Saturday, December 31, 2011

To Resolve or Not Resolve

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

Technically, I’m not making resolutions for the new year…but in some ways I am. I know from past experience that I am horrible at making {ok, maybe keeping} resolutions that are made.

Expectations that I put on myself ~ most well-intentioned, but then after awhile the resolutions tend to get rather discouraging because of what I didn’t do. Not because I couldn’t, but perhaps because I didn’t discipline myself enough or think realistically to begin with.

So this year, I suppose I DO have a few resolutions in mind ~ hopefully ones that will not overwhelm me in the long run, but rather make life easier to manage.

  • Family ~ need I say more?
  • Meal planning ~ I haven’t been doing as much monthly meal planning as I have in the past. I know from past experience that the once a month shopping for me was a huge help. Living a bit out of town now, it would definitely be something to save on fuel and time too. This also transfers over into eating better as a family and individually.
  • Camping ~ as in actually do it and plan some weekends out ahead of time
  • Visit friends ~ there are several friends that we haven’t seen in quite some time, and instead of saying we’re going to do it ~ we are making plans now to visit with them.
  • Ferment ~ I’ve been doing more research into fermenting at home {bread, kombucha, and kefir}. We already make and use kefir, so the rest are still works in progress.
  • Gardening ~ expand our current garden and extend it through more seasons.

I’m also reading through The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer {loving it so far} and have several other non-fiction reads on my MUST READ THIS YEAR list.

Are you making resolutions for the new year at all?

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Happiness

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

Christmas around these parts was fairly laid back and relaxing. We stayed home all day in our pajamas {one of our Christmas traditions} and the reactions of the kids to their gifts this year were really priceless.

The girls were both SO excited about their new Bibles and carrying ‘purses’ to go along. They’ve been busy reading and making them their very own.

Christmas 2011-6   Christmas 2011-16

And Legos. The boys are in building heaven. We found an amazing deal on Craigslist for the huge box of Legos below. This was a joint gift for the boys and they are going to have hours of fun with these!!

Christmas 2011-21

The girls were also obviously excited at the dollhouse they got as their main gift…right down to the flushing toilet. :)

Christmas 2011-25

And call us crazy, but one of the family gifts literally made Zachary leap for joy. A compound bow {Zachary + bow = Trouble}. That sucker really has some power behind it, so it’s under lock and key. :)

Christmas 2011-34

I LOVE that a bit of the excitement that morning was captured for us to enjoy and remember as we look back.

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Beyond All Measure {Book Review}

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

image

Her father’s death and a broken engagement leave Ada Wentworth heartbroken and penniless. She decides to move from Boston and finds employment as a companion to an elderly woman, Lillian Willis. She quickly discovers that the ad she answered wasn’t quite forthcoming as to the difficulty of the woman, but does all that she can to honor her end of the bargain to Lillian’s nephew, Wyatt.

In her spare time she attempts to put aside money to open her own millinery shop. Unfortunately, Wyatt feels that Ada should be focusing all of her time on his aunt and not any on her hatmaking. Ada’s troubles begin to stretch beyond those with Wyatt, however, when she befriends a local orphan and stirs up anger with many in the community over her actions. Wyatt is drawn to protect her and his feelings for her grow, but will their love survive the growing problems?

My Thoughts

Beyond All Measure, set in 1871 Tennessee, deals with the issue of the racial tension and the struggles that Ada faced when she befriended an orphan that many in the town thought unworthy of her attention. Ada has a hard time understanding why the townspeople are filled with such prejudice toward one so innocent in the matter. 

Somehow I managed to hide this book and forgot to post the review. I was browsing through some upcoming book releases when I saw the newest book by Dorothy Love and immediately added it to my ‘wish list’. I loved  Beyond All Measure and cannot wait to read more from the author. Although somewhat predictable in places, the characters, setting and plot will keep you turning pages until the ending.

Find Out More

~ Visit Dorothy Love’s website

~ Buy Beyond All Measure by Dorothy Love in paperback or Kindle format.

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fall Into Reading 2011 ~ The Wrap Up Tally

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

While I didn’t set a specific book goal for myself and Fall Into Reading 2011, I did try to set a few overall goals to work on over the last few months ~ and when all is said and done, I think I did pretty well.  Katrina asked a few questions for her ‘wrap up’ post and I picked the following one to answer this time around ~

 

What was your favorite book you read this fall? Least favorite? 

 

Favorite book out of all of them…hmmm….a bit tough, but I have to say that the two books by Maureen Lang were my favorites this go round. I loved both The Oak Leaves and On Sparrow Hill. Completely. The two books flip back and forth between a story in the past and how it ties in with present day circumstances. Maureen Lang also weaves parts of her personal life into the stories and both just pulled me in ~ and made me want more. Two absolutely amazing books. A close second would be Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland by Roseanna White. It’s one of the few paperback books that I bought this fall and it will definitely stay on my bookshelf!

Least favorite…I think The Lady’s Maid ~ mainly because it seemed to drag out  the story line and then had a sudden {and rather disappointing} ending with no actual resolution…and it’s part of a series. Don’t get me wrong, I love books that are part of a series, but somehow this one just didn’t sit well with me. I think I expected a bit more after the drawn out journey the characters had taken. All that said…I am still planning on reading the other book(s) in the series to see how it resolves. I have the next book on my Kindle and will be reading it in the next few days. :)

Here were my overall goals and what was/was not accomplished:

Goal #1: Re-read the entire O’Malley series by Dee Henderson.  ~ CHECK!!

Goal #2: Read at least five of the books that I’ve downloaded for free on my Kindle. ~ CHECK! {actually read 15 books on my Kindle}

Goal #3: Read some more great books {and review them} from Bethany House and Barbour. ~ CHECK!! {although I still have a few reviews to write!!}

Goal #4: Re-read the entire Mitford series by Jan Karon.  ~ not so much….I never got around to checking out the first few books in the series out from the library, so I’ll have to work on this later!

 

Total book count {best I can tell, because I didn’t do well keeping a list this time} ~ 32 books. I’m loving the cooler weather and curling up in bed at night with a book to fall asleep, so I have a feeling that this winter is going to be rather lovely. :)

Fall Into Reading 2011 has been hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days. Starting Thursday, December 22nd, others will be sharing their reading updates. Katrina will be hosting the Spring Reading Thing 2012 starting this March, so stay tuned for that!

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist {Book Review}

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

imageGeorgie Gail is the switchboard operator in a rural area of Texas, but her job allows her independence that few women of her time have. She isn’t very happy when the telephone company send someone out to oversee her work and do some line work in her area.

What Georgie isn’t aware of is the new telephone salesman and repairman is actually an undercover Texas Ranger. Luke Palmer is working to break up a gang of train robbers that are believed to be hiding out somewhere in the area of Brenham, Texas.

Georgie and Luke immediately begin to butt heads over the most trivial things. She considers him fairly uncouth in his overalls and mannerisms, but as she begins to spend more time with Luke and learns more about him, she feels herself drawn to him.  Luke is cautious, knowing the danger that could entail if Georgie discovers his true identity ~ not only for himself, but especially for her. Will their budding relationship survive her longing for independence and his undercover project? 

My Thoughts

Deeanne Gist is truly one of my favorite historical romance writers. She always manages to create quirky and fun characters that are memorable. Love on the Line introduces a few more characters and adds another book to my bookshelf that I love!

Part of the fun from this book involves the quirks of the characters ~ Georgie’s love for birds and the stir that she causes in town with a local hatmaker, Luke’s true profession and the local’s perceived understanding of the Ranger, and the hilarious happenings from party-lines {makes me so thankful we have privacy today!!}.  Gist throws several twists into the plotline, so just when you think you have things figured out,  a new factor is put in the mix.

Gist has done some wonderful research into the history of telephone switchboards, birdwatching and more. If you are looking for a book that combines quality writing with clean romance, you will enjoy Love on the Line. Read an excerpt from Love on the Line or any of Deeanne Gist’s other books by clicking here.

Find Out More

~ Visit Deeanne Gist’s website

~ Buy Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist in paperback or Kindle format.

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

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

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Lady’s Maid by Susan Page Davis {Book Review}

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

image

Lady Anne has lost most of her family and most recently her father. According to British law, she cannot inherit her father’s estate and instead it will be turned over to her uncle, David Stone. Unfortunately, her uncle left for America years ago and hasn’t been heard from in years. If he cannot be found, the estate will turn over to another relative.

Determined to find him, Lady Anne sets out with her personal maid, Elise Finster on a journey across the American frontier, beginning in St. Louis. They discover that David headed West years ago and the only way to see if he is still alive is to travel with a wagon train headed to Oregon. What the ladies do not know is they are being followed and someone is trying to find David Stone before they do.

Neither lady has much experience to offer, but they do find help in one of the scouts leading the train, Eb Bentley. As much as he thinks they should not be on the wagon train, he does all he can to make things easier for both of them, but especially one of the ladies in particular. Will they both survive the trip to Oregon and will one of them find a reason to stay in America instead of returning to England?

My Thoughts

I do love the premise of the book series and the adventure that the two ladies take to find Anne’s uncle. I cannot even begin to imagine the challenges that so many faced as they headed West to settle ~ surviving the trip alone would have been a feat. The two traveling in this story came from a proper upbringing and were accustomed to all the modern conveniences of the time. Their attitudes in the process were absolutely wonderful, not wishing for others to think differently of them or know who they really were. They ended up giving up and selling much in the process to try to better fit in with those around them.

I have to admit, however, that this wasn’t my favorite book read lately. While I loved the overall plot of the book, I was a little frustrated at the end of the book because things weren’t all ‘neatly’ tied up and finished. It is a part of a series {it says ‘Book 1’ on the front cover ~ I missed that} and while one part of the plot was wrapped up, it was done rather quickly and almost a bit too hastily in my opinion. Not to give anything away, but if you are hoping for resolution on the finding of David Stone…you’ll have to wait until more of the books are released.

That said, I already have my hands on the next book in the series {Lady Anne’s Quest} where the adventure to find the missing uncle continues {and I attempt to appease my curious mind}. I have no complaints at all about Davis’ writing style or the book otherwise, but I suppose I’m being stubborn. :) 

Find Out More

~ Visit Susan Page Davis' website

~ Buy The Lady’s Maid ~ Prairie Dreams Book 1 by Susan Page Davis in paperback or Kindle format.

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

This book was provided for review by Barbour and NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Ornament Show & Tell 2011

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

Christmas Ornament Show and TellLast year I shared a few of our special ornaments from our Christmas tree and I’d love to share a few more with you this year ~ and also see and hear about some of yours.  Each year it’s becoming more fun to hang the ornaments on the tree as the kids remember the stories behind the ornaments that we pull out of our box.

IMG_3509

This year we have a new ornament on our tree that we picked up somewhere south of Mexico on a little island we stopped on during the cruise that Rick and I took in January. The store that we bought it in was initially one we stopped in to get a respite from the pouring rain, but we were so excited to walk in and hear worship music playing so far from home.

IMG_3510

The classic Pooh ornaments are truly some of my favorites. Rick and I bought a few when we were dating {right before we get engaged} and it reminds us of the trip we took to Colonial Williamsburg with friends that year. Much fun and laughter. :)

IMG_3514

Each of our children also has a special ornament from the year that they were born. I wanted something unique for each of them and love the one that we found for McKenna ~ the baby s’more. Just makes me smile every time that I see it!

<a href="http://www.noordinarymomentsblog.com/search/label/Christmas%20Ornament%20Show%20and%20Tell" target="_blank" _blank?="_blank?"><img style="margin: 0px 15px 0px 0px; display: inline" border="0" alt="Photobucket" src="http://i678.photobucket.com/albums/vv146/homeschoolcreations/ChristmasOrnamentShowandTell.jpg" /></a>

Ready to share your ornaments and the stories behind them? Write a post on your blog and share pictures of your favorites ~ then link up below. Grab the button coding above to add to your post, so that others can join in the fun too. :)  The linky will be open until December 23rd, so start linking!

Please note: this is NOT a linky to share how-to crafts {although those are fun}. This is to share special memories from over the years that we retell every year or remember each year when we pull out all those ornaments to decorate our trees.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reading and Drinking?

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

On the bright side, Zachary is really trying hard to read any and everything around him and really showing interest in what things say.

On the down side, we went out to eat tonight and when the waitress came to the table, he handed her the bottle of ketchup and asked if he could trade it for a Bud Light {via a sign on the table}.

She laughed a bit and then said, “Oh, the things they pick up in school.”

Most likely didn’t help any when I mentioned we homeschool.

{sigh}

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Ornament Show & Tell 2011 ~ Coming Soon!

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

Last year I hosted the Christmas Ornament Show & Tell and it was so much fun visiting so many of your blogs and hearing the stories behind some of the special ornaments hanging on your trees.

Would you like to do tell a few more stories? I only share a few of our ornaments last year and would really love to hear more from you all as well!

Christmas Ornament Show and Tell

<a href="http://www.noordinarymomentsblog.com/search/label/Christmas%20Ornament%20Show%20and%20Tell" target="_blank" _blank?="_blank?"><img style="margin: 0px 15px 0px 0px; display: inline" border="0" alt="Photobucket" src="http://i678.photobucket.com/albums/vv146/homeschoolcreations/ChristmasOrnamentShowandTell.jpg" /></a>

Write a post on your blog and share pictures of your favorites, and on Thursday, December  8th, I’ll be posting a linky where you can link up your posts and we can have fun telling a few stories. The linky will stay open until December 23rd, so you have plenty of time. :)

Go grab your camera, snap some shots and get ready to share! If you’d like to include the button above in your post when you link up, the coding is right below it. I can’t wait to read your posts!

  This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tired ~ Five Minute Friday

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

 

{go}

We’re rushing around and getting ready to leave the house early this morning. The light is barely peeping through the windows. One of the kids is still missing and everyone needs breakfast still.

As I look around the house I can see several things that need attention today and am making a mental list of what I should do this afternoon. I should really be making a physical list because my brain is never going to remember all of the things that I need to do today.

Teach co-op.

Bake bread.

Finish decorating the mantle.

Hang the ornaments and decorations in the dining room.

Wash the kitchen floor.

Rest.

At the moment I’m just feeling incredibly tired. Exhausted. Wiped. A wee bit overwhelmed. A few weeks ago I thought to myself “Things will slow down in a bit.” Now I’m looking forward to the time after Christmas and thinking…”in a few weeks.”

I want to rest. Relax. Enjoy. Soak it all in during the season. No rushing.

Today I’m pondering this verse and repeating it in my mind:

“Come to ME all you who are weary, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28

{stop}

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

Five Minute Fridays is hosted by The Gypsy Mama and is a meme where we write for only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not. Join in here…

Friday, November 25, 2011

Don’t Put it Past Me…

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

 

All I need is a partner in crime and a wee bit of caffeine...

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Pitiful Fashion Sense

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

I’ve never claimed to be a fashionista. Although I’ve been known to dress up on occasion, my typical ‘dress’ involves jeans, some type of a tshirt and my favorite pair of Sambas.

Not exactly runway material.

We had family pictures scheduled last week and I bought a lovely new scarf to wear. Ten minutes before pictures I was ready to scream because I have NO idea how to make a scarf look super cute. So I did what any normal mom would do.

I called in my 10-year-old daughter and had her do it for me.

My fashion life could be looking up in the upcoming years as she gets older and helps her momma dress.

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Grow ~ Five Minute Friday

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

October and November around this house are usually full of activity and children. A constant reminder to me that our children are getting older because of the many birthdays that we celebrate in only a few weeks timespan.

This year we’ve already celebrated two out of three birthdays and as we approach Kaleb’s birthday next week, I’m still shocked at times at how quickly our children grow. Although there are times that I sit and wonder what our children will look and be like when they get older, I am more and more wanting time to just STOP ~ wishing we could soak in every moment of how they are now {ok, almost every moment}.

I’m also hesitant to tell them to ‘grow up’ because we now have a little girl on the cusp of NOT being a little girl. One wanting to spread her wings a bit ~ and a mom who is realizing that she is growing up too fast.

We’re only ten years into this…I just want to cherish each day.

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

 

Five Minute Fridays is hosted by The Gypsy Mama and is a meme where we write for only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not. Join in here…

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

He Washed His Hands, But…

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

Zachary has lately been climbing the metal poles in our basement and then sliding down them, his hands squeaking and squealing against the metal the whole way down.

{think fingernails on chalkboard as I hear the sound coming through the floor from the basement ~ shudder}

The sliding process leaves a lovely residue on his hands and we’ve finally convinced him to wash them occasionally. The other day as I was working in the kitchen, he came running up the stairs, went into the bathroom, and yelled out to me, “I know you’re shocked. I’m washing my hands!”

I pretended to fall over from the shock of it all. When he saw me, he continued… “Don’t get excited. I still pick my nose.”

Ahh…the refreshing honesty of a 7 year old boy.

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

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Overwhelmed and Blessed

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

Today is one of those days when I am just overwhelmed and blessed all at the same time.

Overwhelmed at God’s goodness.

Blessed by the family and friends that surround us.

So much to be thankful for.

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Muir House ~ Book Review & Giveaway

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

image

Willa Muir has been haunted by vague dreams and memories for years. Little by little she has attempted to piece together the memories, but until she can bring resolution to the mystery of her past she refuses to make decisions that will impact her future ~ including marriage to Hale Landon.

With her mother close to death, Willa returns to her childhood home, a former funeral home, to find answers and closure. The current owner of the home has converted the house into a bed and breakfast and although she holds keys to the answers Willa is looking for, she refuses to divulge any information.

When an old boyfriend of Willa’s returns, it throws her emotions into even more of a tailspin. Will the dreams and memories that haunt her come together and bring closure to her past or will she just be unearthing more pain for herself and others?

My Thoughts

I love a change from the typical inspirational romance. While there is a romantic underlying plot, the bulk of the book focuses more on past trauma, the impact it can have on lives for years to come and the possibility of healing. We all make choices in our lives and desire to protect ourselves and others, but when those choices affect the lives of others as well, where do you draw the line?

Overall, I loved this book by DeMuth although the thought of growing up in a funeral home gives me the shudders. :) The mystery of Willa’s past kept me guessing until the end and her characters were very real-to-life. If you’re looking for a book to give you a little bit of mystery, romance and food for thought, The Muir House is a great place to start.

Find Out More

~ Visit Mary DeMuth’s website

~ Buy The Muir House from Amazon

The Giveaway

Would you like to win a copy of The Muir House? 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 Tuesday, .

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

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

 

Blog Design by: Relevant Designs