Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Set The World on Fire" by Britt Nicole ~ TSMSS


This song is on the soundtrack for "Soul Surfer".  The soundtrack was a bonus that came along with the DVD and we LOVE it!  My 10 year has it load on her ipod and and she walks around singing this song.  It is just beautiful!

Have a great week!

Friday, August 26, 2011

{this moment} & Feel Good Friday ~ 8/26/11

 {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo (or 2, or 3) - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


"Just make a list. List 5 things that made you really happy this week. No matter how bad or boring you think your week was, I bet you can find 5 things."

1.  Tonight is Open House at HHCS!
2.  I hit my August goal for sales in my etsy shop!
3.  I've been home most of the week and have finally gotten caught up on laundry!
4.  The weather has been sunny yet cool.  My favorite!
5.  Laken started "school" with Grandma!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

50,000 Hits Giveaway~ Ends 8/31/11 12pm est

Not long ago I hit a milestone that I had been watching slowly come to pass.

I finally reached 50,000 hits on this blog!

So, as promised I'm having a celebratory giveaway.

I debated on certain item(s) to include in this giveaway but finally decided to let the winner choose.  So the giveaway prize is:

A $20 credit to my Etsy Shop!

Some of the items you could choose for $20 or under are:

So Very Cherry Apron
Ginny Apron - So Very Cherry

"Summer Splash"  Cobblestone Cloths
Summer Splash - Cobblestone Cloths Set of 3

"Summertime" Tote
Stephanie Tote - Summertime

Rooster Pothlder Combo
Rooster - Potholder Kitchen Towel Combo

I also have lots of photography props, hats and beanies, mug cozies, etc.  You can mix and match anything you would like for a $20 credit!

Now, for how to enter:

+1 - Leave a comment telling me what you think you would like to purchase if you win the $20 Credit.

+2 - Be a follower of this blog and let me know that you are.

+2 - Favorite my etsy shop and let me know that you did.

+2 - Blog, facebook, tweet, etc, about my giveaway and let me know that you did.

+5 - Purchase an item from my shop and let me know that you did.  (I might not make the connection. lol)

The deadline to enter is Wednesday, August 31st at 12 pm Est.  I'll announce the winner on Thursday, September 1st.  (Can you believe it is almost September!?!)

Thanks so much for following and reading my blog!  You have no idea how much it means to me!

"The Perfect Match" by Susan May Warren

Deep Haven Series Book 3

The Perfect Match (Deep Haven Series #3)

Book Description

Ellie Karlson arrives in Deep Haven to fill the job as interim fire chief. The locals in this small town, including Pastor Dan Matthews, a volunteer firefighter, are shocked that a woman would take over this dangerous position.

But as Dan and Ellie work together to solve a string of mysterious arsons, their mutual respect for each other builds.

My Thoughts:

A story about a female fire chief.  I was intrigued.  It was so interesting learning about the behind the scenes happenings of a volunteer fire department such as we have in my town. 

Ellie is as tough as they come but still has issues of needing to prove herself to everyone, even herself.  Relationships are just complications in the road to her greater goals. 

She also has a faithful hound (a theme in this series that I loved), a basset hound.  I'm partial to basset hounds as we've had a few.  They are wonderful but hard-head dogs.  Maybe that is why the author chose that breed for Ellie.  hmm?

Dan has made minor appearances in the other books of the series but he ended up being nothing that I thought he would be.  He was a very interesting character as a preacher/fire fighter who has always held women at arms length until he meets Ellie.

The dynamics of their relationship were fun to "see" unfold throughout the book.

This whole series by Susan May Warren was one of my favorites ever.  I really enjoyed reading them back-to-back and getting to know the community of Deep Haven.

If you get the chance, read this series.  I know you'll enjoy all three books!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Tying the Knot" by Susan May Warren

Deep Haven Series Book 2

Tying the Knot (Deep Haven Series #2)

Book Description:

EMT Anne Lundstrom is running from her past. But it?s about to catch up. She thought she'd escaped it when she moved out of the city and into the quiet town of Deep Haven. She certainly never expected to get roped into helping Noah Standing Bear run his summer camp for inner-city kids.

Yet Noah has a charisma she can?t ignore, and romance is in the air. But when the very danger she was trying to escape threatens her peaceful haven--and her life--Anne must find the courage to face her fears and embrace the one man who can help her understand her past.

My Thoughts:

Wow!  This book was so romantic.  So dramatic.  So suspenseful.  So action-packed.  So good!

The beginning of the book had me wide-eyed and hooked right away.  Then meeting Noah Standing Bear hooked me even further.  What a man!  lol.  Native American, long dark hair and riding a motorcycle instead of a mustang.  Swoon....

I loved the storyline of this book.  How sometimes we think we need to run away from something to escape but sometimes we need to sink ourselves into it to really find release from the bad memories and emotions.  Sometimes we give up too soon or just can't see the direction God wants us to take.

There was a faithful hound in this book also, but I can't for the life of me remember what kind or its name.  Anyone know?  I've already passed the book on to another reader.

Book 3 in the series is "The Perfect Match".  That review will be coming soon!

Professional Pictures

Today I thought I would share some of the pictures I've received from professional photographers who have used some of my items as photo props.

These photographers have been wonderful to work with.

Aren't they great?  I'm so excited to have these pictures to use in my listings!  All these items and many more can be found in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Happily Ever After" by Susan May Warren

Deep Haven Series Book 1

Happily Ever After (Deep Haven, Bk 1)

Book Description:

She thought her hero was just a fairy tale... — Mona Reynolds knows exactly whom she wants to marry. The only problem is, he isn't real. — Mona's dream is about to come true. With the help of her best friend, Liza, she's transforming an old Victorian house in the lovely lakeside town of Deep Haven into the Footstep of Heaven Bookstore and Coffee Shop. If only she could swing a hammer.

Luckily for Mona, Joe Michaels -- a handsome, mysterious handyman -- agrees to help in exchange for rent in the apartment above her garage. But when disaster threatens her dream, Mona turns to her handyman for more than just household solutions and finds that some fairy tales have surprise endings.... 

My Thoughts:

I loved this book.  Mainly because it was about creating a bookstore, renovating, and a tall-dark-handsome hero!

But really.  This was an excellent book.  I loved that it took place by the lake.  My dream is to someday live in a cabin on a lake.  That is why we usually rent one for our family vacation each year.  This book just increased my desire.  Maybe one day...

I fell in love with "Rip" the chocolate lab.  I often thank God for the companionship of animals.  Especially my hounds.  Even though they sometimes drive me crazy!

The storyline was well written and kept me guessing and wishing for more when the book ended.

Luckily there are two more books in the series and I read them all in one weekend.  They were all excellent and I'll be reviewing book 2 and 3 soon.

Please see my left sidebar for the great places I'll be linking to!

PB Chocolate Chunk Brownies with Icing

I had a Betty Crocker Frosted Chocolate Brownies mix in my baking cupboard and decided to doctor it up a bit to take to the Guardian Angel Picnic on Saturday.  Here is what I came up with and it was GOOD!

PB Chocolate Chunk Brownies with Icing

1 Betty Crocker Frosted Chocolate Brownies Mix
1 egg
1/4 water
1/4 oil
1 cup chocolate chunks
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 1/2 cups peanut butter

Preheat oven according to package instructions and grease the desired size baking pan.

Make the brownie mix according to package directions.

Mix in chocolate chunks and peanut butter chunks.

Bake according to the time chart on the brownie mix.

Remove from the oven and immediately spoon peanut butter on top of hot brownies.  Let sit for a few minutes so the peanut butter will get very soft and spreadable.  Spread evenly across brownies.

Let cool completely.  You can throw it in the fridge to speed up the cooling if you are in a rush.

After peanut butter is cooled and set back up, spread frosting from the brownie mix on top.

Share with family and friends!

I took a piece out before we went to the picnic to get some pictures and also see how it turned out.  It turned out to be quite YUMMY!

They were gone in no time and it all started with a mix from the cupboard.  It was so fun to experiment, but really how could it go wrong?  PB and Chocolate with Icing on top.  Fool proof!

Please see my right side bar for the great places I'll be linking to!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekend Recap ~ 8/22/11

I hope everyone had a good weekend.  Doug is on Daylight Shift this week so I woke up at 5am to this song:

Now I'm wide awake and have to get Kaylee up at 7am to continue our "School Year Routine".  Oh well.  I'll just have to take a nap later.  After I clean :(

So, Friday evening Doug was working and Kaylee was at a friend's house.  I worked on some etsy orders to ship out Saturday while Laken and I watched 2 movies from Netflix on XBox. 

The first was a major tearjerker:

A Shine of Rainbows

I just love Aidan Quinn!  sigh...  The second was cute and funny.

You Again

Saturday, I got up early to make homemade Mac-n-Cheese and "PB Chocolate Chunk Brownies with Icing" (recipe soon to come) for the Guardian Angel Picnic.  It was fun seeing the kids find out who had been praying for them and giving them little gifts over the year.  They each got a gift at the picnic also and it was great watching them open them and play. 

I already know who our 2 angels are for this school year and I look forward to surprising them with carefully planted packages and praying for them.

Saturday evening, Doug went to work, Kaylee went to a friend's and Laken and I went for groceries.  Wal-Mart was packed!  I could definitely tell that the students from the local State University were in town and stocking up on food.

By the time I got home, unpacked groceries, gave Laken a bath and finally got Kaylee to take a shower I was ready for jammies, too.  I settled the girls in, tucked myself in bed and then stayed up until 1am to finish a book:

Forget Me Not (Crossroads Crisis Center, Bk 1)

I couldn't put it down until I finished it.  (Review to come soon.)

Sunday morning, I had to drag myself out of bed (1am bedtime just didn't cut it) to get ready for 1st Place meeting at 8am.

In Jr. Sunday School we started teaching the kids about how to pray and the parts of a prayer.  They weren't very energetic so we got the hula-hoops out and they had to hula-hoop and try to recite the parts of a prayer.  That woke them up and they had a good time.

Jeff had a great sermon on "Staying Focused" using Hebrews 12:2 as the key verse.  Some other verses were Philippians 3:14, 1 Corinthians 9:24-26, and Galatians 5:7.

In the afternoon, (after my "Sunday Afternoon Nap") we went to a Amway demonstration.  My cousin Brian is starting college Thursday and has a Amway website to try to make some money for living expenses.  Here's his site if you're interested:  He's a great kid and I've loved him from the moment he was born!

Last night was Coffee Break and we finished up our study book on "Bible Manners and Customs".  Next we're studying Daniel.  Complicated.  Interesting.

I tried to get the girls to bed early last night and then ended up staying up past my bedtime.  Once again, reading.  I'm going to have to work on getting to bed earlier.

Doug just left for work and now I'm tired.  I guess I'll go lay down for approx. 45 minutes until MY alarm goes off.  Hopefully, I'll be as wide awake then as I was when DOUG's alarm went off.  Somehow, I doubt it.

Have a great week!

Coming This Week:

-"PB Chocolate Chunk Brownies with Icing"
-Book Reviews: Deep Haven Series; Forget Me Not
-50,000 Hit Giveaway
-Professional Photos of a few Etsy Items!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Scripture Memory Verse~ 8/21/11

Memory Verse ~ 8/21/11-8/27/11

"A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.

John 13: 34-35

(First Place 4 Health, "Seek God First", Week 11)

Hide these Words in your heart and they will be with you always.

Please see my sidebar to see all the wonderful places I'll be linking up to.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekend Recap ~ 8/15/11

I hope everyone had a good weekend and eased into Monday gently!

I know I wasn't ready to get out of bed this morning even though I slept better last night than I did all last week.  Maybe because Doug worked 3rd shift last week which means Laken snuck in bed with me which means her foot, butt or head was jammed into my back every night.  Or maybe it was just good to know that Doug was home or maybe I was just dead tired! 

I was very busy last week working in the library at school.  I let the house pile up a bit so Saturday morning was "digging out of the rubble" time.  I'm so glad that Kaylee is a little older now and I can assign her tasks to help me out.  She's actually getting pretty thorough.  Not all the time.  Sometimes she does the bare minimum to stay out of trouble but she's learning!

We went "Angel" shopping Saturday evening.  The "Secret Angel" picnic is this Saturday and we got our Angel's an end-of-the-year gift.  We got to look for boy stuff so that was fun.

Sunday started with 1st Place at 8am, then Sunday School and Church.  George Rigo was our guest speaker and he did a great job!  I just love all the Rigo's.  They are a great Christian family.

After Church, Kaylee and I went yarn shopping and got our hair did.  We basically have the same cut.  Bobbed with short layers in the back.  I got rid of my highlights for an all-over color and went back to as close to my original color as possible.

We got home just a little bit before time to go to Coffee Break at Church.  We're studying "Bible Manners and Customs".  We're almost done with that study and then we're going to start a study on "Daniel".

Later, I talked Doug into watching a Hallmark movie while relaxing on the bed.  He wasn't thrilled but I saw that he was getting into the movie a bit.  The movie was "Honeymoon for One" with Nicollette Sheridan.  It was cute even if a bit predictable.

I also finished reading a 3 book series by Susan May Warren called the "Deep Haven" series.  So good!  Reviews to follow.

So that was pretty much my weekend.  Busy, busy, busy but in a good way.

I hope everyone has a good week!

Scripture Memory Verse ~ 8/14/11

Memory Verse ~ 8/14/11-8/20/11

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

Proverbs 16:3

(First Place 4 Health, "Seek God First", Week 10)

Hide these Words in your heart and they will be with you always.

Please see my sidebar to see all the wonderful places I'll be linking up to.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I finally hit 50,000 views on my blog!

To some, that might be a monthly view number, but it took me a while.

Thanks so much to all my followers and readers.  Stay tuned for a celebration giveaway!

"Indivisible" by Kristen Heitzmann


Book Description:

An inseparable bond. — An insatiable force. —

Battling his own personal demons, Police Chief Jonah Westfall knows the dark side of life and has committed himself to eradicating it. When a pair of raccoons are found mutilated in Redford, Colorado, Jonah investigates the gruesome act, knowing the strange event could escalate and destroy the tranquility of his small mountain town.

With a rising drug threat and never-ending conflict with Tia Manning, a formidable childhood friend with whom he has more than a passing history, Jonah fights for answers -- and his fragile sobriety.

My Thoughts:

Kristen Heitzmann books have always drawn me in because they are so suspenseful and I can't put the book down until I've read every word.  This book was the same.  I started reading it yesterday afternoon while cooking and finished it before I went to bed last night.

It was amazing!  I loved the way it went back and forth between the characters both main and supporting.  They were all so unique and so interesting.  Their stories were all so well thought out and portrayed within one book.

The dynamics between the hero and heroine were crazy!  They had a history that they couldn't put in the past so that they could live in the present.  I was on the edge of my seat/bed until the very end to see if they would overcome the obstacles between them.

The side stories were also very intriguing and I actually didn't mind veering away from the main story as much as I usually do.

All in all, a great read!  I now want to learn how to make my own candles and get back to trying lots of new baking recipes.

Very, very interesting!

"Love is Monumental" by Annalisa Daughety

A Walk in the Park Book 2

Love Is Monumental (A Walk in the Park Bk 2)

Book Description:

Discover the Washington Monument along with park ranger Vickie Harris who loves her job. But while life in the District of Columbia is exciting and fun, shy Vickie has resigned herself to the likelihood of being single forever. — She's never been head-over-heels in love. . .not even really been kissed!

But when a handsome professor asks the reserved, research-loving ranger for assistance on a project, will Vickie agree? Will she come out of her shell long enough to discover that Love Is Monumental?

My Thoughts:

Well, I LOVE history and LOVE going to State and National Parks, so this book had it going for me from the start.  I really liked book one of the series, "Love is a Battlefield", and looked forward to reading this book.

I thought the characters were very realistic.  Finally a man in a romance novel that has no clue!!!  It was so refreshing to see the hero actually be unromantic and just plain clueless.  It made me feel so much better about my very concrete thinking husband.

Let me  Sometimes after reading a romance, I get a little bit mad at my husband.  Why can't he be as romantic or say nice things or give compliments all the time like the fictional hero does?  Why does he no longer YEARN to just be near me?  hehe

Well, because he's a real man with real man concerns.  Working 40+ hours a week, helping to raise our girls, do work around the house, serve in the church etc.  And we've been married for 10 years.  (Should that make a difference though?)  And I admit that I have a lot going on as well and probably don't gush over him as I did when we were dating, childless and had a lot less responsibility.

So, I really liked this book.  I could identify with the leading lady being reserved and a bit shy.  And I really liked the leading man.  Clueless and all.

I'm really looking forward to reading book three of the series:  "Love is Grand"!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Catching Up on Book (non)Reviews

Go to fullsize image

I am so behind in book reviews.  I had thought to only feature one book review per week but in doing so, I've accumulated a long list of books I've read but not reviewed.

Not good because, (1)  I'll never get caught up, (2)  After a while I start to forget the little details (3)  That list stresses me out!  lol

So, I think I'll go back to reviewing as I read.  I'll still try to have a book review on Tuesday, but they will also be popping up throughout the week also.

Now, to let you know the books I've read but not had a chance to review.

1.  Cowboys Touch by Denise Hunter
2.  LFYI Bridal Veil, Oregon byMerrilee Ferrell
3.  Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus
4.  Menu for Romance by Kaye Dacus
5.  The Bride Blunder by Kelly Eileen Hake
6.  Finding Stefanie by Susan May Warren
7.  Double Trouble by Susan May Warren
8.  Licensed for Trouble by Susan May Warren
9.  Moon Over Tokyo by Siri Mitchell
10.  Anonymous Bride by Vicki McDonough
11.  An Eye for An Eye by Irene Hannon
12.  Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer
13.  Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Ahhh....  That feels so much better.  Starting over with a clean slate.

I must say that all these books were very good and definitely worth taking the time to read!

Until next time...Happy Reading!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Bars

I've been making Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from the time I started baking as a young girl.

Then a few weeks ago I saw this recipe that added in the salty pretzel.  Chocolate and pretzels.  What a great combination!  I had to give them a try.

I found this recipe at .

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Bars

1 1/2 sticks (6 oz) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 oz bag of chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups mini pretzels, broken in pieces

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease/spray a 9x13 baking pan.

Blend the butter, brown sugar, and sugar well.

Add in the vanilla, baking soda and salt.  Mix well.

Beat in the flour until well blended.

Stir in chocolate chips and pretzel pieces.

Spread batter evenly in the pan and press down with a spatula.

Bake for 28 minutes until golden brown.  They will continue to set up as they cool.

Cool completely.

Share with friends and family.

These bars are actually better when they are cool.  I liked them even more the day after baking.  The flavor and texture of the pretzel come through better then when fresh out of the oven.

If you can wait that long!

Please check out my left sidebar for the great places I'll be linking to!