Being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done, but it has brought me so much joy! I want to encourage other moms on their journey, I'll share motherhood tricks, spotlight tips I've learned from friends, and I hope you will share your ideas. I will focus on secrets that help families stay balanced, healthy, frugal, creative, and closely knit. I will also share favorite fiction and nonfiction books that I have enjoyed. Many blessings to you on your mothering journey!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Review: The Living Room by Robert Whitlow

This is the second book I've read by Robert Whitlow, and I enjoyed this one as much as the first. I didn't want to put it down!  He is great at developing characters, weaving storylines, and making characters seem real.  I particularly enjoyed this novel, because the main character is an author, and I am an author.  I loved experiencing the publishing business through her eyes.  I also appreciated the spiritual elements of this book - from dreams, to prayer, to seeking God's will, to the way God prepares our steps each day.  I also thought he did a great job capturing the struggles of everyday families in regards to finances, work, balancing time, and setting boundaries for children/teens.  This is a great read for women in college or older. I look forward to reading many more Whitlow books!
I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review: The Brotherhood Conspiracy by Terry Brennan

Robert Ludman's Bourne Identity series meets Joel Rosenburg's The Last Jihad series in Terry Brennan's new book, The Brotherhood Conspiracy.  It's full of action, politics and faith.  It explores the hidden  agendas of nations.  It includes conspiracies among political groups as well as historical and Biblical truths.  The plot is very good with well-written character struggles.  It's not a quick beach read - it's more like reading a Clancy novel that require attention to detail.  I would recommend this for teen and adult readers - especially males or women that like action books. 
Disclaimer:  I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Have you ever played the card game Spoons?  My family of 6 played for hours when I was growing up. It’s easy enough for little ones, yet suspenseful enough for older children.

Set up: players sit in a circle around a set of spoons (one less spoon than the number of people playing). From 1-2 decks of cards, deal four cards to all players. On each turn, a person picks up one card (from the discard pile or the draw pile) and discards one card. The object is to find four cards of the same number.

When a player collects four cards of the same number, he/she quietly takes a spoon from the center of the pile. At that point, all players in the circle may pick up a spoon, even if they don’t have four matching cards. The player left without a spoon loses the round.

If you don’t have any spoons, you can play PIG instead, with each player sticking out his tongue, instead of drawing a spoon.

Games are so great for bonding families together!

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Book Review: Bible Stories Painting Book 2

I loved seeing this book by Juliet David Simon Abbott

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book Review: Dee Henderson's New Novella

 Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story

I love Dee Henderson's books, so I knew I would love reading this little novella.  It's such a sweet story about love, faith, family, and living life.  It's light-hearted; it's an easy read; and it's inspiring.  Henderson is very talented when it comes to character development and weaving plots.  My hubby laughed at me (jokingly) when I teared up over the love scenes, but I thought they were sweet.  I would recommend reading this book with the full O'Malley series (which is great!).  Take note that this is only a novella and not a full novel, so you'll be expecting the quick read.

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

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Book Review: "AMost Peculiar Circumstance" by Jen Turano

I reviewed Turano's first book in this series, A Change of Fortune, last fall, so I jumped at the invitation to review this book.  I loved reading every chapter of "A Most Peculiar Circumstance".  The characters are full of life, described and developed in vivid detail.  The story is full of mystery, comedy, romance and unexpected twists.  There is also an element of faith woven throughout the story, as characters discuss God's love, God's mercy, and God's guidance.  I would recommend it to any woman age 16+ who is looking for a light-hearted and clean romantic adventure comedy from the 19th century.  I look forward to reading more Turano novels! 

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

Monday, July 08, 2013

A Child's Perspective: Book Review of "Lost in Lexicon" by Pendred Noyce

Thirteen year old cousins Daphne and Ivan get bored with no technology at their great-aunt Adelaide's house, she sends them out to her barn with a clue to a treasure hunt and tells them not to come back until they've finished their quest.  During their 'quest', the cousins have to stop a plague of punctuation, befriend a thesaurus, and make about 750 kids get out of a mountain that is about to fall down in Lost in Lexington.
Ratings of this book on a 1-5 scale (1 is low, 5 is high)
  • Interesting storyline: 4
  • Character development: 5
  • Setting: 5
  • Creativity and originality: 5
  • Intrigue & fascination: 4
  • Overall: 4
Best for ages 8-14
Best for readers with these interests: video games, technology, adventure
Read another book by this author?  Yes
Recommend for other kids to read?  Yes
The publishers gave me this book in exchange for my honest review.
Daniel, age 11

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Compiling a List of Service Providers

I find it quite stressful to find mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, doctors... when I need emergency services. With high service fees and my limited knowledge of fixing things, I always wonder if I'm being totally 'taken'! I'm slowly solving this dilemna by putting together a collection of thrifty handymen that friends and neighbors respect and trust. Whenever I see or hear about them having work done in their car, around the house, or even in medical offices, I always ask for their referrals. Preparing ahead saves time, stress and money!

These are the services I would eventually like to have on my list - if you have great Nashville/Pleasant View contacts, please let me know! 

General Handyman 
Heat/AC Repair
Pest Control
Tree removal
General physician
Physical Therapist - Dan Saylor with STAR Physical Therapy   :)

Good luck with your list!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Book Review of "The Point: The Redemption of Oban Ironbout "

If you're looking for a light-hearted beach read, this is not it.  If you're looking for fiction that will stir your heart to reflection and spirituality, you should check out this book.  It is the mix of 12 contemplative readings and the story of a man's life change and redemption.  It has some very good pieces, but honestly it was hard for me to push through it.  I think it would have been a stronger book, if the content had been edited down more.

The 12 spiritual readings are somewhat reminiscent of C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters, talking about the battle between good and evil.

I most enjoyed the parts of the story directly related to Oban Ironbout, a man who has experienced incredible pain in life, and chose for 2 decades to live in bitter isolation.  The other 2 main characters, Goodwin and Hollie, journey into his life out of curiosity and end up aiding his process of healing and redemption.

I received this book free from Handlebar Marketing in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Praline Pecan Crunch Snack Mix

I discovered this super-yummy snack mix, when I was leading a service-learning workshop a few years ago. I couldn't quit eating it! I begged Linda for the recipe, so here it is:

1 (16-ounce) box Quaker® Toasted Oatmeal Squares Cereal (about 8 cups)
2 cups pecan pieces
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons margarine OR butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Heat oven to 250ºF. Spray 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine cereal and pecans in pan; mix well.
3. In large microwaveable bowl, combine sugar, corn syrup and margarine. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute 30 seconds; stir. Microwave an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute 30 seconds or until boiling.
4. Stir vanilla and baking soda into sugar mixture. Pour over cereal mixture; stir to coat evenly.
5. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet, spreading mixture in even layer. Cool completely; break into pieces.
6. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Makes 10 cups.