Monday, July 29, 2013

A Little Monday Inspiration


I've got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.
Larry Bird, former NBA basketball player

We are constantly telling our kids...
 "Always do your best.  As long as you give your best, all of the time, we will never be disappointed in you."

It isn't someone else's 100%, it is just yours.  You know your limits, expectations, drive, focus.  You know whether or not you have given it your all.  You can't be fully satisfied with yourself, unless you truly give your 100%.

Give it your all in everything you do!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Are You A Debbie Macomber Fan?

I have been chosen as a Debbie Macomber Fan Ambassador.  So, if you are a fan of her books or movies, stay tuned.  I will be getting first dibs on anything Debbie Macomber.  I will be getting first hand information about events, new books, movies, and behind-the-scenes details and I will be sharing that right here.  This is the best place to hear all about Debbie Macomber!

Stay tuned...............

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book Review: 10,000 Babies By Silvio Aladjem M.D.

10,000 BABIES

By:  Silvio Aladjem M.D.

Published: March 1, 2013

This book is a compilation of stories from Dr Aladjem's years of  practice as a Fetal Medicine Specialist.  His stories contain antidotes of patients from their prenatal visits all the way through delivery.  There are stories that will make you cry, some that will be jaw-dropping, and others that will make you laugh.  But, as a mother, all of them made me sentimental for my own delivery stories and caused me to look back on those times fondly.

In 10,000 BABIES, Dr Aladjem begins by walking you through the labor and delivery process, the history of women having babies, and as the stories permit, a bit of the cultural background related to delivering babies.  Since, Dr Aladjem is a Fetal Medicine Specialist, he gets referrals and sees those patients that are at high risk.  There are women who have had multiple miscarriages, women who are carrying multiple babies, women who are diabetic, and even one woman who made her body believe she was pregnant.

I think the sharing of our birth stories is one that ties women together.  It is something that mothers can identify and relate to.  The day we gave birth to our child is one of the most memorable and significant days of our lives and being able to hear about another woman's struggle, complications, and joys validates our experience as well.  As you read through this book, you will feel like you are hearing the stories from friends.

Not all the stories in this book are joyous, and there were a few that broke my heart.  But, the way Dr Aladjem tells their stories gives respect to the parents and shows his concern.  This book reminds us what a miracle it is for life to form and grow inside a woman's body and the critical nature of delivering the baby.  It is nothing short of a miracle each and every time.

There was a lot that I learned about the labbor and delivery process as well.  I had never heard of pica, a disease where a pregnant woman has cravings for dirt, chalk and paint chips.  I had never heard of a women believing so strongly that she was pregnant that she tricked her body into believing it too.  I was also intrigued by the cultural aspects of labor and delivery, especially involving the placenta.

With each chapter being it's own story, you can read this over a long period of time, or at once.  There is some repetition as you go through the book, explaining medical situations and reasons for type of care, but having the chapters each being their own individual story, I can understand why this was done.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading the birth stories from the doctor's perspective.  He was absolutely a very caring, attentive doctor and the women in this book were lucky to have him.  There is no question that he loved his job every single day and felt it a privilege to help bring new life into this world. He also gave much credit to the nurses both in the delivery room as well as in his office.  He was proud of the staff he worked with each day.  Dr. Aladjem found his calling and has contributed enormous knowledge and care to the world.  He has blessed many women over the years and I hope his life is immensely blessed as well.

Dr Silvio Aladjem
Dr. Silvio Aladjem is an obstetrician/maternal-fetal medicine specialist. He is Professor Emeritus in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University in Lansing, MI and Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Wayne State University in Detroit. He is Board Certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and the sub-specialty of Maternal Fetal Medicine. He is the author of several textbooks in the field of obstetrics and perinatal medicine.  For more on the book, visit the website

10,000 BABIES is available in hard cover, paperback and on the Kindle.  

Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book for review.  This review is my honest opinion.  If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting 

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Little Monday Inspiration

After my post last week, (find it HERE
I wanted to find a way to remind myself of that post.  
I needed the inspiration for myself and I thought some of you might as well.  
So, I asked my son, Patrick, to create this graphic for me and I think he did a great job! 

Whatever the task you have ahead of you today, plow forward and get the job done.  You won't regret it!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Happy Birthday Benny!

Yesterday our middle child turned 12.  I remember going into labor with him like it was yesterday.  For some reason, his sticks in my mind the most.  I remember it was one of the hottest weeks of the summer with several 100 degree days.  Since I had a 1 year old to try to keep up with, I was quite tired.  Bennett wasn't due until August 5th, but the night of July 18th, at 11:00 PM, I remember waking up my husband and saying, "I'm in labor." I remember him being quite shocked.  Not too many hours later, Bennett was born and he was my easiest delivery of all our kids.

 He wasn't my easiest baby, many nights up with colic.  
But we made it through and he certainly gave us lots of laughs. 

 He and his brother, Patrick, are just 15 months apart and they are best friends.  Of course they have their arguments and sometimes it is nothing short of a WWE event, but eventually they come around .  I have always told them, you will always have your brother to back you up and be your best friend and I hope that is always the case.

 It seems like overnight, 
he went from this cute little boy to a tween full of charisma and talent.  
He brings so much joy into this house every day!

Bennett has become a huge WWE and John Cena fan 
and was thrilled to get this shirt and hat for his birthday.  

The rest of this weekend will be spent celebrating Bennett.  
Today family will celebrate with us and 
Sunday, his friends will meet us for a pool party.  
I can't think of a better way to spend my weekend. 

Happy Birthday Bennett! 
You make me a proud Mama every single day! Love you!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Book Review: Firebug By Daniel Berenson


By: Daniel Berenson

Published:  December 16, 2012

eBook only

This book came to me through a request from the author.  After reading the synopsis and since I have two sons near the age of the boys in the novel, I decided to give it a shot.

FIREBUG tells the story of Curtis and Bobby, two boys about to enter middle school.  We are introduced to Curtis as he is on the way with his family to visit his Aunt and Uncle on their farm during the summer.  He can't wait to spend time there riding bikes with his friends and getting candy from the general store.  But within his first two hours there, tragedy strikes.  We are then introduced to Bobby who is starting middle school, and all his wants is a fresh start and to fit in.  He especially wants to be noticed by the pretty girl in his class and when he finally has the guts to talk to her, he is embarrassed and is never able to live it down.  The teasing Bobby faces turns into bullying and his personality becomes non-existent.  Bobby eventually loses interest in school and gets caught up in a plan with his classmate Ryan that will change his life forever.

There is no question this book is about boys and fire but what happens and how these two boys are affected by fire is what I am not going to tell you.  You will have to read the book for that. I can't say I have ever had a talk with our boys about playing with fire. I guess I just assumed they knew it was dangerous.  There is always that fascination with wanting to help dad build the bonfire or watch things burn, but it hasn't gone beyond that.  This book takes it to the extreme and is a wake up call for kids and parents everywhere.

The novel, in my opinion, is written for upper-elementary through middle school aged kids.  It doesn't get too wordy or graphic in detail, but tells enough so that the reader has a idea of the damage, pain, and suffering involved in the novel.  I think the author did an excellent job portraying the attitudes and actions of the boys in the novel in a realistic manner.  There were several passages in the book that I liked, but this description of Curtis's mom has stuck with me, "but now she looked tired, like a flower pounded by rain." There are days that I have felt completely exhausted, but this descriptions truly gives the reader an image and a feeling toward Curtis's mom and all she has been through.  You automatically sympathize with her.

This novel is one that teaches you about the power of courage and friendship.  I will be having our boys read it and for just $3.99, I think you should share it with the boys in your life too.  They won't forget this story.

Organizations that care for burn survivors, including the Shriners Hospital and the Jaycees, will receive 20% of the net profits from the sale of this book. 

Daniel Berenson believes so strongly in FIREBUG and it's message that he has self-published it.  He wrote this after extensive research with the North Carolina Jaycees Burn Unit at Chapel Hill Memorial Hospital, a burn survivor and his family, school administrators, a psychologist, a fire investigator, and an attorney. Berenson is a retired teacher and writer of novels, short story collections, poetry, and joke books for kids.

I was given a copy of this ebook by the author for the purpose of this review.  This review is my honest opinion.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Little Monday Inspiration and An Update

photo courtesy of
"Progress is rarely a straight line.  There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead. "
Kara Goucher, American long-distance runner

In the first 6 months of the year I have ran/walked a total of 64.72 miles.  I know to a great many of you, that may not seem like much.  But, for me, it is more than I have ever ran in my life.  I have never liked running and I don't expect to ever really enjoy it. But it is something I am trying to do to feel stronger, be healthier, and gain more energy.  Even though this averages out to 10+ miles per month, some months I did much less and some months I did much more.  There were plenty of "bumps in my road". My schedule got in the way.  My laziness got in the way.  Excuses were easy to come up with for why I didn't need to run.  But, when I added up the miles, I was surprised just how much I actually did.

I have noticed some progress so far this year. I ran a 5K in June, beating my previous time by 2 minutes.  I can run for longer periods of time without needing to stop.  I am not so out of breath at the end of my run.  I have more energy on the days that I run.  But, the best part is that I am so glad I did it.

 There are never any regrets after a run. 
 Just regrets on days I don't run.  

I have found the best way for me to get running is accountability.  If I say I am going to run, I need to run.  If I can make a running date with someone (even virtually) that forces me to stop what I am doing, then I am more likely to run.  If I have a movie or TV show to watch, I am more motivated to get on that treadmill.

So, I will be looking ahead to the end of the year.  How many more miles can I get in?  Can I get to 100 miles?  Can I get to 150 miles?  I think I will make 150 miles in 2013 my goal.  I'm going to need some good fall shows to DVR to keep me motivated.  I am curious about the new Netflix series, Orange is the New Black.  I've also started watching Devious Maids from Lifetime.  Any show/movie recommendations?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Book Review: And the Mountains Echoed By Khaled Hosseini


By:  Khaled Hosseini

Published:  May 21, 2013

Hosseini has kept us waiting six years for another of his masterpieces and though the wait was long, it was worth it.  He does not disappoint with his newest novel...really more a work of great literature.  If you read his other books, THE KITE RUNNER and A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS, this book will rank right up at the top with the other two.  If you are new to his writing, this book will cause you to put all your other books aside so you can read his others.  He truly is a master at storytelling.

This book includes stories upon stories.  Starting with a fable and then telling the stories of families over many generations and then by the end intertwining all of the individual stories into one.  This is how the title of the book is worked in.  I expected to find the title actually in the story, but the title actually explains the book. As you travel through each of the individual stories, parts of them "echo" into the next.  At least, that is how I interpreted the title.  That is what makes this book so uniquely beautiful.

When talking with a friend about this book, I described it as heartbreaking and yet, wonderful.  Each of the stories were full of agony, despair, disappointment, suffering, or heartache, but they were also full of hope, happiness, and surrounded by a love and devotion for family.  That devotion is what kept you turning the pages.  The love of family is really what is at the heart of this novel.  Brothers and sisters, cousins, and even friends who are all the family that the person has.  The decisions, compromises and judgments rendered in each of their lives and the ramifications for future generations were mind-boggling.  How Hosseini can create these stories is amazing and I am so glad he has shared his talent with us.

The stories are set in Afghanistan, Greece, France, and the US.  There are stories of extreme wealth and severe poverty.  The stories of poverty, especially in Afghanistan, were such a jolt to my easy life here in America.  It was another humbling reminder (after going through a weekend of a "boil order" in our town) that there is truly so much suffering in the world that most of us have no grasp of.  I truly am appreciating our community and our freedoms after reading this novel.

I could gush on and on about this novel, but I just don't want to give any more of it away.  The main tip I would give you for this novel is to try to read it in a short period of time.  I don't think that will be an issue because you will want to continue reading it.  But, even after just a 2 day break from the book, it was difficult for me to keep all the stories and characters straightened out.  The flow of the novel was a bit difficult at times because the flow of one story would stop and transfer to another story without much warning.  There were several times in the novel where I had to stop and reread a page or two to get my mind on the right people.  Keeping a character list might be helpful as you read along.

This was our book club choice for the month and it makes for an excellent discussion.  The questions supplied on the publisher's website, although deep, were a good jump start to the numerous topics.  Loss, separation, family, and forgiveness are just a few of the topics you could start with.

There were so many wonderful descriptions and ways to tell a story in this book.  I could have practically highlighted something on every single page.  I will give you just one example that when I read it, I nodded and said, "Exactly!".

"It was a hot day, the sun biting the skin like it had teeth."  Page 301

If you like books full of description, emotion, and are character driven, run and pick up this latest book by Hosseini at your local bookstore or library. You won't be able to forget it.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Scenes from Our Summer

Our summer is half over already.  It seems like we have barely started.  But the kids have been kept pretty busy with baseball, basketball camps, jump rope camp, show choir camp, discovery camp and swimming lessons.  They have also had some down time at the pool, jumping on the trampoline and of course, hanging out with their friends and being on their technology devices.  Our last half of summer will fly by with family visiting, a birthday, vacation, and football and cross country camps.  Before we know it, August 19th will be here and the kids will be off to school.

Here are a few snapshots from our summer so far.  Enjoy!

Stayed tuned to more from the rest of our summer! May your summer be as full of smiles as ours is!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Children's Book Review: Tilda Pinkerton's Magical Hats By Angela Shelton

Book 1
By the Red Tractor Mailbox

Written by: Angela Shelton

Illustrated by: James Murry

Published:  April 1, 2013

As part of the Virtual Author Book Tour, I am delighted to share the book, TILDA PINKERTON'S MAGICAL HATS by Angela Shelton with you.  This is a chapter book that would be perfect for early elementary age kids (boys or girls) whether it is read aloud or on their own.  The chapters are short with charming illustrations. The book tells the story of eleven-year-old Madison and her younger brother Albert who are visiting their grandparents' farm.  The farm has hit troubled times and their grandparents are finding it hard to keep the farm going.  The kids are aware that any day the farm can be taken away from them by mean, old Mr Seedy.  With a little help from a mysterious hat shop and a few talking woodchucks, Madison and Albert are able to come up with a plan to help save the farm.  You will have to read the story to find out if their plan worked.

The story moves quickly and is witty and amusing enough to keep both adults and children interested.  Teachers and parents will love the glossary at the end of each chapter introducing the reader to all the new words in the book.  This part reminded me a bit of the FANCY NANCY books in how they introduce bigger words to encourage growing the reader's vocabulary.  The illustrations are drawn so they can also be coloring pages, if you own the book, of course.

I think this would be a great series to share with your child and will naturally encourage a lot of discussion.  By adding new words to the child's vocabulary you could find new ways to build on them by using them in conversations throughout the day.  Teachers could also build this book and vocabulary into their guided reading lessons.  The fun of the book continues at the Magical Hat Shop website.  Click HERE to find puppet videos, coloring pages, and a reading certificate.  I'm anxious to read the rest of the books in this series.

I really liked how this book shared the story of a family who comes together in tough times.  By having a little faith and mixing it with courage, kindness, a willingness to work and maybe just a bit of magic you are able to see your dreams come true.   Be sure to check out this delightful new book. Tilda will be traveling with us on vacation for our daughter to read in the car.

Angela Shelton
Angela Shelton is an author, actor, blogger and public speaker. She has been writing since she was eight years old. Her first novel was adapted into the movie Tumbleweeds. Angela won a regional Emmy award for her portrayal of Safe Side Superchick in The Safe Side video series created by Baby Einstein’s Julie Clark and America’s Most Wanted’s John Walsh. After living in Los Angeles for over a decade, Angela left the big city for a one-light country town to marry her first love and fulfill her dream of writing books in a barn house. 
For more on Shelton, visit her website, HERE.  
Follow Angela Shelton on Twitter, HERE.  
"Like" Angela Shelton on Facebook, HERE
You can also follow Tilda Pinkerton on Twitter, HERE

Link up with Booking Mama, HERE. or see other great kid's book reviews!

Thanks to Virtual Author Book Tours, I was given a copy of this book for review.  This review is my honest opinion.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Little Monday Inspiration

photo credit:

If one thinks that one is happy, that is enough to be happy.

Madame de la Fayette, a French writer from the 1600's

On this Monday morning, even if you aren't happy to be back to work, even if you are still tired from your busy weekend, even if you really feel like life is running you over....if you THINK that you are happy, you will start to FEEL happier.  Really. Just try it. I have written about this time and time again, your happiness truly depends on your attitude.  You can choose to be happy and by making that choice, change your attitude, almost immediately.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What Has Been My Favorite Book So Far in 2013?

I've read 28 toward my goal of 50 books this year.  Not too bad since that puts me ahead of schedule, but I still have so many more that are impatiently waiting to be read.

No books are completely forgettable, but I definitely have read some books this year that I haven't been able to forget about.  So, in case you are looking for a great book to take to the beach or on vacation or just read while your kids are splashing around in the pool or playing in the back yard, these are my favorites so far this year.


Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
See my review, HERE.


Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter by Melissa Francis
See my review, HERE.


Iconic Spirits by Mark Spivak
See my review, HERE.


This one was a tie, two very different books about two distinctly different historical events and I loved both of them equally.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
See my review, HERE.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
See my review, HERE.

I highly recommend any of these books to fill your summer reading list.

Soon we will be going on our own vacation and I am hoping for LOTS of beach reading time.  The books I am looking forward to reading in the next weeks include:

And the Mountains Echoed by Kahled Hosseini
This is our book club choice for the month.

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
We have already chosen this as our next book club choice since we won copies of them for our book club.

Paperboy by Vince Vawter
This is one for my own enjoyment.  I have to work those in too. Since it is a YA novel, I'm hoping the boys will read it too.

Firebug by Daniel Berenson
Review request from the author

The Mapmaker's War: A Legend by Ronlyn Domingue
Review request for publisher

Looks like I have some excellent reading ahead.  Let me know if you read any of these books and what you think of them!