Thursday, September 30, 2010

Book Review: "Shadowed Secrets" by Lois Richer

Camp Hope Series
Shadowed Secrets (Camp Hope)
Book Description:

Angie Grant is on the run from the very witness protection program she's been serving. Her only refuge is her old house on the edge of Camp Hope's property. There she finds safety and the one person she can trust: police officer Rick Mercer. As Angie works out the issues from her past and learns to face the future, Rick finds himself falling in love with her. True love beckons, even as they come face-to-face with shadowed secrets.

My Thoughts:
I'm not sure what number this book is in the Camp Hope Series because this is the only one I've read.  While this is a stand-alone book, I think I would have understood more and gotten more deeply involved in the story if I would have had read more of the series.
The two main characters had already known each other for  along time when the book starts.  They have a history that is mostly eluded to.  There is a lot of interaction and romance contained in this book between them so I didn't feel like I missed out on anything major.
It was interesting reading about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the CSIS (not sure what that stands for).
This book had so many mysteries that I couldn't figure out.  I had a few hunches what direction it was going to go, but it wasn't predictable as some mysteries are.
I love watching all the cop-type shows on TV and this fell right into that category. 

Book Review: "Driftwood Lane" by Denise Hunter

"A Nantucket Love Story"

Driftwood Lane (Nantucket Love Story)
Book Description:

Meridith can handle anything: guardianship of three distant siblings, a dilapidated Bed-and-Breakfast, even an ever-present handyman who's dismantling more than her fireplace--or can she?

When the death of Meridith's estranged father leaves her with custody of three siblings she's never met, she reluctantly goes to Nantucket to care for them--but only until their uncle returns from his trip. Little does she know, the uncle is already there under the guise of her friendly handyman, with plans of his own.

Will the love that grows between them be strong enough to overcome the secrets that brought them both to Driftwood Lane?

My Thoughts:

I have loved all four of the "Nantucket Love Story" series.  Denise Hunter is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.

I started this book about 10:30pm and stayed up until almost 2am to finish it.  I just couldn't stand the thought of putting it down without reading the whole story.

The dialogue between the characters was so real and comfortable.  The writing was so easy to read, which is a good thing because my eyes were getting quite scratchy and blurry by about 12:30am.

The journey the characters take through this entire book was so touching and endearing.  A great story on learning how to give up control and just trust.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Christian Book Review Round-up #4

Each Thursday the Christian Book Review Round-up will be a place where we can link our book reviews from the past week and create a type of book review library.

There's no limit on link-ups as long as your review post was created during the previous week. 

The reviews can be for Christian Fiction, Christian Non-fiction, Cookbooks, Fitness, basically anything that we, as Christians, would read.

Make sure you put a link to the Round-up on your review post so others can find our library of reviews.

Word Filled Wednesday ~ 9/29/10

Hanging Kitchen Towel Project

I don't know about you, but I love having a Hanging Kitchen Towel at my fingertips while cooking.  So does my sweet Aunt Sherry.  Hers were so well-loved that she said they weren't fit for the rag bag.

She asked me if I would make some for her.  I said, "Of course!".  She had already bought the towels.  I guess she anticipated my answer!

So here are the towels before:

 And here are the towels after:

Only one end of the solid towel had the stripe, so one of each color is just solid at the bottom.  My aunt has MS so velcro was the way to go for closures.

These were so easy to make.  Now I need to make myself some.  Mine current ones aren't fit for the rag bag either!

It only took me about 1 hour to construct all four Hanging Kitchen Towels.  Super easy!

If anyone is interested in a tutuorial, let me know and I can put one together.

Linking to:

Homemaking Link-up (Raising Homemakers)
Strut Your Stuff Thursday
Made By You Monday
Making Your Home Sing
Homemaker Mondays
Metamorphosis Monday

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some More Dish and Teacup Finds

I just love browsing the shelves at Goodwill, never knowing what I might find. 

It is like a treasure quest, especially if there are other people there looking and I feel like I have to scope out the good stuff before they snap it up!

Here are a few items I found on such a quest:

I really was drawn to this tureen.  I didn't have any and I just loved the scalloped design.  I think it was only $2.99.

This teacup and saucer spoke to me.  There it was sitting by its lonely self saying, "Pick me, pick me."  I replied, "Sure.  For $.99 you can come home with me!"

When I saw this rose pattern, I just had to have it.  The teacup and saucer are in perfect condition.  The previous owner put some kind of goopy, green stuff under the teacup to attach it to the saucer.  Surgery was performed and they are now separate entities.  This set was $1.99.

I haven't allowed myself to go into either of the local Goodwills for a few weeks and I'm going through withdraws.  There is definitely a stop planned for my day out.

Linking-up to:

Tea Cup Tuesday
Table Top Tuesday
Tea Time Tuesday

Monday, September 27, 2010

Benefit Days at Borders/Waldenbooks

Like many small-town libraries, the Hyndman Londonderry Public Library is struggling financially.

Borders/Waldenbooks are having Benefit Days.  A percentage of the net sales raised on 10/3-10/4 using an online promo code will be donated to the Hyndman Londonderry Public Library.

The online promo code is:  HYNL1034G

If you were already planning on making a purchase, it would bo so simple just to enter the code and help out my hometown library.

Thanks so much!

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes to take to our Guardian Angel Program picnic.

The Guardian Angel Program is a program where adult church members are assigned a specific school-kid to pray for and to give special treats to for that school year.  The child's Guardian Angel is a secret until they are revealed at the yearly picnic.  It is great fun and a very special lady, Jane, is the coordinator.

I originially found this recipe at .  I tweaked it a little, especially to make the cupcakes more "pink".

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
3 Tablespoons thawed pink lemonade concentrate
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 drops red food coloring
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins.

In a large bowl combine sugar, butter, lemon zest, lemonade concentrate, food coloring and vanilla.  Beat until well blended.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients, mixing with a whisk.

Add flour misture to sugar mixture, alternating with milk.   Mix only until blended.

Spoon batter into cupcake liners (fill them fairly full) and bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.  Cool completely before frosting.  Makes 24 cupcakes.

Pink Lemon/Cream Cheese Frosting

2 Tablespoons butter, softened
2 Teaspoons lemon zest
2 Teaspoons thawed pink lemonade concentrate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 drops red food coloring
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (I needed more than this.)
Pink Decorating Sugar

Combine in a bowl at high speed the butter, lemon zest, lemonade concentrate, vanilla, food coloring and cream cheese.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar at a low speed and best until well blended.  (You'll probably need additional powdered sugar to get the consistency desired.)  Chill frosting for one hour before using.  Spons into a Ziplock bag, snip one corner and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkle pink decorating sugar on top.

Regrigerate, loosely covered, but serve at room temperature.

I took some different colored bendy straws and cut them down to add a little bit of decoration to the top of the cupcake.  They were a hit and the kids loved picking out the straw colors.

Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think!

Linking up to:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Colletta's Christmas Cookie Try-outs

I've been inspired by the Houseworks Holiday Plan , my good friend Rhonda and Cris at Goodeness Gracious to embarq on what I'm calling:

The purpose of this endeavor is two-fold.

1.  To try-out some new cookie recipes (along with some familiar ones)

2.  To have 22 Homemade Christmas Gifts ready to be given to family and friends by the end of the Try-outs.

The concept is to try-out each of the 22 recipes found in the book "Gifts for the Cookie Jar" by Lia Roessner Wilson.

I will make one batch of cookies from start to finish to try-out the recipe and the finished product.  I'll make an additional "Cookie Jar" gift using the instructions provided and prettying up a Mason Jar.

I've already checked and these gifts will keep until well after Christmas, so no worries there!  Whoo!

Here are the Cookies:

1.  Spicy Oatmeal-Raisen Cookies
2.  Chuncky Chocolate Cookies
3.  Hearty Trail Mix Cookies
4.  Festive Cranberry-Orange Cookies
5.  Wholesome Peanut Butter Cookies
6.  Orange-Sugar Cookies
7.  Mocha-Chocolate Chip Cookies
8.  Rich Date and Walnut Cookies
9.  Lightly Spiced Raisen Cookies
10.  Peanutty Clusters
11.  Banana Nut Cookies
12.  Buttermilk-Raisin Cookies
13.  Holiday Honey-Spice Cookies
14.  Colorful Candy Cookies
15.  Malted Milk Crunchies
16.  Butterscotch Snaps
17.  Choco-Cranberry Nuggets
18.  White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Rounds
19.  Walnut-Cinnamon Balls
20.  Deluxe Oatmeal Cookies
21.  Molassess Cookies
22.  Butter Pecan Delights

The goal is to get through all 22 recipes before Christmas.  That means I'll be making 1-2 different cookies per week.

By the end of this project, I'll probably be so sick of cookies.  Wait.  Is that possible?

We'll see.

Book Review: "The Silent Governess" by Julie Klassen

The Silent Governess
Book Description:

Believing herself guilty of a crime, Olivia Keene flees her home, eventually stumbling upon a grand estate where an elaborate celebration is in progress. But all is not as joyous as it seems. Lord Bradley has just learned a terrible secret, which, if exposed, will change his life forever.

When he glimpses a figure on the grounds, he fears a spy or thief has overheard his devastating news. He is stunned to discover the intruder is a scrap of a woman with her throat badly injured.

Fearing she will spread his secret, he gives the girl a post and confines her to his estate. As Olivia and Lord Bradley's secrets catch up with them, will their hidden pasts ruin their hope of finding love?

My Thoughts:
First of all, I LOVE Regency Romance!  Secondly, I've LOVED every single Julie Klassen book I've read!  And I've read them all!
"The Silent Governess" did not dissappoint me.  In fact, I think it is my favorite Julie Klassen book so far.
Some of the reasons I loved this book are the time period, the characters, the intriguing plot and the setting.  I also felt very connected Olivia because she was taking care of and teaching children, as am I.
This book had it all.  Romance, mystery, drama, family, and danger.  An absolute terrific read!
I can't wait for Julie's next book!

Book Review: "Along Came a Cowboy" by Christine Lynxwiler

"Pinky Promise Sisterhood, Book 2"

Along Came a Cowboy (Pinky Promise Sisterhood, Bk 2)
Book Description:

At seventeen, Rachel's illusions about romance were trampled by a rogue cowboy. In the fifteen years since, she's steered clear of spurs and Stetsons -- until she finds herself roped into chairing the Shady Grove Centennial Rodeo Committee. How will she handle working so closely with the one man in town she most wants to avoid?

Ex-rodeo star Jack Westwood never forgot his unrequited teenage fascination for Rachel Donovan, but now that he's back in town, he barely recognizes the woman she's become. Jack can't help but wonder... Is the feisty cowgirl he remembers still there beneath the shuttered exterior?

When a secret from long ago comes knocking, Rachel fights to maintain her sterling reputation. But can the woman who has devoted her life to healing others allow God to men her own hurts? Will she seize the opportunity to reconcile with her past and open her heart to love again?

My Thoughts:

I should have written this book review a lot sooner.  As it is I've read a few other books since this one.  I've had to refresh my memory a bit.

This book is a story about a young girl who makes a mistake then grows up thinking she has to be perfect in order to make up for that mistake.

I sometimes get this mind-set.  Thinking if I'm "good enough" my mistakes won't matter.

Thank God for His merciful grace!  When we come to repentance, He is faithful to forgive.  We don't "earn" grace.  It is freely given.

Of course, we should try our very best to live godly lives but we are human and are bound to mess up now and then.  Hard to believe as it is!

This was a great growing in grace story and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Scripture Memory Verse Challenge ~ 9/26/10

Scripture Memory Verse 9/26/10-10/2/10

"Why do you call Me "Lord, Lord," and do not do what I say?" Luke 6:46

By memorizing Scripture, we can have instant access to God's Word. His guidelines for our lives as well as great comforts are with us wherever we go and whatever we do.

My challenge to you, my beloved readers, is to memorize the above verse this week. You can also pass along this challenge to YOUR readers. After all, the more people hiding God's Word in their heart, the better this world will be.

Don't forget to let me know how you're doing and make sure to come back next week for a new verse.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

TSMSS ~ 9/25/10

This song was on my mind today:  You Are My King (Amazing Love)

Goode & Goosebery Project

Chris, over at Goodeness Gracious, is starting a fun new project.

She is going to blog her way throuh a Gooseberry Patch cookbook.

She had a contest and this is the cookbook that won:

I can't wait to see her creations.  Go check out her blog so you can follow along too!

Maybe I could blog my way through a desserts cookbook.  Hmmmm....

Friday, September 24, 2010

Prayer Request for a New Endeavor

Starting the first Sunday in October, I will be teaching our Girls' Sunday School Class.  I would really like to teach them about Biblical Womanhood as it applies to them at their young ages.

I was searching around for a curriculum of sorts to help me get my thoughts together on what I had in mind.  I God led me to the my findings because it was exactly what I was envisioning.  And here it is:

What Every Girl Should Know by Myklin Vinson.  As I read through the Heart of Virtue site, I was so excited!  This would make things so much easier for me espeically as I am just starting the class!

I currently take a turn each month with teaching the Jr. Church and taught 2nd-3rd Grade Sunday School when I was younger before I was married and had kids of my own.

This endeavor has been on my heart, though.  My first reaction when asked to teach the class was "I don't think so", and "not right now".  The more I prayed and thought about it the more I was led to accept the challenge.

My oldest daughter just turned 9 and these lessons are ones that I really want her to learn before she gets older and hits a more difficult age.

There are a ton of great activities that can be done with the girls to help them learn and grow into the young women God wants them to be.
Some of the topics covered in this study are:

-Developing a personal relationship with Jesus

- Learning to use one's talents and spiritual gifts

- The importance of proper health

- God's perspective on beauty

- Developing social graces

- Having Christian role models & friendships

- The basics of home economics

- Relationships with boys

Please pray for me as I study, plan and start this new endeavor.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

I'll let you know how things progress.

Linking to:

Feel Good Friday ~ 9/24/10

"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.  Had a great Craft Time with the ladies on Tuesday!

2.  Our rescue dog, Scrapper, got groomed yesterday and look so cute!

3.  I already have 12 miles in this week, so I only need to walk 3 more miles between today and tomorrow!

4.  I've had lots of ideas for teaching the Girls' Sunday School Class!

5.  Pie Shoppe Cinnamon Rolls!

{this moment} ~ 9/24/10

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, visit Soulemama to leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Christian Book Review Round-up #3

Each Thursday the Christian Book Review Round-up will be a place where we can link our book reviews from the past week and create a type of book review library.

There's no limit on link-ups as long as your review post was created during the previous week. 

The reviews can be for Christian Fiction, Christian Non-fiction, Cookbooks, Fitness, basically anything that we, as Christians, would read.

Make sure you put a link to the Round-up on your review post so others can find our library of reviews.

Preschool Week 3

Week 3:

Theme:  Kittens
Vocabulary Word:  Claw
Shape:  Diamond

Letter:  C
Number:  3
Nusery Rhyme:  Pussycat, Pussycat, Where Have You Been?

This week Laken has done really well.  She has learned her letter very quickly so far. 

I've gotten the weekly themes from Our Preschool Homeschool Blog.

Word Filled Wednesday ~ 9/22/10

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book Review: "Stuck in the Middle" by Virginia Smith

"Sister-to-Sister" Book One

Stuck in the Middle (Sister-to-Sister)

Book Description:

Joan Sanderson's life is stuck. Her older sister, Allie, is starting a family, and her younger sister, Tori, has a budding career. Meanwhile, Joan is stuck at home with Mom and her aging grandmother. Not exactly a recipe for excitement -- or romance.

When a hunky young doctor moves in next door, Joan sets out to catch his eye. But it won't be easy. Pretty Tori flirts relentlessly, and Joan is sure that she can't compete. But with a little help from God, Allie, and an enormous mutt with bad manners, Joan begins to find her way out of this rut and into the life she's been hiding from.

My Thoughts:
This book was so much fun to read!  I don't have any sisters, so reading about the dynamics of sisterhood was really enjoyable.  The writing style was also very easy to read because it was so very much like real life.
I also loved the elderly grandmother side to the story.  It really made me miss my Gram though.
And who hasn't dreamed about a gorgeous, young doctor moving in next door?  Ken wasn't what you would typically think of as "a doctor".  He was very down-to-earth and sincere in his Christian walk.

This is another book that inspired me to exercise more.  Great for the "Fall Fitness Challenge" I'm doing.
This was a great read.  I have Book Two, "Age Before Beauty" on my TBR pile and am looking forward to reading it.