Monday, April 29, 2013

Ultimate HOMEMAKING Bundle

Happy Monday, Y’all!!

UPDATE : The sale is over, but the links before are for the individual books you can check those out!

Oh, I can hardly stand the suspense any longer!!  Did you read about all the goodies I am getting my hands on today?  Like the Write Through the Bible E-Workbooks?  Or the Real Food Kids: In the Kitchen  or what about Re-use Refresh, Repurpose.

Well, with no further ado here are the details!!!

{P.S. – grab a cup of coffee and settle in, this list may take you a while, don’t get overwhelmed, you can give away any books you will not use, share any book you will not read with someone you know would appreciate it!!}


For 6 days only, more than 75 widely-known bloggers and authors in the homemaking sphere have joined together to offer 97 of their most popular eBooks and eCourses, valued at just over $600, for the incredibly low price of $29.97!

For this low price, you gain access to every single one of these resources, so that you can customize your own collection to contain exactly the ones you want and know you'll use.

This library of homemaking helps include topics such as mothering, organization and cleaning, recipes and kitchen helps, home education, spiritual growth for both moms and kids, home décor and DIY, pregnancy and baby care, frugal living, health and fitness, and even work-from-home and financial tools.

UPDATE : The sale is over.  Sorry.

You can click a link below to check out the individual books though!


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cooking Under Pressure

I love when I have a plan for meals, when I sit and schedule meals for a week or two or three.  But then there are those weeks when I have no plan, not much food and I have to wing it.

I am finding my go-to tool is my pressure cooker!  I can cook up almost anything so quick!!  Then other night I grabbed some frozen sausage, a few potatoes and some lettuce from the garden.  Voila – dinner. 

I threw the sausage in the pressure cooker for about 10 minutes with a little water and cooked it up.

potatoes in pressure cooker

While it cooked I cleaned, cut up and seasoned my potatoes.  Took the sausage out, threw the potatoes in with the same water and cooked those for about 6 minutes.


Meanwhile I cleaned and chopped lettuce and threw in a few more veggies and it all came together very quickly!!

pressure cooker

I love my pressure cooker!!

Using the Bible for school

We use our Bibles daily.  We start the day with our Bibles open, we read individually before we start our day, then we study a small section for a family devotion.  Right now we are working through Hebrews – a few verses a day.  In the past we have walked through Romans and James. 

In the past we have used the Bible for copywork daily too, we have copied verses we have been trying to learn or memorize, and even copied Bible Drill verses.  I like to use the Bible for copy work because it has different vocabulary, because there are no grammar errors I need to watch for, and because it continues to pour that truth into their hearts!!


I am excited to get my hands on these E-workbooks for next year though (as a part of the Ultimate Homemaking EBook Bundle)! 



Saturday, April 27, 2013


Well, It honestly was our “First Rodeo” on Friday night!!  My oldest was able to participate in a calf scramble during the rodeo and had a shot at $500 to use to buy an animal to show through 4h.  Unfortunately all the younger kids lost out, and the 6 high-schoolers in the arena won themselves the scholarships.  But it was fun to watch!!


(sorry for the quality!!)

Hopefully next year he might get to touch one!! 

So if you want to see a better video watch this – a bit of a longer scramble than we had!!

Stay tuned … I have more videos to share!!

New life into the Old

I cannot remember the last time I have bought clothes at the store with tags on.  I admit it.  I have become a Thrift Store snob.  I refuse to fork over the money those stores want for their wares.  Instead I try to get to my favorite thrift store (in DFW) at least monthly.  And when I get up there, I LOAD UP!!

I usually walk out with 2-3 bags full of clothes.  Jeans for 6, or so, an occasionally jacket for a boy, a couple pairs of pants for a girl, shirts for a few other boys, and so on!  The most I have had to hand over in exchange for my bags of Gap, Cold Water Creek, Talbots, Old Navy, Ann Taylor, Wrangler, Levi or Banana Republic clothes?  About $87.  Honestly.  And on that 87$ day I bought 3 full bags of clothes and got many items for every family member!!


But I will admit, I am often walking the aisles of my favorite spot and I see a shirt with cute fabric but don’t like the cut or the style.  You know?  And I wish I knew what to do with such an item.  Or I find a darling skirt 10 sizes too big – ugh!! 


I cannot wait until Monday to download Reuse Refresh, Repurpose!!


Book Review : The Gate

I have had a pile of books sitting ready for review for a while!!  It has been a busy April, that is for sure!!


The Gate by Dann A. Stouten is the book up for review today!  This story is not a new one, but the details surrounding this specific story are their own! 

The Gate is about a man, Schuyler Hunt, who plans a mini get-away while his wife and daughters are in the city shopping.  He chooses to return to a childhood place that holds many memories from his past.  When he arrives he meets a man who he believes to be a realtor trying to hold an open house, but very quickly he realizes there is more going on than he expected.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Kids & Cooking

I love to get my kids into the kitchen cooking!  With my oldest now 12, he is able to get in there and do more and more!


I always think I will be more intentional about teaching my kids in the kitchen, and so often I am in too much of a hurry to slow down and include them!!  I hope that is going to change!!

I am going to get my hands on a copy of this e-book in a few short days!!


{on MONDAY as a part of




What is inside this book?  (Just a few highlights – go HERE to see everything inside)

What’s in the Real Food Kids eBook?
  • All 19 print versions of the lessons in our popular Real Food Kids online class.
  • Suggested schedule.
  • Nutrient-dense recipes which incorporate the principles of traditional cooking — like soaking, sourdough, sprouting, little sweetening, and healthy fats.
  • A selection of recipes that kids can make — breakfast, lunch, dinners, snacks, and desserts!
  • Many, many recipes to help your children put their knowledge into practice in delicious ways.
  • Help for organizing the kitchen around little helpers.
  • Links to more information to help you take it all further.
  • The best part though is that there are E-classes that I can let my gang watch – they get to learn from another great cook, another mom passionate about her kitchen!  And then I can take them into the kitchen and let them loose (until they need help)!
    I am thrilled to empower my kids to take what they learn and run with it.  I am looking forward to letting them plan and execute more meals in the weeks to come!!  Stay tuned!!And don’t forget to come back MONDAY and check out



              Wednesday, April 24, 2013

              Book review : An Unholy Communion

              I was recently offered the book An Unholy Communion by Donna Fletcher Crow.  This book is the first I have read by Ms. Crow, however she has written over 35 other novels.


              I can normally pick up a book and get right into it.  Sometimes I may not love the book but can still manage to stick with it to the end.  Honestly this book was one of the hardest ones I have picked up in a while.  There was simply far too much detail about everything, I got lost in the details and was really not sure how it was relevant or what was going on.  My feelings may be because I have not read the other two books in this series as well, I am not sure.

              It is clear the author is passionate about her books and the time she takes to thoroughly research is evident.

              This story is a thriller, as a murder is witnessed by Felicity, but the authorities believe it was a suicide.   Her fiancé Father Anthony helps Felicity dig into the details surrounding the death and figure out just what happened.

              This book is well written, just not my style of writing.  I am sure many people would be intrigued by the level of detail that Ms. Crow offers.

              NOTE : I was offered a copy of An Unholy Communion at no cost, from Litfuse Publishers, in exchange for an honest review.

              Tuesday, April 23, 2013

              My new friend

              At least that is how it feels! Like a new friend!  I have had “her” for about 18 months collecting dust, sadly.  But not any more, she usually is sitting on the stove, the counter, the drying rack, or about to be one of those!!

              pressure cooker on stove

              A few friends told me how much they love their pressure cooker, told me all that they make it in, and I finally felt like I could attempt something!  Since then I have cooked up Refried Beans, Regular beans, Purple Hull Peas from the freezer, chicken, pot roast and I am sure a few more things.

              I love HER!!  I love that food cooks super fast and tastes great!!

              Monday, April 22, 2013

              Book Review : Take a Chance on Me

              I always enjoy reading a story by Susan May Warren, the latest is a book titled Take a Chance on Me

              Take a Chance on Me

              First, I loved her play on the title, this story is not about one person taking a chance on one other person, it is really about several taking chances, on each other, on God, on themselves.



              The Christiansen Family is the central family in this story and there are many other families who are not new to Susan’s stories since she takes us back to Deep Haven, the back drop of many of her novels.  I quickly got right back where I left off in Deep Haven with her last novels Shadow of Your Smile and You Don’t Know Me.

              {Read my past reviews HERE and HERE}

              Sunday, April 21, 2013

              Book Review : Darkness before Dawn

              Darkness before Dawn is a novel about a young woman dealing with the death of her husband.  Meg Richard’s husband is killed by a drunk driver while on his way home from a business trip. 


              This story is about how someone might deal with the untimely death of her husband, especially after just learning she is expecting their first child too.  This was not a sweet sappy story, in fact it was pretty assertive in how Meg deals with her pain, but also about how a few characters deal with her from a Christian perspective.


              We had a great trip this weekend!!  As a family, we trekked down to Washington on the Brazos to do some sight seeing.  The next day we headed to A&M to compete in District Livestock Judging.

              We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Washington on the Brazos, honestly I had no idea what would be there or what we would learn.  Washington on the Brazos is where Texas became a Republic. 

              livestock judging 097

              We were able to sit in a building that is built to mirror the original building where a group of men met and signed the Declaration of Independence.  We heard how these men met while the Alamo was being over-run by Santa Anna and how the call for help came. 

              This place is rich in Texas history, between the museum that chronicles the history of Texas, to the working farm that gives a picture of what life in the 1850’s in Texas looked like. 

              livestock judging 101

              Thursday, April 18, 2013

              Book Review : Love at any Cost

              Every once in a while I am surprised by how much I enjoy a story.  I expect most stories to grab and keep my attention but every once in a while I get a book and wonder if I should have asked for it.



              Well, this time I was pleasantly surprised.  While action, thrillers are my favorite book to read, I find myself enjoying the sweet stories of Historical Christian Romance. 

              Love at any Cost, by Julie Lessman,  is a story about a young woman in Texas, whose fiancé called off the wedding a week before the big day.  His reasons have to do with her father losing money in the oil business.  So, Cassidy travels to California to stay with her aunt and cousins. 

              Tuesday, April 16, 2013

              How much fun can you have?

              Oh my – we had us some fun today!!  Don’t believe me?  Check this out…

              birthday time

              Book Review : Lead Your Family Like Jesus

              Lead Your Family Like Jesus is a book by three different authors : Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges, and Tricia Goyer.  I really enjoyed reading through this book and especially enjoyed how a different author shared their perspective with ideas, stories and experience.

              There are four major sections which include The Heart, The Head, The hands and The Habits.  In each section there are 3 subsections, one written by each author.   I liked the practical ideas and suggestions that were offered.  The Head section included the explanation of how to establish family values and then how to implement them with your family.  I felt like this was exactly what I needed to be reading about.  While we are a family that has a semblance of a plan it is not written down, not specific, and not as effective!!  I cannot wait to do this with my family!

              Monday, April 15, 2013

              Book Review : Waiting in Wonder

              I love to get free books to review!  I love to read, and so this helps keep my costs down, plus I get some amazing books I may never have checked out!

              My next favorite thing to do with these books is SHARE them!  And guess what?  I get to give away 2 copies of an amazing book!!

              Waiting in Wonder - Catherine Claire Larson

              Waiting in Wonder is a devotion book for expectant moms by Catherine Claire Larson!  Oh, how I wish I had this adorable book about 12 years ago!  And the devotions it has within its cover are just wonderful!

              There are sections for each trimester, which I like, so if you get a copy of the book already into your pregnancy, you can navigate to the trimester you are in!  There is a journaling section for each devotion to inspire thoughts, and to give you a chance to write down  dreams and ideas.  Each devotion begins with a scripture verse and then has a short devotion that will steer your thoughts back to the Ultimate Creator as you navigate through your pregnancy.

              Friday, April 12, 2013

              I did it again.

              Do you ever do it?  I do.  Sometimes too many times in one day.

              I know it is not good.  But at times I feel it is the only option.

              What about you?

              I am talking about escaping.  Running away.  Allowing the overwhelming parts of life to overwhelm to the point of hiding. 

              How do I hide or escape?  My go-to escape is Facebook.  I hate it.  I have this love/hate addiction to Facebook.  The worst part is I think I can control it, and well I can’t.

              So when life is crazy here, when I want to yell (and sometimes after I yell) I turn to cope with Facebook.  I don’t stop and realize that Jesus is right there in the midst of my being overwhelmed.  I don’t stop and pray that He would give me what I need to deal with what I am running from.  I run.  I hide.

              So, today I deleted Facebook off my phone.  I admit, it may not be permanent, but for now it is necessary.  I need to face life.  I need to be here.  I need to deal with the hand I am dealt and not cope by entering the alternate reality of Facebook.  You know?

              We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who had been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.  Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence , so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  Hebrews 4:15-16

              Oh, my.  I need to put this somewhere to remember, maybe a screen saver to stop me when I am tempted to run.

              I serve a priest who knows about temptation, and while sometimes I might add “but not the temptation we face with children” – but really, those disciples were just like children!!  He faced trials and he never ran away, instead he ran into it.  He stood his ground or he went deeper. 

              When I run I miss the chance to go deeper with my kids, with my struggle, with my need.  I miss it because I run away, and the moment is gone.

              So, instead of running (for a while) I hope to stand firm, lean in to my struggle, and see where God leads me and what God teaches me.

              Want to join me?

              Book Review : Stress Test

              Stress Test is a novel written by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.  While I have not read any of Dr. Mabry’s previous novels, I loved this one! 


              stress test

              The story grabs you from the very beginning – the kidnapping of Dr. Newman.  While Dr. Newman narrowly escapes the kidnapping, he is not safe.  No matter what he does, it seems the trouble is following him, determined to end his life!

              I enjoyed both Matt Newman and Sandra Murray’s characters – she was his lawyer.  While Sandra is a Christian willing to stand for her faith, Matt is a man who has really chosen to leave his faith in his past.  However, when his trouble begins, he starts to really struggle with his faith and what he believes.  When he begins to turn to God, he makes sure to realize that God is not the genie in the bottle we run to when life is tough.

              I enjoyed the suspense and action of this story, but I also enjoyed watching Matt come back to a personal relationship with Jesus, as well as watching a personal relationship bloom with Sandra.

              If you want to check out Chapter 1 &2 for FREE go HERE.

              I recommend this page-turning novel, you will enjoy the story, but be encouraged at the same time!

              NOTE : I was offered a copy of Stress Test in exchange for an honest review by LitFuse.

              Thursday, April 11, 2013

              Win an iPad Mini!!

              Beth Guckenberger is celebrating the release of her new book in the Storyweaver series, Tales of the Defended Ones, with an iPad giveaway and Facebook party {4/25}.


              Check out my review of this book!!


               One fortunate winner will receive:
              • An iPad Mini
              • A Tales of the Defended Ones small group kit (books and DVD)
              Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 24th. Winner will be announced at the "Storyweaver" Author Chat Party on April 25th. Beth will be chatting with guests, answering questions, and offering tips about beginning a dialog with children and youth about the orphans around the world, the basic needs of children living in poverty, and what we can all do to help. (It’s okay if you haven’t read the book – who knows, you might WIN a copy!) Beth will also be hosting a fun trivia contest and giving away tons of great stuff! (Gift certificates, books, and more!)

              So grab your copy of Tales of the Defended Ones and join Beth and friends on the evening of the April 25th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

              Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 25th!

              Book Review : The Dance

              In the past I have enjoyed reading books by both Gary Smalley and Dan Walsh – this time I was excited to read a book by both of them!

              The Dance - Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

              The Dance is a fictional story that deals head on with marital relationships.  This book takes lots of the information from the book by Gary Smalley, The DNA of relationships, and offers a practical glimpse of how you can live it out.

              I loved getting to know Marilyn and Jim, the couple who are dealing with many issues in their marriage.  The way this story takes the idea of dancing and relates it to marriage was a great picture for me.  I appreciated the realistic picture this story presented, along with the marriage issues were also parenting issues and church issues.

              I felt like the resolution that came at the end, while was predictable, the details surrounding it were not.  On many levels, I was able to relate to the questions each of the characters were asking, as well as the struggles they faced.  I look forward to the next book, The Promise, which will pick up with this same family and continue the story!

              Whether your marriage is in a good place or not, this book can speak some great ideas and truths into your life!  I recommend this book to everyone, married or unmarried, there are great concepts addressed and explained in this book!  It was a delightful story!


              NOTE : I was offered a copy of The Dance, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review, by Revell Publishers.

              Wednesday, April 10, 2013

              Book Review : Tales of the Defended Ones

              I have said this before, but I will repeat it, I enjoy reading books I can share with my small gang of  boys.  This was a book that I enjoyed, and I was more than happy to share it too!


              Tale of the Defended Ones by Beth Guckenberger is a book of stories.  Not just a few kids stories, but BIG stories about how God moved in the lives of some children.  These are miraculous stories on many levels and I found them very inspiring, encouraging and all around wonderful!

              Book Review : When Jesus Wept


              My latest book up for review , When Jesus Wept, is a book by Bodie and Brock Thoene; together they have written over 65 works of historical fiction.

              This story is a fictional account of Lazarus – starting from when he first hears Jesus through the forming of their relationship  and ending when Jesus rides the young donkey into Jerusalem as the people wave palm branches.

              The relationships in this book feel very real, intimate and deep.  I enjoyed seeing a glimpse of who Lazarus may have been and how he might have felt about Jesus as he met him and grew to love him.

              Monday, April 1, 2013


              We love to have friends trek out to see us!  We love to have them here in our home, eating at our table and enjoying this quiet life we found out here!

              The Byerly’s family is one of our favorites to have out!  The kids are usually hard to find as they are either all together playing or spread out here and there playing. It is great!


              This visit was a bit different.  Instead of playing, Robert put the boys to work!

              However, I am not sure the boys considered it work!

              The men/boys butchered about 13 chickens this day, and Robert was thrilled with the help, the boys loved the lesson, and mom took home 2 chickens in payment for their work! It was a win/win/win for everyone!!

              Sheri had a great time and learned a lot too!

              sheri with delight

              ben dead chickenben with naked chicken

                    drew and chickenj giving a lesson

              There was some cuddling time with Patches, because who can resist an adorable 2 week old buckling? 

              kate and patches

              drew and patches

              It was so much fun to catch up with our dear friends and we look forward to the next visit!!

              kate feeding chloe


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