My presents

My presents

Monday, July 20, 2015

Book Review: Shadow of the Mountain

Bethany Publishers has given me the opportunity to review books that come out through the the Baker Book Group. I recieve no compensation for my reviews beyond the books themselves.



The book that I just completed is entitled "Shadow of the Mountain- Exodus" written by Cliff Grahm.  Upon reading about Mr. Grahm I learned that he was a former solider and officer in the united States army who now has used his background in military science and political sciences to write and speak all over the United States. This is not the typical background of a writer of Christian fiction so I was excited to see how that played into his writing. I have to proclaim that Mr. Grahm really has used his exertise in these areas to incorporate wonderful history and expansive detail into his stories.

"Shadow of the Mountain" is a fictional story based on actual events found in the book of Exodus in the Bible. The main character is Caleb of the Bible.....but before his conversion to Christ. In his forward, Mr. Grahm tells about how little is known of Caleb's past, but it is something that can be drawn from actual history. He fabricated this story of Caleb's early life in a very thought-provoking way, making this now famous man-of-God, someone who originally was trained in the upper echelons of Pharoah's army. He retells the stories of the plagues upon Egypt from an Egyptian's perspective, something that not many authors have done. He retells this very familiar story from Exodus in such a profound and creative way that it actually causes the reader to experience it anew.

This book is one in which I did not want to put down. I love how Mr. Grahm is able to transport the reader back in time and allow us to relive a period of great turmoil in the lives of the Egyptians. We then are able to see how God's hand perfectly protected the Israelites and how the Egyptians were given ample opportunity to follow God. Some, like Caleb, did actually see the hope that is found in Christ and began to then follow Him.

I greatly look forward to reading more in this series of books and I give it a hearty five out of five stars. Anyone who enjoys reading about events told in the times of the Bible will greatly enjoy this read, because it is one that makes scripture come alive. I truly enjoyed everything about this book. Cliff Grahm is a very gifted writer and I look forward to picking up his other books that he has written in this same style and time-period.

 Want to check it out? Here is the link!




Sunday, March 29, 2015

Book Review: Deadly Echoes

Check out the book HERE:

I have the privilege of reviewing books by Bethany House Publishing Company. I read the book entitled "Deadly Echoes" written by Nancy Mehl. This is the second in the "Finding Sanctuary" series. Had I realized that this book was the second in a   series, of which I had not read the first ,I likely would not have signed up to read it. However,I must say that  the fact that it was a second did not really impact the storyline very much. I actually really loved this book to the extent of wanting to read the first and then continuing on in the series.

Although I read a lot, most of my books that I gravitate towards are historical fiction. This book, however, is set in modern times. I did not know if I would end up enjoying the  novel, however it completely kept my interest throughout as it was a page-turner. Each chapter ended with a cliffhanger and I truly didn't want to put the book down.   Many novels that are suspense-filled mysteries are easily predictable, however I enjoyed the fact that this one  wasn't one that I could predict. There were many twists and turns throughout in order to keep the reader's interest. I have not read anything else written by Ms. Mehl, however I would love to now check out her other works .      

This book takes place in the little town called" Sanctuary," which is where the clever name for the series is derived. Even though the  town is idyllic, the storyline is  not. Though many bad things have happened in the life of  Sarah Miller, she is not exempted from trials as an adult. Her past is filled with loss and tragedy. Just when she is attempting to pick up the pieces, tragedy strikes her life again.  Someone is after her family and   she must now  protect herself and the niece thats he has recently taken in after the brutal murder of her newly found sister.  Though She never set out to be a detective ,she realizes that if she does not find the killer,she and her young niece will be next on his list     .

Ms. Mehl's writing style leaves the reader eager for more . This Was one of those novels that when I completed the last page,I was very sad. I did not want it to end and I greatly look forward to the next in the series . I would recommend beginning with book one in "Finding Sanctuary" series, but if, like me,you stumbled upon this book, fear not.You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Book Review: Tide and Tempest

I have been given the great opportunity to get free books and review them for Bethany House Publishing. I just finished reading "Tide  and Tempest" by Elizabeth Ludwig, the third in the "Edge of Freedom" series. If I had known that it was #3, I likely would not have signed up to get this book, as I had never read books 1 and 2. I was hoping that it would be a "stand-alone" read.....and I am glad to report that for the most part, it really was a "stand-alone." There were a few references to things that happened in books 1 and 2 but it did not affect much of the story's flow.



This book takes place in turn-of-the-century America, where main character Tillie has set herself up in a boarding house after travelling from Ireland to gain freedom. Sadly, she had lost her fiance on the boat trip over. When the boat's captain, Keondric Morgan, a fellow Irish-man, learns that her fiance's death was likely murder instead of a bad twist of fate, he feels that it is his duty to tell Tillie when he docks in New York Harbor.

Thus begins a tale of intrigue, suspense, plots, revenge and murder. There is also intertwined a sweet love-story. I would give this book a 3.5 out of 4 stars. I loved the story-telling, how the author was able to bring you back into a time where gangs ran the streets of NY and how political parties were more than something just talked about.....but were acted upon as well, in some very "interesting" ways. There were enough twists and turns in the novel to keep the reader engaged and because it was in a period of history that I greatly enjoyed, I did have a great time reading this one....even though it was number 3!

I think that I will get books 1 and 2 from the library and read them now.....because it was enough to keep me engaged as a reader. I definitely recommend this book! You can buy book 3 HERE.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pantry RE-do!

I always get inspired by organizational blogs....how they make my mind spin with ideas and get excited about organizing areas of my home. I got inspired this week with my KITCHEN. I had ordered some chalkboard contact paper (which I did not know even existed until Pinterest!) from amazon HERE. I then began to research different ways to use chalkboard paper in your kitchen and found many helpful ideas and some great inspiration.

I stumbled upon THIS BLOG and even though I did not end up using my chalkboard paper in the same way, she gave me some great tips about redoing my kitchen pantry! So, without further ado, here is the before.....and the after.




What I did:

I worked shelf by shelf. I used my microfiber cleaning cloths, and cleaned off all the dust and dirt that had accumulated. Then, I ripped up all the old, yucky, nasty, years old contact paper. It was gross. I am surprised that I never thought to do this before!


I already had some good containers labelled, so I just made sure that everything was in its proper place. I put down contact paper (that I got at the dollar store this morning for $2) on all the shelves and on some of the back wall to make it stand out. 

I replaced all my things in a more organized fashion and then it needed one final touch. So, I took 2 pictures that I had elsewhere in my kitchen and hung them in the pantry. The idea behind this was also the blog above....she actually hung a wreath AND a chandelier.....but since my pantry isn't that big I had to improvise. I would never think to hang pictures in there, but honestly, about half the time it is open. Might as well look like it is a part of my house, right?

YAY! So, I am on board with my new "Use a Pinterest idea once a week" thing.....but so far I have already used quite a few. I have been having fun dreaming!

Oh, and for good measure....here is the contact paper. It REALLY works. I highly recommend this product! I love it!



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Chores for the Chicklets

I have a board on my Pinterest page labelled "Christian Parenting." I usually will pin things there and hope to read them later.....and we all know how "later" goes much of the time. Maybe it is just me? Anyway, I read one on "Kid's Chores." It is located HERE in case you would like to read it.....and it is great so I highly recommend it! I have always been confused about how to get my kids to do chores around the house not just for pay, but because they are members of our family. I also was confused on how MUCH to pay if we paid at all. We have tried out different techniques and paid Ellie but never paid the boys. I realize that one of my main issues as a mom is......


.........


CONSISTENCY!

So, I am making a pact, based upon the lovely life that is represented in this blog, to be consistent with making my kids do chores this week. I am responsible for that consistency, while they are responsible for being more than little minions in my home.

1. This week, I am going to clearly state their responsibilities......since we have had "chores" discussions before, they all know what they are required to do, but like I said, I have not been consistent in enforcing anything, OR paying them at the end of the week.

2. Not only am I going to state their responsibilities that will NOT be paid for, I will then talk about their extra chores that if they do until Saturday of next week, I WILL pay for. I like her rule of paying half the child's age, which is what I will introduce.

3. I am gathering them together to talk about attitudes in working "as unto the Lord." We will pray together at the beginning of this week and then there will be clear-cut expectations for what I expect.

I am hoping that this will lead to me being consistent in FOLLOWING weeks, not just this one: but I am only focusing on this one week here to not overwhelm anyone!

If you are interested in my kids chosen chores, here is what we have chosen:


Ellie: Age 10- will get paid $5 on Saturday. Regular responsibilities include: practicing the piano, putting her clothes in the laundry, cleaning up after herself for breakfast, and doing homework
Extra chores: Keeping the main bathroom clean including clutter, toilets and mirrors, cleaning her room top to bottom on Wednesdays and helping set the table for dinner
Extra EXTRA chores: (gets paid extra to earn money for things like "camp" etc.)- Cleaning up poop from the backyard and filling bags of leaves from the front and back yard (we have as many trees as we had in Ohio. Not kidding!)


Tyler: age 6- will get paid $3 on Saturday  Regular responsibilities include: doing homework, getting backpack ready for school, laying out clothes for the next day the night before, cleaning up after himself for breakfast and feeding the dogs
Extra chores: Unloading the dishwasher every day and cleaning his room top to bottom one time per week


Trenton: age 4: Will be paid $2 on Saturday  Regular responsibilities include: cleaning up after himself for breakfast, feeding the dogs, putting trash in the trashcans (working hard on this one!), working with brother to clean room one time per week
Extra chores: Help Mommy pack school lunches and wipe the table off with a rag after dinner.

I am curious to know: how do you handle chores in YOUR family?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Best Wallet EVER!

Like Isaid yesterday,  I began my journey with choosing a pinterest idea for this week with NEED. My wallet had fallen apart and I tried several other things to keep my multitude of cards.....and everything fell short. I could never find the cards that I needed and it became almost COMICAL....except for the people waiting in line behind me as I rifled through my horrible wallets :)

I finally found what seemed to be the perfect wallet......as a tutorial on Pinterest. It took me a couple of hours to complete and I used it today while grocery shopping. It is literally the PERFECT wallet for me! It has spaces for 38 cards....and I can almost fill all the spots.  Though I only use a debit card to pay for things, I have MANY other cards including rewards cards, identifications, gift cards and any others. To say I am thrilled is an understatement. I just adore my new wallet and it was the perfect start to my Pinterest-a-week project :)





Friday, January 23, 2015

Life....

.....has gotten in the way of my blog. I like that. I like that life has made my screen-time diminish. I like that my time has been spent in meetings for school... making healthy recipes... typing up papers for fifth graders who waited until the last minute... cutting coupons...laundry upon laundry, upon laundry.....my sewing business....making endless towers then having my boys crash them down.....organizing my home.......doctors and dentist appointments......the exciting....and the mundane. That is as it should be. I don't apologize for that. But, I know that I have been missing this little outlet of creativity.

I once again recently discovered my other on-line love.....PINTEREST. I have to be careful with this site because it has the potential to eat up all of my time. On there I pin things that I LOVE. I pin projects I want to do, and recipes I want to try. I get really great ideas from other women who think like me. I even pin things that make me laugh like a little girl, just because they brightened my day a little bit. I DO do a lot of the things that I pin.....ie. my "pinteresting summer" series that I have done for 2 years now. But, I don't do nearly enough of what I pin and I REALLY want to! There are too many wonderful, fantastic ideas that just sit out in cyber-space, pinned on Rebekah Lynn's boards, categorized so nicely and then just remain there for all of time.

So, I have made a REALLY FUN pact with myself. I would LOVE to do at least ONE new Pinterest project, recipe or idea per week. Just one a week.....I am not going to go in any kind of an order or make this too complicated. I am just going to do it because it will be fun and I think that it has the potential to enrich my life and the life of my precious people.

I began with need. One thing that I NEED is a good wallet system and I had not found one yet. I have the cash organizers that I make and sell on my site (check them out HERE!) but I have TONS of cards that I need to carry as well and my old wallet recently broke. Because I love to carry things that I have made, I really wanted to find a pattern that I love.....which is where Pinterest come in oh, so handy :) I did find an fantastic tutorial HERE at Infarrantly Creative. (I will definitely be giving credit where credit is due as I blog about my different Pinterest ideas!). I am not done yet......but here is a preview. Because it is almost midnight (go to BED, Rebekah!), I think I better put this project to bed, and head there myself. Can't wait to finish this up tomorrow!