Friday, April 30, 2010

Cloud Nine Jewelry Giveaway

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If you like pretty things {and really, what mom doesn’t?} you might want to head over to my homeschool blog to check out the lovely giveaway for a $50 gift certificate to Cloud Nine Jewelry that is going on right now!

You might just have a little extra something for Mother’s Day this year!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stripes and Camouflage?

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There are some days when the fact that your child is dressed, and did it independently, is more important than the fact that they do not match.

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Either that or being the fourth kid factors into it somehow.

I’m just sayin’.

 

Sue Gregg & Whole Grain Baking

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A few years ago a stack of cookbooks showed up under the Christmas tree for me courtesy of my husband. At the time, I was super thrilled they were a gift…although I was happy to get my hands on them. There was, however, one book missing that I REALLY wanted to use ~ An Introduction to Whole Grain Baking.

Over the last three years we’ve slowly {but surely} been changing things in our diet and using whole grains in just about everything that we make. Bread was the first step and little by little we’ve replaced enriched products {rice, sugars, etc…} with a healthier counterpart. Much of the information that I’ve gathered and based our decisions on has been because of Sue Gregg’s Cookbooks. Her cookbooks contain

“…over 800 recipes using wholesome ingredients as whole grains instead of refined flour, honey instead of white sugar, olive oil, coconut oil, and butter instead of hydrogenated fats along with fresh wholesome fruits and vegetables…  Tested, tasty, appetite appealing whole foods recipes with allergy alternatives are her specialty. These recipes will help you ease your family into healthier whole foods fare.”

~ from SueGregg.com

whole grain baking

An Introduction to Whole Grain Baking introduces the two-stage process ~ a process of soaking, sprouting, or fermenting grains before baking that helps release more nutrients so that our bodies can better absorb them. It helps reduce sensitivity to certain grains, food digest better, and overall makes for healthier cooking.

In addition to providing help on the two-stage process, Sue also gives detailed comparisons on products that we use in cooking along with their benefits and other health information: fats, whole grains, and sweeteners along with allergy alternatives and MANY wonderful recipes for quick breads and yeast breads. The book also includes a powerpoint CD with 30 step-by-step demonstrations of recipes and is the main book for Baking With Whole Grains, a course for high school homeschoolers.

Here’s a peek at the some of the topics covered in An Introduction to Whole Grain Baking:

~ Should We Eat Grains?

~ Quick Shopping Guide for Quality Ingredients

~ Equipment Check List

~ Understanding the Two-Stage Process

~ Evaluating the Importance of the Two-Stage Process

~ Liquids for Baking

        Coconut Milk for Baking

        Almond Milk for Baking

~ Eggs

~ Whole Grains

~ Fats

        Butter

        Coconut Oil

        Olive Oil

        What about Canola Oil?

~ Sweeteners

        Honey

        Sucanat

        What Happened to Crystalline Fructose?

        What About Xylitol?

~ Leavenings

         Homemade Baking Powders

~ Spices & Flavorings

~ Salt

~ Nuts & Seeds

~ The Wonder of Flax Seeds

         Flaxseed Egg Alternative

~ Allergy Alternatives

~ Measuring Techniques

~ Accuracy, Convenience & Safety Habits for Recipe Preparation

~ Getting Started Bibliography

We use numerous recipes from Sue Gregg’s Cookbooks, including a variation of the Blender Batter Pancakes as well as the Parmesan Chicken {from another cookbook}. You can view both of those recipes on Sue’s website where she offers sample recipes as part of Whole Food Cooking Lessons. You can also get a peek at the book with a 46-page excerpt of An Introduction to Whole Grain Baking {$23.00} by clicking here.

Overall, Sue Gregg’s Cookbooks have been a wealth of information for our family {mainly the head cook, really} and have helped in our transition to olive oil and coconut oil, whole grains, using kefir, and discovering alternative grains and seeds to use when cooking. Be sure to check out Sue’s story on how the cookbooks came to be.

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews about this and other products from Sue Gregg Cookbooks.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

May I Vent?

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I’m not one that generally purchases magazine subscriptions, but last year one of the neighbor kids was doing a fundraiser and I caved and bought a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens. I figured it was a fairly safe choice and I might get some good ideas over the next year.

Today, I’m just irritated because I feel that NO magazine is safe from smut. Advertising smut that is.

The LAST thing that I want to see in any of my magazines is an essentially naked woman advertising a brand of lotion. Not just one lovely full page ad, but two. Because apparently one picture isn’t enough.

Not only is it the last thing that I want to see, it’s the last thing I want my kids OR my husband to see. Yeah ~ I’m picky like that.

Today I’m making a point to call the magazine, cancel my subscription and never make the mistake of subscribing again ~ thus ensuring that I do have a BETTER HOME!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What Do Plants Give Us?

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McKenna’s science lessons have been focused around plants and the different things we can do with plants. The particular lesson she was studying talked about cotton and how we could used cotton to make clothing.

After she had finished her reading, I sat down with her to ask her some questions about what she had read.

Me: “What are some things that plants give us?”

McKenna: …………………….ummmm

Me: “Clothing? Remember how….”

{McKenna interrupts}

McKenna: “Oh yeah!! Adam and Eve wore leaves in the garden of Eden!!!"

{not exactly the answer I was looking for…}


 


Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Convenience Wins

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I’m sitting here just taking a breather right now from running back and forth with the kids, doing school, cleaning up messes, making messes, and wondering if a certain 3 year old is finally getting the whole potty training thing.

This morning Kaleb decided on his own to wear underwear. A fact which I discovered midway through our trip to Target when he stood up and yelled he needed to pee. NOW!!

And although I know I should be thrilled that he is actually using the potty, I am currently of the mindset that diapers are worth their weight in gold. I know I’ll be happy when we’re done and over with the diaper stage, but sometimes convenience is a lovely, lovely thing.

Especially when a certain little someone pees in the middle of his siblings PE class and then wants to sit on your lap while wearing his wet clothes.

I’m just saying.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Spring Reading Thing 2010 {Update}

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Since it’s been a little over a month, I’m checking in and updating on my reading progress. I just pulled Hunter’s Moon by Don Hoesel off the pile next to my bed and am starting that one next.

Here’s the list of books that I started with. The newly added books are listed at the bottom ~ it’s hard to resist when all these great books start popping up! The ones that have been crossed through are now completed.

Fiction

~ Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs ~ read my review

~ Beguiled by Deanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand ~ read by review

~ Menu for Romance  by Kaye Dacus

~ Not a Sparrow Falls  by Linda Nichols ~ read my review

~ Hunter’s Moon by Don Hoesel

~ Michal by Jill Eileen Smith ~ a story written from the perspective of Michal, King David’s first wife

~ Ransome’s Crossing by Kaye Dacus ~ this book is scheduled to release June 1st and I’ve already added it to my Amazon cart in anticipation of reading it! If you love Jane Austen books, be sure to check out The Ransome Trilogy by Kaye!

~ Eighth Shepherd / Ninth Witness / Tenth Stone by Bodie and Brock Thoene ~ all are a part in the A.D. Chronicles series

Recently added books ~ the ones I couldn’t resist!!

~ Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze ~ read my review

~ Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson

~ She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

~ Hearts Awakening by Delia Parr

Non-Fiction

~ Chronological Guide to the Bible from Thomas Nelson ~ read my review

~ The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo ~Bible study time with a friend is back on soon.

~ The Bible ~ hopefully 1/3 of the way through it again by the end of the this reading challenge!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Homemade Granola Bars {Recipe}

This post may contain affiliate or advertiser links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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Click on the picture for a printable 4x6 recipe card

I’ve  finally come up with a recipe for granola bars that we all really enjoy…and are MUCH healthier than their store counterparts. If you visit our house, the kids will most likely attack you during snack time and offer you one of 'Mom's famous granola bars {their words, not mine!}:
  • 4 cups rolled oats {not quick oats}
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flax seeds, ground
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 bag {6 oz.} of mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar {or 1 cup if no sucanat is used}
  • 1/2 cup sucanat
  • 3/4 to 1 cup honey {depends on how sweet you like them}
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup oil {I used a mix of coconut oil and olive oil}
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
To Make:
  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in one bowl. Combine wet ingredients in a second bowl and mix well. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  2. Press the mixture onto a well-greased jelly roll pan
  3. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. We like ours a little more ‘chewy’ so I baked ours for 25 minutes.
  4. Let cool for about 10 minutes and then cut into bars. Let them finish cooling in the pan.
  5. Remove from the pan and store in an airtight container.
Makes: 24 – 36 bars depending on the size of the bars you cut. I made 24 with the first batch and then cut them smaller {more like a store bought size} the next time and made 36 bars since they are very filling.

Print off your own 4x6 recipe card for Homemade Granola Bars. Once printed, just cut along the line and then fold the recipe card in half.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Not a Sparrow Falls {Book Review}

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Mary has one focus ~ to literally escape the life that she is living and start fresh. Unfortunately she is constantly looking over her shoulder and afraid that her past will catch up with her.

Alasdair is a widower with three children and is a shell of a man. His wife died several years before and he has been in survival mode ever since ~ pastoring his church, writing for a magazine, speaking on a radio show. Neither he nor his family have fully dealt with all that happened.

When Mary loses her job another opportunity presents itself ~ one that begins a healing process in not only her life, but in the lives of all the family that surrounds her. Will Mary be able to fully escape the life she has worked so hard to forget ~ before it catches up with her?

My Thoughts

Not a Sparrow Falls by Linda Nichols is a wonderful story of God’s overwhelming grace, love and protection. While it isn’t a ‘light and fluffy’ read, it is one that pulled me into the story and made me search out pockets of time to read a little more.  This book was further down my list of ‘books to read’ and I really wish I would have picked it up sooner! It had just enough of everything ~ suspense, romance, and plenty of redemption.

This book was provided for review by Bethany House. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Meeting Blogging Friends

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A few weeks ago I was able to meet another blogging friend, Kellie from La Vida Dulce in real life, thanks to Lindsay letting me know that she would be coming through our area.

We all decided to meet up at a nice noisy restaurant so we could keep the littlest of the kids occupied…and perhaps go unnoticed.

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After the restaurant trip we headed to a nearby park to let the kids run off a little energy and give us a chance to talk and say more than ‘hi’.

Our kids had MUCH fun together ~ and I’m thinking we may have to start a few rounds of snail mail between our girls {they are still asking about Kellie’s kids}. Fortunately we can get together with Lindsay a little easier!

Head on over to Kellie’s blog to say hi and see a few more pictures from our visit. She has some hilarious ones of our kids!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Guilty by Proximity

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Zachary apparently knows that he is generally at the center of most {how to put it nicely}…issues.

We were at our local children’s museum the other day playing and Zachary was waaaaay at the front of the museum. A little girl at the far back of the museum started crying.

I was sitting near a friend and immediately said, “Oh…I hope that wasn’t because of one of my kids {meaning Zachary}.”

He hadn’t ~ the little girl had fallen on the stairs, but not five seconds later I heard Zachary yell ~ “I DIDN’T DO IT!!!”

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Sons ~ the Silverbacks

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The boys {a.k.a. Zachary} decided to play ‘boxing’ downstairs. They dressed in relatively nothing, other than some pajama bottoms and went downstairs to play.

A little while later they both came upstairs for a little refreshment {because fake boxing can wear you out, you know} and I noticed a strange blue hue to their backs.

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Chalk.

Zachary had covered Kaleb and Kaleb in turn covered Zachary. I couldn’t figure out why they had done it ~ so I asked.

Zachary did his best gorilla pose and said, “Cause we’re Silverbacks ~ that’s why!”

Wouldn’t that have been your first guess?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze {Book Giveaway}

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She woke up in a field, remembering nothing about who she was and where she had come from. When she walked into the Crossroads Crisis Center in desperate need of help she could hardly be turned away.

Except she looked so much like the wife of the center’s owner, Ben, that it was odd. Especially since his wife had been murdered five years before. It doesn’t help that the necklace she is wearing belonged to his wife.

Ben isn’t sure how to handle having her at the center, especially when it is apparent that she is in continued danger. There is a connection between them somehow ~ but will they find it in time?

My Thoughts

Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze is a fast-paced novel full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end. While I enjoyed the book, it was almost too short for me. There was so much to sort through, many different angles that the story was approached from and in a way seemed ‘rushed’ in some aspects. On the other hand, it made it a fast read that was full of suspense and action. :)

Read more about this book at the WaterBrook Multnomah site.

The Giveaway

Would you like to win a copy of Forget Me Not? I have an extra copy to mail to one of my readers! Leave a comment on this post ~ be sure there is a way for me to contact you. The giveaway will be open until Tuesday, April 20th at 8pm.

 

Jolanthe

This book and giveaway were provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pretty Young for a Grown-up

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We picked up a friend and her son to have a lunch and play date last week. Her son, Sammy {almost 3} and Kaleb were sitting next to each other in the van. Sammy’s nose was running a little bit.

 

Kaleb yelled to us: “Sammy needs a tissue!! His nose is coming out!”

 
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Every now and then Zachary is gazing off into nowhere and then something random just pops out of his mouth.

Z: Mom, you’re pretty young for a grown up.

Me: {snickering}

McKenna: She’s 36!!! That’s not young!

Me: {wondering why I gave her dessert…}

Z: Yeah, but that is closer to the 20’s ~ so it’s pretty young.

While his rounding up/down skills in math need a little work, it’s fine by me!

 
 
 
 
Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday!!
 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Seeds Family Worship Giveaway

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This is a giveaway that you all don’t want to miss out on! Last week a package of 5 cds arrived in my mailbox from Seeds Family Worship and we have been listening to them ever since.

Can I just say I love them????

Haven’t heard of them? You can read much more about them in my full review, but let me give you a quick overview so that you know all about the fun worship cds that FIVE of you have a chance to win.

Head on over to my homeschool blog to find out more

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If you don’t want to wait and see if you win the giveaway {and these cds are WELL worth the purchase!} Seeds Family Worship is graciously offering my readers a 20% discount on their cds!! To receive the discount, use the coupon code HOMESCHOOLCREATIONS when you are checking out and it will automatically be taken off your order.

 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Take It From the Top ~ Adventures in Odyssey

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Take it to the Top Adventures in OdysseyWant to know a secret?

I really don’t get Adventures in Odyssey for my kids. I get them for myself. Truth be told ~ I absolutely love them!

We received Take it From the Top, the 51st album the Adventures in Odyssey series and a lovely 5 hours of audio listening, to review from Tyndale House. The 5 cd set was brought into our van to listen to during our errand running and general driving around town. It definitely gets a 'thumbs up’ from the entire family.

In this series you will learn about:

“Whit’s new invention, the Inspiration Station, and find out why Connie wants to spend so much time in it. Solve mysteries with local sleuth Emily Jones, and learn why 10-year-old Matthew Parker doesn’t think being “target of the week” is such a good thing.


Catch up with Whit, Connie, Eugene, and Wooton, and meet two new families, as they learn lessons about responsibility, revenge, and God-given inspiration. Whether on a baseball field, at home, or at Whit’s End, there’s never a dull moment in the town of Odyssey!”

~ from the Tyndale website

Adventures in Odyssey is a production of Focus on the Family and they produce QUALITY radio theatre drama that portray Christian and family values. The stories themselves are not ‘preachy’ but show through real-life situations how to walk out the Christian faith {well, pretend situations that could be real-life}. The stories and characters will stretch a child’s imagination and faith.

I’ll admit that I was completely wrapped up in the story lines and couldn’t wait to get back into the van myself to listen to what was happening ~ and the kids liked the stories too {grins}. Out of all of the stories, the last one {The Jubilee Singers} was the only one that the kids were neutral on. The story is historical in it’s setting and shows the perseverance of a group of African-American singers that try to save their school from financial disaster by traveling and singing around the country.

We’ll be hanging onto this cd set for some time. They will be wonderful to listen to again, especially for some longer road trips that we have coming up!

This audio book was provided for review by Tyndale. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Quiet Moments…

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I know that images like this will soon be a memory, so I’ll just savor them while they last…

Kaleb sleeping

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Cutest Veggie Tray Ever

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We had a 40th birthday party for a friend recently and I had to share a few of the pictures from her party ~ just because they were too fun! :)

veggies in grass squares

Not sure if you can tell from that picture, but there are {fake} grass mats on the table with veggies on short skewers stuck into the grass. It looked like a little vegetable garden and was just too CUTE.

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She loves animal prints and the color purple, so this was her birthday cake.

purple zebra print cake

Just had to share a little bit of fun! :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Stungee Bees

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K: Oh no, Mom! It’s a stungee bee!

Me: A what?

K: A stungee bee!

Me: What is a stungee bee?

K: It eats the flowers and it stungs you!

 

Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Book Giveaway ~Beguiled

This post may contain affiliate or advertiser links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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Rylee remembers little about her mother and father. Her grandmother raised her after her father’s disappearance and her mother’s death. She now lives in a more undesirable part of Charleston, South Carolina but works as a dogwalker for those in the wealthiest neighborhood.

When someone begins breaking into the homes of many of her clients and stealing possessions, those in the neighborhood are obviously frightened ~ including Rylee, after she walks in on one of the break-ins.

A reporter following the case begins digging deeper into the mystery, but realizes quickly that Rylee is somehow smack in the middle of the mystery. Could she be the one victimizing the neighborhood or is she just another victim in the case?

My Thoughts

Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand is a great mix of mystery, history, and a little bit of romance. While the mystery of the thief is prominent to the story, the mystery of Rylee’s past is also very important ~ to her and to the storyline. Both authors worked well together to throw several twists and turns into the story to keep me guessing as to who was behind the break-ins.

I’ve loved the historical romance books from Deeanne Gist {several of them have found a permanent spot on my bookshelf} and this modern day story is another great book from her. It was one that once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down!

The Giveaway

Would you like to win a copy of Beguiled? I have one copy to mail to one of my readers! Leave a comment on this post ~ be sure there is a way for me to contact you. The giveaway will be open until Monday, April 12th at 8pm.

 

This was book and giveaway were provided for review by Bethany House. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Just in Time for Easter

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Do you remember this lovely bunny? The one that was so generously gifted to one of our homegroup members as a Christmas gag gift back in 2008?

The bunny is back.

Somehow she managed to find her way back to our Christmas party this year and has a new owner. Just yesterday I found a little Easter card in my inbox.

Really, it seems like more of a threat.

Easter Bunny card 

Can you read those last two lines??

 

‘Don’t blink once or let down your guard

or little bunny may hop into your yard!’

 

Three words, ladies…

Bring.it.on.

 

Jolanthe

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Chronological Guide to the Bible

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Chronological Guide to the Bible

Many of you are aware that over the last few months I’ve been reading through the Bible {and finished!!}. My next goal is to read through it again, this time chronologically.

When Thomas Nelson offered me the opportunity to review the Chronological Guide to the Bible I was excited ~ it would be a great companion to my reading and provide extra insight into my studies.

The Chronological Guide to the Bible works with any Bible translation and goes through the Nine Epochs of Biblical History. It offers insight into the various cultures and people talked about throughout the Bible. The pages are full-color and the book also supplies reading guides and introductions for each book of the Bible.

The purpose of the book is:

‘…not to replace the time-honored canonical arrangement, but instead to honor time as the setting in which the biblical record appeared.’

Introduction

This isn’t a book that needs to be read from front to back, but can picked up at any point in the book if you are looking for more information for a specific part of the Bible. Also included in the book are maps, historical timelines, and a deeper look into each of the epochs of the Bible. The pages are packed with information {overwhelming in some aspects}, but it is definitely one that I will keep close by when I start working on my chronological Bible reading next month.

Jolanthe

This book  was provided for review by Thomas Nelson . All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Here Burns My Candle ~ WINNER

This post may contain affiliate or advertiser links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

I am AMAZED at how many of you entered to win Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs!! Thanks so much to all of you.

Using random.org and taking out the comment from Liz Curtis Higgs {since I’m guessing she didn’t want to win a copy of her own book} the winner is Lexi from Choosing to Wait and Never the Same.

I’m sure you will enjoy the book ~ and you’d best be sharing it with your mom too! :)

 

 

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