Friday, January 31, 2014

Children's Book Review: There Once Was A Man from the USA - 50 State Limericks

THERE ONCE WAS A MAN FROM THE USA
50 State Limericks

By:  Joshua Kraushar

Illustrated By: Victoria Weiss

Children's Non-Fiction

This book includes a collection of limericks about each of the fifty states.  Dictionary.com states a limerick as
"a kind of humorous verse of five lines, in which the first, second, and fifth lines rhyme with each other, andthe third and fourth lines, which are shorter, form a rhymed couplet."

Some of the limericks directly relate to the state mentioned and others connect to each other.  In reading, I found a number of them are kind of violent such as "finishing him off with a hammer" or "mauled by a dog". Others were more appropriate for the state such as Maryland's:


There once was a singer from Maryland
Who was part of a famous rock band
He loved to go crabbing
Till his foot took a stabbing
From a crustacean he stepped on in the sand.  Page 28

While I appreciate the creativity and effort it must have taken to come up with a suitable limerick for each state, I would have to disagree that this should be considered a children's book or educational in any way.  When I initially read about the book and agreed to review it, I planned to pass it on to my 4th Grade teacher friend.  I know in 4th grade the kids learn about all the fifty states and I thought she might find this fun to read to them.  After reading, I will not be passing it on to her as several of the limericks are not appropriate for that grade level or for children at all. 

I am sure Mr. Kraushar, in his years of teaching high school Social Studies found much humor in writing this book, but perhaps he should share it with the high school students rather than the elementary ones. 

This book was a disappointment and one I wouldn't recommend.

Joshua Kraushar is a retired high school Social Studies teacher.  This book is his first attempt at writing a children's/young adult book. He is currently living in Brooklyn, New York and is working as a tour guide. 





I will be linking this book up with Booking Mama's Kid Konnection.  Click HERE to see other reviews of children's books from other bloggers.  

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 purchase the book through the above link, I wiil receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more.  Thank you for support SincerelyStacie.com's book reviews.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars Movie



Back in October, I finally had the opportunity to read THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green.  Three months later I am still thinking about the characters and the lessons learned from two teenagers.  Check out the link to my review, HERE.

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is one of several books coming out as movies this year.  Yesterday, the book trailer was released and I can't stop watching it! Mark June 6th on your calendar now and get your tickets.  You won't want to miss this one!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Book Review: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey By Wendy Wax

WHILE WE WERE WATCHING DOWNTON ABBEY

By: Wendy Wax

Published:  April 2, 2013
Mass Market Paperback: December 31, 2013

Fiction




As a huge fan of "Downton Abbey", I was curious to see what this book was all about.  Even though I have heard of Wendy Wax, I haven't read any of her books, but will certainly be adding them to my list of to-reads in the future.

In WHILE WE WERE WATCHING DOWNTON ABBEY, we are introduced to three very different women who all live in the gorgeous downtown Alexander.  They are brought together when Edward Parker, the British concierge of the Alexander, offers Sunday night showings of "Downton Abbey" in the club room.  

Samantha is married to Johnathan Davis, part of Atlanta's oldest and richest families.  Samantha has lived her life in gratitude to Johnathan for saving herself and two siblings after their father and mother died in a car accident.  When her siblings continue to drain Johnathan of his fortune and continue to embarrass their family, she wonders why Johnathan continues to stay married to her. 
Samantha continues to keep a brave face and fake her happiness all while under the watchful eyes of her mother-in-law, who may surprisingly become her biggest ally.

Claire, an accomplished author left the suburbs after sending her only daughter off to Northwestern.  Claire moves into the Alexander to spend a year writing her third novel.  Claire spent her whole life working multiple jobs while writing and caring for her daughter as a single mother.  Now with a whole year in front of her, she can't seem to find the words to create her next novel.  Admitting that to her publisher and her daughter could mean the end of her career.

Brooke is recently divorced from her plastic surgeon husband.  Throughout their marriage, Brooke worked multiple jobs and raised their children to get her husband through medical school.  Now that his practice is booming, he no longer needed her and left Brooke for a someone he could practice his plastic surgeon skills on.  Brooke, her two daughters and their dog are constantly put in the path of her ex-husband and his new "Barbie" girlfriend.  While Brooke continues to feel completely inadequate compared to the other people living in the Alexander and to her ex-husband, she finds a new calling as a professional mom. Edward Parker hires her to handle a 6-year-old birthday party as part of his Private Butler business and has maybe just given Brooke a new look at life without her husband.  

Wendy Wax has a great talent in creating characters the reader can both imagine and care about. From the very beginning, I found a piece of each character that I could relate to and began to root for them through each chapter.  With all the different characters and storylines, Wax finds ways to blend them all together without confusing or losing the reader. 

While reading the character's stories we also find their lives connecting with those in "Downton Abbey".  The merging of the novel with the show made for an interesting piece to the novel that was subtle, yet thought-provoking.  I found that even though the initial descriptions of the characters would make them unlikely friends, their friendship became very believable and necessary. 

I really enjoyed the story and even though parts of the book were predictable, I was pleased with how the character's lives were concluded in the novel.  I was able to guess some of the outcomes, I just didn't know how they were going to get there which is what I loved about the book.  I certainly enjoy a novel that can showcase women's friendships that are caring, fun, and with them supporting each other rather than being catty and spiteful.

I think this would make an excellent book club choice, especially for fans of "Downton Abbey". There are discussion questions included at the end of the new mass-market paperback version if you need them. But, I think your group would find plenty of topics to discuss without the questions. You will also find the first two chapters of Wax's novel TEN BEACH ROAD included in the back of the book. 


Wendy Wax - source
Wendy Wax is the author of numerous popular contemporary fiction novels including TEN BEACH ROAD and OCEAN BEACH.  For more on Wendy, check out her website,HERE.  You can also like her on Facebook, HERE and follow her on Twitter, HERE.




Thanks to Penguin Group for providing me a copy of this novel for this review.  This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any other way for this review.  If you choose to purchase the novel through the above link, I will make a small commission without you paying a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Book Review: Organic Beauty With Essential Oil By Rebecca Park Totilo

ORGANIC BEAUTY WITH ESSENTIAL OIL
For Natural Skin Care, Hair Care and Bath and Body Products

By: Rebecca Park Totilo

Published: January 13, 2013

Non-Fiction






This review is part of a book tour with Virtual Author Book Tours.  For more reviews on the ORGANIC BEAUTY tour, click HERE.

Essential oils and their use have increased in popularity over the last few years.  People have been using essential oils for years, but the increased interest in holistic health and aromatherapy have kicked their use into the mainstream.  Essential oils are being used for skin care, internal health, air purification, as well as treatment for medical conditons.

ORGANIC BEAUTY takes the guess work out of using essential oils and shares charts and lists of the various oils and how they are best used, what oils are best for certain conditions, and how they should be combined and/or diluted. The book is broken up in to chapters related to caring for your body, face, hair, mouth, hands/nails, and feet.  Each section is full of recipes with various flavors, scents, and treatments for self-care.

If you are interested in making your own soaps, lip balms, scrubs, powders, and bath oils or experimenting with different oils and their health benefits, this would be a great book to start with.  The recipes are all very simple to follow and use regular ingredients found in your grocery store along with the essential oils.  In fact, one recipe for a facial scrub uses cat litter! Now, I'm not sure I can imagine using cat litter on my face, but it states it purge toxins and other impurities found in facial pores.

I think this book assumes you are familiar with essential oils and their use. So for me, as a complete beginner and a bit confused about essential oils, I might want to do a bit more research before starting out in making my own products.

This book is a great resource for anyone looking to begin making products either for your own use or for gifts.  I think the first one I'd like to try making is the Mint-Chocolate Lip Balm.  Who doesn't want to put mint chocolate on your lips all day long? The information gained from the research Totilo put together can help those new to essential oils find the best treatment for their needs.

Rebecca Park Totilo - source
Rebecca has ministered to literally millions of people via television, radio and live appearances. She is an award-winning published author of over 40 books, including "Therapeutic Blending With Essential Oil", "Heal With Essential Oil", and "Through the Night With God." Her credits include working as a contributor writer on two best-selling series ("Quiet Moments with God" and "Stories for the Teen's Heart") which sold over one million and five million copies respectively.  She is also a freelance writer for several national magazines include Christian Parenting Today, Discipleship Journal and Woman's World.

Rebecca's photography work has appeared in numerous national magazines such as Woman's World, Sports Spectrum, Evangel, and Sharing the Victory.  But by far, her greatest accomplishment, if you asked her, is after a decade of rejection slips (with almost 150 in one year!), Rebecca hit it big in 1999, with over 13 books contracts, ranging from teaching curriculum to gift books and devotionals for adults.  Truly, its her grit determination that makes her inspirational writings draw such a mass market appeal.

Rebecca graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1986 with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Information Systems. In addition, she attended Faith Bible Institute in Richmond, Virginia for instruction in ministry and University of the Nations in Hawaii. She is also trained as a Clinical Aromatherapist and is an international educator offering online courses on the art of perfume-making and how to blend with essential oils worldwide on her website http://rebeccatotilo.com. Rebecca owns a cute soap boutique, Aroma Hut, near the beach in Florida where she practices as an Clinical Aromatherapist.  You can also find out more about Rebecca at http://www.rebeccaatthewell.org/.

Rebecca won the Writer of the Year in Non-Fiction (National Writer's Association)






This review is my honest opinion.  I was given a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review, but was not compensated in any other way.  If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I will make a small commission without you haven't to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thank you for supporting SincerelyStacie.com.  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Read Divergent By Veronica Roth Together Before the Movie

DIVERGENT

By: Veronica Roth

Published:  February 28, 2012

Fiction

I've been wanting to check out this series and our son is already on the second book, INSURGENT.  So, if I am going to take him to the movie version of DIVERGENT, I certainly need to read the book first.

BOOK-ALICIOUS MAMA is offering a read-along on her blog.  We can read and discuss it together just in time to go see the movie.  Even though my reading list is LOONNGG, I am going to do my best to keep up with her reading schedule.  You need to have the first 12 chapters done by February 10th. In 15 days, I should be able to read 12 chapters.  Right?

Would you like to join in the fun?  Just click HERE for all the details.  Jennifer at BOOK-ALICIOUS MAMA will be the host, but I will share my thoughts here on my Facebook page and on Twitter as well.  If you haven't read DIVERGENT yet, now is the time!



A Little Monday Inspiration

I haven't posted one of these for awhile.  I hope this gets your week off to a great start!





It's supposed to be hard. 
If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. 
The hard is what makes it great!
Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own


This quote can apply to so many things in life:

  • marriage
  • parenting
  • working out
  • eating healthy 
  • school
  • sports
  • your career
  • Practically anything you want to achieve
What a great movie.  Anytime it is on, you just have to stop what you are doing and watch! 


Keep pressing on............and when you achieve the hard stuff............the really hard stuff..........it feels that much better!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Children's Book Review: If You Were Me and Lived in Kenya...Norway.... By Carole P. Roman

IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN.....KENYA
A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World

BY: Carole P. Roman

Published: October 24, 2013

Children's Non-Fiction




This is another book in the educational series that takes children on journeys to other countries.  I previously reviewed IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN...FRANCE. You can see that review, HERE.

In IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN...KENYA the author firsts introduces the reader to where Kenya is in the world and then introducing the language and culture.  Many of the customs and people of the country are shown through vivid pictures.  There is even a pronunciation key in the back for help with the native language.

IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN....NORWAY
An Introduction to Learning About Other Cultures

By: Carole P. Roman

Published: September 12, 2013

Children's Non-Fiction

In this book, we are introduced to life in Norway. It begins with explaining how during parts of the year, the sun never sets and is why Norway is called "The Land of the Midnight Sun". It also talks about it's favorite destination, The Snow Hotel and the many cold weather activities you could participate in.

As in the other books, there is a helpful pronunciation key at the end of the book.

I really like this series of books and the way they share factual information in a fun way.  These books are perfect for children in Kindergarten - Second Grade and would make a great addition to any classroom library.

Carole P. Roman - Source
Carole P. Roman is a former teacher turned businesswoman and now award winning author. But her favorite title is Grandma.  She lives in Long Island with her husband.  Her first book, CAPTAIN NO BEARD - AN IMAGINARY TALE OF A PIRATES LIFE has also turned into a series. For more on Carole and her various books, visit http://caroleproman.com/.  See all Carole P Roman Books








I will be linking up this post with Booking Mama's Kid Konnection series.  Click HERE to find other great Children's Book Reviews from other bloggers.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Spotlight: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey By Wendy Wax

WHILE WE WERE WATCHING DOWNTON ABBEY

By: Wendy Wax

Published:  April 2, 2013
Mass Market Paperback: December 31, 2013

Fiction

Many women are spending their Sunday nights watching Downton Abbey and I am one of them.  I've been reading WHILE WE WERE WATCHING DOWNTON ABBEY by Wendy Wax and even though I am not quite done with it, I wanted to tell you about it right away.

This book was originally published in April, but has now been re-released in a mass-market paperback.  I have to admit, I haven't read from a mass-market paperback in quite awhile.  It took some getting used to the smaller print for me.  But, the story is so engaging and I am finding myself identifying with the characters and not wanting to stop reading.

Samantha's marriage has been complicated by love and compromised by a shattering family betrayal.  Claire, an empty-nester and struggling author, is wondering if clinging to old dreams can be more destructive than not having any dreams at all.  And after countless battles with her faithless ex-husband, Brooke is coming to terms with the fact that her life is not the fairy tale she thought it would be.

But, when Edward, the concierge of their historic Atlanta apartment building, invites them for weekly screening of an addictive television show, the four of them embark on a season of surprises as they forget a bond that will sustain them through life's hardest moments - all of it reflecting in the unfolding drama, comedy and convergent lives of "Downton Abbey". 

Wendy Wax - source
Wendy Wax is the author of numerous popular contemporary fiction novels including TEN BEACH ROAD and OCEAN BEACH.  For more on Wendy, check out her website, HERE.  You can also like her on Facebook, HERE and follow her on Twitter, HERE.

I am looking forward to sharing my review with you next week, but if you can't wait until then, purchase your own copy now at the link below.



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Our Trip Home

This last Friday, my mom and our daughter traveled with me to Northern Minnesota.  Our main purpose was for me to meet my newest Great-Niece, Isla.  She was born in November and this was my first opportunity to get away and see her.  Since we had a long weekend, we took the opportunity to go.

It was a beautiful drive north and since I have had family up there my whole life, I've always loved the drive. My favorite part is when you get far enough north that the trees begin to change.  With the snow and the big open sky, it was a beautiful drive.

Ignore the random Twizzlers on the dash in the photo! 

Isla is such a good baby and I so enjoyed every moment of snuggling and feeding her and even changing one nasty poopy diaper! Isn't she so precious??!!



This shot (below) is when I had to tell her good-bye.  Such a cutie.


I was also able to spend time with one of my favorite people, my cousin who is like my sister and best friend wrapped into one.  It was great to relax, catch up, and even watch DOWNTON ABBEY together on the same couch!

We headed home on Monday and even though they had gotten a light dusting of snow, the roads were in pretty good shape and we were making great time coming home.  (It is usually an 8+ hour drive). Once we got to Minneapolis, we started to hit some snow, but when I had checked radar earlier it was just a small band of snow right around the cities.  Since I was driving, I didn't have the opportunity to look at radar again and as I traveled south, the roads began to get progressively worse.  In southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa, the roads are not exactly straight and flat.  They are very curvy and hilly.  The farther south I got, the more it was snowing and the worse the roads were getting.  As I crawled into a town about 15 miles from my parents, my van just quit.  Right in the middle of the road, I had no power steering, no brakes or acceleration.  I had no idea what was going on.  So in the snow I coasted into the parking lot that was thankfully right there.  I am so thankful that it didn't do that while I was going up or down one of the enormous hills of NE Iowa.  Since my brother-in-law works in the same town I called him for advice.  After talking to him and a car repair shop and my husband, I restarted my van and it worked fine.  So, at this point, I decided to drop my mom off with my brother-in-law rather than drive their country roads and keep heading south to our house.  Another 20 miles and the roads and storm have reached blizzard stage.  Heavy snow and high winds make for nasty driving conditions.  

I kept creeping along, knowing that in normal conditions, I was still 1 1/2 hours from home and it was now completely dark.  As I went through a few more towns, I began praying.  Our daughter from the back even said, "Mommy, should I be scared?" to which I answered in my bravest voice, "No honey, I've got it all under control." Knowing full well I didn't.  I just kept repeating the same prayers over and over again. Asking God for protection and leading us home.  

After continuing through a few more towns, the van again stalled.  Thankfully, I was alone on the road and was able to pull over enough to restart it and keep going.  Not much before that, I had a semi on my rear end.  He would have had no time to stop before hitting me.  By this time, I had been on the road for nearly 10 hours with the last 2 extremely stressful and "white-knuckled".  My nerves were shot and the tears were flowing.  I kept praying and inching along.  Then my wipers starting building up with ice and I couldn't see.  Since I knew the road I was driving, I knew that there was a cross road coming up.  Once I reached it I would pull over and clean off my wipers.  As I was getting to this point, the roads were worse than anything I have ever driven on.  Snow drifts were starting to form, visibility was nearly nothing. I was keeping my sights on the taillights in front of me to make sure I was on the road.  Then the cars in front of me started swerving and going in the ditch, then I would see lights behind me disappear into the ditch.  This was not a good moment for me.  I finally arrived at the cross road, cleaned off my wipers and called my husband.  This whole time, our daughter was texting him for me. I would tell her what to say (location, status etc) and she would text it so he knew where we were at all times.  When I called him and heard his voice I completely lost it.  I didn't think I could drive another mile.  I was a complete wreck emotionally and my body was exhausted from the tense driving.  Yet, I couldn't do anything there in the middle of nowhere.  So, after my crying session and yes, our daughter heard it all, I decided to "man up" and keep going.   I knew there was a gas station about 5 miles ahead where the highway meets the interstate. I could get gas and take a break and check on the status of the interstate roads. I told Pat there was a car coming over the hill and as soon as it passed me I would pull out and follow it.  Well, guess what, I watched that car go in the ditch too.  It never made it to me.  So, I pulled out anyway.  Truthfully, I have no idea how I made it to the gas station.  Reagan and I took each yard light and said, let's make it to that light and the next light and the next.  I drove 20 mph and prayed the whole time.

We made it to the gas station and I got inside and took a deep breath.....and I cried.  As we walked back to the bathrooms, there was a trucker who noticed my despair and helped calm me down.  He listened to me and told me to take deep breaths.  I'm embarrassed to admit the sheer panicked state that I was in.  But, my nerves were shot and I was a complete mess.  I must say, Reagan was my rock.  She stayed calm and quiet and was so helpful to me.  I think she helped me keep going.  After talking with the trucker (I never got his name) he advised me NOT to take the interstate as he just got off of it because it was so bad.  So, back to the car I went, put in gas and called Pat again.  After a long conversation, we decided that he would drive the 35 or so miles to the station and then I could follow him home.  I hated having both of us on the roads, but at this point the only other option was Reagan and I sleeping at the gas station.  

Pat finally arrived at the gas station, we switched vehicles so he could deal with the stalling van and I could drive the safer suburban and off we headed for home.  It was slow going, but I was in such a better state of mind knowing I was following my husband's taillights all the way home.  We eventually made it home and I have never been so happy.  I think my body just collapsed and I cried tears of joy and fear and relief. 

An 8 1/2 hour trip turned into an 11 1/2 hour trip with the last 3 hours very stressful.  I am so thankful for my family who prayed for our safety, the trucker who calmed my nerves and listened to me, to Reagan for being a brave passenger and support, and to my husband who was my hero for getting me home.  I think a lot of factors played into getting home, maybe God was protecting me, maybe I was a really cautious driver, maybe I just got lucky, but what I do know is that I don't ever want to be in that situation again.  

I've never been happier to be home. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Book Spotlight and Author Guest Post: Sweet Nothings By Janis Thomas

SWEET NOTHINGS

By: Janis Thomas

Published: July 2, 2013

Fiction

One of the books in my stack of "must reads" is SWEET NOTHINGS by Janis Thomas.  It sounds like a perfect, fun weekend read and I can't wait to get to it. Below you can find out more about the book as well as check out this fun guest post from Janis Thomas herself.    Here is the synopsis to SWEET NOTHINGS:

Life’s sweetest moments happen when you least expect them . . .
 
When Ruby McMillan’s husband announces one morning that he’s dumping her for another woman, she’s unable to decide which indignity stings the most: the dissolution of their eighteen-year marriage or the deflation of her white-chocolate soufflĂ© with raspberry Grand Marnier sauce. Without a good-bye to their two teenaged children, Walter leaves Ruby to cope with her ruined dessert, an unpaid mortgage, and her failing bakery.
 
With only royal icing holding her together, Ruby still manages to pick herself up and move on, subsidizing her income with an extra job as a baking instructor, getting a “my-husband’s-gone” makeover, and even flirting with her gorgeous mortgage broker, Jacob Salt. For as long as she can remember, Ruby has done what’s practical, eschewing far-fetched dreams and true love in favor of stability. But suddenly single again at the age of forty-four, she’s beginning to discover that life is most delicious when you stop following a recipe and just live.

Janis Thomas - source
Janis Thomas, author of Sweet Nothings, is a native Californian, lives in Orange County with her husband, their two children, and their dog, Ruby. Janis has written more than fifty songs and (with her dad) two children's books, and is also an avid baker. She is also the author of Something New. For more information please visit www.JanisThomas.com

10 Reasons A Cake is Better Than a Man
By Janis Thomas,
Author of Sweet Nothings
Don't get me wrong. I love men. Especially my husband and Hugh Jackman. Despite the notion that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, and aside from the cold, hard truth that I often think marriage was invented by a bunch of sadists, I cannot imagine my life without Alex in it.
I could say the same thing about cake. Not that it was invented by sadists, because that would be ridiculous. Obviously, cake was invented by a glorious angelic genius bent on spreading happiness and good cheer throughout the world. But I can't imagine living without cake, either.
The other day, a friend asked me a hypothetical question which inspired this post. It went something like this:
If you had to choose between cake and men for the rest of your life, which would you pick?
My husband was seated right beside me, so I quickly answered, "Oh, I'd pick men . . . specifically my man." And I gave his arm a little squeeze. (I think he bought it, although I can't be sure.)
But the question stayed with me, and I found myself mulling it over late into the night. I actually took out a notepad and created a pros/cons list for each, cakes on one side and men on the other. In so doing, I came to the conclusion that a cake really is better than a man, and here are the ten top reasons why:
10. Extreme heat makes cake smell good.

9. There is such a thing as a perfect cake.
8. Cakes don't watch football. 
7. Certain parts of a man are more attractive than others, whereas every slice of cake looks gorgeous.
6. Even bad cake is good.
5. A cake won't complain about crumbs on the counter.
4. A great chocolate cake is better than sex.
3. If you marry a cake, your in-laws are butter and sugar.
2. Cakes don't expect you to pick up their dirty underwear.
And the number one reason why a cake is better than a man is:
1. You don't have to talk dirty to a cake to get it to rise.
I'm not saying that men don't have good qualities too. They do. Men have the capacity for compassion and understanding, whereas cakes don't have feelings. A man is more likely to discover a cure for hair loss than a cake. When you feel sad or upset, your husband will put his arms around you and comfort you, whereas a cake pretty much just sits there. And you certainly can't ask a cake to take out the garbage.
But, I have to admit, when I'm consuming a luscious red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and shaved dark chocolate curls decorating the top, the last thing on my mind is the overflowing trash bin.
© 2013 Janis Thomas, author of Sweet Nothings




Thursday, January 16, 2014

Check Out the Awesome New Planner from THE CONFIDENT MOM

The 2014 Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner


I'm sorry it has taken me so long to tell you about THE CONFIDENT MOM'S new 2014 Planner and Supplement package.  Ugh! I know it is January 16, and you could have been using this for several days already.  Needless to say, you need to go get this NOW!.



Did you see the important words in the above picture???  Yes, this planner is now FREE!!!

Don't need to hear any more, just click HERE and get it now!  But, if you want to hear about the great new features and supplemental products, keep reading!

This year's layout is redesigned, maximizing space, and keeping everything organized and easy to read.  This year you can also get a planner that is....editable!  Yes, I know.  You can add in your own daily items to the list.  Do you have a child who takes daily medications?  Add that to your daily task list.  Do you need to be reminded to buy food for your pet?  Add that in to the list.  You can make this so it works best for YOU!



To access the the planner, click  ----> THE CONFIDENT MOM WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD PLANNER AND SUPPLEMENT PACKAGEThen click on the eBooks and Printables tab. Then scroll down until you find the 2014 Weekly Household Planner.  If you use this planner, you will have no excuse for not getting things done.  She has done the planning work for you, now you just need to get the jobs done! Each day has manageable tasks that will make your day run smoothly!

If you are looking for a bit more....then guess what?  She has that for you too!


For just $6, you can get access to even more great planning pages.  Need help keeping all the birthdays in your family straight? Yep, she's got that covered.  Need some direction in planning out your meals?  There is a supplement for that.  Need to keep all those Christmas gifts you bought and ideas you come across in one place?  Got it! There is so much more included in this supplement, you are spending about $.50/form.  A SUPER BARGAIN!  There are also forms for budgeting, family medical information, party planning, and even a Bible reading plan.  You can't go wrong adding this GREAT DEAL to your already FREE Weekly Planner! 

Now, that you have heard all about it.  Click right HERE and head over to get your year off to a great start. Get organized, finish those daily tasks, plan ahead and then relax with a book because you got all your chores done in plenty of time!

The 2014 Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Book Review: Hospice Voices By Eric Lindner

HOSPICE VOICES
Lessons for Living at the End of Life

By: Eric Lindner

Published: October 6, 2013

Nonfiction







This review is part of the Virtual Author Book Tour.  For more stops on the HOSPICE VOICES book tour and to read other reviews, click HERE.

Eric Lindner is looking for a way to give back and decides in 2009, to become a Hospice volunteer.  In HOSPICE VOICES, he shares his experiences, his conversations, and the lessons he learned in his time with those at the end of their journey. The book begins with the story of Lindner's first patient, Bob Zimmerman. He was fortunate to have his first patient be someone he was truly able to share some memories with. Throughout the book he then shares about other patients who made an impact on his life and what they taught him about living and about dying.

As a previous Hospice social worker and then volunteer, I was drawn to this book.  Aside from being a mom, working in Hospice was my favorite job.  People always assumed it was depressing and couldn't understand how I could do my job.  What I found was I couldn't wait to go to work every day.  Sure, not all the patients were people that I made a connection with, much like the author, but everyone had a story to tell.

Lindner finds a way to tell their stories that help the reader imagine the people both in their younger days as well as presently.  He shares their secrets with dignity and you can tell he was truly listening and cared about the patients and their families.  I loved that with each patient he found a way to make a connection either through food, through a hobby, or through his talents.  I also appreciated his honesty regarding being nervous about meeting a new patient.  It isn't easy to go into people's homes and feel like you are intruding on their "last days". It truly is a privilege, as a volunteer, to be able to share in that final journey with the patient and their family.  

There is a lot to learn from pages in this book, especially from his humbling Dos and Don'ts chapter at the end.  As you read the stories you will see pain, sadness and the ever-looming terminal diagnosis, but you will also be rewarded with laughter, gratitude and surprisingly, hope.


Eric Lindner 
Eric Lindner is an attorney and entrepreneur. He has been a Hospice volunteer since 2009.  He divides his time between Virginia and Hawaii. For more on Lindner or the book, check out www.HospiceVoices.com. You can also find him on Facebook, HERE and Twitter, HERE.




This review is my honest opinion.  I was provided a copy of the book as part of the book tour with Virtual Author Book Tours.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the Amazon link above, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase without you having to pay a cent more for the book. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com.

American Idol - Excited for the New Season



It has been awhile since I've been on the Americana Idol bandwagon.  I frankly got a little tired of Simon's rude suggestions and comments.  Randy's "dog" verbage was worn out.  I couldn't stand to watch or listen to Nicki Minaj.  So, I rarely tuned in.

But, this year, I plan watch and DVR it when I am not home.  Want to know why?  One major reason......


source
I kind of like Harry Connick, Jr.  A LOT.  I just think this year's mix of judges is going to be awesome. Keith Urban....nice to look at....talented.....fun. 
 Jennifer Lopez.....bubbly......creative......positive. 
Harry.....gorgeous.....multi-talented.....warm-hearted.  

I assume that the harsh, unnecessarily rude remarks of the years past will not be a part of this season.  I can't see any of them acting that way or treating others unkindly.  I don't mean there won't be snide remarks or snickers after a really awful performance, but I hope, for the most part, their judgement of talent will be critical, positive, and fun.

I am excited to see what kind of talent these three judges can find.  It is looking like it could be an exciting season. American Idol starts tonight on Fox. For more, check out http://www.americanidol.com/.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Book Review: Perfect By Rachel Joyce

PERFECT
A Novel

By: Rachel Joyce


Published:  January 14, 2013


Fiction





The British author of THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY has written her newest novel, PERFECT. In PERFECT, we are taken to an English village in 1972, and an 11-year old boy finds out from a friend that the government is adding two seconds to a day, therefore altering time.  Byron and his friend James become so wrapped up in the idea and when it is going to happen, that it ends up encompassing their lives.  One morning, on the way to school, Byron notices his watch is adding the two seconds. He leans over and shows his mom, who is driving at the time, and she ends up hitting a little girl on a bicycle and then driving off.  Even though it is foggy and Byron is sure that he saw the accident, he can't believe his mom would just drive off.  Byron and James are so horrified and worried about the girl that "Operation Perfect" is enacted to protect Byron's mother from facing the consequences.  

At the same time, another story is being told in alternating chapters. This story is sent in the present time in the same English village. An adult man, Jim, lives a life confined by his daily rituals and past demons.  At first we don't know the connection between the two stories, but as the story goes on, you begin to make assumptions about who this adult man is.  Then, when you find out the true connection between the two stories, you want to go back and read everything again. 

Byron is so caught up in the idea of the "supposed" adding of the two seconds that it consumes his daily thoughts and activities.  He can't understand why no one else is upset about it and why there is nothing in the news about it.  His father is gone during the week and only home on weekends and when he is, he has no time for his family, except to tell them what they are doing wrong.  So, Byron is left to discuss the two seconds only with his friend, James, whom he sees at school.  Byron is so concerned because he believes it is the difference between something happening and something not happening.  Unfortunately, because of these two seconds something does happen and changes all of their lives forever.  After the accident, Byron struggles with asking his mom about it, wondering if someone can be guilty without knowing they were guilty. He worries about the little girl and wonders if she was hurt. He constantly checks the car for damage and the newspapers for stories on the accident.  As you read along, you begin to feel the overwhelming anxiety that both Byron and James are feeling.  You become frustrated with the submissiveness of Diana, the mother and the absence of Seymour, the controlling father.  As Diana carries on with her daily routine, you wonder if Byron imagined the accident or Diana is that afraid of the consequences or of her husband.  Then you meet the society ladies, friends of Diana.  Byron tries to listen in to their conversations to see if others are talking about the accident.  The ladies remind me more of 1950's ladies than women of the 1970's, but maybe America was farther ahead than the English in the feminist movement at that time.

As you get wrapped up in Byron's story, and then start a new chapter, you wonder why we are learning about this other character. Jim lives in a van, is socially awkward, and is overwhelmed by his OCD characteristics. His story was mostly uninteresting to me until the end of the book. Jim has had a disturbing history and his co-workers try to help him. His years at the psychiatric hospital keep coming back in his mind and you wonder if his psychosis is due to his past or his electric shock treatment that he received.  His story opens your eyes to the horrors of psychiatric hospitals and the patient's life after discharge.

PERFECT wasn't the "perfect" book for me, but saying that, there were many parts of it that I did love.  Her writing was poetic and there were many thought-provoking lines that caused me to pause and consider the statement.  Joyce was frequently able to paint a picture in my mind of Byron's house and their land near the Moor or Jim's van, that was his home.  I loved this description of an evening:

Apart from the buffeting wind, the lack of sound up here is breathtaking. For awhile neither of them speaks. They just push slowly against the wind. It charges at their bodies and whistles through the long grasses with the rage of the sea. There are many stars sprinkled like embers over the sky....the horizon is rimed with orange light. It is streetlamps, but you might think it was a fire, somewhere very far away. Page 253

I think this story would work well for book clubs.  Mothers will find themselves struggling with the weight on Byron's shoulders and then unable to comprehend the lack of intuition by his mother.  There could be much discussion on the marriage between Seymour and Diana, Jim's hospital care, the society ladies and their views on life, and how you realized the two stories are connected. PERFECT will likely appeal to many readers.  I found I liked the beginning and the ending the most, but the middle was a struggle for me.  For those who appreciate literary prose and a deeply rooted storyline, PERFECT could be just the "perfect" read.

Rachel Joyce - source

Rachel Joyce has written over 20 original afternoon plays for BBC Radio 4, and major adaptations for both the Classic Series, Woman's Hour and also a TV drama adaptation for BBC 2. She started writing after a 20-year acting career in which she won many awards.  Rachel Joyce lives with her family on a Gloucestershire Farm. For more on Rachel Joyce, visit her website, http://www.racheljoycebooks.com/.




This review is my honest opinion.  I received a paperback copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.  If you choose to purchase the book through the Amazon link above, I will receive a small percentage of that purchase without you having to pay a cent more.  Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Page A Day Calendars - I Just Love Them!

I just love calendars that offer you something on each page.  I can start my days with a quote, a laugh, a fact, a cute picture, pretty much anything you want in any category you are interested in.

I usually have one in my bathroom so I can see it every morning and then the kids have theirs either in their bathroom or their bedroom.

This year, I found some new ones to try out and so far I am loving them!

Patrick got the Minnesota Vikings Page a Day Calendar as a gift for Christmas as we are big Vikings fans!


The calendar is full of Vikings related material including player stats, historical information about the team, and game/season statistics. 

I got the kids the Google A Day calendar as well as sent it to my cousin's children.  Reagan has been the most interested in this calendar.  



Each day has a different question.  With the information in the question, you then need to do google searches to find the answer.  So far the questions have been interesting and we have learned something each day. There have been a couple that we weren't able to figure out the answer, but so far, it has been a lot of fun. We like to look it up during supper and with our devices we can search pretty easily and then everyone can engage in the conversation. It is a fun and educational calender and I highly recommend it!

I chose the Today is Going to Be A Great Day Calendar for my bathroom. 


I wanted something fun and bright and positive.  This definitely fits the bill.  It is colorful and each day features a positive quote in a fun artistic form.  Each day features a different artist and offers their website if you really like their artwork.  I love this calendar!

We gave the boys the Sports Center Calendar for Christmas.


Every day one or both of the boys can be heard telling us something sports related either about a player injury, a coaching change or some game that was won or lost.  They are definitely into their sports.  This calendar encompasses all sports and gives them the facts they love!

There are so many other calendars that intrigued me this year too.  I considered the Book Lovers Calendar, but since I hear about so many great books through my various contacts I decided to go with something different. I also considered getting the Someecards calendadr since they so often say just what I am thinking and almost always make me laugh.  But, I was worried it wouldn't be "kid appropriate".  There are so many great calendars, there is certainly one for everybody!  You can find calendars on cooking, wine, quotes, animals, shoes, every sports team/type you can imagine, travel, TV shows, celebrities, crafts, quilting, educational, puzzles, cartoon characters, inspirational and Bible verses.

This is a great time of year to get the calendars as they are usually at least half off by now.  Your local stores may have them or you can find a great number of them on Amazon - Page A Day Calendars  Add a little joy to your day with a daily calendar!