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!

Monday, September 12, 2016

new ice cream to try!

Mom filled the freezer with Mayfield ice cream when we went home for the weekend.  The first one I tried was a total score!

It's my new favorite ice cream to get from the grocery store.  I can't wait to try it again!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

This Road We Traveled by Jane Kirkpatrick

In This Road We TraveledJane Kirkpatrick transports her readers across the country in this historical fiction novel. It's not a long book, but it's not a quick read.  She is so attentive to detail and she writes about many complex characters.  You can feel the struggle to survive as families work together to navigate their way to newly settled Oregon.  You can feel their struggles with faith, fear, courage, hope and trust.  You can feel the bonds and the weaknesses among family members.  You can feel the intensity of emotions as characters work through  loss, forgiveness, sacrifice, and hopelessness.  You can feel the strength that people can muster when they have a vision, resourcefulness, a foundation of faith, determination, and a support system. 

From the publisher:  Tabitha Brown refuses to be left behind in Missouri when her son makes the decision to strike out for Oregon--even if she has to hire her own wagon to join the party. After all, family ties are stronger than fear. Along with her reluctant daughter and her ever-hopeful granddaughter, the intrepid Tabitha has her misgivings. The trials they face along the way will severely test her faith, courage, and ability to hope. With her family's survival on the line, she must make the ultimate sacrifice, plunging deeper into the wilderness to seek aid. What she couldn't know was how this frightening journey would impact how she understood her own life--and the greater part she had to play in history.

Kirkpatrick did an extraordinary amount of research to learn about Tabby's family and their journey to the wild west.  I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical fiction, and have the discipline to persevere through a book.

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

Thursday, September 01, 2016

A Book About Me!

This is a very cute and clever fill-in-the-blank and fill-in-the-picture book for children. 

From the publisher: "Inventive, hilarious and joyously colorful, this fill-in journal was designed to help kids capture nearly everything that’s uniquely rad about them. With design-savvy, yet completely kid-friendly illustrations, they’re asked to draw or write about a bunch of interesting things — like what their hair looks like, what their band name would be, what they’d bring to outer space, and how they feel about lightning, lizards and pickles. There may or may not be a place for super-secret stuff inside the book jacket. Whether kids complete their entire compendium on a rainy day, or finish it over a year, it’ll become a treasure to look back on and smile."

I love the huge scope of questions that they ask from funny jokes, to favorite clothes, to spy names, to what I wish was in my refrigerator.

They encourage dreaming with question such as, "If I had a shop, it would be called ___ , and we would sell____".

They encourage physical activity with challenges such as: "number of jumping jacks i can do before i get tired."

There is even a little math on the "I am __ inches tall" page!

Great book for kids who enjoy (or need to practice!) reflection questions and writing. I would recommend this for 2nd-6th grade boys and girls.

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

Historical Fiction with a Challenge

A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagger's. I've never read a book like this. It was a very creative historical novel set in 1905 in the town of Teaville in Southeast Kansas.

The publisher describes the book this way:  "While Lydia King's reasons for joining the Teaville Moral Society might be suspect to some members, her heart is in the right place. Because of her father's debts and her mother's persistent illness, her best chance at a secure future and curing her mother is to impress the politician courting her. Her first task--to ask the town's wealthiest man to donate--seems simple enough . . . until he refuses.  Despite appearances, Nicholas Lowe wants to help others, but prefers to keep his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, but Nicholas still intends to do things his own way. Neither predicts what they'll learn about true charity or foresee the complications their actions will bring to the town, forcing Lydia to decide where her beliefs and heart truly align."

I like the questions the author poses about church. Should Christians be biased judges of sin? Or should we be willing to get our hands dirty and go meet the people that are hurting, and help them change their ways under God's love and God's power. She also challenges the notion of doing God's work in our own power/knowledge vs. taking time to be filled with God's word and God's spirit before we go do God's work. She also challenges views on marriage - should you marry for money or marry someone with a similar passions for life?

The characters are very well developed and it's easy to get lost in their story. You can feel their fears and aspire to their dreams.  Best of all, perhaps, readers will learn and be inspired as they read.

I look forward to reading more of her books. I would recommend this book to women age 16 plus. there is no inappropriate content, but I recommend for later reading age because of prostitutes in the story.

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

Montana Historical Fiction

A Beauty Refined (Sapphire Brides)

A beauty defined, a new novel by Tracie Peterson, 
has a very unique storyline, set in 1907 in Helena, Montana, as the main characters travel from Germany on business.  With every chapter, another layer of family deceit​ unfolds for Phoebe Von Bergen and she build another layer of courage to face the changes unfolding.  Part coming of age, part mystery, part love story, readers are sure to get blissfully and curiously lost in the moving story.

I appreciated the character struggles of honesty vs. harm, loyalty vs. deceit, love vs. fear, anger vs. self-control and independence vs. heritage.

​This is the second book in the Sapphire Bride series, but I never one felt left behind, even though I didn't read the first book in the series.​

I would recommend this book for ladies age 14 and older. There is no inappropriate content, but the violence in the book ​can be emotional to read.

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