Friday, May 31, 2013

Cousin Camp 2013 {planning phase}

I am not the best summer mom.  I seem to find tons of stuff I need to do that I never have time to do, and well – the fun stuff kind of gets pushed to the back.  But for at least ONE week, we have an amazing summer!!  Last year we loved having cousins up from Houston to spend a week at Cousin Camp.  We love this week, they do, I do – it is a win/win all around!!

{Check out last year’s fun : Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 & Wrap Up}

This is my favorite week here during the summer because for one week I am super intentional about planning some great things!!  This year I have an even better plan ahead!!

We are going to paint (canvas & rocks), make garden stones to take home for the yard, decoupage recipe boxes and more!  We are going to have Bible Study time again each morning, which John and Sage loved last year.  This year I am hoping to start them journaling, my boys have jumped into this lately and are loving it.

For our sewing project this year we are going to make ruffled aprons – not sure which but something like this:

Friday, May 24, 2013

Book Review : Ray of Light

I am excited to tell you about my latest read, Ray Of Light by Shelly Shepherd Gray.  This is the second book in a series, and I did not read the first, but found it very easy to catch up and keep up!!  The story takes place in both Florida, for a brief time, and Ohio.  This story is an Amish story about the Keim Family. 


Roman is a member of the Keim family and we meet him while he is in Florida on vacation in an Amish vacation community.  While his family is back home in Ohio dealing with some new and old family issues.  While in Florida, Roman meets Amanda and her little girl Regina.

Amanda is a widow of two years and is certainly not looking to fall in love again, and Roman is a man dealing with responsibilities at home and is not looking for love either.  But they find it!

This is a charming story, made even more charming by Regina!  The joy that you can feel her bringing to the characters is so sweet!  The characters are sincere and feel like people you would want to know.  The family issues are ones that you could be dealing with, and offer some great comfort in trusting such dealings to God.

I would recommend this story highly; a great, sweet story that will lighten the load you are carrying!  It will make you smile and maybe even shed a few tears!  This would be a great story for older youth too!

{To read other reviews, check out the LitFuse page :}

About Ray of  Light:
Bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray brings inspirational romance to life in this sweet tale of love in the Amish community, Ray of Light, the second installment of her Days of Redemption series.
Roman Keim just wants a break from the family drama at his snowy Ohio home when he heads to an Amish snowbird community in Florida. There he meets Amanda Yoder and her daughter Regina who soon are warming his heart. But will Roman return to Ohio or will he stay and help the young widow embrace a second chance at love?

The author of the series Sisters of the Heart and Seasons of Sugarcreek, Shelley Shepard Gray delivers an honest, tender love story in Ray of Light, featuring the challenges of faith, family, and romance.

Meet Shelley:SGray-147
Shelley Shepard Gray is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the "Sisters of the Heart", "Seasons of Sugarcreek", "Secrets of Crittenden County", and Families of Honor series. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.
Learn more at

NOTE : I received a copy of Ray of Light from Litfuse, in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Book Review : When a Secret Kills

I am thrilled to close out a series today!!  I recently got my hands on book 3 of Deadly Reunions by Lynette Eason.  Oh, how I have enjoyed these suspenseful, thriller, romantic Christian Fiction books!!

SecretKills-3 copy

When the Smoke Clears was book 1, When a Heart Stops was book2 – I have enjoyed each  one!!

Lynette concluded a great series with this book, she tied up all the loose ends that kept us guessing and wondering through the first three books.  I love how we got to see characters grow from the first book and continue to be strong and Godly people in each of the next books.

This book finalizes the story by brining Jillian Carter home, after disappearing the night of her high school graduation.  She had contacted a few friends once or twice, but otherwise remained in hiding for over ten years.  When she comes back, she is determined to prove the crime she witnessed that night so long ago.  In the midst of trying to prove her innocence and the guilt of another she is thrown back with a young man who she once loved. 

There are stills secrets until the very end, and honestly you will not be able to put this one down.

I highly recommend Lynette Eason and each of these books!!

NOTE : I was offered a copy of When a Secret Kills, in exchange for an honest review by Revell Publishers.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Book Review : The Cat that God Sent

So the book that arrived with The Dog That Talked to God was another book by Jim Kraus, The Cat that God Sent. I thought these books would be funny, light books – with the focus on the animals. I was wrong. These were full blown Christian Fiction, there just happens to be a dog or cat sharing the limelight with the people in the story.


As much as J enjoyed the dog book, I enjoyed this book! I enjoyed the mystery of the past that Jake brings to his new church in a small town in Pennsylvania. Not only was there his secret to figure out, but a few others as well. I really did enjoy the addition of Petey to the story, Petey the cat. He is a stray that arrives as the church the same day Jake does, and he adopts Jake.

I loved watching how their relationship grew (I know that sounds silly, but it did) and I loved watching the town –Coudersport fall in love with Petey (maybe, first?) and Jake.

Most of all, my favorite part of the plot was seeing people come back to church because of the tales of the cat listening each Sunday. It made me wonder what it would take for others to come back. Because quite honestly I believe the best place to “be” is in a Bible preaching church in order to hear the true message from God. And that is just what happens, people come to see Petey, they hear God in the word that Jake delivers.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Book Review : The Dog that Talked to God

I am so excited to be helping my boy review yet another book!! This book is by Jim Kraus and it is The Dog that Talked to God.


This is a good book that teaches why trusting God is so important. The main character is a widow who is angry at God following the death of her husband and son.

When Rufus enters the scene, Mary discovers that he talks and not with barks! Eventually Mary begins attending church again and realizes that maybe she was wrong to leave the church and blame God for what happened.

Rufus becomes a friend that she is able to confide in, which was refreshing since it had been a while since she had someone to open up to.

J enjoyed reading this book, and would recommend it.

Read other reviews HERE.

Meet Jim:photo_jimkraus
Jim Kraus grew up in Western Pennsylvania and has spent the last twenty years as a vice president of a major Christian publishing house. He has written more than twenty books and novels, including the best-selling The Dog That Talked to God. He and his family live outside of Chicago with a sweet miniature Schnauzer and an ill-tempered Siberian cat named (of course) Petey.



NOTE : I was offered a copy of The Dog Who Talked to God, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review, by Litfuse.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Garden Update

This is the first year I have honestly felt like this garden thing might pay off.  We have been trying our hand at a garden since living in Tennessee, and it never fails that something seems to go wrong.  In TN we deployed all the time in the Army, so watering was a challenge.  In Mansfield things just never worked out until we moved, quite honestly – then things came in great!

Since arriving here we have been dabbling in the garden with minor successes : Tomatoes in 2011 were good, cucumbers too – in 2012 not much was harvested in general, except Purple Hull Peas and I had not clue what to do with them.

New Year – New story!!  Yeah!  finally our learning and hard work seems to be paying off a bit!!


Now I know this is just our early spring garden, but so far things are looking good in the Tomato and Pepper section too!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Kids in Kitchen (Success)

So after making a commitment HERE to get my kids into the kitchen more, I have been so much better!!

Monday morning my oldest got the chance.  Sometime after lunch I asked J if he wanted to run dinner.  I had already picked the menu, but prepping it was completely up to him. 

sweet pot flautas

I was inspired by Black Bean & Sweet Potato Flautas on Pinterest and decided to make that!  However, we did tweak it.  We are trying to use the microwave less, and the pressure cooker more!!  So, he soaked the black beans for about an hour.  Then rinsed (again) and put them in the pressure cooker, plus 3 cups of water per cup of dried beans.  Then, he cooked them up in the pressure cooker for about 6 minutes.


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