Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review of Courageous, A Novel.

From the creators of Fireproof comes an inspiring new story about everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, and their partners willingly stand up to the worst the world can offer. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood. While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they’re quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.
They know that God desires to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, but their children are beginning to drift farther and farther away from them. Will they be able to find a way to serve and protect those who are most dear to them? When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God . . . and to their children?

MY REVIEW-WOW!! This is about all I am going to say about this book. I have been anxiously awaiting the next film from the Kendrick brothers after watching Fireproof. I get the updates, have the wallpaper on my laptop and I now have the book!

Now, I don't want to spoil anything for those who have not watched the movie or have not read the book. So I am going to be somewhat cryptic in this review. Not like my normal ones where people can know who I am talking about, etc. I just really want to give a good review for this, but I want to keep things a secret for those of you with the pleasure of watching this book come to life in the film. The book is written by Randy Alcorn and I have to tell you, I have loved many of his other books. So even if this wasn't actually a screenplay by Stephen Kendrick, I would have liked the book:) But having this a novelization of the film by the Kendricks just makes it that much better. There is actually only 20% taken from the film itself and Randy Alcorn made the rest of the book. So I was glad about that.

It is an excellent plot, a great cast of characters and soo many good things about this. I have to say my favorite is probably Adam. But the rest of the characters were soo good it was hard to pick out a favorite. There were several times were I was in tears and then many times of such encouragement and wisdom. This book has soo many strong points to it I couldn't even start to tell you about them.

The action and adventure is not lacking either. There is one part with a daughter that I really loved. Again, sorry I can't tell you more:) This is such a great book for fathers to read with their sons. With their families would be wonderful but especially with their sons. Take the message of this book and train your children with it. If you are waiting for the film, please pick up a copy of this book anyways. You will want to read it after you watch the film. And the pictures inside make it a really nice copy. Excellent book with a strong plot. Great for any Christian!!

According to FTC Disclosures, I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Media. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Some Ideas For Protecting A Family Nest.

Howdy everybody! It has been a little bit since I last had a Social Moms writing opportunity. Which is why I was soooo excited to get that little email in my inbox today! And guess who they have teamed up with this time around? Allstate Insurance!! So, today I have the opportunity to give you some ideas for protecting the family nest. I know some people who don't ever dream of having one but I myself personally try to put away some every month. Of course, it is probably nowhere near what many of you do but I like to have my own little egg nest:) The experts say it is best to insure 5-10 times your income. And I just had to share this little tip that I found sooo interesting, as I am sure all the mothers who read this post will as well.

How many people would have to be hired to do all the things you do for your family? estimates the average stay-at-home mom would earn $117,867 per year if she were paid for all the work she does.

Can you imagine? Anyways, here are some of my ideas. I expect you, my readers, to leave a comment with your tip. Whether it is something I already mentioned or not, I like to know people are reading my posts:D You know how that goes. So here goes!

1.Save Something Every Month.
I know saving and insurance are two different things, but this would be my utmost important tip. Whether it is just a little bit or a lot, saving really helps when there is a problem. It may not solve everything, and that is where insurance comes into play, but it can really be a big help. Even if you are out of work for a couple weeks, if you have some money saved up, things will look better.

2.Spend Sparingly.
I know, I know, don't we all wish we could spend sparingly? But in all reality I think many of us could do better than we are. That little nest will not grow unless we watch over it and stand guard. So even if we have to back off from our daily Starbucks, or that nice rifle that the men want, in the long run it is better to put it in the nest. You don't really need that coffee anyways, right?

3.Check Into All The Available Options.
You may not think you have enough money to get insurance. But in all reality, it is cheaper today than you realize. Allstate has many options available and it could be as low as $20 a month. It is worth the effort and the money to get the insurance. You never know when you will need it. Maybe you won't ever need it, but it is much better to be prepared for anything that may happen. Look at books about financial saving. Ask a consultant. There are many options out there.

So there you have it. I don't have a whole lot to say but hopefully it has helped somebody. Check out Allstate Insurance when you get a minute and see what they have to offer. There are many insurance places that offer free consultations and it is worth your time to go in and see what they say. They can explain things that maybe you haven't understood before. Make sure you save and that you are stingy:) Nah, just kidding, but make sure you have that little egg nest for savings. And like always, if you have an idea or a comment, leave it below. Thanks!!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Allstate blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Thunder in the Morning Calm by Don Brown CFBA Blog Tour!!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Thunder in the Morning Calm
Zondervan (August 2, 2011)
Don Brown


DON BROWN, a former U.S. Navy JAG Officer, is the author of Zondervan’s riveting NAVY JUSTICE SERIES, a dynamic storyline chronicling the life and adventures of JAG officer ZACK BREWER. After TREASON, his first novel in the NAVY JUSTICE SERIES, was published to rave reviews in 2005, drawing comparisons to the writing style of John Grisham, Don Brown was named as co-chairman of national I LOVE TO WRITE DAY, an event recognized by the governors of nine states to promote writing throughout the nation, and especially among the nation’s schools.

Paying no homage to political correctness, Don's writing style is described as “gripping,” casting an entertaining and educational spin on a wide-range of current issues, from radical Islamic infiltration of the military, to the explosive issue of gays in the military, to the modern day issues of presidential politics in the early 21st Century.

Don graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1982, and after finishing law school, continued his post-graduate studies through the Naval War College, earning the Navy’s nonresident certificate in International Law.

During his five years on active duty in the Navy, Don served in the Pentagon, was published in the Naval Law Review, and was also a recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.


Lieutenant Commander 'Gunner' McCormick is assigned as an intelligence officer to Carrier Strike Force 10, being deployed to the Yellow Sea at the invitation of South Korea for joint exercises with the US Navy. During his pre-deployment briefing, he discovers a TOP-SECRET MEMO revealing rumors that the North Koreans may still be holding a handful of elderly Americans from the Korean War in secret prison camps.

As it happens, Gunner's grandfather, who was a young marine officer in the Korean War, disappeared at Chosin Reservoir over 60 years ago and is still listed as MIA in North Korea. Sworn to silence about what he has read, the top-secret memo eats at him. Gunner decides to spend all his inheritance and break every military regulation in the book to finance his own three-man commando squad on a suicide mission north of the DMZ to search for clues about the fate of his grandfather.

Risking his career, his fortune, and his life, Gunner will get his answers, or he will die trying.

Don Brown is building a loyal fan base by writing what he knows best: thrillers with heart. A former Navy JAG officer and action officer in the Pentagon, Brown pens action-packed plots and finely-drawn characters that are credible and compelling. Thunder in the Morning Calm is a novel of bravery, duty, and family love that will keep readers of all ages reading straight through to the last page.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Thunder in the Morning Calm , go HERE

MY REVIEW-I have had the honor of reading a couple of Don Brown's other books. These are excellent books so I was excited to get to review this one as well. I would have to say this is probably my favorite out of them all! The whole Marine ideal of not leaving anyone behind, the fight for their lives, the suicide mission, all of it! Don runs you through the gauntlet of emotions in this book. From fighting tears, cheering on Gunner and his crew, hoping that Pak makes it alive. This is a wonderful book with a lot in it! The only thing I didn't care for was the couple swear words in it. That kind of threw me off. Anxiously awaiting the next novel!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Solar Solutions for Internet Addicts Like Me

With the people on the east coast getting hit by Hurricane Irene, this is a really good time to talk about this topic right now. I have heard that many people are without power and I have to tell you, if I did not have the internet for more than a couple days, I would have a really hard time. I know there are probably more important things that they are thinking about right now, but I have heard from some of them that the internet is kind of like a lifeline to let their friends and family know they are okay. One thing that I found that would help me stay up and live on the internet is portable solar power. I had not really looked into this type of thing but with the weather being as bad as it is recently, this has been on my check list.

One thing I like with the solar power is that you are not often without it. Whether your electric is out because of a downed electric pole or from something worse like a storm, you can normally charge just about anything, even though there can be a delay depending on how bad the weather is. I was amazed when I went searching at the types of things you can power up and the time frame it takes to charge them. If you have never looked into this, you can always check it out online.

I am participating in a blog campaign from Bucks2Blog for a portable solar
company and was compensated. However, the views and opinions are my

Some Tips for Long Distance Moving.

I have recently heard about a lot of people moving. I have to tell you, if I was in Texas I would definitely be moving:) The heat down there sounds horrible! But in my lifetime I have moved a lot so I wanted to give some tips that I thought might be helpful to others who may be in the process of moving or thinking about moving. Especially if you are long distance moving, these will really help. Once we moved from Fl to IL so I know what all goes into the moving:)

1.Get Plenty of Boxes.
One thing that we had to really get a lot of was boxes. I know it sounds simple, but make sure to get sturdy boxes that will hold up. And boxes with lids are always best. Believe me, we tried boxes without lids and they always pushed in from the sides. Definitely go with strong, sturdy boxes with lids.

2.Have a Marker Handy.
With 8 in our family, we had a lot of stuff. And we always had problems trying to keep the childrens items separated. So we found that bringing a marker along and writing each child's name on the box worked out the best! Or if you have those sticky labels? Those work too but not as good because some of them came off. A bright, thick marker works the greatest.

3.Schedule and Plan Ahead.
We always packed our items in the order we would need them. The toys and games, books, etc were always packed first. They were the things we wouldn't need right away when we first got in. The kitchen items, bedding, bathroom things, etc. Those were the items that were packed last so they were at the back of the trailer to get out first. Make sure you know what you are going to need right away and put those at the back of the trailer or near the door. One time we packed our toaster oven and wouldn't ya know? That was the thing we needed the night we got in to use:) So it pays to plan ahead and schedule what you need.

I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog and was
compensated. However, the views and opinions are my own.

Still More Stories from Grandma's Attic Blog Tour

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the books:

Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic


Treasures from Grandma’s Attic

David C. Cook; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)

MY THOUGHTS- I have to tell you, I have barely been able to get my hands on these books. My little sisters grabbed them when they first came in and haven't put them down since! I had to snatch them so I could do my review and they disappeared again pretty fast. I am pretty happy with these books. They are old-fashioned in a good way and teach good lessons. Easy to read and the girls love them! Excellent books!

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


The late Arleta Richardson grew up an only child in Chicago, living in a hotel on the shores of Lake Michigan. Under the care of her maternal grandmother, she listened for hours to stories from her grandmother’s childhood. With unusual recall, Arleta began to write these stories for an audience that now numbers over two million. “My grandmother would be amazed to know her stories have gone around the world,” Arleta said.


Grandma did what? You might be surprised. Back in the 1880’s, when she was a young girl named Mabel, trouble seemed to follow her everywhere. She and her best friend, Sarah Jane, had the best intentions at home and at school, but somehow clumsiness and mischief always seemed to intrude. Whether getting into a sticky mess with face cream, traveling to the big city, sneaking out to a birthday party or studying for the spelling bee, Mabel’s brilliant ideas only seemed to show how much she had to learn. And each of her mishaps turned into lessons in honesty, patience and responsibility.

Arleta Richardson’s beloved series, Grandma’s Attic, returns with Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic and Treasures from Grandma’s Attic, the third and fourth books in the refreshed classic collection for girls ages 8 to 12. These compilations of tales recount humorous and poignant memories from Grandma Mabel’s childhood on a Michigan farm in the late 1800’s. Combining the warmth and spirit of Little House on the Prairie with a Christian focus, these books transport readers back to a simpler time to learn lessons surprisingly relevant in today’s world.

Even though these stories took place over a hundred years ago, there are some things about being a girl that never change. Just like Mabel, girls still want to be prettier or more independent. It’s all part of growing up. But the amazing thing is—Grandma felt the same way! Sometimes your brother teases you or someone you thought was a friend turns out to be insincere. Sometimes you’re certain you know better than your parents, only to discover to your horror that they might have been right. It’s all part of growing up.

Richardson’s wholesome stories have reached more than two million readers worldwide. Parents appreciate the godly values and character they promote while children love the captivating storytelling that recounts childhood memories of mischief and joy. These books are ideal for homes, schools, libraries or gifts and are certain to be treasured. So return to Grandma’s attic, where true tales of yesteryear bring timeless lessons for today, combining the appeal of historical fiction for girls with the truth of God’s Word. Each captivating story promotes godly character and values with humor, understanding and warmth.

Product Details:

Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic

List Price: $6.99

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Paperback: 160 pages

Publisher: David C. Cook; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0781403812

ISBN-13: 978-0781403818

Treasures from Grandma’s Attic:

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Paperback: 160 pages

Publisher: David C. Cook; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0781403820

ISBN-13: 978-0781403825


Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic

When Grandma Was a Little Girl

One hundred years! What a long, long time ago that is! Not very many people are still alive who can remember that far back. But through the magic of stories, we can be right there again.

When I was a little girl, I thought no one could tell a story like my grandma.

“Tell me about when you were a little girl,” I would say. Soon I would be back on the farm in northern Michigan with young Mabel—who became my grandmother—her mother and father, and her brothers, Reuben and Roy.

The old kitchen where I sat to hear many of Grandma’s stories didn’t look the same as when she was a little girl. Then there was no electricity nor running water. But my grandma still lived in the house she grew up in. I had no trouble imagining all the funny jams that Grandma and her best friend, Sarah Jane, got into. Or how it felt to wear long flannel stockings and high-buttoned shoes.

From the dusty old attic to the front parlor with its slippery furniture, Grandma’s old house was a storybook just waiting to be opened. I was fortunate to have a grandma who knew just how to open it. She loved to tell a story just as much as I loved to hear one.

Come with me now, back to the old kitchen in that Michigan farmhouse, and enjoy the laughter and tears of many years ago....


Face Cream from Godey’s Lady’s Book

Receiving mail always excited me. I never had to be told to get the mail for Grandma on my way home from school. But sometimes the mail became even more important. Like the time I was watching for something I had ordered from Woman’s Home Companion.

When the small package finally arrived, my face revealed how excited I was.

“What did you get a sample of this time?” Grandma asked as I came in proudly carrying the precious box.

“You’ll see. Just wait till I show you,” I said, promising Grandma the box held something special.

Quickly I tore the wrapping paper off the small box. Inside was a jar of skin cream for wrinkles.

Grandma laughed when she saw it. “You certainly don’t need that,” she said. “Now it might do me some good if those things ever really worked.”

“You aren’t wrinkled, Grandma,” I protested. “Your face is nice and smooth.”

“Perhaps so. But not because of what I’ve rubbed on it. More than likely I’ve inherited a smooth skin.”

She took the jar of cream and looked at the ingredients “This doesn’t look quite as dangerous as some stuff Sarah Jane and I mixed up one day. Did I ever tell you about that?”

“No, I’m sure you didn’t,” I replied. “Tell me now.”

Grandma picked up her crocheting, and I settled back to listen to a story about Grandma and her friend, Sarah Jane, when they were my age.


Sarah Jane had a cousin who lived in the city. This cousin often came to stay at Sarah Jane’s for a few days. She brought things with her that we were not accustomed to seeing.

One morning as Sarah Jane and I were walking to school together, Sarah Jane told me some very exciting news. “My cousin Laura will be here tomorrow. She’s going to stay all next week. Won’t that be fun?”

“Yes,” I agreed. “I’m glad she’s coming. What do you think she’ll bring this time?”

“Probably some pretty new dresses and hats,” Sarah Jane guessed. “She might even let us try them on.”

“Oh, I’m sure she wouldn’t want us to try on her dresses. But maybe she wouldn’t mind if we peeked at ourselves in the mirror to see how the hats looked.”

Laura arrived the next day with several new hats. She amiably agreed that we might try them on.

They were too big, and had a tendency to slide down over our noses. But to us, they were the latest fashion.

As we laid the hats back on the bed, Sarah Jane spied something else that interested her. It was a magazine for ladies. We had not seen more than half a dozen magazines in our lives, so this was exciting.

“Oh, Laura,” Sarah Jane cried, “may we look at your magazine? We’ll be very careful.”

“Why, yes. I’m not going to be reading it right away. Go ahead.”

Eagerly we snatched the magazine and ran out to the porch. The cover pictured a lady with a very fashionable dress and hat, carrying a frilly parasol. The name of the magazine was Godey’s Lady’s Book.

“Ooh! Look at the ruffles on her dress!” Sarah Jane exclaimed. “Wouldn’t you just love to have one dress with all those ribbons and things?”

“Yes, but there’s little chance I’ll ever have it,” I replied. “Ma wouldn’t iron that many ruffles for anything. Besides, we’re not grown up enough to have dresses like that. It looks like it might be organdy, doesn’t it?”

“Mmm-hum,” Sarah Jane agreed. “It looks like something soft, all right. And look at her hair. It must be long to make that big a roll around her head.”

We spread the magazine across our laps and studied each page carefully. Nothing escaped our notice. “I sure wish we were grown up,” Sarah Jane sighed. “Think how much prettier we’d be.”

“Yes, and how much more fun we could have. These ladies don’t spend all their time going to school and doing chores. They just get all dressed up and sit around looking pretty.”

We looked for a moment in silence; then Sarah Jane noticed something interesting. “Look here, Mabel. Here’s something you can make to get rid of wrinkles on your face.”

I looked where she was reading.

Guaranteed to remove wrinkles. Melt together a quantity of white wax and honey. When it becomes liquid, add the juice of several lemons. Spread the mixture liberally on your face and allow it to dry. In addition to smoothing out your wrinkles, this formula will leave your skin soft, smooth, and freckle free.

“But we don’t have any wrinkles,” I pointed out.

“That doesn’t matter,” Sarah Jane replied. “If it takes wrinkles away, it should keep us from getting them too. Besides,” she added critically, “it says it takes away freckles. And you have plenty of those.”

I rubbed my nose reflectively. “I sure do. Do you suppose that stuff really would take them off?”

“We can try it and see. I’ll put some on if you will. Where shall we mix it up?”

This would be a problem, since Sarah Jane’s mother was baking in her kitchen. It would be better to work where we wouldn’t have to answer questions about what we were doing.

“Let’s go to your house and see what your mother is doing,” Sarah Jane suggested.

We hurriedly returned the magazine to Laura’s bedroom and dashed back outdoors.

“Do you have all the things we need to put in it?” Sarah Jane asked.

“I know we have wax left over from Ma’s jelly glasses. And I’m sure we have lemons. But I don’t know how much honey is left.

“I know where we can get some, though.” I continued. “Remember that hollow tree in the woods? We found honey there last week.”

Soon we were on our way to collect it in a small pail.

“This is sure going to be messy and sticky to put on our faces,” I commented as we filled the pail.

“Probably the wax takes the sticky out,” Sarah Jane replied. “Anyway, if it takes away your freckles and makes our skin smooth, it won’t matter if it is a little gooey. I wonder how long we leave it on.”

“The directions said to let it dry,” I reminded her. “I suppose the longer you leave it there, the more good it does. We’ll have to take it off before we go in to supper, I guess.”

“I guess so,” Sarah Jane exclaimed. “I don’t know what your brothers would say. But I’m not going to give Caleb a chance to make fun of me.”

I knew what Reuben and Roy would say, too, and I was pretty sure I could predict what Ma would say. There seemed to be no reason to let them know about it.

Fortune was with us, for the kitchen was empty when we cautiously opened the back door. Ma heard us come in and called down from upstairs, “Do you need something, Mabel?”

“No, Ma’am,” I answered. “But we might like a cookie.”

“Help yourself,” Ma replied. “I’m too busy tearing rags to come down right now. You can pour yourselves some milk too.”

I assured her that we could. With a sigh of relief, we went to the pantry for a kettle in which to melt the wax and honey.

“This looks big enough,” Sarah Jane said. “You start that getting hot, and I’ll squeeze the lemons. Do you think two will be enough?”

“I guess two is ‘several.’ Maybe we can tell by the way it looks whether we need more or not.”

“I don’t see how,” Sarah Jane argued. “We never saw any of this stuff before. But we’ll start with two, anyway.”

I placed the pan containing the wax and honey on the hottest part of the stove and pulled up a chair to sit on. “Do you suppose I ought to stir it?” I inquired. “It doesn’t look as though it’s mixing very fast.”

“Give it time,” Sarah Jane advised. “Once the wax melts down, it will mix.”

After a short time, the mixture began to bubble.

“There, see?” she said, stirring it with a spoon. “You can’t tell which is wax and which is honey. I think it’s time to put in the lemon juice.” She picked up the juice, but I stopped her.

“You have to take the seeds out, first, silly. You don’t want knobs all over your face, do you?”

“I guess you’re right. That wouldn’t look too good, would it?”

She dug the seeds out, and we carefully stirred the lemon juice into the pan.

“Umm, it smells good,” I observed.

Sarah Jane agreed. “In fact, it smells a little like Ma’s cough syrup. Do you want to taste it?”

“Sure, I’ll take a little taste.” I licked some off the spoon and smacked my lips. “It’s fine,” I reported. “If it tastes that good, it will certainly be safe to use. Let’s take it to my room and try it.”

We carefully lifted the kettle from the stove. Together we carried the kettle upstairs and set it on my dresser.

“It will have to cool a little before we put it on,” I said.

“What if the wax gets hard again? We’ll have to take it downstairs and heat it all over.”

“It won’t,” I assured her. “The honey will keep it from getting too hard.” By the time the mixture was cool enough to use, it was thick and gooey—but still spreadable.

“Well, here goes,” Sarah Jane said. She dipped a big blob out and spread it on her face. I did the same. Soon our faces were covered with the sticky mess.

“Don’t get it in your hair,” I warned. “It looks like it would be awfully hard to get out. I wonder how long it will take to dry?”

“The magazine didn’t say that. It would probably dry faster outside in the sun. But someone is sure to see us out there. We’d better stay here.... I wish we had brought the magazine to look at.”

“We can look at the Sears catalog,” I suggested. “Let’s play like we’re ordering things for our own house.”

We sat down on the floor and spread the catalog out in front of us. After several minutes, Sarah Jane felt her face.

“I think it’s dry, Mabel,” she announced, hardly moving her lips. “It doesn’t bend or anything.”

I touched mine and discovered the same thing. The mask was solid and hard. It was impossible to move my mouth to speak, so my voice had a funny sound when I answered her.

“So’s mine. Maybe we’d better start taking it off now.”

We ran to the mirror and looked at ourselves.

“We sure look funny.” Sarah Jane laughed the best she could without moving her face. “How did the magazine say to get it off?”

Suddenly we looked at each other in dismay. The magazine hadn’t said anything about removing the mixture, only how to fix and spread it on.

“Well, we’ve done it again,” I said. “How come everything we try works until we’re ready to undo it? We’ll just have to figure some way to get rid of it.”

We certainly did try. We pushed the heavy masks that covered our faces. We pulled them, knocked on them, and tried to soak them off. They would not budge.

“I think we used too much wax and not enough honey,” Sarah Jane puffed as she flopped back down on the bed.

“That’s certainly a great thing to think of now,” I answered crossly. “The only way to move wax is to melt it. And we certainly can’t stick our faces in the fire!”

“Mine feels like it’s already on fire. I don’t think this stuff is good for your skin.”

“You’re going to have to think about more than that,” I told her. “Or this stuff will be your skin. There has to be some way to get it off.”

“We’ve tried everything we can think of. We’ll just have to go down and let your rna help us.”

That was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. But I could see no other alternative. Slowly we trudged down to the kitchen.

Ma was working at the stove, and she said cheerfully, “Are you girls hungry again? It won’t be long until suppertime, so you’d better not eat ....”

She turned around as she spoke. When she spotted us standing in the doorway, her eyes widened in disbelief.

“What on earth? ... What have you done to yourselves?”

I burst into tears. The sight of drops of tears running down that ridiculous mask must have been more than Ma could stand. Suddenly she began to laugh. She laughed until she had to sit down.

“It’s not funny, Ma. We can’t get it off! We’ll have to wear it the rest of our lives!”

Ma controlled herself long enough to come over and feel my face. “What did you put in it?” she asked. “That will help me know how to take it off.”

We told her.

“If you two ever live to grow up, it will only be the Lord’s good mercy. The only thing we can do is apply something hot enough to melt the wax,” Ma told us quickly.

“But we boiled the wax, Ma,” I cried. “You can’t boil our faces!”

“No, 1won’t try anything as drastic as that. I’ll just use hot towels until it gets soft enough to pull away.”

After several applications, we were finally able to start peeling the mixture off. As it came loose, our skin came with it.

“Ouch! That hurts,” I cried.

But Ma could not stop. By the time the last bits of wax and honey were removed, our faces were fiery red and raw.

“What did we do wrong?” Sarah Jane wailed. “We made it just like the magazine said.”

“You may have used the wrong quantities, or left it on too long,” Ma said. “At any rate, I don’t think you’ll try it again.”

“I know I won’t,” Sarah Jane moaned. “I’m going to tell Laura she should ignore that page in her magazine.” She looked at me. “The stuff did one thing they said it would, Mabel. I don’t see any freckles.”

“There’s no skin left, either,” I retorted. “I’d rather have freckles than a face like this.”

“Never mind.” Ma tried to soothe us. “Your faces will be all right in a couple of days.”

“A couple of days!” I howled. “We can’t go to school looking like this!”


“We did, though.” Grandma laughed as she finished the story. “After a while we were able to laugh with the others over our foolishness.”

I looked at the little jar of cream that had come in the mail.

“I don’t think I’ll use this, Grandma. I guess I’ll just let my face get wrinkled if it wants to!”


Treasures from Grandma's Attic

Cousin Agatha

My best friend, Sarah Jane, and I were walking home from school on a cold November afternoon.

“Do you realize, Mabel, that 1886 is almost over? Another year of nothing important ever happening is nearly gone.”

“Well, we still have a good bit of life ahead of us,” I replied.

“You don’t know that,” Sarah Jane said darkly, “We’re thirteen and a half. We may already have lived nearly a third of our allotted time.”

“The O’Dells live to be awfully old,” I told her. “So, unless I get run down by a horse and buggy, I’ll probably be around awhile.”

We walked along in silence. Then suddenly Sarah Jane pulled me to the side of the road.

“Here’s the horse and buggy that could keep you from becoming an old lady,” she kidded. We turned to see my pa coming down the road.

“Want to ride the rest of the way, girls?” he called. We clambered into the buggy, and Pa clucked to Nellie.

“What did you get in town?” I asked.

“Some things for the farm and a letter for your ma.” Around the next bend, Pa slowed Nellie to a halt. “Your stop, Sarah Jane.”

“Thanks, Mr. O’Dell.” Sarah Jane jumped down. “I’ll be over to study later, Mabel. ‘Bye.”

“Who’s the letter from?” I asked Pa.

“Can’t tell from the handwriting. We’ll have to wait for Ma to tell us.”

When Ma opened the letter, she looked puzzled. “This is from your cousin Agatha,” she said to Pa. “Why didn’t she address it to you, too?”

“If I know Aggie, she wants something,” Pa declared. “And she figured you’d be more likely to listen to her sad story.”

Ma read the letter and shook her head at Pa. “She just wants to come for Thanksgiving. Now aren’t you ashamed of talking that way?”

“No, I’m not. That’s what Aggie says she wants. You can be sure there’s more there than meets the eye. Are you going to tell her to come ahead?”

“Why, of course!” Ma exclaimed. “If I were a widowed lady up in years, I’d want to be with family on Thanksgiving. Why shouldn’t I tell her to come?”

Pa took his hat from the peg by the door and started for the barn, where my older brothers were already at work. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” he remarked as he left.

“What did Pa warn you about?” I asked as soon as the door closed behind him. “What does Cousin Agatha want?”

“I don’t believe Pa was talking to you,” Ma replied. “You heard me say that she wants to come for Thanksgiving.”

“Yes, but Pa said—”

“That’s enough, Mabel. We won’t discuss it further.”

I watched silently as Ma sat down at the kitchen table and answered Cousin Agatha’s letter.

Snow began to fall two days before the holiday, and Pa had to hitch up the sleigh to go into town and meet the train.

“It will be just our misfortune to have a real blizzard and be snowed in with that woman for a week,” he grumbled.

“Having Aggie here a few days won’t hurt you,” Ma said. “The way you carry on, you’d think she was coming to stay forever!”

Pa’s look said he considered that a distinct possibility. As I helped Ma with the pies, I questioned her about Cousin Agatha.

“Has she been here before? I can’t remember seeing her.”

“I guess you were pretty small last time Agatha visited,” Ma replied. “I expect she gets lonely in that big house in the city.”

“What do you suppose she wants besides dinner?” I ventured.

“Friendly company,” Ma snapped. “And we’re going to give it to her.”

When the pies were in the oven, I hung around the window, watching for the sleigh. It was nearly dark when I heard the bells on Nellie’s harness ring out across the snow.

“They’re coming, Ma,” I called, and Ma hurried to the door with the lamp held high over her head. The boys and I crowded behind her. Pa jumped down from the sleigh and turned to help Cousin Agatha.

“I don’t need any assistance from you, James,” a firm voice spoke. “I’m perfectly capable of leaving any conveyance under my own power.”

“She talks like a book!” Roy whispered, and Reuben poked him. I watched in awe as a tall, unbending figure sailed into the kitchen.

“Well, Maryanne,” she said, “it’s good to see you.” She removed her big hat, jabbed a long hat pin into it, and handed the hat to me. “You must be Mabel.”

I nodded wordlessly.

“What’s the matter? Can’t you speak?” she boomed.

“Yes, ma’am,” I gulped nervously.

“Then don’t stand there bobbing your head like a monkey on a stick. People will think you have no sense. You can put that hat in my room.”

I stared openmouthed at this unusual person until a gentle push from Ma sent me in the direction of the guest room.

After dinner and prayers, Pa rose with the intention of going to the barn.

“James!” Cousin Agatha’s voice stopped him. “Surely you aren’t going to do the chores with these two great hulking fellows sitting here, are you?”

The two great hulking fellows leaped for the door with a speed I didn’t know they had.

“I should guess so,” Cousin Agatha exclaimed with satisfaction. “If there’s anything I can’t abide, it’s a lazy child.”

As she spoke, Cousin Agatha pulled Ma’s rocker to the stove and lowered herself into it. “This chair would be more comfortable if there were something to put my feet on,” she said, “but I suppose one can’t expect the amenities in a place like this.”

I looked at Ma for some clue as to what “amenities” might be. This was not a word we had encountered in our speller.

“Run into the parlor and get the footstool, Mabel,” Ma directed.

When Cousin Agatha was settled with her hands in her lap and her feet off the cold floor, I started the dishes.

“Maryanne, don’t you think Mabel’s dress is a mite too short?”

Startled, I looked down at my dress.

“No,” Ma’s calm voice replied. “She’s only thirteen, you know. I don’t want her to be grown up too soon.”

“There is such a thing as modesty, you know.” Cousin Agatha sniffed.

Pa and the boys returned just then, so Ma didn’t answer. I steered an uneasy path around Cousin Agatha all evening. For the first time I could remember, I was glad when bedtime came.

The next day was Thanksgiving, and the house was filled with the aroma of good things to eat. From her rocker, Cousin Agatha offered suggestions as Ma scurried about the kitchen.

“Isn’t it time to baste the turkey, Maryanne? I don’t care for dry fowl.”

“I see the boys running around out there with that mangy dog as though they had nothing to do. Shouldn’t they be chopping wood or something?”

“I should think Mabel could be helping you instead of reading a book. If there’s one thing I can’t abide . . . “

“Mabel will set the table when it’s time,” Ma put in. “Maybe you’d like to peel some potatoes?”

The horrified look on Cousin Agatha’s face said she wouldn’t consider it, so Ma withdrew her offer.

A bump on the door indicated that the “mangy dog” was tired of the cold. I laid down my book and let Pep in. He made straight for the stove and his rug.

“Mercy!” Cousin Agatha cried. “Do you let that—that animal in the kitchen?”

“Yes,” Ma replied. “He’s not a young dog any longer. He isn’t any bother, and he does enjoy the heat.”

“Humph.” Agatha pulled her skirts around her. “I wouldn’t allow any livestock in my kitchen. Can’t think what earthly good a dog can be.” She glared at Pep, who responded with a thump of his tail and a sigh of contentment.

“Dumb creature,” Cousin Agatha muttered.

“Pep isn’t dumb, Cousin Agatha,” I said. “He’s really the smartest dog I know.”

“I was not referring to his intellect or lack of it,” she told me, “‘Dumb’ indicates an inability to speak. You will have to concede that he is unable to carry on a conversation.”

I was ready to dispute that, too, but Ma shook her head. Cousin Agatha continued to give Pep disparaging glances.

“Didn’t you ever have any pets at your house, Cousin Agatha?” I asked.

“Pets? I should say not! Where in the Bible does it say that God made animals for man’s playthings? They’re meant to earn their keep, not sprawl out around the house absorbing heat.”

“Oh, Pep works,” I assured her. “He’s been taking the cows out and bringing them back for years now.”

Cousin Agatha was not impressed. She sat back in the rocker and eyed Pep with disfavor. “The one thing I can’t abide, next to a lazy child, is a useless animal—and in the house!”

I began to look nervously at Ma, thinking she might send Pep to the barn to keep the peace. But she went on about her work, serenely ignoring Cousin Agatha’s hints. I was glad when it was time to set the table.

After we had eaten, Pa took the Bible down from the cupboard and read our Thanksgiving chapter, Psalm 100. Then he prayed, thanking the Lord for Cousin Agatha and asking the Lord’s blessing on her just as he did on the rest of us. When he had finished, Cousin Agatha spoke up.

“I believe that I will stay here until Christmas, James. Then, if I find it to my liking, I could sell the house in the city and continue on with you. Maryanne could use some help in teaching these children how to be useful.”

In the stunned silence that followed, I looked at Pa and Ma to see how this news had affected them. Ma looked pale. Before Pa could open his mouth to answer, Cousin Agatha rose from the table. “I’ll just go to my room for a bit of rest,” she said. “We’ll discuss this later.”

When she had left, we gazed at each other helplessly.

“Is there anything in the Bible that tells you what to do now?” I asked Pa.

“Well, it says if we don’t love our brother whom we can see, how can we love God whom we can’t see? I think that probably applies to cousins as well.”

“I’d love her better if I couldn’t see her.” Reuben declared. “We don’t have to let her stay, do we, Pa?”

“No, we don’t have to,” Pa replied. “We could ask her to leave tomorrow as planned. But I’m not sure that would be right. What do you think, Ma?”

“I wouldn’t want to live alone in the city,” Ma said slowly. “I can see that she would prefer the company of a family. I suppose we should ask her to stay until Christmas.”

“I think she already asked herself,” Roy ventured. “But she did say if she found things to her liking. . . .”

We all looked at Roy. Pa said, “You’re not planning something that wouldn’t be to her liking, are you?”

“Oh, no, sir!” Roy quickly answered. “Not me.”

Pa signed. “I’m not sure I’d blame you. She’s not an easy person to live with. We’ll all have to be especially patient with her.”

There wasn’t much Thanksgiving atmosphere in the kitchen as we did the dishes.

“How can we possibly stand it for another whole month?” I moaned.

“The Lord only sends us one day at a time,” Ma informed me. “Don’t worry about more than that. When the other days arrive, you’ll probably find out you worried about all the wrong things.”

As soon as the work was finished, I put on my coat and walked over to Sarah Jane’s.

“What will you do if she stays on after Christmas?” she asked.

“I’ll just die.”

“I thought you were going to be a long-living O’Dell.”

“I changed my mind,” I retorted. “What would you do if you were in my place?”

“I’d probably make her life miserable so she’d want to leave.”

“You know I couldn’t get away with that. Pa believes that Christian love is the best solution.”

“All right, then,” Sarah Jane said with a shrug. “Love her to death.”

As though to fulfill Pa’s prediction, snow began to fall heavily that night. By morning we were snowed in.

“Snowed in?” Cousin Agatha repeated. “You mean unable to leave the house at all?”

“That’s right,” Pa replied. “This one is coming straight down from Canada.”

Cousin Agatha looked troubled. “I don’t like this. I don’t like it at all.”

“We’ll be all right,” Ma reassured her. “We have plenty of wood and all the food we need.”

But Cousin Agatha was not to be reassured. I watched her stare into the fire and twist her handkerchief around her fingers. Why, she’s frightened! I thought. This old lady had been directing things all her life, and here was something she couldn’t control. Suddenly I felt sorry for her.

“Cousin Agatha,” I said, “we have fun when we’re snowed in. We play games and pop corn and tell stories. You’ll enjoy it. I know you will!”

I ran over and put my arms around her shoulders and kissed her on the cheek. She looked at me in surprise.

“That’s the first time anyone has hugged me since I can remember,” she said. “Do you really like me, Mabel?”

Right then I knew that I did like Cousin Agatha a whole lot. Behind her stern front was another person who needed to be loved and wanted.

“Oh, yes, Cousin Agatha,” I replied. “I really do. You’ll see what a good time we’ll have together.”

The smile that lighted her face was bright enough to chase away any gloom that had settled over the kitchen. And deep down inside, I felt real good.

Batter Blaster Review and Giveaway!!

Whoo!! The weather is finally cooling off a little and we got a little bit of rain last night. Some friends in Texas were telling me how hot it is there and I can't imagine the heat. Normally for me the heat is a good thing. I am participating in a Summer/Fall Slimdown Challenge and one thing I am having to work on is what I eat. So for me, the heat really helps with this. I eat lighter and better things for you. I am also trying to get more fruit every day. Now, I know you are wondering what that has to do with this wonderful new product I have to tell you about. But that is all part of the plan! Batter Blaster is a pretty nifty product that I was so excited to try. This is basically a pancake batter in a can! You won't believe how these turned out!

I personally love pancakes. But I hate the whole mixing it up and the mess that comes from making them. So when I saw this product online, I knew I had to try it. I was sooo glad that they offered to send me coupons to try their product for free! Looking online they have several different varieties of Batter Blaster. However, my local WalMart only carries the Original. I wish they had the Whole Wheat with Cinnamon and Honey. But I was happy trying the Original. I am also glad that the person I was working with told me where to find the Batter Blaster. I don't know if I would have found it otherwise. It is found near the eggs in the refrigerated section.

When I first tried this, I was really amazed. I heated up the griddle, turned it up to 350 as the can said, and then waited to spray my batter on. It basically just sprays out almost like whipped cream! You know the frozen can? This is almost exactly the same way. I kind of expected it to not cook right or to taste funny but I loved this! I put a circle on the griddle and waited to turn it over. Having it on 350 it was coming out a little bit dark so I turned it down a little. Once my first ones were done I made my pancakes up with strawberries and whipped topping. As you can see from the pictures, it turned out looking delicious.

Now for the taste test?? It was scrumptious!! I am serious! I expected it to taste a little bit different because of being in a can and already made into batter. But there was no taste difference at all and I loved it! And guess how much clean up there was? None! I rinsed off the end of the tip in warm water and that was it. It came right off, I had no bowls to clean, no pancake mix to wipe up, nothing. That is probably my favorite part out of the whole idea. I had made my pancakes in about 5 minutes. That includes prep, making and cleaning up. I will totally be buying this product and I think it is well worth the price. The only thing I wish is that it was a bigger can. With our family it went pretty fast. We have a big family so I know with a family of two or three they shouldn't have a problem using it for several days.

In my opinion, this is an excellent product and I can't wait to try out the other varieties. And two of my readers will get to try this out as well. That's right! Two of my readers will win 2 coupons each. I was sent five coupons and I used one for my review and will be giving away the other four. You won't want to miss out on this Batter Blaster!

MANDATORY ENTRY-Head over to the Batter Blaster website. Look around and tell me either something you learned or a recipe you would like to try. This must be done or the extra entries do not count! Please leave an email in one of your comments so I can reach you if you are the winner.


1.Blog or post about this on Facebook. Get 3 entries for each.
2.Follow my blog via GFC, subscribe through RSS Feed or email or follow me on Twitter. Get one entry for each you do.
3.Enter any of my other currently running giveaways. Let me know which ones.
4.Leave a comment on any of my review only posts. This must be for reviews only! Leave a comment for each.
5.Tweet about this giveaway. Can be done three times a day.

6.Like Batter Blaster on Facebook. Get 3 entries for this so leave 3 comments.
7.Follow Batter Blaster on Twitter. Get 2 entries for this so leave 2 comments.
8.Tell me the closest place to find Batter Blaster near you. This is on the home page on the left hand side.

This giveaway will end 9/12. Winner will be chosen through and they will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
I received product for review. I did not receive any monetary compensation.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Blog Tour for Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

War Widow Fights The Past, American Pilot Fights For The Future
Award-Winning Author Delivers an Emotion-Packed,
Gripping Tale of War, Intrigue and Love
The country is still at war in Blue Skies Tomorrow by award-winning author Sarah Sundin. It is 1944 and America longs for the war to be over so their boys can come home. This war has taken too many lives and made too many widows, orphans, and broken hearts. However, the homeland continues to pull together and buy bonds to support the troops, and Helen Carlisle has become the town’s war widow heroine. Doing her part with her son, she faithfully appears at community events asking people to support the troops. But deep down she is troubled. How much longer can she do this? Is she living a lie? Was her dead husband a hero? How can she live with the past?
Lt. Ray Novak prefers to follow his calling into ministry rather than the cockpit. But his current position offers him the luxury of a personal life since he is stateside training B-17 pilots. His interest in Helen, the young war widow, grows, but he knows she is hiding a painful past under a frenzy of volunteer work. Ray is called to fly a European combat mission at the peak of the air war. Their romance is tense because Helen is afraid, but Ray cannot help because he is in Europe. As Helen tries to make ends meet and confronts the past, Ray encounters a deadly enemy of his own. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? Will the truth come out? Will hope and redemption ring true for Helen?
The great era of World War II in Blue Skies Tomorrow is brought to life by Sundin in this emotion-packed novel.

Sarah Sundin received the 2011 Writer of the Year Award from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, and her second novel, A Memory Between Us, is a finalist for an Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. She is the author of A Distant Melody and A Memory Between Us. Her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England during WWII. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. For more interesting information about Sarah visit:

MY REVIEW-Folks, I just have to tell you, this book is absolutely the best war book I have read!! I am not much of one to read a Christian fiction book dealing with World War II. I have not found one that I enjoyed. But I started reading this series by Sarah Sundin and I liked the first one with Walt and Allie. The second one was okay(didn't really care for Jack) but this one definitely was the best one!! I LOVED it!! The plot flows smoothly, the characters are top notch and the writing style is great!

In this novel, the third in the series, you actually go somewhat back in time before the other two books. I really enjoyed this aspect of it and that you get to see some of what happened in between the other books. Like in the second book with Jack and Ruth, Ray meets Ruth, Charles and his girlfriend. That part is in this book. So this was kind of interesting to see how it all came to play. Ray is by far my favorite out of all three Novak boys. He is quiet so many people think he is a coward. But through the story you will find out that he is far from it:) I love the part with the plane! And the bookstore? Talk about teary:(

Helen has such a past it is hard to talk about it all. Her little boy Jay-Jay is adorable yet easily taught. And we see this lesson often in the story. Esther and her husband were a great addition to the story and I loved the history about how colored people were treated back then. There are many other people in this book but I don't want to spoil anything. Let me just say, the Carlisles are the hardest people to like. Of course, Vic comes pretty close.

I really love how Ray is shown not as weak, but as someone who is strong in the Lord. Throughout this book that really pulled at me. We may look at someone and think they are not a strong mag or they are a coward, but yet they could be the strongest person in the world when the time comes. I can't tell you about the best part in this book. It would ruin everything for those of you who haven't read the book. But I strongly urge you to get your copy, NOW! It is a wonderful book with a strong sermon in it about forgiveness, guilt and how false guilt can hold us back. And if you are not in the habit of reading a war book, this one will pull you in! I know by experience;) Wonderful book, Sarah!! Now what comes next?

Available August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. I did not receive any monetary compensation.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lower Your Phone Bills with Tracfone.

This post brought to you by TracFone. All opinions are 100% mine.

In our family, we are constantly on the lookout for ways to cut down on the bills. And with 5 people who use phones, our phone bill is a big one for us. That is why I was happy to learn about TracFone. TracFone really has so many features. There are no contracts, no hidden fees, etc. This makes it very easy to use and for families like us, it makes it cheaper!! I was kind of hesitant about this until I saw the videos from real TracFone customers

One really nice thing about the TracFone is that they are nice phones. These are not cheap phones that are going to break within a week! You can choose from simple phones that are only $10 to a more expensive phone that has all the gadgets and camera and full keyboard, etc. for around 29.99. So whether you are looking for just the simple phone or the nicer one for texting and such, they have them available.

To me, this is a very good way to get through the summer. If you have children who need a phone for a couple months I would check this out. If you can get by on a certain amount of minutes, I think you need to look at TracFone. An absolutely great plan for under 200 minutes! This would be my way to go if I was by myself and just needed a simple phone. And for those of you who are hesitant, there are real TracFone customers who have done videos about the plans and the features. Or if you are wondering about the contracts, etc. there are plenty of videos out there.

To me, this just made a lot of sense by the time you look at the prices. I will definitely be looking into the phones they have available and the monthly plans where you can pay online. Check them out!

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Visit Sponsor's Site

Amish Values Blog Tour With Fabulous Giveaway!!

Howdy all!! I recently read an interesting book titled Amish Values. I am not Amish, but while reading this book I saw that there are many things we can learn from them. The values that are shown in this book are amazing and I think we all would benefit from some of them. Sure we may not all use every one of them, but we all could use some of them:)

One of my favorite stories was A Teacher's Viewpoint. I often help with teaching the children so this one really hit home. There are many sayings throughout the book called Scribe From.... These are nice little write-ins from different people and some of them are funny while others are very thought provoking. This was an excellent book that I will be going back to time and again.

Now, Suzanne has a very neat giveaway that is quite a catch!! I would definitely enter for this whopper of a prize! You never know who will win and it just might be you:) So, take your chances and enter below!!

For readers who long for strong families that know how to truly enjoy life together, there is much to learn from the Amish. Values like community, forgiveness, simple living, obedience, and more can be your family legacy--without selling your car, changing your wardrobe, or moving out to farm country.

In Amish Values for Your Family, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shows how you can adopt the wisdom of the Amish when it comes to family matters. In this inspiring and practical book readers will find charming true stories interlaced with solid, biblical advice about parenting, marriage, and all aspects of family life. As readers get an intimate glimpse into the everyday lives of real Amish families, they will learn to prioritize what's truly important, simplify decision-making, slow down as a family, safeguard time together, and let go when the time comes.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is thrilled to announce the release of Amish Values for Your Family, her latest non-fiction release. "It offers loving ways to bring your fractured home back to life-Amish style. Read it and apply generously! It’s a beautiful book-funny, charming, soulful, and beautiful." -Mary Ann Kirkby

Read the reviews here.

To celebrate the release of Amish Values for Your Family, Suzanne has teamed up her publisher Revell Books to giveaway a Kindle, and with Bill Coleman (the amazing photographer used on Suzanne’s book covers) to give away a signed Bill Coleman original.

One Grand Prize winner will receive an Amish Values Prize Package (valued at over $200) and includes:

* A brand new KINDLE
* A Signed Bill Coleman original
* Amish Values for Your Family (for KINDLE)

Click on one of the icons to enter. Winner will be announced on 9/2 at Suzanne’s blog. Be sure to stop by the blogs on Suzanne’s blog tour – many have copies of Amish Values for Your Family to give away.

But, wait there's more! Suzanne is running a Bill Coleman caption contest during the month of August on her blog. Title one of Bill’s gorgeous photos for a chance to win a print from Bill’s Amish Photo site and/or a copy of Amish Values for Your Family.

Available August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Carmex Click Sticks Review & Giveaway!

One thing I love with being a blogger is the ability to try out new products before the general public does. It is always exciting to receive an item in the mail to review. And then, if you like the product, you get to tell all your reader friends about this item! The most recent item I received was from Carmex. I don't know about you, but I have many lip balms, lip glosses, etc. But some of my favorite ones are from Carmex. Their products, in my opinion, are better than many of the others. I have long been a fan so I was glad when I was able to join their blogging program. Now, one of my readers will be able to win a package just like I received, so make sure to go to the bottom of the post:D

When my package came in I couldn't believe what was inside! Enclosed in my box was,
  • 1 Carmex Lime Twist click stick
  • 1 Carmex Vanilla click stick
  • 1 Certified Awesome Picnic blanket
  • 1 Carmex Moisture Plus® clear satin gloss finish
Do you believe all that was from Carmex!! I totally love them! And I couldn't wait to try out these new products. And the genius who thought up the click stick? Absolutely wonderful!!

The first thing I tried was the Carmex Vanilla click stick. I am a lover of anything vanilla and this scent has always been my favorite. Now, this is not much different than a normal lip balm as far as texture and use. But the style of this is different. When you go to get more out of your stick, it clicks. I know, you are asking what good that does you, right? But this is a great way to make sure you only get sooo much out of your stick! I don't know about you, but I have often turned the dial to get more lip balm out and it has come way out. So far out that I have to push it back in to get the lid on. But not with this little dandy! I just turn it one click and it gives out just the right amount of balm that I need. Of course, I did have to stop from just twisting it and hearing it click:D

The other click stick is a Lime Twist. I am not a big fan of lime but I did try this. Again, the same design as the vanilla with the click stick. The scent was not that bad but I just don't care for lime at all. The other item I received was a clear lip gloss. I just recently read that a way to make your lips look nice is to dab just a little bit of gloss in the middle of your lip. So of course I had to try this out with my new clear lip gloss:) It did make my lips look nice and shiny. I am not one for a lot of shine but this gives just the right amount without looking sticky. I really like this one and will be using it quite a bit.

The last item in my box was a picnic blanket. Now this has nothing really to do with Carmex. But they are soo nice that they sent this along! And let me tell you, it is very nice!! It all zips up into this little bag and it is a flannel plaid print. Great for those trips to the park or a vacation trip. I will be using mine when we go on our next trip.

So, sound like some nifty products to you? I have been suggesting these to all my friends and now I am telling you about them. And I am not just saying this. The Carmex products are way better than the normal lip balm. You can't go wrong with one of their items.

Now, that giveaway I mentioned above? You ready for it? Alrighty! Follow the mandatory entry and you are in! But, make sure to do some of the extra entries as you have a better chance at winning;) As normal, US ONLY and you must leave an email in one of your comments so I can reach you if you are the winner. Jump in!!

Go to Carmex and tell me another product you would like to try or you currently use. This must be done or the extra entries do not count. The winner will only have 24 hours to respond to my email as the info has to be in by the 5th.



1.Blog or post about this on Facebook. Get 3 entries for each.
2.Follow my blog via GFC, subscribe through RSS Feed or email or follow me on Twitter. Get one entry for each you do.
3.Enter any of my other currently running giveaways. Let me know which ones.
4.Leave a comment on any of my review only posts. This must be for reviews only! Leave a comment for each.
5.Tweet about this giveaway. Can be done three times a day.

6.Like Carmex on Facebook. Get 3 entries for this so leave 3 comments.
7.Follow Carmex on Twitter. They are actually having a Twitter promotion right now:) Get 2 entries for this.

This giveaway will end 9/3. Winner will be chosen through and they will have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
I received complimentary product for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Crowd Control with CamelBack Displays.

We often go to events, whether from our blogging or ministry. And one thing we have seen many a time is crowd control. Most often it is done through barricades. But there are many ways to have crowd control. I just wanted to do a quick post about this as I know even with events for blogs, we will see it.

One event we went to for a fair, they had the stanchions for control. Filing people through the velvet rope made us feel so special:) No really, they just used a simple barricade to keep people in line before the toy fair started. But seeing the pictures of the barricades brought back memories of going to horse shows. They used the old style wooden barricades, not the velvet rope. But any of these styles of crowd control are very effective.

I have not purchased from this site. All thoughts are 100% mine.

How do We Prepare for the Start of the School Year?

I can't believe it is that time of year again already. This year really seems to have flown by. It is almost September and the end of the year is fast approaching. Okay, not really that fast but fast enough:) This time of year though we are in that headed back to school mode. Making sure all the supplies are bought, uniforms purchased, and children ready to work their brains.

For us we have a somewhat easier time of it. With 4 children in school many things get passed down. But there are sooo many things to buy that can not be passed down. Like the endless supply of pencils and the pencil sharpeners that somehow are always disappearing. Don't tell me you don't have that problem?

Our first visit is to Wal-Mart. They always seem to have the basics. And the cheap prices make it easy to stock up on supplies. During our stocking up time though we tend to shop online as well. I have found that sometimes online shopping is one of the easiest ways to get exactly what you need and cheap! Tiny Prints is one such place. For back to school shopping, they have a wonderful array of items available. If you have not checked them out, I suggest you do. I have ordered from them several times, worked with them numerous times through my blog, and always come away happy! Not once have I had a problem and I am always satisfied with their products. Whether you need those labels for lunches, notes to go into the lunchboxes, stationary to send messages to the teacher, etc. they will have these items. I love shopping through them! They also tend to send coupons and codes through the email newsletters that make shopping cheaper:) Check them out for your school supplies!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Family of Their Own By Gail Gaymer Martin Book Review

Four Makes A Family

With her daughter's health back on track, Kelsey Rhodes counts her blessings. But life is still not easy for the sweet single mom. She craves companionship, yet finds it difficult to trust anyone. Ross Salburg seems like the perfect match for her. The handsome single dad also struggles to keep his daughter healthy. Can Kelsey convince Ross to take a leap of faith and meld their two families into one?

MY REVIEW-I have previously read several of Gail's books. I personally love her Michigan Island Series! She has a nice, gentle way of writing that is sweet. If you want a book that is a calming read, I suggest you pick up one of Gail's books. I say all that because I found out she was looking for reviewers for her new book, A Family of Their Own, and of course I jumped right on it!

This book I found out is the second in a series. I did not know this before opening the book. The only thing I could say that I did not care for was the beginning page. It really throws you into the middle of the story and if you have not read the previous book, it could be very confusing. I was kind of confused when I first read it. But by the next couple pages I had figured out who was who and what child belonged to who. But this was easily discovered:) It was nothing major but this was the only thing I had a hard time with.

One thing I found very interesting with this book was the whole idea of two single people who have children with special needs meeting up together. I guess I never really thought about the difficulties that would arise from that situation. But Gail really brings this to the readers mind throughout this book. But she also shows how they can be a help to each other. I had a hard time with Kelsey's attitude towards her ex-husband. I haven't been in that position so I can't way what I would do, but she has a very hard time with being bitter towards him. But through this whole situation, Gail shows why she feels this way and how it ends up was quite tearful. Ross is a great guy who wants to see where things will go with Kelsey. He knows there will be troubles and hard times between the children but I loved his overall attitude. He seems very sweet and likable.

This was a very sweet book yet very thought provoking. How would you respond in these situations? What if your child had the same sickness? What about having a parent class like Kelsey did? Overall a great book I would recommend to my friends! Now I just have to go back and get the first one:) This book can be found in stores from August 28-Sept 28 and after that on Amazon or other online stores.

I received a copy of this book for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thomas Nelson Giveaway!!

From Thomas Nelson:

One of the highlights of our days in the Fiction department at Thomas Nelson? Receiving reader letters—either directly addressed to us or passed along from our talented authors. It’s critical to be reminded that at the end of our long days acquiring, editing, designing, selling, marketing, and publicizing books, those stories are reaching readers, striking nerves, changing lives. We want readers’ feedback. How stories have given you hope. Which authors’ series you can’t help from sharing with everyone you meet. We want to know what makes you stay up late in the night to finish a story, and conversely what turns you away.

We’re conducting a series of surveys—seeking answers from readers who love Christian fiction. Up for grabs is a free ebook for every respondent who completes the survery, as well as a $10,000 prize for one entrant. The responses we gather will help shape the future of the books we publish for years to come. As well as the data we’re collecting here, we’ll also seek more in-depth feedback from a panel we’ll develop over the next year. More details to come. The note below from one of authors gives a specific picture of how reader feedback shapes her work. In short, your opinion matters! We thank you for your time and appreciate your responding.

--Thomas Nelson Fiction

Dear Friends--

Your opinion matters. It really does. I love hearing from readers about what worked for them in a story and about what doesn’t work. Reader feedback changed the balance between romance and suspense in my novels. After the Rock Harbor trilogy, I wanted to write more suspense in my novels because that’s what I personally like. But readers really wanted more relationship and romance in the books so I moved back that direction to about the same mix of 50/50 that the Rock Harbor novels contained. I write for you even more than for myself.

I had no intention of setting a whole series of books at Bluebird, Texas. It was going to be only one book, but readers sent me requests in droves for more books. The fourth book in the Lonestar series, Lonestar Angel, will be out in October. The Rock Harbor novels were going to be complete at three. There are now five and I’m thinking about another one! All due to reader demand.

I’ve often asked for reader input on names and locations too. When I was struggling for a name for my hero in The Lightkeeper’s Ball, I turned to my readers. Harrison really fit my character, and my readers told me. Love that! When I was trying to decide on a location for the new Hope Beach series I’ve started, I asked readers. Their overwhelming response was for a series set in the Outer Banks so guess what I’m writing?!

That’s why we’re coming to you for answers. We want to give you what you really want! Don’t be afraid to let us know what you really think. We value your honesty and the time it will take to share with us. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

Your friend,

Colleen Coble

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