Monday, May 31, 2010

Winner! "Plain Perfect" by Beth Wiseman

The winner is:


To get out of her funks:

Amanda said...

I like to take more walks and read books that I know are going to have an uplifting happy ending!

I'll be emailing Amanda for her mailing info.

Thanks, everyone, for entering. Keep watching for my next giveaway!

My Big, Bad Hunter-Man

This was Doug's first time out hunting since he had his accident while hunting December 4, 2009.

He wasn't able to put any pressure on his foot for almost 3 months and it took another 3 months for him to finally stop limping noticably.

Here's what he brought home. He's as proud as a peacock!

He's trying to decide whether to smoke it in his smoker or fry it in his fryer.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Book Review: "LFY in Valentine, Nebraska" by Irene Brand

Book Description:
Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska What can a California girl do with a few dusty acres of land in rural Nebraska? So Kennedy Blaine wonders after she inherits a ranch in the small, westernstyle town of Valentine, Nebraska.

As Kennedy makes arrangements to sell the property, she finds herself drawn to the ranch and to its attractive manager, Derek Sterling. She decides to spend the summer in her ancestral home and reconnect with family members. But soon Kennedy is subjected to harassment by someone who clearly wants her to leave Valentine.

Depending on Gods protection and Dereks assistance, she sets out to discover who is behind the offenses. But when her search reveals painful details about her family and raises questions about Dereks own past, will Kennedy still want to know the truth?

My Thoughts:
I really liked this volume in the Love Finds You series. I enjoyed learning about Valentine, Nebraska as well as the Circle Cross Ranch and Riverside.

I love how Kennedy, the leading lady, is drawn to the ancestral home and does her best to restore it to its former glory.

She was longing for roots and went full force ahead in order to establish relationships with her cousins as well as trying to work on forgiving her maternal grandfather for rejecting her mother years before.

Of course, the "Cowhand" and the "Mongrel" were essential to the story. What would a romance set on a ranch be without a rugged-Matt Dillon-type-cowboy named Derek? Instead of the trusty stead we had the the trusty Cattle Dog, Wilson. He even had a Lassie moment.

Over all, I thoroughly enjoyed this read and will look forward to reading my next Love Finds You book.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Book Review: "A Claim of Her Own" by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Book Description:
It's 1876, and 20-year-old Mattie Flynn is determined to make a fresh start after fleeing from her sinister boss in the gambling house where she was employed as a singer.

Mattie travels to Deadwood, South Dakota, in search of her younger brother, who went ahead of her in hopes of making a fortune in the gold mines. All Mattie wants is a safe and respectable life for the two of them, but that doesn't seem to be her destiny as she faces more heartache and trials.

Will the suspicious bottles of gold dust from her brother's claim be the key to her future...or does the handsome street preacher, who is always turning the other cheek, truly hold the answers to her deepest longings?

My Thoughts:
This was a very interesting book because it was so diverse in its content. A lady bullwhacker with a baby, a lady goldminer, a gun-slinger turned preacher, Wild Bill, Calamity Jane and 2 men with hooks for hands.

This book definitely showed the journey that Mattie has to take to find her faith. She goes from dealing cards to a wagontrain to a storekeeper to a gold-miner to a cook. Yes, all that. It kept it interesting.

This book is also very real and dosen't shy away from the ugliness that is in the world. But, it also shows that people make choices and can rise above their present circumstances.

This was my first Stephanie Grace Whitson book and I enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to reading her next book "Sixteen Brides".

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jesus Loves Me. Bye.

My 3-year-old's prayer before eating her lunch today:

"Thank you, Jesus Loves Me. Bye."

Isn't that the sweetest thing you've ever heard?

We're Going to Niagra Falls!

In my review of "Beach Dreams" by Trish Perry, I mentioned how much reading that book made me want to plan a vacation.

So, I did!

We've been wanting to go to Niagra Falls for years. At first, I was planning a romantic getaway for just me and my husband for our 10th anniversary in September. As I did some research, I realized we could rent a cottage for a week for the same amount of money to stay in a hotel for just a few days.

I also felt really bad going somewhere like that without the kids and my parents. (They've also been wanting to go there for a long time but have never been able to afford to go.)

So, Doug and I talked about it and we really liked the idea of renting a cottage and all of us going. Maybe we'll get to have a date night with just the two of us, though.

I've spent almost all day on the computer doing research and printing out directions and maps.

I made reservations for a cottage and have even started thinking about our itinerary.

I'm the kind of person who likes to make plans for just a few of the days of the vacation and the rest of the days are open to whatever we feel like doing. I don't like to cram too many things into a "must-do" attitude. I enjoy laid back vacations.

Have you ever visited Niagra Falls (USA, of course, no passports here.)? If so, what should we make sure not to miss?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Review and GIVEAWAY!!: "Plain Perfect" by Beth Wiseman

Book Description:
A search for peace in Amish country proves anything but simple for a woman on the run from life... and herself. On the rolling plains of Lancaster County, PA., Lillian Miller is searching for her grandparents' house... and so much more. After years of neglect and abuse, she's turning to a lifestyle of simplicity among the Amish to find herself. As she discards the distractions of her former life, she befriends the young boy working on her family's farm and his attractive widowed father, Samuel Stoltzfus. Despite Lillian's best efforts to the contrary, her feelings for Samuel -- and his for her -- deepen. Will Lillian find her faith in Plain living, or will she be forced to return to her former life?

My Thoughts:
I actually read this book a few weeks ago but didn't review it at the time. I was going through a rough patch and really couldn't focus enough to read fiction.

As I started coming out of my "funk", I looked at my bookshelf and thought, "Hmm, I feel like reading!" So I stood in front of my to-be-read book pile and tried to decide what I was in the mood for. (It's almost like deciding what you feel like eating.)

I picked up my copy of "Plain Perfect" because I had loaned it to a dear friend and she said it was great. Also, on the cover is a blurb by Kim Sawyer that says, "A Sweet Journey Toward Faith". I felt drawn to reading it.

I was not disappointed in my choice. It was definitely a "sweet journey".

I am looking forward to reading the next book in the "Daughters of the Promise" series, "Plain Pursuit".

I am giving away my copy of "Plain Perfect". This book helped me on my "sweet journey" out of my funk and I'd like to pass it on.

To enter:
+1 Leave a comment telling me what you do to get out of your "funks".
+1 Be a follower or become a follower of my blog. (tell me in your comment, please).
+2 Post about this giveaway on your blog and let me know that you did.

Make sure you leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win.

I'll draw the winner on Monday, May 31st, at 12pm EST.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Book Review: "Beach Dreams" by Trish Perry

Book Description:

Following up on Sally Johns bestselling Beach House series (The Beach House and Castles in the Sand nearly 45,000 in combined sales) is a brand new Beach House book from veteran Harvest House novelist Trish Perry.

Tiffany LeBoeuf recently lost her mother to cancer. Still grieving, Tiffany seeks rest for her body and soul at a cozy beach house in San Diego. A scheduling mixup causes a double booking, and Tiffany ends up sharing the house with a woman named Eve. When Eves boyfriend, Jeremy, arrives to surprise Eve, hes surprised to see Tiffany as well. He settles in at the beach house next door, and what happens after that surprises them all.

A fun, contemporary romance about how God uses even our mistakes to bring about His divine purposes.

My Thoughts:

This was such a fun, beachy, summery read. We had a break in the rainy days and I sat on my deck in the beautiful weather and read this book. It makes me long to rent a cottage on the beach or lake somewhere.

Almost every summer we rent a cabin for a week. Usually it is at a state park. We haven't planned anything for this year, but this book makes me want to start researching and making reservations.

I loved how much the leading-lady, Tiff, showed a change in her life after becoming a Christian. People could see that she wasn't the same woman she had been before.

I loved that the leading-man, Jeremy, was such a gentleman. And who doesn't love an accent? I've been watching a show called "Flash Forward" and I pictured him as the hunky, English scientist on the show, Lloyd Simco.

This would be a great book to take along on a vacation or to read at home on your deck, like I did.

I can't wait to read the next book in the "Beach House Series": "Sunset Beach". Looking forward to it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book Review: "Hidden" by Shelley Shepard Gray

Book Description:
When Anna decides it's time to leave her abusive boyfriend, she doesn't know where to turn. Rob has completely won over her parents, and the entire community, with his good looks and smooth charm. Only Anna has seen his dark side.

Desperate, she runs to the only place she's ever felt completely safe--the Amish Brenneman Bed and Breakfast, where Anna met life-long friend Katie Brenneman. The family welcomes her in, and with few questions asked allows her to stay, dressed in Plain clothing, and help around the inn.

Katie's older brother Henry is the only one who doesn't take too kindly to the intrusion. He tries to ignore Anna, knowing no good would ever come from caring for an Englisher like her. But as he gets to know Anna, he discovers her good heart and is surprised with her readiness to accept their lifestyle.

The more time Anna spends with the Amish, the more she feels she's found a true home. But how can she deny the life she left behind? And will her chance for happiness be stolen away by the man from her past?

My Thoughts:
This was my first Shelley Shepard Gray book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. This is the first book in the "Sisters of the Heart" series and the rest of the series is on my wishlist.

I love how the author has the English world and the Amish world collide to cause conflict while at the same time teach acceptance and love.

This book also includes some quilting. The main character, Anna, is making a Center Diamond quilt.

All About Equality

I posted about Kaylee so to keep things "fair":

Here's a picture of Laken by my sewing machine.

What a stinker!

Kaylee's First Concert

My daughter, Kaylee, is 8 years old and in 4th grade. She started playing the flute in the Elementary Band toward the beginning of November. The flute she is using is the flute my parents bought me and I played all throughout my school years and here and there afterwards.

Last night was the Spring Concert and the Elementary Band played for their very first time. They are all 4th and 5th graders but this was the first year playing for all of them.

Needless to say, Kaylee was VERY excited. They played songs like "Old MacDonald" and "London Bridge" and they did a terrific job.

Afterward, when I was tucking her in for the night, we were talking about the concert. She didn't think she would be able to sleep because her heart was still pounding hard from the concert.
I couldn't be any prouder of my little musician.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Book Review: Texas Roads by Cathy Bryant

I was so very excited when the author of Texas Roads, Cathy Bryant, emailed me asking if I would like a free copy of her book and do a book review. Of course I said, "Yes!"

Book Description:
City gal Dani Davis just wants to find a place to call home. Miller's Creek, Texas, with its country charm and quirky citizens seems like the perfect place to start over. Perfect, that is, except for the cowboy who gives her a ride into town...

Dani secretly finances renovations to downtown Miller's Creek, but malicious rumors force her to choose between keeping her involvement a secret and the home for which she's always longed. Then the discovery of an age-old secret propel her down a road she never expected to travel.

Steve Miller is determined to save his dying hometown. When vandalism jeopardizes the Miller's Creek restoration project, he can't help but suspect Dani, whose strange behavior has become fodder for local gossips.

Will Steve and Dani be able to call a truce for a higher cause, and in the process help Dani understand the true meaning of home?

My thoughts:
I absolutely loved this book! From the start to the finish I was captivated and finished it in a very short period of time.

The characters were great and I loved the setting of Miller's Creek. I'm a little biased because my last name is Miller.

If you get a chance to read this book, you will not be disappointed. I'm definitely looking forward to another Miller's Creek Novel.

Great job, Cathy!

(p.s. I'm keeping my book because Cathy signed it for me. Get your own!)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Should the "Family" Clean the "Family Room"?

I'm a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom for those who don't know) so I usually do the cleaning.

I have, however, made a new rule:

The "FAMILY" will clean the "FAMILY ROOM"

Should I have to spend 1.5 hours cleaning up toys, dishes, shoes, toys, socks, shoes, toys, chip bags..did I mention toys?

Or should all four of us take 20 minutes working together to clean the entire room? Isn't that considered quality time as a family unit?

So, in our house: the "Family" will clean the "Family Room". End of story.

(commence endless whining and procrastination)

Spiritual DNA at Ladies Spring Tea

We had our annual Spring Tea at church this morning. The theme was "Spiritual DNA". Rhonda so kindly organized everything and did a great job!

The key verse was:

The Lord has given each of us our own work to do. 1 Corinthians 3:5b

The topics and speakers were:

Direction: Ginny Logsdon (my mama!)

Needs- Nadine Jocelyn

Abilities- Rhonda Ryan

They were all very encouraging and motivating. Wonderful job!

We all brought our favorite tea cup and had quite a variety of teas.

And of course...we ate.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Scrappy DP9

I mentioned in my last post that I'm making a "scrappy DP9".

The fabrics I'm using are the scraps I had left from making everyone in my church ladies' group an apron for Christmas. Therefore, it is VERY scrappy.

I worked on it this afternoon. I got all the 9 patches made and cut into quarters. Each quarter measures approx. 7.5" and the quilt will have 10 rows of 8. So the main body of the quilt will measure approx. 56"X70". I have half the rows sewn together so far.

I think I'll add a rather plain border just to tame the scrappiness down some. Then I'll either do another scrappy border or just a scrappy binding. I'll decide that later.

If it turns out well, my intent is to give it to a lady in our group that has to have heart surgery to replace a valve. It will be like all of us are with her as she recovers.

I'll post pictures when I get the top pieced.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Long time..."Beyond Blue" by Therese Borchard

It has been a long time since I've posted.

I've been in a "funk". Haven't done much reading (other than self-helpish kinds of books), quilting or anything other than just getting through the days.

With a med increase, I'm coming out of the "funk". Thank God! Really, I thank God so much! I still have more progress to make but it takes time.

I've started a new shawl and also a scrappy Disappearing Nine Patch.

I haven't really been able to read fiction. But the funny things is (or maybe the God thing) a while back I won a copy of "Beyond Blue" by Therese Borchard. At the time, I was feeling pretty good so I put it on my bookshelf.

When my "funk" started creeping back in, off the bookshelf it came. I devoured it in an afternoon of speed reading and then went back through and read it more slowly.

While some aspects of Therese's disease are more extreme than what I go through (I'm not bipolar), there were many, many things that were similar especially right after the birth of my daughters and what I felt creeping up on me this Spring.

She uses humor to help people cope with a very humorless disease. She is spreading the word that there is help to be gotten and it can be overcome.

One of Therese's goals is to take away the stigma of depression/anxiety/ocd/bipolar/etc. diseases and the neccessity of medication for some.

Her blog "Beyond Blue" can be read at