Sunday, February 28, 2010

Somewhere to Belong

Johanna Ilg has lived her entire life in Main Amana, one of the seven villages settled by devout Christians who believe in cooperative living, a simple lifestyle, and faithful service to God. Although she’s always longed to see the outside world, Johanna believes her future is rooted in Amana. But when she learns a troubling secret, the world she thought she knew is shattered. Is this truly where she belongs?



Berta Schumacher has lived a privileged life in Chicago, so when her parents decide they want a simpler life in Amana, Iowa, she resists. Under the strictures of the Amana villages, her rebellion reaches new heights. Will her heart ever be content among the plain people of Amana?



If you would like to read the first chapter of Somewhere to Belong , go HERE

Book Review:

Unfortunately, this book has not arrived in the mail yet so I can't give you a review.    However, I can tell you that Judith Miller is an amazing author and I cannot wait to read this when it does arrive!   I fully expect to to be another wonderful book.

This book provided for review by Bethany Publishing and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.

Friday, February 26, 2010

My Addiction

On March 1st I am seriously going to need some professional help for my addiction.     I am going to have to learn how to live in the real world again.    I will actually be able to go to the grocery store without worrying about whether or not I am missing an Olympic event.     Yes, that is my addiction.    The Olympics.  


I feel like I have been living the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat along with the amazing athletes.     I have screamed like a teenager when Lindsey Vonn received her gold medal. 

My boys looked at my funny when they caught me sweeping the kitchen in a strange new way.     (Hey... it works for the women of the curling team!)  

I sobbed like a baby when the Canadian ice skater gave her freestyle performance after the death of her mom.   *sniff*  Still chokes me up.

Thought I was having a heart attack the night the women's bobsled team flipped over and ejected the girl from the sled but then realized I was just holding my breath too long.


Skipped an invitation to go out someplace because I didn't want to miss watching Apollo Ohno skate in one of his events.    So glad because that night he became Apollo 7!   Go, Go, Ohno!  

Signed the boys up for Olympic Physics classes just so I could feed my addiction and learn even more about each of the sports.    What?   It was science, physics and olympics all wrapped up in one!

Who didn't love the gravity defying Shaun White?    Hats off to his mom.     I would have had heart failure before now watching him do all that crazy stuff.

Oh man, who am I kidding?   There is no help for me.   I LOVE the Olympics.    Always have and always will.      Come on 2012 Summer Olympics.      Only 881 days to go!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Need A Brick

Growing up whenever my Daddy thought we were growing too fast he would say, "Do I need to put a brick on your head?"    Of course we would always say "No, Daddy!" and walk away thinking he was being so silly.

Tonight as we were having family prayers all of a sudden I heard this distinctly "male" voice.   I admit it.    I opened my eyes.   I knew it without opening my eyes, but somehow I just needed to see that voice coming out of my little boy's face.    When did Big Guy's voice start changing?   

Just last week he walked in and said, "Mom, whenever we have the money I think I need new church shoes."    I took him this past weekend and he wasn't kidding.    His foot had grown two shoe sizes.     How did his feet grow so quickly?

He is tall enough to kiss me goodnight on the cheek now, but I still vividly remember him wrapping his little arms around my legs and saying, "Mama.   Mama.   Up!  Up!"

Two weeks ago after class he asked if we could make a stop at Game Stop.   This isn't an unusual request for him since this is his absolute favorite place to go and the only place he would willing "shop".     I knew he had a gift card so I agreed.      When Big Guy and Little Guy walked out, only Little Guy had a package.    Big Guy was empty handed but had a huge grin on his face.     His purpose for going to Game Stop?   To buy his brother a new game to play on his Playstation.      When he did become such a joyful and sacrificial giver?

I took this pic of him this past Monday.     He was sitting in that chair and turned on Sesame Street because he knows how much MM and LK love the opening song.    They ran to sit with him.


Wasn't it just yesterday that my Big Guy was the same size as MM and LK?     I think I need to put a brick on his head.

New Jewelry Is So Fun

I love jewelry, but it is not something that I buy for myself.      I was thrilled when I was contacted by Sarah of Jewelry Art Designs to consider reviewing a piece of jewelry from her website.   

Have you ever dreamed of someone just allowing you to shop?     Me too!    I just enjoyed being able to browse around the website knowing that I could pick something out.

I loved this ring.   It was called a promise ring and I really would promise to wear it every day!  


What about this pave circle pendant?

 

In the end, I decided to pick a pair of sterling silver circle hoop earrings.    I haven't gotten a new pair of earrings in forever and that is one of the only pieces of jewelry I wear every day.

I was so impressed when the earrings arrived because they were in this precious box.    You could just put a cute bow on that and it would be gift ready!


 
I opened that cute box to find my earrings.    I will admit that when I first saw them I thought, "Oh my!  Those are small.  Are they going to look right on my fat earlobes?"
To give you an idea of their size.    Here they are next to a ruler:
 

I have had a chance to wear them to my son's basketball game, to church and to sign language class.    I asked my sister to try them on so I could see what they look like on her.      We both agreed that since these are such petite earrings where your ears are pierced makes a big difference on how these will look on you.    They looked really great on my sister, but they seem to poke out slightly on me.     

Here I am wearing them:


 
I loved the fact that these were SO comfortable to wear and I never noticed them after I put them on.    I think these would be a very sweet selection for a lot of age ranges from young girls to women.

And YOU get a chance to win $5,000 of her jewelry to spend any way you like.      Simply display one of the Lushae jewelry badges on your blog (like my cute one in the sidebar), website or social profile page and be automatically entered each and every month. The sweepstake giveaway is open to all countries.  She will also draw $200 monthly to a random winner.

Be sure and follow Sarah on Twitter to get the latest information about what is going on and see the latest deals!
 
Thanks, Sarah, for allowing me to enjoy your wonderful jewelry!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Deep Harbor


SOME TIES CAN NEVER BE BROKEN

As they build new lives in America, Tora, Elsa, Kaatje, and Karl each experience a personal tragedy that threatens to destroy everything they left Norway to find. Tora’s web of lies has cost her a successful future with the man she loves. When tragedy strikes, Elsa must draw upon her faith and the strength she can muster to discover who she is and the path she must follow. After her husband’s disappearance, Kaatje struggles to raise two young daughters and tend her farm, and Karl finds himself caught in a life of loneliness and emptiness. Only by placing their trust in God—and in each other—will they pass through these rough waters and find the safety of the harbor.

From the richly forested banks of the Washington Territory to the burgeoning city of Yokohama and across the turbulent, danger-filled waves of the open sea—experience the epic saga of perseverance, pain, faith, and calling in the Northern Lights series.

Book Description

Deep Harbor is classic Lisa Tawn Bergen.    She is amazing at writing historical fiction and this book is no exception.      There is a character for everyone to identify with in this book, but truly you will become to each character as you are reading.      A lifetime of hurt, struggle, joy, desires, love, and pain are packed within the pages of this book.     You may recognize these characters if you read the first book in this series called Captain's Bride.

Since this is part of Waterbrook Multnomah's spring break series, you will enjoy taking a trip to Norway and then across the ocean to America.     Isn't that a great spring break trip?      I thought so too.   

This book provided for review by Waterbrook Multnomah.

IHOP National Pancake Day Celebration

 

IHOP is giving away free pancakes for National Pancake Day  TODAY! 
IHOP has been celebrating National Pancake Day since 2006 and has raised $3.25 million to support local charities.    This year they will be taking donations for local Children's Hospitals.    What a great opportunity to support our local Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital!
Go here for all the details! 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Secrets


Secrets
by Robin Jones Gunn

Jessica has moved to a new town to start a new life. But a friendly fire-fighter and a suspicious boss both want to know what she’s hiding.    

Jessica ran from her past...but can she hide from love?

Jessica Morgan wants desperately to forget the past and begin a new life. She chooses a small, peaceful town tucked away in Oregon’s Willamette Valley as the place to start over—Glenbrooke. Once there, Jessica conceals her identity from the intriguing personalities she meets—including the compassionate paramedic who desires to protect her and the jealous woman who wants nothing more than to destroy her.

Will Jessica’s deceit ruin all hope for the future? Or will she find a deeper peace that allows her to stop hiding the truth from those who love her most of all? 

Book Description
Waterbrook Multnomah has introduced a line of value Christian fiction which will be easy on your travel budget this spring break, but will allow you travel to all kinds of places.    At a price of $5.99, everyone can afford to take a break this spring!

Secrets takes you to the Willamette Valley of Oregon.    It also takes me back to the place where I first fell in love with Christian fiction.     This is a classic story about the choices we make in our lives.     Jessica's choices have led her down paths that God doesn't necessarily intend her to go, but despite that fact, God can use our mess ups and use them for His good.      

Despite all her deception, Jessica has the opportunity to find an entire new life with the paramedic who saves her life from a car wreck as she arrives into town.

You know those books that say, "If you don't enjoy this book we'll give you your money back."   This book should have a sticker like that!

This book provided for review by Waterbrook Multnomah.


Cake Boss is Safe

Back in January I told you that I wasn't making New Year's resolutions, but I wanted to challenge myself to learn a few new things this year.     One of the things on my list to learn has been to decorate cakes.     I always thought it would be fun to just learn some basics.      

Little Guy and I ran through Michaels a few weeks ago and there was a Wilton demonstrator there and they were having a special on their classes which allowed you to sign up for 50% off plus they gave you a coupon for an additional $5 off.     We decided that we would jump in and take Course 1.

We have a few classes left.      We have really enjoyed taking this class, but trust me when I say that the Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes are very safe with their business!   Ha!


Little Guy took this picture of his first cake.     He decided to put his initial on it as well as stars, clouds, meteors, the moon and a planet.


Here is my first cake.    I went with basics to try to practice some of the techniques she was teaching us in class.    Boring, but finished.


 



We decided to challenge ourselves a little.     When it was our turn to take snacks for Little Guy's basketball game we made sugar cookies and decorated them to look like basketballs.      We had so much fun doing this!   (Sorry this is such a bad pic.   I took it with my cell phone.)




Friday, February 19, 2010

The Long Way Home

From Edgar Award winning and best-selling author Andrew Klavan comes the second novel in the Homelanders series.

Charlie West was an ordinary high school kid who went to bed one night and woke up in the clutches of terrorists and wanted by the police for murder.

Now, with both the terrorists and the cops on his trail, Charlie makes his way home to find some answers. Holed up in an abandoned mansion, Charlie is joined by his high school buddies as he tries to find the truth about a murder he can't remember--and recover the love he can't forget.

"A thriller that reads like a teenage version of 24...an adrenaline-pumping adventure." 

Book Description:
As soon as I saw the review quote that said this was a thriller that read like a teenage version of 24, I knew I had to request this book.   Not only for me, but for my husband and son.     My husband and I are HUGE fans of 24.   My son doesn't watch, but I knew he would love a book with that kind of action.   

My husband actually read this before me and judging by the fact that he read this every time he had a free second, I believe he agrees with me, this is an action packed book from beginning to end.     Despite the fact this was the second book in a series, I did not feel as though I was trying to fill in gaps in the story line perhaps due to all the flashbacks that were provided.

 Charlie West, the main character, has been thrown into an adult world despite being a teenager.     It is an action packed, wild ride considering he can't remember the previous year and somehow during that year he became involved with terrorists.    Hoping to find answers to what has gone on, he returns to his home to find answers.

My advice to you is to read this quick before your family grabs it or you may be in a long line before you get your chance!

Linky Love: Peachy Cheap

Peachycheap

I am.  I really and truly am.   I am addicted to PeachyCheap.com.   But don't tell my hubs, OK?    Besides, once you click that link and discover that they offer you a new ridiculously outrageous peachy cheap deal every day you won't want your husband to know either!

Excuse me.    I ordered some ribbon last week and I have been running to the mailbox every day hoping to grab it before he finds it.    Tell me you don't do that too!?!?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Looking for Color In My Button Jar

Yesterday was Random Acts of Kindness day.    I had challenged the boys to find ways to perform some random acts of kindness.     As for me, I knew what I was going to do.    I was going to clean off our kitchen table.    It was in terrible shape.    Somehow it had become the dumping ground for everything over the past couple of weeks and I knew that it was driving hubs crazy.      After cleaning it off I started looking for something to put on the table to "decorate" it.  

I found this table runner and a couple of hurricanes and put it on the table.
 
Hmmm....  It needs some candles.
 
It kept standing there thinking that it still needed color.    I walked around the house wondering what I could do to add some color.     I guess I have a touch of spring fever.     I walked through my bedroom and spotted this...
 
My button jar!    Have I ever mentioned that I have a button jar?     Sounds crazy since I don't sew, but I just can't seem to throw away all those extra buttons that come with outfits.      It is amazing the amount of buttons that I have managed to collect in the last 25 years.      Anyway, I grabbed my button jar and decided that they would add just the color that I needed.
 
That button jar has inspired me and I have a few other ideas, but for now I am happy to have this splash of color on my kitchen table AND my hubs was really happy to come home to a table that was clean again.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Grab Them Before They Are Gone


I love after holiday sales.    I could not think of a thing I needed from the Valentine after holiday sales so I didn't go out yesterday to look.    But this morning it hit me that there is one thing I always buy at the sales after Valentine's Day....


 
They are PERFECT to put away for all your St. Patrick's Day baking that you will be doing in a few weeks.   Stock up now!

For Andrew

Andrew, I don't know what project you had to draw these for, but they are awesome!     Hope this helps you!










Squeezing Every Ounce of Fun

The boys were determined to squeeze every ounce of fun out of the snow.    On Saturday morning we woke up and realized that everything had pretty much frozen to ice overnight.    We packed up the boys boogie boards and drove over to the big hills of the reservoir.     It was one huge sheet of ice.      They had a blast!

 
Who knew the boogie board we took to the beach would work so well in snow?

 
 
  

And of course, when they were exhausted, we went home for even MORE hot chocolate!

 

  

And then head back out to play some more...

 

We love the snow.    Can you tell?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow Day

 
Hubs built this fort to take cover during the snowball fight



Little Guy was not going to be outdone so he decided to built his own fort



One of my friends said his shelter looked like a giant stack of marshmallows!



While hubs and Little Guy were building, Big Guy pulled out his boogie board that he takes to the beach to see how well it worked on the snow.    Worked like a dream.


Didn't take little brother long to decide to join in.



Silly boy up in the tree.



They look so innocent don't they?   This is right before they pounded me with snowballs.

 
I absolutely love this picture of Big Guy.


Little Guy LOVED the snow.   He was out at 6 in the morning and we had to drag him in at 11:30 to warm up and get lunch.    When a friend called to invite him over to play, he was back out the door.


My biggest kid!    None of my guys wanted to come in from the snow.    I just kept delivering mugs of hot chocolate to them outside.


The neighbor's cat.    
I don't know what she thought about the snow, but I am sure she wondered why in the world we were all outside when we could have been in the warm house!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow in Mississippi

You may think I am kidding, but truly, snow like this is once in a lifetime for Mississippi.   

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Next post... my three boys having fun in the snow