Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Books That Came My Way in February

According to my Goodreads stats, I've read 12 books so far this year which has me a little behind on my goal of reading 80 books this year.  But, like I say every month, life is busy and blogging is not always my priority.  I wish I could spend my days reading on the couch under a blanket, but reality is that there is laundry to do, chores to get done, kids to feed, and activities to go to. I'm also subbing quite a few days and that takes a bunch of my reading time.

Because of my busy schedule I am taking less books.  I really only accept books that I am almost certain I will love.  So, this month's mailbox was a little slow and I am certainly okay with that.

I am currently reading two books and I'm almost done with both of them. I will have a few great reviews to share with you in the next week or two. As always, if I am choosing to read a book, then be sure that I truly think it is worthy of my time. Of course, some books just find their way to my mailbox without my previous knowledge. I am only going to spend time reading and reviewing books that I enjoy. If I'm not feeling it, I'm going to put it aside. I can't get to all these great books that come my way, but at least I can tell you about them here and I hope to review them just as soon as I can! 

If you would like to purchase any of these books, 
clicking on the photo of the book will take you directly to Amazon.  
If you choose to purchase, I will receive a small commission 
without you having to pay any more for your purchase.  
I appreciate your support of reviews.

The Deliberate Reader

I will be linking up with other bloggers sharing our stack of books for the month. 
Click HERE to see all the great Stacks of Books. 


By: Rachael Herron
Published: March 3, 2015
Publisher: NAL Trade

I'm currently reading this and am loving the relationship between the sisters in the story as well as the mother and daughter.  This book will definitely make you think about your life and what is truly important.

Ten years ago, Nora Glass started writing essays about being a single mother of a six-year-old daughter. Her weekly column made her a household name, and over the years, her fans have watched Ellie grow from a toddler to a teenager.

But now Nora is facing a problem that can’t be overcome. Diagnosed with a devastating disease that will eventually take away who she is, she is scared for herself, but even more frightened about what this will mean for her sixteen-year-old daughter.

Now Nora has no choice but to let go of her hard-won image as a competent, self-assured woman, and turn to the one person who has always relied on her: her twin sister, Mariana. Nora and Mariana couldn’t be more different from one another, and they’ve always had a complicated relationship. But now the two sisters will have to summon the strength to help them all get through a future none of them could have ever imagined, while uncovering the joy and beauty that was always underneath.

By: Deborah Purdue
Published: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Applegate Valley Publishing

I'm excited to share this journal with you. I'll be reviewing it next week.

Grace of Gratitude is an exquisite journal that has lined pages for the reader to express their own thoughts of gratitude. Inspiring examples of gratitude by the author Deborah Perdue, and beautiful illustrations by Tara Thelen are interspersed throughout. Gratitude is a valuable spiritual practice, and through this journal, one can reap the benefits of appreciation of life to feel more joy and more peace on a sustained level. This journal is not only for the novice, but also for anyone who is already experienced at the spiritual practice of feeling gratitude in his or her life.

A Captain No Beard Story
By: Carole P Roman
Published: January 5, 2015
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

All of Carole Roman's children's stories are great and I'm looking forward to sharing this one with you. I also have two copies, so I'll be giving one away!

Fribbet's gone missing! The crew searches for the excitable frog and finally find him troubled and crying in the stern. Fribbet is very upset, and it's up to Captain No Beard and the crew to find out what's wrong. Fribbet the Frog and the Tadpoles is another great voyage into problem solving and friendship, as well as an adventurous trip into the imagination. Join the Captain No Beard and his friends as they learn the value of sharing our troubles with others and that help is always there when we need it.


A Novel
By: Laura McBride 
Published: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

This was a Kindle Daily Deal and the synopsis made me decide to snag it. I'm sure I'll love it.

Three lives are bound together by a split-second mistake, and a child’s fate hangs in the balance. What happens next will test—and restore—your faith in humanity.

Far from the neon lights of the Vegas strip, three lives are about to collide. A middle aged woman attempting to revive her marriage. A returning soldier waking up in a hospital with no memory of how he got there. A very brave eight-year-old immigrant boy.

This is a story about families—the ones we have and the ones we make. It’s a story about America today, where so many cultures and points of view collide and coexist. We Are Called to Rise challenges us to think about our responsibilities to each other and reminds us that no matter how cruel life can be in a given moment, it is ultimately beautiful to live, and live fully.

That's all for this month.  I hope you find some time this month to read a book you enjoy. If you do, be sure to let me know!  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Even though I am sick of cold, snow and winter, this quote and photo brought a smile to my face. I took this photo after one of our snow storms this winter.  

Winter is full of some of my favorite comfort foods: chili, potato soup, and lasagna.

Winter is a time for extra snuggles on the couch and getting cozy under a blanket with a book and a cup of coffee.

Winter is family movie night by the fire place.

Winter is snow days where everyone gets to stay home and sleep in.

Winter can seem like it lasts forever. Winter can cause us to wish for beaches and summer days, but it can also remind me of home.

I have always lived in Iowa (except for 6 months in Wisconsin) and I know that if I lived somewhere that didn't have a true winter, it probably wouldn't feel like home.

So, as much as I am tired of WINTER, I am reminding myself of the small joys and beautiful moments of WINTER while waiting for SPRING to arrive.

If you are feeling like you can't handle one more snow storm or ice storm or cold day, find hope in the fact that WINTER is almost over and look for something to make you smile today.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Children's Book Review: When I Grow Up I Want to Be...U.S. Army and Veterinarian

I am excited to share two more books in the WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE series by Wigu Publishing.  I absolutely LOVE this series and highly recommend it for your elementary-aged child!

This series introduces readers to careers and people in their communities.  There have been five titles published with more to come. To see my other reviews of WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE...books, click HEREHERE, and HERE

IN THE U.S. ARMY (2nd Edition)
Jake Learns About the U.S. Army

By: Wigu Publishing

Published: December 6, 2014

Publisher: Wigu Publishing

In this 2nd edition, Jack has a school project and decides to choose being a soldier in the U.S. Army.  This edition features a different cover, more characters, and a bigger storyline.

Once Jake chooses an Army Soldier for his presentation, he leaves nothing out. His dad takes him to a GI Surplus store where Jake gets an education about being a soldier.  He learns the history of soldiers, as far back as George Washington.  Then when he chooses a uniform to wear during his presentation, his father, a former Sergeant in the U.S. Army, shares about the reasons for the different pins, patches, and ribbons. Alongside the story, there are factual information pages explaining different jobs, weapons, and body armor needed for those specific jobs. After Jake gives his presentation to the class, he is surprised when a classmate shares a familiar object during her presentation.  Jake may have just made a new friend.

The book ends with a glossary of Army terms used in the book.  The book is full of illustrations and factual photos to teach the reader all about the U.S. Army, the history, and current duties associated with being a member of the U.S. Army.

Sofia's Dream Comes True

By: Wigu Publishing

Published: December 9, 2014

Publisher: Wigu Publishing

Sophia has been begging for a pet to no avail. Her mom refuses every time she asks. Then one rainy night, a cat shows up at their home and Sophia wonders if her wish has finally come true. Even though the cat is scared off the first time, she returns after Sophia is patient and offers food.  After much convincing, Sophia is allowed to take the cat to the veterinarian to make sure she is healthy.  During this visit she is given an education about taking care of her new pet. Before she leaves with her new cat, she is surprised by the veterinarian's diagnosis.

This book is perfect for any animal lover.  The story reminded me of our daughter who sat in our garage for hours to coax a stray kitten that had jumped out of our garbage can. She offered food and sang to it until if finally came to snuggle up next to her.  That kitten is now our pet, Stormy, and is very well loved.

Throughout Sophia's veterinarian visit, the reader can learn about all kinds of animals and different types of care they need including wild animals, dogs, cats, farm animals, and even birds and exotic animals.  The book includes illustrations and photos to help tell the story and teach about all different kinds of animals. Our daughter especially loved the cat pictures.  The end of the book shares tips for becoming a veterinarian as well as what it takes to be a good pet owner.

I continue to be impressed by this series of books and look forward to sharing more in this series with you soon.  Upcoming books include: A NURSE!, A GOOD PERSON!, A RACE CAR DRIVER! and GREEN!

WIGU PUBLISHING is a collaboration among talented and creative individuals working together to publish informative and fun books for children. Our titles serve to introduce young readers to the people in their communities who serve others through their careers. Wigu's books are unique in that they help children visualize the abundant opportunities that exist for them to be successful and to make a difference.  For more on Wigu Publishing, check out their website, . You can also find them on social media:

Facebook, HERE 
Twitter, HERE
Pinterest, HERE.

To purchase a copy of WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE...IN THE U.S. ARMY, click the photo below:

To purchase a copy of WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE...A VETERINARIAN, click the photo below:

To see all the books in this series, click HERE.

I will be linking up this review with Booking Mama's Kid Konnection on Saturday. To see other great reviews of children's and young adult literature, click HERE.

Thanks to Wigu Publishing for sending copies of these books for review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the books through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting reviews. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Product Review: Spa's Premium Dead Sea Mud Mask

I was offered the opportunity to try Spa's Premium Dead Sea Mud Mask.
I love trying new beauty products and was interested in the skincare benefits of this product. I appreciated that it is made with all natural ingredients including Shea Butter, Aloe Vera Juice, and Sunflower Oil, to name a few.  It offers anti-aging benefits and a natural moisturizer to reinvigorate your skin.

After having FOUR blemishes on my face in one day, I decided it was a good time to try out this mask.  I haven't had four zits since my teen years. Plus, I had an entire day at home, which meant I wasn't in a hurry to get make-up on and get out the door. I had a makeup free day ahead of me so felt it was the perfect time to try out the mask.

I applied the mask evenly across my face with my fingers. The mask was cool and reminded me of the consistency of pudding.  I applied it lightly, but can be applied thicker if you prefer.

It was wet and slimy, but dried quickly.

After it dried, it turned into a hard mask that made your face feel extremely tight.

You are to leave it on for 15-20 minutes. 
 I took it off at 15 minutes by removing with a warm wash cloth. 
 It wiped off easily.  
I then applied my usual moisturizer (Mary Kay Time Wise Moisturizer).

My face feels smoother and had a glow when I removed the mask. But, I will say, I couldn't wait to get the mask off. I didn't care for that tight feeling on my face. But, for 15 minutes, it is manageable.

You could use this on dry elbows, cracked heels, or other problem areas.

retails for $19.95 for an 8 oz jar. 
You will get several uses out of this one jar,
 although you should use it within one to two months due to the natural ingredients.

If you would like to purchase this mask,
 click the photo at the top of the post or click HERE.

Thanks to Spa's Premium for sending a jar of this product for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the product through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting reviews. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Catching You Up on Life Around Here

Even though I haven't been posting much on here, I have been keeping busy.

I finished this book last week:

I haven't told you about it yet, because I read it for the Cedar Rapids Gazette. The author is an Iowan, near where I grew up.  So, I am doing a feature on her and this book she wrote about her mom.  If you like Memoirs and WWII, this is a book for you! I'll be running my review in mid March after the Gazette runs my feature. I can assure you it is worth the read.  Pick up your copy, HERE.

I'm reading every chance I get.  Right now, on my Kindle I'm reading, The Settling Earth.
It's a collection of short stories and it's holding my interest.  It's a quick read and I hope to tell you about it next week.

I'm also reading Splinters of Light.
It comes out next week and I will have a review for you then as well.

Our boys are in the middle of show choir season, which means our weekends are full.  But, basketball is done, so we get our weeknights back...for a bit.  Until soccer begins.

I'm sick of this cold weather and as I type this, more snow is headed our way.  I know that technically, Spring is just a few weeks away, but it doesn't feel like it is going to get here anytime soon.

Blogging and sharing books I love with all of you brings me such joy. Especially when you share about a book I have told you about and how much you loved it.  That is why I started sharing my love of books with all of you.  But, as I have always said, this is my hobby and many other things come first in my life. So, if I am MIA for a few days or a week.  You'll know that I am just focusing of the other things in life.  But, know that I'll be back, just as soon as I can.

I am also spending time studying God's Word.  That has been my Lent goal and so far I have been sticking with it....7 days in. The truths have been eye-opening and I have been reading and rereading 
several scriptures. I'm reading the SHE READS TRUTH "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross" plan and really like how everything is laid out for me.  I didn't realize how much I missed studying His Word. I used to attend a weekly Bible Study called Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) and have missed that daily connection.

These are some of the truths that have spoken to me in these first 7 days.  I'm sharing in case you need some encouragement or hope. If so, it can be found here. 

Romans 3:20 For no one will be justified in His sight by the works of the law, because the knowledge of sin comes through the law.

Joel 2:13 For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, and He relents from sending disaster.

2 Corinthians 5 - Really the whole chapter brought tears to my eyes. I don't know why it was so powerful to me at this time, but it has been one I have read every single day.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Mark 2:17 "Those who are well don't need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn't come to call the righteous, but sinners." 

Hebrews 12:5-6, 11 My son, do not take the Lord's discipline lightly or faint when you are reproved by Him, for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Getting Organized: Kitchen Utensils Drawer

For months I have spent way too much time digging for my cookie dough scoop or my metal spatula or a wine stopper.  I'd finally had enough and decided it was time to get this drawer organized.

Does anyone else have a drawer that looks like this?

My first step was to pull everything out and wipe the drawer clean.

How do crumbs get in there anyway???

Once everything was out, I did some purging. I moved some things that I still use but not very often to our downstairs "kitchen/bar" area. I got rid of broken or unused items. Then I prioritized what I needed in this drawer and organized by categories. 

Once everything was placed in category piles (baking, pizza, wine, etc) then I decided what I wanted in the front of the drawer and what could go towards the back. 

Several months ago I found Progressive Drawer Dividers on Zulily.
I love finding great deals on Zulily. Click HERE to be notified of all their great deals.

These dividers are also available on Amazon by clicking the photo above. 

I love how they separate everything and keep utensils from sliding all over the drawer. The dividers are spring-loaded and fit to any size drawer and fit tightly.

I did this drawer over a month ago and it still looks exactly like this. It is so much easier for everyone to find just what they need and can hopefully put it back in the same spot.

This project took me less than 30 minutes from start to finish. I'm looking forward to organizing more spaces in our home over the next few months. 

What can you spend 10, 15 or even 30 minutes organizing today? Spending that time now, may save you 5 minutes here and there over the next several months because you will spend less time looking for something.

This post does contain affiliate links. Thanks for supporting 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Product Review: NutriGold Organic Chia Seeds, Omega-3, and Vitamin K2 MK-7

For the last few months I've had the opportunity to try several products from NutriGold.  

NutriGold products are made with organic, whole food, and clinically-proven ingredients and without GMOs, artificial ingredients, Stearates, Sulfates, Laurates, and Dioxides.  You can find products such as vitamins, minerals, probiotics, oils and whole food supplements. They have products for various health concerns such as diet and weight-loss, energy, cholesterol, glucose, joints, stress, and memory.

I had the opportunity to try NutriGold Omega-3 Gold Vitamins, Vitamin K2 MK-7 Gold, and Organic Chia Seeds.

As with any health product, you should consult with your doctor or pharmacist before trying any new product in case their are concerns with your particular health situation or drug interactions. 

The Omega-3 Gold are a fish oil supplement and the pills are quite large. But, every fish oil supplement I have taken has been a large pill.  Omega-3 is best known for supporting cardiovascular health, but can also support joints and brain function. I have been taking these for several weeks and the only flaw I would have to comment on is large size of pills and that there is a "burp" factor after taking them. No other side effects or issues have come up and I do feel like I am doing something good for my overall health when I take them.

The Vitamin K2 MK-7 is a necessary supplement because it can't be synthesized by the body. Vitamin K supports healthy bones, heart and kidney functions, and promotes healthy aging. The Vitamin K comes from Natto which I had just recently heard about from a podcast promoting its benefits. This is a small capsule that you can actually see the liquid move in it. I noticed no side effects from this vitamin and appreciate knowing that I am benefiting my health while taking it.

I have enjoyed Chia Seeds in various ways over the last couple years. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to try NutriGold Organic Chia Seeds. I typically use Chia Seeds in my smoothies and in chia pudding. Some people don't like how chia seeds swell when they come in contact with a liquid but that is what I love about them. I like that "tapioca like" texture that chia seeds offer. What I noticed when using the NutriGold Organic Chia Seeds is they didn't swell as much. They stayed more seed like when mixed in. So, for texture purposes, this was a disappointment. But, I still appreciate the benefits Chia Seeds offer. Chia Seeds are a great source of fiber and amino acids. Since I only use a scoop at a time, this 2lb bag will last me a long time.

All of the above products are available on the NutriGold website. You can see all of the wide-range of health products offered by clicking HERE.

You can also find their products on Amazon, clicking the photos will take you directly to their product page:

$22.99 (as of this post)

$23.21 (as of this post)

$19.99 (as of this post)

Thanks to NutriGold for sending the above products for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase any of the products through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting