Thursday, April 23, 2015

Lori Benton - New Author on my Reading List!

I just finished reading my first Lori Benton novel, The Wood's Edge - It was very good and I'll be adding Benton to my list of authors that I enjoy.

The storyline was very creative, both in plot and in setting. I enjoyed learning more about some historical pieces, and thinking about the relationship between Indians and soldiers and their families. I enjoyed learning about different cultural traditions of the time. The themes of love and forgiveness run throughout the story line, and most readers will find that very easy to relate to.  I found that it was hard to put the book down!

From the publisher:
At the wood’s edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact? 
The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths. 
On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples. 
When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin’s absence, another unaware of his twin’s existence. And for Anna, who loves them both—Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him?

I would recommend this book to any reader at age 14 plus. this book was a gift from the publisher, given in exchange for my honest review/

Easy Dessert or Indulgant Snack - Chocolate Chip Dip

8 oz cream cheese, softened (reduced fat or regular)
½  c butter, softened
¼ t vanilla extract
¾ c confectioner’s sugar
2 T brown sugar
¾ c miniature semisweet chocolate chips
chocolate graham crackers

Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a mixing bowl ‘til fluffy.  Gradually add sugars; beat just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, then serve as a dip with chocolate graham crackers.

Next time, I want to try adding crème de menthe to make mint chocolate chip dip like we found at an Amish Market near our house.  It was so delightfully yummy!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Kool-Aid Slurpees!

Doesn't this Kool-aid slurpee look yummy?  I can't wait to make it with the kids this summer!  Find the recipe at Thirty Handmade Days.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Daytime Baby Schedules

Routine is good for mamas and babies.  Baby #4 is one month old and on a 4-hour feeding schedule  (give or take according to the needs of baby and family).  Here's a peek into our daytime routine.

7am wake up & nurse & snuggle, change diaper
7:30  playtime sitting in the boppy by the window to soak up some sunshine
7:45  playtime in the playmat
8am  tummy time on the playmat or on my knees
8:15  swing time
8:30 snuggle and go down for nap  (rest or work for mom!)
11am  wake up and repeat

Once the kids come home from school they want to hold the baby & play with him, so the afternoon activities change a bit.  I'll post more about siblings & baby and babies on the run later...

What works well for your baby schedule?

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Another Good Read from Terri Blackstock

Breaker's ReefCape Refuge Series

By Terri Blackstock 

From the publisher:
"A famous mystery writer has just moved to Cape Refuge when a teenage girl is found murdered. Sheila Caruso–ex-con, mother to Sadie and Caleb, and resident of Hanover House–is working for the writer when she discovers that a scene in one of his novels matches the crime scene. When Police Chief Cade and Blair Owens discover a second dead teenager–mirroring a murder in another of the eccentric writer’s books–Cade is drawn into a web of trickery and deceit. Evidence turns up in Cade’s own truck, and suddenly he becomes the number-one suspect. Cade tries to clear his name, but when eighteen-year-old Sadie Caruso disappears, tensions mount to a fever pitch. Can Cade find the real killer before Sadie winds up dead? Is the novelist a demented killer, or a hapless victim? And what does Sadie’s own mother have to do with the crimes? Secrets are uncovered, while lessons are learned about the sins of the father being visited upon his children. Will the consequences of Sheila’s life be fatal, or is there redemption and mercy for her and her children?"

If you're looking for a good clean suspense novel, Blackstock delivers with this novel.  You'll find yourself playing detective and searching for clues to the small town mystery.  You'll find yourself pulling for the characters as they pursue love and relationships.  And you'll find yourself on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next!

I would recommend this book to any reader age 14+, though readers age 18+ might find the book more appealing.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New Christian Fiction Author to Enjoy - Dani Pettrey

I just finished reading Sabotaged, book five in Dani Pettrey's Alaskan Courage series.  I'm thrilled to say that I have found another christian author that I enjoy!

This was a very unique novel, set in Alaska, and featuring the Iditarod race.  I enjoyed learning a little bit about the race, the culture and the terrain (though I wanted to learn more!).  I enjoyed meeting the characters and watching them work together to protect one another and solve a series of mysteries.  I enjoyed the lessons on faith, friendship, courage and love.  The romance was a bit sappy, but sweet as well.

I was afraid I might feel a bit behind on the storyline, since this is book #5 in the series, yet my first delving into the series, but it was fine to read as a stand-alone book.

I would recommend this book to any female reader age 16+.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Review: After a Fashion by Jen Turano

During the final week of pregnancy and the first week of baby #4's life, I read another book by Jen Turano, After a Fashion.  I love reading her books - they promise to be full of laughter and adventure, and they are always clean.  It's so hard to find good clean novels with positive messages!  By the way, if you have favorite 'clean' authors, I'd love to hear your favorites!

After a Fashion was not my favorite Turano novel, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  I think the circumstances of giving birth to another child probably had me a bit distracted, so perhaps my view is jaded.  As always, her storyline was full of strong well-developed characters, a spirit of mystery, a bit of romance, and a lot of quirky humor.  I love the way she dealt with societal issues and prejudices at the same time she told her story.  This book

Any reader that enjoys light-hearted historical fiction will enjoy the twists, turns and adventures of this tale.  I would recommend this book to any female reader age 14+, though it might better suit the interests of 16+.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Soup Club!

I love ideas that make dinners easier, and I love ideas that promote community building.  So of course, I was intrigued when I heard about the idea of a soup club.  It's a group of 4 women who commit to preparing soup for all four families once each month.  That means if Soup Club is on Tuesday nights, then you only have to cook one Tuesday night per month!  The other 3 Tuesdays, lovely friends will bring soup to your door!

The soup club ladies have even published a Soup Club Cookbook with some of their favorite recipes and tips for how to run a soup club..  I was given the privilege to review it this week, and I think it's great!  It's a paperback book, but more the quality of a hardback book.  The pictures are crisp, clear and inviting.

The recipes in the cookbook sound great!  There are so many options beyond the traditional chili and tortilla soup!  Spiced pumpkin, winter minestrone, red lentil curry, cold soups, thai fish curry, italian wedding soup...  They also include recipes for their favorite soup garnishes and side dishes such as salads and breads.  They even sneak in a few recipes for "big food" - when they deliver wings, sandwiches, or lasagna instead of soup!

If you're intrigued, give the book a try - I would recommend it for any mama who likes to cook and share!

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Book Review: Terri Blackstock's "River's Edge"

I just finished reading Terri Blackstock's "River's Edge".  I loved it, and I would recommend it to anyone who's looking for a clean and easy read.  Great characters, great storyline, and lessons we can all relate to.  It's a tale of suspense revolving around a small town murder.  You'll be inspired by the mission of the Hanover House, a halfway house supporting people in life transition.  You'll cheer for the romance between the chief of police and the owner of the newspaper.  You'll long for the main characters to have children of their own.  You'll find yourself silently campaigning for mayoral candidates.  You'll get lost in the story.  This is a great book for any reader age 16+.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Review: The Paleo Chef by Pete Evans

The Paleo Chef is a beautiful cookbook written by television chef Pete Evans.  He does a great job of explaining Paleo eating in a no nonsense,  everyday person kind of way.  The recipes look very yummy!  It's definitely not the kind of food my kids would want to eat (they like plain and simple),  but my hubby and I would enjoy must of the dishes. I did find a handful of recipes that I think the kids would eat willingly though.

I would only recommend buying this book if you are really going to pursue a new easy of eating and you're willing to invest in a new kind of recipe with non-traditional ingredients.  If that's your goal, you will totally enjoy this cookbook.  It's also great for gourmet cooks!  I lookforward to sharing the cookbook with friends!

 I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Motivating Children to Do the Right Thing without Being Told!

If you're looking for a new parenting tool to digest, you've gotta check out this book:  Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told.  It is power-packed with advice for parents seeking to raise godly children that take the initiative to live with integrity.  I'm only halfway through the book, and I've already dog-eared several pages for future reference.  It's easy to read because it's filled with stories that parents will relate to - both everyday family stories and stories from the Bible.  It's filled with strategies to help change children's behavior by reaching their hearts.

They focus their teaching around 4 components of conscience:  doing the right thing, dealing with wrongs, being honest, and caring for others.  I appreciated the checklist they included for helping to measure your child's progress in the four areas.  I've been practicing their techniques for teaching kids to take initiative and reinforcing the importance of integrity. I can almost hear Turansky and Miller speaking into my life as I seek to nurture my 3 children. I'll post more as I finish the book.

Wanna know more?
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Pick up the book at your favorite bookseller, and read it with a friend.