Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Back to School Boost for Moms Ebook Sale!

Would you like to get 5 ebooks for $10 (a $28.95 value)?
  • Tell Your Time
  • Create Your Perfect Cleaning Schedule
  • Feast in 15
  • The No Brainer Wardrobe
  • Cupcakes!  12 Months of Happiness

I have 2 of these books and I love them.  This is a great time to get a few extra ideas to make the transition to fall smoother!

Check out more details at Eat at Home

Sale is from August 1-8.  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Husband Project starts July 30

A few years ago I was going to start this book The Husband Project: 21 Days of Loving Your Man--on Purpose and with a Plan by Kathi Lipp.  I was going to be in a group and right as it got started it fizzled.  Needless to say, after having another baby, marriage has not been my top priority (gulp!).  Yes, I have a good marriage, but I want to have a GREAT marriage.  So, Christin over at Joyful Mothering is starting The Husband Project.  I encourage you to join and make your husband feel like the man that you loved when you got married.  Make him feel special and keep the flame burning!  The book club starts July 30.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Melanie Dobson's "Mackinac Island" Kindle Fire Giveaway!

Celebrate with Melanie by entering her Kindle Fire Giveaway!

Find out what the reviewers are saying here!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • Signed copies of Melanie’s Love Find You books: Love Finds you in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Love Finds You in Amana, Iowa, Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa, and Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana.
But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/4/12. The winner will be announced on 8/6/12 at Melanie's blog!

Just click one of the icons below to enter! Tell your friends about Melanie's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

My review:

Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan by Melanie Dobson is a story of romance, mystery, suspense, secret identities and the idea that marrying for money should not be more important than marrying for love.  Elena Bissette is trapped.  It is 1884 and her father's factory just lost its fortune and Elena is expected to marry a rich bachelor, Chester Darrington, whom she will also be meeting on her last vacation to Mackinac Island if her mother can arrange it.  Elena hates to disappoint her mother who is set on her marrying a wealthy man, but she would rather slip away from the stuffy life and live in a small place with someone she loved.  On one of her secret nightly escapes to a hidden lighthouse, Elena meets Chase and with their common interests in stars and things of God's nature, they fall in love.  But later she meets him at the Grand Hotel Ball under their real identities and each believes the other has deceived them.  Will Chase and Elena be able to put aside society barriers and misconceptions to discover true love?

This story was complete and I didn't want it to end.  In fact, I would love a sequel to it!  This story was fascinating with rich history, a beautiful love story and lots of humor.  Elena is disgusted with the gossiping women her mother's wants her to associate with.  She wants to be free and on a previous trip to Mackinac she is led to a lighthouse with a mystery of it's own.  Even though there were many characters in this story it was easy to keep track of all of them and how they each contributed to the story.  Elena and Chase don't meet right away and I love all the little hints that are given to each of them before they actually meet.  One time Chase told a friend that he loved looking at stars (not a typical pastime for a woman) and this friend said "I know someone who loves looking at stars!"  And before Chase could find out who that was, the conversation was interrupted.  There were many scenes like this.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Melanie's work.

*This product was provided to me free of charge for purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this book and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*

The Amazing Action Alphabet Review

The See Hear Do Company

The combination of seeing + hearing + doing that = learning has been shown to be the most effective way to learn. Researchers and educators have found that people retain 20% of what they hear, 50% of what they see and hear, and up to 90% of what they see, hear, say, and do. This program is so successful because it uses this combination of all three.

Step 1 Seeing
The child sees the shape of the adorable
animal is the shape of the letter
(visual stimulation).

Step 2 Hearing
The child hears an amusing story and learns
the name and sound of the letter
(auditory stimulation).

Step 3 Doing
The child does a fun action with their body
that produces instant recall for the
sound of the letter
(kinesthetic stimulation).

The Amazing Action Alphabet by Esther Kehl is a unique approach to teach young children letters and sounds.  It is called "See, Hear, Do."  First the child sees the picture of an animal in the shape of a letter, then they hear a story which emphasizes the sound of the letter and there is an action to go along with the story and sound.  And the sound is repeated several times throughout the story.  The flip book has a picture side facing the child and the story for the parent to read is on the other side.  There is also a snazzy CD which coordinates with the flip chart.  All the stories are sung and the sounds are practiced with the movements.  It is a very comprehensive and amazing program as you see and hear your child imitating the sounds associated with the letters.


 I love this teaching product because it covers teaching letters and sounds in a fun and engaging way.  As I read the stories with my 3 year old (who has picked up on the sounds like a snap), I can see my 1 year old trying out the sounds too.  The animal pictures are adorable, colorful and eye-catching.  I highly recommend the CD because you can also play it without showing the pictures.  My kids repeat the sounds along with it as I turn it on while they play.  I daily do several of these animal stories and sounds and I can see how easily my son is finding these sounds in the words that he speaks.  He'll say "Mommy, a says "a" in antelope like in A the Alligator is angry- a, a, a!"  Also, a really fun part of the CD is at the end of each story Esther says an encouraging word that start with the letter like "dynamite"  and my son always repeats the word!  I highly recommend this as a fun way to teach letters and sounds to young children.

Watch this interview with the creator, Esther:

*This product was provided to me free of charge for purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this book and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hello Mornings! Register now for Fall (Aug 20-Nov 16)


A few years ago, I came upon Passionate Homemaking and she recommended this free ebook called Maximize Your Mornings.  I quickly downloaded it and perused it.  I am a morning person, but I wasn't prepared to fit in Quiet time, Exercise and Planning every morning!  But WAIT, that is exactly what I needed to do in order to have a smooth running day.  Hmm, well, I joined the challenge last fall with a group, but I wasn't entirely motivated since my group was formed last minute and no one really took a great lead.  Then I decided to try again in January and I was placed in a great group that I have been with since then.  I am encouraged everyday to get up, spend time with God, exercise, plan and let God lead and guide me.  My group is so encouraging and I don't do The Big Three everyday, but sometimes I don't have to get it all done in the morning even though that is ideal.  So, if you are interested in being encouraged in maximizing your mornings, join HELLO MORNINGS and you will definitely draw closer to God, take care of yourself and make a good plan to have a fabulous day with your family! 

Open enrollment begins now and the challenge starts August 20.  There is also a free Bible study that goes along with the challenge- 1 Peter.  All of this info will be given soon.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this challenge and I feel so much more accomplished everyday and free to do more fun things!

He Is What You Need

There is nothing special about the Challenge, we are just a community of women pursuing God each morning. But there is nothing in this world that has the power to transform your life like consistent time with God. He made you, He knows you, He has better plans for you than you can imagine. He wants you to know He loves you and that His Grace is sufficient for everything you face.
Is there a better way to start your day? Head on over to the HelloMornings section and register today!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Booking It: July 2012


Reviews I wrote: 

Recipe of the Week: Haystack Beans

I buy this HUGE bag of pinto beans, but I never know how to make them taste good until my friend, Lynn, shared this great recipe with me! Thanks, Lynn!

  • Sort and rinse 2 lbs of dry pinto beans (4 cups) 
  • Soak overnight in lots of cool water (I used the crockpot-unplugged)
  • Drain and rinse.  Put in freezer for a few hours and then take out for a few hours to thaw.  This helps with digestion and makes the beans less gassy (I think!).
  • Add to crockpot with about one inch of water and cook on high until soft (6-8 hrs) with bay leaf.
  • Drain liquid off after cooking
  • Saute 1 large onion in olive oil with 1 recipe Taco Seasoning (see below).
  • Add onion, 1 small can tomato paste, 1 T brown sugar and sea salt to taste.
  • Mix well!
Taco Seasoning:
1 T. chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper (used less)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

You can make several batches with one bag of pinto beans and save a lot of money!

This recipe can be used for anything that you need refried beans for, but in a much healthier way!  We use it in burritos, salad (haystacks),  and mixing it with salsa for a yummy chip dip!  I also mixed these beans with avocado and fed it my little girl.  This freezes well.  Just heat up with a little liquid.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bringing Up Girls by James Dobson Book Review

Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women by James Dobson is a book about the culture and the relationships that are shaping the future of our girls.  The bulk of this book covered topics that affect girls both internally (self-esteem, moral values) and externally (rebellion, early s*xual behavior).  The main issue that was threaded throughout and capitalized on in several chapters was the major role the father needs to take in the life of his daughter.  There were lots of stories, interviews and statistics that were definitely geared toward Christian conservative positions.  This book did cover many of the challenges in raising girls, but did not offer enough practical advice.

I was very overwhelmed and downright afraid of the raising my daughter with the issues that were addressed in this book.  I was hoping for more encouragement and practical advice, but I was loaded with devastating statistics and terrible culture trends that I will have to face with my daughter.  I do have to say that there were some positive chapters that gave me hope, but overall, with the emphasis on the father-daughter relationship, I felt very deflated.  If you want to know more about what cultural difficulties you will be facing in raising your daughter, this book is for you.

*This product was provided to me free of charge for purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this book and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*

Monday, July 9, 2012

Apple Valley Natural Soap Camping Giveaway!

I love all the giveaways from Apple Valley Natural Soap. Click here to enter the camping giveaway.

Our Camping Package Giveaway

Our giveaway package includes an All Natural Bug Repellent, a Boundary Waters Shampoo and Body Bar, and a jar of our best selling Organic Herbal Salve, to apply on any scratches, sunburns, and bug bites.  This package has a retail value of $24.  Giveaway runs July 9-11.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Locks of Love 2012

Two years ago I donated my hair to Locks of Love.  Why did I do it?  Read this heartbreaking story from my friend Melody.

From Melody Haase:
Hey everyone! I am still collecting hair. My plan is to do events every two years. Here is the updated letter of why I am doing it with all the rules. Mail it to me, or Locks of Love. Currently we have 165 braids that we collected in Monica's name. We've mailed off the bulk of them, but are still collecting. Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers. What an amazing legacy that Monica left. I can see her smiling in heaven right now, dancing with her sisters, and Jesus; rejoicing over this and our new little baby about to be born.

Our daughter Monica was a sweet, sweet girl that loved to donate hair. The first time she donated it, she was 5. When she turned 7, she said, “Mommy, I have pretty hair.” To which I responded, “Yes, Honey, you do.” She then said, “No, I mean, I have really beautiful, thick, curly, hair.” At that point I was thinking the vanity bug had bitten her and then she continued, “But I don’t need it. There are other kids that need hair more than I do, and they would love to have my hair. So, that’s what I am going to do the rest of my life. Grow it out and give it away.” So that weekend she donated her hair again. While traveling in July 2007, right after she turned 9, she had it cut again, but didn’t want to send her braid off quite yet as she wanted her Nana, Papa and Daddy see it when we stopped to see them. Her two younger sisters, Katie (age 5) and Sarah (age 4) wanted to as well but their hair wasn’t long enough, so they decided when Monica cut it again, they would also. July 8th was Monica’s sister Vanessa’s birthday (turned 11). Vanessa stayed back in Montana with family for a birthday celebration and the rest of us continued on to Washington. That afternoon we were in a terrible car accident and all three girls that were in the car were killed instantly. Monica’s braid was lost in the wreckage. While we are all struggling with the why’s and dealing with our grief, we would like to help others as Monica did. We sponsored a Locks of Love hair drive on Monica’s birthday July 3rd, 2008, and are sponsoring 3 more this summer 2010. Hair and monetary donations will be accepted. 100% of the proceeds will be going to Locks of Love.

God Bless You All,

Melody, Kenton, and Vanessa Haase

It is now 2 years later and I donated my hair again and I got to see Melody too. She is now pregnant with her 6th child and due in October! Consider donating your hair in honor of Monica.  She died 5 years ago today.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

He Loves Me DVD by Cindy Bultema

Several months ago I asked my readers to tell me about their blogs and I found Cindy Bultema's blog- She Sparkles.  I was immediately drawn to her gorgeous smile and thought that this woman has something awesome to share.  I read her testimony and cried!  It was heartbreaking, yet encouraging.  I was so excited when Cindy was going to film her testimony with Day of Discovery.  She gave away some free DVD's during the promotion and I received one.  I want to tell you that you NEED to watch this DVD.  Cindy has an amazing and powerful story to tell.  And you will love how she *sparkles* when she talks about God!

If you want to order the DVD contact Cindy at cindy.bultema@gmail.com.  DVD's are $10 + $3 S&H.

You can see the whole story at Day of Discovery- 26 minutes.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Precedent by Paula Wiseman Book Review

Precedent: Book Three: Covenant of Trust Series written by Paula Wiseman is the third book in  the Covenant of Trust Series.  In Contingency, Bobbi finds out that her husband had an affair and they piece back their marriage.  In Indemnity, the woman with whom Chuck had an affair appears back in his life with their son Jack.  In Precedent, the Molinsky family is faced with death, rebellion and life threatening illness.  Chuck is worried that because of his affair God has placed a curse on his life.  He tries to keep it all together, but with tragedy assailing the family, he realizes that God has bigger lessons to teach him.  Precedent is the final chapter of the Molinsky family, but shows some very positive conclusions how a broken family can endure so many trials, yet stay close to God and trust Him to see them through.

Paula has taken a story and made a real life saga of how a family goes through very difficult valleys, yet keeps coming back to God.  I am so impressed with the depth of character that Paula creates in each person.  What I loved most was the relationship Bobbi developed with Jack (Chuck's son from the affair).  He was definitely a glue that really held the family together even though his birth came through unwanted circumstances.  Paula touches emotions in her readers and her characters tackle tough life issues in real ways.  I would highly recommend this series to anyone who has difficulty in their family as a beacon of hope in this fallen world.   These books are absolutely amazing!

*This product was provided to me free of charge for purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this book and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*

Visit Paula's website.
Learn more about Contingency .
Learn more about Indemnity.
Learn more about Precedent
You can also visit Paula on Facebook.