Sunday, January 27, 2013

Courting Cate Book Review

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764210319
ISBN-13: 978-0764210310

::Description taken from the back of the book::
In Paradise, Pennsylvania, Cate Miller is known more for her sharp tongue and fiery temper than her striking appearance. Her sweet and flirty sister, Betsy, on the other hand, seems to have attracted most of the bachelors in Lancaster County!
But the sisters' wealthy father has made one hard-and-fast rule: older Cate must marry first, before younger Betsy can even start courting. Unfortunately, untamable Cate has driven away every suitor--until Pete Treger comes to town, that is.
Prodded by the men of the area, Pete turns his attention to winning Cate's hand. But is his interest true or is there a scheme at play?



::My Thoughts::
I really enjoyed this book. This was such an enjoyable novel I just didn't want it to end. I loved how Cate isn't an ordinary Amish woman that is wise to all the tasks of cooking, acting, etc. It makes her that much more unique and lovable. I love how she has such a passion for reading, and how her father's love for her is so great he doesn't stamp that passion down. He has her best interests at heart which makes him just as lovable. Although he demands she get married before her younger sister can, he just doesn't want her to miss out on the family life. Realizing her father was just trying to make sure she had a happy future, and that he wasn't going to change his mind she decides she must try again at courting. Considering she told off all the suitable Amish men that had courted her in the past Cate is afraid her little sister will never have a chance at marriage. Accepting her father's decision and moving forward with their plans she does put herself out there once again, albeit uncomfortably.
I was a little disappointed at the circumstances of Pete and Cate considering he did seem more interested in Betsy at first. While not the typical Amish romance novel where a couple courts forever and finds love this was one of a thrust together circumstance. There are sparks here and there between Pete and Cate which the reader can see almost from the beginning even if the sparks are a bit small. It builds the anticipation of the reader to what the future holds for these two characters, and from the get-go you can tell something is bound to come about.
I didn't much care for Betsy, Cate's younger sister, and thought her incredibly spoiled. She seemed too self-centered, and was very surprising for an Amish woman. She seemed to enjoy playing many of the eligible bachelors that courted her, and was just very unsure of whom she wanted as a suitor. Cate's love for her regardless of her spoiled attitude was very heart-warming, and just goes to show how lovable Cate really is despite her fiery temper.
I felt all in all this book was a wonderful read, and I wish I could have seen further how Cate and Pete's future would fold out. It definitely left me wanting more.


Find this book in::   Paperback   eBook   Kindle   Nook   Hardcover-Large Print


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

Friday, January 25, 2013

Shari's Berries is Elegantly Delicious!

As you all know, I have a major chocolate addiction. I have always had this uncanny addiction for chocolate for as long as I can remember so when I received the chance to try out Shari's Berries I simply could not wait. As soon as I visited their website it was enough to basically have me salivating. I could get lost on that website just looking at all the yummy sweets right at my fingertips.



They have so many delicious treats that you can treat yourself or loved ones too. Here's just a few: gourmet hand dipped strawberries, cookies, cupcakes, cakes, cake pops, flowers, gourmet gift baskets, etc. Shari's Berries has something to offer for every special occasion such as birthdays, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Wedding, New Baby, Anniversary, etc. There is literally something for everyone and everything. The goods are so artfully made and they come just as perfect as they look on their website.
I decided to try for myself the:

Personalizable Three Layer Chocolate Cake

I didn't have anything added to it, but you can add words, flowers, etc if you are needing it for a special occasion.
I must say this cake blew me away and went above and beyond what my expectations were! This is no ordinary chocolate cake! You can definitely taste the quality ingredients that are used, and every morsel of it was completely delicious!
I chose the 6" three layer chocolate cake, but you can also choose a bigger size if you so wish. The 6" serves 8-10 people, and let me tell you, DO NOT be fooled by it's size! Although this cake appears small, each slice packs a wallop of chocolate sugary goodness that will have you savoring every last bite. This cake is really thick so the slices do not need to be cut large to get a proper serving. It is incredibly filling and the perfect dessert to curb those chocolate cravings so many of us have. I would say for all you chocolate lovers, this cake is the perfect accessory to any special occasion, or even for a just because. It is also certified Kosher Dairy by Orthodox Union.

This cake was delivered in a box (packed in another box), surrounded by non-toxic ice packs that you can keep and re-use as many times as you wish! It was packed with foam peanuts and other foam cushioning so there's no way this cake can move around. You can certainly see that special care is taken to pack and ship Shari's Berries items. This cake arrived looking as perfectly as the picture you see above.

This cake is best served chilled, due to it's icing it can melt quickly, but as long as it's covered it doesn't dry out in the fridge. I would eat in within a few days just in case, but to be honest this cake didn't even make it past dessert. My family was over the moon about it and since it was delivered right in time for a small family luncheon we were hosting it served easily all 7 of us.
The chocolate was so thick and creamy, and the cake just melts in your mouth. Every single bite was packed full of the perfect amount of cake and icing, and the quality was just out of this world amazing.
I will definitely be a permanent customer and I can't wait to gift my loved ones with some of the items on Shari's Berries. There is something for everyone, and for every occasion. Especially with Valentine's Day right around the corner I can assure that you are bound to find something for your special someone, or even a special little treat for yourself that's much deserved. 


If you would like some money-saving coupons to use on Shari's Berries you can visit: http://www.berries.com/coupon-codes.aspx



Disclaimer: I was given the opportunity to review a complimentary product from Berries.com, however, all opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday 01/21/2013

Picture Above Credit: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Oh my, I think everyone I know and those whose blogs I've read have slept in today. I am quite happy to announce that today I joined the masses (although unbeknownst) and slept in as well. It was REALLY nice! I couldn't believe the kids slept in, BOTH of them, and didn't get up until right after I did. I never appreciated sleep as much until I became a mom. LOL
So now without further ado I'm joining Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom in Happy Homemaker Monday. :)


::The weather::
Freezing! Tonight we are suppose to get down to 1 degree! 1! Right now we are at 22 degrees but we have extremely low wind chills. We just got a little dusting of snow and more to come this week. To make matters worse I have to get out after I finish this blog post because I completely forgot some must have items on my shopping list. Things we can't live without like: dish soap,  trash bags,  toothpaste, toilet paper, etc. Yes I realize these are the types of items that should be impossible to forget, and in my defense I had a grocery list. But also in my defense I laid my grocery list down on a shelf and had to chase after Levi who decided it would be fun to run away and pull various boxes of oatmeal products off the shelves. Luckily they didn't break open but it resulted in a screaming toddler strapped back in the cart, a lost list, and a frazzled momma. Gotta love shopping days...


::Right now I am::
Rambling, as you can see after reading the weather summary. I got totally off topic. I think I need more socialization. LOL
Other than that I am typing this while watching the kids play hot wheels and Dora is playing on TV.


::Thinking::
About how much I dread getting out today, and what I need to get done around the house.


::On my reading pile::
Desperate Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe
By: Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson

and I will be posting a couple reviews to books I have finished this week.


::On my TV::
Right now the kids are watching Dora
Later I will be re-watching the latest Nashville episode.
This week I'll be catching the newest episodes of:
Bunheads
Nashville
Mysteries at the Museum
American Idol


::Favorite blog post this week::
Have I Told You Lately by: FlowerLady's Musings


::Something fun to share::
This is a recipe I'm going to be making soon. The kids LOVE orange dreamsicles so I figure they will really like this.
Credit & Recipe: http://save-a-lot.com/recipes/creamsicle-cake


::On my menu this week::
Monday- Chili
Tuesday- Chicken Quesadillas
Wednesday- Vegetable Soup & Cornbread
Thursday- Loaded meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, and corn
Friday- Homemade Nachos (I use Cheese Dorito chips)
Saturday- Homemade Pizza
Sunday- Cubed Steaks, Baked Potatoes, Macaroni & Cheese


::On my to-do list::
Laundry- wash, dry, put away
Scrubbing the bathroom tiles, tub, toilet, sink, etc
Shopping
Give Gizmo a bath
Sewing


::What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting, or creating::
Sewing some buttons on some of my husbands work shirts and doing some mending to his uniforms. He can send them off to be fixed, but it takes them forever so I usually do it if it's an easy fix. No sense in waiting three weeks to get them back.


::Homemaking tips::
Next time you are putting a load of laundry in the dryer but need it to dry quickly, toss a dry towel in with the load. It will make the wet load dry much faster.
One day my son spilled cherry juice all over his winter coat and I had to wash and dry it quickly. Since I was running low on time I just stuck a dry towel in with it and it sped up the drying process.


::Looking around the house::
Dishes are drying on their rack, Gizmo is sleeping on his dog bed, the wind is blowing the tree outside the living room window, and the kids have dragged out multiple toys from their room into the living room. Yikes...


::From the camera::
Nothing today


::On my prayer list::
Everyone that is going through a rough time right now. Even if I don't know the names or situations everyone needs a little prayer now and again.
A few family members who have been battling colds.


::Bible verse/devotional::
1 Corinthians 14:15
What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.



If you want to join in Happy Homemaker Monday head on over to Sandra's blog and add your Happy Homemaker Monday post & name to her Mister Linky. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

God Gave Us Christmas ~Book Review

Reading level: Ages 3 and up
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Multnomah
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400071755
ISBN-13: 978-1400071753


::My Thoughts::
Lisa Tawn Bergen, author of the "God Gave Us..." children's books, has once again brought us a fantastic book to read to our children. God Gave Us Christmas is by far one of the best books I have had the pleasure to read to my kids. Christmas is a touchy issue with children. They are young and don't always fully comprehend that Christmas isn't just about presents and Santa Claus, but is in fact Jesus's birthday. Without Jesus there would be no Christmas. This is the perfect book to get that message across to little ones. Answering the simple question: "Who 'vented Christmas?" "Was it Santa?" "Is God more important than Santa?" While not shrugging off Santa and saying he isn't real, this book instead gives perfectly good explanations. Everything is easy for children to understand and is put across in a very gentle way.
As Little Cub and her family prepare to celebrate Christmas, Little Cub starts wondering about this very special day. She starts to ask Mama Bear questions so Mama Bear decides to take her on a little journey so she can see God and learn just how much He loves them all. Along their journey together Little Cub learns that the best gift of all is, in fact, Jesus.
My children were riveted with this book and we have been reading it every week. As you embark on the journey along with Mama Bear and her sweet little bear cub the whole family can genuinely enjoy this book.
As the bear cub asks questions about Christmas, Santa, etc., Mama Bear decides to take her on a little journey she won't soon forget. Along their journey questions are answered and seen before their very eyes.
I love how Mama Bear points out to her cub that the lights, ice, etc. are God. It really helps your children see that God is everywhere, in every beautiful thing on earth. Just because we cannot see an image of God he is everywhere and in everything.
The illustrations are beautiful and definitely will capture your children's attentions. They are full of color and are just fun and exciting. There is much for your kids to point out in the pictures as you turn each page.
For my children this book has helped shed light on the true meaning of Christmas without dampening their hopes and joys of Santa. In today's world Christmas is advertised as gifts, Santa, snowmen, etc. While all those things are perfectly fine they can't take away the true reason for such a wonderful day.
Even though this will be a book that we will read throughout the entire year, it is also sure to become a Christmas tradition.
This book would compliment any child's bookshelf, and would be an excellent book to read in Sunday class. Everyone around that hears this magnetic story will take something wonderful away from it, and you won't soon forget.



This book is available in   Hardcover   Kindle   Nook   eBook

You can download a God Gave Us Christmas coloring page by clicking here



Disclaimer: I received this book for free through WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for an unbiased review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Friday, January 18, 2013

I Am That I Am- Tracing the Footprints of God ~ Book Review

Paperback: 492 pages
Publisher: CrossLink Publishing (October 19, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936746107
ISBN-13: 978-1936746101


::My Thoughts::
This book is a wonderful way to learn more about God, his miracles and more.  This is not meant to be a quick read through but rather a book to study, devour, and learn. It is a good reference book and can bring you closer to God as you learn more about His personality.
This would be an excellent addition to add to any library for those wanting to learn more about God Himself. There are commentaries within the pages by bible scholars and the book includes archaeological images of excavation findings of biblical events. For me this was a huge perk to the book. There's nothing like seeing the evidence for yourself. I do wish it would have been in color, but just to see the archaeological findings was amazing.
This book delves into God's various names and titles and brings a light onto some of God's character that you may overlook when reading His Words.
You can definitely tell the author has done extensive research and she words things in an easy to understand manner, not making you feel lost or confused. This book better explains all of the parables as well. I have been using this book along with my bible, but this book can definitely do well as a stand alone.
There are some points mentioned I did not agree with such as God destroying and re-creating the earth after the angels fell, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. The rest of the book is incredibly well researched, well written, and a great tool to learn more about God.


::Description from the back of the book::
I AM THAT I AM, Tracing the Footprints of God is a book that you've always wanted to have in your library but could never find. I AM THAT I AM provides a biblically based, theologically sound narration of all eight covenants of God--presents main themes and summaries of over forty-five of Jesus' timeless parables--describes over fifty supernatural miracles that God executed through the hand of Jesus--and traces over fifty divine names and titles reflecting different facets of God's nature, character, and personality. The captivating pages offer commentaries by over seventy-five renowned bible scholars, includes archaeological images of recent excavation findings of biblical events, and historical illustrations and map images showing relevance to contemporary locations--all uniquely woven into one convenient reader-friendly volume.


This book is available in   Print   Kindle   Nook



Disclaimer: I received this book free from BookCrash in exchange for an unbiased review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday

Credit: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
"Happy Homemaker Monday"


I'm so glad to be back to participating in Sandra's Happy Homemaker Monday. I love reading what everyone else is up to, and getting to talk to new people. :)
If you want to join in just head on over to Sandra's blog: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and add your Happy Homemaker Monday link to her Mister Linky!
Today started early for us as it's back to school and the normal hectic schedules. In a way I'm relieved because I started feeling a bit off balance with our slack schedules, but on the other hand I wish we could have an extra day. haha. Isn't that crazy? I was all prepared for today and I obviously knew it was coming, but when I woke up this morning it still seemed to catch me off guard. I actually found myself trying to justify grabbing an extra hour of sleep but thankfully in the back of my mind I kept urging myself to get up and back to the normal daily grind. Otherwise I'd be way behind right now I'm sure.
My mind wants to get back to our usual schedule, but my body and eyes want to sleep and just relax. As if...



::The Weather::
36 degrees, snow is still on the ground but is melting fast. I'm sad to see it go in a way, but I'm sure we'll probably get more.


::Right now I am::
Sitting at the kitchen table writing this post. Just finished a ham and cheese roll-up and looking forward to picking up Lucas after school.


::Thinking::
About all the books I have on my TBR pile, and all the events that are coming up since Lucas has went back to school. Also thinking about getting back into doing some daily workout routines before the kiddos wake up in the mornings. Since hubby leaves for work around 5:30am and that's what time I get up I'm sure to have the time. Getting back into it is gonna be a little rough though at first, but it always makes me feel better, even if I only do a few yoga exercises. Also thinking about how well Gizmo has been doing on potty training. He is easily the best dog so far I've had to train. He only has about one accident on the floor every couple days or so which is major progress from when we first brought him home. I'm hoping it continues as smoothly.


::On my reading pile::
I've been reading I Am That I Am by Judy Azar LeBlanc, and I'm halfway done with Courting Cate by Leslie Gould.


::On my TV::
I am obsessed with this show called Bunheads. It comes on ABC Family at 9pm on Mondays and tonight airs the new season and episode. I'm really excited about it, and will probably be re-watching previous episodes while I do my normal day to day chores, cooking, cleaning, etc.


::Favorite blog post this week (mine or other)::
Gentri Lee's "Instant Life"
She has some of the most amazing, breath-taking pictures of the mountains and nature!


::Something fun to share::
I don't make New Year's Resolutions as I stated in a previous post, BUT I do have a Day Zero List. You can make a Bucket List, Someday List (with no time frame), a 101 in 1001 list, etc. It really helps me keep track of my goals. If your interested you can make your own list with a time-frame or with no time-frame here: http://dayzeroproject.com/


::On the menu for this week::
Monday- Bruschetta Chicken Bake
Tuesday- Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Macaroni and Cheese
Wednesday- Chicken Veggie Stir Fry, Garlic Bread
Thursday- Southwest Style Burgers and Fries
Friday- Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken, broccoli, and diced carrots, Crescent Rolls
Saturday- grocery shopping
Sunday- 


::On my to-do list::
Laundry- wash, fold, put away
Mop kitchen and bathroom floors
Vacuum the rest of the house
Organize linen closet (it for some odd reason looks like a bandit rifled through all the towels and washcloths)
Making chocolate pudding with marshmallows for my babes to enjoy after dinner tonight (they LOVE that dessert, it's so simple and yet pleases them so much)


::What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting, or creating::
I've been crocheting some dishcloths. :)


::Homemaking tips::
I found this idea on Pinterest so it isn't mine, but oh my is it a good idea!

Organize puzzles into zippered pencil pouches, cut the picture off the top of the puzzle box and store in pouch. If you buy the ones with the see through plastic you can tape it inside there as well, and label how you wish. Store it in a tote and take care of those pesky stacks of puzzle boxes that wear over time. Frees up space and easier to store.
http://pinterest.com/pin/65231894574751504/


::Looking around the house::
Everything is picked up and tidy at the moment (aside from a basket of laundry that needs put away). I have my wax burner on filling the home with a piney scent which I just love, and Levi is watching Octonauts on TV at the moment having just finished his lunch. Gizmo is laying in his bed playing with a rope toy being good.


::From the camera::
Taken with my cell phone camera, it isn't the best quality but it sure is cute. LOL
Gizmo playing with his rope toy


::On my prayer list::
Family issues, and praying for all those in need of prayer or strength right now. A lot of family and friends are going through some medical issues and rough times so they are always in our thoughts and prayers.


::Bible Verse/Devotional::
Matthew 17:20
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Busy Day Spent Indoors



Today has been a pretty productive day. I FINALLY got down all of our Christmas decorations. I just couldn't take it anymore. I LOVE Christmas trees all lit up, decorations, etc., but once the holiday is over I just start feeling cluttered and then you know it's time. It feels so much better around here though now that things are back to normal.
I got all the chores done at a fairly early time and got to spend time playing with the kiddos which is always nice.
I'm also going to be doing some re-arranging to the kids bedroom this weekend. With all their new stuff and the both of them in one room it's getting mighty crowded.
I wanted to stay in this apartment until we were ready to buy a house in a couple years, but to be honest I don't think we're going to get to for the simple fact as the boys get older them sharing a room works less and less. I think once our lease is up close to the end of this year we're going to have to get a bigger apartment with an extra bedroom.

Seems like today sped by which always seems to happen when your busy.
I was going to make a trip to the local library, but decided to hold off. I just didn't feel like getting out today when so much needed attention around the house. Not to mention it's super cold outside. I must say I do feel a lot better after getting everything done. Now just to tackle the re-arranging of the kids rooms, and I think I'll throw the closets in there too. haha

I hope everyone had a happy, fun, safe New Years. We spent our New Year's Eve at home. It's the one night we all stay up late and we usually watch the ball drop on TV from Time's Square, but this year I fell asleep when the kids did. We didn't even make it. haha. On New Year's Day we all went out to eat at the Golden Corral and tried their dinner buffet. It was nice to get out the whole family and just enjoy good food and each other's company. Plus no dishes! How can I complain?
Then once the kids were tucked in bed me and hubby enjoyed a glass of wine and some quiet time together.

I didn't make any New Year's Resolutions lists. To be honest I always find them hard to stick to. I stick to them for the first few months or so and then by summer at least I've lost track and just given up or forgotten completely. One thing I can stick to is my Day Zero List. There's a website called: dayzeroproject.com
Here's a bit about it I took from the website:
Whether you want to travel, make things, discover new experiences, or completely reinvent yourself - Day Zero has something for you!

Choose a challenge, such as our original 101 Things in 1001 Days, then build, track and conquer your list with the help of thousands of other participants.

I'm doing the 101 in 1,001 list. It's much more realistic to try for 101 goals in 1,001 days rather than 365. And I'm not setting the bar too high because that just makes it all that harder to stick to the goals, and can get a bit overwhelming.

Another great thing that I've really started getting into is a website called: Paperbackswap.com
For all you readers like me out there, it's really easy to get into.
Create your account, list books you want to get rid of (10 books earns you 2 credits) and then once you get credits you can start requesting books. There are literally millions to choose from on there. Search by author, book, genre, etc. Users can request books you post, and you request books others post. Makes it so easy to trade. You simply pay for postage which isn't that much, and Paperbackswap even has a printable wrapper which makes it that much more easy.
For every one of your books someone requests you get a credit. So the possibilities are endless and it saves a lot of un-needed book clutter. I am always coming across books I buy and they aren't what I thought or I just want to make room for more books so I get rid of them. But I realize how many other people may want to read that same book so why not keep it circulating?
Anyway give it a try if you haven't. I had been hearing about it for quite some time and finally decided to take the plunge and so far I'm loving it!

Anyway, time to go. Have a good night/day. :)


Sincerely,
Tori
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