Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sound of Music LIVE

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One of my favorite movies growing up was the Sound of Music. Way back in the day {before we had DVDs to pull out and watch at any time}, I remember waiting for Julie Andrews to sing her heart out each year via our tiny television set. Our family now owns the Sound of Music on DVD and has watched it a few times, but I am SO very excited to see that NBC will be showing a LIVE version of The Sound of Music!
Thursday, December 5th at 8/7c, you can catch this 3 hour version of the stage production of The Sound of Music on your local NBC channel. This isn’t a remake of the movie {for those of you die-hard Julie Andrew fans}, but a full-scale musical based on the original Broadway musical. Carrie Underwood will be performing the leading role of Maria, and the characters boast many Broadway performers.
This is one tv production that I am truly excited to watch with the kids - LIVE, no less - and know that it will be family friendly. Do you have fond memories of the old Sound of Music movie growing up? Think you’ll be tuning in to watch this?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Unspoken by Dee Henderson {Book Review}

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

http://distilleryimage5.ak.instagram.com/935f1c8835df11e3b96122000a1fc5c9_8.jpgBryce Bishop runs a successful coin store, and when Charlotte Graham offers him first refusal of a massive coin collection that she has acquired from her grandfather’s estate. Bryce is intrigued not only by the coins, but by the circumstances surrounding the offer.

Charlotte is a very quiet and guarded. Years ago she was the victim of a kidnapping, and though eventually found and rescued, she has never spoken of the events that happened in the years she was missing. Reliving the events proves painful and no one has been let into that traumatic time in her life.

Despite her cautiousness, the story of her kidnapping is being told through the words of a reporter. Charlotte has to decide if she should break her silence or continue to push back the memories that haunt her. In the midst of it all, she struggles to close out her grandfather’s estate and hold on to her guarded life, while so much around her is no longer the quiet life she desires.

The kidnapping story opens up old wounds, but also causes questions to be raised in another crime that was committed during the same time. Charlotte is put in a position of needing to confront her past and possibly shed light on the situation, but will that vulnerability come with too high a price or is it better to leave some things unspoken?

My Thoughts on Unspoken

As with all of the other books I’ve read by Dee Henderson, Unspoken was one that I loved. While not a part of a series, there are characters that pop up from time to time from her other novels - which is fun for fans, but doesn’t lose any meaning for new readers who are picking up the book to read as a stand alone. Meeting and getting to know new characters is always fun, especially when the author does a wonderful job making them come to life on the page. Unspoken does pull in a few of the characters from Full Disclosure as they put together pieces from an unsolved murder years prior as more of Charlotte’s past comes to light.

The relationship between Bryce and Charlotte was slow to develop in some ways, mainly because of her past history and the issues surrounding her kidnapping. But - it was sweet to watch it unfold throughout the pages. While there is so much more that I could say about it, I do love the way that Henderson handled the decisions they made together. {Really, if I said more, it would spoil some things!}

The job Bryce holds as a coin dealer was interesting, although I have to admit that I was floored at the unlimited amount of funding that he seemed to have at his disposal to purchase the coin lots from Charlotte. I’m sure there is a huge market for coins, and it does make me curious to know more about it, but at times my eyes may have glassed over a bit at the description of the rare coins. It’s something I would like to see in person to truly grasp the magnitude of the collection.

Unspoken is a hefty 400+ page suspense novel that takes a little bit more to get into, but once started, it is hard to put down. Just be warned - you may find yourself curled up in a cozy spot and immune to the demands of your family. Overall, the story is one that is filled with the themes of restoration, healing, and patience - and one that I would recommend. 

Find Out More

You can pick up a copy of Unspoken by Dee Henderson via Amazon in either paperback or Kindle. Be sure to visit Dee Henderson's website as well.


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

Friday, September 13, 2013

Stranded by Dani Pettrey {Book Review}

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

imageDarcy St. James just wanted to help out a friend with an undercover story. She knew it sounded ‘big’, but had no idea that same friend would go missing without a trace mere hours after her arrival on the cruise ship. None of the staff on board the ship is aware that Darcy is really a reporter, and everything surrounding the disappearance leaves Darcy with so many questions to ask - and no concrete answers from anyone.

One of the last people Darcy expected to see on her undercover trip was Gage McKenna. His family has been hired to lead several of the excursions the cruise ship offers, and he is not happy to see Darcy on board the ship. He believes she is sticking her nose into something that isn’t a problem and hopes her digging doesn’t lead to a loss of business for the family.

Their past relationship of butting heads continues to get in the way, but the more time they spend together, the more suspicious the disappearance of her friend seems. Pieces of the mystery are not fitting together and more oddities keep popping up - some with harmful results. Fearing for Darcy’s safety, Gage and his family and friends attempt to help Darcy uncover the mysterious happenings onboard and off the cruise ship - but will they remain safe in the process?

My Thoughts on Stranded and Dani Pettrey

A good suspense book is hard to put down, and Stranded by Dani Pettrey is a book that falls into that category. Years ago, I began reading the O’Malley series by Dee Henderson and didn’t think that I would find another that equaled it in writing style and character development.

Thank you, Dani Pettrey for providing that series for me. {I’m sure it was just for me, a fellow homeschool mom - right?}.

Filled with suspense and an undercurrent of romance, Stranded {and the other books in the Alaskan Courage series} will keep readers engaged, glued to their books, and anxious for the next installment. Stranded can be read as a stand-alone novel, but you will want to dive into the small Alaskan town of Yancey and meet everyone there. Be sure to block off a chunk of time once the book arrives though. You won’t want to put it down!

You can pick up Stranded, book 3 in the Alaskan Adventure series by Dani Pettrey, from Amazon. While you’re there, you may also want to add Submerged and Shattered to your cart too - you’re going to want them {trust me}.

Enter the Alaskan Adventures Sweepstakes


To celebrate the release of Stranded, Dani Pettrey and Bethany House are hosting the Alaskan Adventures sweepstakes, with over $600 in prizes to be awarded! Entries will be accepted until September 20, 2013, so head over now to enter.


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

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Apple Crisp with Zucchini Instead of Apples

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Apple Crisp with Zucchini

Yes, you read that right. Apple Crisp without apples. Instead, you can use the plethora of zucchini that the garden seems to be putting out this time of year.

And your family won’t be able to tell the difference. Trust me.

You may even decide to grab all that extra zucchini that others are trying to unload. But don’t take my word for it - just try it and see!

Ingredients for Zucchini {not Apple} Crisp

  • 8 cups of diced zucchini
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 stick butter


  1. Peel zucchini and dice into small bite-sized pieces. Put in frying pan and add lemon juice and cinnamon. Bring to low boil over medium high heat and let simmer for 20 minutes or until zucchini pieces are tender. Add 1/2 cup of sugar. Stir well until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Put zucchini mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish.
  3. Mix oats, brown sugar, flour, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Cut in the stick of butter until the mixture is well blended into small crumbs.
  4. Sprinkle topping mixture over zucchini and bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the topping is melted.
  5. Serve with ice cream and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witenmeyer {Book Review}

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imageJoanna Robbins loves God and has been praying for a preacher to revive the small church in her community. Her father is a reformed stagecoach robber who wants little to do with God, but wants more than anything to make his daughter happy.

So he decides to hold up a train and steal the preacher on board.

Crockett Archer is on his way to interview for a pastoral position when his train is stopped and robbed - with him as the ‘prize’ needed. He isn’t happy being held hostage and wants desperately to escape, but the redhead at the end of his journey is nothing short of intriguing.

Although Joanna explains her plight to Crockett, he continues on to his interview. Getting her off his mind is no small task though. Now he needs to figure out if his kidnapping was all a part of a bigger plan that God had in mind for him - one that includes a young lady named Joanna.

My Thoughts

Although the obvious storyline in Stealing the Preacher revolves around the developing romance between Joanna and Crockett, the underlying story of Joanna’s father was equally as wonderful. With a past that involves running from the law and a man determined to keep it all hidden, the growth in his character is so fun to watch - humorous at times and touching at others.

Joanna was such an amazingly sweet character to ‘meet’ and I had completely forgotten about Crockett, one of the Archer brothers from Witemeyer’s book Short Straw Bride. It was SO much fun reading his story as well. 

Karen Witemeyer is an author that I know I will always enjoy, no matter the book. Stealing the Preacher proved to be another wonderful addition to her list of books.

Find Out More

Stealing the Preacher is available in both paperback and Kindle format from Bethany House. See all of her available books on the Bethany House website.


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

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Earn FREE Books from Tyndale

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

Tyndale Rewards Program 

Who likes free books? I know I do! If you love sharing via Facebook and other social media outlets, you need to check out the all new Tyndale Rewards program.



It is super easy to join and earn points. I’m already having fun earning points toward free products. I happen to know a little girl who wants a ‘real’ Bible as she calls it {grins}. I’m thinking one of the above Bibles would be perfect for her!

Incentives in the program include a free gift on your birthday, chances to share your recommendations on products, and free books in the areas of fiction, Bibles, parenting, youth, non-fiction, and audio books. Earn points as quickly as you would like and earn products for ZERO dollars. That’s a great number, isn’t it?

Tyndale even put together a fun video to give you the basic overview of the program.

Additional ways to earn points in the program including:

  • taking a survey
  • subscribing to a devotional or newsletter
  • joining a focus group
  • joining the birthday club
  • reviewing a Tyndale product
  • sharing the rewards program via social media

Joining the rewards program is easy. Just follow this link and sign up for free today!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Chasing Chickens

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If you would have asked me twenty years ago how I envisioned my life, I don’t think ‘chasing chickens’ would have been on my list. At all. Perhaps a house in the country. A few kids. But chickens – not on my radar.

This past week I took our ‘country living’ to an entire new level {at least in my book}.


As a bit of back story, a few weeks ago we had a rogue chicken that someone managed to find a way out of the locked run several days in a row. That same chicken also has recently resorted to laying some of her eggs on the ROOF of the run and likes to walk around up there quite a bit.

We did eventually discover the hole in some chicken wire underneath the coop, fixed it and the chickens remained contained.

Or at least I thought they were.

A few days ago the kids were supposed to let the chickens out of the coop {but not the run} since it was raining. Mid-morning I went outside to scare {aka shoot} a squirrel off the bird feeder and found one lonely chicken pecking the ground underneath the feeder.


But the rest of the chickens were in the run.

Did I mention it was raining?

I briefly chased the chicken and then ran down to the chicken run to double check and do a chicken head count and one was missing {and here I was home alone with no kids to send chasing after it}.

After several times around the run checking for holes in the wire and attempting to figure out how we managed to have another escapee, I was at a loss. No holes. Nada. And I still hadn’t caught the chicken.

Ten minutes of chasing and looking.

Did I mention it was raining?

Because I was getting rather wet and a wee bit irritated, I decided to head back inside and let the chicken roam. But I quickly checked for eggs before heading up to the house.

Inside one of the nesting boxes was the missing chicken- trying to enjoy a moment of peace and just quietly lay an egg.

Apparently that chicken I’d been trying to catch belonged to the neighbors.

Probably better I didn’t catch it, eh?


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

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Monsters University {non} Review

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While attending the Disney Social Media Moms Conference in May, our family had the opportunity to watch a sneak peak of the movie Monsters University. This new film will hit theatres in just a few days, on June 21st.

Going to the movies together as a family is something that doesn’t happen often for us. With six in our family, to say it is rare is pretty much an overstatement. So you can imagine the excitement that was practically oozing out of our kids when we were invited to see Monsters University.

Now…you won’t find any spoilers in this post {and our kids have been prepped to tell you only that it was GREAT}, but one thing that really stands out to me is that it was definitely a movie we could take our family too – and feel safe doing so. Silly jokes, fun characters, and more make it amazingly fun. There are many familiar faces throughout the movie and a few new ones that we now love! The kids {and adults} laughed, cheered, and clapped their way through Monsters University.

It really was that good.

Come June 21st, I have a feeling we’ll be planning a fun night out with the kids to see it all over again. But first we need to pull out Monsters, Inc. to watch again!


Our family was invited to be a part of the Disney Social Media Mom Conference and  attended a sneak peek of Monsters University at no charge to us.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Flowers, a Plane Trip, and a Wonderful United Employee

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Recent travel to help at a conference had me away from my family on my birthday. And not just any birthday, but my 40th – which apparently should be a big deal. The kids and Rick wanted to do something special for me, so a gorgeous flower arrangement arrived at my hotel.

flowers from Rick

The only problem - I had a flight back home just two days later. Getting the bouquet  through security without checking a bag seemed like it would be a feat. Too may carry-ons and such.

It may seem silly, but I prayed that I wouldn’t have to leave them at the airport.

Flowers in hand, I checked in at the United ticket counter in Orlando and a sweet lady, Dee, immediately offered to help. She was also a wedding coordinator and quickly whisked the flowers from me, wrapped them in paper towels and took them into the back to put plastic wrap around the base as well.

And that small offering almost made me cry. It may have been a little thing that I prayed for, but God was in the little details – why do we ever doubt this?

It’s moments like these that remind me of the kindness of others and thankful for employees that go the extra mile to assist in making a trip for a customer that much better. {Thanks, United and Dee!}.

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

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ring of Secrets by Roseanna White {Book Review}

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There are very few authors whose books I want to have on my shelf in both paperback and Kindle format. Roseanna White is one of those authors. Her books always pull me in with her detailed storytelling and a depth of writing that assures I will be pulling the books out in the future to read again {and again}.

I received a copy of Ring of Secrets from Harvest House to review on my blog, but purchased a Kindle copy on my own. All thoughts in this post are solely mine.

Ring of Secrets Roseanna White

The first time I heard about the Culpeper Ring series, I was intrigued. The first book in the series, Ring of Secrets,  is set in the late 1700’s during a period wrought with espionage. Patriots are forced to hide among British Loyalists, but information is secreted via a spy ring to help supply the Patriots with the latest movements and plans of the British.

Winter Reeves may be a female, but she is in the perfect spot socially to be a key information provider for the Patriots. She is courted by a British officer who continually tells her of upcoming plans, unaware that she isn’t the dimwitted girl many believe her to be.

Surrounding Winter are several individuals who are trying to discover the identity of the spies helping George Washington. Bennet Lane is one of those men, and he is immediately drawn to Winter. He sees beyond her demeanor and believes her to be an intelligent girl, and is determined to figure her out.

While Winter continues to share information with the spy ring, Bennet works on uncovering the identity of the spies – but feelings deeper than friendship begin to develop between the two. Neither is aware of the other’s true mission, but the closer they become, the harder the secrets are to keep.

My Thoughts on Ring of Secrets

There were so many different plot twists in Ring of Secrets that I wasn’t sure how this story was going to end. I knew how I wanted it to resolve, but honestly couldn’t tell if the book would or wouldn’t go in that direction!

Roseanna White pens characters that have are deep and more complicated than they first appear, with different layers and nuances that play into the storyline at the most surprising points. Her other novels have never disappointed me, and Ring of Secrets was no different.

With Ring of Secrets the first book in a new series, you will have to wait a bit to read more, but it is a book that can stand alone and also includes an epilogue so readers get a short peek into the lives of different character many years down the road {very fun!}.

Find Out More

I would highly recommend any of Roseanna White’s books, including Ring of Secrets. You can purchase it in paperback format or Kindle {as well as other formats via various vendors}. Be sure to stop by Roseanna White’s website as well for the latest book updates and blog posts.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

If I Had a Sister

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There have been days that I wished I had a sister. Especially those days that my two brothers would get a little ornery. Truthfully, they still get a little lot ornery.

{And to my parents who may be reading this, you know how difficult they could be.}

Not that life is always perfect between two sisters – because I happen to have two little girls and know that there are fights. And tears. But there are also conversations at night. And times now and in the future that they will be each other’s encouragement and confidants.

mariska and me

For the past week and a half, one of my cousins from the Netherlands visited us along with her son. It’s never awkward when she visits – just a fun time that we sit and talk, shop together {and for me who dislikes shopping this is saying a LOT}, drink coffee and milkshakes, and just enjoy the time that we have together. 

If I could pick a sister, I would definitely pick her.

Today she left our home to head back to her family. Since she left, there have been tears flowing every now and then. The plane ride to visit her family may not be too long, but it isn’t a quick ride in the car.

There’s this ocean that literally separates us.

But – there is also Skype. And the phone. And if we can ever figure it out, we might actually be able to text each other too {those silly phone apps can be so iffy}.

I may not have a sister, but I do have an amazing cousin that I am so thankful to call a friend as well. And that is just as wonderful.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Natural Remedy for Heartburn

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

In February our family began trying essential oils in place of many traditional over-the-counter medicines. A good friend of mine has been using Young Living oils for many years and she talked to me more about different natural remedies we could try with the oils.
Lately, heartburn has been an issue. Rather than having the chalky taste of Tums in my mouth {it only took one of those to remind me to try our oils}, I began researching some essential oil remedies – and came up with a great one that has been working very well for me!

Essential Oil Mix for Heartburn

Natural Heartburn Remedy
The mix of essential oils is very easy. I simply drop the following oils into the palm of one hand along with a few drops of carrier oil, mix them together with two fingers from the other hand, and then apply topically to where I feel the heartburn.
  • 1 drop of Young Living lemon essential oil
  • 1 drop of Young Living peppermint essential oil
  • a few drops of carrier oil (olive oil or coconut oil)
The oil mix may feel a little warm after you apply it. This is normal as peppermint essential oil considered a ‘hot’ oil, meaning it produces a warm feeling on your skin where you apply it. Peppermint oil should not be placed close to your eyes.

This mixture has helped stop my heartburn immediately ~ I am so excited!! No yucky aftertaste and it also has a pleasant smell. It’s a win-win for me.

Additional benefits of Lemon Essential Oil:
  • adds a great scent to homemade cleaners
  • add a drop to water for flavoring
Additional benefits of Peppermint Essential Oil:
  • freshen breath {add a drop to a small water spritz bottle}
  • help with digestive issues {add a drop to a glass of water}
  • relieve headaches {massage into temples with a carrier oil}
  • watch this video on Peppermint Essential Oil from my friend Jodi

Make Your Own Heartburn Essential Oil Mixture

Interested in ordering these oils for yourself? Click the ‘customer’ tab on my Young Living Essential Oil page and fill out the information to get started.

Do you use essential oils with your family? I’d love to hear what remedies you have found work for you!

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. If you are interested in learning more about Young Living Essential Oils, feel free to contact me.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Gearing Up for Disney World

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Our family was invited to be a part of the Disney Social Media Mom Conference and  received discounted Disney passes and lodging for the three day conference. Our decision to extend our stay was our own.

Taking the kids to Walt Disney World has been on our ‘LIST’ for quite some time. We had a growing fund specifically for this special vacation, but we got a little sidetracked.

Let’s just say, the kids weren’t thrilled to find out we used the money to buy a camper.

BUT – that camper will now be on the road with us in a little over a month as we travel to Disney as a family for a week of fun, fun, fun!! I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration this May at Disney World that will allow the entire family to tag along with me.



To say the kids are excited is putting it mildly. Really, I am equally excited because it isn’t often that I am able to have everyone with me at a conference and have time to relax and have fun with them.

We’d be silly not to stay longer, so after our stay at the Disney Contemporary Resort we’re heading over to Fort Wilderness for a few additional days of park visiting. I have a feeling the kids are going to love that the monorail goes directly into the hotel {how neat is that??}.

This next month promises to be a whirlwind. Family will be visiting us from overseas and we’re getting as much of our school wrapped up as we can. Don’t tell the kids though - I am planning to make part of this Disney trip a learning time too…shhh! If anything, this will be a field trip of gigantic proportions!!


Have you visited Disney before? What is ONE thing {or two} that you highly recommend we do together while we are there?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell {Book Review}

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

This book was provided for me at no cost by Bethany House via NetGalley in exchange for my honest and personal review.


After touring Europe, Lucy Kendall returns home with dreams of reviving her father’s candy making business. Armed with boxes of candy she sampled abroad, she longs to find that perfect combination that will have everyone running for the next piece – and show the nearby rival candy company a thing or two. Her mother is determined to sell the company, so Lucy has little time to produce a winning confectionary treat.

Believing the family secrets were wrongly stolen from her father’s company is still a sore spot with Lucy. When the rival company brings in a new manager, Charlie Clarke, Lucy is continually butting heads with him.

Charlie is trying to start over again, and the opportunity to connect with his father, the owner of a candy company, seems to be perfect timing. He longs to prove himself to his father, but that means undermining another candy company – and in the process a girl he is beginning to care about. Will both companies be able to survive the candy war? Will their relationship even have a chance to grow, or will the battle to be the best stretch both of them beyond what they can handle?

My Thoughts on Unrivaled

I love how a story can make you think about how companies functioned so long ago and the rivalry that existed {and still does} so long ago! Recipes under lock and key. Company espionage - the glimpses into life many years ago is so much fun.

Mitchell does a wonderful job in Unrivaled detailing the historical period and creating vivid scenes in the reader’s mind. From parties to the candy making process, the working conditions of the time and even the store-front windows that were such an integral part of advertising during this time period – all combine to create a story that will take you on a bit of a history trip while you relax and read.

While this wasn’t one of my favorite books by Siri Mitchell, it was definitely an enjoyable read. The hardest thing for me with her books in the point of view from which the stories are told – first person narrative. Because there are two main characters, the story is constantly switching between voices, which for me makes it a little more difficult to follow. This time the two main characters are male and female, so it was a little bit easier {grins}, but just takes my brain a little more getting used to. 

Find Out More

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell can be purchased through Amazon and is available in paperback or Kindle.


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

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I Heart Keenwah ~ or Quinoa

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

I received a small sample of the Ginger and Peanut snack from I Heart Keenwah in exchange for my honest opinion.

Do you spell it keenwah ~ or quinoa? No matter how you spell it, quinoa is one of my new favorite healthy foods. Although my basic quinoa recipe repertoire is sadly lacking in creativity, there are two ways that I typically like to eat my quinoa.
For breakfast I love quinoa with a little cinnamon, vanilla, and some craisins or raisins added in. For lunch {warm or cold} with some fresh basil, feta cheese and some chopped tomatoes and cucumbers.
This last week I tried a new fun {and nutritious} snack from I Heart Keenwah, a crunchy and sweet treat made with ginger and peanuts. It’s a little spicy and a little sweet all rolled into.
The small bite-sized squares are a great afternoon treat when you need a pick-me-up. Although I tried the Ginger Peanut, there are several other flavors available: almond, cranberry cashew, and chocolate sea salt. While I enjoyed the crunchy ginger and peanut bites, I am very certain I will enjoy the other flavors as well {grins}.

ingredient list: organic quinoa (whole grain quinoa, quinoa flakes, quinoa crisps), peanuts, tapioca syrup, raw sugar, crystallized ginger (ginger, cane sugar), honey, almond oil, baking soda, salt

The snack-sized bags from I Heart Keenwah can be purchased directly through their website. Order in quantities of twelve and shipping is free!


Do You Heart Keenwah?

I would love it if you would share your favorite way to enjoy quinoa!! Leave a comment and let me know!
This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Apple and Sour Cream Coffee Cake

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Apple Coffee Cake Recipe

This Apple Sour Cream Coffee Cake is a wonderful breakfast treat, and the recipe actually makes two pans, so you can freeze one and eat one!


  • 1/2 cup butter {can also use butter flavored shortening}
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of flour {we use whole wheat pastry flour}
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sour cream {8 oz.}
  • 2 cups chopped and peeled apples {we use Gala}

Topping Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. cold butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans {optional}


  1. Cream together the butter and the sugar until mixed well. Add in eggs, vanilla, and sour cream.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder together. Slowly stir in flour mixture into wet ingredients.
  3. Stir in the chopped apples.
  4. Divide the batter between two greased 8x8 baking dishes.
  5. To make topping, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly and then add nuts. Sprinkle the topping evenly over both dishes.
  6. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes {or until cooked through}.
  7. One dish can be covered and frozen to use another week – just thaw it overnight in the fridge!

Note: We use the Glad Ovenware 8x8 pans with lids to freeze and store. They are also great to use when sharing dishes with other families!


Printable Meal Planner monthly meal plan calendar

Need help meal planning? Don’t miss the editable main dish menu planner and the monthly meal planner ~ both FREE downloads.

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

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen

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The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

Emma’s father seemed to lose his enthusiasm and joy for teaching following his wife’s death. Determined to see her father happy again, Emma convinces her father to accept a private tutoring position for the two young sons of a baron. The older two sons were students at their boarding school years before and Emma is sure that some time away from home will be beneficial for both of them.

The manor holds many secrets – strange noises at night, odd behaviors from those living in the home, things disappearing from Emma’s room – all difficult to explain.

The older sons of the baron, Phillip and Henry Weston, are no strangers to Emma but with all that is happening in the house, Emma isn’t sure who to trust. Her past experiences with Henry make it even more difficult to trust him. During the time Henry attended the boarding school, he played endless tricks on Emma and the current happenings at the manor seem to mimic many of his pranks.

Emma’s emotions are conflicted though. Even though her past experience with Henry has been difficult, their present conversations and interactions tell her heart that he cannot be behind all of the secrets currently happening. She is torn between the friendship she holds with Phillip and the growing friendship with Henry.

When Emma stumbles onto a huge family secret, she believes all of the mysterious happenings in the manor will cease – but instead things grow even more difficult. Who should Emma trust for her safety and her heart?

My Thoughts on The Tutor’s Daughter

In a sense, this book reminded me of a cross between an Austen and Bronte book. The mysterious happenings in an old English manor, the troubling family secret – all combine together to make The Tutor’s Daughter a wonderful book from Klassen. Out of all of the books that I’ve read by her, this is one of my favorites {close behind is The Apothecary's Daughter}.

The relationship history between the main character Emma and the two brothers adds to the mystery behind the story, especially since there is a time difference and the reader knows there is some skew in perspective based on the ages of the characters. The development of the various relationships is fun to read and

Out of the entire story, I truly appreciate the big ‘family secret’ – which in that time frame would have been something that was very misunderstood and hidden. Klassen handles this situation well and even provides further explanation of the issue during that time period at the end of the book to help the reader understand it. {I can’t say more without spoiling some of the plot line}.

Add in a lot of suspense, several other parallel story lines that will intrigue you, and you have another great book from Klassen that you will want to add to your shelves {or your Kindle library}. Here are a few more books by Julie Klassen that I have also enjoyed: The Maid of Fairbourne Hall,  The Girl in the GatehouseThe Silent Governess, The Apothecary's Daughter, and Lady of Milkweed Manor. If you enjoy period fiction, you will really enjoy her books!

Find Out More

~ The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen is available on Amazon in paperback and also as a Kindle download.

~ ~ Visit Julie Klassen’s website or Facebook fan page.


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

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What Word Defines You?

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awake charm

It hangs as a charm on my bracelet, a daily reminder of the word that has been on my heart for this year.

The last few years, I have chosen a word as my theme for the year. For 2012, it was the word ‘gifts’ based on the book Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. This year, the word that really resonated with me was the word ‘awake’. 

Since last May when I traveled to Africa with Compassion, ‘awake’ has been the only word that accurately pinpoints everything. During my time there and in the months to follow, something broke in me – and there really aren’t words to adequately describe what impact everything had in my heart and mind.

Other than an awakening.

When I was traveling last week, I began listening to three different albums during my flights, and all three of them had a song titled ‘Awake’ on them. One song on Burning Lights, the new album from Chris Tomlin, has fast become one of my favorites…



My prayer for this year is to be fully awake – and alive.

Have you ever chosen a word for your year? I’d love to hear it!


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