Monday, September 29, 2014

Mailbox Monday - September 29

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm a bit crazy. In addition to all that is going on in our daily lives, I decided to sign up for two online courses through Canvas Network. They are both Laura Ingalls Wilder related courses. I'll have a chance to re-read some of the Little House books and also read a book I bought a while ago, Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life by Pamela Smith Hill.

In other book news, I received Strong Darkness in the mail last week. This is the latest Caitlin Strong novel by Jon Land.


Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong returns in her most thrilling adventure yet

1883: Texas Ranger William Ray Strong teams up with Judge Roy Bean to track down the Old West’s first serial killer, who’s stitching a trail of death along the railroad lines slicing their way through Texas.

The Present: Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong finds herself pursuing another serial killer whose methods are eerily similar to the one pursued by her great-grandfather almost a century-and-a-half before.

But that’s just the beginning of her problems. The son of her boyfriend is nearly beaten to death at Brown University. The investigation leads back to Texas and to the Chinese high-tech company awarded the contract to build the US’s 5G network. Li Zhen, the company’s founder, counts that as the greatest achievement of his career, but it hides his true motivations—nothing less than China’s total domination of the United States.

His plan is backed by elements of the Chinese underworld. Up against an army at Li’s disposal, Caitlin blazes a violent trail across country and continent in search of secrets hidden in the past, but it’s a secret from the present that holds the key. Darkness is coming, and only Caitlin Strong can find the light before it’s too late.

This will be the second Caitlin Strong book I've read and the third one by Land. I hope to get to it in November.

What did you receive last week?

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Friday 56 - Week 196

Welcome to Week 196!

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post to the Linky at Freda's Voice. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.





The thunderous rapids ahead grew louder by the second. By now, they had traveled over twelve miles down the river with no foreseeable way out.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Mailbox Monday - September 22




Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Happy Monday everyone. I received a nice surprise last week in my mailbox. I had pre-ordered My Prairie Cookbook months ago. It arrived in a box underneath a new apple parer-corer that I purchased and I didn't even know it was there until I bothered removing the contents of the box several days later.



In My Prairie Cookbook, Melissa Gilbert, star of Little House on the Prairie, offers fans comforting family recipes and childhood favorites. From prairie breakfasts and picnic lunches to treats inspired by Nellie’s restaurant, the 80 simple and delicious dishes—crispy fried chicken, pot roasts, corn bread, apple pie, and more—present Bonnet Heads (die-hard Little House fans) with the chance to eat like the Ingalls family.

Gilbert’s personal recollections and memorabilia, including behind-the-scenes stories, anecdotes, and more than 75 treasured scrapbook images, accompany the recipes. With answers to the most-asked questions from fans—on topics including the biggest bloopers, on-set romances, and what Michael Landon was really like—My Prairie Cookbook is a cherished memento for Little House fans and fans of simple prairie cooking alike.

I also received the following unsolicited book. I hope I get to read it soon. It sounds like a good one.


After the Affair of the Clockwork Scarab, Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes are eager to help Princess Alix with a new case. Seventeen-year-old Willa Aston is obsessed with spiritual mediums, convinced she is speaking with her mother from beyond the grave. What seems like a case of spiritualist fraud quickly devolves into something far more menacing: someone is trying to make Willa "appear lunatic," using an innocent-looking spiritglass to control her. The list of clues piles up: an unexpected murder, a gang of pickpockets, and the return of vampires to London. But are these events connected? As Uncle Sherlock would say, "there are no coincidences." It will take all of Mina's wit and Evaline's muscle to keep London's sinister underground at bay.

I downloaded this freebie on the 18th. Looks like it's $9.99 now.


Orphaned in Iowa, Annie Kennedy moves to Boston to stay with her spinster aunt. She longs for romance to fill the void left by her parents' death. But when she falls hard for Steven O'Connor, the man who broke an engagement to her sister, Annie is worried. Will he break her heart too when he discovers who she really is?

With heart-pounding romance, intense family drama, and emotional twists and turns, A Love Surrendered is everything Julie Lessman's many fans have been waiting for.

What did you find in your mailbox?

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Friday 56 - Week 195

Welcome to Week 195!

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post to the Linky at Freda's Voice. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.





When they came downstairs a little while later, they were giggling like two teenagers who had snuck into their parents' liquor cabinet. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Christmas Comes Early Giveaway!



It's been too long since we've had a giveaway, so I decided to have Christmas come a little early this year. You have a chance to win a ton of free books for the little ones on your Christmas list. 

Here are the books I'm giving away to one lucky winner! This is close to $170 worth of FREE books!

Books by Liesbet Slegers:
springsummerteachersmeow
vroom2look bunnyme and my day me and my seasons





Books by Guido Van Genechten:

odd one out 1odd one out 2kai



Books by Anita Bijesterbosch and France Quatromme and  Parastou Haghi

hatlullaby



Terms and conditions:
  • By entering, you confirm you are 18 years of age or older.
  • Contest open to residents of the United States only with a U.S. mailing address.
  • Contest runs from 9/16/14 - 9/30/14.
  • One winner will be selected from eligible entries.
  • Winner will be notified by email and have 72 hours to claim the prize before a new winner is selected.
  • Prize will be shipped via U.S.P.S.
  • This blog and its sponsors are not responsible for items lost or damaged in shipment.
  • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
Enter using the link to the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mailbox Monday - September 15




Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Work has been keeping me busy. I am participating in this great peak performer class that I have some homework for, in addition to my showings and other fun things. I'm loving it and kicking myself for not getting into the real estate business sooner.

The Lil' Princess has started soccer and violin. She wants to pick up band this year, too. We'll see how it goes. If her grades go down she will need to drop something. She and the Lil' Diva have also started dance for the year. They picked up ballet in addition to tap and hip-hop. At least they won't be bored.

I received two books last week that I had requested for review.


Is the land of Asia a mystery to your kids? Do they know who lives there? Do they know how to pray for them? Asia is home to more than fifty countries and territories and roughly three-fifths of the world’s population. Could you use some help introducing your family to this vast land? This sixteen-week course presents a brief picture of six nations. It is by no means all encompassing. Its purpose is to introduce your students to the people of Asia, share their stories, and spark curiosity.

I pray that the course does much more than that, however. I pray that through meeting just a few of our brothers and sisters who live in cities and villages with names that are hard to pronounce that your children feel more connected with those who are suffering for their faith in Christ. Through stories and activities, we’ll meet the people of Laos, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Iran, and Vietnam. We’ll get to know the children of these lands and hear about their experiences. Most of all, we’ll pray for them and their families. Won’t you join us?

This book is designed with children ages 8-12 in mind but can easily be used with older students as well.


Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kid's Guide to Feelings is an essential guidebook for adults in helping children identify and understand their emotions. Each of the eight emotions is clearly defined thorough vignettes and illustrations, keeping both adult and child captivated, thus creating an opportune time for discussion. By recognizing that all humans experience these emotions throughout their lives, the book provides a true sense of comfort. Emotions are not to be shunned, but rather embraced and explained to provide a positive development environment for all children.

The next few came together unsolicited from the publisher. I'm not going to review them, but I'll probably make mention of them at my kid's book blog. This author is one of my favorites for preschool books.


Is bunny playing on the swings all by himself? And who is gliding down the slide? This playful, interactive book offers a surprise on every page, inviting children to slide the flap to look at a whole new picture. A delightful little book in which toddlers can look and move to find the hidden pictures at the playground.



Is the pilot flying all alone in his plane? And will the fast car win the race? A delightful little book in which toddlers can look and move to find the hidden pictures. The unique extending system in this playful, interactive book offers a surprise on every page, inviting children to slide the flap to look at a whole new picture.


It’s a nice day today. I put on my bib and eat breakfast. Yummy. Then I go and play. I also take a bath today. I wash myself and play with my boat. Then it’s time for bed. An ideal book for babies, toddlers and preschoolers to learn all about what happens in a day.


How fun the four seasons are! In winter I love to play in the snow and in spring beautiful blossoms grow on the trees. In summer the sun shines nice and warm and in fall I love to jump in the puddles. Everything about the seasons of the year that toddlers and preschoolers would want to (and need to) know. Filled with recognizable pictures, these books stimulate the language development of young children. Printed on thick and sturdy paper, with round corners and a soft quilted cover, it makes a sturdy and delightful gift.

I picked up this Kindle freebie for myself too.


Some men don't realize the right woman is the one they aren't pursuing....

As soon as Sally Larson meets Rick Johnson, she knows he's the one for her. The catch? He's interested in her friend, Ethel Mae. But Sally has a plan. With Ethel Mae's help, she convinces Rick that the only way he'll get Ethel Mae is to make her jealous. So he agrees to pretend to be interested in Sally in order to get Ethel Mae's attention.

But Rick has a trick or two up his sleeve, and Sally just might find that the one playing cat is really the mouse.

What did you mailbox look like this week?

P.S. Look for a huge kid's picture book giveaway tomorrow!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tips for Saving Time in the Kitchen



Now that I am back to work, I find juggling everything a bit stressful at times. One thing I really miss is planning out my meals and being able to easily accomplish grocery shopping. I don't want to sacrifice healthy meals for our family even if I'm not spending as much time at home. Here are a few links with time saving tips for the kitchen:

Eating Well offers their "Best Time-Saving Ingredients & Cooking Tips" at http://www.eatingwell.com/healthy_cooking/healthy_cooking_101_basics_techniques/kitchen_tips_techniques/how_to_save_time_time_saving_ingredients

At HowStuffWorks, you can find these "10 Time-saving Tips in the Kitchen" at http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/menus/10-time-saving-tips-in-the-kitchen.htm

Lifehacker shares "20+ Time-Saving Cooking Tips from Chefs and Food Experts" at http://lifehacker.com/20-time-saving-cooking-tips-from-chefs-and-food-exper-1503379557

Finally, This Mama Loves features this article with "Time saving tips for kitchen cleanup" at http://www.thismamaloves.com/time-saving-tips-kitchen-cleanup/  I'm a big clean as I go kind of person.

What is your favorite way to save time in the kitchen?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In the News - No Homework Policy



I'm a day late with this, but I found such an interesting topic on a local news website that I didn't want to forget it.

According to this article by Juli Mcdonald from WWLP, some schools across the United States are experimenting with a no homework policy. Many families in these districts are seeking more family time without the text books. The article also cites a recent NBC poll that states 80 percent of those surveyed felt students were assigned too much homework.

If you have children in school, on average how much homework do they have each night? I have to admit to seeing a lessening of homework over the past year for our girls. I'm certainly not complaining. Getting kids to do homework can be quite a battle--especially this time of year when the weather is still nice and they would rather be outside hanging with friends. My girls probably spend 20 - 30 minutes on homework each night.

Would you support a no homework policy in your school district?

Wordless Wednesday


Monday, September 8, 2014

Mailbox Monday - September 8

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Another busy week gone. I swear, I can barely keep up with the laundry these days. Good thing I still make time for reading almost daily.

This week I received an unsolicited book from Random House. I'm not sure if I'll read it yet. I have so many other books that I already want to read, I might not have time for this one.


For fans of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and A Discovery of Witches comes a brilliantly imagined debut novel brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic.

Revelation “Reve” Dyer grew up with her grandmother’s family stories, stretching back centuries to Reve’s ancestors, who founded the town of Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Their history is steeped in secrets, for few outsiders know that an ancient magic runs in the Dyer women’s blood, and that Reve is a magician whose powers are all too real.

Reve and her husband are world-famous Las Vegas illusionists. They have three lovely young daughters, a beautiful home, and what seems like a charmed life. But Reve’s world is shattered when an intruder alters her trick pistol and she accidentally shoots and kills her beloved husband onstage.

Fearing for her daughters’ lives, Reve flees with them to the place she has always felt safest—an antiquated farmhouse in the forest of Hawley Five Corners, where the magic of her ancestors reigns, and her oldest friend—and first love—is the town’s chief of police. Here, in the forest, with its undeniable air of enchantment, Reve hopes she and her girls will be protected.

Delving into the past for answers, Reve is drawn deeper into her family’s legends. What she discovers is The Hawley Book of the Dead, an ancient leather-bound journal holding mysterious mythic power. As she pieces together the truth behind the book, Reve will have to shield herself and her daughters against an uncertain, increasingly dangerous fate. For soon it becomes clear that the stranger who upended Reve’s life in Las Vegas has followed her to Hawley—and that she has something he desperately wants.

Brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic, The Hawley Book of the Dead is a brilliantly imagined debut novel from a riveting new voice.

The following are Kindle freebies:


Is a ghost haunting the Oceanside Middle School auditorium? What else could explain the disasters surrounding the school play—everything from missing scripts to a falling spotlight and damaged props? All seventh grader Gabby St. Claire has dreamed about is being a part of her school’s musical. But a series of unfortunate events threatens to shut down the whole production. While trying to track down the culprit and save her fifteen minutes of fame, she also has to manage impossible teachers, cliques, her dysfunctional family, and a secret she can’t even tell her best friend. Will Gabby figure out who or what is sabotaging the show . . . or will it be curtains for her and the rest of the cast?


The Civil War has ended, but in Katie Calloway's Georgia home conflict still rages. To protect herself and her young brother from her violent and unstable husband, she flees north, finding anonymity and sanctuary as the cook in a Northwoods lumber camp. The camp owner, Robert Foster, wonders if the lovely woman he's hired has the grit to survive the never-ending work and harsh conditions of a remote pine forest in winter. Katie wonders if she can keep her past a secret from a man she is slowly growing to love.

With grace and skill, Serena Miller brings to life a bygone era. From the ethereal, snowy forest and the warm cookstove to the rowdy shanty boys and the jagged edges of the saw, every detail is perfectly rendered, transporting the reader back to the time when pine was king, men were made of iron, and rivers were choked with logs on the way to the sawmills. Readers will have a hard time leaving the Northwoods when they turn the last page.

What was in your mailbox?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Unlocking Your Spiritual Greatness Book Blitz - Win $25 Amazon Gift Card

Title of Book # 1: Unlocking Your Spiritual Greatness

ISBN:  978-1-105-46980-0
Genre: Spiritual Maturity, Christianity, Discipleship Training
Publisher: LuLu Enterprises, Inc.
Publication Date: 2005, 2011

Just like there are specific physical exercises that are good for physical conditioning, there are specific spiritual exercises that are good, in fact, essential for our spiritual conditioning and growth. If you want to grow spiritually, you have to do spiritual exercises. (1Timothy 4:8)

This book looks to Jesus for “duplicate-able” activities for the model for our growth. For years Christian writers have identified specific activities regularly evidenced in his earthly life and called them Spiritual or Christian Disciplines. I believe that if it was useful for Jesus to be disciplined in his worship and praise to God, then it is useful for us as well. Further, I believe that the inclusion of Christian Disciplines in our lives, or what I call the Disciplined Training Approach places us in obedient submission to God and that is where we are supposed to be. 


Book excerpt:

God has outlined a plan for living that when followed will bring us into a closer fellowship with Him. All the treasure in the world will not purchase it, but God will provide it for free to whosoever really wants it. No matter how worthless you may think you are, you can become one of the greatest treasures in the world.  You can become the person God wants you to be, equipped with all the supernatural power for the Kingdom work He wants you to do!  

Simply put, if you hear what God tells you, trust that He will not lead you astray and do what you’re told to do, you will experience the peace God planned for you. More than that, the consequences of ignoring God can be anxiety, frustration, depression and even eternal separation from Him.

People, however, are not simple.  In fact, we go to great lengths to take something simple and complicate it.  Our relationship with God should be personal, based on the time we spend with Him.  We can’t manufacture a relationship with Him, but we can come to know him based on our personal experiences.

If you want to be blessed, comforted or reassured in a small way, then exercise a small amount of faith.  If however, you need your life changed… it may take more. It starts with regular prayer, regular meditation and regular listening. It continues when we do things outside our comfort zone and that’s exactly where faith begins.

Your life will change when you realize God’s ability
zone is greater than your comfort zone.


Purchase at


Title of Book #2   God’s Answer, Praying the Scriptures Back to God

God gave us the Bible as a constant reminder of His love and plan for us. More than a historical document, it is truly alive. As we read His Word and become heart-linked with Him, a supernatural transformation begins to take place in us.  God’s Word is alive and we can’t comprehend it all at once. That explains why you can read a passage several times over weeks or months and receive a different message from the same verses.
God gave us prayer as an avenue or vehicle that He designed for us so we could be in constant communication with Him. God’s Answer seeks to bring you to His Throne of Grace, where prayers are answered, (Hebrews 4:16) so that you can claim the promises God makes about today’s problems. That’s a tall order, so let’s look at what He said about prayer in His Living Word, the Bible.

Several times He promises us that He will hear and in fact, answer our prayers. It would be great to think that we always get what we want or that we could just name it and claim it, but that simply is not the case. What we can claim is the promises God makes and we will be exploring those. Let’s examine a few passages and see what they reveal beyond God hearing us and answering our prayers.
Purchase at


Title of Book #3        A Place of Faith, When There is No Place Else to Go

What or where is the place of faith?  Is it a physical location? No, it is where we are when we step out into the unknown in a blind, yet obedient faith because that is all we have left.  Our Christian vocabulary is filled with ideas, quotes and even promises from God that are meant for comfort and reassurance. As real as God’s Word is, what happens when all has been recalled and rehearsed and we still find ourselves alone at the place of faith. A Place of Faith defines faith from a real and practical viewpoint, then develops it’s progression from a measure of faith, to a step and then a leap of faith.  Most importantly, time is spent on the Enemy of Faith and the Trial of Faith and finally, The Results of Faith. Each chapter concludes with a hymn that reinforces the points made in the chapter and a few reflection questions.

Purchase at


Title of Book #4  Living on the Dark Side of Faith

While faith has two sides, they are both sides of the same thing. The word faith cannot be substituted for the word belief or theology. It is more than a collection of thoughts about religion. It is more than simply believing in the existence of God, the demons in Hell do that. The faith we speak of is in God and how, though we may not see how, He will provide for His beloved. The faith we have is certain; it is the evidence of things to come. It begins with a measure and increases with experience and that often means a trial or test of our faith.

Purchase at


About the author:

Jim Greene makes his home in Knoxville, TN in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. An avid backpacker, his countless hours in the outdoors have often blessed him with many topics to write about.
As a layman Sunday School teacher, he challenges himself and his class to strive for and enjoy a closer relationship with God. Each of his books look to God as the ultimate authority in our lives. He is the author of Unlocking Your Spiritual Greatness, God’s Answer, A Place of Faith, When There is Nowhere Else to Go, and Living on the Dark Side of Faith. His next book is entitled, When Waiting isn’t Working.
Jim feels God speaks to him personally through journaling and his books primarily came to answer a question in his life. They may just help you too.

Pump Up Your Book and Jim are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!
Terms & Conditions:
§  By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
§  One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the prize.
§  This giveaway begins September 2 and ends on September 26, 2014.
§  Winner will be contacted via email on October 1, 2014.
§  Winner has 72 hours to reply.
§  VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Unlocking Your Spiritual Greatness Book Blitz Schedule

September 2

September 3

September 4

September 5

September 8

September 9

September 10

September 11

September 12

September 15

September 16

September 17

September 18

September 19

September 22
September 23

September 24

September 25

September 26

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

In the News: National Park Service to Require Permits for "Rim to Rim" Hike/Run


The National Park Service recently announced that as of September 15, a permit will be required for groups between 2 and 30 to make the "rim to rim" hike or run due to an increase in rescue calls caused by the growing number of amateur athletes attempting the trip. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, park officials believe this will allow them to keep better track of who is on the trails and help them manage their stretched resources.

You can read more at http://online.wsj.com/articles/grand-canyon-to-charge-runners-a-fee-1409353672

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mailbox Monday - Sept 1

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Well, it sure has been a while. We're home from Disney and I'm trying to get this blog back on track. It's been tough because I've been working more than I thought I would be right now.

I haven't been taking on many new books to review, so my incoming mail has slowed down. This one arrived while we were on vacation.


Many girls in elementary and middle school fall in love with the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. What they don’t always realize is that Wilder’s books are autobiographical. This narrative biography describes more of the details of the young Laura’s real life as a young pioneer homesteading with her family on many adventurous journeys. This biography, complete with charming illustrations, points out the differences between the fictional series as well as the many similarities. It’s a fascinating story of a much-celebrated writer.

I bought the following one right before we went away. I've been wanting to read this series for a long time.


Some summers are just destined to be pretty

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer — they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

What did you receive in your mailbox?