Nov 12, 2011

.:{ Smiley Face }:.

A friend of mine asked me to upload this picture for her. This is a tradition in my family of using chocolate chips to make a smiley face onto a bowl cream of wheat. The orange bowl is the same bowl from my own childhood that I'm using for my daughter :) It was from Tupperware (circa 80's-90's).

Oct 23, 2011

.:{ 4th Birthday }:.

Our daughter had her 4th birthday this week and her party was yesterday. We had family and a few friends over for a BBQ. I was so proud of my Tangled's Rapunzel Tower Cake and Cupcakes! I got the idea originally from this blog :) Unfortunately I had icing issues so I just did the best I could, however Birthday girl was happy, and that's all that matters!

Oct 9, 2011

.:{ Book Review - A River To Cross }:.

I'm SO behind on this review. I read this book last month but honestly couldn't remember where I got it from. I knew it was a review book. Today as I was looking at my emails I saw Bethany House Book Review emails and did a quick search to realize that was where this book came from. I deeply apologize for the lateness. This review does have spoilers.

Reading the book A River to Cross by Yvonne Harris was pretty simple and quick. I could have read it in less than a day had I not had children to take care of :) The book is based in El Paso during the early Texas Ranger days in 1850s. Elizabeth Evans is your typical New England educated lady who decided to move to El Paso by the U.S.-Mexican borders to help her brother out with his newspaper. Unfortunately her brother gets killed and Elizabeth gets kidnapped. Texas Ranger Jake Nelson and his team come to her rescue. Crossing into dangerous Mexico is the only way to save her. Along the way they find the truth behind Manuel Diego and his plot to overrule the Mexican President by starting a war with the U.S.

The ending of the book seemed to drag on a bit but overall this was a good fictional story set into Texas history. For those that love western romance, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I did find some errors throughout the book, hopefully these have been fixed.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. Theopinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Sep 7, 2011

.:{ Book Reivew : Love You More }:.

Love You More by Jennifer Grant is a book I'd highly recommend anyone considering adoption, nationally or internationally. Not only is this book told on a personal level, but it also includes great sources of information.

The book is a personal account of the practice and patience of adoption. It really takes a strong person or couple to "endure" the steps of adoption. It is not like walking into an animal shelter and picking up a little puppy or kitten, or even an older animal. It might not even be for those who already have children (like myself) and definitely not for the person trying to save the world.

Fortunately (and unfortunately), this book definitely gave me the feeling that adoption is not the best choice for myself and my family. I had toyed with the idea for a long time, probably adopting from Kenya (since I did a mission trip there), or even a South American adoption. However I would probably fall into the category of the "sympathetic adopter" group. Although I could see myself being a foster parent, my husband was never willing to go through the process.

I really like the way the book was written, it almost felt like she was sitting in front of me telling me her life's testimony. Thank you Jennifer Grant for finally writing a book that gets personal with the reader and explain that adoption may or may not be for you.

I review for BookSneeze®

Aug 14, 2011

.:{ Book Review - Sweet Sanctuary }:.

When I first selected this book from, I wasn't sure if I would like this. The description didn't quite appeal to me. Sweet Sanctuary was written by Sheila Walsh, with assistance of an author by the name of Cindy Martinusen Coloma, and at first the name of the author hinted that I was familiar with her until I told my mom about the book and the author. I was reminded that she wrote the children's books of Gigi, God's Little Princess. My daughter adores the films (I hope to buy the children's books for Christmas).

Sweet Sanctuary is about a single mother who works at a small town Library in Maine and has a son named Charlie. Wren has lived years without being close with her family and raising her son alone. She has devoted her life to giving her talented son everything she couldn't have, especially by supporting his music. His father had abandoned them to live a free life and her family became estranged around the time her father died. Suddenly her grandmother shows up on her doorstep announcing that she wants to throw a birthday party for her ninetieth birthday and wants her grandchildren and great grandchildren to visit the very spot where her family became estranged. Not only does this throw Wren off but her sister and brother are not happy with this plan. On top of this, Charlie's father has suddenly re-appeared in their lives and has asked for a second chance at life with them. Although Wren has found new love in a local man named Paul, her life is thrown for a loop. Her patience is tested, as well as her faith. Will she allow God to work in her life or will she continue to lead her own life?

Despite the slow start and several times of being a tad bored with the narration or constant "replay" of the character's thoughts, I have given this book at four star. I would recommend this book to though that are seeking God in this ever-changing world where technology has become the now and how paper books, even the Bible, are becoming a thing of the past. This is also good for a single mom who is struggling with being alone, without family support and an absent husband/father. I would even suggest this to those who struggle with separation from their families.

This paragraph is about a subject that was in the book that struck a cord with me. It is NOT a major part of the book but it didn't settle well with me. The part that struck me the most is the author's ability to tell things in a way people might not think. Wren, being an librarian, talks about what patrons that come into the library and how the books they select can describe their personalities. She also talks about how libraries around the world are becoming a rare location because of the replacement of technology. The part that hurt the most was reading about local schools throughout America replacing the library books and textbooks for everything digital. It made me look this up and find that much to my surprise, this was true. Libraries in school are becoming a thing of the past. How very sad and angry this made me feel that the love of books is declining. Sure the eBooks are available, but it's not the same when you can't smell the sweet scent of paper and glue. As I'm reading this, I'm reminded of my favorite bookstore, Borders, being in the process of shutting down. I will no longer be able to grab five books to flip through and select before reading them at home. Sneak previews might be available through Amazon before you purchase, but I always liked to read a random chapter or two before selecting a book. I'm not sure people are fully aware of what happening in this world.

I review for BookSneeze®

Aug 10, 2011

.:{ Book Review - Rumors Of God }:.

Many people today have a difficult time seeing God in today's world. The amount of stress, materialism and selfishness we see today can give way to those already lacking in faith. Even those who have faith may have days were they just don't see God.

Rumors of God was written by two Australian men of faith, Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson, who wanted to help people see where God is in today's world. They wrote of in spiritual stories of personal experience as well as things that have happened in the world. These men of faith are trying to teach us where to find our strength from God, where to place our faith and not in materialistic things that we seem to value today. To me, I think of going back to the way life was when everything was simple. The need for the latest technology, the biggest house or even the high fashion clothes we crave are ways that we need to realize are not how God wants us to lead our lives. The title of the book points us out to realize that God is basically becoming a rumor, or even an old fad that is disappearing. True faith is becoming endangered. What will be your first step to gaining your faith? What will you do to help with the reality of God becoming just a rumor? What is there in your life that is stopping you from remembering God? These are the questions that come to mind from reading this book. But remember, actions always speak louder than words.

I review for BookSneeze®

.:{ Great Websites }:.

I've been doing a little surfing lately on deals I've heard about. Here are some websites I've found. I'll add more as I find them :)

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Aug 8, 2011

.:{ Book Review - The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck }:.

Sometimes we have to learn to let go of our fears to fully appreciate the gifts life gives to us.

In the book The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y'Barbo, the main character is a stubborn and manipulating young lady who is set against marriage and has her heart set on business. Her father has arranged for her to marry Viscount Alexander Hambly and in order for Charlotte to get her wishes, she tries to manipulates the marriage to her advantage. Charlotte has her mind set on college and joining in the family business, which is unladylike for the late 1800s. Although the couple has agreed to an annulment, Alex has a changed of heart and must convince Charlotte to do the same. Does Charlotte allow herself to become the wife she should be or does she go on her stubborn ways? Does her marriage continue to be inconvenient as the title of the book calls it or does Charlotte allow her heart to be changed as well?

This is the first of Kathleen Y'Barbo's books that I have read and I am looking forward to reading more. This book was somewhat predictable and would probably be more at an young adult reader's level. The humor in this book had me laughing few times and kept me on my toes other times. It was easy to read and very likable. Usually when you read about books on improper girls, you will find the same concept throughout. In some ways this book reminded me of the humor found in the Anne of Green Gables series. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes stories from the 1800s and who likes a bit of humor. Had I known, I would have read the first in this series of three beforehand, the first of the series is related to Charlotte's stepmother. As much as I enjoyed reading the Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck, I am sure I will enjoy other books by Kathleen Y'Barbo.

There was not much religious reference until the very end but my favorite quote was: "Faith isn't a feeling. If it were, we'd all lose and gain it every time the winds changed. Faith is the knowledge that no matter the circumstances, you do not walk through them alone." I found this to be one of the best definition of faith that I had heard in a while.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multonmah Publishing Group as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. Theopinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Jun 30, 2011

.:{ DIY : Job/Chore Chart }:.

I just L O V E D this idea and decided to copy and paste it onto my blog in case Michael's website took it down before I could make it :)


We Can Help Job Chart

Organize those highly-coveted classroom jobs with this fun and easy-to-make Job Chart!
Craft Time:30-60 minutes
Uses Recycled Items:No

Material List

  • Artist's Loft™ Tools of the Trade™ 12"x12" Cork Tile – Natural
  • Sticker Letters – Style of Choice
  • Creatology™ Foam Letters – Style of Choice
  • Scrapbook Paper – Styles of Choice (3)
  • Recollections® Cardstock – White
  • Buttons – Assorted
  • Punch - 1" Circle
  • Celebrate It® Ribbon – Colors of Choice
  • Recollections™ Adhesive Tape, ¼"
  • Artist's Loft™ Tools of the Trade™ Push Pins
  • Low-Heat Glue Gun
  • Paper Trimmer
  • Computer and Printer
 We Can Help Job Chart, large

Project Instructions

Cut first style of scrapbook paper to 3" x 11½". Adhere to top of cork with tacky tape.

Cut second style scrapbook paper to 1½" x 10½". Layer on top of first scrapbook paper as shown. Add sticker letters and buttons.

Cut third scrapbook paper style to 4" x 8½". Adhere to left side of cork with adhesive tape.

Determine how many classroom "jobs" you want and decide the spacing. Print out "job" titles onto white cardstock and cut to size. Add to scrapbook paper panel on the left side as shown.

Use ribbons to create grid lines.

Add days of the week as shown.

Print out names of kids from the classroom and punch with 1" punch. Attach to buttons with adhesive tape and then glue buttons to push pins.

Jun 29, 2011

.:{ Book Review - A Place Called Blessing }:.

When I received this book, I wasn't quite sure what it was about. It turned out to be a story following the life of a boy named Josh. At a young age, Josh and his brothers lost their parents. After going into the foster system, Josh was separated from his two older brothers and left to be on his own. The book goes on to talk about Josh turning eighteen and learning to live in the "real world". He is even after finding work, Josh is on the verge of being homeless. Josh's life turns when he meets co-worker and his mother who take him in. They helped Josh by supporting him and giving him unconditional love. The new people in his life has given him a "blessing". Josh was able to face his personal battles and learn to live a full life.

I really enjoyed reading this book and believe this would be a great gift to give a High School Senior or even a College-aged young adult. I would not recommend this book to young or immature teenagers. This book isn't something to be taken lightly.

I review for BookSneeze®

Jun 13, 2011

.:{ Book Review: Shattered }:.

I received the book Shattered by Melody Carlson from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. This is my first book from them. There are spoilers in this review.

Unfortunately I wasn't pleased with the book. I was able to finish it quickly and it just didn't catch my attention. I am not sure if I would recommend this book to anyone. I think it would depend on who the person was. This book is geared towards teens. It would make a teen think about their consequences for the actions they might take. It will help with teaching morals and respect from teens to their parents. I still give this book only a three star based one how I responded to the book.

The story is about a girl named Cleo. She has an overprotective mother who will not even let her drive her best friend to a concert. She decides to sneak around her mom's back and take the metro to get to the concert. The day after the concert, two policemen show up at her door and announce that her mother has been murdered. Cleo finds out the truth of where her mother is murdered and now must live with the guilt of her lies. She turns to pills to numb her pain and goes through withdrawals. The book seems realistic but it all happens too quickly. If the storyline had been drawn out a little more, I would have liked it better. The quickness of the story seems to slap my face. Twice I put the book down because it had my head spinning with the fast change of pace.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Jun 10, 2011

.:{ Book Review: The Waiting Place }:.

Have you ever wondered what happens in those moments when we are waiting? So much of our life is spent waiting and wondering.

The Waiting Place by Eileen Button helps us to realize some of the things that we could be missing in life during that period of time when we are waiting for something. In a collection of essays, Eileen Button writes about periods in her life where we are often times hurrying through or when we have learned what patience allows us to experience. Waiting for life to come to us, waiting for our children to grow, waiting for someone to die. Then there are the times when we did wait for life's events to happen and have enjoyed it. Waiting for the birth of a child or waiting for good news.

We rush through life, I'm sure you realize this. This book gives you an idea of how fast we allow life to go by. We have forgotten how to enjoy life in the "now". Stop waiting for life to hurry up. Enjoy the moments you have now, this minute. Get off the computer and see what else life has to offer. Or at the very least, slow down.

As I read this book, I saw many examples of opportunities in my life that I have missed. I've seen how I've missed important moments in my daughter's life because I was too busy with something else. I've missed time to spend with my husband because I was too busy texting someone else. I was too busy to wait for that important letter to come, and when it came it was too late to go back in time. Or when I didn't spend the time with my grandmother but instead waited for her to die.

I really enjoyed reading this book, it was very honest. It was also very personal at times. I was able to relate to several moments that she wrote about. I would recommend this for someone needing to learn to be patience, or maybe even stop waiting and grab a hold of what life is offering. It really does change your perspective and makes you think.

I review for BookSneeze®

Jun 9, 2011

.:{ Book Review: When Sparrows Fall }:.

Fear is a weak emotion to have because it pulls us in every which way it wants. Being prepared to face your fears is not only courageous but down-right scary in itself. The main character of "When Sparrows Fall" by Meg Moseley, in her debut novel, has to learn to face her fears. The difference is that she knew what the unknown held and knew what she needed to do to protect herself and her children.

The story is based in a small town of Slades Creek, Georgia. A young widow has six children named Miranda Hanford. Her husband had died two years before that and has tried her best to raise her children in an extremely strict religious home that her husband had set up. The pastor of her church has a private meeting for single women and widows and announces that they are all selling their homes and moving to McCabe, North Carolina. This announcement has stirred up something in Miranda that she had long ago abandoned when she married into this church. Freedom.

Shortly after this meeting she has a terrible accident and luckily has a half brother-in-law that comes to her rescue despite his lack of knowledge of her family. She had made him guardian in case anything happened to her only two weeks before. When Jack Hanford comes to become the guardian, he was in for a shock. The children were so far from the mainstream that they didn't even know who Dr. Seuss was or even read To Kill A Mockingbird. The two girls wore old-fashioned capes and denim dresses with braids. The four boys were lucky enough to wear more "normal" clothing. All the children were "too good" has Jack would say.

Jack takes on the job of showing these children that there was more to life outside the church and slowly opening the door for their mother to give them freedom that she had longed for them to find. But that freedom came with cost. Miranda needed to do it her way or everything could come apart and she could lose her children forever. At least she had Jack in case anything happened to herself but could she trust him?

There is only one secret that Miranda is terrified to speak about, something she has held into her heart and her mind for many years. The one secret that could ruin her beautiful life and beautiful children. Can Jack find the answers he has been looking for and is he the key to their freedom from the shackles the church has created?

This book touched me in several ways. I loved the descriptive writing of Meg Moseley. As a photographer myself, it touched me to read the following:
"Except for the tears, her vision was clear as she aimed the empty camera towards the sunrise, framing it in the window pane. Off center, to make the eye pay attention. Like stories that didn't have neat endings, Jack had said. They left doors open. They made him think about the possibilities."
Pg. 332, When Sparrows Fall, Meg Moseley

Photographers have an art and ability to see things others may not notice. It is what entices others to look a second looking at some of the most beautiful photography available. There is never one meaning. This is how life truly is, full of possibilities. Freedom of choice.

I will read this book again and again.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multonmah Publishing Group as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Jun 3, 2011

.:{ A Few Pieces Of Photographic Art }:.

I recently got Canon PowerShot SX130IS. And I LOVE it!

Here are some pictures of some family members having fun!

Both of these flower images below were taken using macro settings.

This was taken up close while feeding Giraffes.

This image is behind glass, the Chimpanzee is sitting in the corner of the enclosure next to glass.

This image of the Tiger was taken approximately 200 yards away.
It was taken at the Houston Zoo from the glass side of the enclosure and the Tiger was on the far side away from me.

The Shoebill Stork is behind a fence about 50 yards away. You can see the outline of the fencing but it's faded as I focus on the Stork.

May 27, 2011

.:{ Book Review - Spring For Susannah }:.

Another book sneeze review! I wasn't quite into the story but I was definitely able to finish it in just a few days. It's a lovely story.

Spring For Susannah is Catherine Richmond's debut book. It was based in 1870s Dakota Territory. Susannah's parents have died and she is left without means to take care of herself. At the suggestion of her preacher's advise, she becomes a mail-order bride for her preacher's
brother in Dakota. She only does this for survival. She never had any intentions for marriage or love.

The brother, Jesse, and Susannah are direct opposites of each other. Susannah has a shy personality and Jesse is full of life and love for God. With a constant fear of being sent away, Susannah learns to accept Jesse's love. Jesse on the other
hand, at first, wasn't sure Susannah would fit into his dream of owning a large farm until he learned the value of Susannah's skills. Her father was a veterinary and she had learned her skills from him. Susannah proved her worth when she saved Jesse's ox and twin calves from a sure death. Soon love is found between them and Susannah learns to find her own strength from Jesse and God.

The story flows and it was easy to follow the characters. Some books can get quite complex, but luckily this author knows how to make it work. I wouldn't cross her off my list of authors to keep an eye on, but I just wish the story caught my attention like it might for others. Feel free to read this book, you won't be disappointed!

I review for BookSneeze®