Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday 03/25/2013

I can't believe it's another Monday already! So soon! It seems like this year is going by faster than all of the others, or maybe it's just me...
I'm joining up with Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom. If you want to participate just head on over to her blog and add your name to Mister Linky. :)

::The weather::
Snow storm in my area. That's right a SNOW STORM in SPRING! I couldn't believe it myself, but here's some proof. This was from last night:

The rest of the week is going to be in the 30s, 40s, and 50s by the end of the week thank goodness. Hopefully all this snow melts by the weekend. Our spring break starts next week!

::Right now I am::
Watching my kiddos play with some ride on toys, talking to hubby as he is off work today. School was cancelled today due to road conditions so we have all just been taking it easy and enjoying. (Although I have some chores that I need to get done quickly before dinner time rolls around).

About all that is ahead this week. There is so much going on it's unreal. Spring is always a busy time of year for us, and I also need to plan out my spring cleaning list. A friend of mine is putting together a spring project list. Every season she makes a list of projects she would like to accomplish that season whether it be craft projects, household projects, etc. I keep telling her she needs to start a blog. LOL. But I'm thinking of jumping on board and doing that idea myself.

::On my reading pile::
Finishing up...

::Favorite blog post last week (mine or other)::
I'm having a giveaway on my blog for Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Courage.

This book explains to 4-8 year olds in a simple playful way how to work with fear issues. The eleventh book in the award winning Howard B. Wigglebottom series. Educator and counselor approved. Tips and lessons included. Giveaway ends on 04/07/2013.

 ::On my TV::
Tonight will be watching Lizard Lick with hubby.
Nashville (on Wednesday, all new)
House Hunters
Love It or List It

::Blog hopping (newly discovered blog)::
How About Orange
How About Orange is a blog loaded with craft tutorials, DIY projects, free printables, fonts, decorating tips, and design inspiration.

::On the menu for this week::
Monday- southern style fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob
Tuesday- Kraft Shepherd's Pie
Wednesday- Corndogs, french fries, applesauce
Thursday- take out
Friday- grocery shopping
Sunday- Easter dinner- glazed ham, steamed baby carrots, homemade mac and cheese, homemade mashed potatoes, corn, hawaiin rolls, and deviled eggs. Dessert: easter decorated sugar cookies, homemade apple pie.

::On my to-do list::
Load my car with some boxes of old toys I will be taking to goodwill tomorrow
Laundry (wash, dry, fold, iron, put away)
that's about it. We are trying to enjoy this snow day. :)

::In the craft basket::
I'm STILL working on the boys crocheted throw blankets. To be honest I have had next to no time to work on them this past week at all, and doubt I will get the chance this week. We have had tons of birthday's of friends and family the last couple weeks and still more upcoming within the next two weeks! Hoping to get to work on them this weekend and finish them up within the next couple weeks.

::Looking forward to this week::
Getting some clutter cleared out, and preparing for spring break. I'm planning a couple of lists of activities we can do indoors and out so I will be prepared. Since we can't go on any type of vacation I want to make sure the kiddos have fun, and we can enjoy some time as a family. Things can get so busy we don't even realize how fast time is passing us up until it's gone.

::From the camera::

::On my prayer list::
My parents
My great-grandmother

::Bible verse/devotional::

Sunday, March 24, 2013

God Gave Us Easter

The Easter Bunny, egg hunts, candy filled baskets, oh my! What happened to the REAL meaning of Easter? What happened to teaching our children about Jesus' Resurrection as the actual reason for Easter? We can still have fun with our children with the Easter Bunny, egg hunts, and candy filled baskets. It's just so easy to lose the actual reason to celebrate Easter. Maybe it seems too hard to explain to our children? Luckily this is a book that will help with that.

It's so refreshing to find a colorful children's book that tells the TRUE meaning of Easter. Most books focus on the egg hunts, the Easter bunny, etc. This book however, puts things in an easy to understand manner for kids to take in. While this book in no way leaves out the Easter Bunny, it explains there's more to Easter than that. I love how Papa Bear takes the little bear on a walk to look at nature. God made everything, and along the journey Papa Bear explains how God had a plan for Easter from the beginning. Papa Bear shows his young one how death can bear fruit to life, but not in an upsetting or complicated way.
I also like how the author gave examples of how even the smallest voice can speak to Jesus, and how we can hear him in our hearts. That was my child's favorite part of the story. My preschooler especially took the most away from it. He has been asking questions about Easter, and this was the perfect book to answer those questions. He now knows we wouldn't have Easter if it weren't for Jesus, and He is the reason. My preschooler is also still excited about the Easter Bunny, egg hunts, baskets, etc., but he is now excited that we are celebrating Jesus coming back to life.
This is the perfect book for toddlers and elementary aged children. The illustrations are, as always, bright and detailed. The polar bear family makes the story fun and engaging, and this is definitely a book you can discuss with your children.

This book is available in the following formats:   Kindle   Nook   Hardcover   eBook

There are more books in the God Gave Us...series. If you liked this book check out some of the others:

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are my own.

ProFlowers Juniper Bonsai Review

Juniper Bonsai Tree from

I received the wonderful opportunity to get the above product, a Juniper Bonsai Tree from I was very impressed with the care and handling of the tree. It was delicately boxed and shipped, and had plenty enough water to keep it hydrated during the trip. It wasn't dried out when I got it, and came with a humidity tray with rocks as pictured above. The bonsai tree is around 3 years old and comes with care instructions, and a beautiful ceramic pot it sits in.
I really love having plants around whether they are inside or outside. It adds an extra touch of peace and serenity to the surroundings. I have always been a fan of bonsai's and was pleasantly surprised at the care of this one once it arrived. Delivery was prompt, and the plant had been well maintained.
The Juniper Bonsai plant is small, but very easy to maintain. It is actually meant for outdoor use, but since there is snow on the ground where I live, I've had to keep it indoors for the time being. Still it is thriving healthy enough with some time in front of a cracked window now and again, and plenty of sunlight. Once the weather warms up it already has the perfect place on my balcony. Bonsai's are perfect for any dwelling, but I find they fit really well in our apartment. I can't wait to get more.
The price is definitely affordable and worth the money as the Juniper Bonsai is only $34.99 with all you see pictured above.
Juniper Bonsai's are the perfect plant to give as a gift to someone who is interested in getting started with Bonsai plants. You can fiddle around with this plant as far as trimming, and care is very simple. It's the perfect starter plant for Bonsai lovers who want to learn more.
ProFlowers has many a selection of bonsai's, flowers, and other beautiful plants that you can browse right at your fingertips.

As an added bonus you can find some great coupons by clicking the link below:

Disclaimer: I received the above mentioned product for free from ProFlowers in exchange for my unbiased review.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - 03/18/2013

Credit: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Yay! I'm finally back to join Happy Homemaker Monday with Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom this Monday! If you want to join in head on over to her blog.

::The Weather::
Gloomy, chilly, with more expected showers. It's the perfect stay inside kind of day, but I will admit I can't wait for spring to arrive. I'm over the gloom and chill. I'm ready for sunshine and warmth! :)

::Right now I am::
Drinking a warm cup of lemon tea. Lemon tea is my favorite whether it's served hot or cold. And I keep checking on my youngest, as it's almost time for him to wake up from his afternoon nap.

Just about life in general. How God always has our prayers in mind. Even if he doesn't answer right away, or doesn't answer the way we may want Him too, He hears us. We just have to trust in Him.

::On my reading pile::
Invisible by Ginny Yttrup (review will be posted the first week of April)

::On my TV::
catching up on missed Nashville episodes
House Hunters

::Favorite blog post this week (mine or other)::
Give Me Just One Good Reason - Reduce Footprints

::Something fun to share::
Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains

::On the menu for this week::
Monday- beef & noodles, mashed potatos, corn
Tuesday- Smoked Sausage, Cheesy Potato Casserole
Wednesday- Homemade Pizza
Thursday- Chili Cheese Dogs, sweet potato fries (kids choice) also shopping day

::On my to do list::
For once I actually got everything accomplished this morning. I will of course have the normal chores after dinner, but for now there's nothing. It feels so weird, but so good!

::What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting, or creating::
I've been crocheting some throw blankets for the boys. It's been slow going as we have had a lot going on lately, but they are coming along nicely.

::Homemaking tips::
This is one I'm sure many of you already probably use, but storing your salad in mason jars keeps it fresher days longer. It keeps the lettuce from turning brown, and you can grab them on the go. Simply add your dressing. This is something I make for hubby often, as he loves taking salads to work. Mason jars are a must have in our house, there's so many uses for them.

::Looking around the house::
Gizmo is chewing on his bone at my feet. I'm sitting on the couch. Levi is taking his afternoon nap, and it's gloomy outside. I have all the curtains open in the house anyway to let in what light it will.

::From the camera::
no pictures this week.

::On my prayer list::
My husband as he has been pulling in a crazy amount of overtime. It has been hard on all of us because he has a long commute to and from work. Everyone has been taking their vacations and since a lot of people quit him and a couple others has had to take on an extra work load.
Some friends that are going through a difficult time.

::Bible verse/devotional::
Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Meatless Mondays ~A MorningStar Farms Review

Our family recently made the decision to eat healthier. One of the things we wanted to try out was to eat less meat. Problem is trying new foods isn't always easy when you have two young ones in the house, especially when they are picky eaters.
When I received the opportunity to try out Morning Star Farms products, as a BzzAgent, I admit I was highly skeptical. I never thought something that wasn't real meat could not only taste good but be filling. Still who am I to pass up an opportunity to try something new?

So we went to the store and all decided on::

I bought some sweet potatoes, some whole wheat hamburger buns, and went home to prepare us lunch.
I grilled the burgers, made some homemade sweet potato fries, and dished up our plates.
At first everyone was completely silent as they took their first bites. I was almost afraid to take my first bite, but as soon as I did I had an explosion of taste in my mouth. Everyone else started exclaiming how good they were. Even my 2 year old who doesn't usually eat much hamburger was loving his.
Not only were they delicious, but they had a really good texture I wasn't expecting at all. I expected something that would fall apart, but not in a good way. These held together really well, and were also surprisingly filling. We liked them so much we are going to start incorporating Morning Star Farms products into our menu at least once weekly. After all they have so many other products besides this, and we are eager to see how those taste.
They are very affordable and for 4 veggie burgers the retail cost was under five dollars. Calories are also very low which helps out if you are on a diet. Definitely affordable on a budget, and enough to feed a family of four. I guess I really did learn with this product not to judge something before giving it a chance.

If you want to learn more about MorningStar Farms brand check out their website and learn even more about their amazing products!

Disclaimer: I received the above mentioned product for free as a BzzAgent in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Courage - Review & Giveaway

::Description of the book::
Howard B. Wigglebottom is afraid of everything. He becomes so afraid that he begins to spend all his time in his room, and his family gets worried. As he is looking out the window one day, Howard spots a baby bird on a tree branch. The bird is getting ready to try to fly. Howard worries for the bird. What if the bird falls? The bird is scared but shows bravery anyway and ends up flying through the air. Howard is impressed. The baby bird helps Howard realize that it's okay to be afraid, but we have to be brave to overcome our fears. As Howard uses the baby birds advice in his own life he gets to do a lot of new stuff, and has a lot of fun.

::My Thoughts::
I love that this Howard B. Wigglebottom touches upon the subject of Courage. All children (and adults too) are afraid of something. This is also something the book points out. While everyone is afraid of something we all have to show courage and bravery to overcome our fears. If we don't we will end up missing out on life. This book puts it in a way that children will really understand and respond too. There are superhero images inside that makes it even more fun and relatable. Using some of the most popular superhero costumes such as spiderman, batman, and superman was a great touch. My son was so excited when he seen them, and amazed that they were also afraid of stuff because they are superheros. When he realized that everyone is afraid of something he has been able to confront some of his own fears. As always all the illustrations are colorful and vivid which will capture your child's attention. The book shows many different simple examples of fears and how to stand up to them that any child can relate to. A wonderful book for boys or girls between the ages of 4-8.

::Interview with my son, 5 year old Lucas, on this Howard B. Wigglebottom book::
What did you like about this book?
I really liked that there were Superheros in this Howard book because it shows that even they get scared but are brave. Batman and Spiderman were my favorites. Superheros always have courage but even they can get scared!
The baby bird helped Howard when he was scared because sometimes we all need help.
If Howard didn't get brave quick he wouldn't have got to have fun with the dogs or meet new friends at school. 
What did you learn from reading this book?
It's okay to be scared sometimes, but if we are brave then the things we were scared of aren't so bad anymore. We need to always be brave even when we are scared so we don't miss out on all the fun stuff we can do if we are brave.
Sometimes stuff we are scared of can even be stuff we like. Howard was afraid of going high up but when he was brave and rode the elevator with his mommy he liked it. I love riding in elevators.
What are you afraid of?
I'm afraid of shadows in the dark sometimes. Even when my nightlight is on I don't like things I can't see.
And how have you been brave since reading this book?
If I see a scary shadow in the dark I get scared, but I get brave and turn the light on fast! One shadow looked like a monster but it was just my hat on my bookshelf! Then I wasn't scared anymore and I went right to sleep! I didn't even need to get mommy or daddy to check on it for me. Like Howard was brave and did all the things he was afraid of. Sometimes we just have to be brave and it will all be okay. 

*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 and a better life for everyone to enjoy. The eleven picture books in our award winning, educator endorsed series tackle important life lessons for 3-8 year olds like listening, bullying, sportsmanship, anger management, self-esteem, moderation, truth, divorce, peer pressure, belonging, generosity, fear issues and attention. 
Howard B. Wigglebottom hardcover books retail for $15 in the U.S. and Canada. On our website they are now on sale for $6 US or $55 for a set of 11. Several Wigglebottom books can be purchased through a Scholastic book order. Ebook versions are on Apple for $1.99. *

To purchase Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Courage CLICK HERE
To see the other Howard B. Wigglebottom books, play games, read the animated books, or more CLICK HERE

To enter in to win this book for your child enter via the Rafflecopter form below! :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Tutor's Daughter ~ Book Review

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764210696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764210693

I was first drawn to this book by the colorful cover. I couldn't resist the beautiful scenery, and the girl in bonnet on the front was intriguing. All in all I admit I LOVED this book! This is the type of book that you don't want to quit reading. The author does an exceptional job at creating the world to pull you right in. The characters are easily pictured and the mystery contained within is just so hard to figure out. Such a wonderful change from all the typical overdone mysteries that are usually put in romance novels. This book has everything that a historical romance reader could possibly want and then some. Let me give you some more information before I proceed with my review...

::Description from the back of the book::
Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementos? 

The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her...

When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart?

Filled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor's Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast--a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions--where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits.

::My Thoughts::
Emma Smallwood is a character that I can identify with. I must admit had I have lived in the old age days I would have been considered a bluestocking as she is at first depicted in the novel. I always have my head in a book at some time or another, and consider them to be wonderful adventures. Luckily in this day and age women have the freedom to read without being termed as such. But more than that Emma is very courageous, stands up for herself, and is extremely smart. I liked her character throughout the entire story, although she did frustrate me at times for not speaking up when it should have been necessary. Still it added to the allure of the mystery so it wasn't a completely bad thing. Henry is such a strange character not seeming at all as he was depicted from Emma's view at the beginning. I was so smitten by his character by the end of the novel, and I couldn't believe I thought him cold in the beginning! The characters, each and every one, just grow throughout the novel before your very eyes.
I love that this isn't your basic run of the mill romance novel with just romance, but instead holds the mask of mystery that will no doubt keep you intrigued throughout! Just when I thought I had the perpetrator of pranks pegged down I would find myself changing my mind with the next prank pulled! In no way could I have predicted the actual ending although I had inklings that were close. The entire novel is just such a surprise, and pleasant ones at that. I found that all the characters got their just deserved, and I am now a forever fan of Julie Klassen.

Here's a short book trailer::

Interested in this book in any of the following forms?  Paperback  eBook   Nook   Kindle

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

Silver Linings and the Stomach Flu

I just wanted to do a quick update while I feel up to it.
Sorry I've been M.I.A. but I am currently slowly but surely recovering from the stomach flu. It hit me all of a sudden on Wednesday, and I made a late appointment with the doctor when I couldn't hold anything down. I could tell I was getting dehydrated because my lips were getting chapped and I was getting extremely weak and tired. Not a real good mix when you have two kiddos to take care of, let me tell you.

nasty little bugger isn't he? I promise he won't come through the screen though, he is confined to my stomach for the time

After confirming that it was the stomach flu I have been slowly recuperating. Hubby has been wonderful through all this helping with house upkeep, dinner, and the kids when he gets home. It's a blessing especially because I know how tired he is when he comes in from work after a long day. I'm very thankful. Although I admit I can't wait to get back to my normal routine. As a mom who sticks to a schedule it's not so great when you have no control over it.
For my worst days the kids seemed to be on their best behavior, but as I get better they seem to get a little more mischievous. Gotta love them though because they have been trying their hardest.
I have some nausea medicine to get me through the worst and I didn't eat anything for the first two days besides drinking Gatorade and drinking broth. Now I've graduated to crackers and feel a bit stronger.
The plus side in all this is I think this is just what I needed to kick start my diet! There's a silver lining to every dark cloud I must say!

Anyway there are some great reviews coming your way this weekend, and I will also be having some great giveaways on Mommy's Musings over the next few months so stay tuned. Also I hope to join Sandra Monday with Happy Homemaker Monday. It's going to be a busy day filled with appointments, but I'm hoping to get it in there. :)

Hope this post finds all of you well!


Monday, March 4, 2013

Pepper Parrot's Problem with Patience ~ Book Review

  • Paperback: 38 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1478113553
  • ISBN-13: 978-1478113553

This is such a lively book, and one we all really enjoyed. The illustrations are wonderfully done, and show vibrant colors that will captivate your child's attention immediately. The story flows so nicely, and is a great story for both boys and girls alike.
The crew has imaginative names such as Captain No Beard, Mongo the mast-climbing monkey, Linus the loud-mouthed lion, Fribbet the floppy frog, and Hallie whom is Captain No Beard's first mate and cousin.
As the crew welcomes in their newest member, Pepper Parrot, they find that Pepper has a bit of trouble practicing drills. When Pepper has trouble following directions because she does not know her right from her left the crew steps in and patiently helps her. There is no name calling, no agitation, and the story teaches the valuable lesson of teamwork along with patience, battling dyslexia, and handling emotional situations correctly.
As Pepper still gets the directions wrong she becomes agitated and bursts into tears.
Rather than become frustrated, the crew consoles her, and continues patiently working with her. The story shows compassion, kindness, patience, and that helping others is the right thing to do. Children can take a lot away from this imaginative story! Captain No Beard stories not only teach valuable life lessons, but shows the endless possibilities can be when you use your imagination.
There are funny bits here and there which is enjoyable to both parents and children, and your children will become quickly immersed in the story.
Definitely a new favorite series in our household, and we will be on the lookout for more Captain No Beard tales.

If you would like to purchase this book please visit the following sites::

::About the Author::
About Carole:

Award winning author Carole P. Roman is a former teacher turned businesswoman.  She has successfully run a family business with her husband.  Her most favorite job is being grandmother to her many grandchildren.  Roman has two wonderful sons that married the most amazing women in the world!  She currently lives on Long Island with her husband.

Her first book, "Captain No Beard - An Imaginary Tale of Pirate's Life" has been named to Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2012, as well garnered the star of remarkable merit.  Captain No Beard has developed in a series of 3 more books.  Her next project is the book series "I Want To Do Yoga Too".  She is currently working on a new educational series that explores different cultures from a child's point of view.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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