Baking Dry Baking Mixes Make Baking Easy


This post is brought to you by Immaculate Baking and Platefull Co-op.

The girls and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  I love to create new recipes with them and bake special treats--but, time is not always on our side with our busy schedules.  I am not a fan of baking mixes.  Either the taste of the boxed mix isn't up to par or I worry about the ingredients.  I recently discovered Immaculate Baking dry baking mixes--and with all natural, GMO-free ingredients and gluten free options--I wondered if these cookie, cake and brownie mixes could be the answer to my time crunched baking dilemmas.  What did the family think of Immaculate Baking Dry Mixes?  Did Immaculate Baking Dry Baking Mixes make baking easy?

Have you heard of Immaculate Baking's baking mixes?  Immaculate Baking offers a complete line of all natural, organic, non-GMO, and gluten free dry baking mix options.  We sampled cookies, brownies and cakes--and noticed that the company also offers organic Pancake & Waffle Mix.  These mixes offer the ease of a convenient baking mix with an ingredient list more like one created in your own kitchen.

What did we think of Immaculate Baking Dry Baking Mixes?

We sampled the Gluten Free Double Chocolate Chip Cookies


This was my first attempt at a gluten free cookie.  While my family does not require a gluten free diet, we do limit gluten somewhat.  We were not sure what to expect from the cookies.  Although the dough was a little dry when mixed according to the box instructions, we were able to hand form the dough and create delicious cookies.  The cookies were delicious straight from the oven--and as ice cream sandwiches a couple of days later!

We also tried the all natural Chocolate Cake Mix
(As a Hot Fudge Cake with Ice Cream and Whipped Cream)

 I will sometimes use a cake mix for a potluck dinner--especially if I need several cakes for an event. Generally; however, I bake from scratch. This all natural cake mix was quite a surprise.  It really did have the flavor and texture of a homemade, from scratch, cake.  We made hot fudge cakes from the mix with homemade ice cream and coconut whipped cream---and, I would certainly use it in other chocolate cake recipes. 

Would I recommend Immaculate Baking dry baking mixes?  I was really impressed with the quality, flavor and ingredients of these mixes.  I would certainly buy the mixes again and would recommend them to anyone who prefers simple ingredients without the work of a traditional, homemade cake.

Look for these baking mixes in your grocer's baking aisle and at Target!

To learn more about Immaculate Baking and the products featured here:
Visit the Immaculate Baking Website or Visit Immaculate Baking on Facebook

Did you notice the fun illustrations on the Immaculate Baking mix boxes?  Each illustration has a story--and a mini artist bio on the box.  The company supports folk artists--and supports the Folk Artist Foundation.  The artwork creates a fun personality for the company--and gives back to the Folk Art community as well.

Disclosure:  I received full sized, complimentary samples of these products from Immaculate Baking through Platefull Co-Op.  All opinions and experiences are my own.

Book Review: Terramezic by John O Riley


Cover for Terramezic Energy Earlier this summer, I read and reviewed Transformation:  The Winters Family Psi Chronicles by John O'Riley and loved it.  I enjoyed the author's writing style, his character development and the storyline.  While reading Transformation--I discovered O'Riley's Grumpy Old Wizards Series and was really excited when I was offered the chance to review Book 4, Terramezic Energy.  What did I think Terramezic Energy?

I received a copy of this book for use in my review.  All opinions are my own.

Quick Summary of Terramezic Energy by John O'Riley.  When a mysterious and destructive magical force strikes near Sarasota, Florida, the chief of police assigns his best investigator and arguably strongest wizard, Josephine O’Connor, to the case. As Josephine studies and investigates this mysterious phenomenon, she learns that a young woman has become a lab rat to develop stronger wizards. As Josephine tries to help the woman control her abilities, it becomes apparent that the new wizard has a volatile power that may prove impossible to contain. Josephine and her friends face their greatest challenge yet when a hostile AI known as APU 81, created by an advanced civilization, resurfaces and targets them for termination. APU 81 has plotted for centuries to enslave humanity and the time has finally come for it to carry out its sinister plans.

Wonderful storyline and a wonderful cast of characters.  I read this book as a standalone novel--without reading the first three books first.  O'Riley's words keep readers interested in the story and his characters from the very beginning.  While there wasn't a point where I felt left behind since I hadn't read the first three books, I will read this book again after I read the first three books.

Terramezic Energy is not just a sci-fi/wizard novel.  I am not a wizard fan--and the book cover made me wonder if the book wouldn't be too much science fiction focused for me--but, O'Riley offers much more than a sci-fi/wizard tale in this book.  With bits of magic, artificial intelligence, action/adventure, and even a little romance, O'Riley creates a great story with a little bit of everything to keep readers turning the pages.

Would I recommend Terramezic Energy by John O'Riley?  I do enjoy John O'Riley's writing style--he offers enough information to keep the reader moving along without overburdening the details or relying too heavily on simple dialogue.  I would recommend Terramezic Energy--and I would suggest beginning from the beginning of the series, with Book 1.  While you can read the novel on its own, I think you would develop a stronger sense of the characters and the underlying plots if you read the entire series. 




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About the Author:

John for NPWAJohn O'Riley has been writing as far back as he can remember. He is an author of novels and an award winning writer of screenplays in the category of urban fantasy, comedy, science fiction and young adult. His movie feature screenplay, Cursed, is an Honorable Mention Winner for the 2012 Screenplay Festival.

His most recent accomplishments include the screenplays New Earth, Pinky Swear, and Mutant Wizards in the 2014 Filmmakers International Screenplay Awards which made it to Quarter-Finalist status. Other recognition includes the screenplays Cursed, Project Pandora, Pinky Swear, Incipio, and Bad Sister which have been listed as Quarter Finalists, Semi Finalists, and Top Finalists in the 2013 Filmmakers International Screenplay Awards, 2012 Screenplay Festival, 2012 Filmmakers International Screenplay Awards, 2012 StoryPros International Awards, 2012 Pulsar Sci Fi Screenplay Contest, and the 2012 Reel Authors International Breakout.

He was born in California then raised in Washington state. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and French and worked in a variety of bookstores including Borders and was the manager for one of the bookstores in Florida that was actually owned by Goodwill. He loves reading fantasy, science fiction, and humorous fiction. Some of his favorite authors include Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, S.J. Viehl, Kat Richardson, J.K. Rowling, Angie Sage, Jayne Krentz, and Janet Evanovich. He currently resides in Washington state and owns a parakeet named Amy who sings like a canary to help encourage and inspire him.

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