Friday, November 28, 2014

Nurturing Great Kids Devotional {Review}

Raising children is the hardest job I have ever had. That is why I need all the help I can get. Zondervan Publishing has just put out a book called Nurturing Great Kids written by Dan Seaborn. It's a once-a-day devotional for parents to gain insight, wisdom, and encouragement in parenting. We can all use extra help from others who have been through the fires of parenting. Dan Seaborn does just that.

The days are labelled by January 1, January 2, etc. There is a new theme for each day with a little story or devotion. A bible verse is included at the top of each day that goes along with each theme. There is a Parenting Principle that gives the parent an action to take. It could be to pray for something or someone or showing an act of kindness to someone, etc. There are different ones for everyday. At the end of the devotion for the day there are Points To Ponder. These range from questions to think over to thinking deeper about the theme for that day.

Here is a description of the book:

"We strive to do what is best for our family, but there are many differing opinions on how to be a good parent. Truly successful parenting begins with focusing on God and making him the center of all we do. The Once-A-Day Nurturing Great Kids Devotional helps you to bring God into your parenting by providing 365 daily devotionals written specifically for parents who are seeking to build a stronger relationship with their kids and put God first in their family. These devotionals will inspire you as a parent to embrace the role that God has given you, while also equipping you with the tools you need to be a strong Christian role model for your children."

I really love the layout of this book and plan on using it often. I love devotionals because everything is provided for you to get into God's word. The bible verse is very helpful because I find it hard to relate some things to the bible and Dan Seaborn has already done the work for you.

I recommend this book to all parents or parents-to-be. It is a very inspirational book that has encouraged me in my parenting as well as my Christian walk.

*This book was given to me by Book Look Bloggers for review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday- 11/24/14

For more Happy Homemaker Monday please visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM .

Happy Monday Everyone! I am so excited about Thanksgiving this week. So many yummy foods to eat and wonderful people to visit. We are heading to my mom's house for an early dinner and then to my in-laws house for a late dinner. I am looking forward to seeing siblings, nieces, and nephews. It is going to be a wonderful time. 

The best thing of all is I only have to bring a few side dishes. I am going to try to get some leftovers for sandwiches over the weekend. I hope you all have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

The Weather Outside Is:::
It is gorgeous here in Va. It's about 70 outside and yes, my children are loving it. Yesterday it was 34 and today is 70. LOL! Enjoying this little bit of warmth before the real cold starts.

On The Breakfast Plate This Morning:::
I had a mini powdered doughnut and a bowl of coffee. Can't forget that!

As I Look Outside My Window:::
The windows are open and there is a steady breeze blowing. The sound of the rustling leaves is so soothing. My big boys are playing on the trampoline in between raking leaves. 

Right Now I Am:::
Besides typing this blog post I am doing laundry. I am also browsing the internet for Christmas ideas for my children. 

As I Look Around The House:::
My Christmas tree is up and partially decorated (I have all littles so only the middle is done and I am keeping it that way). There are two bags of laundry waiting to be folded. Some of the ornaments from the tree found themselves on the floor (a little Monkey must have put them there). 

On Today's To Do List:::
Tidy Up
Yard Work (when Hubby gets home early from work)
Call around to get a price on dry cleaning my wedding dress (it's been 10 years and I am ready to let it go).

Currently Reading:::
Still reading the Mitford series plus a few review books in between. 

On The TV Today:::
Actually not too much. Monday nights are kinda boring for TV. LOL!

On The Menu This Week:::
Monday- leftover Chicken, potatoes, and carrots seasoned with Italian dressing
Tuesday- Spaghetti, salad, French bread
Wednesday- leftovers
Thursday- The normal Thanksgiving menu (Turkey, ham, potatoes, gravy, candied yams, green bean casserole, stuffing, yeast rolls, pumpkin pie.......whew! That's not even all of it. Ridiculous...but good!
Friday-Saturday- leftovers we will be taking home with us from the two houses

What I Am Creating::: time for that. Haha! One of my goals after the first of the year is to start a new quilt. I can't wait!

New Recipe I Tried This Week:::
On Sunday, I made chicken, potatoes, and carrots seasoned with butter and a packet of dry Italian seasoning. It was so delicious. Just 3-4 bone-in chicken breasts, 3 lbs. baby red potatoes, and 1 small bag of baby carrots (or chopped up regular carrots). Put the chicken, carrots, and potatoes in a large casserole dish that is sprayed with cooking spray. Pour 1 stick of melted butter all over the top and sprinkle everything with the dressing. Bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours on 350 degrees until the chicken is done. Yum!!

Favorite Photo From The Camera:::

Throwing it back with this one...a few years ago at Christmas!

Prayers, Inspirational Quotes, Devotionals:::

Please have a wonderful, happy Thanksgiving!! 


Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday - 11/17/14

For more Happy Homemaker Monday please visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM .

I hope you are all having a wonderful Monday. My hubby took a day off today so we are just hanging out at home. He is working in the garage. I went to the grocery store this myself! All weekend we have been getting things done. Actually, we have been organizing the house for about a month now. It feels so wonderful to get rid of things we don't use or no longer need. Now, to plan a yard sale in the Spring. 

The Weather Outside Is:::
It is rainy and cloudy here today. The weather is actually about 70 degrees outside though. Tomorrow the high is 35 degrees. We will take this 70 degree day any way we can get it. Winter is on the way!

On The Breakfast Plate This Morning:::
Cheerios with a huge cup of coffee. My husband brought the coffee to me in bed. I was up at 4am with a fussy baby and I am tired. 

As I Look Outside My Window:::
It looks really cold but it's not too bad. Very cloudy. The leaves are so beautiful in the fall. Oranges, reds, browns, greens, and yellows. 

Right Now I Am:::
Listening to the baby scream my name to get out of bed. He must take a nap though. LOL! I am also watching a little TV and relaxing on this rainy day. 

As I Look Around The House:::
It is semi-neat. A small pile of clothes is on the couch (someone dropped some used ones off for my boys). Dishes are in the sink but they will get done soon. A few groceries still need to be put in the pantry. No laundry to do...Hubby did it this morning!!

On Today's To Do List:::
Laundry- done by my Hubby
Dishes- piled up from this morning
Homeschool Planning- I gave the boys the day off since daddy is home
Snuggles with my family- going to do that after I am done here

Currently Reading:::
Still reading the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. I think I am on book 6 or 7. Haha. I love this series. I am also reading lots of Thanksgiving living books to my children. We are enjoying this wonderful time of year. 

On The TV Today:::
Honestly, not too much. I am just flipping channels. Looking at Food Network and HGTV. 

On The Menu This Week:::
Monday- Fried eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, and buttermilk biscuits
Tuesday- Eggroll in a bowl (THM recipe)
Wednesday- Ranch chicken, mac and cheese, fire roasted corn
Thursday- Pizza
Friday- ??
Saturday- ??

What I Am Creating At The Moment:::
Nada. LOL! I haven't had time lately for creating anything. Maybe soon. 

New Recipe I Want To Try:::
Anything from Diary of a SAHM's blog. LOL! Her recipes always sounds so wonderful!!

Favorite Photo From The Camera:::

Prayers, Inspirational Quotes, Or Devotions:::



365 Moments Of Peace For A Woman's Heart Devotional {Review}

I love a good devotional book. They are so helpful in getting the word of God into my heart each day in a short time frame. I have three little boys who need my constant attention and my time is precious. But, making time for God is not optional for me. It is a necessity for my daily walk with the Lord. 365 Moments Of Peace For A Woman's Heart is such a sweet book. I really enjoyed the layout and the devotions could be done in five minutes per day.

Being a busy mother to three little boys is a tough job. It can be very hurried and scattered. Having moments of peace is an absolute must. The book is very attractive (as you can see above). It is hard bound and has a built in ribbon book mark so you don't lose your spot. Each day is also labeled with the date (i.e. November 17). The months are also separated into sections so you can easily find the right day.

Each of the days have a bible verse that coincides with the devotion or story for that day. There is also a prayer,quotes on some pages, and a closing bible verse. At $17.99, it is a great buy. I highly recommend this devotional for a busy mom, wife, or woman. It doesn't take much time to read these sweet stories and inspirational writings. God is worth it and so is your heart.



This book was given to me by Bethany House Publishers for review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

God's Great Creation {Review}

I homeschool all three of my boys. Right now we are in the throes of teaching my oldest son to read. I have many "I Can Read!" books. God's Great Creation is a level 2 reader. We are not quite there yet but I wanted to opportunity to review this book for myself. It is based on the Adventure Bible (the #1 bible for kids).

My two older children loved the story. It is very accurate and on a child's level of comprehension. The pictures are beautifully illustrated by David Miles. I love leveled readers for my boys. My older son (6, Bear) was able to sound out a few of the words. Eventually, he will be able read it all by himself. What a wonderful day that will be. It was an easy read. I loved watching my children's faces as I read the story using silly voices.

My four year old son (Monkey) loved the pictures. Since he has no interest in trying to read at this point, he is very visual. I truly enjoyed reading God's Great Creation to my children and plan to utilize it in our homeschool through out the year.

I recommend this book to all homeschool families, parents of children learning to read, and grandparents of young children. It would make the perfect stocking stuffer this Christmas.



This book was given to me by Book Look Bloggers for review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own. 

Inside The Test Kitchen {Review}

I will admit that I have a "small" obsession with cookbooks. So, whenever I get to opportunity to review one, I jump on board. Tyler Florence has written a new cookbook called Inside The Test Kitchen. It is filled with 120 recipes that have been tried and refined in the test kitchen to see what works best. He gives tips and tricks that worked for each recipe and gives you advice on what didn't work.

The book itself is hard cover and large. It also has a strap to keep it closed. The front cover is simple and not too fussy, which I like. It's laid out almost like a notebook. Some of the pictures are labeled with a "hand written" style of font which made me feel like Tyler Florence was actually right there with me.

I truly loved the layout of this cookbook. The recipes were easy to follow. The only problem I have with it is the ingredients and level of difficulty for some of the recipes. For instance, there will be over 20 ingredients for one meal. I have a family of five with no time for 20 ingredient meals. Haha. I say that jokingly.

I enjoyed reading through this cookbook and do plan to make a few of the meals. I love the fact that he tells you what worked for him and what didn't work. For example, there is a section about hamburgers. Tyler Florence used several different cuts of meat to try out his recipe. He gives you his final thoughts on how each cut made the hamburger taste, etc.

Some of the chapters include:

Pork Chops

My favorite chapter was the pasta, of course. My favorite food. I loved the recipe for one pan lasagna. Anything I can make in one pan is a winner in my book.

In case you don't know who Tyler Florence is, here is some info about him:

"TYLER FLORENCE is a Food Network star, author of twelve books, product designer, and the chef-owner of Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco and El Paseo in Mill Valley, California. He also produces wines under his California Crush label, and will open the Tyler Florence Test Kitchen, a culinary laboratory, think tank, and event space, in late 2014. He lives in California with his family."

I recommend this cookbook to those who LOVE to cook and experiment with different foods. For me, personally, it was a bit much for a medium sized family on a small budget. I will be making some of the meals in this book on occasion though. Especially, the pasta and burgers. 



I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review. All opinions stated here are solely my own.  

Friday, November 14, 2014

"The Only Way To Have A Friend Is To Be One"

Ralph Waldo Emerson had it right. If you want a friend, you must first be a friend. I have learned this to be the truth in my own life.

I have a few friends. Well, more like one friend (who makes time for me) and family. If I do not make time for them, how can I expect them to make time for me? Being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) makes it very difficult to have many friends.

The only time I am away from my children is if I have a doctor's appointment (and sometimes they are there with me too). I also homeschool so I do not have the luxury of "doing lunch" with my friends and family. The weekends are usually eaten up with family time.

The truth is, it's hard to make time for others. My family comes first. If they have need then I have to sacrifice my own time for them. I am a wife and a mother to three little boys (who are very needy). I must make time for myself and my friends.

It's hard to find a babysitter for all three of my children. My husband will keep them anytime I ask but I always feel bad asking him because he works so hard during the week. So, when I do get all of my ducks in a row, it is rare and special.

I cherish my friendships very much. So, in order to keep those friendships alive I schedule time for those I love. About once a month (or more like every 6-8 weeks lately) I meet my BFF for brunch. We chat and drink coffee and laugh. It is so wonderful to see her and talk to her. She will never truly know how much she means to me.

It also goes the other way though. If you have a friend who is a SAHM, please make time for her. I can tell you that she never gets time to unwind. She is always on duty. Always awake (even when you think she's sleeping). Always making decisions.

She knows you are busy with your life and working and family. She knows the sacrifices you make every single day. She also makes sacrifices such as having a social life.

Remember your friends. Take them into consideration. Never be so busy that you can't make time for them. Friendships are one of life's most beautiful blessings. It is something that is in your control. YOU get to choose your friends. You didn't get to choose the family you grew up in. But, you do have a choice about who you want as your friend.

Having a true friend is very special. Having someone you can count on in the good times and in the bad times is the most wonderful thing in the world. Make time for the people that matter to you. Be a friend. You never know what it might mean to someone. Time is something that we can't make more of. That's why it means the most.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Small Talk {Review}

My children have tons of questions every single day. Questions about life, God, family, homeschooling, etc. Amy Julia Becker has three children who ask a lot of questions too. She wrote a book called Small Talk and she discusses these questions from her kids. It's funny how raising kids is totally different than I ever imagined it. I thought I would be teaching them things like how to love, live, and laugh. But, they are the ones teaching me how to love unconditionally, live like there's no tomorrow, and laugh at things that are silly.

Amy Julia Becker has been writing for a long time. She writes about motherhood, children, and special needs. One of her children has down syndrome. I love her perspective from this child because it is so innocent and sweet. Every day her children make her think harder about life. They prompt her to think deeper about life's circumstances and situations.

About the author:

"Amy Julia Becker writes about faith, family, and disability for, the New York Times Motherlode blog,, The Huffington Post parents page, Christianity Today, The Christian century, and numerous other publications. Her first book, A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny, was named one of the Top Ten Religion Books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly. Amy Julia lives in western Connecticut with her husband and three children."

I really enjoyed the sweet, funny stories from Small Talk. The author is very personable and tells the stories exactly how they happened. She is real and honest. Most of all she has deepened her relationship with her children as well as God. Through the discussions with her children she has re-examined her own relationships and come out better for it.

I loved this book and it helped me to gain wisdom in my own mothering and relationship with my children. Their curiosity is not a burden but an opportunity to teach, love, and gain insight into my own life. I recommend this book to all mothers or mothers-to-be.

Please visit these sites for more info on the author and the book:

Amy’s Website:

Follow her on Twitter here!

Check out her Facebook page here!



"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post."

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy Homemade Home {Review}

I absolutely LOVE books about DIY projects and home decor for cheap. A Beautiful Mess Happy Homemade Home is just that. From the creators of A Beautiful Mess, Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman bring us this wonderful book filled with small projects that can spruce up any home on a budget. There are many projects ranging from painting to crafting. The step are easy to follow and have lots of pictures. 

I really enjoyed the pictures because it made me feel at home. The ladies did such a wonderful job making the reader feel welcome. Another little surprise in this book were the recipes. If you have read my blog ever, you know that I have a small obsession with cook books (okay, a big obsession). As Elsie and Emma go through each room and project they added  small recipes here and there that the reader would enjoy. I love the chocolate chip cookies....mmmm. 

They even added birthday party ideas, cookie decorating, organization ideas, sewing projects, and so much more. My MIL looked through it briefly and she was very pleased with it. She said she loves the pictures and that the projects were very easy and laid out for you. 

Here is a picture of Elsie and Emma. I think they are adorable!

Here is more info on the book:

"Step inside the world of Elsie and Emma, the sisters behind the décor blog A Beautiful Mess.  With tiny budgets and a crafty, can-do attitude, they overhauled each room in their first homes with DIY projects using family photos, vibrant fabrics, flea-market finds, and affordable furniture. Now, you can learn how to paint, craft, and decorate your way to a happy, bright space with distinct personality. In the same upbeat spirit and modern style found on their blog, you’ll find fresh, all-new projects including:

• An inspired geometric-pattern coffee table made of balsa wood
• A hand-lettered statement wall featuring your favorite quote
• A quick and easy electrical tape update for your refrigerator
• A set of beautifully designed serving dishes
And more! 

Packed with bonus styling tips from hanging the perfect gallery wall to making mismatched furniture work, Happy Handmade Home is design inspiration for personalizing your own space."

Please visit their blog A Beautiful Mess. It is such a sweet website with many more treasures to be found. 



*This book was given to me by Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Messy Beautiful Love {Review}

I have been reading Darlene Schacht's blog Time-Warp Wife for about two years now. I knew that she was writing a book and really hoped I would get the chance to read it for myself. I was very surprised when I went to and found that it was one of the books to choose from. I immediately requested it for review. Her book is called Messy Beautiful Love. It is her love story with her husband. It's about hope and redemption in a real marriage. The forward is done by another amazing woman, Courtney Joseph (who has also written a book called Women Living Well). I have been following her blog Women Living Well for two years also. 

Here is a little bio on Darlene Schacht:

 "Darlene Schacht is the original founder of Christian Women Online Magazine and The Internet Café Devotions and writes the popular blog Time-Warp Wife. She is coauthor of Candace Cameron Bure’s New York Time’s best-selling book, Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness. Darlene has been married to Michael Schacht for more than 25 years. They have four children."

I love Darlene's heart. She shares her story down to all the nitty, gritty details. I know a few people who have gone through exactly what she has gone through in her marriage. This book would be so helpful for them and I plan on recommending it to all of my friends. She talks about all of the trials that she and her husband have faced in their marriage. From financial problems to an extremely unhappy spouse. There is so much more to this book than just problems though. She also gives details about how God used her to better her relationship with her husband. 

Darlene admits to some pretty dark things that happened to her. She does so because God redeemed her from those things and they make her who she is today. She went through the fire to get to where she is. She surrendered all of herself to God and He gave her the biggest blessings she couldn't even imagine. Marriage is made by God to last. She speaks about the hope that we can all have for our marriages and how our obedience to God will deliver huge blessings to our marriages. 

"Messy Beautiful Love is about cleaning up messes God's way, exchanging our ideas for his, and being prepared for both the best and the worst that marriage has to offer."

I highly recommend Messy Beautiful Love to all women who want their marriage to last. Darlene has been through a lot and gives biblical advice on how she and her husband got through those tough times. They came out on the other end with a new outlook on their marriage. One that is meant to last a lifetime. 



*This book was given to me by Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Missing The Blessings

Life has many ups and downs. We go through trials and tribulations as well as triumphs and joyful times. When a baby is born and we add to our families it is such a wonderful time of happiness. When we get married and vow to love someone for the rest of our lives it is a joyful celebration. There are birthdays, anniversaries, parties, promotions, buying a new house, graduations, and the list goes on. On the other hand there are funerals, illness, family conflicts, marital problems, etc.

It's so easy to forget about the blessings when all we can see is the bad. I am guilty of doing this all the time. I get so caught up in what I don't have that I can't see all I already have. God has blessed me above and beyond anything I deserve.

When I lose focus and the things of this world come before God, I am missing the blessings around me. God belongs first in my life. When He reigns in my life all other things are put in to the right perspective. God wants to give us the desires of our heart. He wants to richly bless all of His children. 

If we refocus our hearts and turn to God, we will begin to see the beautiful blessings around us. The laundry piling up won't make you feel guilty anymore. It will make you feel grateful to have a family to do laundry for. The dishes in the sink won't be a reminder of all you failed to do today. It will be all blessing that your family's stomachs have been filled. 

Together, let us make God the first priority in our lives and see what He has in store for our hearts.