Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks

as you fill your bellies, 
laugh with family, 
receive hugs and kisses, 
snuggle under a blanket, 
and catch some extra sleep 
give thanks for health, 
and unconditional love 
because that is really, truly all that we need. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

23 Gift Ideas for Nearly Everyone on Your List

I always love looking at gift guides, hoping to find an idea that I hadn't thought of.
I take my Christmas shopping seriously and want to find that perfect gift for everyone on my list.I keep track of likes and dislikes. I write down things that they may have mentioned wanting. I ask family members and friends for ideas. Then I set out completing my shopping list.

As I was shopping I thought about things that I could offer as ideas for others who might be struggling to find that "perfect gift" for someone they love. The following are a list of items with something for everyone on that list. I hope you find this list helpful. If you choose to purchase an item from one of my links, I may receive a small commission from your purchase without you having to pay a cent more for it. Thanks for supporting me and my blogging. All the items are things I have purchased for myself or others and love them! The items are mostly "clutterless" items as well which is a bonus!

$5 Dinner Plan with Erin Chase
Erin is a busy mom and each week, takes the guess work out of meal planning. Every Friday, you get an email that includes recipes to take you through a week of meals. She includes step-by-step instructions and grocery lists and sometimes videos. I have 6 months worth of her weekly meals plans and have used several of them. If there is a busy mom on your list, this would make a great gift. You are not only giving her the gift of time, but also the gift of excellent meals for their whole family. For more info, click HERE.

I gave this to my parents last year for Christmas. Every Friday night my parents went to our local supper club, The Chaparral. I have many memories of Friday night dinners including wagon wheels and virgin grasshoppers. I even tried Frog Legs on one of our Friday night dinners. This book features supper clubs all over the Midwest, their history and what makes them special. It was an interesting read and makes me want to visit all of them. There are two featured from our area and we highly recommend both of them. This makes a great gift for someone who likes local history or travel.

Photo courtesy of my friend Jenn
and her nail salon, HERE

Gift Certificate for Manicure/Pedicure
I absolutely love getting a pedicure. I can take an hour of my time and completely relax. You usually receive a leg and foot massage along with a deep scrub that removes all that awful dead skin off of your heel during a pedicure. Plus you get beautiful toes for a few weeks. Giving a gift certificate for a manicure or pedicure also gives someone an hour of "Me Time". Find a salon near you that offers them and purchase a gift certificate for the amount of a manicure, pedicure or even both!

Give the gift of reading by giving someone you love a Kindle. I have had a Kindle (1st version) as well as a Kindle Fire and loved them both. I currently use the Kindle App on my iPad Mini for my reading, not because I was ever unhappy with my Kindle, I just passed my Kindle Fire on to our daughter. For those who just want to use it to read, the Kindle Paperwhite is your best option. Don't forget to include an AMAZON GIFT CARDalong with your gift. An Amazon Gift Card is great for someone who has everything whether they like to read or not. You can choose from books, movies, clothing, toys, food, tools, electronics, etc. Practically everything you need is available on Amazon.

Amazon Prime
Shop Amazon - Give the Gift of Amazon Prime
If you have someone who likes to shop online, I highly recommend gifting Amazon Prime. Free 2-Day shipping on thousands of products makes online shopping so much easier. It has paid for itself multiple times in our house.

Gifting either a instant streaming package or a DVD package is a great idea for the TV/Movie lover on your list. Sometimes this is an extra expense some aren't willing to spend, but for those long, cold winter months, it's the perfect way to spend an evening or a weekend.

Etsy Gift Certificate
I absolutely LOVE Etsy. It is a crafter/small business website. You are getting rid of the middle person and ordering precisely from the artist/creator. I've gotten signs, jewelry, t-shirts, baby gifts, and so much more. There truly is something for EVERYONE on I'm not sure there is an actual Etsy Gift Certificate since they are all independent crafters, but you could create your own and then let your loved one shop away!

Toms Shoes
I have fallen in love with TOMS shoes. They are comfy and fashionable. Plus, purchasing a pair for yourself automatically gives a pair to someone else in need of shoes. For more on TOMS shoes, click HERE. Our daughter is getting a pink glitter pair for Christmas. TOMS are available for kids, men, and women in all sorts of styles.

Luxurious Towels
Do you ever stay in a hotel and wish you could bring the towels home? Last year my husband gave me "hotel towels" for Christmas and I love them. They are thick, soft, and absorbant. Totally worth it. Most people hate spending money on towels and are likely still using the ones they got for a graduation or wedding gift. If you don't know what to get someone, trust me, they'll appreciate new towels!

Thirty-One Cindy Tote

Thirty-One Insulated Lunch Tote - source

I use both of these products every day that I sub at school.  The Cindy Tote is my "school bag" that I keep packed all the time. It has just the right pockets and is the perfect size for my materials and laptop. It is sturdy and not too flashy. I also always take my lunch in the Insulated Lunch Tote. Even if I don't get a chance to put it in the fridge, my lunch is always still cold at lunch time. Find your local Thirty-One consultant and order these or better yet, have a party and earn them for free! Click HERE.

AAA Membership
I have been a AAA member since I left for college and it has come in handy more times than I can count. If you have a college student on your list, elderly grandparents who go south for the winter, or someone who travels a lot or drives more than 30 miles to their job, AAA can be a lifesaver. If you choose the Plus membership, no matter where you are, AAA will come and tow your vehicle back to wherever you need it. They will jump your battery, unlock your vehicle, send a mechanic out, etc. It pays for itself just for the piece of mind. Plus you get lots of other discounts at Outlet Malls, hotels, and car rental agencies by having the membership. Get more info, HERE.

Grocery Store Gift Card
Everyone hates buying and paying for groceries. Food is so expensive. This gift card might allow someone to buy steak or produce that they wouldn't normally purchase. Get a card from their favorite store and they will think of you next time they get groceries!

Movie Gift Card
Our family rarely goes to the movie theater. We would just rather spend money on other things and wait for the DVD. But sometimes, there are movies we really want to see right away. If we had a gift card, we might just do it more often or at least use it towards that expensive popcorn!

Sam's or Costco Membership
We are members of Sam's and I would miss it desperately if we weren't. There are items that I can only get there. Certain items are much cheaper there (gallon of milk for $2.90) and I can buy the items we go through quickly in bulk which saves me time and money. If you know someone with a lot of kids (especially teens) this would be a great gift for that family.

Nativity Set
I collect Nativity Sets and think every family should have one. This Little People set is perfect for a toddler. A ceramic set for a newly married couple would be a great idea as well. It is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas and Jesus' birth.  My cousin has been making me one out of felted wool and giving me one piece each year. I love seeing what she creates and watching my set grow each year.

Our boys are 13 and 14 and still remember these books from when they were toddlers.  We had several of them and they would laugh every time we would read them. Each page has something that pops up out of the page. I think the farm one was always our favorite. My great-niece just turned one and she will be getting this one for Christmas. I can't wait to read it to her! 

Family Photo Session with your favorite photographer
Who doesn't love family photos? Pay the sitting fee for a family to get their photos taken and wrap up a certificate stating they have a free family session with the photographer. I know I would love this as a gift!

Mary Kay Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush
I keep this right in my shower and use it once or twice a week. It really brightens my face and makes it feel so much softer and smoother. This is for the woman who wants to look her best! Find a local Mary Kay consultant by clicking, HERE.

 Mary Kay Time Wise Cleanser Set
I use these products every single day and have for years. I credit my smooth and clear complexion to these products. I stand behind them 100% and believe they are the best product out there for anti-aging benefits. Again, find a local Mary Kay consultant by clicking HERE. The best part is all Mary Kay products are 100% guaranteed.

Lego Sets
Our family has always been a huge fan of Lego products. The boys got sets for every occasion when they were younger. Now that Lego has the Lego Friends set, our daughter is also in love with them. We have even gotten holiday sets to make a tradition of building and adding a new piece to our winter village each year. There are Lego sets for all ages and in many categories. They are classics!

Fitbit One

For someone who likes fitness, this is a great gift idea. The Fitbit clips to your clothing and keeps track of your steps, stairs climbed, miles walked, and calories burned. If you are having trouble sleeping, it will even keep track of your sleeping and how many times you were awake in the night. You can set goals and then sync it with your smart phone to keep track of your progress. It is a great motivator and may even push you to get those extra steps in your day.  

Cuisinart Griddler
My husband got me the Griddler a few years ago and it is one of my favorite appliances. I use it for pancakes, grilled cheese, and grilling chicken. It is great for making panini sandwiches as well. I even got these Cuisinart Griddler Waffle Plates
to go with my Griddler. Now I have just one appliance rather than a waffle iron as well. It is perfect for a family or a single person. 


My sister-in-law LOVES her fiestaware. She has dishes in every color and her cupboards look like a rainbow inside. I love helping her build up her collection and buying pieces for her birthday or Christmas. I think these Scarlet ones are my favorite. If you start a collection of dishes for someone, then you have your gift planned out for the next several years. Just keep adding pieces to their collection. 

The important thing about gift giving is that you have truly thought about that person and what they might like. Wrapping the gift up nice with extra ribbons and bows will also make the receiver feel like you spent time on their gift and really cared. Don't spend more than your budget allows and spend some time (if possible) with your loved one. That truly is the best gift of all. 

If you choose to purchase some of the above items, as a member of their affiliate program, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. I appreciate your support of 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review: Four Before Their Time By Timothy Spillane

A Story of Hope, Resilence, and Miracles

By: Timothy Spillane

Published: August 22, 2014

Publisher: SkitterBird, LLC


Anne is an Army officer, physician, and wife. Anne and her husband Rob decide it is time to have a family and get one all in one swoop. Anne becomes pregnant with quadruplets. As the title indicates, Anne delivers the babies much sooner than they had hoped due to conditions that put her life and the babies in danger.  Anne's father, Timothy Spillane, shares the intense roller coaster ride that Anne and Rob, the babies, and their extended family and friends go through as the babies fight to stay alive. Timothy writes as a parent trying to support his exhausted and emotionally drained daughter as well as from the perspective of a grandparent, praying for the lives of his four precious grandchildren. The entire family relies on faith, hope, and resilience to get through the hours and days of these precious babies' lives. They dare to believe in not just one, but four miracles.

A baby who is born four months premature has a tough road ahead let alone quadruplets born four months early. This journey for Anne, her husband Rob and their family was daunting. I was in awe as I read through the daily, even hourly decisions that they had to make regarding their babies' health. I was overwhelmed with their exhaustion, their dedication to being with their babies, and the life-changing decisions that seem to dominate their days.  Without the support of each other and a strong faith that God would see them through, I am not sure any of them would have survived.

Each one of the quadruplets have mounting medical issues, many times one condition making another condition more difficult. Nearly every day, the news Anne and Rob had to handle was more than one person could take in a year, let alone multiple times in one day. But, even when there seemed to be no more room for hope in their lives, they never lost hope in a miracle or four miracles. What this young family overcomes is nothing short of amazing and is most definitely a miracle.

This book will encourage any reader to believe in miracles, to have faith and hope in good things, and to find the desire to power through any struggles. In the Epilogue, the reader will again be shocked by what this family must go through in 2013. This memoir shares their remarkable sacrifices and proves they can survive anything with their love for each other and faith in God's plan.  Keep a tissue box close by while reading.

This book trailer gives away the fact that the babies make it home, but it doesn't change your reading of the book. If anything, it will make you more in awe of the unbelievable challenges these four babies overcome to eventually come home.

Tim and his wife live in Chester County, PA and are the parents of three daughters. They became grandparents when their daughter, Anne delivered quadruplets in April, 2010. A graduate of Colorado College (1979) with a degree in English Literature, Tim returned to school to earn his Masters of Public Health from Drexel University in 2005. He has worked in residential construction for more than three decades but is now focusing full-time on his writing. He currently serves on the executive board of Graham’s Foundation, an organization for parents and families going through the journey of prematurity. For more on Spillane or on the quadruplets, visit his website, can also find him on Facebook, HERE

I am participating in the PUMP UP YOUR BOOK Blog Tour for FOUR BEFORE THEIR TIME. To see other reviews and interviews as part of the tour, click HERE

To purchase a copy of FOUR BEFORE THEIR TIME, click the photo below: 

Thanks to Pump Up Your Book for sending me an eBook 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 book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you paying a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting reviews. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Too Many Things

Where have I been?

I've been subbing.

I've been busy in our community.

I've been a mom to three active kids.

So....the blog had to take a back seat.

I'm behind on book reviews. 
I have already missed two deadlines and am close to missing a third.

I'm extremely behind on reading.

I've had a few days off from subbing, but my time
has been spent playing catch up here at home.

Mail needs to be sorted, bills paid, and mounds of laundry needed to be washed.

I am getting a better handle on things and am even reading a bit.

I have some great books that I will be reviewing soon for you.
But, see....that takes time too. I can't just whip a review out.
I like to think about it and be careful with my words.

So, as you can see...I'm still here....just focusing on more important matters.
Three great kids and a patient, loving husband that need me more.

I'll be back soon.
Thanks for waiting and understanding. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Book Review: Make Yourself Amazing By Sarah Coleman

30 Days to a New You

By: Sarah Coleman

Published: January 15, 2014

Publisher: Amazon Digital


eBook only

I was approached by the author to review her book, MAKE YOURSELF AMAZING. I really like devotional books and was anxious to give Coleman's book a read. Since she is from Australia, I was curious to see if her approach would be different from other Christian devotionals I had read and it wasn't. You would never know she was Australian except for her references to her childhood and places she goes with her family.  That's what I love about being a Christian, we are all reading the same Word, following the same rules of life, and loving the same God, all over the world.

Sarah Coleman writes how changing your thinking and embracing a life you deserve will result in a life full of love, happiness, and excellence.  By sharing how to have quality relationships and surrounding yourself with people who value godly character, excellence, and exude joy, you will begin to see yourself as amazing. Studying Proverbs 31, will show character qualities such as trustworthiness, kindness, being hard working, respectful, and dedicated to be ones that are essential to living an amazing life.

Coleman writes with ease. Her love of God and his Word are evident. She writes as if she is talking to her friends. There wasn't a passage or scripture I didn't identify with. She acknowledges that no one can be the ultimate Proverbs 31 woman, but by looking at our own accomplishments, attitudes, and choices, we can be the amazing wife, mom, and friend we are destined to be.

I really appreciated how Coleman took different verses from Proverbs and put them into our real everyday lives. An "Aha Moment" for me came from Proverbs 21:5. The Message version states, "Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind." Coleman then breaks that verse down and explains that each of us have the same twenty-four hours in our day. How we choose what we accomplish in those hours is up to us. Through planning, being efficient and maybe even sometimes saying "no", you can find ways to get it all done. I'm learning to add "no" to my vocabulary and through Coleman's encouraging texts, I'm finding it easier to do.

MAKE YOURSELF AMAZING can be read as a daily/weekly devotion or even done as a Bible study with others. Each of the thirty chapters ends with thoughts to ponder that can be reflected on in a journal or discussed in a study format. There are lots of scripture references throughout the book, not just from the Book of Proverbs. I found myself highlighting numerous parts of the book to reflect on and return to later. Her insights will provide readers with a strong faith, reliable character, and hope that your life can be amazing and you deserve it.

Sarah Coleman
Sarah Coleman is an Australian author who loves her family, and cherishes time with friends. Her goal in writing is to make people feel good, and to point them to the Bible and Jesus Christ. Her parents are pastors, and instilled a love of Jesus, the Word, and church in her life. Sarah and her husband have two young boys. For fun they like to renovate their home and travel, yes even with young children. Sarah is also the author of SINGLE CHRISTIAN FEMALE and EXPECTING DAILY PREGNANCY DEVOTION. For more on Sarah, visit her website at

To purchase a copy of MAKE YOURSELF AMAZING, click the photo below:

Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book for review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase a copy of this 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 reviews. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Your Sacrifice is Not Forgotten

Today, I am remembering all the Veterans in our family 
and those I don't know 
who have sacrificed and fought 
to keep even the most basic of freedoms safe for us in America.

I will never be able to comprehend 
the sacrifice so many men and women have made.
I will never be able to thank 
all the children that have lived life 
without a parent to attend their sporting events, 
greet them after school, 
help them with homework, or 
tuck them in at night because
they are protecting our country overseas.

Your sacrifice is not forgotten. 

I will never be able to thank 
all the husbands and wives 
who are taking on the role of a single parent, 
managing the household, 
and silently handling life on their own 
because their spouse's job takes them away for months and years at a time.

Your sacrifice is not forgotten. 

I will never be able to thank all the moms and dads 
who didn't see their child come into this world, 
haven't seen their child take that first step, 
can't read to them while rocking in a chair, 
can't shoot hoops with them outside, 
and can't snuggle in for a movie 
because their only contact is through a computer screen 
while they are serving overseas.

Your sacrifice is not forgotten. 

I will never be able to thank 
all the men and women who haven't hugged their mom 
or kissed their spouse in months. 
All those who haven't had a taste 
of their favorite homemade chocolate chip cookies 
or a steak, grilled to perfection in months.

Your sacrifice is not forgotten. 

My husband and I will be attending 
the Veteran's Day program at our children's school today.
We look forward to it every year and is one of our favorite school events.
It is am amazing program that always brings tears to my eyes.

As they play the Army song, 
I will be thinking of my dad and his service to our country during the Korean War.

Two years ago I shared a story about my dad.
His Army uniform and medals were stolen after returning from the Korean War.
With the help of Senator Grassley, I was able to get those medals back for him.
Click HERE, to see the story about my dad. 

Take a moment today to pray for, thank, or hug a Veteran. 

Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Books that Came My Way in October

My email inbox has been full of review requests but my regular mailbox hasn't been quite as busy this month. I've turned down several requests because I have been subbing nearly every day which cuts down on the free time I have to read and write reviews.  I have also become much pickier about the books I will read and review. 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.


By: Anson Williams
To Be Published: November 11, 2014
Publisher: Reader's Digest - Simon and Schuster

We you a fan of "Happy Days"? My husband and I still enjoy watching the reruns on TV and have introduced our kids to the show. I couldn't pass up the chance to review "Potsie's" memoir, SINGING TO A BULLDOG.  Watch for my review in a couple weeks. 

Growing up in 1950s California, young Anson William Heimlich showed very little promise. Clumsy, unsure of himself, and made to feel like a failure by his disappointed artist of a dad, Anson started working odd jobs as a teenager to help support his family. His boss at one of these jobs, an aging African-American janitor named Willie, unexpectedly became a mentor—and the lessons he taught young Anson proved to be invaluable throughout his subsequent career as an actor, director, and entrepreneur.

In SINGING TO A BULLDOG, Anson Williams (as he came to be known) relates both these lessons and the never-before-revealed stories of the many seminal TV series he has worked on and the famous (and not-so-famous) folks he’s encountered during his 40 years in Hollywood, including: • being directed by Steven Spielberg in his first dramatic role • getting kidnapped by Gerald Ford’s daughter at the White House • subbing for Sammy Davis, Jr., as a headliner with Bill Cosby • being humbled by Sunny, a young volunteer for the Cerebral Palsy National Organization • mentoring Shailene Woodley on the set of The Secret Life of the American Teenager and many more.

This compelling read has a cross-generational and broad appeal, combining all the fun of a celebrity memoir with the emotional impact of an inspirational bestseller. With Singing to a Bulldog, Anson Williams brings his gift of storytelling to a new medium in a book that is sure to touch readers’ hearts and lives as profoundly as Willie once touched his.

By: Michael Phillip Cash
Published: October 12, 2014
Publisher: Red Feather Publishing

This one showed up in my mail.  It sounds like it might be a bit spooky for me, but I'll check it out. If you like spooky stories, it is just $.99 for Kindle right now. 

Remy Galway and her daughter Olivia are rebuilding their life after a failed marriage in a 300 year old cottage in historic Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. Little do they know, another occupant is lurking in the haven of their own home. Will the After House be their shelter or their tomb?

EVERY VALLEY: Advent with the Scriptures of Handel's Messiah
Compiled by: Jessica Miller Kelley 
Published: September 26, 2014
Publisher: Westminster John Know Press

I love Handel's MESSIAH and when I saw this offered to review, I knew I wanted to check it out. Advent is a perfect time to dig deep into His Word and this was something different than I have read before. I'm looking forward to enjoying this devotional.

Handel's MESSIAH is one of the most beloved musical works of the western world, playing an especially sentimental role in many people's Christmas traditions. The libretto of the work, taken directly from the King James text of fourteen books of the Bible, has turned many otherwise forgettable phrases into memorable, singable, cherished lines of Scripture. This gift-worthy book will delight and inspire classical music fans and those for whom Messiah is a beloved Christmas tradition with essays exploring the theological, historical, and pastoral implications of the Scriptures that make up Handel's Messiah. Forty reflections journey in order through the oratorio, taking the reader deeper into less-often studied texts like Malachi 3:3 and bringing new light to oft-recited passages like Luke 2:9-14. Each reflection offers the libretto from Messiah, the same passage in NRSV, and a brief commentary on the text, written by a respected scholar or pastor. Readers can peruse the book at leisure or examine one reflection per day throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons.

By: Alice Hoffman
Published: September 23, 2014 (April 1, 2003 original)
Publisher:  Open Road Media

Several of Alice Hoffman's books have been re-released as eBooks. I'm looking forward to reading this one. 

A bestselling novel of suburban daydreams and the magic of one woman who makes her own way in the world 

On Hemlock Street, the houses are identical, the lawns tidy, and the families traditional. A perfect slice of suburbia, this Long Island community shows no signs of change as the 1950s draw to a close—until the fateful August morning when Nora Silk arrives.  

Recently divorced, Nora mows the lawn in slingback pumps and climbs her roof in the middle of the night to clean the gutters. She works three jobs, and when her casseroles don’t turn out, she feeds her two boys—eight-year-old Billy and his baby brother, James—Frosted Flakes for supper. She wears black stretch pants instead of Bermuda shorts, owns twenty-three shades of nail polish, and sings along to Elvis like a schoolgirl.  

Though Nora is eager to fit in on Hemlock Street, her effect on the neighbors is anything but normal. The wives distrust her, the husbands desire her, and the children think she’s a witch. But through Nora’s eyes, the neighborhood appears far from perfect. Behind every neatly trimmed hedge and freshly painted shutter is a family struggling to solve its own unique mysteries. Inspired by Nora, the residents of Hemlock Street finally unlock the secrets that will transform their lives forever.  

A tale of extraordinary discoveries, SEVENTH HEAVEN is an ode to a single mother’s heroic journey and a celebration of the courage it takes to change.  

By: David Hwa
Published: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Wellworth LLC

I've already reviewed this cute, quick read. To see my review, click HERE.  It is just $.99 for Kindle.

We never know how God may lead us. The twists and turns of life often leave us confused and deflated. For 10-year-old Haley, the unexpected loss of her father was such a twist. When all is lost, a little light in the darkness can make all the difference. The world is a big place for a little girl. For that matter, it's a pretty big place for anyone who has lost their way. 

Hayley finds her solution in a modern day prince, but she can't pull off this miracle by herself. Nick, an attorney struggling to save his job, wouldn't seem to be much help to a little girl trying to create a miracle. But life has a way of bringing us the people we need most, at just the right time. Still, there is so much that could go wrong, especially when her headstrong mother doesn't fall for the prince. But there's something Hayley doesn't see coming, something she can't see. Something she doesn't want to see, something that hides in the dark where she can't go, something unspeakable. 

Follow Haley's journey into the light and see how redemption is there for anyone, even the condemned. And see how love can find you-even through the darkness.

By: Alex Kim
Published: October 10, 2014
Publisher: Bopyo Press

This one came from the author. Reading books on happiness always remind me to appreciate life and enjoy the moment. 

Do you want to be happy everyday for the rest of your life? 
RICH IN HAPPINESS contains secrets that can make your dream come true. It is simply a matter of knowing seven proven steps. 

Have you ever wondered... 
• If you can be joyful no matter what the circumstances might be? • Why some people are happier than others? • Why you feel like you are barely making it through each day? • How you can be productive and have fun at the same time? • How you can maintain the happiness peak you've experienced before? This book is interwoven with inspiring anecdotes, cross-cultural wisdom of the ages, recent discoveries by leading scientists, and enlightening humor.

By: Susan Newman
Published: October 1, 2014
Publisher: Iron Gate Press

My children are older and they are rarely home enough for us to spend time with them. So, we find ways to have fun with the little bit of time we have to spend as a family. With teenagers it can be tough, but if you make it a priority, it is worth every minute.  This book sounds like it will be helpful for working parents who are exhausted at the end of the day, but want to savor those evening or weekend hours making memories with their young children. I look forward to reading and sharing my thoughts with you.

LITTLE THINGS LONG REMEMBERED, written for today's time-strapped families, offers hundreds of ways to create treasured childhood rituals. It is chock full of thoughtful and loving ideas that mean a lot-especially to children. 

Chapters are divided into convenient time frames: Gestures to strengthen family ties that take seconds, activities when you have five minutes, half an hour, or the entire weekend. Plus special circumstance suggestions for when your child is not feeling well or when you travel, for birthdays, major and minor holidays--including a set of Cardinal Rules to insure whatever you do is fun, builds character and celebrates your family.

Small parcels of time well spent shape long-lasting memories that are the backbone of family unity...and the glue that holds families together. Every single day offers fertile ground for creating positive recollections. Dig in to find "little things" that will inspire loving remembrances of growing up...and of you. 

By: Carole P Roman
Published: September 23, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

This is such a great kid's book series that focuses on imagination and always teaches a lesson. 

Captain No Beard and his crew of loyal pirates heave anchor for another adventure, this time in the icy waters of the Arctic. 

Captain No Beard's steering a course due north, sailing by the light of the North Star. Everyone on the crew wonders what the captain's up to, especially as he gets embarrassed when they ask. 

When the captain finally admits his plan, the crew discovers he plans to steal the aurora borealis, the beautiful northern lights that brighten the arctic sky. They're all shocked. They may be pirates, but even they know stealing is bad. Besides, how can anyone steal the lights from the sky? 

A charming, engaging tale about doing what's right, Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis is the latest installment in Carole P. Roman's award-winning pirate series. The first book, Captain No Beard—an Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life, received the Kirkus Reviews Best of 2012 award and the Star of Remarkable Achievement. The series presents real-life problems in an imaginary setting and encourages discussion with both parents and educators.

Books I Purchased

By: Jodi Picoult
Published: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Ballantine Books 

I'm a huge Jodi Picoult fan. I pre-ordered this one as soon as I heard it was coming out. I will be working this one into my reading this week. After reading her novella, LARGER THAN LIFE, I am even more anxious to read LEAVING TIME. You can see my review for LARGER THAN LIFE, HERE. 

Throughout her blockbuster career, Jodi Picoult has seamlessly blended nuanced characters, riveting plots, and rich prose, brilliantly creating stories that “not only provoke the mind but touch the flawed souls in all of us” (The Boston Globe). Now, in her highly anticipated new novel, she has delivered her most affecting work yet—a book unlike anything she’s written before.
For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe she was abandoned, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice’s old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts.
Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest: Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons, only to later doubt her gifts, and Virgil Stanhope, the jaded private detective who’d originally investigated Alice’s case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they’ll have to face even harder answers.
As Jenna’s memories dovetail with the events in her mother’s journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish. A deeply moving, gripping, and intelligent page-turner,LEAVING TIME is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers.

By: Brenda McGraw
Published: August 18, 2014
Publisher: Brenda McGraw

I follow this author on Twitter and she was offering a one-day special of $.99 for her eBook, so I grabbed it. It is just $2.99  for your Kindle now. 

We are all searching for joy. However, most can't find it. 
What is stealing your joy? 

There is joy beyond the circumstances and clutter of life! This Devotional Bible Study will help you find joy beyond hardships. These are stories from Brenda's life where she shares the hardest times of her life with the reader. She has experienced Breast cancer at the age of 24; lived with the addiction of a spouse, which ended in divorce, and recently endured a Heart Attack. Brenda shares how she found joy by growing in her relationship with Christ. She will help you find the joy you desire by walking with you through the next 28 days! 


God turns discouragement into encouragement. He turns sadness into happiness. He takes the ashes of the fires we go through and turns them into beautiful stories of hope.

By: Mary Lyn Ray
Published: September 2, 2014
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

I was looking for a book to read at our pajama story time this month and this one looked perfect. Check out my review, HERE. It's a great bedtime book! 

In the tradition of Margaret Wise Brown, Mary Lyn Ray presents a hushed picture book about the rhythm of the natural world on a small farm as all creatures prepare for sleep. Artist Christopher Silas Neal's classic illustrations quiet even the most restless little night owls with familiar childlike imagery and the comforts of routine. All is well, it reminds them. Now is the time for dreams.

By: Kate Hannigan
Published: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion

I purchased this one for our daughter, but I'm saving it for a Christmas treat. Book two in the series comes out in June 2015. 

Best friends and cousins Willow and Delia get an extra-special family vacation one summer when their Aunt Rosie gets married. But she wants them to be flower girls! Fourth-grade flower girls? No, thank you!

 Items I Won

I won this great Red Gold Tomatoes apron from Kris at BIG RIGS AND LITTLE COOKIES. Kris and I were childhood friends and then she moved away. Now we stay connected through blogging and facebook. Kris entices me with fabulous recipes and beautiful scenery from her Wisconsin acreage. Be sure to check her blog out!