Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday #24

It was a lovely 4 days off. I'm kind of bummed that it's school time though because that means back to the old hectic daily grind. haha
I slept on my shoulder weird last night because now it is hurting so badly. Bad thing is I can't find my old fashioned hot water bottle that I usually use for such pains and come to think of it I haven't seen it since our old apartment so I'm kind of wondering if it didn't get thrown in a get rid of box. It looks like this in case you've seen it:
LOL. But now on to Happy Homemaker Monday. I'm linking up with Diary of a Stay at Home Mom today which just happens to be one of my favorite blogs AND the one who hosts Happy Homemaker Mondays. So go on and check her blog out as well: http://familycorner.blogspot.com/




::The weather in my part of the world::
Sunny but chilly. 44 degrees here in good old Indiana. We're actually looking at some pretty mild temps this week even getting as high as 58 degrees by the end of the week. It's so unusual for Indiana though because normally we're covered in snow around this time of year or it's bitter and windy. But hey, can't complain.



::Right now I am::
Sipping on some caramel truffle coffee. I got it on a whim at the grocery store yesterday. It was a little bag on sale for a dollar so I figured why not try it. I LOVE it!



::Thinking::
About our new little fur baby. We get to go get him on December 23rd! I'm so excited and the kids are going to be over the moon. They know we are getting a dog and they are continuously asking about him so I think they are at the point where they want to see it to believe it. haha. We already paid the deposit for him, but as he is only 4 weeks old right now we have to wait until he is 8 weeks and able to leave his fur mommy. We do have almost all his supplies so everything will be ready when we bring him home. We met his fur mommy and she is just a darling, and he is so energetic himself and loving! He is coming from a home where they have taken the utmost care of the litter and puppies so we are very thankful to find them. Here's his picture:
Gizmo Mars
(Havanese puppy- 4 weeks old)



::On my reading pile::
Heaven Changes Everything (a devotional from the authors of Heaven Is For Real) by: Todd & Sonja Burpo
I still want to choose a book on the Kindle to read in addition to this, I just haven't chosen one yet. When there are so many good books at your fingertips it's a hard choice!
I also just finished reading A Marriage of The Heart by Kelly Long - review upcoming



::On my TV::
Wednesday I of course will be watching Nashville. I love that show! I missed last week's episode and for some reason my computer doesn't want to play it so I keep waiting for Comcast to put it On Demand for us all to enjoy, but so far no go. :(
Other than that I'll probably be re-watching past seasons of 7th Heaven that I checked out at the library. Can't get enough of that TV show.



::On the menu for this week::
Monday- homemade cheeseburger macaroni, garlic bread, corn, fried potatoes
Tuesday- beef pasta, mashed potatoes, peas, homemade rolls
Wednesday- tuna casserole
Thursday- will be grocery shopping
Friday- 
Saturday-
Sunday-



::On my to do list::
Sweeping floors
Vacuuming floors
Mopping kitchen and bathroom
Return books and movies to the library
Working on advent calendar (it's almost done)
Dishes
Laundry



::What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting, or creating::
I'm currently working on an advent calendar for the boys. This will be our first year doing an advent calendar, and we kind of decided upon it at the last minute.



::Homemaking tips::
Keeping a calendar/to-do book can be so helpful to a homemaker. We are busy enough as it is with constant to do lists running through our heads. So I keep a little calendar book. It helps me stay on schedule, remember important dates/events, etc. What has worked best for me are the calendar books with a view of the month followed by the days/weeks. They are inexpensive and there are all kinds to choose from so whether you want a big planner or a small one there is one out there for you. Here's an example of one:
just an example


::Looking around the house::
The boys are watching Clifford the Big Red Dog, it's a bit hectic with toys strewn around right now as they've been playing all morning. It's almost time to leave and take Lucas to school (he goes to the afternoon preschool class). My library bag is hanging from the kitchen chair so I won't forget it, as getting the kids out the door can get kind of crazy sometimes. LOL



::From the camera::
our little Gizmo
sorry for the dim picture, I didn't want to use flash on the camera just in case it should startle him



::On my prayer list::
In Indianapolis there was a gas explosion that killed 2 and damaged many homes. Most of the homes cannot be rebuilt and have to be torn down. Residents were only allowed one hour to get in there and get their belongings. This happened right before Thanksgiving. I can't imagine the fear, devastation, etc. But what is amazing is all these neighbors banded together and have supported each other through this horrible time. I applaud all the heroes that helped one another, have donated supplies to the displaced families, etc. 
Here's a picture of the destruction:
http://www.fox59.com/news/wxin-citizens-energy-responds-to-reports-of-high-gas-usage-in-south-side-home-explosion-20121121,0,342861.column



::Bible verse/devotional::
Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (NIV)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Songs That Make Us Sing Saturday #5

Oh goodness we are trying to recuperate from Black Friday. It was insane! LOL. Now we didn't do the normal thing and get out super early because...well...we have kids 5 and under so that wouldn't work. BUT we went out on Thanksgiving night with the kids in their jammies to wait on some deals (which we surprisingly got everything we wanted and was out within 30 minutes) and then came home. We got back out today after breakfast and got a few extras at Menard's we had on the list. I'm pretty pleased. We got pretty much all the kids toy gifts covered and all we have left to get them are clothes. We got a few toys for fun, but other than that we tried to stick with the creative/learning toys. Anyway it was so stressful going with the kids. We were trying to shove all the toys and stuff in the bottom of the cart and if they seen toys we told them we were helping Santa with a few things this year since his elves were so busy and those toys are for other kids. They seemed to go along with it which totally surprised me, but if it isn't broke don't fix it right? I felt a little bad for fibbing to the kids but I didn't want to ruin their surprises. They were completely excited about the idea of being Santa's little helpers and thank goodness it didn't turn out to be an issue. We didn't have anyone to keep them so what could we do? LOL

We had a good Thanksgiving though and got to spend time with family and each other. I love the holidays, family time, excitement, and of course the yummy food! :)

Anyway I will quit babbling and post this weekend's song. A friend of mine posted this to my facebook and I thought it was hilarious so I'm sharing with all you parents out there. haha



If you want to participate in Songs That Make Us Sing Saturdays just join in by adding your link to the Mr. Linky on the following sites:

&


You should just go ahead and give them a follow too while their there because their blogs are something you will want to come back and read regularly. Plus participating is so easy. Just post one of your favorite songs/videos, any genre, (clean of course since there could be kiddos around the corner, or at least in my household. LOL)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday is Cook'n!

Remember the blog post I did awhile back on the Cook'n software? If not you can go back and read about it HERE.
It's a great software program that helps organize your recipes, helps simplify meal planning, print a family cookbook, adjust ingredient sizes, etc.
Problem is that it's normally $80 which is a bit pricey. BUT! Good news is as a Black Friday special they are offering Cook'n for 75% off! That's only $20!
They have never offered such a discount and probably never will again, but this software simplifies searching for recipes on the web and adjusting them to your families needs. It's a breeze to work and all your recipes are kept how you want them to be.
So for this Black Friday you can visit www.dvo.com and get Cook'n for 75% off!

Cook'n makes meal planning a breeze and adjusts serving sizes and ingredient amounts for you in an instant! It really does make cooking simple.


Sincerely,
Tori

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to take some time out today to tell all of you::


And leave you with a little quote::

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
-Melody Beattie


Sincerely,
Tori

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Nutcracker Music Game Review & Giveaway






Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker The Music Game is such a fun learning tool for children. It helps kids recognize different musical instruments and piece what instruments are played during songs. It's a game filled with puzzles, riddles, trivia, and so much more.
Like all children, my 5 year old son loves music. When I had the opportunity to review this product I jumped at the chance and couldn't wait to show it to him. When we received it for download he immediately fell in love with it. It was hard to pry him away actually!
You start out in a room filled with choices, you can play a variety of games (such as the orchestra game), trivia, riddles, puzzles, etc. My son loved the puzzles especially and I couldn't believe my eyes when he started recognizing the instruments that were playing!
The object is to earn nine golden keys while having fun and learning. It teaches the difference between sounds, instruments, and helps increase their memory. All the while having fun, and they won't even realize how much they are learning during the whole process!
My son was so proud of himself, and it honestly has given him a whole new appreciation for classical music.
Here's a little video on how the game works::


Not only does it teach our children to love and appreciate music as well as the instruments, but it is so fun and engaging! It also challenges children without them even realizing it! Look at the colorful pictures in the video above, it's so fun and vivid! I think this is a great tool to have around the house for your children to sharpen their music skills, and could also be useful in a classroom setting. It could be a great help to any of you out there who are going the homeschooling route as it can sometimes be hard to implement music in a home school setting. This game can really help fill that void.
Children learn best through interactive fun activities and this game has all of that. The appreciation and knowledge they come away with is just amazing. It can be played by your child alone, or with a parent as you both challenge yourselves in the music department. There is much to be enjoyed from this game, and I highly recommend it for any music lovers out there.
In today's world its more important than ever to teach our children about the classics, and to appreciate the instruments that make up the sound of music. This is a game that can easily be navigated by children, and even includes a helpful little claxon that appears time and again to tell your children what to do. Some of the features in the game you will need to help younger children with who cannot yet read, but there are other features they can enjoy where the talking claxon tells them step by step what they need to do.
It's a game kids can play over and over again while still being challenged. We can't get enough of it at our house, and play it several times a week. The Nutcracker is a classic, and I'm glad it is now put into a form that our children can enjoy and learn from all at once.

This game has also won many awards which makes it even better in my book. It has won the Parent's Choice Gold Award, NAPPA Gold Award, Parenting Seal of Approval and others. The one downfall is it isn't JUST yet available for MAC, but all good things take time of course. It's definitely a unique game, and I can't rave about it enough!
Here's what some others had to say about it::  

"What is so impressive about this CD-ROM is how much fun kids had while really putting their musical ears to the test." - The National Parenting Center

"A decidedly unique software game with enormous education value...Kids will enjoy playing again and again." - Discovery School

"The best software I've seen to date or stimulating the musical imagination... Sophisticated in its design and content, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker offers exciting adventures in musical listening and problem solving that are both irresistible and educational." Dr. Larry Scripp, Ed.D, Chair of Music-in-Education and the Research Center for Learning through Music, New England Conservatory

"It's a splendid blend of fun and learning, sensory stimulation and rational thinking, Old World atmosphere and new technology marvels." - Houston Chronicle

  But maybe you could find out for yourself? How about a giveaway??? I knew you would be excited, and just in time for the holidays at that! Entries are easy via the rafflecopter form below and winner will be chosen by random. Good luck to you all and I hope your children enjoy it as much as mine did!

  Also for the followers of Mommy's Musings you can buy the game with a 40% discount by clicking HERE

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

90 Days Thru the Bible ~Book Review~

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Tyndale Momentum (August 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 141435309X
ISBN-13: 978-1414353098

::My thoughts::
90 Days Thru the Bible is a wonderful reading tool for those looking to better understand God's word. It starts with Genesis and takes you all the way through Revelations. It is a wonderful study guide if you are wanting a deeper understand of the Bible in a short amount of time. Even while this book doesn't FULLY explore the bible it gives you the major principles and reflect on how every one is beneficial to God's story.
Not only is it easy to understand but it breaks down each chapter of the bible and creates an easy to understand devotional with questions for reflection at the end.
It is broken down with The Old Testament being Day 1, Genesis 1-3 Day 2, Genesis 4-11 Day 3, etc.
The Bible is the best book out there if you ask me, but it is also a very complex book for even the most genius of those who read it. We excel at some points in the bible, but can completely miss some of the major events without even realizing it.
This book will help with exactly that and give you a better appreciation of God's word, as well as His journey.
I think it would be best used as a reading tool as you read along with your bible. After exploring chapters in the Bible itself you can read each devotional in this book to delve deeper and gather a better understanding and appreciation of God's word.
Especially useful if you want to understand the Bible in more depth, but just don't have the time to make church classes, etc. It's a very insightful, informative study tool that all Christians would benefit from having, and gives a clearer understanding with those who want one.
What I especially loved about this book is the transformation it can make on your own life and understanding of God. It is encouraging, nourishing, and uplifting to say the least. It's soul-fulfilling.


::From the back of the book::
Embark on a 90-Day journey to understand the heart of God's story like never before.

You may believe the Bible's overall message, but have you truly grasped the whole story? We know God's message of love is so simple that even a child may embrace it, and His epic story is complex enough to mystify even the most curious intellect. We want to understand the Scriptures more deeply, to fully share in the Great Story that God has been telling throughout the ages, though perhaps we aren't sure where to start.

In 90 Days Thru the Bible, acclaimed writer Chris Tiegreen and Walk Thru the Bible guide you through the various sections of Scripture, meditating on how each story and theme, like the pieces of a puzzle, beautifully contributes to God's masterpiece of love, faith, and salvation. You'll come to understand the true heart of God-and the awe-inspiring story He's telling in your own life- in an incredible new way.


This book is available in  ~ Softcover ~  Kindle ~  Nook ~  eBook ~

You can also read some EXCERPTS HERE

See my review on Goodreads and Amazon


Disclaimer: I was provided this book for free through Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Thanksgiving Eve

Thanksgiving Eve! Today is going to be a hectic day for sure and I can already tell I'm going to fall in bed exhausted by the end of it.
I have last minute preparations for shopping to do (yes I forgot a few things on the list, nothing major thankfully), normal cleaning, and Thanksgiving preparedness. Hubby is at work today which means I'll be going it alone. Thankfully he's off for 4 days straight starting tomorrow so it will be nice to have him home.
There is so much to do though! I'm getting tired just thinking about it!

I'm hoping that tomorrow goes smoothly. Me and the boys have been fighting a very annoying cold. Lucas had it first and had a fever over the weekend. He was fever free right in time for school this past Monday, but a runny nose, scratchy throat, etc, still lingered. Then Levi woke up with a fever yesterday morning and still had one last night. Low and behold yesterday I started feeling the body aches, my nose clogged, and my throat started getting scratchy. Today thanks to this new Afrin I'm trying for free via BzzAgent my nose is unclogged, but my throat is still a bit scratchy. I am praying it goes away by tomorrow because I want to enjoy the good food and family time!

I also have more reviews coming up, and if you haven't been on here lately I just launched the Howard B. Wigglebottom book giveaway so it's not too late to enter! Just in time for the holidays too so it could make a great gift! I for one can personally attest that my 5 year old LOVES Howard B. Wigglebottom. We have several of the books and we read them over and over again. He has learned so much from them it's just amazing how it reaches children.

This weekend we get to go pick out our new little fur baby. I'm excited about it. We don't get to bring him home of course since the litter isn't yet ready to leave their mom, but we will have him right in time for Christmas. The boys are going to be so excited and there isn't a day that goes by they don't talk about a dog so I can't wait to see their little faces light up with joy.

Anyway, I better get off here and get the breakfast dishes cleaned. It's almost time to take Lucas to school and I have LOTS of cleaning to do today. This weekend I will also be working on an advent calendar. I have been getting tons of ideas from Pinterest. The only thing I have left to do is go buy the Elf on the Shelf. Can't forget that! After all Christmas always flies right up on us after Thanksgiving.

How are you spending Thanksgiving? Do you celebrate with an early meal or a later one? What is your traditional Holiday Dish? Ours is ham.

Sincerely,
Tori

Monday, November 19, 2012

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Sportsmanship review/giveaway

Howard B. Wigglebottom has become a fast favorite in our household. As you know I have two sons (Lucas 5 & Levi 1 1/2). They both get so excited over Howard B. Wigglebottom, but my 5 year old can definitely identify with Howard and always takes away meaningful life lessons.

Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982616562
ISBN-13: 978-0982616567

In Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Sportsmanship, Howard has a hard time losing in any game he plays. He goes so far as to cheat and hurt his friends in the process of winning. Howard will do whatever it takes to win a game so he will continue being the best. During a soccer game Howard monopolizes the ball and trips other players. When the coach calls him out on it Howard becomes very rude and upset with the coach, causing him to be thrown out of the game and sat on the bench. Howard is furious and begins to think how unfair this is, but suddenly a father stands up and starts yelling at the referee. Howard can't believe how this father is making himself look to others and hopes he doesn't look like that. The father gets escorted out, and Howard is left with the thoughts of his actions. Howard becomes ashamed of his behavior. He realizes that winning isn't everything and he has been unfair. He apologizes to his coach and asks for another chance to play during the soccer game. During the game Howard has the chance to score the winning goal, but sees another team mate wide open who could also make the shot. He has a tough decision...should he shoot and score the goal or give the other team mate an opportunity to win? He kicks the ball over and they lose, but Howard is so happy that he played fair he doesn't care. He realizes there's much more to life than winning, and covets his second place trophy over his first places ones all combined. He even shakes hands with the winning team, and praises all his team mates on their hard work.

Every child has an issue when it comes to winning or losing. Losing is a tough childhood lesson to learn, and something a lot of children deal with. All children love the feeling of winning and they start to think winning is everything. Often times this can lead to being a "sore loser" without them even realizing it, and before they realize it they are acting out if they lose or even cheating to win.
Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Sportsmanship teaches fair play and the value of good sportsmanship. I think this is a book that all children can learn from, and the colorful fun illustrations help keep children engaged page after page.
My son was riveted. Often he does okay with playing games, but like all children he wants to win. He can sometimes be upset or get a little down when he doesn't win at something. This book really helped show him that it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, but whether you're having fun playing the game. There's more to winning such as friendship, teamwork, and having fun. He has carried this lesson on over to his own friends and it has created a more positive play experience for everyone. Now he is more focused on the fun of the game rather than winning or losing and is happy whatever the outcome.
At the end of the book there are helpful tips, and lessons that parents and teachers can put into play.

The We Do Listen Foundation is a group of writers, artists, designers, educators, therapists, parents, caregivers and teachers who share a vision of a kinder world with more harmony and peace. They are devoted to help children listen, learn, and communicate in an effective way while feeling good about themselves.
There are ten picture books in their award winning, educator endorsed series that tackle important life lessons for 3-8 year olds. They cover listening, bullying, sportsmanship, anger management, feeling good about themselves, moderation, truth, divorce, peer pressure, belonging, generosity, attention, etc. You can check out the animated versions of the books on their website: http://www.wedolisten.orgJust click on the animated books, lessons/posters and songs signs.

You can win your own Howard B. Wigglebottom book for your child by just following the instructions on the rafflecopter below. It's very easy to enter with optional extra chances to win. Just visit the We Do Listen website and browse around to find which Howard B. Wigglebottom book you would like.
Howard B. Wigglebottom hardcover books retail for $15 in the U.S. and Canada. On their website they are now on sale for $6 US or $50 for a set of 10! This comes at an exceptionally good time since Christmas is right around the corner!  HBW Ebooks are now available on Apple for only $1.99.

~For more Howard B. Wigglebottom~
~Visit their website~
~Find them on Facebook~
~Follow them on Twitter~

If you win feel free to write your thoughts and your children's response to the Howard B. Wigglebottom book and come back and link your review/thoughts!



a Rafflecopter giveaway



Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book by the author/organization in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are mine alone and the giveaway is brought to you by the author and the We Do Listen Foundation.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A sippy that actually works!

This is going to be a personal post of mine. I didn't receive any free products, was not compensated in any way, nothing like that. But this post is of my own doing. All opinions expressed are my own as is this post.

First let me start by saying that I have been super frustrated lately by sippy cups in general. Lucas is 5 and Levi is 1 1/2 years. During the whole 5 years of me having kiddos I have NEVER found a sippy that doesn't leak. And we still try time and again. I have tried almost all the major brands and they work great at first and then low and behold I am greeted with puddles on the floor in various parts of my house. My husband was so frustrated with it that he just kind of gave up. We were both tired of wasting our money on sippy cups that promised to be spill/leak free only to find our kids beds soaked, their clothes, or puddles on the floor. Hubby even likes to joke that we would be better off just giving them a cup with no lid as good as most of the sippy's we buy work. Wouldn't be much of a difference I must admit.

Then Levi lost his sippy cup. We had an especially hectic trip out of town to the children's museum and somewhere it got lost. So we stopped at Walmart to pick him one up. I was stopping at a relatives house on the way home so I had the chance to wash it, but didn't want to wait until we got all the way home before he had a drink.
I didn't want to spend another eight dollars or more on a pack of sippy's that was going to start leaking in a few days time and I noticed the Gerber's Graduates Fun Grips. There were 2 in a pack for only five dollars and some change.
These were about the only sippy's we hadn't tried yet so I figured since they were definitely affordable we would go ahead and give them a try. Why not?
I was SO pleased! So far we have had then for a little over two weeks and they work wonderfully! My son has even thrown them and there's been no leaks so far! Instead of a rubber valve there is a plastic one which doesn't wear out after washes. Plus the hourglass shape makes it really easy for little hands to hold. It's easy to wash as well, and very easy to drink out of. They come in various colors and are for 12 months plus.
Plus the lid seals tightly and the hard spout is so perfect for teething, chewing babies. They can't just squeeze the spout and cause liquid to flow out. They are made in the USA and they are BPA free. The brighter colors make them fun, and if they get lost they are easy to find.
I was blown away by the excellence at such an affordable cost, and the reason I am sharing this with you all is because sippy cups are a parents worst nightmare. I'm sure all of you have suffered from random puddles on the floor, a soaked shirt/onesie, finding wet in your baby/toddlers bed from a leaking sippy, etc. And so far so good for these! I have always loved Gerber baby food and the onesies, but I never thought about trying the sippy cups. I guess to be honest I figured the more expensive ones that promised no leaks would be better since they were so high. But money has nothing to do with it. These sippy's have blown the others out of the water! Just goes to show that such a trusted brand needs to be looked at further and I wish I had tried these sippy cups beforehand. I probably would have saved a LOT more money and a lot more time scrubbing floors and carpets. LOL.



I would highly recommend them, and I plan on coming back after a few months of use to update on how they are still holding up. After all every child has to have a sippy cup and it's up to us parents to stick together. I'm always trying to scour websites, blogs, reviews, etc to find out others response on products because I'm simply tired of throwing my money down the drain.

The only advice I have on these is just make sure you push the plastic valve in all the way. It will stay put once it's in there, but you do need to push it in tightly. Otherwise you will be led to believe these leak when really it's just the valve isn't in there tight enough. That happened to me and I was getting frustrated because I thought it was the sippy, but really it was just that I didn't have the valve pushed in all the way. Ooops! Once you push the valve in tightly it WILL stay, my son even threw his sippy from his booster on the floor and the valve didn't budge at all. When you want to take the valve back out to clean it just twist it and pull. It's really easy to do, and I'm just pleased all around. I highly recommend these sippy cups, but if you want to see how it's still holding up for us in a few months time I will be doing another post to update. :)

Thank you for visiting! By the way I posted a comment on Gerber's facebook wall and got such an incredible response on comments. I found out some fantastic information through Gerber and other parent's comments which you might find helpful such as:


  • If you register through the START HEALTHY, STAY HEALTHY Resource Center you can get informative booklets with nutrition and feeding advice, product information, as well as special offers through baby's first years. Just click this link: http://bit.ly/cG89Wy
  • You can also find Gerber coupons on the target website and other websites. Just print them out and use them! Simple and easy.
  • If you have any stories about sippy nightmares, good experiences with Gerber, or anything you would like to share I would love to hear your comments. Just leave them below. Thanks!



Sincerely,
Tori

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Be Still My Soul book review

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books (October 2, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1601424213
ISBN-13: 978-1601424211

Description::
Although Lonnie Sawyer has a less than perfect life, she clings to her faith with all her might. Her family poor with an abusive father and a pushover of a mother, but Lonnie is unchanged in her faith and good nature.
Used to disappearing into herself and distancing herself from her family and others as much as possible Lonnie is completely chaste so when she is walked home by Gideon one night and he steals a forced kiss Lonnie decides to tell no one. After all Gideon may be handsome, but he's one man that mothers and fathers warn their daughters about.
Problem is that Lonnie's father saw the kiss and to save her reputation forces her into a marriage with Gideon. The two do not love each other and frustrated by the situation Gideon takes things out on Lonnie by making her move from the only home she's ever known imperfect or not. Gideon wants to start over and despite their marriage refuses to give Lonnie any claim on his life.
Lonely, sad, and confused Lonnie tries her best despite the circumstances, but it's up to Gideon to accept God and give up his past. But Lonnie doesn't know if anything will help him love her, or himself.

My Thoughts::
I loved this book! Even though some of the characters were especially frustrating at times (especially Gideon) I didn't want to put it down. The author does a wonderful job of drawing you in immediately to see it all unfold before your very eyes. Once I got into reading the novel it was hard to put down. The beginning is a bit rocky as the story unfolds. There are a few gaps with things left unsaid to really explain some of the incidents. One being is a less than wanted kiss Gideon forces upon Lonnie that sets in motion each of their destinies. It's hard to tell if the two characters were attracted to each other before or if Gideon is just a crazy man that goes around forcing kisses on all pretty women. But nonetheless the events that occur almost immediately early in the novel will definitely have you hooked.
What I loved most about this novel is the fact that despite the shotgun wedding forced upon them Gideon and Lonnie grow together before your eyes. Of course they don't realize they are growing, but as the reader you will see the changes and it is heartwarming (and frustrating) at times.
Watching their love grow for one another, and their love of God along with it is more than heart-warming. You can't help but love sweet innocent Lonnie any more than you can help but to want to just shake the living daylights out of Gideon. The other characters in the novel are interesting in their own personal ways as well which makes this book a good read and one you won't soon forget. An added bonus is there is going to be a sequel!


This book is available in:   Print   Kindle   Nook   eBook


Want more? Listen to this PODCAST about Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof


Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Our Southern Breeze book review

Paperback: 326 pages
Publisher: Third Chapter Press (December 14, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0983012962
ISBN-13: 978-0983012962

In this beautifully written memoir by Daphene Jones we learn all about her triumphs, down moments, heart aches, trials and tribulations, etc. It is definitely a bare all book and you will find yourself feeling almost every emotion imaginable when reading this book. It tells all about how her fraternal twin Deborah Hall affected her life, and how she was led to God.
I was riveted by this book. It was written so well, and I just didn't want to put it down. I love how Daphene tells all about her depression, her life as a twin, failed marriages, up and down career, etc. And the fact that through all her trials and tribulations she never gave up on her family, her twin, her older sister, or herself.
It was so encouraging, and even though I found myself so mad during many parts of the story at many of the people mentioned you can see unfold right in front of you how God changed bad situations to good later in life.
Daphene and Deborah are true proofs of what forgiveness and love is all about, no matter how long it took each of them to uncover that fact themselves. The fact that each of them endured what they did throughout their lives together and separate and was still able to love their family, stand by them, and care for them is just something amazing. After experiencing all kinds of abuse that is just unimaginable by a troubled father they rose above it, forgave and still respected their father in many ways.
Daphene seemed like she was always kind of the black sheep. Having an older sister that liked neither one of the twins and having a twin who clearly rooted herself in another world leaving Daphene behind, Daphene was left to find her own way. In doing so she made some bad decisions, experienced tearful depression, but still the twins were brought back together later in life by God. By being brought back together they were each able to strengthen not only themselves, but their personal relationship with God. And the transformation and events that occur in Daphene's life as a result is just so uplifting. It's definitely a book you want to read and I highly recommend it!

Here is a bit of a description taken from the back of the book::
As the fraternal twin of Deborah (Short) Hall (from Same Kind of Different as Me), I knew her like no one else could. And the inspiring story I share in Our Southern Breeze is like no other story that could be told: From growing up forever in transition as our family moved from one Texas oil camp to another, to cheating in school to try to win the approval of my parents...from facing all kinds of abuse of a troubled father as a child, to the disappointment of a failed marriage as an adult...from the deep pit of depression to suicide attempts, my life was a series of bad situations, poor choices, and worse consequences. My sister saw this, and after years of estrangement, held out a hand for me to hold...once again. It was at the Anaheim Vineyard conference in 1990 that God, through the words of a man, promised to send a southern breeze over Deborah and me. Neither of us could have ever imagined what that would look like and how many people would eventually be touched by it.

This book is an honest proof to everyone that no matter what hardships you experience in life, no matter how many obstacles present themselves right in your path, and no matter how bitter or depressed you may become; God can work in mysterious ways. He will never forget about you and even when you think He has, He is just waiting right there for you to accept Him in your heart.

To learn more about this book and the author visit this website: http://oursouthernbreeze.com/

This book is available in:  Print   Kindle   Nook



Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a member of BookCrash in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Happy Homemaker Monday #23

I'm finally almost all the way over that horrible cough that seemed to linger with me forever. I'm so glad about that, and I've been keeping up with my vitamins so hopefully that cuts back on my sickness this winter. Especially since I usually always seem to catch whatever is going around one way or another.




::The weather in my part of the world::
Today we woke up to snow falling. The boys were so excited! My feelings were a bit mixed. While I do enjoy the snow, I don't particularly always like the cold and dangerous conditions that follows it. BUT, it melted within a few hours anyway. The boys were bummed, but I assured them there will be plenty more snow to come. Much, MUCH more snow to come. LOL




::On my reading pile::



::On my TV this week::
As usual I will be watching Nashville this Wednesday at 10/9c on ABC.
Other than that I will probably re-watch all the seasons of 7th Heaven. Not all in this week of course, but catch up on some of them of course.



::On the menu for this week's dinner::
Monday- breaded steak, loaded baked potatoes, corn on the cob
Tuesday- crockpot beef stew, rolls
Wednesday- lasagna, garlic cheese bread
Thursday- grilled chicken, brown rice, peas
Friday- meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans
Saturday- chicken stir fry
Sunday- Beef & Rotini Skillet



::Looking around the home::
Levi is taking his afternoon nap and Lucas is in school. I'm enjoying the quiet while I can. I could be spending this time catching up chores, reading, etc but it's so hard to get any time on the blog lately. It seems like no sooner than I sit down I hear: "mom!" or it's too late and I'm too tired, or too early and I have to get breakfast going and the kids up.
The dishes are all done and the boys have their crayons and coloring books on the table. I'll pick those up here in a few once I finish this post and hopefully get to visit some of my favorite blogs. I know I've been a bit MIA in comments lately, but I promise I'm not trying to ignore any of you. It's just been crazy.



::Last week's recap::
I made up 20 goody bags for Lucas's class. He got to have a little party in class. I put in some of those little jumpy frogs that kids seem to go crazy for, some candy, fruit snacks, etc. I didn't want to overdo it with the candy goods since Halloween wasn't that long ago. My kids for one still have half a bucket of candy each, and Christmas is coming up so their stockings will hold that much more. Yikes. LOL
We went bowling ON Lucas's birthday with his class. They had an event at the local bowling alley for all the children and families and we figured why not go ahead and go. We all love bowling after all. Lucas scored 2 strikes! We were so proud. Me and Josh didn't get much of a chance to bowl since we were taking turns chasing Levi and encouraging Lucas on, but no matter what everyone had fun so it was a great time.
After bowling we came home and relaxed for awhile just spending some quality family time together. We had cake and ice cream, gave Lucas his gifts, etc. We didn't have a big birthday party this year. He didn't want to do a big party so we just spent it together.
 We went to the Muncie Children's Museum yesterday and took our nephew along. He's one year older than Lucas so they had a lot of fun playing and being together. I was excited to take the boys there since I spent so much time there as a child myself, but I was a bit disappointed. They have so much less than they used to! There was still some fun stuff to do, but not nearly as much as there was when I was a kid. Definitely not worth the money you have to pay to get in there, but the boys did still have fun. They had a really awesome learn not to burn program and the boys learned about fire safety and what to do if a fire ever breaks out in the house. And they had a lot of fun so that's all that matters.



::What I'll be up to this week::
I have an annual ladies appointment this week which I'm not looking forward to, but I'm eager to get it over with. Other than that I have the usual errands and we have to prepare for Thanksgiving next week! I can't believe how fast it has crept up on us! This year is flying by already! I always get a bit nostalgic around the holidays and look back over the past year. It's so bittersweet, just like our children's birthday. You look forward to the time ahead, but it's just so hard to let the past go sometimes.
I have some library books and movies due back this week, and I have some reviews to get posted which I think you'll all enjoy.



::Today's to-do list::
Sweep floors
Vacuum floors
Mop the kitchen and bathroom
Clean bathtub
Drop some books and movies off at the library
Normal day to day stuff



::Tips & Tricks::
Use newspaper or coffee filters to clean windows instead of paper towels. It is non-streaking and doesn't leave any lint. Also vinegar or any window cleaner with vinegar as an ingredient will work wonders on windows and glass!



::Something fun to share::
http://ahecticfairytale.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2011-05-18T09%3A39%3A00-05%3A00&max-results=7



::Bible verse/devotional::
A man who lacks judgement derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.
Proverbs 11:12

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day ~Book Review

Christianity is such a big part of my life. Things get crazy time and again and it's easy to lag on our studies and understanding of the faith. But no matter what we can always learn more about Christianity, and we can always bring ourselves closer to God.
This book is an excellent read when you're trying to understand Theology.

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (September 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764210122
ISBN-13: 978-0764210129

Whether you are a beginner on studying Theology or an expert this book is well written. It is easy to understand, and laid out in sections that take 15 minutes or less to read. It answers some of the questions we all wonder, such as::
  • What is theology?
  • How can I know God?
  • When is Jesus really coming back?
  • What will heaven be like?
  • How can Jesus be both God and man?
  • What is the basis of Salvation?
and many more...

There are also Interesting Fact sections at the end of each chapter which I found very interesting. It adds a really nice touch if you ask me, and keeps you on your toes.
The author states that he hoped to keep his own personal viewpoint from coming through. However, inevitably, it did come through here and there. It wasn't too much of a big deal for me though since we all have different viewpoints. It's still interesting to learn others viewpoints, and while there was a few things I didn't agree with in this book there were a lot of points I did agree with. Despite the points that I didn't agree with being said I still learned quite a bit from this book and recommend it if you want a deeper understanding of Theology.
This book is an excellent starting point for Christians who want to know more. I have learned a lot myself from this book, and now know where I want to search more in-depth for deeper answers. It's especially handy for those who want to learn Theology but don't have much time to dedicate to reading during the day. The book is set up well to where you can skip around if you'd like, or just read it from front to back. You can still get through the book easily. It's easy to understand and as I said before each section can be read in about 15 minutes or less.

This book is available in:   Print   Kindle   Nook


You can also check out my review of this book on Goodreads and Amazon



Disclaimer: I was provided this book for free through Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

1st Step Pro Wellness B12 Complex Review and more!



If you're anything like me, you're always tired. I mean it, let's be totally honest here...when we lead such busy hectic lives we are ALWAYS tired, exhausted, or feel like we are running on fumes by mid-day. And I get tired of depending on cup after cup of coffee. Coffee isn't healthy to consume in large amounts due to all the caffeine, sugar, etc. I love coffee but there's a difference between drinking it for the pleasure of the taste versus needing it to boost your energy. I for one don't like to depend on coffee just for the sole purpose of boosting my energy.
I have tried a couple other energy boosting products in the past, but I'm very careful and conscious of what I put into my body so I don't drink the usual energy drinks. I'm just not into the downward spiraling crash that is inevitable when you drink those drinks. I mean sure it helps for a few hours, but what if you need a longer boost than that?
So I was pretty excited when I was contacted by a company to try a Liquid Vitamin B12 Complex that is stimulant free & caffeine free. It's called 1st Step Pro-Wellness.
They use fruit juices such as natural cherry, mango, papaya, and passion fruit that is derived directly from orchards on U.S. soil.
It not only helps boost energy, but provides wellness benefits because it contains B-12, B-9, and B-6 vitamins. The B complex helps with metabolism, the nervous system, eyes, muscles, vital organs, hair, and skin.



I was sent two bottles to try. One Cherry Charge flavor and one Tropical Blend. Both tasted pleasantly (and surprisingly well. I mean let's face it, with these types of products we don't expect much in taste, but I actually quite liked the taste of each flavor! It wasn't bitter but rather sweet and natural tasting, and I haven't had such a pleasant experience with the taste of other leading brands. I must admit the taste was quite exceptional, especially compared to other leading energy drinks/shots.



I drank one bottle one morning and it seemed like I had energy all day throughout. There was no crash and burn, and it just felt as if my energy was boosted in a natural manner and not like being sucked into a tornado.
The second bottle I drank half in the middle of the day when I was lagging behind on chores, errands, and the kids were being especially rowdy. The rest I put in the refrigerator and drank the rest the next day when I felt as if I was lagging behind. I love how it works instantly but doesn't make you feel like you're getting one sudden jolt all at once. It lasts for quite a while, and I had absolutely no adverse effects from drinking it. There was no headaches, dizziness, nothing. I actually felt energized throughout the day and did not feel as if I needed to always be on the go, but rather a natural energy. I could do chores, errands, etc and sit down, play, and relax with my kiddos when I wasn't doing chores. I felt more alert in a natural way, but no jitters. I was really impressed.



Here are some interesting facts aside from what I already mentioned::

  • 1st Step PRO-WELLNESS B-12 Complex does not contain caffeine, niacin, or artificial flavorings. 
  • 1st Step PRO-WELLNESS B-12 Complex is gluten free and 100% vegetarian.
  • For more than 10 years, 1st Step PRO-WELLNESS brand has been the nutritional brand of choice by more than 330 collegiate and pro sports teams, as well as countless elite female and male athletes because it works. 
  • According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 2011 edition, long-term supplementation of daily oral vitamin B12 and B9 promotes improvement in cognitive function.
  • 1st Step PRO-WELLNESS Vitamin B-12 Complex can be used as both a vitamin supplement and an energy enhancement. Take vitamin B-12 once daily as you start your day, or take a dose whenever you need an extra energy boost to keep going. Take vitamin B-12 everyday for energy and cognitive wellness benefits.
  • 1st Step PRO-WELLNESS offers a variety of vitamins and supplements designed for women to promote healthy nutrition, muscles, bones, joints, heart and weight.


As a busy mom who is always on the go I can first-hand recommend this product to women everywhere. Whether you are a stay at home mom, working mom, or just busy woman in general this is one product that boosts your energy in a healthy way. Compared to other leading brands like 5 hour energy I have tried in the past I am sold on 1st Step Pro-Wellness. 5 hour energy is sweet but a tad bitter on some of the flavors, and 1st Step is very sweet and pleasant to drink. It's even designed especially for women! Can't get much better than that! Except for the fact that it has natural flavorings and uses natural vitamins to enhance energy!

1st Step PRO-WELLNESS products are available nationwide at Walgreens, Bi Lo, Publix, Kroger and more than 2,000 independent retailers.


You can read more about the 1st Step PRO-WELLNESS products by visiting their website.
And you don't even have to take just my word for it, there are some great testimonials for you to read if you want to see others reactions to this great product.

There is also a FACEBOOK CONTEST for a Great Taste Challenge, hosted by 1st Step PRO-WELLNESS. The grand prize is one year supply of B-12, 1st Step PRO-WELLNESS swag and a gift card to Walgreens! Contest ends on November 19th, 2012. And with the coupon I listed above you can try the B12 complex at very little cost to you! So go ahead and enter in the Great Taste Challenge. You could win some amazing products! And if you could do me a little courtesy of leaving a comment saying you heard about the Great Taste Challenge through Mommy's Musings on the-edge-of-the-sky.blogspot.com I would greatly appreciate it.

You can also connect with 1st Step Pro-Wellness via the following::


Disclaimer: I was provided with 2 bottles of 1st Step Pro-Wellness B12 complex for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Just a lil update...

Oh my am I ready for bed and it's only 10am. I still have this horrible cough that just does not seem to want to go away. It's actually gotten to the point where I have to take Dayquil before I go to bed at night JUST so I can sleep. Otherwise I wake up the whole house (literally my kids get up asking if I'm okay) with my incessant coughing fits which seems to happen every five minutes.



I know I missed Happy Homemaker yesterday, but yesterday was SO busy. I actually sat down and started it, but then I was needed elsewhere so I clicked save and just wasn't able to get back on the computer the rest of the day. I didn't get another free minute until 11pm and by then I was frankly completely tired and exhausted. I pretty much fell asleep right as my head hit the pillow. I didn't even get to cover up all the way. LOL



Yesterday I had to make a trip to the library. I actually misplaced a movie that was due and I spent 2 hours searching for it. I found the case right where I left it but the disc wasn't in it. I could have sworn that I put the disc in there, but it wasn't there. I was flipping out because it was a new release and I don't want to have to pay for anything. I am usually so consistent on keeping all the library stuff in one place. The library movies have a place, and the library books have a place. But anyway by sheer accident I finally located it in a yo gabba gabba case. At that point I decided I NEEDED to get the movies back so with the kids in tow we set off. I was so worried because normally taking the kids ensures that our library trip will be over with before it even begins. I'm the mom chasing after the 4 year old while the 1 year old screams in his stroller because he doesn't want to sit there. I usually end up with only one movie and some children's books and rush out of there as fast as I can before I get asked to leave by security for alarming the other library patrons because my kids are screaming. But yesterday I had faith (and a dollar to use for bribery for the vending machine). So we went in and automatically Lucas started helping me turn in the movies that were due. Then we went in search of some children's movies for him and Levi. Levi only yelled a couple of times but he did sit in his stroller which I was thankful for. Lucas didn't run off at all and stayed right by my side and was the perfect little gentleman. He even helped with Levi a few times when he started hollering loudly. We ended up with a lot of great movies (theirs and mine) some great book finds (theirs and mine), and as promised I got them something to split out of the vending machine before we left. Behold the power of a dollar!



By the time we got out of the library around 5:45pm it was almost fully dark outside. I can't believe it gets dark so quickly! But I'm not complaining. I kind of like it actually! Call me crazy, but it seems appropriate for the winters approach that it does get dark sooner. Although I probably shouldn't actually write that down because later I'll probably find myself complaining about it getting dark sooner, but for now I don't mind it in the least. It seems to calm the kids sooner. They know when it starts getting dark that it gets closer to bedtime.
I love the winter because of the snow, the holidays, etc. The only thing I don't really care for is the cold. BUT with the good comes the bad and we can't have snow without cold obviously.


I must go do dishes and clean now. It's almost time to take Lucas to school and I'm hoping Levi decides to take his nap during that time so I can get some reading time in. I used to get up early to read but I have been so tired lately it's been impossible to concentrate, and staying up later to read seems next to impossible for the same reason.
Anyway enough rambling from me right now. I've been working on a lot of great reviews to go up this week so stay tuned. One will be posted about everyday this week so there will always be something great to look for and learn about! Plus there will be my usual rambling posts. LOL. I hope you enjoy!

Sincerely,
Tori

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Songs That Make Us Sing Saturday #4

It is freezing outside today! I'm glad we don't have anywhere to go and we are staying in the whole day! I have lots of chores to catch up on, and some movies for us to watch that are due back to the library on Monday. I still have this horrible cough, but my voice is slowly coming back and I can feel the cough breaking up.
I'm so excited this is November despite the fact that it's going to be cold. I love this time of year even though I complain about the cold. It's the time for holidays, cozy indoors, and so much is going to be happening over the next couple of months.
Lucas turns 5, it's the time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we get our fur baby (I can't wait to post pics of him), and it's just going to be an all around great end of the year I hope.
Hubby is going to be working a lot this month though so it's going to be rough without him and the children are going to miss him. He is working every day this week besides Friday (which is Lucas's birthday) so we aren't going to see much of him. He leaves hours before the kids are up in the morning and he doesn't get home until they are going to bed. At least he gets to tell them goodnight though, I am thankful for that. But I'm pretty sure they are coming down with something because they've both had the sniffles, coughs, and have been sort of clingy. Of course the mommy side of me is saying: "They are for sure getting sick" but I have an optimistic side hoping that it's just due to the weather change. But who am I kidding? I already know what's around the corner.
But anyway today is Saturday so it's time for Songs That Make Us Sing Saturdays. If you want to participate you can just go on over to:

Songs That Make Us Sing


&

Here's my song of the week:
Psy - Gangnam Style

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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